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  1. #1
    Newbie stefanie's Avatar
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    Ugh, Sneaky Commission Decreases
    Maybe I'm just missing this feature somehow, but is there any way to get notifications when the merchants you promote change their commission rates?

    I don't necessarily want to call anyone out here, but there is a merchant I've promoted a little bit here and there and I have watched the commission rate go from 20% to 15%, then from 15% to 12%, and now from 12% to 5% just as traffic is about to increase. I was going to really amp things up for the next couple of weeks, but with that kind of shady behavior and no guarantee that it won't drop to 1% or something....there is absolutely no incentive to do so.

    That kind of change can be disastrous to someone who's sending any amount of PPC traffic to their sites in hopes of promoting the merchant (and I'm not talking about trademark bidding here). Why do I get so much email about terms changes, but never anything that says "Your commission rate has been decreased"?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    There was a thread awhile ago where a merchant went from 30% - 1% without any notification. And I think they (SAS) said this is something they're lookig at but then didn't hear anything about it. Then Mellie started a thread earlier this year asking about it, no response and then bumped the thread again, no response - http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ighlight=30%25

  3. #3
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefanie
    Maybe I'm just missing this feature somehow, but is there any way to get notifications when the merchants you promote change their commission rates?

    I don't necessarily want to call anyone out here, but there is a merchant I've promoted a little bit here and there and I have watched the commission rate go from 20% to 15%, then from 15% to 12%, and now from 12% to 5% just as traffic is about to increase. I was going to really amp things up for the next couple of weeks, but with that kind of shady behavior and no guarantee that it won't drop to 1% or something....there is absolutely no incentive to do so.

    That kind of change can be disastrous to someone who's sending any amount of PPC traffic to their sites in hopes of promoting the merchant (and I'm not talking about trademark bidding here). Why do I get so much email about terms changes, but never anything that says "Your commission rate has been decreased"?
    Very good issue that should be addressed...

    What can be even worse though, are Merchants that just hang up their shoes and leave us high and dry....

    Jimmy McDonald - Your Local Hard Working RemodelingGuy ( & SprinklerGuy - & GarageGuy )
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  4. #4
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    ShareASale should cover the difference when this happens if no notification is given. Otherwise they are aiding and enabling what basically amounts to thievery.

  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    As an affiliate i would never accept lowered commissions UNLESS they gave me a very valid reason in ADVANCE of the decrease. If one was not produced i would drop that merchant.

    As an am i would never lower commisions as i feel its just not right without a the same response from the merchant. An AM should be there for the affilitaes.

    It is not SAS's reponsability but it should be the AM's announcing the decrease in advance via a newsletter.
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
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    "It is not SAS's reponsability but it should be the AM's announcing the decrease in advance via a newsletter."

    That I have to disagree with because it can lend itself to abuse like when that one merchant went from 30% to 1% without notifying affiliates. Can read about it here - http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ighlight=30%25

    And SAS said at the time Dec. 2008:

    "This does highlight the need to get a solid notification system in place to alert affiliates of upcoming commission changes, we're on it!"

    And a network should have a setup that when a merchant changes the commission, affiliates should be notified. They are on other networks.

  7. #7
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I get a little fed up with affiliates having to agree to 5-page agreements, yet a merchant can just lower their commission without even asking the affiliate if they still want to remain in the program. It's not a good way to do business, I really do not believe that mindset would fly in any other form of sales. Imagine a salesman hitting the road to sell furniture and finding out by chance that the terms of his contract were changed without him being notified or agreeing to it. It would be a day in court for sure.

    Any company, CJ, LS, SAS, etc., should make it mandatory that the affiliates have to re-agree to terms if a commission is changed.
    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.

  8. #8
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann
    Any company, CJ, LS, SAS, etc., should make it mandatory that the affiliates have to re-agree to terms if a commission is changed.
    The commission is the very essence of the agreement between a merchant and affiliate. There is absolutely no way a merchant should be able to change the commission structure without ample notification. An it's time networks stepped up to the plate and lived up to the "trusted third party" label.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  9. #9
    Newbie stefanie's Avatar
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    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one frustrated by this. Although it would be irritating with any program, the typical commissions for the program in question are often $100-200...so a drop like this could mean as much as $150 less per sale!

    I've emailed the affiliate manager to see if they can give a custom commission increase, but that's really not the issue here. The issue is that the merchant has never once given notice of their commission decreases and Shareasale doesn't protect affiliates from behavior like that. By doing it at the beginning of the holiday season - knowing that traffic is about to increase dramatically and affiliates may be too busy to notice - it's almost like they're deliberately trying to steal from us.

  10. #10
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefanie
    The issue is that the merchant has never once given notice of their commission decreases and Shareasale doesn't protect affiliates from behavior like that.
    But you can help protect your fellow affiliates by outing the merchant here. If the merchant won't and SaS can't provide timely information regarding changes in commissions, it's up to us to keep each other informed as much as possible.

    You want to send this merchant a message? Here's the starting point.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  11. #11
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    I am sending an official request (via email) to Brian to address this situation. All commission changes should result in an automatic official notification sent by ShareASale to affiliates. We all agreed on this last year and it should be implemented.

    The affiliate - merchant agreement is weak enough, we deserve advance notice of commission changes. The networks need to step up and ensure that this happens.

    Stefanie or anyone, if you want email me the name of the merchant(s) so I can use a merchant example. Affiliates name will be kept confidential.

    You can send it to affiliates AT AffiliateAdvocacy.com
    Melanie
    President - Affiliate Advocacy 2008 ShareaSale Performance Industry Advocate Award, 2009 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award - Affiliate Advocate
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is the same merchant but ebeanstalk lowered their commissions to 5% sometime this year. I contacted ebeanstalk and shareasale on 11/25/09. There was also a tracking problem and commissions came in as $0.0. This was corrected and I did receive an appropriate response and fix from ebeanstalk (about the $0 commissions) but no response to my question about when commissions were lowered to 5%. This is the response from shareasale:
    We ask that merchants let the affiliates know when commission rates are changed, they do not always do this. You would have to just contact them again to get an answer on that questions.
    I think this is unacceptable. Affiliates should always be notified when terms or commission rates change. It should be an automated notice from the network.

  13. #13
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Even though it's the weekend I did send Brian an email. I also posted an excerpt of my email here http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=127023

    I referenced a thread from 2007, another from 2008 and this one. There are several other times over the past 2 years where we were not notified but I think the 3 I referenced ( I included this thread)are enough to indicate it is an ongoing problem that needs to be resolved.
    Melanie
    President - Affiliate Advocacy 2008 ShareaSale Performance Industry Advocate Award, 2009 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award - Affiliate Advocate
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  14. #14
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    The commission is the very essence of the agreement between a merchant and affiliate. There is absolutely no way a merchant should be able to change the commission structure without ample notification. An it's time networks stepped up to the plate and lived up to the "trusted third party" label.

    -rematt
    Amen on all counts :-)
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
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  15. #15
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    The TOS is a contract ... one of the must be in the things to make it legal is the payment or commission schedule ... any changes must be agreed to by both parties, BEFORE they can be implemented, or it a 'breach of contract' and in this case the merchant is technically at risk in court.

    Merchants CANNOT just arbitrarily lower or raise commissions, or change any terms without the affiliates approval. If the affiliate does not approve, the merchant can terminate them PROVIDED that codicil is in the original contract. You have to address these things in the contract for it to be valid.

    A valid contract must have an offer, a time frame and a payment or commission benefit at the vary minimum. If you are going to be an affiliate you need to go buy 'Business Law For Dummies.'

  16. #16
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    It's no secret that the bulk of my income is derived from the hospitality vertical. I have four independent programs fulfilling hotel (and other) reservations and had had contracts with two of them for nearly ten years. In all four cases I have a printed and signed contract and all four of them have an agreed upon commission structure outlined within the document. We have had some mutually agreed upon commission changes over the years and each instance generated a new contract.

    Now, I'm not suggesting that affiliate agreements through networks require printed documents w/ real signatures. That would be impractical, if not impossible; online agreements suffice just fine and are "legal." However, in my view, all of the terms on a sign-up page are a part of said agreement - and that includes the basic commission structure.

    I understand that bonuses and private deals can be cut and "general" notice need not be distributed - because they are individual and/or private. However, wholesale changes must be communicated to whomever they affect. In running our new merchant program, that is the way we interpret the network agreement. We wouldn't even think of changing commissions without notifying those involved.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  17. #17
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill
    In running our new merchant program, that is the way we interpret the network agreement. We wouldn't even think of changing commissions without notifying those involved.
    Of course not because you're an ethical merchant and wouldn't dream of trying to pull one over on your affiliates

    It's absolutely BASIC that all parties be notified well in advance of any commission change.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    But you can help protect your fellow affiliates by outing the merchant here. If the merchant won't and SaS can't provide timely information regarding changes in commissions, it's up to us to keep each other informed as much as possible.

    You want to send this merchant a message? Here's the starting point
    Unfortunately, many affiliates [gasp] don't even know about ABW. And even if you are a member of this forum, it's not easy at times to keep up with all the issues. Aside from that, to pull this around holiday/sale seasons while affs are busy, PPC campaigns have been fired off...there's simply no excuse for affs not to get advance notice automatically about commission changes.

    Who can go through their list of merchants several times daily to see if commission rates have been changed? If you do PPC, you would have to check several times. It's a short trip to insanity...and as affs, we're already halfway there anyway.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  19. #19
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    It's just such a no-brainer that merchants shouldn't be lowering commissions without advanced notice to the affiliates. Any merchant that fails to do so should be outed as unethical.
    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.

  20. #20
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann
    It's just such a no-brainer that merchants shouldn't be lowering commissions without advanced notice to the affiliates. Any merchant that fails to do so should be outed as unethical.
    I don't think any merchant could claim "I didn't know I had to". "Have to" or not, any honest business person would do everything possible to ensure that those that they were doing business with were notified of any material change in their business relationship. A change in the commission structure certainly qualifies.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  21. #21
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Brian posted in the other thread ( http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=127023 ) yesterday that he agrees and will see to it that it is added. I'll see if there is an anticipated implementation date.
    Melanie
    President - Affiliate Advocacy 2008 ShareaSale Performance Industry Advocate Award, 2009 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award - Affiliate Advocate
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  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Since I outed ebeanstalk, I will follow up to say that today I have a Personalized Commission Level of 10% (which is what they had before). I was not notified of this change, just noticed it because a transaction came through. I had pulled most of my links and this transaction came through because of a cookie.

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