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  1. #1
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    From Mike's post in this thread: http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...7515#935107515

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>About time for a Safe Haven network to appear adding a TOS that eliminates both the affiliate and merchant games. That UK network TD has a nice outline for ground rules but doesn't address merchant diversion tactics and force true high conversion ratio leading to higher promotion income. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    And several other posts over the last few months calling for a Safe Haven Network and what that Network should be like.

    While I agree on principle that such a Network is needed and could be of value to this industry, I do wonder, from a realistic standpoint, if some of the points are truly feasible and/or how easy it would be to implement such a Network. IOW, to say there should be such a Network and to actually be able to deliver such a Network might be two different things.

    So my challenge is to post yet again what you think the actual TOS of such a Network should be and how YOU would go about implementing those TOS. Keeping in mind that you have to have a Network that in the end makes a profit (so it stays around) and not only that, but has to be competitive with the other Networks and what is currently happening in this industry. A Safe Haven Network that isn't able to compete with the other Networks out there really wouldn't be a tremedous value to the industry would it?

    I'll put on the devil's advocate hat and respond if you accept the challenge.

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Safe Haven implies a mutually beneficial playing field for merchants and affiliates. A good TOS would parallel this one ... http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...6415#679106415 No physical click=no commission. Sales conversion ratios should be transparent, published, and the means for ALL merchants pooled to attract active affiliate exposure on their pages. It can be setup where it's impossible for all merchants to not report every referral sale. It can be setup where, for the first time, an affiliate cookie will be active for all Safe Haven network merchants when clicked from an affiliate domain page. That's right folks. You refer your targeted shopper to merchant-A and if they end up buying from Merchant-B you get paid.

    It can be setup where Norton and the Ad blockers cannot legally blank the link displays or target the cookies are spyware. It can be setup where even the parasite riddled merchants in all networks can join without one cent going to their BHO incent partners. Their only problem is they'll not have any diversion tactics and reporting scams to mask their true ecatalog conversion ratios.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  3. #3
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    So if I send a shopper to a jewelry merchant (Merchant A), I am also going to set a cookie for a magazine merchant (Merchant B).

    If the shopper then types in www.merchantb.com into his browser, I'm going to get paid for his purchase?

    How is that any different than what Ebates and the others are doing? The merchant is still going to be paying a commission on his type-in traffic.

  4. #4
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    &lt;~~~~~ puts on devil's advocate hat

    I'll address this one first, since I'm having quite a few problems with it:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> for the first time, an affiliate cookie will be active for all Safe Haven network merchants when clicked from an affiliate domain page. That's right folks. You refer your targeted shopper to merchant-A and if they end up buying from Merchant-B you get paid.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I can't believe you said this one Mike. Ok, I can see where that policy could be an attraction for increasing your affiliate base, but you just turned your Safe Haven Network into a Network that is parasitic (vs a network that has a % of their affiliate base parasitic).

    Here's what I need explained to me (especially from the vantage point of the value add to your Merchants):

    1) That policy seems to fly completely in the face of your "no click = no commission" policy. Certainly a click was generated for the affiliate to garner a commission (any Merchant on the Network), but for Merchant B who is having to pay the commission and Network fees there was no click generated to HIM by the affiliate.
    2) From the vantage point of the Merchant it would seem that Merchant's will be required to pay commissions and fees on traffic outside of the your Networks affiliate channel. How is that any different than what is currently happening on other Networks? Only with a limited number of affiliates vs the entire affiliate base of your Network?

    Example:

    User goes to affiliate site and clicks thru to Merchant A. Doesn't see what they want. Affiliate is not even partnered with Merchant B. User heads off to Google to continue to look. Does a search and clicks thru to Merchant B's AdWords link. Finds what they are looking for and makes the purchase. Merchant B is now required to pay Google, the Affiliate (under your global cookie tracking) which is not even a partner of theirs (????), and your Network fees. Granted a very profitable situation for your Network, but I see a huge hurdle in selling that one to Merchants.

    3) Your Network will be a HUGE draw to every cookie setting affiliate trickster out there. All they have to do is get one merchant's cookie outset to encompass all Merchants! I hope you have a HUGE compliance team and budget in place. I'm well aware of some of the tactics being utilized now by affiliates to auto set cookies (not as obvious to detect). This policy would make it so much easier for them to implement and harder for your Network to detect. They could randomize things in such a way to make detection and documentation a nightmare.

    4) It seems to be able to track and implement this type of system you would have to be using a global network type cookies vs a merchant specific one. You wouuld have to also track that end user across all their future cilcks to see if they go to another of your Merchant's sites and make a purchase. It seems that it would put your Network's cookie on the 'spyware' tracking list vrey rapidly. So I hope you do have a very good way to ACTUALLY ensure "Norton and the Ad blockers cannot legally blank the link displays or target the cookies are spyware" not to mention the spyware removal programs. Your case that your cookie isn't tracking and syping would be getting on some pretty thin ice I would think.

    5) Your Network would be a draw for every unethical AM out there who works on commissions who currently think the parasites are "adding value" to their programs because it increases their monthly paycheck.

    &lt;~~~~~~~ takes off devil's advocate hat

  5. #5
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> and if they end up buying from Merchant-B you get paid <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Ahh the old "South Hill Shuffle" named for our good friend Goldsphincter in Los Angeles who made this move famous.

    Maybe an oversimplification, but the concept of having actual shopping cart links on the affiliate site rather than affiliate URL/cookie-based tracking may be worthy of exploration.

  6. #6
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    So the last cookie, will overwrite - network wide the last cookie? Nice. Well thought out.

    Look people, it is fun to say Mike has valid points when you analyze his 10,000 word jumble posts - yes, eventually when you jumble that many words together you will occasionally make sense, but after this post and 9999 others, do you really think he is a fountain of knowledge and a great deep thinking resource?

    Chet

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    Hehe

  8. #8
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    This was not meant to be a Mike bashing thread. Some of the points he was brought up in the past regarding a "safe haven" have merit. However, I think at times it's oversimplied and made to sound easier to implement than what it would be in reality. I was hoping for a true discussion considering there are many policies being set (or will be set) that will most likely impact upon AM.

    There's utopia and there's reality.

    @Chief: I've seen the direct shopping cart linking done to a limited degree. There are pro's and cons to that, but it is worthy of discussion.

  9. #9
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    But Ms B, I can say I want to run an affiliate network filled with cotton candy and pony rides for all affiliates, we will all meet once a month at the pot of gold under the rainbow.

    Is that a valid basis to start a network? To attack other networks for not operating that way? Instead of centering the discussion on a fabled network, why not start with a real one like SAS, and use that as the basis for discussion?

    Chet

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    But, but Chet.....

    If you were saying that repeatedly as a response in numerous threads to all the changes happening right now, then I would probably statt a thread "Chet's Cotton Candy/Pony Ride Pot At the End of the Rainbow Network Challenge" and ask you to elaborate on how it could be done and be workable Network.

    When I run Mike's posts through the Ms. B filter and decoder, there are some valid points as to a "clean" Network, which is what I think he is talking about. However, there are some points that I think are more easily said than done. Like I said, there is utopia and there is reality. Let's not confuse the issues with the which is which. Maybe some of what I think would be dang near impossible to do in reality isn't. Show me how.

    Don't know if I want to launch a discussion to pick SAS apart.

    But yes, I would love to see a discussion of what could be realistically expected from a Safe Haven Network (guess that's what I was tryig to accomplish). And SAS would be the closest thing we currently have for that type of model.

  11. #11
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Instead of centering the discussion on a fabled network, why not start with a real one like SAS, and use that as the basis for discussion?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Why not? Go for it. This isn't sarcastic - I really would love to hear why Shareasale (SAS) either fits into anyone's definition of a "safe" network for affiliates... or doesn't... and where we can change things or strengthen policies, etc...

    If thats the way you want to take it, I will be happy to respond to issues that come up - and tell you our perspective on them, etc...

    I don't mind negative comments - especially when they are constructive... so have at it if you wish.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  12. #12
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    Not sure what you mean my Safe Haven? Just pick safe merchants. There are merchant that are parasite free and have sued to keep from parasites popping off their domain, work with them. There is a parasite free network already SAS, use them. Have seen some new merchants added recently.

    This has nothing to do with Safe Haven but another thread i don't think you responded too. You need a SAS newsletter. Announcements, new merchants, maybe all of the available promotions, etc.

  13. #13
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Comments deleted by SSanf but reposted in SAS forum under "SAS wish list".
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  14. #14
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    timeout.

    while i do appreciate the suggestions and comments, etc... i don't want to derail the thread into simply a "how to improve SAS" thing... if you have those kinds of things please post them in the SAS forum and i will take a look at them.

    i was posting here specifically on the "safe haven" thing... ecom brought it up and Ms. B wanted to debate it here... talking about SAS and its role as a possible safe network are fine - and that is what i was talking about in terms of sending comments...

    so... Mike - if SAS isn't a safe network for you i would be curious as to why you think so, or not... etc... and anyone else on that subject as well. thanks.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  15. #15
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    I think ShareASale is the best and safest network we have right now. They just need more merchants.

    As for a network being a safe haven, this would have to be defined in more detail as to what is truly considered a safe haven. There is nothing 100% safe 100% of the time. It would be totally unrealistic to expect that from any merchant or network.

    I agree that there are good merchants in every network, but not all networks are "affiliate friendly". Neither CJ nor LS reply to emails (my own personal experience and many others judging by posts here) and the issues have to be addressed here at ABW to get a resolution.

    SAS DOES reply to emails within 24 hours and answer questions. They DO address tracking concerns and work with affiliates to make sure tracking is working properly.

    While I couldn't say that SAS has never had/will never have tracking issues and/or downtime or any other problems, CJ and LS are well known for a whole bunch of problems that just don't get resolved very quickly, or at all, and never get addressed or communicated to affiliates. There are enough problem posts on this board about these two networks to make anyone's head spin. If there were no justified concerns, an entire forum wouldn't be dedicated to test purchases.

    As for the example above with one cookie set for all merchants across a network, that's absurd! Ms. B has already outlined most of the reasons why it wouldn't work.

    And the LAST thing you want is Abu as an affiliate manager for ANY of your merchants!

    Catwoman

  16. #16
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    The Safe Haen network concept I've devised, and pondered over for 6 months, doesn't have any holes beyond unethical cookie stuffers and PPCSE blind redirect. There is no way to stop this other then selective acceptance of the affiliates and verifying the physical clicks originate from their own domain pages.

    Ms.B and even the SAS network Owner are seeking the other puzzle pieces. To openly discuss all the neuances of a bullet proof Safe Haven Network seems to have to protect the originators idea from infringement and copy cat moves. Seems I spilled some beans here about creating a preferred merchant "product only" network offering and within 2 weeks SAS launches the concept without so much as a cuddoo.

    My solution is simple, not expensive and doesn't parallel anything in the way of conventional network protections/shortfalls or current designs. Basically an idea outside the box we've been fighting to get out of for many years. All existing Merchant Diversion Tactics and non-reporting of sales capabilities are eliminated. True network wide conversion stats for each merchant are available for the affiliates to choose their best choice for domain showcase pages.

    That would be their choice of Merchant-A and would probably be the merchant with a savvy AM focusing shoppers via strong creatives and higher conversion landing pages. Akiva's PSC and Andy's Full page creatives come into play. Options for browsing Merchant-B's offering will not require the extra step of Googling. Heck those merchants who choose to allow "incents" (coupons/rebates) will have them clearly posted via a link on their ecatalog landing pages. Affiliates can highlight them along with Free freight offers and seasonal/monthly/weekly specials and post them as part of their pre-sell spin. Difference is that no shopper will have to do the 2 step, loose their shopping fever and place, or abandon a cart to find the promo code. Focus shifts to the merchants competing on price, selections and promotions totally upfront without affiliate trickery.

    A Safe Haven network employs or subcontracts a "live help" button call center dedicated to close a sale -record the referral source and even upsell or save a sale. Yes Macy's might be OOS, but Gimbles has it on the shelf. Either way the affiliate gets credit and the merchant pool makes a sale. Whole idea is this network would drive growth by shopper satisfaction/loyality -great competitive pricing and the only differentiator is transparent merchant and affiliate conversion ratios.

    My whole goal is to assure every Safe haven merchant will incure higher conversion ratios then they currently experience via SEO/SEM and their current affiliate traffic. That will be commission painful and rightfully so.... The retail game is to turn inventory in order to buy some more. All current networks are setup to please the Ad Whores, Dupers and tricksters and have a pure play advertising mindset. SAS just pushes the existing model on a cleaned basis within their preferred merchant area.

    I'd love to hold some PM brainstorming, but refuse to not gather in a core ownership group as the existing network models seem to be imploading on their own merits and ethics.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  17. #17
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    "The Safe Haen network concept I've devised, and pondered over for 6 months, doesn't have any holes beyond unethical cookie stuffers and PPCSE blind redirect."

    BLFH said "you just turned your Safe Haven Network into a Network that is parasitic"

    That's a hole. Read Ms. B's second post, address all that.

  18. #18
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Mike did you even read what Ms B posted? Did you understand it if you read it?

    I think we have a safe Haven in SAS.

    As far as them needing more merchants,
    well, everyone should try to send them some more if they can. But, seems to me that they add more all the time.

    And, yes they HAVE had technical problems in the past but it has been a long, long time since the last one. They seem to be by far more reliable than CJ or LS.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  19. #19
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    I don't even understand what this thread is about, some Utopian network? Would Ricardo Maltaban and Tatoo be running it?

    Also safe from what exactly? Bad merchants? Parasites? Parasites can pop on anything. There are good merchants everywhere, in all networks. So safe from what exactly?

  20. #20
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    Mike wrote:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> It can be setup where, for the first time, an affiliate cookie will be active for all Safe Haven network merchants when clicked from an affiliate domain page. That's right folks. You refer your targeted shopper to merchant-A and if they end up buying from Merchant-B you get paid. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think there are some problems there, Mike:

    1) If it's a "last cookie counts" network wide cookie, then if I pre-sell Merchant A and a few laters that same viewer clicks someone else's ad for Merchant C ... that other affiliate gets the commission for Merchant A (even if they didn't have a link for it) as well as the rest of the network?

    2) If it's a "first cookie counts" network wide cookie, then who ever gets the first cookie in gets the credit (even if the wonderful presell text and link of another affiliate produces the sale?)

    If we're talking about sales affiliates here, then doesn't seem that a commission should only be due if the affiliate was responsible for generating the sale? If you had divide up into big piles the problems the networks are having, I'd think "affiliates not getting credit for sales they produce" is one of the big piles to ponder solutions for (although it's not the only pile.) You're positioning network wide cookies as part of that solution, and I think it might just be a remixing of the pile's contents.

  21. #21
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Ms.B and even the SAS network Owner are seeking the other puzzle pieces. To openly discuss all the neuances of a bullet proof Safe Haven Network seems to have to protect the originators idea from infringement and copy cat moves. Seems I spilled some beans here about creating a preferred merchant "product only" network offering and within 2 weeks SAS launches the concept without so much as a cuddoo. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



    My name is Brian by the way.

    Nevermind. If somebody wants to have a real discussion on the "safeness" of a network and what it really needs, what is doesn't - and what is possible/impossible...and would like me to participate... Let me know.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  22. #22
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Seems I spilled some beans here about creating a preferred merchant "product only" network offering and within 2 weeks SAS launches the concept without so much as a cuddoo. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Brian, the fastest moving network owner in the world - from stolen concept to full launch rollout in 2 weeks. Way to go, to turn around that stolen idea so quickly.

    Of course I am assuming Mike meant kudo, not cuddoo. But I don't know, maybe cuddoo means - "Smack in the back of the head for being such a wank", and he is actually thanking brian.

    Chet

  23. #23
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    Chet, i don't find that hard to believe. I think i remember Mike had the idea for the internet and 2 weeks later Gore stole it and launched the internet.

  24. #24
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Mike,

    Here was our thanks to you - as well as the other merchants and affiliates who helped us build the blueprints for our P.P.S. program...

    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...513#5846020513
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  25. #25
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    ** The Safe Haven Network referral Cookie is a last clicked pre-sales page cookie. No BHO will have any effect on it as they'll never be allowed to directly have a Safe Haven affiliate sales tracking ID#. Any SHN affiliate lending there ID# or partnering with a BHO will be booted a forfeit any earned commissions. All commission earnings are based upon a physical click from the affiliates domain pages and clickstream S/W tackers can verified this fact.

    No BHO operator will be able to earn a penny from their popups on sales made from SHN merchants ecatalog pages. Legal steps can be taken to prohibit BHO popups like done by TD and Overstock and others. Again the plan is setup for even BHO friendly merchants to join, but leave their theftware partners neutered on SHN sales commissions making their current network commission payouts look like chump change for domain bound affiliates.

    SSanf I know SAS is a clean network, but cannot guarantee all sales get reported and tracking tags are turned on at all times. Brian was smart to adopt the recommendations I laid out over a year ago to have a products only merchant network as it made sense to raise the bar for screening merchant partners and affiliates. Thanks for the Kudo Brian as you and Haiko discussed amongst yourselves the merits of the concept and acted upon this to get a upper hand on promoting SAS.

    My point here in this tread is a Safe Haven Network can be setup and launched quickly and will attract active quality affiliates and all the product merchants willing to give up their normal diversion tactics exposing their true conversion ratios while attracting repeat shoppers. To accomplish this a core group has to be willing to give me 20% of the networks monthly profits. Merchant signup fees cover network setup costs and the network would take in a CJ type 20% of the affiliate payouts which are consolidated. A dedicated server hosting solution with sufficient bandwidth is a reasonable cost and all banner image creatives can be hot linked or locally hosted by the affiliate. The "small network that could" will not require a huge staff or overhead.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

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