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  1. #1
    Full Member kayecee's Avatar
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    Dick Blick
    Does anyone know who the aff manager is at Dick Blick?

    I have a forum that caters to graphic artists. When I first started it, I applied to their program and got turned down flat. Now that it's been open over a year and I have a few hundred members and several lurkers per day, I would REALLY like for them to reconsider because I feel that they would convert well.

    I applied again.... I'm not sure that anything happened though because it still shows DECLINED to the right. I went to the company and sent them an email explaining the situation and gave them links to the forum through their system about a week ago, but I've heard nothing.

    I not only want to add a few banners to the forum, but I'm adding a Supply area to my site. Dick Blick has some really good products that would ease in there, but I can't wait for a response forever. So does anyone know what else I can try?

    Since they've been so slow to acknowledge me, I'm also worried about how "on the ball" they are with the aff program. I searched here and only see 2 recent posts... both naming them as merchants of parasites. *sigh* So if anyone has had any recent experience with them, I'd like to know the good, the bad, and the ugly please.

    If anyone has a GREAT merchant with a LOT of art supplies in PopShops, I'm all ears. I've looked through, but I may have missed one because the list is so long.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Check Mister Art. They convert pretty well.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
    Full Member kayecee's Avatar
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    Thanks Loxly!

  4. #4
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    You can also try Jerry's Artarama at CJ.

  5. #5
    Full Member kayecee's Avatar
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    Thanks BurgerBoy... I don't see them in Popshops.... I might add some banners though....

  6. #6
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    Blick Art Materials response
    Quote Originally Posted by kayecee
    Does anyone know who the aff manager is at Dick Blick?

    I have a forum that caters to graphic artists. When I first started it, I applied to their program and got turned down flat. Now that it's been open over a year and I have a few hundred members and several lurkers per day, I would REALLY like for them to reconsider because I feel that they would convert well.

    I applied again.... I'm not sure that anything happened though because it still shows DECLINED to the right. I went to the company and sent them an email explaining the situation and gave them links to the forum through their system about a week ago, but I've heard nothing.

    I not only want to add a few banners to the forum, but I'm adding a Supply area to my site. Dick Blick has some really good products that would ease in there, but I can't wait for a response forever. So does anyone know what else I can try?

    Since they've been so slow to acknowledge me, I'm also worried about how "on the ball" they are with the aff program. I searched here and only see 2 recent posts... both naming them as merchants of parasites. *sigh* So if anyone has had any recent experience with them, I'd like to know the good, the bad, and the ugly please.

    If anyone has a GREAT merchant with a LOT of art supplies in PopShops, I'm all ears. I've looked through, but I may have missed one because the list is so long.

    Thanks.
    Hi, Kayecee, I was just in the "neighborhood" and saw this post. I'm Patty Paul (formerly James), and I manage the day to day stuff for Blick Art Materials affiliate program.

    I was concerned about the experience you reported -- the slowness of response, and posts about our being merchants of "parasites"(?) in particular -- so I went back through my records to see if I could determine what had happened.

    I apologize for your not receiving an immediate response to your request to have your website reconsidered for affiliate status. The request did come in on a Friday, and I responded and also accepted your website as an affiliate site on that following Monday when I returned to work. I'm in the office Monday through Friday, and I make a point of catching up all of the weekend correspondence on Mondays, if possible, but no later than Tuesdays. We're a small business, and, unfortunately, we don't currently have 24 hour / 7 days a week coverage for our affiliate program.

    Also, I see that you had requested on that Monday some additional information to maximize your promotion of Blick Art Materials, and I did send information the same day. If you didn't get one or both of my emails, please let me know, and I'll be glad to re-send them. It's been our experience that our emails do sometimes get caught up in spam filters because of our website URL / company name. If that's case, I am really sorry about that. Please, in the future, if you don't hear back by email from us, give us a call at 800-447-8192. You can ask for me by name for anything regarding the affiliate program.

    Finally, I'm not sure what you are referring to as far as the concern about our marketing "parasites"? Being the premier online art retail site, we have a fairly substantial number of affiliates. Nevertheless, we are very selective about the affiliates we choose, and we turn down many more sites than we accept. We do random checks of our affiliate sites, monitor affiliate sales daily, check known malware URLs against our affiliate database, and are very hands-on with our program although Commission Junction handles many of the automated management tasks. We certainly want to know if there are affiliates who are using unscrupulous or intrusive marketing techniques so that we can address those issues.

    I tried to send this as a private message to you, but I haven't posted enough here, so I wasn't allowed to! Please let me know if I can help further.

    Respectfully yours,

    Blick Art Materials Affiliate Team

    Patty Paul
    Blick Art Materials

  7. #7
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    I'm past the 30 minute cutoff for editing the above post, so I'll add this. I looked into the issue of other Blick posts, and found the parasiteware posts to which you are referring, so I have a better understanding of where you are coming from in your post, Kayecee.

    As far as affiliate "parasites," the issue of loyaltyware is both complicated and controversial. Our primary concern, in addition to making sure that our affiliates are treated fairly, is that the consumer have a choice. If the consumer chooses to download loyalty software in order to take advantage of rebates or rewards, then the consumer has made that loyalty site their affiliate site of choice, and that does get reflected in who gets credit for the sale. For that matter, a consumer can choose to delete cookies from their system at any time, thereby depriving the affiliate of credit for the sale. If you look at our "rebate rate" on those sites, you will see that it is typically low compared to other art retailers. Currently, we turn down the majority of incentivized sites, and for those we are already affiliated with, we have, just this past year, implemented a lower commission rate for web sites with incentive programs than the rate we offer to the average affiliate.

  8. #8
    Full Member kayecee's Avatar
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    Ok.... let me throw out this analogy....

    You pay for a booth at a festival where you're selling memberships to a country club or whatever and you'll get $100 for every membership you sell.... you've paid for the booth.... you've paid for the posters and such surrounding your booth... you've paid for the table.... you've worked your butt off to write good copy for brochures and such to show your customers.... you've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this project.....

    The day of the festival dawns and you open with anticipation.... the only problem is, every time a customer comes up, you go into your sales mode pitch, you land the sale, walk to the cash register and then a guy sitting in a chair next door yells, "Wait a minute! Buy from me and I'll donate $50 to your favorite charity!"

    Yes.... it's the customer's free will to walk over there and buy from the guy next door BUT:

    1. The guy is stealing YOUR commission from YOUR hard work and YOUR efforts.

    2. The customer probably doesn't realize that the guy is excited because he's about to pocket $50. They just think the guy is a great philanthropist.

    3. The country club is paying the guy in the next booth for doing NO WORK. When you complain, the country club tells you.... well, the issue is controversial and complicated. The customer has a free will and made his choice. He can cross out your name on the referral form at any time, thereby depriving you of credit from that sale any way.

    How long would YOU promote that country club?

    It doesn't matter that you give them a lower commission rate than you'd give me. I don't care if I'd make $10 off a sale, but you'll only pay them $5 for taking the sale from me. My sale is still lost from an uninformed consumer who thinks they're doing a great deed without realizing that they're taking food off the table of the marketer who did all the work.

    You need to look at some of the videos out there. You can very well be paying for advertising of your own that you're paying an affiliate like that commission for. Yep.... looks good on paper.... that affiliate sure does send you a lot of sales.... but how many of those sales are from THEIR marketing efforts trying to get your name out there for you and how many of those sales are from poor saps like me who work our butts off to promote you only to see no benefit?

    OR how many of those sales are from you spending your own money to advertise only to have them pop a window when a customer goes to your shopping cart after YOU'VE paid for the advertising, done all of the sales work and lured the customer to the cart to begin with?

    And I'm glad to know where I stand before I open the Supply Area up to the public.

  9. #9
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    Would you suggest forcing the customer to stick with one vendor when another offers them a better deal? Telling them they can't cross your name off of the referral form?

    And, of course, we would rather the customer come straight to us than through an affiliate -- we do pay good money for our advertising, and we put a lot of time and effort into customer service from the sales pitch to sales after-care. But happily, we recognize the value of our affiliates in helping to keep our name and products out in front of the public.

  10. #10
    Full Member kayecee's Avatar
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    Clearing cookies is one thing..... loyalty programs are entirely different animals....

    I don't care if another affiliate spends their own time and money to advertise a merchant and lands the sale on their own. A customer who sees their advertising and chooses to do business with them is fine and dandy by me. I DO have a problem when a customer comes to MY site, is itching to buy something from me and another affiliate gets the commission for it.

    From what you're saying, a Wal Mart employee could go stand at K Mart and stop customers at the cash register to point out what they can get cheaper at Wal Mart.

    A customer MAY be able to buy that tv cheaper at Wal Mart, but it's Wal Mart's job to advertise and make sure potential customers are aware of that fact BEFORE they walk through K Mart's doors to make a purchase.

  11. #11
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    I'm not certain how you are viewing, say, an ebates, as not having done advertising, etc. Will you explain?

  12. #12
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMJames
    Would you suggest forcing the customer to stick with one vendor when another offers them a better deal? Telling them they can't cross your name off of the referral form?
    Toolbar affiliates aren't offering the customer a better deal, in fact they're usually misleading them by allowing to believe that they themselves are charitable organizations. At the very least force them to make a full disclosure and inform the consumer that they are keeping at least half of the "donation". Make them inform the consumer that they are in fact stealing commissions from the site that provided them with the information necessary for them to make an informed decision to purchase from you in the first place. And inform your bosses that toolbar affiliates make your numbers look better by stealing from their bottom line.

    Allowing toolbar affiliates into your program allows them to redirect the consumer AFTER the customers CHOICE to visit our sites and subsequently follow our recommendations to visit your site. If they were really making an affirmative choice of the toolbar affiliate they would have started with their site, not chosen it as an afterthought once they've been reminded to "DONATE". And no, it is not the customers choice who receives a commission on the sale. Your TOS is between you and your affiliates. Not you, the affiliate and the consumer. If you wish to pay the referring affiliate their full commission and also donate to the consumers favorite charity, that's great. But it should come out of your pocket, not mine. You made the choice, not me.

    If you want honest affiliates in your program, get rid of the thieves. You're going to find it increasingly difficult to keep both. And guess what? The thieves are useless unless we send you the consumers in the first place.

    -rematt
    "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

  13. #13
    Full Member kayecee's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter whether or not another affiliate advertises... they can spend $50 million a year if they want and I'm cool with that if they can afford it...

    BUT it does matter whether or not THEIR advertising brought the customer to your doorstep or whether or not MY advertising brought the customer to your doorstep.

    If it's MY work that brings you the sale then I should be the one compensated.... if it's their advertising and hard work that garnered a sale for you, then I can live with them receiving the commission and I know I need to step up my game.

    To give them commission for work performed by me is allowing them to take from me against my will. And again... I don't care if you're going to pay them $5 and me $10 for the same sale.... it is still money that comes from my pocket.... it's money that I didn't give permission for someone else to take.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager jclaydon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMJames
    I'm not certain how you are viewing, say, an ebates, as not having done advertising, etc. Will you explain?
    James -

    While I agree some toolbars are bad news, specifically the ones that force clicks when customers land on a merchant page (these are subsequently discovered by the major networks and removed), the majority of people here will cry incessantly about how evil they are.

    I'm on the same page with you about having a choice to install the software. It's an active decision by the customer and follows the rules set forth by the networks.

    What no one here ever brings up, is that when a customer is shopping on a site and they get a message that pops up and offers to give them a rebate and/or a coupon for any purchase they make, it INCREASES conversion and order size. Ultimately, that is a win for the merchant. There is no guarantee that a customer will complete a purchase just because they are on your site - I'm sure you know your own cart abandonment rates etc.

    As for loyaltyware hurting your bottom line, the percent of installs for most loyalty partners is pretty minimal - Ebates has less than 1% of their user base installed from what I remember.

    All major loyalty programs also separate out their toolbars with different PID's so that you can track those sales separately. I ran one of the largest programs on CJ, and our loyalty partner sales from their toolbars never once reached over 10% of their total sales (Meaning that if ShopAtHome did $100k for the week their software only accounted for 10% of sales). All other merchants that I've spoken with see the same results.
    [FONT=Arial][B][COLOR=Navy]Jonathan Claydon | [email]jclaydon@real.com[/email][/COLOR] |[COLOR=Gray] Director - Affiliate and Partner Marketing[/COLOR] |[/B] [COLOR=Blue]Real[/COLOR]Networks, Inc.[/FONT]

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    Toolbar affiliates aren't offering the customer a better deal, in fact they're usually misleading them by allowing to believe that they themselves are charitable organizations. At the very least force them to make a full disclosure and inform the consumer that they are keeping at least half of the "donation". Make them inform the consumer that they are in fact stealing commissions from the site that provided them with the information necessary for them to make an informed decision to purchase from you in the first place. And inform your bosses that toolbar affiliates make your numbers look better by stealing from their bottom line.

    Allowing toolbar affiliates into your program allows them to redirect the consumer AFTER the customers CHOICE to visit our sites and subsequently follow our recommendations to visit your site. If they were really making an affirmative choice of the toolbar affiliate they would have started with their site, not chosen it as an afterthought once they've been reminded to "DONATE". And no, it is not the customers choice who receives a commission on the sale. Your TOS is between you and your affiliates. Not you, the affiliate and the consumer. If you wish to pay the referring affiliate their full commission and also donate to the consumers favorite charity, that's great. But it should come out of your pocket, not mine. You made the choice, not me.

    If you want honest affiliates in your program, get rid of the thieves. You're going to find it increasingly difficult to keep both. And guess what? The thieves are useless unless we send you the consumers in the first place.

    -rematt
    For the customer looking for a discount, rebate, some type of break on the cost of their purchase, or wanting some of their consumer dollars to go towards a charitable cause, these sites do offer the customer a "better deal." Businesses are well aware that these sites cut into profits. So, for that matter, do affiliate commissions, if we are honest. But if the customer who wouldn't make the purchase at our price or on our recommendation WILL make the purchase at a rebated price, or because of a particular artist's recommendation, then we have the chance, through that sale, to sell the customer on our brand, and hopefully earn their repeat business which is the bread and butter of retail sales.

    At any rate, could you give me an example of an affiliate in our program who does not list the percentage of the profit or sale that goes to charity? My own quick search shows our affiliates (and there aren't many in this category in our program) do list this information. If and when we note a lack of transparency in an affiliate's dealings, we do intervene and request that the affiliate make the information available.

    Also, you are assuming that the consumer must have seen our name at your site before seeing it on the incentive site, and I'm not sure why that assumption is any more plausible than the assumption that they either saw our name and info on the incentive site first, or simply knew our brand name to begin with and wanted to save money on their purchase through a rebate or contribute something of their purchase towards a charitable cause.

    Finally, in an affiliate sale, there ARE three parties: the merchant, the affiliate and the customer. Once the purchase is made, the customer is our customer. We fill their order and provide any further service required. Just as I cannot and would not force the customer to keep a particular affiliate's cookie in their system, neither can I deny the customer the right to make the purchase through an incentive site. The incentive site's role in securing the sale can't just be dismissed, especially since the customer has "voted" for them by spending their dollars through them. I'm not saying that some of the larger incentive sites aren't something of a "Wal-mart" of the internet -- threatening the livelihood of the smaller guy. We do thoughtfully revisit this issue on a regular basis. But the fact is, especially in today's economy, the customer is looking for the best deal -- for savings, or for something "extra" to come out of the sale.

    From my personal perspective, I work for a very conscientious company that offers good products at great prices with standard-setting customer service. In order for us to continue to do what we do, we have to give the customer what they want. Nevertheless, we aren't willing to make a sale at any cost -- our acceptance rate of about 20% of the potential affiliates who apply to our program attests to the fact that we won't do business with just anyone. So, I have to respectfully disagree with your blanket generalization about incentivized sites. We work very hard to make sure that our affiliate sites allow our customers to make informed purchasing decisions. Persons using loyalty sites have made a choice.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclaydon
    James -

    What no one here ever brings up, is that when a customer is shopping on a site and they get a message that pops up and offers to give them a rebate and/or a coupon for any purchase they make, it INCREASES conversion and order size. Ultimately, that is a win for the merchant. There is no guarantee that a customer will complete a purchase just because they are on your site - I'm sure you know your own cart abandonment rates etc.

    As for loyaltyware hurting your bottom line, the percent of installs for most loyalty partners is pretty minimal - Ebates has less than 1% of their user base installed from what I remember.

    All major loyalty programs also separate out their toolbars with different PID's so that you can track those sales separately. I ran one of the largest programs on CJ, and our loyalty partner sales from their toolbars never once reached over 10% of their total sales (Meaning that if ShopAtHome did $100k for the week their software only accounted for 10% of sales). All other merchants that I've spoken with see the same results.
    Thanks, J. Our numbers here are in line with what you saw working with CJ and loytalty partners. Any affiliate -- incentive site or otherwise -- who starts showing a big increase in sales share is thoroughly investigated to make sure that they are not illegally bidding on our brand, using cloaked links or otherwise covertly redirecting (or hijacking) sales. We actually have more problems losing profits through violations of our protected terms in SEM than we do from anything else.

    And, by the way, I don't see a lot of affiliate outrage about that, although there should be. By standards of fairness, one affiliate can't be allowed to bid on our name and profit from it if we don't allow others to do so, as well. We have a blanket policy against it, so if there's an affiliate bidding on our terms, not only are we losing, but so are other affiliates who don't have the advantage of that outrightly prohibited practice.

  17. #17
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    So, both of these program managers are ok with toolbars popping on affiliate referred traffic. Fair enough. I'd like to ask an honest question, do you mind if they pop on your ppc campaign traffic?
    Someday starts today
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  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager jclaydon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knight01
    So, both of these program managers are ok with toolbars popping on affiliate referred traffic. Fair enough. I'd like to ask an honest question, do you mind if they pop on your ppc campaign traffic?

    Being that toolbars account for such a small percentage of overall affiliate sales (less than 1% in my experience) and a much much smaller percentage of overall online sales, my answer would be no. They do not significantly impact any marketing channel.

    *At Real, we don't do any volume with loyalty sites so this is based on my previous experience running large retail programs
    [FONT=Arial][B][COLOR=Navy]Jonathan Claydon | [email]jclaydon@real.com[/email][/COLOR] |[COLOR=Gray] Director - Affiliate and Partner Marketing[/COLOR] |[/B] [COLOR=Blue]Real[/COLOR]Networks, Inc.[/FONT]

  19. #19
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    Smile
    Quote Originally Posted by knight01
    So, both of these program managers are ok with toolbars popping on affiliate referred traffic. Fair enough. I'd like to ask an honest question, do you mind if they pop on your ppc campaign traffic?
    No less, I'm sure, than you would if they did on your ppc campaign traffic.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMJames
    No less, I'm sure, than you would if they did on your ppc campaign traffic.
    So you do mind if they pop up on your ppc.
    Do you mind if they pop up on other affiliates' ppc?

    And how do you make sure they don't pop on either your ppc or other affiliates's ppc. By letting toolbars into your program, you are giving your tacit approval to allow them to pop up and overide cookies at the point of sale.

  21. #21
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    You don't want them popping on ppc traffic. But lets be honest, it's about conversions.

    For the customer looking for a discount, rebate, some type of break on the cost of their purchase, or wanting some of their consumer dollars to go towards a charitable cause, these sites do offer the customer a "better deal." Businesses are well aware that these sites cut into profits. So, for that matter, do affiliate commissions, if we are honest. But if the customer who wouldn't make the purchase at our price or on our recommendation WILL make the purchase at a rebated price, or because of a particular artist's recommendation, then we have the chance, through that sale, to sell the customer on our brand, and hopefully earn their repeat business which is the bread and butter of retail sales.
    (bolded by me)

    Making the sale being the ultimate goal, not allowing toolbars to pop on your own ppc campaign means you must not value what toolbars bring to the table on your traffic, but you do on affiliate traffic. Is that what I'm reading from these posts?

    If toolbars, installed on even just .0001%, of your visitors can help you sell your product(s), why not encourage toolbars to pop on your seo, ppc or branded traffic?
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  22. #22
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    Knight, I said I would mind pop ups on my ppc campaigns as much as the next person. I don't handle our ppc campaigns, though, so I honestly don't even know if it is possible to prevent pop-ups on them, or, if possible, how that would work. If we could, I'm sure that we would, since we pay good money on those campaigns AND SEM traffic accounts for a huge share of the market. If we weigh the traffic we get through SEM and through affiliate marketing, then maybe we could make an intelligent comparison of the strategies for the both. I don't currently have the data to make a reasonable comparison.

    And you will also note that I said in more than one way, more than once, that we aren't willing to make a sale at any cost. I gave info to back that up.

    You also did not bold the part of the statement about customers being willing to make a purchase on an artist or other type of affiiate's recommendation when they may not be willing to make a purchase simply on ours. This is why we value our affiliates -- they can give some customers that "something more" they need before they are willing to take out their pocketbook.

  23. #23
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMJames
    You also did not bold the part of the statement about customers being willing to make a purchase on an artist or other type of affiiate's recommendation when they may not be willing to make a purchase simply on ours. This is why we value our affiliates -- they can give some customers that "something more" they need before they are willing to take out their pocketbook.
    I didn't bold it because that is not how toolbars work. They don't make recommendations. They simply offer some type of incentive to the toolbar user to allow them to overwrite the cookie.

    I can appreciate you not knowing the status of your ppc campaign and if toolbars pop on them or not. it's not your department to know that. But with businesses looking at every angle to improve their bottom line, I would suggest that this is something your company needs to co-ordinate. The affiliate team needs to be working very closing with the ppc team as well as the other marketing channels. When this happens and tracking is put in place, you would find that in fact those toolbars are popping on the ppc traffic and costing your company money.
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  24. #24
    Affiliate Manager jclaydon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knight01
    I didn't bold it because that is not how toolbars work. They don't make recommendations. They simply offer some type of incentive to the toolbar user to allow them to overwrite the cookie.

    I can appreciate you not knowing the status of your ppc campaign and if toolbars pop on them or not. it's not your department to know that. But with businesses looking at every angle to improve their bottom line, I would suggest that this is something your company needs to co-ordinate. The affiliate team needs to be working very closing with the ppc team as well as the other marketing channels. When this happens and tracking is put in place, you would find that in fact those toolbars are popping on the ppc traffic and costing your company money.

    Again, the volume is statistically insignificant for most companies. This is an irrational argument that is often made to try to get merchants to stop working with the big loyalty sites. Please refer to my previous posts, and James' referencing the percentage of sales that actually come from toolbars. It is minuscule.

    PPC campaigns will suffer much more from trademark offenders than they ever will be affected by any toolbar sales.
    [FONT=Arial][B][COLOR=Navy]Jonathan Claydon | [email]jclaydon@real.com[/email][/COLOR] |[COLOR=Gray] Director - Affiliate and Partner Marketing[/COLOR] |[/B] [COLOR=Blue]Real[/COLOR]Networks, Inc.[/FONT]

  25. #25
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclaydon
    Again, the volume is statistically insignificant for most companies. This is an irrational argument that is often made to try to get merchants to stop working with the big loyalty sites. Please refer to my previous posts, and James' referencing the percentage of sales that actually come from toolbars. It is minuscule.

    PPC campaigns will suffer much more from trademark offenders than they ever will be affected by any toolbar sales.
    Statistically insignificant. What are your total sales per year?
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