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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager Sharon.Mostyn's Avatar
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    How Should T&C Violations Be Addressed?
    Thanks Michael for another great post.

    I've got a question for the AMs/OPMs/etc. - if you find an affiliate breaking not only your T&C's, but the T&C's of the affiliate network as well (i.e. DTM PPC, cookie stuffing, etc.) do you give them a warning or expel them immediately from the program?

    My first instinct is to kick them out immediately, but I don't want to be too harsh either...

    Thanks for your help!
    sharon

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon.Mostyn
    I've got a question for the AMs/OPMs/etc. - if you find an affiliate breaking not only your T&C's, but the T&C's of the affiliate network as well (i.e. DTM PPC, cookie stuffing, etc.) do you give them a warning or expel them immediately from the program?

    My first instinct is to kick them out immediately, but I don't want to be too harsh either...
    This is very much a matter of a subjective judgment call. I would not make a blanket policy on anything as serious as kicking an affiliate out.

    How long has the affiliate been with the program and network? Have you talked to them and have a feeling that they are honest and hard-working? Was this likely an honest mistake?

    When you confront them, do they immediately take action to correct it?

    If the matter is serious but could be an honest mistake, suspend or warn them and contact them immediately. IF they correct it, let them back in. Give them a timetable to correct it (such as 24-48 hours).
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    [Moderator Note: I think this topic will get quite a bit of discussion and merits its own thread, so I've split it out from the Affiliate Friendly Policies thread.]

    I would agree with Matt that some discretion is probably necessary. Every situation is just a little different.

    Usually, it's very obvious whether something was unintentional or a willful disregard for the rules. I think in most cases, the best course of action will be crystal clear.

    If you think there's any chance that the actions were unintentional or that contacting the affiliate will cause them to change their actions, definitely contact them and give them a chance to resolve it.

    If it's overwhelmingly obvious that it was a willful disregard for the rules (especially if it affects other affiliates), take immediate action by reporting them to the network and terminating them. But if the affiliate does contact you, review that contact carefully. Most bad affiliates will never contact you (they've moved on to their next target). Some will threaten lawsuits and/or be indignant. Some will claim ignorance (and you might consider giving these a second chance but watch them closely). A very small minority will be truly repentant (and a second chance almost always pays off with these).

    Be very careful, professional, and courteous. Nobody is perfect. You will make a mistake from time to time. When you do, you should make things right and apologize. Make sure your termination email lets them know that you will reconsider the termination if they feel that they were terminated wrongly or if they clean up their act.

    Be careful how much information you share with terminated affiliates. The more that the fraudulent affiliates know about how they got caught, the better they'll be able to hide what they do when they come back under a new alias or move on to another merchant.

    I know that many affiliates won't agree with this (especially after what just happened with Gary), but affiliate managers are going to run across far more fraudulent affiliates (perhaps even thousands) than they will wrongly accused affiliates. Most affiliates (legitimate or fraudulent) don't realize just how obvious most of the fraudulent affiliates are.
    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

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Sheri's Avatar
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    I think you could probably close this thread....Michael just said it all. Well done.

    Sheri

  5. #5
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    Excellent post Michael, as always. You are correct that it is usually pretty obvious if an affiliate is being blatant or if they are being overly "sneaky" or if it is an honest mistake or they didn't know the rules.

    I give some affiliates the benefit of an email if they were good affiliates in the past that are suddenly doing something not quite right, or if the merchant recently changed policies.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Michael has hit the proverbial nail on the head.

    I learned a valuable lesson a while back that still rings in my head.

    I stuck to our guns, followed our TOS strictly, and terminated an affiliate for violating our TOS (and really toed the ethical line in affiliate marketing). I sent an email that gave him no chance to reply and was determined to withhold payments.

    This affiliate responded back immediately via email and 20 minutes later (I had not even read the email yet) called me.

    As Michael says, probably 95% of the bad ones will never reply or seek a resolution. They have already moved on. The ones that do reply very well could end up being some of your best affiliates.

    This was the case I experienced. We ended up paying him, letting him back in the program, and he became one of our top 10 affiliates. From that point forward, any time he launched a new campaign, he asked my permission first to make absolutely sure he was not doing anything wrong.

    Lesson learned.
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  7. #7
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    Great post Sharon!

    I just posted a related question but wanted to ask how you (or anyone else viewing) detect affiliates who appear to be violating your terms and conditions. In particular with regards to geo-targeted and day time parted PPC bidding on Branded terms. Any insight would be very welcome. Feel free to PM me. Thanks,

    Jeff

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by buildasign_aff
    Great post Sharon!

    I just posted a related question but wanted to ask how you (or anyone else viewing) detect affiliates who appear to be violating your terms and conditions. In particular with regards to geo-targeted and day time parted PPC bidding on Branded terms. Any insight would be very welcome. Feel free to PM me. Thanks,

    Jeff
    Hi Jeff and welcome to ABestWeb. Just wanted to let you know you cannot send or receive PMs until you participate and reach 250 posts.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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