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  1. #1
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Unhappy How Do You View Your Linkshare Reports?
    I find the whole Linkshare reporting issue to be a mess.

    When I use the new interface:

    On the home page...
    1) My quick stats shows 9 orders with a commission of $6
    2) In the 'trend' box it says "Our reporting servers are busy now. We apologize for the inconvenience, please try again later."
    3) In the 'top advertisers', 4 advertisers are listed and commissions add up to about $13.25 with my mental calculations (and I'm not that bad).

    On the reports tab
    1) My quick stats again show 9 orders with a commission of $6
    2) The signature orders report for this month shows 2 advertisers converting that aren't anywhere else (Macys and Walmart). This report has no decimal point, just single integers for sales and commissions. The random single digits appearing in the commission column add up to 19, but the commission is here reported as 22.
    3) The Signature Activity report also shows just single digits, having commission as a grand total of 13. Manually adding the commissions individually listed produces 36 however.
    4) No non-commissionable sales are reported.
    5) In the product success report, the grand total is reported as being 15 for commissions, but manually adding these (single digits again) produces 26.
    6) The individual items reports actually shows decimal points (dollars AND cents!) and reports total commissions as $15.19. Manually adding the individual commissions gives a sum of the same amount (!), but includes no items from some of the advertisers appearing in several reports as having made sales (Macys and Walmart).
    7) The link type, revenue and Sales and Activity report shows single digit all show commissions of 15 are missing WalMart and Macys.
    10) In the top 10 advertisers report, these same 2 advertisers that didn't appear in the sales and activity report also don't show as having any sales.

    In the old interface reporting consistently states $241.19 sales, 106 items and $15.19 commission, but leaves out two advertisers appearing in other reports (WalMart and Macys).

    Moving over to Synergy Analytics.... commissions are also reported as $15.19, with neither Macys nor Walmart appearing again.

    I've had 328 visitors this month at my page devoted to Macys alone (according to statcounter and google analytics - analytics bounce rate for this page is 79.38%, exit rate is 71.58%). Linkshare reports my Macys impressions as 41,572 and click throughs as 68. For macys, I've got top 10 google SERPs on my keywords (fairly competitive ones too). Macys does appear as having a sale this month in one of the reports (signature orders) on Linkshares new interface, but nowhere else. This makes me wonder - it wouldn't surprise me to have a macy's sale, why does it only appear in 1 report on 1 interface though, with a commission of "1" too!

    Needless to say, I find it very difficult to follow Linkshare reporting. This makes it difficult for me to gauge success and also to keep enthusiastic. Other networks (CJ and Performics) already show over $100 commission each this month - why would I waste time with Linkshare (I spend more time on publishing links for them than I do with either of my 2 more successful networks).

    Does anyone else have these issues? I've tried to get with Linkshare on this before and they ran me in circles so much wanting screen shots of this and that and saying they'd resolved problems they hadn't that I just gave up. Is there a phone number you can contact them? The email situation got way too confusing to follow a chronological logic path (replies being sent to older emails out of the order of the issue being resolved).

    Whenever my husband asks me about sales (this affiliate thing is finally getting to be a viable income source) I just tell him I have no idea about Linkshare. When SkyAuction was with them, I would get reports that I'd earned $12, customer service would say I earned more than that and a check would roll up in the higher amount quoted by customer service. Which, BTW, does anyone else find it confusing that LS pays in individual checks for each merchant, but doesn't tell you what its for? Added with the ambiguous reporting I find it impossible to keep a grip on Linkshare!!!
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  2. #2
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    I've been making more sales on LinkShare than anywhere else.

    They have also sent me checks for all sales made so far. Not a single cent was lost.

    The reports are monthly. If you made a sale last month, you should try the advanced reports to see the yearly sales.

    All reports correctly show all sales, when I view the yearly reports.

  3. #3
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    Before trying to respond to your post, I need to ask the following question:

    Do you abuse ion medicines or take illicit substances?

    If you answered "No" to the above question, then maybe if you started abusing controlled substances the reports will start making sense.

    If you aren't into abusing drugs, then the way to approach all of the discrepencies in LinkShare reports is to realize that Linkshare was designed by System Architects who are on a developmental plane far above us mortals. The data that you see in the Linkshare interface is best seen as images that gradually converge into the amount that appears on your commission payment.

    I see the Linkshare interface as a grand cathedral where you enter the doors, stare at gargoyles and stained glass windows and are overwhelmed by the magificience of the architectural vision.

    I used to lament about how difficult it is to get links or find current promotions, until I finally realized that when I am in Linkshare I am in the presence of programming greatness.

    Linkshare.com is not like a place where you go to get links and check out commissions. That is so bourgeoisie. If you want that type of bourgeoisie experience, go to Share-a-Sale or something.

    Linkshare is a place where one goes to marvel at the vision of the system architects.

    For example, I marvel at the idea of rounding data to the nearest dollar when the median commission is under a dollar.* Clearly these reports were designed by a person who exists at a higher plane of existence than me.

    *iTune commissions often come in nickel and dimes.

    Each report shows different totals and we wonder what the data means as it morphs into bimonthly payments. You should learn to enjoy the experience.

    I confess. I don't do any drug harder than coffee or an occasional glass of wine, I content myself by marveling at the architectural achievement that is Linkshare.

  4. #4
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    I've been making more sales on LinkShare than anywhere else.

    They have also sent me checks for all sales made so far. Not a single cent was lost.

    The reports are monthly. If you made a sale last month, you should try the advanced reports to see the yearly sales.

    All reports correctly show all sales, when I view the yearly reports.
    Last year I didn't really have problems with Linkshare's reporting either and also made more on them than on the other networks. This year, all has changed though. LS even admitted that my reports had problems. We went back and forth with screen shots and emails. Then, mid-stream in the emails, they pulled a mail from the start of the chain and called the issue resolved. It was so convoluted at that point, I just gave up. This was regarding SkyAuction commissions (lots of transactions, all for either $0 or $2 in the reports - $2 was the new sign-up bounty) My ytd reports for SkyAuction have around $100 in commissions though, (I'll take that for a close to accurate figure based on other LS reports).

    And yes yintercept, those iTunes sales showing with all $0 commissions is not really very clever of them!!! (witty post - thanks for the chuckle)

    I much prefer Performics (Google Affiliate Networks) system of reporting. If they even think a sale might cancel they let you know (as well as what the full amount of the sale is) and you can more accurately forecast income.

    I would just love to have a Linkshare check in my hand that matched an amount on my reports, or at least had somewhere written on it what it was for. Both CJ and Performics are able to do my direct deposits no problem (another thing I can't get right with LS) - I'm also able to reconcile their payments with the reports.

    25Trees, how do you reconcile your checks with LS? Do you do your own tracking? All my links go through a database and I track clicks, but I don't really pay too much attention yet (want to be sure bots aren't clicking, haven't decided what to do with links when I retire them), etc... I want to learn more about cookies so I can set them and session ids, but I don't see how I can independently track what happens to clicks once they're off my site. I suppose just track clicks and reconcile that to start.

    Sometimes I think LS is working on fixing their reports, then a couple months go by and nothing changes. I'm almost looking at them like AdSense now. I'm pleased when I make money, but I won't put alot of time in them.

    Particularly now when I've get steadily increasing traffic for Macys links, I want to know what is successful and what is not. I don't want to make changes to what works. It would be so helpful if those LS reports were accurate!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    I've been making more sales on LinkShare than anywhere else.
    They have also sent me checks for all sales made so far. Not a single cent was lost.
    Making sales and the usability of the interface are two totally different things. Whenever somebody asks a question about the LS interface, 25 Trees responds with how many sales he/she has made.

    Both the LS interfaces are pretty confusing and out of sync.
    Designed by pgmrs who don't understand what the users need.
    Totals are rounded off in some reports, not all.
    Payments are made when the merchant pays and merchants pay in different irregular cycles. I have a Merchant who hasn't sent a payment since May 08. Reconciling checks is a challenge.

  6. #6
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I just received a Linkshare check but I'm having trouble figuring out what I sold.
    It would be good to know
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  7. #7
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Glad to hear I'm not the only one having problems interpreting these reports!!! I checked the stickied post here about LS support, Monday I'll give them a call.

    The last time I phoned, it was regarding direct deposit and the poor guy I was talking to had nothing more to say except that there was issues and I should sign up for the random deposits and try to set it up again (yet to see if that worked).

    Is there anyone with LS tech support that posts on here? That would be really helpful. I know some of my LS merchants are on here, but they're not the problem (in fact, those reps are some of my best ones - Good Times Entertainment for example...)

    At the moment I'm using the old interface, Sales & Activity report as that seems to be the most accurate (not that I can reconcile it to anything! ). I do use the new interface for downloading links though, its more efficient if you've got a bunch of them.

    I would think getting the reporting straight would be an A1 priority for LS! Affiliate marketing is a legitimate and full-time business for many. I just personally get more motivated when I can see what is working on my site to produce sales and what isn't. If I'm just shooting in the dark and not seeing any confirmation for changes made (i.e. 'changing that increased click-throughs' or 'promoting this instead improved sales') I don't really know what to do and I just move on to hone my GAN or CJ links...

    Definitely agree producing sales is not the same thing as receiving accurate reports! I'm not complaining about LS sales. I've often thought I'd convert more if I had more accurate feedback on what converts, but thats another issue.

    How on earth do the real big guys that have payrolls deal with this? I honestly just take what I get and couldn't tell you at any point what I'm still owed, what I've been paid for, etc...
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    I just received a Linkshare check but I'm having trouble figuring out what I sold.
    It would be good to know
    There is a way to know the name of the link that was clicked for a merchant.

    To see this

    1) Click on the red Reports thing on the top red bar.

    2) On the right Sales And Activity , select This Year 2008

    3) You will see a report showing merchant names and orders and clicks in a spreadsheet format. Click on the merchant name (it is blue) for which there are orders.

    4) Clicking on the merchant's name shows more details like link types Banner, DRM, Text etc

    5) Click on the link type for which you see sales.

    For certain link types, you will exactly what was sold.

    If you click on Product link type and you sold a product, it shows which products got clicks and sales.

    For certain other link types , like LinkBuilder , I couldn't see which link or product was sold.

    The reports on the new interface are very detailed and useful.

    The LS customer service is also great, everytime I give them detailed and correct information that makes sense they always respond and they always fix the problem that was reported. As long as the problem was reported with details that make sense.

  9. #9
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25trees
    There is a way to know the name of the link that was clicked for a merchant.

    To see this

    1) Click on the red Reports thing on the top red bar.

    2) On the right Sales And Activity , select This Year 2008

    3) You will see a report showing merchant names and orders and clicks in a spreadsheet format. Click on the merchant name (it is blue) for which there are orders.

    4) Clicking on the merchant's name shows more details like link types Banner, DRM, Text etc

    5) Click on the link type for which you see sales.

    For certain link types, you will exactly what was sold.

    If you click on Product link type and you sold a product, it shows which products got clicks and sales.

    For certain other link types , like LinkBuilder , I couldn't see which link or product was sold.

    The reports on the new interface are very detailed and useful.

    The LS customer service is also great, everytime I give them detailed and correct information that makes sense they always respond and they always fix the problem that was reported. As long as the problem was reported with details that make sense.
    25Trees, it was useful to me that you pointed out about clicking on the merchant name for those quick stats by link type, I wasn't previously aware of that.

    However, quickly doing that, it shows my YTD commissions for iTunes at '486'. If that means $486, I'm shocked (I'm good, but I'm not THAT good). Switching to a month to date view for iTunes, I get '42' (BTW - this is off 449 clicks - I don't think iTunes pays that much per transaction).

    For checks and balances I go over to the 'traditional interface'. For iTunes, i get a MTD commission of $3.74 (a more likely scenario). Drilling this down, I see all $3.74 this month has been made off text links.

    Then I go back to the new and improved interface - On top 10 advertisers for this month iTunes is there, with a commission of $3.39.

    So, what is it? 3.39? $42? $4.20? $0.42? $3.74? Considering how little commission is paid for each iTunes transaction, this example really shows a sizable reporting discrepancy. I'll bet if I threw Synergy Analytics reporting into the mix it would match with the old interface. But isn't the new interface supposed to be 'improved'? These new stats are great - IF they're accurate.

    And echoing Rhia's question, I have a check here for $x from linkshare. It is effective 08/13/2008 and its check # 371xxx. Thats all I know. Which merchant is it for? Which payment period? None of this is stated on my check. I suppose I'll just cash it and be glad, but is there a quick way to know what its for? With GAN and CJ, I have a balance, then that online balance drops and I get a direct deposit notification. My deposit is in the SAME amount as what the online balance has dropped (magically). When I go to reconcile this, its easy. I wish Linkshare could operate the same...
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  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    I have a check here for $x from linkshare. It is effective 08/13/2008 and its check # 371xxx. Thats all I know. Which merchant is it for? Which payment period?
    The payment reporting is in Synergy Analytics. Click on Payment Analysis, Affiliate Payment Summary, select the month, then click on the check number. It shows the Merchant Name, Invoice Month Period, Total Commission Amount.

  11. #11
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyM
    The payment reporting is in Synergy Analytics. Click on Payment Analysis, Affiliate Payment Summary, select the month, then click on the check number. It shows the Merchant Name, Invoice Month Period, Total Commission Amount.
    Thats it!!! You're an angel CathyM, thanks! It'd be cool if LS would put a note with that info on the check, but I'll settle with this. Thanks so much!

    Now if they can just get the reports to be accurate I think that would cover it!
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    You're welcome.

    It is my belief that the Traditional Interface has accurate reports. I find it matches the check payments in Synergy Analytics except that occasionally the time cut off at the end of the month makes a few transactions appear on different months (forgot whether it's later or earlier). When I am uncertain whether the reports have updated, I use the Individual Items Report and check the time stamp of the last transaction. I don't use the new interface very often because I believe that it is usually behind the old interface in updating and besides that it is slower to use. I only use Synergy Analytics for payment reporting except for occasionally the Traditional Interface is down and Synergy Analytics is still working.

    I think Linkshare actually has very good reporting but has made it confusing and frustrating by having 3 interfaces and the uncertainty of which is the "latest" and most accurate. I believe that all reports should be in one interface but at this point in time most reports are in the traditional interface except for the payment report.

  13. #13
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyM
    It is my belief that the Traditional Interface has accurate reports. I find it matches the check payments in Synergy Analytics except that occasionally the time cut off at the end of the month makes a few transactions appear on different months (forgot whether it's later or earlier).
    Agreed. I find Synergy Analytics and the Traditional Interface to be aligned in their reporting so I tend to trust that. I hope everything comes together soon!!!
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  14. #14
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    They sure are working at it!

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