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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    Exclusive Coupon Theft
    I have to rant, just for a minute:

    When I catch an affiliate who has stolen an EXCLUSIVE COUPON from another site, it makes me mad.

    When I remove the affiliate from my program for that theft, and they write back saying that they saw it on other sites and didn't know it was exclusive, it infuriates me! IT HAS THE OTHER SITE'S NAME AS THE PROMO CODE!!!!

    Earn your own exclusive coupon by showing me that you are actively promoting our brand, even if that is just by posting new banners and text links. I am limited as to how I can reward my top producing affiliates and exclusive coupons are EXCLUSIVE for a reason.

    Stop stealing. And when you get caught, don't lie.

  2. #2
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    To play devils advocate here. Do your terms of agreement clearly state that affiliates can only use coupons found through the network interface (CJ, LS, SAS, etc)?

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    Absolutely! In fact, I sent out the monthly newsletter last month and restated that fact and the no brand-term bidding clause as well.
    Plus, this is the second time I have caught the affiliate doing this.
    It's so frustrating!!!! And then to play innocent.
    I think if he just would have admitted it, I might have let him back in. But then again, he admitted it last time I caught him and I let him back in.
    I understand that it is frustrating for affiliates not to be able to promote codes that are available to the public, but stealing is not the answer!

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Truly exclusive affiliate coupons (which track to the affiliate it was assigned to no matter where the customer came from) virtually eliminate this problem. You would still have a few who post other affiliate's exclusive coupons, but since the original affiliate will get credit rather than the thief, it works out well.

    From an implementation standpoint, it's relatively simple to do: Just add an optional field to the coupon table to store the exclusive affiliate ID for each excusive coupon. Then, in checkout (or wherever you report sales), if it's an order that uses an exclusive coupon code and the exclusive affiliate isn't getting credit, override the affiliate ID.

    This is easy with batch reporting, but more of a challenge with pixel based reporting. I've suggested to at least one network that they extend their tracking pixel so that merchants can pass two optional parameters: forceaff=[affid] or defaultaff=[affid]. Without either of these parameters, tracking would function normally. With "forceaff", it would be ideal for these types of situations where you want specific orders to always track to a specific affiliate. With "defaultaff", it would allow merchants to configure "lifetime" commissions to affiliates who bring in new customers, while still honoring cookie sales if the return traffic came from another site. This could also provide extra data that could be used for new merchant reports showing when affilate codes are overridden or when affiliates got credit that the cookie wouldn't have caught (either through an exclusive code or a lifetime commission customer). That would help you identify the coupon thiefs and demonstrate value to affiliates who bring in lifetime customers or whose exclusive coupons are used widely.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
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  5. #5
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    If this affiliate performs well and your happy with them otherwise, why not let them back in and offer them an exclusive coupon of their very own? Maybe they won't steal others' exclusive coupons?

    And by the way, I am NOT the affiliate in question here.

  6. #6
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Notwithstanding what Michael wrote about a truly exclusive coupon, you should let me out them in the unethical affiliates section.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    Haiko, if I outed all my affiliates who have stolen coupons, the forum Unethical Affiliates would be full!!!!
    Seymour, why would I want to reward someone for stealing? When I caught him the first time, he expressed his frustration at not having an exclusive coupon for himself. I told him that if I saw some sales from him, I would consider giving him a coupon. This is how he decided to boost sales?

  8. #8
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Well then other AMs could see these affs and they can click deny or remove, how else is the industry going to get cleaned up, the networks? HA, that's funny.

    Harboring unethical affiliates is NOT the solution!
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    You know, even as I wrote my response to Haiko about filling the unethical affiliates forum, I very much wanted to expose the affiliate(s).
    I agree that we as merchants need to get together and be part of the solution. However, the affiliates themselves need to stand up as well. When you see an affiliate doing wrong, even if it's just posting coupons, contact the AM for the brand. I remove all of them when I see the coupon.
    It starts with all of us.

  10. #10
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    I don't truly understand the problem here..

    Is this 'unethical' affiliate driving traffic to you? If yes, what is the difference if his visitor uses the coupon "MYSITE" or "ADIFFERENTSITE" to get 10% off at your store?

    If this 'unethical' affiliate is not driving any traffic to you, what does it matter what he puts on his site?!?

    Lastly, if this exclusive coupon is a larger value than normally given out, then I would suggest that it is up to YOU to ensure credit is given to the appropriate affiliate when that coupon is applied.

    Edit: Lets assume this affiliate IS driving traffic, don't you want him to display your very best offers in hopes of converting that traffic once it arrives at your store?

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    Code Monkey's response is one of the reasons that affiliate marketing has such a bad reputation. Who cares how sales are gotten??? Steal from each other!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Code Monkey
    I don't truly understand the problem here..

    Is this 'unethical' affiliate driving traffic to you? If yes, what is the difference if his visitor uses the coupon "MYSITE" or "ADIFFERENTSITE" to get 10% off at your store?

    If this 'unethical' affiliate is not driving any traffic to you, what does it matter what he puts on his site?!?

    Lastly, if this exclusive coupon is a larger value than normally given out, then I would suggest that it is up to YOU to ensure credit is given to the appropriate affiliate when that coupon is applied.

    Edit: Lets assume this affiliate IS driving traffic, don't you want him to display your very best offers in hopes of converting that traffic once it arrives at your store?
    The problem was they posted an exclusive coupon from another site and also violated the affiliate agreement.

  13. #13
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    This entire issue makes no sense to me...

    If an affiliate is not driving sales at a merchants site, how does giving that affiliate LOWER value coupons going to help him become a better producer for you?!?

    If an affiliate IS driving sales, why do you need to give him an even LARGER coupon code? Doesn't that simply make your larger producers even larger and makes it harder for the smaller/newer guys to get a start?!?

  14. #14
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    Just motivates them You show a little, you get a little.

  15. #15
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    The problem was they posted an exclusive coupon from another site and also violated the affiliate agreement.
    Trust, I understand it violates the agreement. My question really relates as to WHY such a provision should be in the agreement.

  16. #16
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guinness618
    Code Monkey's response is one of the reasons that affiliate marketing has such a bad reputation. Who cares how sales are gotten??? Steal from each other!!
    Guiness, this is your chance to educate me as to why this entire issue is a problem.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Code Monkey
    Trust, I understand it violates the agreement. My question really relates as to WHY such a provision should be in the agreement.
    Many merchants have that in their agreement, that affiliates can only use coupons intended for affiliate use/thru the interface and some also have language talking about not using other sites exclusives. They're called exclusives for a reason, only the site that was given the coupon is supposed to post it. But we all know that if it's a code, it's just going to be everywhere. It's why with exclusives, it's a good suggestion that the site with the exclusive gets the credit if another sites posts it or another option are link coupons which will handle the problem as well.

  18. #18
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Many merchants have that in their agreement, that affiliates can only use coupons intended for affiliate use/thru the interface and some also have language talking about not using other sites exclusives. They're called exclusives for a reason, only the site that was given the coupon is supposed to post it. But we all know that if it's a code, it's just going to be everywhere. It's why with exclusives, it's a good suggestion that the site with the exclusive gets the credit if another sites posts it or another option are link coupons which will handle the problem as well.
    Trust, this answer didn't address the issue of WHY such a provision is in the agreement.

  19. #19
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    With exclusives, some you can get just for asking but to your question:

    "Trust, this answer didn't address the issue of WHY such a provision is in the agreement."

    For most exclusives, they're given for a reason or in exchange for something. They could be for performance. Extra promotion, like front page for the month, or in the next newsletter the affiliate sends out etc.

    So most of the time, those sites that get exclusives did something for it/earned it. Not some other site that just copy and pasted it onto their site. So that's basically why, they didn't earn it.

    So those sites can get their own. Like I said, sometimes its as simple as asking. Others, if you want one that badly, do something for it. Just don't start grabbing them off of other people's sites.

  20. #20
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    CodeMonkey,

    An exclusive coupon I believe is a reward from the merchant to the affiliate that has put his/her time in to be a good consistent converter of traffic for the merchant.

    Why should a new affliliate straight out of the womb, so to speak, be given the same exclusive reward as the affiliate who has worked longer, harder and converts traffic well for the merchant?

    Why it's in the agreement is up to the merchant. If an affiliate doesn't agree with it, I guess you have the choice to not join the program.

    My 2 cents.

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Whole lotta discussion here. But it appears like Michael Coley provided the simple answer. Code the coupon where it only gives credit to the affiliate the code was created for. End of discussion.
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die
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  22. #22
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visitourmall
    Whole lotta discussion here. But it appears like Michael Coley provided the simple answer. Code the coupon where it only gives credit to the affiliate the code was created for. End of discussion.
    Agree 100%.

    Why put this problem onto a bunch of part-time affiliates sitting in their pajamas in their basement? This 'problem' is easily corrected by a competent affiliate MANAGER that takes the time to do THEIR job correctly, rather than passing the buck to 1000 affiliates.

  23. #23
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    Yes, I would be all for that solution but they are still doing their job by taking care of those affiliates that are violating the terms. You seem to put this all on the affiliate manager when it's those afffiliates that are in violation. Being in their pj's and in their basement is no excuse. And with this one - "Plus, this is the second time I have caught the affiliate doing this."

    So they were well aware of it, she gave them a chance and they continued to violate the terms, so screw them.

  24. #24
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    A competent affiliate manager should do BOTH.

    Create a system whereby an exclusive coupon code results in a commission to the rightful affiliate, no matter where the coupon code is posted.

    AND

    Removing affiliates that continue to display unauthorized coupons.

  25. #25
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    I like both of those. I'm not sure how much an affiliate manager can get in there, the checkout process or the end result and see which coupon is being used and assign it properly or if it's something that can be done automcatically with some programming. I know some merchants can do this so I know it's possible but I'm wondering if it's different between the networks or just different between merchants and how easy or hard it is to get this going.

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