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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador boningroup's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Sale Reversed because customer already purchased from merchant
    Has anyone ever heard of this. I had a sale reversed by Pierre Seiber on Shareasale because a customer decided to purchase something off of our site but had already purchase something from Pierre Seiber before. I asked the merchant why the sale was reversed and they responded "Thank you for your reply. If a transaction is voided for non qualified lead it means that this order came from a long time customer. We reward sales leads from first time customers or returning customers for the first 60 days. After, leads will be non qualified leads. This customers first order was on Date Wed Nov 22 08:40:56 PDT 2006 Clearly more then 60 days ago." Their TOS is "Pierre Silber is trademarked and we do not allow using Pierre Silber for PPC advertising. Also the Pierre Silber name is not allowed to be used in any form of the URL. You will receive money for all orders within 60 days of the first order placed." I think this is totally unfair.
    Danny W Bonin Jr
    Bonin Group, Inc.

  2. #2
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    there are plenty of merchants that only pay on the first order. i won't add merchants to our site that have this policy.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    We reward sales leads from first time customers or returning customers for the first 60 days. After, leads will be non qualified leads.

    Where in their TOS states that?

    I think you should get the sale. They came to your site and clicked through. If they went directly to the merchant that is different, but they came to you. Your site help close the deal, you should get credit.

    I have merchants that have long time customers still come through my site but they still give me credit because I help close the deal, otherwise they could have found the same thing at the competitors' and purchase from them instead.

    I have seen threads about this subject before but now I can't find 'm.

  4. #4
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    there are plenty of merchants that only pay on the first order.
    I've seen that too. They only want new customers from affiliates. I try to stay away from those merchants.


  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
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    There are merchants that have that in their Terms, but it needs to be in their terms of service. Send the merchant to this thread. I am finding as I consult with long time merchants that they don't like certain things affiliates do, but they have no terms of service because they didn't know they needed one.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Are they SERIOUS?

    First, as others have said, it is not in their TOS. Did you bid on their name or use their name in the URL? Did you do anything that is generally accepted as unethical? (rhetorical questions of course). If not, then what other reason could their be to not commission?

    What a joke!

    Secondly, they bought 3 years ago! Now, they RE-find the customer through your link, something that might not have otherwise happened, and they are not giving you any props for that?

    Unacceptable...they should be warned, if not, kicked out of any network.
    Matt McWilliams
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  7. #7
    Network Rep & ABW Ambassador Carolyn - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Hey guys,
    Yep, program terms are definitely up to the merchant to set, however, I did point the merchant to this thread.
    best,
    Carolyn
    ShareASale Client Services
    Y!: SAS_CTang
    e: ctang(at)shareasale.com

  8. #8
    15 years and counting
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    We were talking about not paying affiliates for merchants' former customers 15 years ago. The problem is not new but has never been solved for a good reason. How do you access the merchant database to be sure the customer was known by the merchant? Without a reliable tracking, you have to rely on the good will of the merchant and it's not enough.
    Even if a new customer has more value than a customer coming back, the networks and merchants have decided to pay the same commission.
    A few years ago, LinkShare tried to track new customers and a few merchants have a special line for new customers. As far as I know, they are not paying more for new customers. The first to ask was Overstock and they are not at LS anymore.

    Regarding Pierre Seiber, it's a dumb decision, they are confused between leads and sales. They don't know the accepted rule. If it's not in their agreement they should pay. Period.

  9. #9
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    If they don't pay up, they should be booted from the network. I just read the TOS and there's nothing in there about this kind of thing. Plus allowing merchants to do this kind of thing, can lead to all sorts of abuse. This customer didn't go direct to the merchant, it went thru an affiliate site and the affiliate should be paid. And as an affiliate, I can't see the backend, so merchants could just make this kind of stuff up.

  10. #10
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    The merchant needs to get on here and explain their actions. What they did is simply not right. Is SAS stepping in to help?
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  11. #11
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    So BOGUS! Not OK -
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  12. #12
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    Response - Look at the Merchant Side
    I can understand your views from the affiliate side, however from the merchant side, we spend a ton of money advertising ourselves, and when people advertise coupons for a specific company (especially one that is hard to spell) you will find returning customers already looking for that company go after coupons. This is fine, and if you are bringing someone new to a site, that is terrific. But when you are banking on that companies name to make a sale, that is not appropriate for affiliates. When I started my affiliate program I let everyone do whatever they wanted, but found myself spending thousands of dollars on customers that were already ordering 5-10 times a year. That did not make any sense. I have many great affiliates that almost always bring in new customers because they use the WIN-WIN approach which is bring in new customers and get paid well to do it. If you feel that you can bank off of returning customers, you really need to rethink your approach or just find companies that do not watch their programs. I would rather have a few great affiliates, that keep the WIN-WIN approach then thousands of affiliates that are just looking to steal my previous customers to make a buck. No one wins with that approach. Sorry if you do not share my point of view - however, you really need to look at both sides.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador boningroup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierresilber
    when people advertise coupons for a specific company (especially one that is hard to spell) you will find returning customers already looking for that company go after coupons.
    We have no coupons on our site for Pierre Silber and you need to clarify better in your terms of service that if an affiliate send you A SALE from a prior customer after 60 days, they will not get any commission. Change it from a lead.

    I will probably drop Pierre Silber after this as I see no benefit in having this merchant on any of my 3 websites.
    Danny W Bonin Jr
    Bonin Group, Inc.

  14. #14
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    Response - Look at the Merchants Side
    I have sent out an e-mail clarifying what "FIRST ORDER" means to all the affiliates. One thing to remember, if there is ever a problem or something that you feel needs to be clarified, always contact the merchant to explain. I have had affiliates ask all sorts of questions and I will always answer them. I thank you for being an affiliate and am sorry that it did not work out.

  15. #15
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierresilber
    I have sent out an e-mail clarifying what "FIRST ORDER" means to all the affiliates. One thing to remember, if there is ever a problem or something that you feel needs to be clarified, always contact the merchant to explain. I have had affiliates ask all sorts of questions and I will always answer them. I thank you for being an affiliate and am sorry that it did not work out.
    An email doesn't solve your problem, you need to create a Terms of Service that spells out your policies so that all affiliates now and that might join in the future, know what sales you do and *don't* pay on.

    If you don't want coupon sites, you should also have in your Terms of Service language that explains what is and isn't allowed for them as well.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  16. #16
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    If you are concerned about people leaving your site to look for coupons, you should not allow coupon sites in your program. If a sale comes in from an affiliates efforts that affiliate needs to be paid.

  17. #17
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    I don't use this merchant, but rawrawmix points to a shady practice that many merchants abuse.

    By offering coupons and deal offerings/feeds, merchants are counting on affiliates stepping in-front of customers who already know the merchant brand and have very likely shopped from the merchant previously. The affiliate does the SEO or other work to bring those customers back to the merchant's site, but then doesn't receive fair compensation for that work when the merchant has any sort of "no return customers" policy.

    I'm not saying Pierre Silber is specifically doing this to be dubious, but it is a tactic that some merchants knowingly employ to essentially get free repeat business brought in from their affiliates.

    The bottom line, in my humble opinion, is that every transaction has value for the merchant, so affiliates who abide by the merchant's TOS should be fairly compensated for each one they facilitate.

  18. #18
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    Hello bpnet,

    That is a very good response
    to this thread. One which I will definitely consider and talk with shareasale about. Just to clarify, some of the best affiliates (which bring in almost all new customers) use data feeds and offerings. I find that the problems always come from the same affiliates - as soon as they drop us, I find that our reversal rate drops considerably. There are always exceptions, but good affiliates should not have much of a problem with reversal rates.

  19. #19
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    First off you need to put this in the TOS. As it now stands, you owe somebody some money.

    This-
    "If you feel that you can bank off of returning customers, you really need to rethink your approach or just find companies that do not watch their programs. I would rather have a few great affiliates, that keep the WIN-WIN approach then thousands of affiliates that are just looking to steal my previous customers to make a buck. No one wins with that approach. Sorry if you do not share my point of view - however, you really need to look at both sides."

    Don't know where to start with that one. I understand merchants wanting new customers but you have to understand you don't own them. They can easily shop with a competitor next time. You have to constantly win them. And if these customers are going thru an affiliate site, even tho they might have shopped with you before, there must be a reason they aren't going directly to you. Now I can understand if it's a Merchant X coupon situation and you don't have any. Boningroup said they had no coupons. But what happens if an affiliate has up some products links to you, a sale is made and it just so happens they've shopped with you before. Are you going to reverse those kind of sales as well?

  20. #20
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    I don't really understand this policy and would like to see it clarified from the merchant side.

    I absolutely understand that merchants don't want to pay commissions on sales that they would have gotten without the affiliate in the mix (such as trademark bidding or toolbar/parasite theft) but "just because" this customer bought from the merchant at some point in the past is no reason to assume they would have purchased this specific sale without the affiliate directing them to the merchant site. It's possible that once on the merchant site, the customer will be more likely to buy because they bought from the merchant in the past but this is not a valid reason to reverse a sale.

    If a customer lands on an affiliate site (providing said affiliate didn't get that visitor by dubious means), I think the affiliate should absolutely be compensated for the sale, whether the visitor was a previous customer of the merchant or not.

    If I have your products on my site and someone clicks through and makes a purchase, I really don't care if that customer bought from you a month or a year ago - it's my site they were on and I should be paid the commission. Affiliates send people to "big brand" merchants all the time. I doubt many of those people were NOT previous customers of the merchant but the affiliate led that visitor to the merchant's site and, as far as I understand affiliate marketing, that is what we're paid to do. If there is another legit explanation for this sale being reversed, that's a different story. AS it *seems* now, it's not a legitimate reversal.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  21. #21
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Pierre Silber.....

    If a "previous customer" makes a purchase after being referred through an affiliate's link, it is because that customer consciously and deliberately looked elsewhere instead of coming straight to you; they were not "your customer" any more. The affiliate did the job of bringing that customer back to you.
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  22. #22
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    Hi Trust,

    There are always going to be some exceptions to the rule. And that is why I liked bpnet's response. Just how much would a repeat costumer that has shopped with us for 5 years and ordered 20+ times be worth if now they are coming through an affiliate portal. Is it worth the 17% I give for new customers? Why?

  23. #23
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    Hi Davidh,

    When I first started I had affiliates buying our name on google and overture etc. This is obviously going to result in huge ROI's. It was actually a couple of my affiliates that explained to me that I need to change these policies. If you get someone to your site that is interested in what we have to offer, and they come to the site. That is what we are looking for.

    I know you don't like it and as I said before, you have the choice to be an affiliate or not.

    However, once again out of everyone here I only have heard bpnet come up with a real way to solve the affiliate/merchant problems. If you have a real solution that would be good for everyone "WIN-WIN" let me know. I am always willing to look into making our affiliate site better.

    But it has to be a "Win Win" I don't want to hear I did all this work and your not paying me. Because my answer is "Drop Us". 17% is quite a bit off a sale to a merchant. I want to hear real suggestions.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierresilber
    Hi Trust,

    There are always going to be some exceptions to the rule. And that is why I liked bpnet's response. Just how much would a repeat costumer that has shopped with us for 5 years and ordered 20+ times be worth if now they are coming through an affiliate portal. Is it worth the 17% I give for new customers? Why?
    Because they delivered a sale. They went thru the affiliate, they didn't go direct. Why? That same affiliate could direct them to a competitor like Frederick's.

    Also you skipped my example:

    "But what happens if an affiliate has up some products links to you, a sale is made and it just so happens they've shopped with you before. Are you going to reverse those kind of sales as well?"

    Why would an affiliate sign up with your program when you could just say "existing customer" and reverse. There is already a leap of trust in this business and this just takes it a step further since affiliates can't see the merchant backend.

    Also another example if you can clarify. What if an affiliate sends you a new customer and you pay them 17%. Never shopped with you before. Then that customer goes thru the affiliate site next month, 6 months down the road, next year. Are you claiming existing customer again and reversing those sales? That affiliate is sending you repeat business and should be compensated. You're not the only merchant out there selling this stuff.

    Also, are you planning on paying boningroup? Because I don't see any violations and you just updated the TOS today and it doesn't take effect until -
    Updated Merchant provided Terms of Agreement will become effective on 09/25/2009:


    And as far as coupons, I notice this:

    "We can provide coupon incentives to help you generate sales"

    That's not going to help what you think is a problem of people looking for your site + coupons.

  25. #25
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    If there is ever a real dispute or someone really feels that we made a mistake, I would show shareasale the actual order and their previous orders with us. I understand your point about trust issue and can see how merchants can or could take advantage of this. (It actually is a good point - I did not think about it before) I think this is a point that someone should take up with shareasale or another affiliate network. I would like to see the response. They do have access to our sales already. I would like to see how often this misuse takes place. As for our program, we have a good reputation with shareasale and pay quite a bit in affiliate sales leads. And the good affiliates do promote us quite well..... And the bad affiliates get a lot of reversals and drop us. (BTW, in no way am I talking about the affiliate that started this thread as a bad affiliate - I believe he was new and I looked at his site and it looks to be a legitimate site)

    As for existing customers that have already gone through an affiliate and made a sale - as it stands now, we would reverse that if it was over the first 60 day from their First Purchase. I cannot see how that customer originally came to our site, all I can see is if they placed an order in the past and how long ago they placed it. But the affiliate gets 60 days from the First Order Placed. Just an FYI, we have had some affiliates get up to 5 orders in that time period. And they received 17% on all of those 5 orders within the first 60 days.

    YOUR EXAMPLE - We could make the case that a customer came to our site through an affiliate portal and did not buy anything 100 times and eventually their cookies were wiped out and then they purchased through another affiliate. Who should get the sale? We can only look at things that we have access and control over. That is how we have to come up with the rules.

    Anyone with a really good way for a win-win approach?

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