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  1. #1
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    If you run an incentive site. Read these rules.
    Hey everyone, i've written this exact post before - but in the past few days we have had quite a few accounts closed due to violation of the terms and some have felt that our rules are not clear. So... I am posting this in hopes to clear up some of that confusion.

    This involves incentive sites, such as sites that offer a portion of the commissions as an incentive to the user to fillout a lead form, complete an offer, take a survey, etc... etc...

    If you run one of these sites, there are very clear rules that you must follow that are written in the Terms of Agreement. An excerpt from that is as follows:

    If you run or utilize an incentive website, you MAY participate in shareasale.com's pay-per-click and pay-per-lead programs ONLY IF you receive specific written (fax or email are ok as well) permission from the merchant. You must also copy this specific permission to us, and that permission must detail exactly what kind of incentive your users have to click the links. Without this permission, your commissions may be voided. You are allowed to participate in any pay-per-sale programs without any special permission.
    So... in short. Do these 3 things....

    1. Send an email or other written communication to a merchant that you want to participate with. In this email, describe exactly what it is that you want to do - and exactly what incetive you provide to your users. Let them know, if you wish, that you need this specific permission in order to operate within ShareASale rules.

    2. Hopefully,the merchant will send you permission to run the offer.

    3. Login to your account on ShareASale, submit a ticket with the permission that you have received. It will be noted in your account.

    If you do not do this, you run the risk of having your account suspended and commissions revoked.

    I've given a few sites the opportunity to come into compliance so I will do that with everyone now... I won't remove any incentivized sites for one week, until March 28th. Instead of removing them I will point them to this topic which hopefully explains in perfect detail what we expect from them.

    Those who take that opportunity and obtain the needed permission will be able to keep their accounts and move forward... and i'll just close the rest.

    Simply being in the "Approved" status for a program does not suffice for this.
    Last edited by Brian - ShareASale; March 21st, 2008 at 03:08 PM.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    how about if they are "approved (statuswise)" but they dont make "use" of those programs?

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Question
    Brian, can you explain the necessity of this rule?



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  4. #4
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetsWarehouse.com
    Brian, can you explain the necessity of this rule?
    .
    I'm not Brian, but let me take a swing at this. It's not as prevalent for you Bob, as you are selling and shipping items. But I'll address that in a minute.

    Merchants who are using leads to generate business, such as a shutter company or any of the loan companies like a mortgage or auto loan are especially concerned with who is participating in the program. If the merchant is set for auto approve based on the belief that an incentive site either is not allowed in SAS or would have to announce they are an incentive site. It is pretty easy to see how the reversals can hurt the merchant. The incentive site offers $20 of the $30 lead commission to fill out a form, the merchant gets lots of leads that have no interest. The cost of the lead + the cost of the network commission + cost involved in contacting the lead can end some very good programs or at least make them look like bad programs due to high reversals.

    There was thread recently about a merchant wanting to reverse a purchase of what appeared to be physical goods that were purchased several months ago. If an industrious incentive site user wanted to, they could make the purchase get paid the incentive and return the product after the commissions had been locked. If the return was denied, a credit card reversal is always an option based on the company not providing 'good service'.

    I don't think it is too much that merchants be informed that an incentive site is applying for the program and have documented that they are willing to have the site in the program.

    I see the requirement as a positive move to make it clear to incentive sites and to merchants that incentive sites, non software I presume, are certainly welcome at SAS, but they must take an extra step in transparency with merchants. I'm sure the incentive sites that participate here at ABW wouldn't have an issue with this as the ones I spoke to at ASW seemed very willing to work with merchants to build long term partnerships. Unfortunately, not all are like that.

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Note that this applies only to pay per CLICK and pay per LEAD programs. Those are the ones where incentivized traffic produce the worst results. With pay per SALE programs (the most common type on SAS and other traditional networks), incentivized sales are typically still profitable. With PPC or PPL, the merchant is expecting a certain percent of those clicks or leads to convert into revenue. With incentivized clicks and leads, they often convert at a far lower rate.

    Great policy, as usual, Brian.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  6. #6
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    All,

    It has to do with lead generation and programs that pay per lead.... I.e., if you run a pay-per-sale program it doesn't apply to you....
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  7. #7
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Hair Splitting Questions
    This may sound dumb to the more experienced, but termination is serious so I'll ask two questions.

    First: How broad can the term "incentive" be applied. Would an ad in the paper offering "$1.00 to the first 20 people to buy via my site in April" count. How about an offer like "Try any link and publish a review and you get the commission plus $20.00". We all know plenty of examples of what you mean, but I wonder about promotional ideas dreamed up a year from now when this thread is forgotten.

    Second: What if you have multiple sites that are clearly non-incentive and down the road you test some "incentive" idea on one of the sites. Also suppose you have all-battery.com (which pays .02 per click) on a site that is unaffected. Would you have to notify them even though they where not affected? I guess in summary I'm asking if the "incentive" clause is by website or SAS publisher account?


  8. #8
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    bumpaw,

    it is just for leads and clicks (those programs) ... and it is by program, so you don't need to worry if you are not promoting one but have an additional incentive site.

    For the most part, this affects sites that have things like "Pay to Read", "Pay to Complete Offers" , etc... and are doing so with lead offers.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
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    thanks for clarifying Brian ;-)

  10. #10
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    Well, I have been an affiliate of SAS for only two weeks and I think it is too early for leaving. I have asked for every campaign from the merchants and it is clear that many of them will not have an affirmative reply. In this case, unsubscribing from the disallowed and unresponded campaigns would be a better option, will I have to do this or would just stopping advertising be enough? (In fact I do not know how to quit a program even if I wanted) There will be another problem in addition, there will probably be some pending earnings from campaigns with pending permissions. What about these?
    Over 40 support tickets... March 28th will be a tiring day.

  11. #11
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    here will probably be some pending earnings from campaigns with pending permissions.
    Sounds to me, per the rules, that pending permission doesn't cut it.
    Kevin Webster
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  12. #12
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    I belive Noth has it right. There really is no such thing as "pending permissions". Get the permissions, and you are within the rules... don't get them, and you are not.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador SunshineTricia's Avatar
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    Hey Brian,

    Do the merchants know that this is going on? I contacted one today and they were unsure what I was talking about when I asked for permission. But I have seen them on plenty of other incentive sites to know that they have a regularly incentivized offer. I referred them to this thread but was just wondering if they are all expecting an email from us.

    Tricia
    --Tricia Meyer-- I love being the exception to the rule.

    Tricia Meyer | Helping Moms Connect | Wine Club Reviews and Ratings | Hunger Games Fan

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador
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    Tricia, does the merchant you contacted pay per lead or do they pay a commission for a sale? See Post #6 above.

  15. #15
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    So even if I don't get this notice
    This merchant has requested not to accept incentive sites - due to your listing as an incentive site you are not able to apply for this program.
    I still have to make a request to the merchant? Shouldnt this be enough? I have joined a few programs and used the contact link here and have recieved 3 messeges back with permission 5 bounceback emails(these merchants should be removed) and nothing from the rest.

    I fully read requirements and so on for a program would it be to much to ask for a merchant to list whether or not they accept incentive sites?

    Sincerely,
    William Householder

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