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  1. #1
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    Question about EPC 3 mo ratings
    I have a question. I'm a "merchant" and I manage our affiliate programs as one of the hats I wear. So I'm trying to learn more about how to work well with affiliates I've been told in these forums that I need to be concerned about "parasites". When I see someone applying to my program with an EPC (3mo) of over $300 and an EPC(7 day) of "NA" - should I be very thrilled or very suspicious? What might such a pattern signify?

    Thanks,
    BTShoes

  2. #2
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    It means your affiliate has not been booking a sale in the last 7 days.
    $300 is high but not uncommon. Either he's good (but his 7 day EPC should be better than 0) or he don't have too many sales and he was lucky in the last 3 months.
    I don't see a parasitic pattern. But, I'm not a merchant, somebody may have a different opinion.
    An EPC without the volume of sales don't mean too much.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador delsol's Avatar
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    "parasites" might have a different meaning for some versus others.

    For me "parasites affiliates" are the ones that encourage their users to install a tool-bar in their browser (like Internet Explorer). That tool-bar will automatically overwrites/stuffs the cookie with theirs, when a customer is about to buy from one of their merchants. These "parasites affiliates" usually promises some cash back (to justify installing the toolbar) but it could also just be a toolbar offering the weather and news.

    They are negatively called "parasites" because another "hard-working" affiliate might have deserved that sale (thought his/her sites recommendation of the store or expensive PPC) but his cookie will be replaced by the "parasite" software. Plus every single sale made by the parasites will be commissionable even if the user goes directly to your site from a bookmark!

    However I'm not sure why, some merchant do accept parasite. I don't recommend this, since it will make most others legit affiliates go away. In fact, saying your program does not accept parasites on your CJ Merchant page is a plus for most affiliates.

    In my experience a $300/3 month EPC is rare. But like Zeus said, not a systematic sign of "parasitic behavior". An affiliate should be able to reach that by selling mainly very high commissionable items (financials, diets...etc..). It should be a red (or maybe just pink) sign, you might simply want to ask them to explain. I can see some cases where it could be legit. For example someone selling a $50 commissionable item every 18 clicks will give him a EPC close to $300, or someone that got some "lucky" high commission amounts in the recent past.


  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    I don't usually see it as a problem... could be, like Zeus said, that they just have had a bad week. Do remember to check their website and such since it could be a bigger problem like the site being down or non-existent. Those are usually my red flags that something may be amiss.

  5. #5
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    They also could have been heavily into PPC, direct to merchant, and no longer are (and could have lost their shirt if they didn't know what they were doing). I would definitely ask them to explain. I would also ask them how they plan to promote your program.

  6. #6
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    RE: question about EPC 3 Mo ratings
    Thanks! I will pursue the question directly with the affiliate now that I have a better understanding of parasitic behavior. No special tool bars on my site! At least none that I knowingly allow. I don't know why a merchant would ever allow that?

    On to another issue and new posting....

    BTShoes

  7. #7
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    BTShoes, it's not the toolbar itself. It's how the toolbar behaves.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BTshoes
    Thanks! I will pursue the question directly with the affiliate now that I have a better understanding of parasitic behavior. No special tool bars on my site! At least none that I knowingly allow. I don't know why a merchant would ever allow that?

    On to another issue and new posting....

    BTShoes

    BT, I looked through some of your affiliates and you are currently affiliated with every toolbar and adware affiliate whose site I went to. If you decide that cleaning adware and software from your program is something you would like to do, please feel free to contact me. You can email me through my profile and I'll give you my number.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
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  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Just checked some stats, and many search publishers have higher EPCs than those publishers labeled as parasites.

  10. #10
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    EPC shouldn't matter with determining anything anyways. It is an extremely flawed metric that is pretty pointless. If you show up for the company's website and that is all, then you are going to have an extremely high EPC, especially if that is your only affiliate link in that network since it is also a branded term....Also, you can have an affiliate that gets a ton of legit sales for you, however they also have a ton of traffic and maybe the traffic does not convert well for other merchants, they are going to have a much lower EPC even though they are legit and can convert like crazy for you....don't rely on EPC for your decisions...rely on your TOS and if the affiliates are compliant within the way you feel your program should be run.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
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  11. #11
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    I'm completely baffled. Do you mean that all the affiliates you saw on my list are parasites? Even if I have one... I need to understand this better and clean it up.

    My email is barbara@designershoes.com. I don't have the "points' to email you directly.
    Thanks!
    BTshoes

  12. #12
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    TOS? What's that?
    I'm relieved to be directed away from the EPC - seems to me it's math based on bad strategic thinking.
    BTshoes

  13. #13
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    Just to clarify... don't I have to agree to put a new toolbar on my site for "parasites" to work?
    btshoes

  14. #14
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    BT, I got your email and I am looking forward to helping you with parasitic software applications that poach from other affiliates and from your natural sales and internal marketing efforts....I sent you my number.

    Joshua, what do you mean by labeled parasites? Can you give some examples of ones who are labeled parasites and why they should not be labeled parasites?
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BTshoes
    I'm completely baffled. Do you mean that all the affiliates you saw on my list are parasites? Even if I have one... I need to understand this better and clean it up.
    My email is barbara@designershoes.com. I don't have the "points' to email you directly.
    Thanks!
    BTshoes
    BTshoes, you have many parasites in your program stealing your own sales and more sales from your affiliates.
    Just to start, read these two threads at ABW and check the two related links.
    Add http://www. before eBates
    and http:// before discounts.shopathome

    ebates.com/landing_merchant.jsp?merchant_id=9268
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=103245
    discounts.shopathome.com/Coupons-DesignerShoescom.discounts/3477/
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=103504

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rollerblader
    BT, I got your email and I am looking forward to helping you with parasitic software applications that poach from other affiliates and from your natural sales and internal marketing efforts....I sent you my number.

    Joshua, what do you mean by labeled parasites? Can you give some examples of ones who are labeled parasites and why they should not be labeled parasites?
    Rollerblader, check the link just above re:ebates. He's one of their cheerleaders. What can you expect!

  17. #17
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    Joshua, what do you mean by labeled parasites? Can you give some examples of ones who are labeled parasites and why they should not be labeled parasites?
    Pursuing this type of discussion on this thread will undoubtedly derail this topic. There is ample opportunity to discuss it (if it hasn't already be discussed a million times) on the appropriate forums on ABW.

    Rollerblader, check the link just above re:ebates. He's one of their cheerleaders. What can you expect!
    Unlike you, Zeus, Joshua asks intelligent questions about Ebates. You have a history here of denigrating in a very rude way anyone who asks for CURRENT information regarding Ebates behavior. Your attack against me last year was so off base that Haiko removed your post, just like he did a few days ago when you attacked someone else regarding a different issue.

    BTShoes, just as it's difficult to learn about all of the ins and outs to effectively run your program, I'm sorry that you have to deal with some comments here that may make you want to throw up your hands while thinking who can I trust?

    I hope that when you make contact with Rollerblader that he will make some good recommendations to you for getting unbiased professional assistance which you'll have to pay for. That way you can hopefully learn what is truly parasitic behavior vs. angry posters with other motives. Based on your comments and question about a toolbar (that has nothing to do with what you put on your site), I do think you have a lot to learn.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman
    Unlike you, Zeus, Joshua asks intelligent questions about Ebates. You have a history here of denigrating in a very rude way anyone who asks for CURRENT information regarding Ebates behavior. Your attack against me last year was so off base that Haiko removed your post, just like he did a few days ago when you attacked someone else regarding a different issue.
    Unlike you, I SAW THESE THIEVES stealing MY commissions from MY sites. And I'm not the only ABW member who saw it.
    And I will continue to investigate every eBates cheerleaders to understand their motivation and to expose them.
    You are also an eBates members, or was.
    I'm not going to let anybody steal my money and say nothing to them.
    I don't appreciate their cheerleaders either.

    anyone who asks for CURRENT information regarding Ebates behavior.
    Nope, they are trying to say, like you, that eBates is clean. THAT'S JUST NOT TRUE. That's a big difference.
    Many affiliates at ABW are pretty new and don't have a full knowledge of these parasites. It's not going to take them too long to understand a few at ABW are trying to hide the truth
    These parasites are hidding their activities more and more, it doen't mean they are not stealing our commissions any more.
    Last edited by Zeus; April 12th, 2008 at 04:20 PM.

  19. #19
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    Snowman, you are correct, this may not have been the correct thread, I was just curious.

    As far as if I'll give unbiased advice, I most certainly will. Just like when prospective clients call me, if I don't feel it is a good fit for our firm, or if they want to talk to other firms for comparison, I gladly recommend them to other firms. As I said above as well, I only intend to show her software applications that act parasitic, i.e. set and offer cookies on the merchants dime and internal marketing efforts, as well as ones that will overwrite other affiliates cookies.

    I am not going to push for their removal in any way shape or form, I solely intend on education about how software can behave. If BT decides to remove parasitic software, that is BT's decision.

    It turns out I have known her for nearly two years now, via an alternate affiliate marketing channel, and I am also the one whom suggested she register here at ABW. I intend to go over the benefits of affiliating with the parasitic application's owners, as well as the negatives of what can happen by associating with them. Like I said, it will be her choice whether to remove them or keep them.

    By providing the positives and negatives, she may decide to keep or remove the applications, or try for a solution like a secondary tracking or internal tracking solution that doesn't involve affiliates or networks. I am not sure how that works, but there are threads in here about how other people have done it, I just cannot find them right now. Anyways, I intend on giving an unbiased overview to the best of my abilities on how it can behave and how it can positively and negatively impact her business.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    Unlike you, I SAW THESE THIEVES stealing MY commissions from MY sites. And I'm not the only ABW members who saw it.
    And I will continue to investigate every eBates cheerleaders to understand their motivation and to expose them.
    You are also an eBates members, or was.
    I'm not going to let anybody steal my money and say nothing to them.
    I don't appreciate their cheerleaders either.
    At the same time I stated that I was an Ebates member, I was very clear to indicate that it's for the sole purpose of getting their promotional emails. Most businesspeople like to know what their competitors are doing.

    Since neither Joshua nor I disclose our affiliations, you have no way of "investigating" us so don't say that your intention is to investigate us when in actuality your intention is just to denigrate us and in my case with a totally false accusation.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman
    Since neither Joshua nor I disclose our affiliations, you have no way of "investigating" us so don't say that your intention is to investigate us when in actuality your intention is just to denigrate us and in my case with a totally false accusation.
    Well, feel free to think you can hide everywhere behind an avatar. And let the other ABW members decide who is telling the truth and what are your motivations.

  22. #22
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    I just thought of something else that could heavily impact an affiliate's EPC over the past 7 days. Ebay started their own in-house affiliate program on 4/1. They are leaving CJ at the end of the month (the U.S. program). If this affiliate primarily promotes Ebay and he changed out his links quickly, that could result in what his stats are showing.

    Anyway, hopefully you'll find out when you ask him.

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador delsol's Avatar
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    In summary, EPC (earning per 100 click) does not mean much alone. It should only be used to make decisions when correlated with other facts.

    BT, you should definitely get some advise/training from RollerBlade or other. It 's very important to understand the technicals of what is happening with these toolbars/software (develop by the parasite affiliates NOT the merchant) to make the appropriate decisions.

    Given today's technology, I don't really see how one can justify the toolbar/software technology used by these affiliates. Since they pretty stuff a cookie, 100% of the time, regardless of how the customer end's up, on the vendors site. They should be banned until better technologies and rules are matured.

    Bonne chance!

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    Rollerblader, check the link just above re:ebates. He's one of their cheerleaders. What can you expect!
    Cheerleader? The OP simply asked if a high EPC = parasite, and I responded with the fact that many search publishers I looked at have higher EPCs than all of the parasites that I looked at. I won't give any more specifics, as I'd be divulging private data available to merchants.

    I wasn't supporting parasites in that comment, I was just saying that EPC is a horrible way to determine if someone is a parasite.

    Anyway, a 3 Month high EPC and a 7 day N/A EPC is most likely a search or content publisher that has not made any sales in the past 7 days, but made high sale to click ratio sales months back. As Snowman said, it could definitely be an eBay affiliate who left for eBay's direct program. Active parasites won't have a N/A for 7 day EPCs if they're still being parasites. If you see a high 3 month EPC and N/A 7 day EPC applying to your program, you should neither be enthusiastic or suspicious - They could join and do nothing, or join and perform well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    Well, feel free to think you can hide everywhere behind an avatar.
    As opposed to how you... hide anonymously behind avatar?

  25. #25
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    So, Joshua, why don't you tell us what programs you're working with! I know they are on eBates list, you said it. I guess they are on most of the parasites, I'm sure.
    You know I don't hide my identity, unlike you. All the AMs and OPMs here at ABW running a clean program know who I am, my sites and how I perform with their programs.

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