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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager tbonehwd's Avatar
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    I am almost afraid to ask, but I must
    After reviewing some of what I have read here I may already have my mind made but... We are considering signing up as a merchant on PepperJam. I have read a lot of well how do I say not so nice stuff and before I make my descision it would be nice to get some feedback. We will not be exclusive with them as we will still have shareasale but I also don't want to put money out that will not have a return on investment. From the looks of things they have a great interface and some really nice tools for the Affiliates but that doesn't mean much if they don't have any affiliates that will join my program. Any insight or thoughts regarding this matter would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
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    abestweb is perhaps not the best place to get any positive feedback about the Pepperjam network

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager tbonehwd's Avatar
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    I figured that to be true... however I am a gluten for pain - Not really I noticed that the bad was many months ago and didn't know if maybe there was a change that may have occurred....
    Last edited by tbonehwd; April 15th, 2009 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Add another thought

  4. #4
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I joined there network but don't use them much anymore. I had some slaes then they were reversed, then looked like they reappeared. That was months ago, and now I can't locate what happened to that activity. I don't like their reporting tools at all.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Why are you just considering Pepperjam? If you're looking to expand into another network, look into CJ and Google Affiliate Network for some of the larger traditional networks. Linkshare has an exclusivity agreement, so that's out of the question. Is Pepperjam's pricing a lot cheaper than CJ or GAN?

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager tbonehwd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua
    Why are you just considering Pepperjam? If you're looking to expand into another network, look into CJ and Google Affiliate Network for some of the larger traditional networks. Linkshare has an exclusivity agreement, so that's out of the question. Is Pepperjam's pricing a lot cheaper than CJ or GAN?
    I would love to consider them however we just are not at the level to meet there monthly minimums. I hope that someday soon that will not be the case but I cannot justify giving away money to them, I would rather give it to affiliates.

  7. #7
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    If you are concered with the amount of money it will cost to join a bigger network, then why not just stay with Shareasale and push your program a bit more?

  8. #8
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Without commenting on PepperJam itself, the question would be what benefit do you see in joining the network?

    If you're looking to add new affiliates, typically any affiliates you would want from PJ are at SaS as well. I don't think adding a new network will bring more quality affiliates to your program.

    If you're looking at the network due to tools available, have your current affiliates expressed an interest in these tools?

    If you're hoping more exposure will get your program more noticed, joining any network is the least efficient way to do that. Advertising on affiliate sites will gain more name recognition for the program than paying an additional network setup and monthly fee. Hiring an OPM temporarily to jump start the program or even an activation bonus or running public contests can do far more good for driving affiliate sign ups.

    Aside from all of that, how will you be handling cross network commission conflicts? I send you a customer through SaS and another affiliate sends the same customer through PJ, this starts down a dangerous slope with regard to reputation as most likely you'll need to start reversing commissions or start paying double commissions.
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  9. #9
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    I can assure you that if HCI participates on the PepperJam Network, your ShareASale datafeed will be excluded from my sites. (I'm still finishing implementation of my own datafeed-management system, and have never generated any sales for your program, so this would only be a "potential lost opportunity," of unknown value -- honestly, it's probably negligible since my sites would also display lower-cost options for buying your books elsewhere.)

    knight wrote: > "If you're looking to add new affiliates, typically any affiliates you would want from PJ are at SaS as well. I don't think adding a new network will bring more quality affiliates to your program." <

    The key language here is "affiliates you would want."
    Last edited by markwelch; April 15th, 2009 at 05:11 PM.

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager tbonehwd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julian
    If you are concered with the amount of money it will cost to join a bigger network, then why not just stay with Shareasale and push your program a bit more?
    I have been trying, but it does get frustrating when you only get responses from a couple. Of course I don't blame them in the past my company did not do much in the way of nurturing the relationship and I am trying to change that.

    Quote Originally Posted by knight01
    Without commenting on PepperJam itself, the question would be what benefit do you see in joining the network?
    My hope is that by launching on a new network especialy a new one the affiliates that join my program will have email addresses that work and I can start with a clean slate getting to know them one by one (yes I am living in a dream world)


    Quote Originally Posted by knight01
    If you're looking at the network due to tools available, have your current affiliates expressed an interest in these tools?
    Out of all our affiliates I have only been able to get a small few to even talk to me. Again I do not blame them, I blame myself or better yet my company.

    Quote Originally Posted by knight01
    Aside from all of that, how will you be handling cross network commission conflicts?
    At this point a double commission is the least of my concerns

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager tbonehwd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    I can assure you that if HCI participates on the PepperJam Network, your ShareASale datafeed will be excluded from my sites.
    Mark,

    Trust me when I say I don't want to tick you off but why would say just because I join there network you will no longer display our products?
    I have not signed anything yet but this really makes me curious...
    Please your comments are greatly appreciated...

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager tbonehwd's Avatar
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    I pretty sure I have made up my mind that HCI will not be joining, however any thoughts on how to woo some new affiliates would be great. I will continue announcements and banners here on ABW. And yes I am learning from the school of hard knocks...

    Thanks everyone,

  13. #13
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    > "why would say just because I join theIr network you will no longer display our products?" <

    My concern is about "unethical affiliates" who participate in certain networks (and are more tolerated in some networks than others). While I believe that PJ has some stated policies against some types of unethical affiliates, my very limited experiences with PJ lead me to assign them zero credibility. My concern, of course, is that I'd refer you sales that would then be "poached" at the last minute by a toolbar or adware that triggers a cookie through another network.

  14. #14
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    > thoughts on how to woo some new affiliates <

    "Affiliate Recruitment Strategies" (article from 2007)

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    > "why would say just because I join theIr network you will no longer display our products?" <

    My concern is about "unethical affiliates" who participate in certain networks (and are more tolerated in some networks than others). While I believe that PJ has some stated policies against some types of unethical affiliates, my very limited experiences with PJ lead me to assign them zero credibility. My concern, of course, is that I'd refer you sales that would then be "poached" at the last minute by a toolbar or adware that triggers a cookie through another network.
    Mark, it's up to the merchant to screen the affiliates. If the merchant publicly stated they'd disallow software affiliates & sub networks, would that be fine for you?

    As for unethical affiliates, there's a brand that's in a number of affiliate network, and seemingly every affiliate that's gotten kicked from another affiliate program for branded bidding and taking over the official URL moves to ShareASale and stays up for quite some time until they start splitting ad share with another SAS affiliate. Of course all these affiliates are cloaking their traffic through redirects. I'd gamble to say that SAS isn't as clean as you think it is. Maybe you don't have the large parasites, but there are plenty of unethical affiliates that avoid detection in SAS.

  16. #16
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua
    Mark, it's up to the merchant to screen the affiliates. If the merchant publicly stated they'd disallow software affiliates & sub networks, would that be fine for you?

    As for unethical affiliates, there's a brand that's in a number of affiliate network, and seemingly every affiliate that's gotten kicked from another affiliate program for branded bidding and taking over the official URL moves to ShareASale and stays up for quite some time until they start splitting ad share with another SAS affiliate. Of course all these affiliates are cloaking their traffic through redirects. I'd gamble to say that SAS isn't as clean as you think it is. Maybe you don't have the large parasites, but there are plenty of unethical affiliates that avoid detection in SAS.

    can you list affiliate networks that are totally clean? From what I've read her, CJ and Linkshare have parasite issues and cloaking issues. I haven't hear to much about GAN.

    So what's left for a clean network.

  17. #17
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bibby
    can you list affiliate networks that are totally clean? From what I've read her, CJ and Linkshare have parasite issues and cloaking issues. I haven't hear to much about GAN.

    So what's left for a clean network.
    Buy.at
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  18. #18
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Terry, did you do a paid announcement here at ABW to recruit more affiliates? If you haven't consider doing that, offer an additional enticement like a bump in commission or bonus.

    ShareASale also offers featured placement so look into that. Again offering an enticement for production/results might give some added incentive to get busy with your program.

    Those two approaches should get you some more attention.
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  19. #19
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Terry, have you read Geno's book for affiliate managers? Highly recommended - lots of promotional ideas for gaining an affiliate following.
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  20. #20
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    Joshua, Bibby, Bill: No network is completely clean, and certainly there is an endless stream of unethical affiliates who try and try again using aliases and many clever tactics. ShareASale certainly isn't clean, but I think they make a genuine effort to exclude and remove certain categories of unethical affiliates. There is ample evidence that CJ and LS mostly just pay lip service, and seem to gladly accept profits from unethical activity. PJ simply has no credibility: they might actually do a great job of excluding unethical affiliates (though I doubt it), but I simply can't believe a single word they say.

    Screening and "policing" affiliates is primarily the responsibility of the merchant, but it's an impossible task if the network allows offenders to return instantly using a never-ending stream of aliases and masking techniques.

    To return to the specific issue raised in this thread, my concern is that if I refuse to do business with a particular network (LS, PJ, KB) because I don't believe they are ethical, then it makes no sense for me to participate in a merchant's program at SAS or AvantLink or CJ, if I know that the merchant also have a program at one of the less-ethical networks, whose affiliates' activities are likely to poach transactions for which I deserve credit.

    Of course, my focus is always the bottom line -- it's entirely possible that I might earn more money from a "dirty" merchant's program even after having 90% of transactions poached, than from a "clean" merchant's competing program that simply can't convert customers.

  21. #21
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    but there are plenty of unethical affiliates that avoid detection in SAS.
    And plenty of unethical merchants whose links remain active though the tracking mechanisms have been removed from their sites; active because there is still a positive balance in the deposit kitty. Sometimes this can go on for YEARS.

    But as far as your choice regarding the prospect of signing with pepperjam..... as others have said: you probably wouldn't gain access to many more affiliates than are already in the pool at Shareasale.

    As far as an either pepperjam/or shareasale decision goes..... you're best off going with whatever would be most cost effective for you. The end result for the affiliate is the same thing either way; they get paid on time. And that's the bottom line.

    One advantage that pepperjam has over shareasale is that their "store builder" tool creates very pretty pages that update dynamically on the affiliate's sites, whereas shareasale's "make a page" tool creates static pages (often very messy ones) which need to be manually updated periodically.
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  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Tbone, you are not incapable of thinking for yourself. Input is nice, but in the end, you can always revert to the one who pays the bills.... If you feel that PJ is worth a try, you can always try it. Maybe it turns out great, maybe it doesn't. But until you try it on for size, you can never know for sure.

    Good luck in your search.
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  23. #23
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    There are plenty of unethical affiliates and merchants in all the networks. Like in life, there are crroked people in every community. Unfortunately that's a fact of life. As a group we can try and demand penalties for violators and hope our demands are answered.

    To say that there's a higher percentage of crooked merchants and affilaites at SAS and CJ then Pepperjam is a stretch.

  24. #24
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    It takes time to rebuild a program that has been neglected. It isn't impossible. I haven't looked yet at what creatives you have available, are you adding new ones for the specific topics and categories you have? Are their widgets that show books from the various categories? Have you run an activation bonus campaign?

    Before you add another network and more work, remember that recruiting to any network is the same, affiliates need to know you as the merchant and trust you before they are going to dedicate space on their sites to you.

    Are your products available elsewhere that has better tools? Are you paying a competitive commission? What are you giving affiliates to help them promote you? Is your datafeed well categorized? Is it available in PopShops?

    Again, these are general questions, I haven't researched your program. I think you have great products, I personally know people that have contributed to some of the Chicken Soup books. I want you to consider what you haven't done in the existing program before you jump into an additional network that will just mean more dollars and more work.

    Someone suggested you might need an OPM, perhaps it would be smart for your company to hire someone for consultation to overhaul the program and get it moving. One thing many merchants overlook is that the program needs to have certain things in place before recruiting and activating can be effective.
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  25. #25
    Moderator PDXreader's Avatar
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    The first rule of Pepperjam is, you do not talk about Pepperjam. #2 - The second rule of Pepperjam is, you DO NOT talk about Pepperjam .

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