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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager craigallyn's Avatar
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    SkirtSpot.com - #1 for skirts - 18k uniques/mo
    Hi all,

    We've put SkirtSpot.com up for auction via Moniker. It should be in the live auction at Affiliate East in Boston, though they are still finalizing their list.

    The site is #1 in Google SERPs for these terms (maybe others):

    skirts
    women's skirts
    skirt store
    skirt shop
    knee length skirts
    fall skirts
    spring skirts
    summer skirts
    winter skirts
    yellow skirts

    And ranks for these terms as indicated (and others):

    skirt = #3
    a-line skirts = #2
    cotton skirts = #6
    red skirts = #3
    blue skirts = #4
    polka dot skirts = #2
    white skirt = #2
    yellow skirt = #3


    There is also an opt-in mailing list of 4900 addresses, with an average open rate of 25%.

    Some other stats:
    Monthly uniques between 12k and 18k per month so far this year.
    Bounce rate = 26%
    53% of search traffic comes from the keyword "skirts", which has a 19% bounce rate (lower than site-wide rate)
    No SEM/PPC
    70% of traffic is from Google organic
    14% is direct

    Why are we selling?
    Our business model didn't work because of two huge barriers to conversion: (1) no brand name products and (2) fulfillment time over 10 days, due to our practice of making each skirt when ordered.

    Of course, these would not be factors if someone were to start an affiliate website on this URL.

    Please contact me with any questions.

  2. #2
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Uhh, there already is an affiliate program at SAS for SkirtSpot. Is it closed? Still shows online to me.
    Melanie
    President - Affiliate Advocacy 2008 ShareaSale Performance Industry Advocate Award, 2009 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award - Affiliate Advocate
    Affiliate Advocacy
    NYAffiliateVoice Seery Writing

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager craigallyn's Avatar
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    SAS program is ending
    Yes, I sent a message to all the affiliates this morning telling them of the change, and I'm closing the SAS program.

  4. #4
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Thanks. Good luck with everything.
    Melanie
    President - Affiliate Advocacy 2008 ShareaSale Performance Industry Advocate Award, 2009 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award - Affiliate Advocate
    Affiliate Advocacy
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Umm, I wish you good luck, too.

    "Uhh, there already is an affiliate program at SAS for SkirtSpot. Is it closed? Still shows online to me."

    Umm I just checked and it was still online also. I don't doubt that it will be closed soon, tho and am not complaining about that.

    It wasn't mentioned in your post but just read the email again and if I understood what it said..... we've been sending our customers to the site when they can't purchase anything from the site??

    I'm not sure I want to ask this question, but ummm how long have we been doing this? I just checked SAS and the site is listed as online, it hasn't been offline at any time. Does say there was a tranasaction on 6/13/08. Not sure if that would've been from a cookie or customers were able to purchase at that time.

    It's not really in my nature to be critical or accuse people, etc. and I'm not doing that now since I don't know how long a period of time this has been this way. Ummm but if a visitor makes a search for skirts or any other keyword or even would find an affiliate's site because they had been using a datafeed or featured some product images on their site, arrives at an affiliate's site, clicks on one of your links and goes to the site only to find that they can't purchase anything from the site...... it's quite possible that the customer isn't gonna be too happy about that or happy with the affiliate who's site just sent them somewhere on a wild goose chase since they're not able to purchase from the site. Good chance I suppose that customer may not go back to that affiliate's site again, or at the least they may have chosen to visit one of the other merchants who were also featured at that affiliate's site instead if your site hadn't been there (had we known we were sending visitors to a site where they couldn't purchase anything).

    Again, I don't know how long this has been going on and maybe I'm not understanding your email either (so am not accusing anybody of anything ) but if I did understand what the email said and this is what's been happening....I don't really think it was very fair to your affiliates. If this in fact was happening (again, not accusing since I'm not sure I'm understanding it correctly....is gettin later in the day, been up since 5:30 so poor little brain is pretty tired at this point and definitely don't wanna be sayin anything that may sound critical to anybody if I'm understanding the email wrong.)

    So, I apologize if I understood the email wrong, but in it you said:

    "Lastly, customers do not know the site is transitioning. It remains live, though you cannot purchase any items."

    Could you please tell us how long have we been sending our visitors to a site where they're not able to purchase anything. (If in fact I'm understanding that to be what is meant by what you said.)

    Moderator - I copied and pasted just one itty bitty line and made sure it was saying a little size up there, so hope I don't have to go get teenybot fixer upper to come to my rescue. Sorry, if I do ahead of time.

    *Just thought....moderator, you might want to move this thread into the SAS area so affiliates who may not read their email for a while will be aware of this.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Their datafeed has not been updated since last November. I have been contacting Craig for the last several months via every imaginable method because the shop is full of winter stuff still and getting no response.

    I altered my metatags some time ago so that the shop could be either woke up or dumped as becomes necessary. This program has been inactive (though online) for months. I'm still in wait and see mode but driving traffic? nope.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    hmmm I had no idea this was happening. I hadn't seen them go offline and don't think I was getting any invalid links from them. (but then I guess I wouldn't have since the site hasn't been offline) My coupons, (only this was the coupon store option at GoldenCAN ) was just a clearance link, or least now is. Wasn't aware there was a problem so not sure what it may have said in the past.

    I just tried the link tho now (the GoldenCAN clearance link) and it came up with a page saying Bad Request (Invalid Host Name) Thought maybe had missed that they had been deactivated at GoldenCAN but just checked there and they're still listed as active.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager craigallyn's Avatar
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    Gosh - these comments questioning why SAS and GoldenCAN are still active make me wonder if I should have just closed down the affiliate program without letting the affiliates know in advance. My intention was to be courteous, and I do think it was the right thing to do.

    As you can imagine, we are balancing a lot of things -- trying to fulfill the few remaining orders, letting go of staff at the last possible minute, handling returns without staff or revenue, servicing debt payments without revenue, etc.

    I appreciate your patience. Please accept my apologies if this shutting-down process is a little bumpy for you.

    Of course, I suggest all affiliates remove their links. SAS and GoldenCAN will be discontinued momentarily.

    2Busy - apologies for the stale product feed. Part of the reason we are closing is a lack of funds/manpower to maintain all aspects of the site, and that is a prime example. We felt it better to pull the plug than limp along.

    Purplebear - we made the products un-purchase-able about seven days ago. I received about 5 inquiries from would-be purchasers and let them know the situation.

  9. #9
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigallyn
    Gosh - these comments questioning why SAS and GoldenCAN are still active make me wonder if I should have just closed down the affiliate program without letting the affiliates know in advance. My intention was to be courteous, and I do think it was the right thing to do.
    Craig, no one was rude to you, they were asking questions and expressing concern. When traffic is being sent to a site that can't process orders, affiliates get concerned. While everyone is glad you finally let the affiliates know what was happening, it would have been prudent to let them know last week.

    And letting most of the ABW affiliates know via a post about selling the domain name, well, that kinda sucks.

    People appreciate the problems you are facing, but as business people, affiliates deserve to know when they need to make changes to send traffic where it can earn them commissions, not send traffic to dead sites.

    Good luck with your future endeavors and with selling the domain name.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager craigallyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    And letting most of the ABW affiliates know via a post about selling the domain name, well, that kinda sucks.
    As I mentioned, I previously sent a newsletter to all SkirtSpot affiliates informing them of the shut down.

    I created this post, here in the "buy or sell" section, to announce the sale of the domain.

    If anyone has questions, please PM or email me.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    craigallyn
    Have a feelin I may be one of the ones you may be upset with and I definitely apologize if I appeared rude or upset you. As Loxly posted.....Definitely didn't mean to appear that way.

    Will try to explain a little why this is an issue with some of us. If you're one of the biggie affiliates this probably may not mean as much to you. If you're one of the smaller affiliates tho it would. I'm not just speaking for myself, there's a lot of other smaller affiliates and this would've been a concern for them, too.

    Not being an affiliate you probably don't understand, but it's not an easy thing for some of us to get a lot of traffic to our site. If we get a visitor to our site looking to purchase skirts, your site's links would be an obvious one for them to click since a reasonably smart person would assume you've got lots of skirts

    So....even tho I (or any of the others) may have 5 or even 10 other merchants on that same page that would also have a nice selection of skirts, they probably would've clicked your links since it may seem like the best choice.

    Time's really valuable to a lotta people and if they visited your site but couldn't find a "Buy now" or some other link to purchase, they may have gotten annoyed at not only your site but the affiliate's site since we sent them there. We just wasted their time visiting a site where they weren't able to purchase the product. As an affiliate, the last thing we want to do is annoy or do anything that may keep somebody from coming back to our site. This experience could've possibly done that to any of us.

    It also, possibly could've caused us to miss a possible sale from another merchant we had on our site because instead of going to that merchant they went to your site instead.

    Because you're not an affiliate you probably weren't thinking this way so I'm definitely giving you the benefit of the doubt and don't think you deliberately were trying to be unfair to your affiliates. The way it should've been dealt with tho was to give your affiliates ample time to remove your links before the site became a site where visitors encountered what they did and weren't able to purchase or not able to purchase by just clicking a "Buy now" or similar button.

    As to the email you sent. Ummmm I try to open my emails at least in the same day and skim thru them in case I encounter a situation like this or need to know something. Sometimes I just can't take listening to the noise of another email coming, tho lol I have to turn off the volume. We get an awful lot of email. A lot of others may not do that, tho. A week from now they may just get to reading the email you sent. Again, since you're not an affiliate you probably wouldn't have realized that.

    So....will repeat, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that since you weren't an affiliate, you wouldn't have thought of these things and I don't believe you deliberately were trying to be unfair to your affiliates, so am sorry if I came across that way. If you actually knew me, you'd realize I'm the last person in the world who would want to say or do something to hurt somebody's feelings or annoy them. I'm just not like that, good or bad lol, just the way I am. lol

    Thank you for answering my question and I do wish you well with whatever you'll be doing next.

  12. #12
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    if I should have just closed down the affiliate program without letting the affiliates know in advance. My intention was to be courteous
    Well if there is no potential for generating a sale commission, then yes, the programs should be closed whether with or without notice. How "courteous" is it to leave your affiliates in the position of sending their hard-won traffic to a dead end? At least if the site visitor arrives at a "deactivated program" page, there is more chance that the visitor will hit the back button and still be on the affiliate's site where they might be able to find something else they like.
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