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  1. #1
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    ShareaSale Clean Up ...
    Yesterday, I went thru all the merchants in my Shareasale list and QUIT those who were closed or off line ... save for a couple of offline ones who have a habit of returning. It was over 500 merchants.

    I thought it was very funny, that almost everyone who has denied my affiliate app has closed or gone off line.

    Now we are talking about all the merchants from day one of Shareasale so 8 years or so ... Still, the totals say alot about affiliate marketing - and it was not
    good. You can see why Brian is letting Fat Wallet toolbar ... he is going broke
    due to death by 1,000 dying merchants.

    I still need to do more weeding, but this task took close to 4 HOURS. Quitting one merchant at a time sure was hard on the carpel tunnel. It would have been
    nice to be able to just click the ones to drop and then hit a drop them all, let God sort them out button.

    I even dropped Haiko's program ... hard to make money at a penny per sale. .

    Some of these merchants, actually made a few bucks here and there at one time. Still the myth of affiliate marketing lives on. It's the golden goose ... except for the fact the egg is not really golden.

    I would guess more merchants will be falling by the wayside, since people can't buy anything if they don't have a job or any money.

    When the merchants get the clue ... no affiliates means no traffic ... then maybe we will see a rebirth ... but compared to 2002 which totally sucked,
    things are much worse now.

    I guess all the merchants who died never learned Warren Buffets rules:

    1. Never lose your capital.
    2. Never forget rule 1.

    Onward to victory ... I love the smell of napalm in the morning. But my mouse hand does not.

  2. #2
    SEO: A Specialty - Web Design: Slow or outsourced andbeyond's Avatar
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    It's funny when people are so picky when interviewing or considering someone. The more critical they are, typically shows me that they have no idea what they are doing.

    And cant train people to excel.

    A longtime program of mine failed recently but I refused to deal with them a few years ago.

    Ya the program interface there is a little sad at times. Gone merchants, merchants I sent a lot of traffic to but got few conversions. Then they are gone... Cant imagine why. Hehe

  3. #3
    http and a telephoto
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    All the networks have dead merchants, merchants that have come and gone, and merchants that don't convert for a LOT of reasons. Why is it that you feel you need to call out Shareasale to pick on?

    It is well known that the barrier to entry for Shareasale is much lower than the other networks and that gives smaller businesses a change to try out affiliate marketing to help build their brands and sales. Many may not survive. But as in *any* network, it is up to the affiliate to decide who to work with and to check on sites before they start building links. Many merchants sign up but don't really understand affiliate marketing and they give up when nothing seems to happen, and they just don't bother to close their accounts. Maybe they even forgot their was a Shareasale account.

    Shareasale is in the same position as affiliate managers are, should affiliate managers kick out ALL inactive affiliates? The answer is a resounding *NO*, today's inactive affiliate can be tomorrow's top producing one. Should Shareasale kick out all inactive merchants? I don't think so, some are redesigning and rebuilding. Some will never come back up, but as affiliates just move on and don't work with those that don't perform any longer.

    Yes, merchants with dead and gone sites should be removed. Merchants with leak filled sites should be told how to clean up their sites. But at the end of the day, if affiliates choose to work with merchants that have horrible sites, they can.

    I can think of several MAJOR merchants across 4 networks that affiliates complain about constantly that are stealing from affiliates one way or another, and affiliates STILL work with those merchants.

    So picking on Shareasale about a problem that is already well documented that they may be working on addressing (since we don't work there we don't know what they have planned or are doing on a daily basis) isn't very productive.

    I personally manage a couple of smaller merchants, new merchants that have 0 EPC. They just haven't "caught on" yet. The merchants aren't trying to do anything nefarious, their tracking works, they convert sales on a daily basis, just not from affiliates yet. Should Shareasale toss them out? Should affiliates ignore them? Or should affiliates look at the sites and see the golden egg because no one has yet found the way to promote those particular programs that sets them apart from other similar programs?

    Affiliate marketing isn't a goose. There aren't any golden eggs. There are only hard working merchants and hard working affiliates, all trying to do what is best for their businesses in this economy.

    Ranting helps no one except maybe yourself feel better. Instead of ranting, come up with some suggested solutions. Or a recommendations on how to find and work with the best programs.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  4. #4
    15 years and counting
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    net4biz - Now we are talking about all the merchants from day one of Shareasale so 8 years or so ... Still, the totals say alot about affiliate marketing - and it was not good. You can see why Brian is letting Fat Wallet toolbar ... he is going broke due to death by 1,000 dying merchants.
    Great post, Loxly
    I'm not happy with Fat Wallet or all these toolbar affiliates thinking the web belongs to them and they can tag any visitor as their own. I'm not happy with what was done ... but it doesn't mean Shareasale is dying. If many unsavory affiliates are pushing hard to get in, it means they see a future in Shareasale.
    I don't have any inside information and I've not done any research. So, it's just my experience.
    Let's say Shareasale has 2500 active merchants paying commissions to their affiliates.
    At least 10 are paying between $100K and $40K in commissions every month for thousand of sales. You can do the math and calculate your share.
    "Still the myth of affiliate marketing lives on." Affiliate marketing still keeps me happy even if I miss the good old time.

  5. #5
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    I'm not picking on SAS ... I just needed to save some time finding merchants who were online and not have to scroll thru 1,000 dead ducks ... there are a few good ducks on SAS.

    And for sure the other networks have lost merchants ... I'm pretty sure Brian would like
    to have $10/month from all those merchants programs that closed.

    I wasn't talking about affiliates at all ... and if my memory is still intact ... it seems in Loxly's case we are talking about failure personified: Cafe Press and a host of other not ready for prime time players she has managed that seem to disappear or get a new AM.

    The real question is: Has she ever managed a merchant program that caught on?

    I look at every SAS merchant program ... you just never know when the one to die for merchant shows up.

    I check the landing page ... and ask the question: Would an average joe or jane with money buy the thing or service they sell? Would they buy it online? Is the price cheaper than Amazon? Is the shipping included or very low? Is the quality good?

    Then you have to do the math ... 10% of a $50 sale is $5.00. The stats tell you the average sale ... So, if you make the $50 sale and get $5.00.

    Assume a conversion rate of 1%, then you lost $5 because getting 100 visitors from Google will cost you 10 cents each ... or $10. You need a 3% conversion rate to make a profit at 10 cents and 2% at 5 cents.

    And sure if you get SEO traffic that is a HUGE plus. But hey better you as the affiliate lose the money instead of the merchant.

    One of the SAS merchants was bragging how they made 1,680 or so sales last month. In
    todays economy that is GREAT. But it is just 56 sales per day.

    So what we are missing from the data is how many affiliates do they have? If it is 56 or less, let's dance. If it is 560 maybe not so good but still one sale per week more or less per affiliate. If it is 5,600 affiliates definitely not so good.

    As an affiliate, you do have the choice to join or not ... and you never know what will work or what will not ... you need to test and test and test again. That takes time, effort and money.

    Recently SAS has been on a bit of a downslope, but come back to school season things
    should pick up because they have a couple of proven converting merchants that have done well in the past.

    And not leave out the other networks ... I found a pretty two good converting products
    on CJ ... averaging $150 in sales per day at 15% that is netting $15 per day after you subtract the Goofle cost.

    And I found what looks to be a real big winner on Clickbank ... so far it's doing very well
    without any Goofle cost. In fact it is such a great idea, I am going to copy it, but use a different product.

    Change happens ... you just have to adapt, move on or die.

  6. #6
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    I second that SAS should come up with a tool or just a basic sort and select those merchants that have gone dead. That would save netbiz at least 4 hours.

    Imagine that for 100 affiliates. They could save that time by thinking of a way to generate the next big biz idea.

    1) Sort, Select and drop all dead merchants.
    2) Sort, Select and apply for all new merchants (or merchants in the category)

    p.s. SAS is not dead. We are doing pretty well on it.

  7. #7
    15 years and counting
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    Eric Ewe - That would save netbiz at least 4 hours
    4 hours to manage over 500 merchants during 8 years is not that bad.

  8. #8
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    4 hours to manage over 500 merchants during 8 years is not that bad.
    I am not disputing the time frame, etc.

    But that is just one affiliate.

    What if SAS spent 2 hrs programming it into their website.. I am sure that a lot of affiliates will save a lot of time by utilizing that tool.
    Quote Originally Posted by net4biz
    Quitting one merchant at a time sure was hard on the carpel tunnel. It would have been
    nice to be able to just click the ones to drop and then hit a drop them all, let God sort them out button.
    Amen

  9. #9
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    I wasn't talking about affiliates at all ... and if my memory is still intact ... it seems in Loxly's case we are talking about failure personified: Cafe Press and a host of other not ready for prime time players she has managed that seem to disappear or get a new AM.

    The real question is: Has she ever managed a merchant program that caught on?
    CafePress was (and still is) a HUGE affiliate program that did VERY WELL *while* I was managing it. They have gone in directions that I disagree with, which is why I *left*.

    Viator I am currently managing is doing VERY WELL.

    HalloweenMart, I launched it and managed it for a year, it caught on and did VERY WELL. I haven't watched the current numbers.

    Others are quietly doing just fine even though I don't have a hand in them any more. Even more are doing just fine that I don't post about. My affiliates are pretty happy, they wouldn't be if the merchants I recommend to them didn't make them some $$$$.

    I specialize in working with small merchants and getting them running, some don't catch on, some do. It is the same with ANY OPM, check everyone here's numbers. Some merchants "don't get it" no matter how much you consult with them. Some make choices I don't agree with, so I leave.

    This industry is very fluid, it isn't for everyone. Maybe it isn't for *you*.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Single most WONDERFUL improvement for SAS would be to find a quick, easy way in our dashboards for us to identify dead or offline merchants in bulk then, if we choose, be able to check/click/whatever those we wish to quit IN BULK.

    Really, is there no way to do this? I'm with net4biz on this one.

    Last time I tried to trim away dead SAS merchants, I only quit maybe a dozen -- still took a tremendous amount of time and indeed was very hard on the old carpel tunnel.

    Of course, this awkward situation has been written about MANY times here, and I know some of us have from time to time submitted support tickets requesting such a feature.

    Doubt it'll ever get done.
    Generate more fake news.

  11. #11
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    All the networks have dead merchants, merchants that have come and gone, and merchants that don't convert for a LOT of reasons. Why is it that you feel you need to call out Shareasale to pick on?

    It is well known that the barrier to entry for Shareasale is much lower than the other networks and that gives smaller businesses a change to try out affiliate marketing to help build their brands and sales. Many may not survive. But as in *any* network, it is up to the affiliate to decide who to work with and to check on sites before they start building links. Many merchants sign up but don't really understand affiliate marketing and they give up when nothing seems to happen, and they just don't bother to close their accounts. Maybe they even forgot their was a Shareasale account.

    Shareasale is in the same position as affiliate managers are, should affiliate managers kick out ALL inactive affiliates? The answer is a resounding *NO*, today's inactive affiliate can be tomorrow's top producing one. Should Shareasale kick out all inactive merchants? I don't think so, some are redesigning and rebuilding. Some will never come back up, but as affiliates just move on and don't work with those that don't perform any longer.

    Yes, merchants with dead and gone sites should be removed. Merchants with leak filled sites should be told how to clean up their sites. But at the end of the day, if affiliates choose to work with merchants that have horrible sites, they can.

    I can think of several MAJOR merchants across 4 networks that affiliates complain about constantly that are stealing from affiliates one way or another, and affiliates STILL work with those merchants.

    So picking on Shareasale about a problem that is already well documented that they may be working on addressing (since we don't work there we don't know what they have planned or are doing on a daily basis) isn't very productive.

    I personally manage a couple of smaller merchants, new merchants that have 0 EPC. They just haven't "caught on" yet. The merchants aren't trying to do anything nefarious, their tracking works, they convert sales on a daily basis, just not from affiliates yet. Should Shareasale toss them out? Should affiliates ignore them? Or should affiliates look at the sites and see the golden egg because no one has yet found the way to promote those particular programs that sets them apart from other similar programs?

    Affiliate marketing isn't a goose. There aren't any golden eggs. There are only hard working merchants and hard working affiliates, all trying to do what is best for their businesses in this economy.

    Ranting helps no one except maybe yourself feel better. Instead of ranting, come up with some suggested solutions. Or a recommendations on how to find and work with the best programs.
    Loxly. Awesome post. BTW, I consider Share A Sale the most responsive network that I work with. I always receive a respinse from SAS customer service people. Carolyn always responds.

    Merchants that I work with on SAS, respond to my questions at a higher rate then other networks.

    A rule i try living by 95% oth the time is:
    Try contacting the network with your grievences first and if you don't receive a response or an inadequate reaponse then air out your grievences here.

  12. #12
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    On the surface, you would think affiliate marketing would be somewhat easy. Make a page
    for a product describing the benefits of owning it and all it's features. Throw in a picture
    with a BUY IT NOW For Less button and then get some traffic and you go to the bank.

    If you have 100 such pages and you make $5 in commission per page per day, you are doing great. But ONE sale per day for you, is not going to keep a merchant in business.

    I know for a fact that Zappos makes around 3,000 sales per day. I used to average
    one sale per day at 15% ... which was great considering my costs - ZERO - to promote
    it. Good SEO listing. Then opps, Slap me Google, make me do bad things. Adios money.

    Then commissions got cut, then sales dropped, then it was not worth the time or effort
    to do anything but leave the page up and if something happens better than not.

    The profit potential died ... same thing happened on Amazon. It wasn't you couldn't make
    sales. I was you couldn't make sales and make a profit. If you got a SEO high listing it was great ... but since that key to the puzzle is not a certainty, you can't bet your life on it.

    All the SAS merchants need to make enough sales to cover their costs by just $1. If they do that they can stay in business. But it is NOT easy to do. First thing they do is lower costs, if things go bad ... less commissions is usually on that list. Cheat is option 2.

    What always seems to fly past EVERYONE is that affiliates are businesses too. If we don't cover costs, we become just another dead duck in the online game.

    Today, I just tell merchants, pay me or pay Google. Your choice. They don't pay, they get no traffic and consequently no sales from me. I am not a traffic charity.

    They pay, I send them traffic. If they sell something, great. If not, it's not may fault. They had the chance to sell to a real person. If they do not sell, the person who looked
    had no money, did not want to buy, thought the offer was not good, the price too high,
    shipping costs too much, they did not trust the merchant and so on and so on.

    In today's economy, you need to pick your merchants carefully ... if they PROVE they are
    profitable to work with ... keep working with them. If not, find a new merchant. If you can make ONE sale per week as an affiliate of a specific ... that's good these days.

    Now the goal is to find ... more merchants for whom you can do the same thing.
    There are some of these guys on SAS ... a few on CJ ... and even a couple on Linksuck.

    Promote the ones who convert ... drop the others ... you are just wasting time otherwise.

  13. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by net4biz
    Today, I just tell merchants, pay me or pay Google. Your choice.
    Sounds like an easy choice. What value do you add?
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    Value for whom, Mike? I provide more real traffic for less money than Goofle. Is it worth it to you? ... maybe, maybe not. Would I just use my traffic ... NO.

    It also depends on whether you are paying a fixed slotting fee, CPM or CPC. And on how much you make IF you convert any of the traffic.

    For example: One thousand visitors a day to a clickbank sales page may sell one deal a day or 10 deals ... or no deals ... but 30,000 usually sells 30 deals that average $20 bucks in commission each in a month ... but not always ... however, when you average out all my traffic costs, I usually need just one clickbank sale per week to make a profit.

    Same holds true for phyiscal products or services ... but that too depends on the price, the merchant, the landing page, and the pre-sell available and the BANNER size and what it says and where it lands.

    There is no one way to skin the internet cat. Obviously organic SEO rocks best IF you can get it. But it ain't easy to get nor a certainty to maintain once you snag a good listing.

    Like everything else on line, you pays your money and takes your chances or you do not.

  16. #16
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    SAS provides few numbers to filter merchants. If you look at the EPC, AvSale Value, Reversal Rate and do the math ... well you can easily filter merchants. CJ for example does not show the reversal rate. The fact is things for affiliates and afil marketing are going from bad to worse.
    We'll live and see ...

    A tool that calculates the av. conversion rate, click value + filtering merchants and ordering them by this criteria will simply rock And it is not hard to be developed as a plugin to the browser.

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager Bradley.Senkovich's Avatar
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    There are few things I'd like to change to SAS, But you know what makes the program great. The fact you have agents in SAS like Carolyn, Sarah and Brian who will bend over backwards to help a merchant/affiliate.

    Loxly has nailed it right on the head, it isn't fair to pin it all down on SAS. failure of a program is due to many other factors. You might as well blame the rain on someone spilling water on a sidewalk.

    You can have the merchant's business not doing well. You can have an affiliate manager who doesn't know squat about how to manage a program and just lets it sit there thinking it will run itself. you can have a bad economy. you can have boycotts, fires, raids, so on and so on.

    If there is something i learned. Don't dump. organize. I have 2200+ affiliates. of which maybe 10% are active. Funny thing though. Some I thought were dead and buried come back with something new 2 years later with a super cool ink comparison site for me to get them set up on. I treat them as old friends that came back to the party when they forgot their coat.

    merchants are sort of the same way though. sometimes they will be gun-ho about something then all of a sudden they flop and you never hear from them again.

    i read up on the fat wallet toolbar thread... interesting stuff...

    Fat wallet Tool bar Parasite?


    such is life yeah?

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