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  1. #1
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    Anyone have experience with ShopStyle/Shopsense?
    I just signed up. Seems like they have a huge selection, but the pay terms are vague. They claim to even pay per click, but don't say how much. Anyone know more about this affiliate network thing?

  2. #2
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    They're not a network.. you apply to become a sub-affiliate. Most of the stores they show have direct affiliate programs.

    Personally I think they have a great engine, but I would prefer to develop my own sites with direct affiliate relationships.

  3. #3
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    tee, thanks for the reply but I'm just trying to find out if they are a worthy place to spend my time and what their payouts are like.

  4. #4
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    The payouts have to be less than the original commission earned on those merchants (ie. Bluefly offer 5%, they may pay you 2%), otherwise they won't make any money
    The rate you are paid per click depends on a number of factors, including how often clicks from your site or widgets result in sales for the retailer, the amount of each sale, and whether those products are returned for a refund.
    So it's ppc with a sales requirement...

    I'm not sure you will find much info here as they are an affiliate themselves.. offering a sub-aff program (that's what I was getting at). If you sign-up, they might disclose the formula for payout (ie. how many sales do you need to earn PPC)

  5. #5
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    yah better make you own site and start an affiliate program, though it's a good start

  6. #6
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    Post I use ShopSense
    Hi, I have incorporated shopstyle/shopsense widgets on my website, and I really like the program. From what it seems, I get 5 cent for every click whether anyone buys a product or not. I am not sure if that amount increases if they do buy something. To be honest, I like it better than google adsense display. You have a lot of pictures and products to choose from. What I do is try to write articles geared around products that I use, which makes it easy for me to promote a product if I have used it before in the past. I then post the articles to my website or a blog site. It's fun and easy. I have only made $5.40 since joining 8/03/09, but it's $5.40 more than I had. You have to get up to $100.00 before they will send you a check or automatic deposit. I have a long ways to go I can't post my website due to the rules to give you an example, but I hope that I have given you some idea as to the potential possibility ShopSense offers. Good Luck to you.

  7. #7
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    To clarify, Shopstyle/ShopSense is an affiliate themselves.

    You receive $.05 per click but you don't know how much commission they make on a sale from your reader.

    However you mention it's fun & easy, which is a selling point, for sure.

    I think it just needs to be clarified here that Shopsense is *not* a network - they are an affiliate, and anyone who uses their apps are a sub-affiliate getting paid to send traffic to merchants (who pay Shopsense for sales).

    Personally I'm earning more in commission than I would make from Adsense/PPC, so I have a pretty strong view that good content is worth more than pennies/click!

  8. #8
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    Head's up and a WARNING:

    While Shopsense/Shopstyle appears to start all of their affiliate members out at $.05 per click, they do drop the rate down to $.03 per click after a few months. It happened to me only two months after I joined with them.

    When emailed, their response was that they occasionally review the accounts of their members and make adjustments based on that data. According to them, my traffic, quality of traffic, and click throughs had gone down, so I was stuck at $.03 per click.

    And....it never went back up again. I've been at $.03 per click since, eight months later. Two cents might not sound like much, but it is a 40% drop- and my website (in the meanwhile) has been absolutely booming, with more traffic than ever. Tens of thousands of daily visitors, and I implement Shopstyle/Shopsense links all over my site.

    AND oddly enough, over at the other ppc affiliates I use? I'm making an average of $.13 per click daily with NO drops in revenue. That is a HUGE difference! So Shopsense, if my traffic has changed, warranting a revenue drop with you- why hasn't that happened with my other affiliates?

    I've begun to run into other website owners that have had the exact same problem with Shopsense. Shopsense maintains the right in their terms to not have to give us, their affiliate members, exact data or numbers (so really, they could tell me that my website that gets tens of thousands of visitors per day only had one click-through and I'd have to believe them), but I know it's not true- and I now have strong reasons to believe that Shopsense doesn't actually review the quality of traffic or click throughs and instead just starts everyone out at $.05 per click to suck them in, and then drops them down to $.03 a click two months later.

    I'd love to hear if anyone else has any experience on this--preferably if you've been involved with them for 6 months to a year and haven't had a plunging revenue drop with them. It is so disappointing, as I loved Shopsense at first and believed they were a great, trustworthy company. I would love for someone to prove me wrong on this- that it really is just me and my website that's the issue- not Shopsense.

    In my opinion what they've been doing is incredibly shady- not so much by dropping my revenue, but by leading me to believe that my traffic had somehow declined (when it clearly has not). Of course, it's their right to run their business the way they want, and it's also my right to take my business and website traffic elsewhere.

    I took my business to other affiliates and haven't looked back since!

  9. #9
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    Angry My rate has decreased too!
    My Shopsense rates have decreased too. I noticed this about 2 weeks ago when I only had gotten paid $.01/click a few times as compared to $.05/click in past months. I just chauked it up to the fact that maybe that particular retailer offered shopstyle less money for referals. However, I won't complain as my traffic has declined, and I viewed it as a fun way to add interesting apps to a site. In other words, I thought it was way cooler and more fun to play around with than google ads. Best wishes to all out there trying to make some extra income :-)

  10. #10
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    Thumbs down Shopsense is an SEO scam
    Shopsense is really an SEO scam. Notice that all their widgets have links for just the right keyword. If you google that keyword they rank #1 or #2. They get their by paying people a CPC in the .05 range. They really make their money off of SEO.

    I setup shopssense on my site and my pagerank went from 5 to a 3. When doing some digging it seems that Google considers these Affiliate ads that pass on SEO value to be Paid Links. What Google will often do is ding the blog that has the paid links on it devaluing all of their links. My organic web traffic declined by 40%. In part this was the penalty that Google hit me with. The other part was that by linking to Shopstyle with the widget it made their site outrank mine for the keyword my blog post was targeting. Shopsense is really sneaky and the widgets are the trojan horse. They are really emulating the Trulia.com widget strategy. They tricked all the realtors to put a trulia widget on their site and then Trulia got all the organic traffic that each realtor should have gotten.

    By linking to Shopstyle you are telling Google that they are a better resource for the subject matter than you are which means Google will prefer their site to your site. Is is really worth the .03 cents / click? that you are getting paid. At that rate you will make $20 / year at the cost of losing most of your organic traffic. But like the guy said previously "it's 5.30 cents" more than i had before.

    Think about the true cost.


    How trulia stole the SEO pie from realtors using link widgets.

    http://activerain.com/blogsview/5006...-google-juice-


    Google's stance on Paid Links
    http://www.google.com/support/webmas...n&answer=66736

  11. #11
    Two hundred visitors, and I made zero yesterday...
    I am not even sure I'm getting .03 a click! When I first joined, my traffic was minimal, so I lived with making zero cents a day. But recently my traffic has spiked to over 200 unique visits (according to Google Analytics) and I made
    .10 one day, zero the next. I'm new to affiliate marketing, so is this typical?

  12. #12
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    More about ShopSense
    Hello all,

    My name is Gui and I'm part of the ShopSense team. I wanted to respond to a few comments that I saw on this thread.

    ShopSense is a Pay Per Click program which as you all know means you get paid for every click made by your users, regardless whether the clicks lead to a sale or not. But like every other affiliate network, we do track sales conversions and that is taken into account to calculate future click rates.

    Each retailer we work with has different terms for payout (ppc, commissions and even no payout some times). Also each retailer has different requirements for their incoming links and how to track them. With ShopSense, you don't need to worry about it: we provide you with a set of tools such as API, widgets and ad units which work the same way across all retailers and are all very easy to use. Also our company is very reactive so we do take any feedback seriously and we regularly add new tools or new features to our existing tools.

    Now to the big question: how much will you make with ShopSense. As mentioned in our FAQ, the click rate depends on a number of factors and varies over time. One of the largest factors is the conversion rate, meaning whether past clicks have led to a sale, therefore the higher your conversion rate, the higher your click rate. We do aim do make sure all bloggers are earning a very fair amount of revenue per click and we are equally sharing with our bloggers in any revenue earned by ShopStyle. We strive to give all of our partners an equal 50/50 split on any revenue derived from your traffic. To achieve this goal we review regularly each individual account and adjust their click rate based on past data.

    I hope I have answered most of the concerns and questions raised in this thread. If not, feel free to continue posting questions on this thread or email us directly at shopsense@shopstyle.com.

  13. #13
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    Angry shopsense sugar inc shopstyle
    Gui thanks for your response. It certainly does seem like shopsense does alot of the heavy lifting in making it simple for people who are new to affiliate marketing. That said it also seems like you are taking advantage of this communities lack of experience. For example it seems that many of your 'easy to deploy' widgets embed hidden links to shopstyle that pass along SEO value.

    Take for example this widget
    ShopSense

    If you look at the html code it seems that you are inserting a link in the html that will help shopstyle rank better in Google for the keyword you put "J. Crew Tops" in there. I'm pretty sure that violates google's terms of service and can get a blogger delisted from the google index or get them penalized because the incentive to put the link in there was financial rather than editorial.


    Similarly with some of your other widgets it seems that you are hiding SEO links in the shopstyle image.
    ShopSense


    Not only is the clever on your part it is also sneaky because the aforementioned links have no tracking code which means you don't have to pay if someone clicks that because there is no tracking code appended to the URL. As you know this is optimal for SEO. So not only are you stealing PageRank from the host site without telling them you are doing so you also are not paying for it when a user clicks the link to go to shopstyle.

    So fellow affiliates it seems that shopsense doesn't really have your best interest at heart. Not only are you paying 1/10th of what i could make in commission junction going directly to a retailer you are also stealing my PageRank.

    No wonder shopstyle.com ranks so high in Google for every apparel search term. If you don't believe me that they are stealing our pagerank just see for yourself how much they dominate Google by searching any of the following terms:

    pucci sale
    men gifts
    silk chiffon
    boyfriend cardigan
    banana republic necklace
    orange bikini
    lip balm
    milly belted
    fishnets
    jean jacket
    rag and bone sale
    pointy toe flats
    linen pant
    pink bra
    nude pumps
    black blazers
    weekend bag
    black and white scarf
    short jacket
    tan hobo
    beach bag
    ferragamo sale
    t strap shoes
    louboutin mary jane
    hooded leather jacket
    mui mui sale


    Coincidence, I think not. Gui if you plan on responding I would recommending addressing the highly troubling text links and hidden logo links that don't have tracking codes and DO pass Google PageRank. At best these links should be 'no followed' at worst they shouldn't even be there at all.

    Ok, I will get off my soapbox. I just get so angry when clever affiliate marketers take advantage of the little guys lack of tech savvy.

  14. #14
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    I would love to Gui's response.

  15. #15
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by domain7 View Post
    I would love to Gui's response.
    Actually, so would I. I'd hate to think that there's a program that is taking advantage of publishers in this way, but I wouldn't necessarily be surprised.

    Gui-ShopSense these are serious accusations that, if left unanswered, could undermine trust in your program. Assuming that you are actually using links in this way, many may assume that a lack of response is an admission of wrong doing while you may have a perfectly legitimate explanation for the use of hidden and naked links. If in fact there is some disclosure of this practice in your TOS or other documentation, you may want to post that portion here so there is no confusion.

    -rematt

    Note: An e-mail has been sent to Gui-ShopSense at the address given above in the event that they are no longer monitoring this thread.
    "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

  16. #16
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    Never heard of Shopsense (nice name though), but I do find that those that offer pay per click, soon withdraw it after a very short while

  17. #17
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    Happy to respond. Unlike stated by Stylistacaster, there is not a single hidden link. All our widgets include a "Powered By" logo which links to our home page which we don't think is unreasonable and a "See More" link pointing to ShopStyle. It is correct that the "See More" links didn't have the tracking code and we just fixed it. But all clicks to retailers have the tracking code, including the ones in the look based widgets with a montage of items. As for our IAB ad units, we include a non-hidden link outside the iFrame that says "get ads like these" which can easily be removed by the blogger.

  18. #18
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    shopsense nonsense
    Gui, you are right those aren't hidden links in that they are visible, what i meant was that they didn't have tracking codes appended to them making them free traffic for shopstyle.

    First of all, I applaud you for making the changes to your system based on my prior comment and adding the tracking code to ALL elements of your widgets. After all if i'm hosting your widget on my site i should be paid for any click to your site or a retailer. I'm glad you agree.

    Second of all, I also say shame on you for not at all addressing the SEO concerns in any of your comments. You are paying us fashion bloggers per click to put widgets that pass Pagerank to shopstyle. So you are getting a big benefit of free seo link juice. Shouldn't those text links and the logo link be 'no followed' or do you think you deserve our link juice for free? If so i would be interested in hearing your rationale. Google strongly disapproves of paid links and occassionaly penalizes (http://searchengineland.com/official-selling-paid-links-can-hurt-your-pagerank-or-rankings-on-google-12360) sites that engage in paid links schemes. Do you think you should warn shopsense affiliates that their blog ould be penalized or de-indexed from google by participating in your program?

    Correct me if I am wrong but I beleive Google explicitly states that there is a right way and a wrong way to do paid links. Doing it the wrong way can end up in both your blog and shopstyle getting dinged. Google is policing for things like outfitidentifier.com or audrinapatridge.com/shop.php so that automated link spam does not dominate search results. Please don't be coy as we affiliates are not a naive bunch but rather some of the most savvy search marketers on the internet.

    BTW. Your individual products widgets don't link to the homepage from the 'poweredby' logo they link the shopstyle browse page.
    See for your self here:
    http://shopsense.shopstyle.com
    Last edited by 2busy; November 28th, 2010 at 06:59 AM. Reason: unlinking

  19. #19
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    I'm interested to see what shopsense comes back with. I'm a newbie and I just signed up for their shopsense account. I liked the widgets and have already put one on my blog. I did realize that they're an affiliate themselves (using data feeds i assume) and they seem to be doing a good job with that. However, I was unaware of the seo ramifications that stylistacaster has brought up.

    Thanks stylistacaster and fashionsense!

    Just wanted to say to everyone that it's my first time on the forum and I'm really excited about the discussions.

  20. #20
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    Ceezee-

    I think we all were excited about Shopsense/Shopstyle (and the discussions of it), but they've continued to be evasive and shady when it comes to several of their practices. While their program is easy to use (they get major points for that!), it comes at an extremely high price- by messing up SEO rank and extremely low pay out rates. Time and time again, it seems, I've run into bloggers and web designers that begin with Shopsense making decent $$ per click, and then it suddenly drops a few months later, typically to the upwards of 40%, and Shopsense can NEVER give a clear explanation as to why. Since Shopsense doesn't include the amount of clicks the user gets every day (like most PPC programs do) in reporting, we can only trust them to be honest.

    So the question is- are they honest? It's hard to say. Since there are PPC companies out there that are upfront, non-evasive, and completely transparent with reporting (the user can see exactly what they make every day, can even customize links to see what they make in revenue off of that one link and how many click-throughs that certain link has), I find it odd that Shopsense has all the bells and whistles with their program EXCEPT this one option. It's left an extremely bad taste in my mouth; it sounds shady to me.

    I have stopped using the program entirely- and have taken my business/revenue elsewhere to a company that has actually offered to pay me MORE per click since I make decent money for them. Imagine that- a company that rewards good affiliates with bonuses and not by inexplicably dropping their revenues by 40% months after they sign on to the program without any clear reason why.

    While Shopstyle and Shopsense can run their business any way that they wish (it's their right- they could drop everyone to $.00001 per click if they wanted!), as an affiliate and business owner myself I hold a policy that I will only work with other businesses that I feel are truthful, fair, and honest- and I can happily take my own business/revenue/traffic to other affiliate programs that are more align with my values.

    And well, in the end- the other affiliates also make me more money than Shopstyle/Shopsense ever has. After all, that's what it's all about- isn't it?

  21. #21
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    Stykistacaster and Sillyme:

    As a newbie to this whole affiliate, sub-affiliate market place, I found your comments and questions to Gui both interesting and enlightening. I still need that an answer on the passing along of SEO value today. Although the discussion is old it had historical value. I was reading a historical discussion that left me hanging in mid sentence. Who bails on a discussion at such a critical junction. I was like reading a book getting to the end and someone ripped out the last 10 pages. Go a lot to learn thank you all for the Ph.D class. Have a lot more research and learning to do.

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