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  1. #1
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    Angry Confused, I got PPC Violation Report and Reverals
    Hi there,
    I am new to the forum and fairly new to SAS as well. I recently started a ppc campaign for a merchant. I read and re-read the ppc agreement and also contacted the merchant. I was pretty succesful in my efforts and contacted the merchant again to make sure I was in compliance. The LAST think I wanted was to be breaking the rules and risk the commissions I had earned (that had also cost me money).


    The affiliate manager responded via email telling me not to bid on brand name terms OR phrases including the brand name term. My campaign at that point was only a day old, maybe less. I deleted all phrases that had the brand name term as told. (I never included the brand name because this was specifically included in the agreement). I asked about misspellings and the aff manager said that was OK. So i focused on misspelings and other keywords.

    That was a couple of days ago. Since then I've done fairly well bringing in a considerable number of transactions.

    Today i log into my account to find a PPC violation report. The merchant also reversed 67 transactions!!! What can I do???

    I've left a voicemail for the aff manager and tried calling but no answer. I also sent an email and have not heard back.

    And were did I go wrong??

    I would really appreciate any help here. This is so discouraging.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Valid question, but here in the forum we do not have all the information so really the place to ask is by opening a trouble ticket in your SAS account. The affiliate manager should be able to tell you the reasons for their actions.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    we can speculate, but it wouldn't achieve anything.

    This is a matter between you, shareasale and the affiliate manager/merchant

  4. #4
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    PHP Code:
    so really the place to ask is by opening a trouble ticket in your SAS account 
    If you've got all the interaction documented between you and the merchant that should help.

  5. #5
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    So i focused on misspelings and other keywords.
    Wild stab in the dark, but did you focus on misspellings of the brand? As advised above, open a trouble ticket and include documentation of your communication.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you don't want to appear on searches containing the brand or other restricted words, you should put them as negative keywords.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  7. #7
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    Some issues resolved
    I've been in touch with the merchant today several times. THere was a misunderstanding. They thought i had bid on the brand names, when I had instead focused on mispellings as I was told that was ok. I did not however add the brand name as a negative keyword. I figured that if this was required they would tell me ... ok lesson learned here. NEVER assume anything.

    So If I decided to continue (depends on what they do about those reversals), i will of course add the brand name as a negative.

    **Sigh*** It's been a Loooong day.

    Question --- Is this expected by most merchants, or is it a case by case type thing?


  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Question --- Is this expected by most merchants, or is it a case by case type thing?
    You need to read the Terms and Conditions of every merchant you decide to promote,every one has variantions on what they will and will not allow. Some allow no PPC at all, other allow mispellings or marketing on smaller engines, others are fine with people using their Trademarks in PPC. You need to read and check, and mail the AM if you are not sure.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  9. #9
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I did not however add the brand name as a negative keyword. I figured that if this was required they would tell me...
    Question --- Is this expected by most merchants, or is it a case by case type thing?
    Every merchant is different, but I think it's fair to say that as a PPC affiliate you need to pay special attention to, and take responsibility for broad match terms gone awry. If you're targeting terms very close to prohibited terms, do so in a way that prevents the prohibited terms from triggering ads. The merchant has already said don't use "X", so they shouldn't also need to tell you to use phrase match, exact match or negative keywords to prevent "X" from triggering ads.

    PPC has a learning curve, but it isn't rocket science. If you're successful at it then you should know enough to avoid TOS violations. If not, expect some headaches and keep asking questions. The folks here at ABW will do their best to answer.

    Long story short though, you control your PPC campaigns. If a term is prohibited by a merchant and that term still triggers your ad, the merchant has every right to complain.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  10. #10
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    Hey Peaced ... tell us the merchant. Any merchant that reverses 67 sales commissions in this economy is TOO STUPID to be affiliated with for any reason. Do they really think, you are going to continue sending them 67 sales for free - rules or no rules.

    Plus, I would bet real money, you didn't really violate the rules, they just scammed your commissions because they could get away with it. If you out them you will no doubt be saving other affiliates from having to go thru the same pain you are experiencing.

  11. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Merchants aren't going to spell out exactly how you need to comply. They'll tell you what you need to comply with. If they said that you can't show up for searches containing their trademarked terms, it's up to you to know how to prevent that from happening. With Google, broad and phrase matches may match. For instance, if you're working with Nike and they don't allow you to bid on their trademark and you bid on the phrase "running shoes" and someone searches for "Nike running shoes", your ad may appear. The only way to prevent that is with a negative keyword (or ONLY using exact matches).

    It sounds like you and the merchant are in a productive dialog and working through the issues, so hopefully things will work out okay.

    One thing you have to keep in mind is that merchants are used to a lot of scummy PPC trademark bidders that intentionally circumvent the rules by using various methods to make it look like they're not bidding on the trademark terms. As a result, all PPC affiliates are looked at with extra scrutiny, and you have to work very hard to avoid all appearance of impropriety.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    One thing you have to keep in mind is that merchants are used to a lot of scummy PPC trademark bidders that intentionally circumvent the rules by using various methods to make it look like they're not bidding on the trademark terms. As a result, all PPC affiliates are looked at with extra scrutiny, and you have to work very hard to avoid all appearance of impropriety.
    I'd second that statement. The best way to run a good PPC campaign is to work closely with the merchant. Make it a marketing partnership, not a game of hide and seek.
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  13. #13
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    I've been in touch with the merchant back and forth. I guess it has been productive, as they are now paying me what i produced those days while they had blurry terms for PPC.

    I've since filtered the campaign and added the negative keywords. I really think that merchants need to have very clear PPC terms. Yes, I agree that it is up to the affiliate to read the terms and make sure they are on the right track -- and that's exactly why I contacted them initially to clarify. I was the one who had something to lose (i.e. time and money) if I violated the terms.

    Some of the keywords that were generating sales for me were deviations of the trademark name and domain. But now the merchant has added most of these to the list of protected keywords as well. =(


    I guess being new to this, I did not equate bidding on trademark keywords with broad or phrase keyword triggering an ad for a trademark search.

    Also, when I approached the merchant, I was told misspellings were ok.... and this was my entire focus. Had they said no to that, I would have moved elsewhere.

    I've now found some generic keywords that are converting ok, but now I got hit with disapproved ads by google due to trademark. Go figure. I think i can work around it, but i guess there is no easy money.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    As an affiliate, all I want to know is what is allowed, or not. Disregarding the techniques that are used, WHAT IS ALLOWED TO SHOW IN PPC listings?

    Its amazing to me, all the vague emails and open-ended 'guidelines' sent by AM's.

    (this is a general rant, and not meant for any specific merchant)

  15. #15
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    One of the reason Zappos sales have cratered across the board for affiliates is they have permanent salaried employees doing pay per click and competing with their own affiliates.

    Plus, in the pay per click game on Adwords and such, if you are the merchant
    you get the whole amount of the sale less costs. If you are an affiliate you take the same risk but for only a piece of the pie.

    It becomes a balancing event in which you may be sacrificing revenue in the form of commission to affiliates but you get more exposure and reach against the fact more
    affiliates mean more competiion for sales. While sales from affiliates are still sales, they cost you more than your own derived sales since you have to payout network and affiliate commissions. At some point, that becomes a self defeating adventure.

  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    When I ran the Zappos program we never reversed sales because of the PPC campaign by Zappos employees. Maybe because they allow parasites now, which I fought like crazy, they decided to change that policy. If an affiliate earns a commission it should be paid, period. The only exception is a clearly demonstrated violation of a policy like trademark bidding, cookie-stuffing, etc. (and, of course, credit card fraud, returns, etc., within the allowed schedule for transaction review). Responsible affiliate managers have to work hard on big programs to prevent fraud and be fair to honest affiliates. After kicking out many cheaters when I took over the program, the Zappos affiliate program got to over $100 million/year with 11,000 affiliates, and it was parasite-free. There have been a series of folks with no prior affiliate management experience running it since I was unwilling to move to Las Vegas. They clearly did not always understand the interaction of many pieces of the puzzle. Another possible problem may be that returns may have increased because of the parasites gaming the system.

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