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  1. #1
    Newbie nanovation's Avatar
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    Angry DADA.net Owes Me $40,640 And CJ Is Doing Nothing To Help
    I've been a CJ affiliate for years now and never had any problems until I ran the DADA.net program in May 2009. They had a very good offer going: $16 payout for a 7 day free trial of their music download service. I dropped my Rhapsody promotions and went strong with Dada.net.

    I spent just over $30,000 advertising for them between May 11, 2009 to June 16, 2009, resulting in $40,640 in commissions. Then on June 17, 2009, CJ terminated the DADA.net affiliate program.

    Upon speaking with a CJ rep through the contact form, I learned that DADA.net was in arrears on their account and needed to bring it current in order to be reactivated.

    The real shock came on July 17, 2009 when no payment from the DADA.net affiliate program was issued. I again contacted CJ through the contact form and learned that until DADA.net brings their account current, I will not be paid! Here's what the CJ rep put in her email:

    ---------------------------------

    Dear XXXX

    Thank you for your inquiry. As previously stated, Commission Junction monitors advertiser accounts and repeatedly reminds those advertisers that are below their required balances to make the necessary deposits so all their publishers are paid in a timely manner. While most advertisers in the CJ network are very conscientious about keeping their accounts current, occasionally a few are not able to make a deposit on time to cover these obligations.

    We certainly understand the inconvenience this may have caused you. We do take steps to contact advertisers about these issues and, in some cases we have to temporarily deactivate an advertiser until they make the appropriate deposit.

    Unfortunately Commission Junction cannot pay publishers until the necessary funds are deposited and we indicate this specifically in the Publisher Service Agreement that you agreed to when you signed up for your Commission Junction account:

    If you would like to encourage the advertiser to pay these funds please feel free to contact them directly via the 'mail' tab in your CJ Account Manager.

    We hope this answers your question. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Sincerely,
    Commission Junction Client Support

    ---------------------------------

    I immediately sent DADA.net an email through the Mail page and asked them to please bring their account current and am eagerly awaiting their response. I am not holding my breath though as I sent them an email half way through the promotion of their campaign, and never received a response.

    I responded to the CJ rep's email asking her what CJ plans to do to collect what is owed me. Here's what I asked her:

    1. Does CJ have a mandatory time frame that vendors must bring their account current by?

    2. What is the latest date I can expect payment by?

    3. Is this an issue that is guaranteed to be resolved within the next 30 days or is there a chance that I will still be awaiting payment come December 2009?

    I have a VERY LARGE credit card bill that I need to pay or suffer the 24% interest. We're talking $7000 a month until Dada.net pays what is owed.

    Has anyone experienced this before with CJ and have a suggestion / solution?

    Is this a lawsuit waiting to happen?

  2. #2
    SEO: A Specialty - Web Design: Slow or outsourced andbeyond's Avatar
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    Get a lawyer. Dont ask them to bring their account current which may be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    You want your money. Your interests are your own.

    A lawyer is cheaper than having this wait for a few months.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by andbeyond
    Get a lawyer. Dont ask them to bring their account current which may be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    You want your money. Your interests are your own.

    A lawyer is cheaper than having this wait for a few months.
    Good advice. You want to get paid first -- not in the order CJ might decide to pay people if the merchant ever pays CJ.

    Hire a lawyer! (Consider which state you'll need to file suit in: New York or California?)

    > "I spent just over $30,000 advertising for them between May 11, 2009 to June 16, 2009, resulting in $40,640 in commissions. Then on June 17, 2009, CJ terminated the DADA.net affiliate program." <

    This is a very, very good example of what not to do: trust that a merchant with a dubious offer will pay you, and gamble $30,000 of funds which you don't even have on the effort, even though the return here was only a 33% ROI.

    Think about it: what if the merchant had "merely" reversed 30% of your "leads" for various reasons -- you'd still have spent more than you earned (if they paid you).

    I know absolutely nothing about this merchant or its offer, but your description of this offer raises so many red flags that I'm surprised you gambled in this way.

    Web publishers must "get over" the misguided notion that an affiliate network (or ad network) will "stand up for them" in dealing with merchants. The network will look out for the network's interest first (and second, and third).

    CJ has a long, clear history of allowing merchants to continue actively without adequate funds on deposit. Of course, I don't know how often they make exceptions for legitimate merchants who always make-good; but clearly, there have been many cases where CJ has shown very poor judgment [or none at all] by extending credit (on its affiliates' behalf) to very dubious merchants (and to legitimate merchants who are clearly in financial distress), who later default.

    Your attorney may want to inquire how CJ handled its fiduciary duty as an intermediary here -- specifically, when it was clear that the account wasn't adequately funded, did CJ pull out its own fees first (e.g. withdraw its fees for May AND June from the merchant's May deposit), leaving nothing to pay publishers?

    (Suppose the account was funded with $50,000, and during the program's run it generated $200,000 in publisher earnings. If CJ took its fee off the top, the entire $50,000 would be gone, and publishers would get nothing. If CJ were reasonable and collected its fee only based on the amount actually payable to publishers, then publishers would at least get 20% of what they were owed -- if the merchant had deposited $50,000.)

    Another question: is the merchant (or its financial affiliates) owned by (or financially affiliated with) ValueClick (CJ's owner)?

    Also, don't blindly assume that "Dada Entertainment LLC" was actually the company that contracted with CJ -- it may have been a third-party marketing company acting on its own account. Also, note that "Dada Entertainment LLC" is a separate company from its two parent corporations, both of whom will undoubtedly disclaim any liability (but your lawyer might find a way to legally reach into their pockets).

    > "$16 payout for a 7 day free trial of their music download service" <

    This is a financially absurd offer, and I wouldn't spend my own money to drive traffic to it, even if the merchant were Real Networks, Microsoft, or my wife.

    I see that Dada has moved their affiliate program in-house, and now offers a maximum $14 payout -- but it's NOT a payout for a free trial, it's a payout only for paid customers ("“Customer” means an end user referred to Dada directly by Partner through Integration that (i) provides all information requested by Dada, which may include carrier, mobile number, email address and content selection information, (ii) agrees to our Terms & Conditions (as defined below), (iii) authenticates their agreement with us (through SMS, confirmation web page or otherwise as we specify or by downloading Mobile Content and (iv) is billed by or on behalf of Dada for a monthly subscription.")

    Is it possible that the offer at CJ was also actually contingent on conversions, but "free trials" were tracked and reported -- with a plan to reverse the 80% to 90% of transactions that didn't convert? If so, did CJ block Dada's ability to post reversals when its account was suspended?
    Last edited by markwelch; July 24th, 2009 at 12:30 PM.

  4. #4
    Newbie nanovation's Avatar
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    Thanks for the honest feedback guys. Some important lessons learned here.

    I felt comfortable promoting DADA.net as heavily as I did because it's a joint venture between two of the worldwide leaders in the mobile and music industries, Dada USA, Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment. See http://www.dada-ent.com With a company as large as Sony in the mix, I felt comfortable proceeding.

    As for the offer, I felt it was competitive for the niche, and not over the top, as DADA.net competitors, such as Rhapsody, pay $15 with a 14 day free trial. Plus, DADA.net charges $9.99 a month after the trial period, so they make it back within 2 months. This is a small cost to pay for a subscription model. I know because I used to be on the other side running affiliate programs for Fortune 500 companies.
    Last edited by Haiko de Poel, Jr.; July 24th, 2009 at 01:06 PM. Reason: NM - no edit

  5. #5
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    > "I spent just over $30,000 advertising for them between May 11, 2009 to June 16, 2009, resulting in $40,640 in commissions. Then on June 17, 2009, CJ terminated the DADA.net affiliate program." <

    This certainly suggests a strategy for the future: start promoting a merchant at the end of a month, not the beginning or middle, because you will know on the 20th of the next month whether you get paid.

    And never, ever, ever pour your money into a merchant program until you've verified that they actually pay you. (Even then, recognize that their ability to pay a few affiliates for a few transactions in one month might not continue when they owe dozens or hundreds of affiliates for thousands of transactions the next month.)

    Yes, if you "ramp up" slowly, you'll miss out on opportunity (here, at least $30,000 in posted earnings), but you'll also reduce the probability and impact of a default.

    If an offer sounds too good to be true....

  6. #6
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    Hmm, very interesting: the web site says:

    "Dada Entertainment, a joint venture between two of the worldwide leaders in the mobile and music industries, Dada USA, Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment, is the foremost innovator in digital and mobile entertainment services." (http://www.dada-ent.com/, bold emphasis added)

    "Dada Entertainment, a joint venture between two of the worldwide leaders in the mobile and music industries, Dada USA, Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment...." (http://www.dada-ent.com/about.php, bold emphasis added).


    Print out those pages from their web site -- it will surely be changed soon. Hopefully you can also print out the terms & conditions they imposed through CJ, as well as CJ's own terms and conditions. (You & your lawyer need to clearly understand the terms of your contract[s] with Dada and CJ, including which entities you were contracting with.)

    If your agreement was with "Dada Entertainment LLC" then maybe it's time to find out what "LLC" stands for: "LIMITED LIABILITY Company."

  7. #7
    Full Member snappy's Avatar
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    Wow that is quite a larger amount I would get a attorney for way less than that amount owed. Get what is owed to you like said above, you really took a gamble Hire a attorney asap.
    I attract success and abundance into my life because that is who I am.

  8. #8
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    A lot of good advice in this thread, and yet it still irks me.

    This is exactly the kind of scenario that makes our industry look like a fly by night MLM'ish* trap.

    While plenty of other industries end up being blown off for payment, or short paid, or whatever, we tend to think that because we deal with "trusted third parties' we might be absolved from our own "due dilligence" in investigating advertising partners.

    In a way though, shouldn't we have an extra layer of protection? Is it RIGHT to think CJ won't pursue the funds on the part of the affiliate?

    Do we think it's their job, or don't we?

    * It pains me to compare affiliate marketing and MLM. It really does. But like MLM, you just can't go into this business on "good faith" agreements. Ever, ever, ever. Regardless of what's in the affiliate agreement or the network agreement. And that's the EXACT brand of horse crap that makes MLM "work".
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  9. #9
    Newbie nanovation's Avatar
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    Good suggestions. Thanks Mark. Adobe PDFed them immediately.

    Interestingly enough, DADA.net had no T&Cs listed in their program, which is why I emailed them half way through to see what search restrictions, if any, they had. They never responded to that email.

    If anyone has an attorney they've used before for such matters, I would greatly appreciate the referral.

    Thanks.

  10. #10
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    > "I spent just over $30,000 advertising for them between May 11, 2009 to June 16, 2009, resulting in $40,640 in commissions. Then on June 17, 2009, CJ terminated the DADA.net affiliate program." <

    This certainly suggests a strategy for the future: start promoting a merchant at the end of a month, not the beginning or middle, because you will know on the 20th of the next month whether you get paid.

    And never, ever, ever pour your money into a merchant program until you've verified that they actually pay you. (Even then, recognize that their ability to pay a few affiliates for a few transactions in one month might not continue when they owe dozens or hundreds of affiliates for thousands of transactions the next month.)

    Yes, if you "ramp up" slowly, you'll miss out on opportunity (here, at least $30,000 in posted earnings), but you'll also reduce the probability and impact of a default.

    If an offer sounds too good to be true....
    Words of wisdom there.....

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by snappy
    Wow that is quite a larger amount I would get a attorney for way less than that amount owed. Get what is owed to you like said above, you really took a gamble Hire a attorney asap.
    Does anybody have an idea how much an attorney costs for similar cases.

  12. #12
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam_park
    Does anybody have an idea how much an attorney costs for similar cases.
    Wouldn't you think you could find one to work on a % basis when it's that much cash?

    Jimmy McDonald - Your Local Hard Working RemodelingGuy ( & SprinklerGuy - & GarageGuy )
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  13. #13
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    I don't know. Don't have much experience with attorney fees. Snappy said he/she wd hire one for a lesser disputed amount too. What if the amount is 2K, can you get an attorney to fight a 2K dispute on a %age basis.

  14. #14
    Full Member snappy's Avatar
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    actually its a small claims case at 2k and I would pursue it. File myself I am brave but I would do it. Get some good advice, I think it would open a eye (i would hope) proving that ripping off a affiliate for 2k is crappy, and hopefully my actions would count for something.
    I attract success and abundance into my life because that is who I am.

  15. #15
    Newbie nanovation's Avatar
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    The only problem with small claims is that even if you win, there is no enforcement. You have to hire a collections agency that cuts the amount you'll get in half and may take years to collect. If they ever pay.

    I won a small claims court case once and after 2 years of trying to collect on the judgment, they went out of business. Never saw a dime. It wasn't affiliate related though.

  16. #16
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    Don't go small claims. I think the max in most places for small claims is $5k. I have helped somebody filed for small claims before and it was like < $50. And like what you mentioned, it's hard to enforce it.

    As for Dada, if Sony is a big partner, mention them in the lawsuit as this will immediately have Sony lean on Dada to get it resolved than to have their name sling through the mud.

    All the best

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Attorneys fees depends on where you are at and the popularity of the attorney. I hired one in NH for $375 an hour and it was for something minor. In MA we've hired one for $695 an hour (Boston).

    I would make copies of all the records you have right now, pdf, screen shots, etc. This can save you or your attorney some time so they would know where to look and you have the evidence before things get "accidentally" deleted.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    i never heard of this co. but man.. are there a lot of complaints from customers about them on the web.

  19. #19
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    dada.net itself is an Italian company, so it really *is* important to find out exactly who you were dealing with.

    There are several reports of poor business practices. Draw your own conclusions.

    Umm yeah although it doesn't help you nanovation, I agree that your business model sucked. PPC is a bit like gambling in some respects, you should never gamble more than you can afford to lose.

    Mind you, give it a couple of days and this thread will probably be in the top 5 in Google for dada.net affiliate..
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin
    In a way though, shouldn't we have an extra layer of protection? Is it RIGHT to think CJ won't pursue the funds on the part of the affiliate?

    Do we think it's their job, or don't we?
    Yes, CJ has a large business interest in seeing the Dada pays (since CJ doesn't get their fess unless Dada pays), but the Ts & Cs of every affiliate network states that the network isn't responsible for collecting on past debts from advertisers. If you find any network that says they'll unconditionally pay, or put all the efforts forward to collect from past due advertisers, let me know. Most affiliate networks do let large advertisers work on credit terms, as long as the company's credit ratings check out with their finance people.

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    I would follow Mark's gratis advice and act now. You can find an attorney through a legal referral service. I would maybe suggest fully reading CJ's TOS word for word before doing so however. They may likely address issues like the one you mention and the TOS more than likely requires Venue in CJ's backyard. Good luck to you, sounds like you are learning a painful but useful lesson in "starting slow and working up" with new programs.
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  22. #22
    SEO: A Specialty - Web Design: Slow or outsourced andbeyond's Avatar
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    People often tell me about opportunities with PPC but I dont do them for this reason. I would be more likely to spend PPC to go to a service or product I provide.

    Good Luck though. Do you personally know any other Dada affiliates? Maybe someone else can lean on them a bit. That is how I would do it other than lawyers.

    Get a lawyer to fight this Dada net Affiliate scam

  23. #23
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    --- To share another lesson learned ---

    The same happened to me with two of the CJ merchants. Anyhow, total accumulative amount was only $1,500. Given the amount was small, I continued my advertisement from mid December 2008 til Mar 2009 until I started to realize that something was wrong.

    I got the exact same message from CJ as Nanovation. Basically, they cannot help. What I did was calling them in April, I didn't get to the right contact person because a name provided by CJ doesn't seem to exist in their office. Anyhow, I think that at least that call might send the alarm to them. Still I heard nothing. Somehow, I got lucky, they paid me in June. Until now, I don't hear anything from them or CJ explaining what had happened too.

  24. #24
    SEO: A Specialty - Web Design: Slow or outsourced andbeyond's Avatar
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    For what it's worth I see this thread is number 4 on G00gle for "dada net affiliate".

    It is the very first thing after their own pages.

    Hey a dada or sony. Pay this guy and maybe he will post that he got paid here.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador MeeMaw's Avatar
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    CJ will do NOTHING for you. You will have to do it all for yourself and sue both. With that much spent and invested definitely get a lawyer and pursue them.

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