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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager KellycoChick's Avatar
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    Unhappy Ready to Give Up - Need to rant
    Warning:

    Well, we've been with LinkShare for 4 months now... and I honestly feel as though nothing has succeeded or gone as planned.

    The program is working in that I get tons of requests from publishers, I have a method of finding publishers and obtaining easy contact information,... all things I would not have otherwise had without LinkShare.

    And every once in a blue moon, someone makes a sale.

    But as for LinkShare, I am thoroughly ready to give up and pull this in-house.

    This is my companies first time attempting an Affiliate Program and I expected a little more help from a company we're paying so much money to. I've reached out for communication and help but to no avail. My emails go unanswered for long periods of time, requests for conference calls to get my team on the same page are completely glossed over, and I'm left feeling like once they got our money we were on our own.

    We're new at this and no one expected an inordinate amount of sales right out of the gate - but I DID expect to have a rep. who gives some personal attention to our needs, someone who is interested in seeing us succeed, who has experience with other Advertisers who succeed and can give us some tips.

    As it stands I am meeting with my Director of eCommerce and discussing handing this project off or throwing in the towel. The lack of communication and direction has left me with a horrible taste in my mouth.

    Thanks for letting me rant.

    /end

  2. #2
    Full Member TerriFalcone's Avatar
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    Looks like you have a great niche market line of products. Not every foot fits into every shoe and if you are unhappy with one network perhaps you might try a less expensive yet reliable network. Keep in mind that 4 months is not a very long time to tell if the program will work out and more importantly that the last four months have wrecked financial havoc on almost everyone but Walmart. It is a sad reality but in this climate the first things to decline are things that are non-essentials.
    <a href="http://www.buzzymultimedia.com/afpr.html"><font color="#FF0000">Buzzy Multimedia Publishing Affiliate Program</font></a>--<a href="http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=13023"><font color="#FF0000">SAS Sign-Up</font></a>
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    Move to Shareasale or Avantlink.

    Linkshare is for the BIG merchants.

    No offense, but yours is a small company that does not belong in Linkshare. Nothing against you, a lot against Linkshare

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager KellycoChick's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys. It's nice to not feel alone for a bit.

    I realize that we have a niche market and the economy can certainly influence these types of purchases, I guess the frustrating part is feeling like I can't take full advantage of LinkShare or the Affiliate Program because of LinkShare's lack of communication.

    We're on a second rep. (The first one decided to pursue his Master's in music), and so far I am not impressed. As it stands now I am waiting for him to pass on our link to the marketing department who I guess will be responsible for adding our name to the list of Merchants who DO give commission on Gift Card sales... waiting a week so far, of course that was after I waited several days for a reply to my inquiry if we were even eligible... I guess I should just get comfortable with the missing sense of urgency.

  5. #5
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Good advise so far. You may also want to consider hiring an OPM to at least help with the relaunch of your program on another network and possibly for full-time handling of your program. It's quite possible that the combination of Shareasale or Avantlink and an OPM will be less expensive (I have no actual idea of the costs, but it is worth investigating) then you are currently paying and I can guarantee you that you'll get a helluva lot more attention.

    Good luck.

    -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

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    I'm about as far FROM a "heavy hitter" around here as you can get. While others see "cash flow" with their affiliate sites, mine look more like that legendary "trickle down."

    But if you were on Shareasale.com instead of linkshare, I guarantee you I'd put your stuff on at least three of my websites.

    In fact, I've got a site with a page of metal detectors -- and I had to struggle to find merchants with enough variety to put up a decent page.

    I personally use mostly SAS and Avantlink. Either, from what I know as an affiliate and from what I've read here by merchants, would be a FAR BETTER choice than Linkshare.

    Just my 2-cents worth. LOL!
    Last edited by writerguy; November 13th, 2008 at 12:03 PM. Reason: To correct error in first sentence!
    Generate more fake news.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    Also remember that if you join Shareasale and you have a question, if you ask it on this forum, you have a good chance of getting a response from Brian, the owner of Shareasale.com

    You can't even get in touch with a Linkshare rep, what does that tell you

  8. #8
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Here are a few hints for a new program:

    1) You cannot expect to get a boat load of sales from the get go.
    2) It takes time to ramp up your affiliate program since you have zero affiliate to start with. Being that your product is a niche product, it is not that easy to sell it as opposed to Halloween Costumes before Halloween.

    What i am saying is, it takes time to grow an affiliate program. I started my program on SAS with zero, zip, no affiliates and I have a decent base now.

    Here are some tips for a new program:
    -Do active recruitement. If you are able to master linkshare's system, i think it blows away most of the other networks in terms of recruitement.
    -Build a relationship with affiliates.
    -Spend some money and get your affiliate program some PR.

    Have an understanding that an affiliate network will not see the immediate results that you see on PPC but the cost is usually lower.

    All the best and ping me if you need any help. I have managed a few Linkshare programs before..

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager KellycoChick's Avatar
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    Thanks again guy for the responses.

    I realize that sales aren't going to pick up like crazy. We're prepared for that and completely understand. My frustration and rant is in regards to LinkShare. I guess the real feeling is that I'm in over my head and have no idea where to go from here.

    I want this program to succeed. I have good ideas for marketing our product and believe me - when money is a problem people WANT machines that will find them money (our sales outside of LinkShare support this 100%). I guess I just need Affiliate Marketing 101 and to bring this whole sha-bang in-house. At least then I wouldn't be waiting and waiting for action from LinkShare that isn't coming anytime soon.

    I'm looking into ShareASale now.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    This is a shame, especially considering their fees. I wouldn't become complacent, it makes it too easy for them. Call them every day if need be if they have a deliverable due. Ask the person when you can expect a task to be done and remind them that you'll follow up when it's due. Don't hesitate to ask "How long will this take?" and hold them to it.

    That said, 4 months is still too early to know if your program will be successful. It can be painful while the program grows but consider this: affiliates aren't sitting around waiting for you (or any affiliate program) to come along. Even after they join it can take months before you see any real traffic from them. Keep in touch, motivate and support and you'll see steady results.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  11. #11
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by KellycoChick
    I guess I just need Affiliate Marketing 101 and to bring this whole sha-bang in-house.
    Bring it in house will not help as networks are vital in a program's success unless you have a super duper affiliate base and a strong brand like eBay, which they moved their whole program in house.

    I would think they invested 100-200k to setup the platform. Let the networks do the tracking, etc and you should focus on kicking your program in gear.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Kelly,

    First of all, welcome to our family, know that you are not alone.

    Second, join SAS, it's the network of choice for your niche product.

    Third, I am extending you an invitation for a free phone consultation, no strings attatched. We run several programs on SAS, many on the TOP 100 including the #1 SAS program for 3 years in a row, month after month ...

    Never give up, there is a market for your product, you need to find the right traffic source ....

    Have an amazing day !!
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager KellycoChick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rice
    This is a shame, especially considering their fees. I wouldn't become complacent, it makes it too easy for them. Call them every day if need be if they have a deliverable due. Ask the person when you can expect a task to be done and remind them that you'll follow up when it's due. Don't hesitate to ask "How long will this take?" and hold them to it.

    That said, 4 months is still too early to know if your program will be successful. It can be painful while the program grows but consider this: affiliates aren't sitting around waiting for you (or any affiliate program) to come along. Even after they join it can take months before you see any real traffic from them. Keep in touch, motivate and support and you'll see steady results.
    Thanks for the thoughts - I am actually about to become very assertive, particularly in regards to having my companies name added to the list of Merchants that issue commission on Gift Card sales. There's no reason our name shouldn't be on there - we're ready to sell gift cards and our products are very popular for the holidays. Again, thanks for the thoughts - I'm going to email my rep., again, right now!

  14. #14
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Rodriguez
    Kelly,

    First of all, welcome to our family, know that you are not alone.

    Second, join SAS, it's the network of choice for your niche product.

    Third, I am extending you an invitation for a free phone consultation, no strings attatched. We run several programs on SAS, many on the TOP 100 including the #1 SAS program for 3 years in a row, month after month ...

    Never give up, there is a market for your product, you need to find the right traffic source ....

    Have an amazing day !!
    Take Andy up on his free phone consultation.

    He knows what he's doing and is very good at it.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Stephanie Lichtenstein's Avatar
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    Hey Kelly! I work with Andy as well and I think that you can definitely get better results and a definite response when you join the ShareASale network. We are here to help, let us know if you need anything.
    @MicroSteph | Stephanie Lichtenstein
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  16. #16
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Hi, just passing through. I saw you post you pay commission on gift cards, this is a little pet project of mine right now.

    So I went to your site to look around and the very first thing that happened was an overlay (not popup that I could move out of the way) asking me to participate in a survey or something. I backed out immediately, as most of your potential customers would.

    There are 3 or 4 very qualified program managers that have posted in this thread. As an affiliate I suggest you pick up the phone and chat with a couple of them.

    You've got potential, but you need some help. Linkshare was only a learning mistake, everyone makes them. Ask for help if you're in too deep.
    Someday starts today
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  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you're with LinkShare, your contract probably requires you to stay there (exclusively) for a year or two. If you don't think LinkShare is the network for you, you might check to see if there's any way to get out of your contract. If you can't get out, though, make the most of it. You'll have exposure to more merchants at LinkShare than with ShareASale or AvantLink.

    Personally, I think you would find the balance between the cost structure and the exposure much better at ShareASale or AvantLink. I would favor ShareASale out of those two just due to their size, but AvantLink does have the advantage of being focused on the outdoor market, so it's really a tossup.

    For the price you're probably paying LinkShare, you could pay one of those two networks PLUS get a good OPM firm.

    Read through the links in my signature. There's a lot of self-education you can do. If you go with an OPM, it'll help you understand what they are doing (or should be doing). If you don't use an OPM, it'll be essential that you learn and follow all of the best practices. A good OPM will be invaluable for recruiting good affiliates. It'll take much longer if you do it yourself.
    Michael Coley
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  18. #18
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Read this thread: http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=112872Understand who you have entrusted your affiliate program to, and why many honest affiliates won't touch a program on Linkshare.

  19. #19
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    kight hit what i was going to say about the survey and Michael hit on the exclusive deal with link>share. I'd be interested to hear if that is no longer the case.

    I went so far as to check the prices of a few of your detectors and find that there seems to be some sort of price lock in place as everyone has about the same prices...it's been a long time since i saw something like that across the board. That leads me to my question. Why would someone buy from your site and not the competitions?

    does a commissionable sale report if google check out is used?
    you've got great structure to the products but how many reviews are in place?
    how does your shipping compare to the other retailers?

    just a few things i'd look at as an affiliate considering before building a site or adding it to a site to sell your detectors.

    don't get me wrong the site looks great!

  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager KellycoChick's Avatar
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    Wow - tons of responses and I feel a lot better. Thanks so much for the support!

    I just took the code for the 4Q Survey off of my website - thanks for the perspective and heads up!

    To answer a few questions:

    Yes, a commisionable sale report is made when google checkout is used. And our shipping services are outstanding. Kellyco is the largest retailer or metal detectors in the world and has been around for 50+ years, our reputation proceeds us in the Gold/Treasure/Metal Detecting industry.

    With times as hard as they are, gifts that find people money are flying off of the shelves so Kellyco is doing well. I KNOW that our product and our affiliates will also if I can just reach out properly.

    I'm going to look at SAS with my eCommerce Director immediately and while our LinkShare contract has longer to go, we aren't afraid of moving on ASAP.

  21. #21
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    go get em! Just tell them to put their money where their mouth is since you already have hahahaha

    and yes it does take time to ramp a program, but that has nothing to do with not answering an email.

    I'd be interested to find out if your site is twice as stick following the removal of the survey....i'm guessing a minimum of 25% more traffic from the same number of visitors is what you'll see ;-)

  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager PingoPrepaidCallingCards's Avatar
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    some big responses. We did LS canada and couldn't justify the extra costs, but we are happy with the LS US account.

    Use the resources that they have to get your recruiting list and send out messages with the internal email system. Get what you can to try to justify the extra fee's
    Brian Hawkins AM @ [URL=http://www.pingo.com/affiliate.do]Pingo[/URL] Earn up to $35 CPA for a [URL=http://www.pingo.com/p/onedollar/onedollar.html]$1 trial offer[/URL]!
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  23. #23
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KellycoChick
    I'm going to look at SAS with my eCommerce Director immediately and while our LinkShare contract has longer to go, we aren't afraid of moving on ASAP.
    Have your attorneys review your contract and look for a way to terminate for cause based on Linkshare's non-performance. Make sure to document all unanswered phone calls and retain all written correspondence as well as e-mails.

    One of 2 things is likely to happen, they either terminate the contract because you just became too much trouble or they live up to their part of the agreement. Either way you win.

    Once your contract expires, run like hell. Hopefully by now you've gotten a feel for what most here think of Linkshare. Keep reading, you'll find out why.

    -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

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KellycoChick

    I'm going to look at SAS with my eCommerce Director immediately and while our LinkShare contract has longer to go, we aren't afraid of moving on ASAP.
    Do you know who your affiliates are? Would you know if you couldn't login to LS? If not, you have another item on your to-do list
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  25. #25
    Newbie
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    Smile HI kelly
    HI Kelly,

    I wanted to send you a PM. But since I am new here I can't. I hope I am not breaking some rule, if so don't report me. Let me know, and I will delete it.

    I am new, but I am not new to marketing. I am 41 and in between the military, I have been in sales and business my whole life. I have also worked part time as the Tech-business Manager for a small company for 1 1/2 years. Last year I was hurt with the military, so before they kick me out, I am going to grow my Tech-Business Bigger.

    Here is the thing, I am very new to LS. My blog is new, BUT, I know almost what I doing, I am purchasing a very nice website for my home business, and I would like to apply for your website.

    BUT, I could not find it to apply.

    Did I not look hard enough in LS? If you send it to me and you don't mind accepting a start-up, then I am your girl.

    GOOD LUCK!

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