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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador boningroup's Avatar
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    Question When do you drop a merchant from your site?
    My question is "When do you drop a merchant from your site?"

    When a merchant shows up as inactive on CJ or Shareasale, I give the merchant 3 days before I send them an e-mail asking them whether I should remove their banners and links from my sites. I find that on CJ and Shareasale, merchants pop on and off as inactive sometimes on a regular basis. After I send the e-mail I wait an additional 4 days or a total of 7 days since they appeared inactive before I remove them from my sites unless I hear from them via e-mail with an explanation. Since the data feeds on my sites are driven by GoldenCan and PopShops, I send Asif and Matt courtesy e-mails letting them know that the merchant had been inactive for at least 7 days.

    When I get an e-mail from a merchant indicating that they are closing their program down with a certain time period (i.e. at the end of the month) I take them down within 24 hours so I don't forget when the date approaches.

    What I really hate is when a merchant or a network, Linkshare being the worst, gives no advance notice of the merchant's closing.

    The only thing that I have yet to figure out what to do is a merchant filing bankruptcy i.e. Circuit City. Should I pulled them now or wait?

    Just my thoughts and wondering what the rest of you do.
    Danny W Bonin Jr
    Bonin Group, Inc.

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boningroup
    My question is "When do you drop a merchant from your site?"
    Best answer I can give you is: "It depends".

    It depends on how much I typically earn from the merchant.
    It depends whether there is a ready replacement for their products.
    It depends on how often they go inactive or offline.
    It depends on how quickly their AM responds to my inquiries (if ever).

    It depends on so many different factors that need to be considered that it's impossible to make a hard and fast rule. Hell, it even depends on the mood that I'm in when they go inactive.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  3. #3
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Cool
    some, like Boscov's, declare bankruptcy but tell their affiliates about it and say they are going to continue their affiliate program. If their program is that important to their future, then I guess it is also to mine.

  4. #4
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    I'm pretty ruthless about dropping merchants. I have a motto that, "A sale isn't a sale until the check clears my bank."

    Based on what happened with Spilsbury last year (jumped from CJ to Perf and back to CJ again in Q4) I intend to pull the trigger on any merchant who changes networks this holiday season. Also be on the lookout for merchants who change OPMs or fire their in-house manager. Because of the recession I suspect we will see more than a few merchants abandon their programs or declare bankruptcy this year. That makes me twitchy, and when I get twitchy I pull the trigger. If it turns out I was wrong I can always put their links back up.

    If a merchant declares bankruptcy I'd pull their links immediately, regardless of whether they can be replaced or not. You can always put eBay or Amazon links on as placeholders until you can make better arrangements.

  5. #5
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    When a merchant declares bankruptcy, you will not be paid any outstanding commissions. You might be paid for commissions generated after the date of bankruptcy, but it will probably be a very long wait. Is it worth it for you? Each situation is probably unique and the way things are today, you'll be visiting this issue quite a bit.

  6. #6
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I pull merchants that are:

    1. Offline all the time.

    2. Reverse sales all the time and don't pay me.

    3. Declare bankruptcy.

    You will not be paid the money they owe you if they go bankrupt.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  7. #7
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    thats not true, I have been paid money by merchants who have gone bankrupt.

  8. #8
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    Affiliates become unsecured creditors in a bankruptcy. If you were paid commissions that were earned but unpaid at the time of the bankruptcy filing, it's likely that the merchant broke the law if he paid you for those commissions after the bankruptcy filing.

  9. #9
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    well then eToys must of broke the law because I got paid and so did everyone else.

  10. #10
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Anyone know whats up with Leaps and Bounds / One Step Ahead? I just got a deactivation notice as of Nov. 26 (great date, hunh?) and I am active with them. I don't see a problem that would cause my deactivation and am wondering if bankruptcy is looming for them? I got on board with Macys under threat of deactivation and turned them around to being one of my top earners.

    It really is a big question though if you should put efforts into promoting something that you might not get paid for (due to either lack of sales or bankruptcy) and potentially have to undo, or if you should stick around. As mentioned with Macys, I have seen good results from working to keep relationships you see value in.

    Linens N Things, Circuit City, this odd email from Leaps N Bounds/One Step Ahead (which could just be an individual case for me - I'm not sure).. I'm starting to get uneasy.
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  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador boningroup's Avatar
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    We also got the Leaps and Bounds/One Step Ahead e-mail.
    Danny W Bonin Jr
    Bonin Group, Inc.

  12. #12
    Staril - Mad Cat Woman Sue's Avatar
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    I got the One Step Ahead email too, but it is a merchant I had applied to and never got round to actually doing anything with. I assumed they were just clearing out affs that were "inactive" ... or maybe those who didn't reach a random threshold of sales ... just guessing here.

  13. #13
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    I've got $123.65 pending sales from them this month, but agree they aren't my top producers. Usually when you see these moves I've found impending bankruptcy (think Blockbuster and a few others I can't think of now). Maybe I'm totally off base though. Aside from this month I haven't had any sales for them since February of this year.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lschofield
    I've got $123.65 pending sales from them this month, but agree they aren't my top producers. Usually when you see these moves I've found impending bankruptcy (think Blockbuster and a few others I can't think of now). Maybe I'm totally off base though. Aside from this month I haven't had any sales for them since February of this year.
    Which merchant has dropped affiliates but not closed their program immediately before filing for bankruptcy protection? I don't recall ever hearing of any.

    I wish you had posted as a new topic since this one has now been derailed but I can't let an allegation go unchallenged.

  15. #15
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    My thoughts too on the derailing - maybe I should make a new topic!

    But - back to the gist of this. I even keep my pages up even after removal from a program if I'm getting traffic on that page. I figure traffic lessens as people pull ads and shift focus away from the retailer, thus less competition. I take out the affiliate text links and replace them with straight links to the retailer. I then use banner space for competitors and steer people gently towards competitors..
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  16. #16
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman
    Which merchant has dropped affiliates but not closed their program immediately before filing for bankruptcy protection? I don't recall ever hearing of any.

    I wish you had posted as a new topic since this one has now been derailed but I can't let an allegation go unchallenged.
    Ahh.. Sorry - didn't read you correctly, now I see. To clarify, I was dropped from Blockbuster way back, along with many others that I heard about on here. A while later, I recall talk around bankruptcy - which I believe still carries on as they aligned themselves with Circuit City not long ago and we see what is going on with Circuit City. Others made comments about Blockbuster's not too wise move of dropping affiliates (and I believe they kept a few people on - although they changed networks didn't they, the former Performics to CJ I think?) and forewarned of the day they'd come crawling back asking former affiliates to join them. They do ask me to rejoin now, but honestly I now don't have the time to replace all the work I'd taken down (this was before I got my head around databases and switched my site to being database driven).

    I know SkyAuction closed their program entirely, which I'm sad to hear as I think they are a great company. I hope that doesn't mean any pending problems for them. Sears Rooms For Kids and Sears Home hit me totally unexpectedly earlier this year. They ceased operations and closed the programs concurrently and quite suddenly. Flax Art & Design threatened to drop me, but I convinced them to keep me on. Shortly afterwards they closed the affiliate program entirely. This also happened with Hilo Hattie I think (dropped a lot of affiliates for non-performance and followed shortly afterwards with discontinuing their affiliate program)? I remember some confusion on my part with Sharper Image, who eventually ended up bust. Was it that they stopped honoring gift cards, then honored them again, then declared bankruptcy?

    I suppose you're right, perhaps Blockbuster is the only one I'm thinking of and I can't be sure if they ever officially declared bankruptcy..
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  17. #17
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    I try to test out affiliates before I get them too integrated into my sites. The problem is when they deactivate, yet their links still work. I've been on CPA Empire and CJ about this, neither seem to care nor listen.

    It seems that some merchants get a program fired up, you post or integrate, then they drop to keep the traffic flowing. Now I'm running everyone through local testing (or tagging) so I can see what is producing and drop those who don't.

    Also set all my minimum payout to as low as possible so I don't get stuck making sales to which I never get paid. With 15 different small affiliates just under their minimum, I'm constantly funding their float.

    Best,

    Justin
    [i]Always interested in great B2B affiliate programs that serve Sales and Marketing professionals. Private message if you have something.[/i]

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