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  1. #1
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    Hi, i'd like to first start off by saying i'm a new poster. I've been reading various threads on a number of topics but have come across many that have a few posters who dislike AM's that offer incentives to their visitors. One of the arguments made was that AM's that offer coupons are not really giving their customers any benefits because the prices are higher. One of the posters on here who constantly opposes the incentive business model has written on his site that they have the lowest prices. Now I've clicked on the merchants they offer (Overstock.com being the most advertised one on it) and I don't see any difference in prices than what ebates.com has, only difference is that ebates.com offers a coupon. Of course, both sites are simply linking to the same page, but it seems to me that one site sacrifices some of it's commission to provide their visitors an incentive to continue shopping at their site while the other site simply keeps all the commission made from any sales.

    Now, I understand that eBates seems to have unethical practices and I am in no way defending them, but I don't see why sites who ARE ethical and carry out incentives for their visitors are considered bad by some. I am a complete newbie here but to me, incentives at the basic level are created by the affiliate marketer sacrificing some of his pay in commissions to give back to the visitors of his/her site, thus everyone essentially benefitting from this strategy. For example: The merchant pays 5% to the AM, the AM keeps half of that 5% and gives that other half to the customer, thus everyone winning. Excuse me for my ignorance but at my early stages in this AM game, that's how I understand incentives work.

    As for the sites that use unethical methods beyond the simple incentives model, well that's a different story altogether. I could understand people hating these sites, I hate them as well. However, I would like to know why there seems to be a sort of anti-incentive approach by many on this forum. I am a beginner at this industry so I am very much open to your corrections of any flaws found in my argument (which i'm sure exist)

  2. #2
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    By "AM" you seem to mean Affiliate Marketer (usually it means Affiliate Manager)...

    Personally I'm against incentives, because I think they wreck a good thing. Most people are willing to buy *without* a rebate, and we get sales while keeping our rightful commissions--and there's no need to foul that up by training people to expect any.

    Another general flaw (at least I think it's a flaw) is your apparent willingness to accept 2.5% bottom-line (after rebate) commission. For a 2.5% bottom line, a merchant wouldn't get as far as the 'a' in "a href" with me!

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Welcome Coeus. Thinking cap on. Regardless of the charity or reward frontends, the BHO automated incent sites give less of a rats ass about their members then the networks do about their affiliates. Many of those loyality members are kidnapped slaves having no idea what those infernal popups are about due to bundling and drive-by installs. They'll never get a dime in rewards as they don't even know how to access their account.

    The major incent players get automatic backdoor approval to 500+ parasite friendly major merchant programs. They can launch a phoney charity/cause frontend and within a week have 500 autoloaded merchant incent reminder popups bombarding their users. In most cases they don't SPLIT commissions with the members. They negotiate double the normal merchant advertised commission rate and give half the regular affiliate commission to the members. Then the BHO wanks have the nerve to get commissions on non-commissionable links to the merchants web sites.

    Some say screw the membership reward accounting steps and just throw up a charity/cause front. Then like most in the charity middleman industry they whack 80% off the top as a management fee. Ever wonder what 200,000 charity telemarketers did to earn a buck? They sure weren't volunteers like the legit telethon folks use.

    Incents are the advertising industries crutch to dupe shoppers. The Ad whores push incents to double dip the merchants. Once for the advertising fees, and then the other ROI killer from having to honor the damn incents to the consumer. Last year the auto industry spent billions on advertising. They also spent billions of their sales profits to honor Zero interest loans, $3000/car cash rebates or down payment credits force=ing the entire industry into a net loss after paying the advertising bill. The Ad Whores will repeat the process again this year till the Big 3 wise up and fire all of them.

    So yes I do not entice my Overstock shoppers with the few PHONEY incents that every type-in Overstock.com visitor automatically receive. I point out their low prices, great products, super support policies and tell my savvy shoppers to disregard any PHONEY special offers other sleezy OS affiliates push in their faces. Sure it pisses me off that a outfit like eBates, who gives squat pre-sell presentation showcase space to Overstock, get a higher commission rate to Paul Nichols & Crew then given to me.

    Cold day in hell that the Ad Whore mindset of Overstock will see and reward any extra value in any of my showcase shopper displays... sample
    www.ecomcity.com/watches.htm Damn TopMoxie players could crank out an entire charity/cause template web site with less effort then that one page. Then along come the sleezebag affiliate site copiers, hell bent on SE keyword spamming and steal your pages and listings.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

    [This message was edited by EcomCity.com on November 05, 2003 at 08:42 AM.]

  4. #4
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    I dunno Mike. I think that page could defeat just about any kind of spyware. The Microsoft software had enough trouble loading it.

    ------------------------------
    "Beware the man who preaches respect for you but does not demonstrate it. Ask him to show his face before you bare your back to his blade." ~ George Hayduke

  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Yeah, putt, putt, putt goes the CABLE connection trying to load that, due to so many pics on the page!

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Then along come the sleezebag affiliate site copiers, hell bent on SE keyword spamming and steal your pages and listings.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Now now, there's no need to be a site copier to trounce the competition in the SEs!

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  6. #6
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    Why be so hypothetical about ethical versus non-ethical incent sites? You should name a few ethical ones and then we could have a better discussion based on real incent models.

  7. #7
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    I'm having a trouble time finding a list of sites so really anything that pops up to my eyes like the gentlemen with the site as his alias and the ever popular eBates, are going to be part of most of my examples. Therefore I really don't have any examples of ethical sites that use incentives, but I don't doubt they exist. This would bring up the question "is it ethical to even offer incentives?" well I think it is, and once again I'm talking about the basics of that model. Once BHOs get involved I think it becomes extremely easy for one to cross the line of ethics.

    I find it very hard to make a site without incentives and still make it worth a costumers time to keep coming back.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Another general flaw (at least I think it's a flaw) is your apparent willingness to accept 2.5% bottom-line (after rebate) commission. For a 2.5% bottom line, a merchant wouldn't get as far as the 'a' in "a href" with me! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well, the merchant isn't losing any less money with incentives...they are essentially paying you the same amount, it's you that is paying half (or a bit less than half if you wish) to your costumer to gain their loyalty. But I believe you can make up that cash by having much more sales than a site without incentives. You can consider it an investment, just as you put money into advertising or what have you, with incentives, you are putting money into your incentive policy in hopes that you achieve more sales.

    Jimbo, like i mentioned at the top, I can't provide you with an example of a site that is ethical and offers incentives, but at the same time I am not too familiar with that many affiliate marketing sites, so I have to speak in hypothetical terms. So to me, a site that simply takes a portion of their commission and invests it into a rewards system to achieve more sales IS ethical and IS a good model. A site who takes things further and installs theftware, steals other affilates' links and cash in on them is an extreme problem for us all and poison to the industry, but a fine line should be drawn between the two.

  8. #8
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    Incentives are not bad, just some affiliates that use them are. Flamingoworld, bizrate.com, fatwallet are good examples of ethical sites that offer incentives(promotions), one of the mods here has a rebate site. It's when one affilate redirects, overwrites, pops of another affiliates traffic that is considered by most to be bad.

  9. #9
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    As usual, I'll put my own spin on this. I generally dislike AM's offering incentives and that goes across a broad base of "incentives".

    I've been known to even fuss about an AM offering incentives on things like offering other products "at discounts or for free" so they can gain more promotion from those with little technical skills.

    Of course the AM comes back with statements like "I want to help these poor folks make more money"...... All the while - offering a 3% commission..... caugh caugh caugh.

    Excuse me but if AM's want to help us make more money it seems there are a lot of ways to do it besides incentives.

    The things I hate about incentives is that to many times they are usually somewhat restrictive. IE: Parasites are given special incentives not available to the masses, or you must not have a site and be will to build one for us, yada yada yada. If it's not avialable to everyone "to make more money" then to me [b]it's just hype[b].

    If a merchant truely believes that an incentive will increase conversions then why do they put the incentive handing in the affiliates hands rather than handling it themselves on their own sites. How many merchants have coupons that they offer evey month yet - they never put them on their own sites? I must be missing something because this makes no sense to me at all - not if incentives really work. Why have affiliates even posting coupons and then having to deal with them not being updated when they expire and the customer complaints that revolves around expired coupons that are always left hanging around here and there.

    "If incentives really work" the merchants should be offering them on their site - by and large they don't - Is something wrong here? If they are so great it doesn't make sense why they wouldn't use them unconditionally - Does it?

    The hype and pro incentive marketing "that is supposidly so successful" is only because of the constant brain washing that has been inflicted on merchants by the ad hore agencies.

    You can expect more and more merchants to become truely aware how they have turned over a substantial part of their profits and advertising control into the hands of sleezy scumbags who will only be all to glad to take commissions on every sale.

    ===================================
    Child labor laws exist yet, parasite partnering merchants (PP Merchants) and the COC allow an adult affiliates income to be diverted into the pockets of parasites and consider it normal business!

    Why give parasites unlimited cookie durations and credit for sales where they divert our users and overwrite our cookies. PP merchants and the COC directly supports what many consider unfair trade practices, identity theft and thievery!

  10. #10
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    They don't post them on the site because merchants want you to sign up for their newsletter to get them. They give them to affiliates to help acquire new life long customers for the merchants. Of course incentives work, thats just basic marketing, can be used to get customers away from merchants who don't use them. I also encourage everybody NOT to use them, i think full priced shopping is the wave of the future. Basically if you don't like incentives, just don't use them, i will

  11. #11
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If a merchant truely believes that an incentive will increase conversions then why do they put the incentive handing in the affiliates hands rather than handling it themselves on their own sites. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well the merchant has basically two options, pay affiliates to market their product a % of commissions (which may, in turn be used as incentives handled by the affiliate marketers) OR they can not be part of any affiliate network and use that % as incentive to their direct costumers (which would be handling the incentives on their own). Basically, the way most merchants see it, i believe, is that it's more beneficial for them to have 100s of affiliated sites out there doing the marketing for them if all they have to sacrifice is the handling of incentives as opposed to handling the incentives themselves with no help from affiliates.

    You may say, why not handle the incentives themselves AND make partnerships with affiliate marketers that have a "no-incentive" policy. Well they would be losing more money that way because they have to pay a % to their costumers for the incentives and a % to affiliate for commissions. Where as the way it is now, at least the way i understand it to be, is merchants ONLY paying a % to their affiliates for commissions getting the best of both worlds , extreme marketing AND incentives to increase sales.

  12. #12
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    My time is limited. Merchants who offer incentives are placing a demand on my time that I baby-sit their pages and read their stinkin' newsletters to stay competitive.

    Once I create the pages, I am ready to move on to a new merchant. I have no interest in the old pages beyond the money they generate.

    Merchants who change their product line, change their images, redesign their sites frequently and offer incentives (if I chose to use them) are causing me to re-do work that I have already done. I can see updating pages a couple times a year. More than that is excessive and will cause me to unlink their pages from my sites and replace them with other merchants. The obvious exception is that I will add new products from a producing merchant if they are in new categories and reasonably easy to find.

    I have no time for such nonsense. This is a numbers game. Attention demanding merchants who retard my forward progress don't last long.

    Honestly, I do believe some merchants think they are the sole object of our time and attention.

    The news flash is, "I made your pages. They will sink or swim. One rewrite only. Best wishes. Bye."

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!

    Farewell, CJ! I loved you when you were young and pure. I will try to remember you that way. Disclaimer: Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

  13. #13
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Well they would be losing more money that way because they have to pay a % to their costumers for the incentives and a % to affiliate for commissions. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Let me see..... I see a best buy ad on tv and goto their site to buy something and when I go to checkout I see a field that says enter coupon code here..... I then do a search for a coupon go end up at an affiliate site set a cookie and if a sale is made they then pay an affiliate a commission where they would not have had to in the first place. Does this make sense? What portion of sales is derived from their own program and site vs affiliate driven? Any merchant who gets more sales comming from the affiliate channel than the other is plainly doing a terrible job and any merchant who gets more sales from their own efforts is STUPID to be asking for a coupon code at checkout and turning a sale into an affiliate commissionable order - IMO.

    Many merchants do a crappy job of retaining and building loyalty with their own customers and very few know how to build seo optimized sites. That's why affiliate marketing rules - it has very little to do with incentives - IMO!

    ===================================
    Child labor laws exist yet, parasite partnering merchants (PP Merchants) and the COC allow an adult affiliates income to be diverted into the pockets of parasites and consider it normal business!

    Why give parasites unlimited cookie durations and credit for sales where they divert our users and overwrite our cookies. PP merchants and the COC directly supports what many consider unfair trade practices, identity theft and thievery!

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    To sum it up "incent" offers are the Ad Whores basic vehicle as it implies some extra value or reward for buying now. It requires less creative advertising effort then any other form of advertising and therefore is a perfect fit for an Ad wank trainee posing as a AM. These same AM's seek out any method that will entice SE spammers to get their merchant's name out in front of the buying public rather then work on landing pages, product showcase creatives and links that take targeted buyers directly to their hottest sellers. Hell the merchant wants site browsers and scraping fresh e-mail flyer addresses more then they want a quick one step new customer and commission payout.

    I'll state again my plea to all affiliate enabled merchants. Boycott all coupons and incent offerings this holiday season and push only FREE FREIGHT. Turn off that "place coupon code here" checkout box. You'll loose the incent payouts whacking your bottom line--- clean up the SE coupon spammers ---limit your BHO (100% incent driven) exposure and double dipping. You also need to make CONVERSION RATIO your top priority to honestly show targeted affiliate traffic outperforms normal SE and type in traffic. If it doesn't, then you have a real reporting problem, diversion problem, ehtics and honesty problem and a bunch of lazy affiliates playing tricks for clicks.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

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