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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    I guess I just don't "get it" on deactivations
    I'm sure there are good reasons for a merchant to deactivate an inactive affiliate. But I really don't "get it" as to why -- and in my case the "why" seemed almost made up as they went along.

    I won't name the SAS merchant, as I'm still awaiting a follow-up from the affiliate manager to the email reply I sent.

    I received notice today that my "application had been declined" because this particular merchant wanted "affiliates who market to customers in the U.S." The problem was, 1) I market exclusively to customers in the U.S., and, 2) I had already been approved as an affiliate since September 2008.

    I just hadn't gotten active by putting links up for this particular merchant (food related merchant) on any of my sites. Mostly that was an oversight as I failed to focus on that particular niche for the holiday season.

    So, I replied to the email explaining all this. I got a nice email in return from the program's affiliate manager (I suspect the first email was more of an automated thing). In that email she explained that they do a sort of follow-up on inactive affiliates each month, sending email suggesting ways they can activate. In those emails, she said, they tell the affiliate they need to get active within the next week or give them an update on plans or something. After that, she added, "If we don't hear back from you then we will expire you within the following 7-10 days."

    None of that happened in my case, so I really don't know what or why that policy is in place and never took place for me. In fact, since joining I signed up for a webinar they sponsored and got a lot out of it.

    In her email, the affiliate manager suggested I should go ahead and re-apply and she would approve my application.

    When I tried to reapply I got sort of a "doom and gloom" automated response from SAS: "You have already applied for this program. Your application for this merchant program was declined, you will no longer be able to participate in this program."

    Yikes!

    Anyway, I sent email to the affiliate manager explaining all that and I'm waiting to hear back.

    After all that rambling/ranting, I guess my thinking is this: If I'm not violating any program policy or TOS, etc., what harm am I doing staying in their program? Wouldn't it sort of be "win-win" for me and the merchant if I sat down in a couple of days, put up some links, and suddenly produced a customer? And if I don't, what's the loss for them??

    Duh. I guess I just don't get it.
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  2. #2
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Especially at SAS, but true everywhere, deactivating inactive affiliates is an archaic, pointless practice.
    Kevin Webster
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    Kayak Fishing
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  3. #3
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    "webinar", "food related", and "her".... sounds like a road I traveled too. If so I tried to promote them but I got a "temporary deactivation" notice seconds prior to my links not working. I removed myself and would never go back.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager nathanjelovich's Avatar
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    Hmm... so this is very timely for myself, as I was just thinking about this practice earlier this week. I think I can see both sides.

    Being a merchant, I can understand why deactivating inactive affiliates would be beneficial as without doing it, you can end up with a high number of affiliates that are not active. Thus, making the percent active number way low... which just doesn't look good for a program. That is kind of a lose- uh.. er...n/a?

    However, I also see in the long run, essentially, what's the point? Perhaps that affiliate will find some inspiration one of these days and start promoting the program. In that case a definite win-win.

    So, we have never deactivated an affiliate (that I know of) due to inactivity. But it is good to get your thoughts on the matter.

  5. #5
    Full Member 1stAngel's Avatar
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    I have a lot of merchants I have signed up to but not (yet) put up on my sites. The reason being that I tend to write something when they have a deal on and only can write so much a day. I WILL promote each and every one but it may take a month or even more.

    (I have made money on another affiliate site and have done nicely from it, but they dont appear to be a member here lol)
    :approval:

    Beth aka 1stAngel
    [URL=http://1stangel.co.uk]1stAngel Arts Magazine[/URL]
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  6. #6
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    which just doesn't look good for a program.
    To whom? Are you in a position where you have to justify that % to someone?
    Kevin Webster
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  7. #7
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanjelovich
    Hmm... so this is very timely for myself, as I was just thinking about this practice earlier this week. I think I can see both sides.

    Being a merchant, I can understand why deactivating inactive affiliates would be beneficial as without doing it, you can end up with a high number of affiliates that are not active. Thus, making the percent active number way low... which just doesn't look good for a program. That is kind of a lose- uh.. er...n/a?


    However, I also see in the long run, essentially, what's the point? Perhaps that affiliate will find some inspiration one of these days and start promoting the program. In that case a definite win-win.

    So, we have never deactivated an affiliate (that I know of) due to inactivity. But it is good to get your thoughts on the matter.
    That's exactly what happens from time to time. There are other threads here at ABW where AMs or OPMs have described exactly that.

    I, too, may be a case in point. A few years ago I became almost inactive with one of my hotel merchants and continued building my business with another two merchants. Then one day I got a call from a sales rep asking what they needed to do to get me active again. I told them a competitor had a bit better contract. They gave me an even better one. Consequently I have been sending them a bunch of business and am in their top 5% of producing affs. And I still produce a good bit for the other two - but that may soon be changing. I will never put all of my eggs in one basket, but I may move to two large baskets and one tiny basket this season.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  8. #8
    http and a telephoto
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    Sounds like they want some bogus reports to show to their client (the merchant) about how many active affiliates they have in relation to how many are joined. That is a metric that is meaningless, unless someone wants a number to just toss around.

    I will deactivate inactive affiliates that have both a bouncing email address (which is why they come to my attention) AND a dead website. Other than that, it makes no difference if an inactive affiliate stays in my program. That affiliate can suddenly develop a plan and a passion for something in my program and become my next super affiliate. Why would I deactivate them?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  9. #9
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanjelovich
    So, we have never deactivated an affiliate (that I know of) due to inactivity. But it is good to get your thoughts on the matter.
    A potential for negative/angry/hurt feelings is created when an affiliate is deactivated.
    The act of deactivating an affiliate will often be the impetus for the affiliate to start a promotional campaign featuring your competition.

    There could be many reasons why the affiliate initially signed up with you but delays the immediate promotion of your links. If you are concerned, e-mail the affiliate with a real, genuine e-mail (not a canned threat).

    It doesn't cost that much to keep an affiliate on your active list and the benefit is goodwill.

    Deactivate an affiliate and that affiliate most likely will bad mouth your actions in affiliate/webmaster forums and if any initiative is taken it would be a negative one such as the promotion of your competition. Is deactivating an affiliate really worth the negative risks?
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager nathanjelovich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    Deactivate an affiliate and that affiliate most likely will bad mouth your actions in affiliate/webmaster forums and if any initiative is taken it would be a negative one such as the promotion of your competition. Is deactivating an affiliate really worth the negative risks?
    Very good points from everyone on this, and yea definitely share the same sentiments. It's why I have never deactivated any affiliates. Just came to mind this week as I have heard of other programs that do.

    Thanks for the insight!

  11. #11
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    I will deactivate inactive affiliates that have both a bouncing email address (which is why they come to my attention) AND a dead website.
    If the affiliate is active in a forum (such as ABW), you might want to PM the affiliate.
    There have been times when my site[s] and connecting e-mail addresses were not functioning due to a temporary problem/glitch with my host.

    If an AM decides to check on me during a hosting malfunction, I'm out of luck and so is the AM/OPM!
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  12. #12
    Newbie motivebrendan's Avatar
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    deactivating inactive affiliates? i really don't know why a merchant would do this.. As a network i can see doing this as a way to "clean house" we thought about doing it at my network but there is always an inactive that gets active so it just did not make sense. But your situation is weird - you were not inactive for very long. This seems to me to be:

    1. a huge mistake on the part of the merchant, and since they claim to have sent you emails that you never got, and I assume they never tried to call you this seems to be all faulty on the merchant side.

    2. they are not telling you something. IE maybe they are cutting back on the program due to to many, to few, or just bad data they are getting from other affiliates.

    Overall, I really think this is a good indication that you would have issues with the merchant at some point so better now that after sending tons of traffic right?

  13. #13
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    I joined a program in cj last year. I had to wait to be approved, so went on to another project. Got an email today that due to my inactivity I'll be removed next week. I haven't re-visited the project they were going on as I found others to put on it. I would likely be working on it again this summer but it appears they will miss out again as I won't be reapplying. Once I'm out, I'm out for good.
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  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager Heather@Stacks's Avatar
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    I have never cut off inactives, even when pressured by a network. I've had affiliates who were inactive for 2 or more years suddenly go active in a big way (sometimes from reminder emails, sometimes out of nowhere). Just one or two of these instances a year is certainly worth waiting for.

  15. #15
    Banned Snowfinch's Avatar
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    Before all my brain cells started working, I was an affiliate with Linkshare. I was approved by a "big name" merchant. The very next day I received an e-mail telling me I had 7 days to get a sell or I would no longer be an affiliate with them. I saved them the trouble. I deactivated them immediately. Another merchant I had been an affiliate of for about 3 weeks sent me a "personal" e-mail. They told me I had 30 days to get a sale or I would be deactivated. They politely told me I could prevent this by simply making a purchase from them myself. Well, I politely deactivated them. I always figured that the merchants need us just a bad as we need them, if not more.

  16. #16
    Full Member TerriFalcone's Avatar
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    If an affiliate is operating within the TOS of our program I would never want them to leave. I have hundreds of affiliate who have not gone beyond signing up even though I welcome each one and try to explore ways for us to be of help to them tio generate sales. It would be nice if merchants and affiliates communicated with greater frequency and understanding so that this sort of thing wouldn't happen.
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  17. #17
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heather@Stacks
    I have never cut off inactives, even when pressured by a network.
    Interesting, didn't know networks did that - that sounds even more stupid than a merchant doing it...

    This industry never ceases to amaze me...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager nathanjelovich's Avatar
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    Wow, that seems a little overboard if you ask me... 7 and 30 days, or purchase from yourself?? No way...

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