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  1. #1
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    Shopbop leak: promoting a publisher on their site
    There is a page within the Shopbop site that promotes another publisher, affiliates may want to take a look.

    I don't believe this impacts the affiliate cookie, but it is an outbound link that leads your readers to a competing publisher/affiliate site.

    http://www.shopbop.com/ci/features/f...ml?promo=true&

    (mod: please feel free to move this thread if it belongs somewhere else)

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    hmm not associated with them but took a quick look and the page that links lands on.....all the sugar girls on it go to other sites, too. Don't have time to check out what they are but clicked a couple and they go to another site.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    I don't promote them either but I'd say if you got a huge publisher like them sugar girls it shows that even merchants want to be associated with that brandname.
    Interesting to see that the shopbob is part of amazon. Yeah a big leak for sure.

    What did the merchant say?


    edit: fix typo

  4. #4
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    The network informed me they have no control over the merchant (a disappointing response).

    Yes, this page links to a very big publishing group with thousands of affiliate links. I'm disappointed, it seems I have no choice but to end the relationship.
    even merchants want to be associated with that brandname
    I understand a merchant would want their brand association, but where does that leave other affiliates..? I just can't handle the idea that I'm sending them MY traffic, and they're sending them on to a competitor. I've worked too hard for this..

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    The network informed me they have no control over the merchant (a disappointing response).

    Yes, this page links to a very big publishing group with thousands of affiliate links. I'm disappointed, it seems I have no choice but to end the relationship.
    I understand a merchant would want their brand association, but where does that leave other affiliates..? I just can't handle the idea that I'm sending them MY traffic, and they're sending them on to a competitor. I've worked too hard for this..
    I wouldn't expect the network to step in. They can't tell merchants what they can and can't have on their sites. Leaks are very common, more so with smaller companies and/or clueless AMs. I see this a lot with new clients. We review our new clients' site and talk about leaks. The merchant almost always asks "What are leaks?". Most have no idea and it doesn't even occur to them but usually understand when it's explained to them.
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  6. #6
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    Thanks for your comments, Gary, helps me understand the role of the network.

    The merchant obviously has a preferred publisher, which is fine, but how can you continue to run an affiliate program then..?

    This impacts everyone.. couponers, shopping engines, content publishers. All OTHER merchant cookies are potentially overwritten, thanks to this merchant. Your affiliates send you traffic in good faith, and you send them to the competition.

    It's the most affiliate un-friendly thing I have seen.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    All OTHER merchant cookies are potentially overwritten, thanks to this merchant.
    Mind explaining that? Not sure I get where you're coming from.

  8. #8
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    Sure..

    You send traffic to a merchant... they send your traffic to a competing affiliate site (FabSugar).

    Once in FabSugar, your reader can click through to your merchants via ShopStyle (shopping site owned by Sugar).

    Obviously, they have to visit the merchant (via ShopStyle) to overwrite the cookie. But the door is open - Shopbop has sent your traffic to your competitor.

    My traffic is being sent to ShopBop to buy, I don't expect them to give visitors a direct link to the competition. A merchant could list a publisher's picks (to indicate an association), it's the link TO the publisher that I have a problem with.

  9. #9
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    I went to look at the site yesterday, I apologize for not posting sooner. It was pretty unbelievable, I was looking for a way that it could not be considered a leak, and was looking actually for the link to join as an affiliate. There is a page for Jobs/Affiliate so maybe this is one of those merchants that truly doesn't understand the affiliate relationship. When affiliates approach me to be represented on one of my merchants sites (yes, affiliates actually ask this!) I explain that this isn't a "link partnership" and that it is an affiliate's job to send traffic to the merchant, NOT the other way around.

    There really are affiliates that expect links from merchants, and merchants that think that is appropriate. Enforced by bad advice from network reps that are clueless or that don't understand the relationship either.
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  10. #10
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    Maybe it one of those cases where an affiliate site is actually worth more than the merchant site, in many ways.

  11. #11
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    That very well could be the case..

    Then the merchant should only have one affiliate, it's obviously their best performer.

    It's the rest of the affiliates who pay the price without realizing.

    (added: I don't want them to have only one affiliate.. I just want an equal playing field, is all..)
    Last edited by teezone; October 9th, 2008 at 04:23 PM.

  12. #12
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    maybe it's just me but I don't consider that a leak.

    But then again I am in the same situation where various merchants link to me because of product reviews.

  13. #13
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    I'm asking this in an honest truthful way... .. don't you think that's a tad unfair to other affiliates..?

    I actually thought about this before reading your post.. wondering how I would feel if I was the publisher in question.. problem is, I'm not

    I see it as a leak I send traffic to the merchant - which they send on to you, giving you an opportunity for cookies you didn't have before (with my traffic, which overwrites my cookies). And I'm not even aware this is happening.

    Your association is obviously valued, which is great.. and I have no problem with preferential treatment between two parties, but it shouldn't take away my traffic. I'm not a fan of affiliate -> merchant-> affiliate.

    I'm not sure how else a leak would be defined - shouldn't our traffic end with the merchant...?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardwareGeek
    maybe it's just me but I don't consider that a leak.

    But then again I am in the same situation where various merchants link to me because of product reviews.
    It's a leak. I think it would be more accurate if you said, "while I realize it's a leak, I'm not complaining that merchants link to my site." BTW, do those merchants who link to your site have affiliate programs?

  15. #15
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    They all have affiliate programs

    So are you saying that if a merchant has an affiliate program said merchant can't link to a sites product review?

  16. #16
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    I don't think they should link to sites that have affiliate links. It's not good for them or their other affiliates.

  17. #17
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    Well what if the review doesn't have an affiliate link in it, but they are an affiliate.

    I know a lot of merchants and AM some on this very site even contacted me via PM offering me review samples and to join their affiliate program and have linked back to me because of a review I've written


    think a review on a blog or even some of the big names sites don't have affiliate links in them?

    Even if it doesn't appear to be an affiliate link and it looks like its a direct link 99.999% of the time it isn't.

    Plus it's a lot easier for a big merchant to compensate via affiliate comish and link back to the review then pay a licensing fee.

    Some merchants have even asked to place special codes in cookies so that they could detect them.

    Some mechants even have tracking pixels to detect where the referral came from and credit that way.

    I personally don't think what shopbop did is a leak, I think it's them taking an affiliation to the next level.

    Now if they had ads or promoting products they didn't sell and you weren't compensated for that then yeah I'd see it as a leak.

    But this is as much as a leak as ToshibaDirect.com saying this Blue Label laptop is only available at Best Buy and linking to best buy.

  18. #18
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    That's not as bad but as an affiliate, I want my site visitors to stay on the site that I referred them to.

  19. #19
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    Is the review site an affiliate..? Does the review site set affiliate cookies with other merchants?

    If either of the above is true, it's wrong.

    You benefit from traffic sent by affiliates directly TO a merchant. This is a hypothetical question - would you allow your traffic to be redirected to my site, when you thought it was going to the store?

    it's a lot easier for a big merchant to compensate via affiliate comish and link back to the review then pay a licensing fee.
    And it allows you to profit from other affiliates' traffic...

  20. #20
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    Sorry I edited my post before I saw you reply.

    You may want to keep the visitors on the site you referred them too, but this is the internet not a walled garden.

    and a lot of companies rather compensate reviewers with affiliate comish, then pay a licensing fee to link back to them.

    Plus chances are if they came from their site to a reviewers site, chances are they will just hit the back button or already have the page open. so they just X out of the Reviewers site.

  21. #21
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    I personally don't think what shopbop did is a leak, I think it's them taking an affiliation to the next level
    I'm actually stunned by that comment, sorry...

    How is linking to a preferred publisher that can overwite MY cookie be taking anything to the next level..?????? That publisher has all of my stores on their site.

    It goes something like this: "Hey visitor, you found us site through site xyz, how about taking a look over at site 123..? You might like them better & we support them".

  22. #22
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    and a lot of companies rather compensate reviewers with affiliate comish, then pay a licensing fee to link back to them
    I have no problem with a preferred publisher/reviewer. It shouldn't overwrite my cookie.

    And yes, when I send traffic to a merchant, I expect them to have a wall - it's called good faith.

  23. #23
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    But they aren't saying that, they are saying check out these cool reviews over at this other site.

    They aren't saying they are better than you, they are just saying hey these gals liked our stuff check out why.

  24. #24
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    As for the [back] button, maybe we aren't at odds as much as it may seem..

    Please check the link I posted, it is a full-blown co-branded publisher page. With multiple links to commentary & affiliate links. We may not be talking about the same thing, so please look at it closely (from my standpoint as a publisher)..

  25. #25
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    I can't see that site as it says session expired.

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