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  1. #1
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    I had an interesting conversation today with another affiliate marketer, one I had never meet and who has never visited abestweb. This guy does very well and brought up some interesting points that may have been brought up here but I cannot remember reading any posts touching on the subject.

    In summary this affiliate, also a CPA, was giving me the low down on what he thinks is bad accounting and some of the dirty activities of some merchants. Basically it came down to, is that he beleives that there needs to be some independant auditors that audit the affiliate networks, I thought it was a good point, after all is anyone truly looking out for our best interests? I know not all merchants are "dirty" but we know that plenty of them have cheated us out of commissions. Recent activities like the KB Toys bankruptcy, we all lost our commissions, some folsk say CJ had some money upfront, I have no idea but it would be nice to see if all is right with merchants who reverse tons of sales.

    How can we get auditors? I have no clue since there are so many of us out there and no real structure to our business.

    It's hard to summarize my 1 hour plus conversation and I'm not one for long winded posts, but maybe it's a good start to a good topic?

    Another brief topic discusses was how a merchant has totally copied the way he promotes his sites (he indicated he accounted for a very large percentage of all affiliate sales). I guess I have never really thought about a retailer stealing my ideas since I am not in the upper tier of affiliates. Think about that AM who is allowed to be an affiliate of his own program, cha ching, lots of free resources at his door step. We all have read about the parasites and their questionable behavior. I know this business can get pretty disgusting. I am wondering if anything can be done to clean it up, just a little?

    I applaud retailers like Backcountry store who level the paying field and pull no dirty tricks.

    I hope I am not just bringing up old topics that were beat to death already

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    The affiliate marketing industry, and the online marketing industry as a whole, are still in their infancy.

    In due time, "trusted third party" tracking/payment processors will be regulated and monitored by the government as the financial institutions that they are.

    ------------------------------
    "It be's dat way sumtimes." ~ Coco B. Ware

  3. #3
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    I agree with Chief_Beef...

    And, that's the bottom line because it's my2cents!

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Just don't hire Arthur Andersen or their ilk...

    ~Cheapskate merchants need not apply

  5. #5
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I hope I am not just bringing up old topics that were beat to death already <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Beaten, chased, taunted, threatened, pied in the face, beaten again, yes. But not to death yet. We all long for the day when we can just conduct our business to the benefit of all parties involved without having to chase our own tails and chase the tails for those who would siphon the gas from our tank.

    ------------------------------
    "It be's dat way sumtimes." ~ Coco B. Ware

  6. #6
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    I think it is a good idea that some trusted 3rd party look after the affiliate network, if it could be worked out. I do wonder how many merchants would pull back from offering an affiliate program in such a case. Obviously not all merchants are dishonest and more than willing to rip off their affiliates. Perhaps some of the more reliable ones can get together to start a pilot project...

    Probably wishful thinking.

    Latest Survey Results show that 85% of snowblowers are sold to lonely snowmen...

  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Who's going to audit the "trusted 4th party" that'll be auditing the "trusted 3rd party" who's already supposed to be auditing the "trusted 2nd party?" LOL

    Being serious, remember that even with Federal regulation, financial institutions still get in trouble. That shows that they still try to get away with BS despite the regulations. Affiliates will always have to keep an eye out--Feds are great at *punishing* wrongdoing, but not always so hot at preventing it from happening in the first place.

    ~Cheapskate merchants need not apply

  8. #8
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    The networks were supposed to be the trusted third party that kept us from the abuse of theiving merchants and vise versa. Now, the trusted third party isn't to be trusted.! What a complete riot.

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!
    Affiliates, before you use CJ merchants, Read This! Comments are to be interpreted as opinion unless otherwise noted.

  9. #9
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    I couldn't agree more with Leader. I think this forum and others like it serve as the best audit process. With test orders, reports, posts etc. - keeps merchants in line. There are always those who try to beat the "system" but remember what comes around goes around. Merchants who cheat their affiliates will always lose in the long run. You guys are too smart for those who choose to cheat their affiliates.
    Howie

    Howie Goldberg
    Affiliate Manager
    www.1lingeriestore.com
    (800)206-7230
    amh@webc1.com
    www.1lingeriestore.com/affiliates.htm

  10. #10
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    whatever we want, we're still going to have to pay for it in order to have it.


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  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I think this forum and others like it serve as the best audit process. With test orders, reports, posts etc. - keeps merchants in line. There are always those who try to beat the "system" but remember what comes around goes around. Merchants who cheat their affiliates will always lose in the long run. You guys are too smart for those who choose to cheat their affiliates.
    Howie
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Could not have said it better. I don't trust any 3rd, 4th, 5th or 100th trusted third party to monitor anyone. There are those that will always get paid-off or merchants that will want auditors to sit on their Boards, to tricky for me.

    I think ABW is the perfect place, hopefully it never goes away or get side tracked or one-side with any merchant or affiliate. if it ever does then another will start.

    I don't think policing the police does any good, I believe in companies being able to monitor themself and the rights for corporations to keep others out. Arthur Anderson is a perfect example of why not do it.

    Between those of us that are honest and stay honest and promote good merchants that's all we need to stick together here.

  12. #12
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    Well said. Sounds good to me.

    Latest Survey Results show that 85% of snowblowers are sold to lonely snowmen...

  13. #13
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    "There are always those who try to beat the "system" but remember what comes around goes around. Merchants who cheat their affiliates will always lose in the long run."

    How will the merchants lose? Although affiliate marketing can be profitable, for many merchants it is only a a small percentage of sales.

    I do agree with what you folks are saying about 2nd, 3rd parties etc... Abestweb is a great place to try and keep merchants honest but abestweb does not include all affiliates and there are many merchants who never read this board.

    Obviously the networks have to keep our best interests in the forefront because without affiliates there are no networks. But sometimes you have to wonder. They will always make their money of monthly fees but who knows how much we are getting screwed? With the 1,000's of affiliates it would be easy to skim just a little of the top of all of us and we might never know.

    And yes, this Net business is in it's infancy but poorly raised children grow up to be bad kids. And by the time the "feds" get involved things will get better, just like my inbox has no spam in it anymore.

  14. #14
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    Normally in situations like this. There is another party that would audit the network, and then they would be legally responsible for their audit. It is not that odd of a thing in the business world.

    And in the affiliate world, I believe in the gambling networks, a few of them are audited by outside agencies.

    I imagine the audits are never so detailed to catch everything, but the idea is you should be able to catch any meta behavoir that is shady.

    I think the lack of use of auditors in this industry says something.

    Chet

  15. #15
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    Get Todd or anyone else from any network to tell you they are a trusted third party. Find it in documentation and point it out to me.

    CJ and other networks position is "the merchant must make the decision if they will or will not do business with parasitic affiliates or not." This is not the role of a trusted thrid party nor is it one that requires a COC to protect the affiliates and merchants doing business in the network.

    Auditing is always a good thing and I would favor it but what is needed here IMO is complete government regulation. Thieves who prey on merhcants, affiliates and consumers should not be allowed to openly operate in a financial environment of any kind. Thats not the case as it currently stands.

    ** Have you asked for change? **

  16. #16
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    There is a simple way to get out of that. The networks supply us affiliates with shopping carts and the possibility to let purchasers directly shop though us. So we controle the cookies and merchants controle the cookies and networks controle the cookies. And all thre report what they have and according to that commissions are paid.

    carneol

  17. #17
    Affiliate/AM Moonlighter dflsports's Avatar
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    I think Happypoon needs to get all the cookie overwriter stuff documented (if he has not already), and start a class action lawsuit and then get every Abestweber to join him.

    Straight out of Scareface "Meet my little friend" as he produces a palm pilot with all his evidence on it

  18. #18
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    Take a look at this post as what you're suggesting does seem a lot more viable as an option :

    http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...065#9516090065

    ** Have you asked for change? **

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager
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    A couple comments-
    carneol -
    the ability you are requesting is available in some places- I know we offer this through our web services.

    audit -
    check your contracts- most should have an audit clause. It is at your cost (which can obviously be cut down by sharing with a number of affiliates), but you also get to bring in your own auditor to most programs.

    merchants taking your ideas -
    I don't know that' there is anythign that can be done along these lines- especially since most AMs wear the hat of internal marketing as well. As an affiliate, I work with one company that I saw a big niche opportunity I didn't feel they were going after. I set up a site, became and top affiliate and soon after saw a change in their marketing. In fact, it got to the point where would add new pages and sometimes within a week there would be a new promotion on their front page pushing the items in the same way I had- which they had never done before. My take- I began calling and asking them for more research- decided if they could use my ideas, I could certainly use their research- started asking for the top sellers in certian areas, search patterns etc that they had not offered before. Knowing that they were paying attention to me and that they knew I would make good use of the info gave me an edge and helped me to increase my sales again. Lemonade.

    Jessica Hutson
    Senior Manager of Affiliate Relations/Development
    Interactive Affiliate Network

    A parasite free contract since June 2001
    http://ian.com

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