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  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Hi AM's

    I was just responding to a post about AMs where I stated one of the things I look for is that the AM is responsive - meaning he/she actually answers an email!

    Not counting you good guys, why DON'T any of the other AM's ever answer emails?

    I've never been able to figure a logical explanation - or even a rationalization.

    Not the BEST example, but the most recent. A merchant offered a FIVE dollar off coupon. I got a flood of emails saying "Hey! I only got THREE dollars off" I did a test sale w/ same results.

    Personally, I like to KEEP my customers, so I said I'd contact the merchant and get back to them. That was three weeks ago! The usual response - nothing!

    So if anyone would know, it would be you guys!

  2. #2
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Not counting you good guys, why DON'T any of the other AM's ever answer emails? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well there's the biased Answer : "heck who cares work only with those that reply"

    And then the serious answer : Many AMs are doing their job as a second job, they're not dedicated and potentially don't want to do the job. On top of that some AMs make a point of only focusing on top earners.

    I've seen a couple of emails flying around of late from people who seem to be purely testing response and then signing up...interesting

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  3. #3
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    Good answer Chris. I also think many of the "big brand" AM's think affiliate management means setting up the program, and simply dealing with the technical aspects of launching an affiliate program.

    When it comes to ongoing management, for many of the big co's, I have a sense they are still back in the mindset of 1997 web time (ie, clueless company's paying $2,500 per each web page).

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    I personally think that if an affiliate manager does not respond, then they don't deserve to have affiliates promoting their company.

    "Many AMs are doing their job as a second job, they're not dedicated and potentially don't want to do the job"

    From a merchant perspective, this is crazy. Affiliates can be very important to the success of an online merchant, and not just the top earners.

    You look at the successful merchants on ABW, and almost all of them have responsive affiliate managers who are there to help affiliates.

    The affiliate who just had their first $5 sale could end up being the top earner. Why ignore affiliates? It makes no sense, certainly not to affiliates

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    They don't respond because they don't care. It's that simple.
    Akiva Bergstrom | akiva@affsolutions.com | 718-871-8286

    Affiliate Marketing Solutions by affSolutions - Creator of the Product Showcase Creator™

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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
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    Several people on here should send a test e-mail out to all affiliate managers, and those who respond should be listed somewhere on ABW so that affiliates can see which merchants are likely to be worth working with

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Not the BEST example, but the most recent. A merchant offered a FIVE dollar off coupon. I got a flood of emails saying "Hey! I only got THREE dollars off" I did a test sale w/ same results. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I was gonna say "drop 'em" until I recalled my recent experience with a non-responsive merchant. I got a flood of emails when a particular product was advertised on TV in Europe. They saw the ad and went to search for it online, found my site, but couldn't order it for delivery to European countries. It's been over a month since I emailed the merchant's AM and the manufacturer and I got no replys.

    I was pissed and wanted to hit the "drop" button, but I just couldn't do it. They're my top producing merchant!
    ~Ernie

  8. #8
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    Julian-

    That is an excellent idea.

    I was working on a startup and pitching Toyota (national) some technology/strategy to help their dealers who where online.

    One of the tests we did prior to the meeting was email 12 of the primary sites being run by key dealers. We emailed every email on the sites, and filled out any online forms. One got back in less than 48 hours, one 6 days later, the other 10...never.

    We got the test.

  9. #9
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I KNEW the answer would be "they don't care", but...

    I was hoping there would be another answer - one that made sense to me. The fact that an AM thinks it's ok to pis* off the customers I used in my example doesn't make sense.

    That he thinks it's ok to pis* off an affiliate - the person who pays his paycheck - doesn't make sense to me.

    The customers loose. The affiliates loose. And the merchant looses.

    There's lots of things we CAN'T control (parasites, Norton), but replying to an email CAN be done - it's probably the simplest descrepency to fix.

    Aargh! Its Sooooooooo frustrating!

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Sam Bay's Avatar
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    Well,

    My best merchant, 12 months in a row, in terms of comm. amounts never responded my e-mails. They're at CJ.

    My second best, always responds late, about a week late. They're an Indie.

    But, of course, I always prefer those who respond and help me when I need it.

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager
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    The majority of AM's are employees of the company, and employees really do not have the dedication as someone that strictly manages affiliate programs for their profession. Employees could care less if all the affiliates get mad and drop them, if the business fails they just move on and get a new job somewhere else...

    Another thing it could be is the company giving the AM job to someone already in the office that already has other responsibilities that interfere.

    When I was in the office at eVitamins they started talking about having me start answering phones for customer service, take phone orders, add products to the site, edit products, and some other "projects." A bunch of things that would have interfered with my efforts to support their affiliates.

    So seeing it firsthand, I can see how alot of "employee AM's" would get distracted. Most probably have attitude problems and dislike their jobs because of getting stuck with extra tasks... like answering affiliate emails.

    It is unfortunate, but alot of companies do not see affiliate management as a full time job that needs to be given to one person, and that person only handle their affiliates... nothing else.

  12. #12
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    Maybe they deliberately neglect the affiliates because they are sick of seeing their boss drive up in a new car every month, so they don't want the company to earn more money from affiliates

  13. #13
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I've developed a "system" - which I'm not condoning any other affiliates use - but it works for me. (Someone high up at a network once told me it's a small affiliate world, and I'll get a "reputation". I responded that I WANT merchants to know about my "reputation"!)

    1. If the AM doesn't respond within 10 days, I contact my connection at the network. The $5 off coupon example was Colorful Images with Linkshare - so I contacted my rep there and asked if she could intervene and get this guy to respond.

    2. After 10 more days, I go to Plan B - which is coming here to ABW to vent.

    3. After about a month, I go to Plan C. A copy of today's Plan C is below:

    The bureau that will handle your complaint is:

    BBB of Southwest Missouri
    1516 St Louis Street
    Springfield, MO 65802 -3128
    Phone: (417)862-4222
    Fax: (417)869-5544
    Email: complaints@springfield-mo.bbb.org
    WWW: http://www.springfield-mo.bbb.org

    Complaint #: 1478586
    Complaint Type: General Complaint
    Date Received: 4/30/2004
    Primary Complaint Classification: Credit or Billing Disputes
    Secondary Complaint Classification: Service Issues

    Complaint:

    We joined Bass Pro's affiliate program - if someone clicks thru from our website to their website and purchases something, we get a commission.

    On January 16, someone purchased FIFTY life preserver jackets for a total of $549.50 (all supporting documentation is on file)

    When it came time to pay us, the decimal point was moved: it was now Five life preservers instead of fifty, and the total was $54.95 instead of $549.50.

    We contacted Bass Pro NUMEROUS times, (all on file) and never got a response.

    We contacted the company that Bass Pro pays to actually track the sale (BeFree), and they forwarded our requests to Bass Pro (they don't respond to us - just BeFree), but all we get are automated messages stating "Your question was forwarded to us by BeFree/we'll check/thanks for bringing this matter to our attention"

    On 4/11, we asked Andrew "No Last Name" at Bass Pro how to contact the CEO, so we can complain about Andrew's lack of response, and he said he didn't know: "Unfortunately I do not have is contact information available at this time."

    Desired Settlement: Other (requires explanation)

    Settlement Explanation:
    1. We would like our commission from a sale made way back in January.

    2. We would like to know why we can't get a response from Bass Pro on our own

    3. We would like to know, if Bass pro has ALL the information they need to check (order number, order date, what was ordered, customer info) how they could still need more time to be checking.

    Customer Service Rep: Todd A. Jones
    Andrew NoLastName
    Product or Service:

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager Blair.com's Avatar
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    A very interesting topic...

    Billy Kay --

    Though it's wrong for you to have to go to the extremes you did to get information from Bass Pro, I'd imagine that the shopper got a confirmation email, saw they had ordered 50 instead of 5, called the company and had the order changed.

    Some thoughts on several theories...

    I agree that many AM's for companies are doing so "on the side". I've talked to several AM's who are a part of a marketing dept. and were asked to take on the "additional responsibility" of managing the company's affiliate program.

    That's not the case at Blair.com. Though I've worked for Blair Corp. for 15 years, I was hired in late 2000 to manage the affiliate program. Of course, a few additional responsibilites have been put on my plate, but my main focus is the affiliate program.

    I don't think many AM's have an "I don't care" mentality and are ignoring emails in hopes of "sticking it to The Man!" Though I don't work on commission (my preference, to avoid the temptations of increasing the program at any cost), bonuses and raises are based on how well the affiliate program does.

    I try to respond to all emails. But, overnight I usually get 200 or so emails clogging my box. I know it's not an excuse, but I may miss an email if the sender or subject line don't grab my attention.

    My suggestion. If I don't answer an email, call me or IM me. Any post on ABW contains the information, along with all correspondence I send out to affiliates.
    Christopher Park
    Affiliate/Partnerships Manager
    Blair.com
    cjpark@blair.com
    (814)726-6074
    AIM: BLAIRAffiliates
    Twitter: BLAIRAffiliates

  15. #15
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Chris (Blair)

    Never saw you here before! You're one of the Good Ones! Just yesterday we updated your banners to the "normal sizes" that you changed "due to affiliate feedback" - so you must read some of your emails!

    I want to keep this topic "general" so that it applies to all affiliates - but in the Bass Pro example, the customer sent US a copy of their original email confirmation asking why they only rec'd a few when they ordered 50. Then over the next few days, they would send us copies of the ups shipping confirmations and say, nevermind, they all arrived safely. So they definately ORDERED and definately RECEIVED 50 life jackets.

    While it stinks that we only got a $2.49 commission on a $500 sale (until they finally figure it out), my post is about getting no response when we asked about it.

    So if AMs pick which emails to read from their Subject Line, I guess I should change it to the only emails I ever read: "Enlarge your #$%$ - Your Spouse will Love you for it" (Sorry, couln't resist!)

  16. #16
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    It's always shocking for me to hear that there are AM's out there that don't repsond. Why would anyone want to do business with a partner who does not respond in a timely fashion?

  17. #17
    notary sojac Herb ΤΏΤ¬'s Avatar
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    I guess it all depends on the current definition of "partner."

  18. #18
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    This is slightly off-topic - since this merchant DID respond - but it happened 10 seconds ago, and by the impeccible timing rates a quick inclusion here.

    Few days ago a women emails us with her name and subscription number and says "I just signed up with eharmony and you didn't send me my email credit card confirmation. Can you resend".

    We of course tell her we just supply links, she should contact eharmony.

    Then I log onto CJ to watch my sale appear. Nothing!!

    Log on again at end of day. Still nothing.

    Next day we contact AM and ask what's up? Here's a subscription # and a name. Where's the sale?

    He replies that's not enough information to check - do I have any other info I can send him.

    Of course not! It was a fluke I had what I did!

    I figured what the hec - got an idea. I emailed the customer and said "I'm just following up to make sure eharmony sent you the confirmation."

    And she forwarded the whole thing back to us!! Wow! How often do we get a smoking gun that disputes "Affiliate tracking was not affected" (Who has Todd's cell phone #)

    Forward all this back to eharmony. And his response: Yep. She signed up, but there is no affiliate code so we can't credit you.

    So I removed all eHarmony links from all our websites yesterday.

    I just logged on to CJ and guess what's there:

    Transaction Detail
    Original Transaction ID [I edited out the transaction ID]
    SID N/A
    Event Date 30-Apr-2004 12:31:36 PDT
    Original Transaction Posting Date 30-Apr-2004 13:43:10 PDT
    Original Amount $49.95 USD
    Original Commission $14.98 USD
    Type Sale
    Advertiser eharmony.com
    Action Name Sale

    My question is - do you think they gave it to us? There are no links that someone could have clicked on today.

    Second question: There's still a Google cache of our former eHarmony page. Can someone click on a Google cache page and still have the sale register?

  19. #19
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    Why don't AMs respond to emails?

    Many merchants just launch a program and then leave it to run itself.

    I am AMAZED at the number of programs that are on auto-pilot and really don't have anyone running the show. There may be a mktg director or CEO that checks in once a month to run reports but they don't have ANYONE assigned to pro-actively manage the program.

    That's one of the reasons OPMs get so many leads we can't take them all on. Eventually many of these companies realize there is a lot more to it then signing up with CJ and putting money in.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chet_B:

    When I was in the office at eVitamins they started talking about having me start answering phones for customer service, take phone orders, add products to the site, edit products, and some other "projects." A bunch of things that would have interfered with my efforts to support their affiliates.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't believe it! They expected you to pick up customer service phone calls???

    No wonder you got out.

    Good luck to you.

  21. #21
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Billy Kay:
    My question is - do you think they gave it to us? There are no links that someone could have clicked on today. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    If they gave it to you, I would have thought you would receive an email indicating this, no? Odd.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chet_B:
    ...answering phones for customer service...
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Yikes. That can't be good. I get customer service type calls but luckily, I forward them to our dedicated customer service / live ops team.

    As for adding products & copy to the site, I do this all the time. It's part of my on-going duty to test and and ultimately increase conversion rates. This also includes content in the shopping cart

  22. #22
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    Billy wrote: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Not counting you good guys, why DON'T any of the other AM's ever answer emails? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Not answering emails period is just bad business! I don't care if it's from a customer, affiliate, or a high school student doing an essay on "The Lingerie Business" (we get a few a year)they must all be responded to. If affiliate emails go unanswered - imagine how their customer service is? If I were an affiliate I would do a "test" email and see what the response is like - if any. I do this when I want to buy software - I call tech. support before the purchase to see if their tech. support is "alive" or "dead". One of the main reasons businesses fail is due to poor management.Not answering emails, period, is just bad management. OK, back to emails................

  23. #23
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Wish I didn't mention the merchant by name in the BBB complaint I posted, as I'd like to state the full details of the BBB resolution that arrived in today's mail...

    1. They say they've been aware of "tracking issues" since January. (It's now May. Shouldn't they be telling their affilaites they aren't tracking sales?)

    2. A payment of $27.48 was added to this affiliates account for April, and he should receive a check in May.

    Here's my Bass Pro April report from 5 seconds ago. All I see are zeroes!

    Bass Pro Shops 1 0 0 $0.00 0 $0.00 0 0 0 $0.00

    3. The "non-responsive AM" I had been emailing for months - with a basspro email address - "is an employee of BeFree... a company we contracted with...to answer emails and inquiries on our behalf...whose responses are supposed to take the place of any direct response from Bass Pro"

    To rephrase: The AM for BassPro is a befree employee. (That could be the topic of a whole new thread)

    BassPro doesn't even WANT to deal with it's affiliates.

    4. They will investigate Andrew's lack of response to make sure it is corrected.

    5.The BBB wants to know if I want more info on "Small Claims Court in your county seat or the MO Attorney General's phone number." I'll pass!!

    Every day is an eye-opener in this business!!

    Thank goodness we still have you guys and girls (you know which AMs you are) that treat us as humans, and dare I say, maybe assets!

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