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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    November 4th, 2008
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    New merchant, and very angry right now!
    Hi All,

    I'm a new merchant and not sure if I'm posting in the right area.. but here it goes.

    I just launched my affiliate program a mere 2 weeks ago. I was hoping for some traffic but didn't expect to make any sales because my products usually involve a 3-4 month research phase before purchase.

    Basically, I have received two orders from the same affiliate who has sent, get ready, 14 visitors to my site according to sharesale. I asked one the of the customers where she found me, and it was a blog post I paid $400 for 2 months ago (she also used a promotion code mentioned in the blog that was not released to any affilaites). The other transaction was very small, so I didn't have a personal interaction with the customer.

    I visited the url that referred the sale and my banners and links are nowhere to be found and it's a really bare bones shopping comparison site.

    I know this affiliate did not legitimately earn the commission. Also, I'm a new business, so I cannot afford to be paying this "double advertising" on every sale.

    I'm just so mad right now! I want to void the transaction and get rid of this affiliate, but I don't want to be rash and get my program off to a bad start (however, having my money stolen doesn't feel like much of a good start either).

    Any advice? I would release the name of the site, but not sure if it was proper etiquette to do so in this forum.

    Thanks

    Dorigen

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Sounds like the affiliate used Blogs from other peoples sites that had

    keywords / product information of whatever your selling and or services ...


    ~~~

    And if the affiliate doesnt have any links that you can see - maybe they are hidden behind a redirect

    A great tool for figuring that out is a HTML Debugger .. good one called Fiddler!

    ---

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    The affiliate may be doing legitimate PPC advertising. The customer may have found information on your $400 blog post and then searched, come across the PPC ad and bingo, you have a cookied visitor. Unless you have specific PPC restrictions in your program terms that this affiliate can be shown to have violated, that's how it works.
    I would suggest that you contact one of the many qualified OPMs (Outsourced Program Managers) here at ABW for some assistance. Often the first consultation is free. If you can afford $400 for a blog post you can afford a fulltime OPM to have your program running right. Good luck.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    Take the affiliate ID and send a trouble ticket to SAS

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Exclamation
    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    The affiliate may be doing legitimate PPC advertising. The customer may have found information on your $400 blog post and then searched, come across the PPC ad and bingo, you have a cookied visitor. Unless you have specific PPC restrictions in your program terms that this affiliate can be shown to have violated, that's how it works.
    Wow thats a great point ..

    Maybe the visitor went to the Blog - and this Blog Has google ADWORDS or some other PPC on it w/ your site that the affiliate made ..


    ~~~
    Check to see if anyone is biddin / has ads on the PPC networks for your domain / site name -

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    yeap, agree with what the others have said. Am not sure if you're saying that the affiliate had the promotion code on their site that you had on your blog or not? There are sites who will list coupons that aren't given to them that they get from other sites or their members get from other sites and they include em on their sites.

    It all boils down to what the others have said. You as a merchant have to make sure you very clearly spell out in your terms what you will and will not permit. If you don't want any coupon codes or promotion codes posted that aren't given to the affiliates you have to include that. Same with any ppc...you have to spell out in your terms what is ok and what isn't. After changing your terms you then have to give a period of time for those affiliates to change what they're doin before ya remove em from your program. Very important to very clearly include what ya want and don't want in your terms or there will be affiliates doin it.

    Agree with others, too. An affiliate manager will take care of all this for the merchant and they are always having to monitor the actions of the affiliates cos unfortunately there are some bad ones. Some very good affiliate managers right here I think the best ones are

    Good luck with your program Definitely understand your frustration. Without knowing all the details it's hard to know if the affiliate in question was doin somethin bad or not.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Check to see if anyone is biddin / has ads on the PPC networks for your domain / site name -
    If there are no restrictions in the TOC there is no violation.
    Many, many merchants in SAS are newbies who put up no restrictions at all and wonder why their program is not more successful. They just do not have the information they would need to make informed choices on some matters. If they ask, the network will explain the significance (I believe) but get the impression that most don't see any problem like this until it becomes obvious. I try to inform merchants that I would like to work with and some can see it right away but others prefer not to look into it.
    There is no "One Size Fits All" answer for PPC rules, but having no terms leaves you open to whatever happens even if that means paying commissions on your own traffic.

  8. #8
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorigen
    I'm just so mad right now! I want to void the transaction and get rid of this affiliate, but I don't want to be rash and get my program off to a bad start (however, having my money stolen doesn't feel like much of a good start either).
    Dorigen, as others have already stated, unless the affiliate in question has violated your TOS or ShareASale (and it doesn't appear that you have enough information to support that theory yet) you don't have justification to void the transactions and withhold the commissions. The affiliate relationship, on the other hand, is an "at will" relationship and you can terminate your relationship with the affiliate whenever you desire for any reason you desire or for no reason at all.

    However, before ending the relationship with the affiliate you may want to contact them for an explanation of how they are driving these sales to your site. Without knowing how this traffic arrived, you may be leaving a hole in your TOS that others may be able to exploit. And while PPC sounds like a reasonable explanation, I don't believe that the referring URL would be the affiliate's site, it would be the search engine.

    -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

  9. #9
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    June 11th, 2007
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    Dorigen, what program do you run?

    I'd rather not work with someone that proclaims "I'm just so mad right now!" when it is painfully obvious that it is YOU that needs the education.
    Stop blaming the parasites, low return days, cookie stuffers, networks, lousy AMs, and TOOLBARS!

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    This does sound like a case of a newbie uneducated merchant to me...

    Who would pay $400 for a blog post? Maybe I really should get into this blogging business.

    And if your products require 3-4 months of research typically (why so long?) before a purchase is made, your program would frankly suck. Even if you offer a 6 month cookie to overcome that long period, there's too many ways affiliate cookies could be lost or overwritten in that time to make promoting your program worthwhile.

    Go rethink your program and learn more about affiliate marketing. As other posters pointed out, you also need to find a violation of your terms by an affiliate to accuse people of wrongdoing. Nothing in your post seems to indicate any such violation.
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

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