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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador SunshineTricia's Avatar
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    Prices Higher Through Affiliate Links?
    Has anyone ever experienced higher prices when they go through their affiliate links than when they go directly to a merchant? I've never felt bad before about putting up coupon links because I really thought that they were saving my visitors money. But we discovered a Valentine's bouquet today that was double the price through the affiliate link as it was if you went straight to the site--including the coupon AND my commission.

    Has anyone else ever seen that before?
    --Tricia Meyer-- I love being the exception to the rule.

    Tricia Meyer | Helping Moms Connect | Wine Club Reviews and Ratings | Hunger Games Fan

  2. #2
    http and a telephoto
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    I seem to remember some big brand doing that in the past. I don't remember who though. They didn't get good feedback about it!
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
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    Yes, Tricia. There are a number of bouquets that are priced that way, and it's from more than one merchant. It's not just the holidays, it's all the time.

  4. #4
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    There are many merchants that do that. CellPhone plan merchants are notorious in having many price points. And almost always affiliate links are directed to the higher price points. So they get the commission from the customer and pass it onto the affiliates. Affiliates bring them a win win zero cost no risk advertisement.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    It's an unfortunate fact of business that some companies choose to price different channels differently, not just the affiliate channel. I've seen offers where the direct website is running a special not available to affiliates, with a different offer in search, and yet another offer advertised on DRTV ads. I wouldn't have been surprised if they had some email campaigns to existing customers that had other prices.

  6. #6
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    This is indeed an interesting situation. It might work in some markets but overly looks quite odd as consumers are smart these days. I wonder how it would affect refund/cancel rates once they will discover the price difference.

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    I think that would be wrong for any merchant to be doing that. Allot of vendors also put caps on the pricing merchants can add and most vendors want to be fair in their pricing too for all their merchants selling their same products as to compete fairly.

    Not to mention when a customer finds out eventually you are potentially trying to cheat them you really might loose that customer. Customer may not know if it's the site they went to that is trying to cheat them, in this case bad for the affiliate site, or the merchant. It will cause allot more customer service calls and complains too to the merchant's customer service line with the customer yelling on the phone they saw the lower price and wants the discount, etc, etc.

    I think's it's a ridiculus move by any merchant to do that, specially through an affiliate link. Tell your merchant you do not want that higher price cause you might loose a customer of your own too as they will not visit your affiliate site.

    I would not want to manage a merchant program that did that either.

  8. #8
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    This is the reason I stopped promoting some vendors, since there was no way I could ve justified a higher price thru my aff links for the same products which could be had for less just by going to the vendor site directly. They would even promote the lower prices in ppc ads.

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    I think it is the most appalling and absolutely disgusting behaviour ever if a merchant has the audacity to forcibly increase pricing if a customer is referred by an affiliate link. That's one of the biggest consumer complaints to be received by all those television programs that deal with rogue traders and it's always the affiliate who gets hit hard with the complaints.

    To me it's nothing but THEFT. Stealing from the customer.

    If they cannot afford to properly fund an affiliate program then WTF have they got an affiliate program in the first place?

    If I was managing their program and found that out I'd probably be so vexed I'd break the law and have their site well and truly hacked so they were put out of business. It's not the case that affiliates are the rogues. Yes there are a few bad apples but scum merchants who do this are worse than rogue affiliates. Rogue affiliates squeeze the merchant and other affiliates. Rogue merchants squeeze the affiliates and the general public.

    Bring back the stocks. Tar and feather them. Throw rotten vegetables. Burn them at the stake. Hang, draw and quarter them.

    Scumbags are scumbags whatever side of the trading fence they're on.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  10. #10
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    There is no question that the practice is wrong, and can hurt the brand. But they still do it. Maybe a few merchants need to be directed to this thread when they are contacted about why you are dropping their program....

    But they probably already know the consequences and just don't care.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  11. #11
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    My experience is these pgms depend on newbee affiliates. They know once an affiliate gains some experience and figure this out they will drop them.

    I found it out when I was a newbee and had created a dedicated site for this one cell phone vendor. One of my friends who I had told about my site was trying a buy a cell phone thru my site. Then he told me that he can have the same product for less if he went to the vendor directly than thru my site. What an embarrassment. I told him to forget about my site and buy from the vendor. I pulled the site down pretty soon.

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    I just finished reading a book called The Ultimate Question - good read for merchants. Talks about the value of customer relationships and good profits vs. bad profits.

    That's definitely a bad profit to milk all you can out of customers. Not something a merchant should do, in my opinion. You're ultimately just going to piss off your customers who realize that you're offering different prices on the same product (whether they realize the marketing channel difference or not).

  13. #13
    Certified Affiliate Manager sunshiner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge - JRami
    .

    Not to mention when a customer finds out eventually you are potentially trying to cheat them you really might loose that customer. Customer may not know if it's the site they went to that is trying to cheat them, in this case bad for the affiliate site, or the merchant. It will cause allot more customer service calls and complains too to the merchant's customer service line with the customer yelling on the phone they saw the lower price and wants the discount, etc, etc.

    .
    That is certainly my apprehension about this merchant since they are a large merchant with a very recognizable name. I can just hear all the complaints we will get when our members realize this. Its really crappy in my opinion.

  14. #14
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    I remember reading a story once about how companies could do customer specific pricing. Just as Google can show user specific search results based on past searches, companies are using technology to show higher prices to people who live in wealthier areas or to people who have overpaid in the past.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    If I recall, Amazon did something similar, different price points based on data on their customers. There was quite an outcry once it was discovered and I think they said they'd stop that practice, but who knows if they actually did...
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
    - Silence is golden. Duct Tape is silver.

  16. #16
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    So would it be against the rules to name some names here?

    I'd really like to know who engages in this practice. I would definitely pull out of any merchants who do this. But I'm involved with quite a few programs, and shudder at the thought of having to track down any culprits by comparison-shopping my links against the direct URLs for all those merchants.

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