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  1. #1
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Clueless Affiliate Manager
    Sorry, I have to vent a little, lol...

    I was recently dumped by a merchant on SAS because I was sending sales. I had 24 banner links on my site for them and three text... the banner links were provided by them and were located in categories and merchant pages on a couple different sites of mine. The text links were on my main page with their store name under 'featured merchants.' It is a no name store, as far as I am concerned but fit well in categories and had some cute baby stuff.

    Out of the blue, I was dumped (I had five sales this week). I wrote the affiliate manager and asked why I was dumped and he felt he got sales from me he would have gotten anyway, so felt my site was offering no value to get people to his site. He suggested I give him premium main page placement in exchange for being allowed to be an affiliate again, lol. Now, I only have 1000+ merchants ( some with BIG names) who want on my main pages... so that was mildly amusing.

    Anyway, I am so tired of affiliate managers making assumptions of what constitutes a valid sale and what sales they *think* they would have gotten with or without me. Is it not accurate that if you are an affiliate, and you set up a merchant page for a merchant and a customer clicks on a link that you are sending a valid customer? I have a retail business and honestly, I really don't care how a customer is sent as long as I get that customer and the customer wants to shop at my store.

    This is very frustrating.. to work hard to promote a merchant and have them dump me without warning for sending sales... and then they think the banners they proivided for me to use aren't appropriate enough to send sales.. what the heck? lol.

    If anyone has been dumped from a baby merchant on SAS in the last week or so, you will know who I am talking about.. this is probably the most bizarre thing I have seen in years.

    DISCLAIMER: I would like to say that *most* affiliate managers are very wonderful and educated about what they are doing... this one is clearly an exception, lol, so no offense intended towards any of my *dream affiliate managers*, haha!

  2. #2
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    What a jackass. To hell with him. It's not like he doesn't have 746 competitors who can match or beat his offerings.
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  3. #3
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    name and shame

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    These are the merchants who think that by enlisting affiliates they get the free traffic and backlinks. And when there is a sale, there is some kind of excuse du jour. Dump 'm and name 'm as KGP says.

  5. #5
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Yep, agree with the others, forget'em. Since they tried to blackmail you into better placement on your site, I think naming them would help protect the rest of the community.
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  6. #6
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    Anne,

    Brian Littleton posts to ABestWeb on a regular basis. With luck, he'll see your post and have a little 'sidebar' chat with you to find out who this clueless person is... and straighten him out.

    Otherwise, you might want to try contacting him directly.

    Cheers,
    Ros

  7. #7
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    I have had so many requests about who the merchant is and since this is fact, not gossip, I will assume I can post the name of the merchant here. The merchant is Storkie.com... They did not dump me because I am a coupon site but because they felt that since their banner was not on my main page, that the customers would have gone directly to them anyway but searched my site for a coupon or something, didn't find one since they don't have any, clicked through my link, then I got a sale without giving the customer any value, lol. Now, that being said, they were listed in a multitude of categories and again, they did have a text link on my main page leading to their merchant page.. but regardless... dumping an affiliate who is having sales because you *think* you would get the sales anyway is just stupid.

  8. #8
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    I am updating this thread because I have had quite a few notes from other affiliates asking me who the merchant is , so I will paste the text, word for word, so there is no merchant bashing, just fact... Then everyone can make their own decision about if the merchant is correct in this case or not...

    I was dropped out of the blue with no note or anything, so I wrote the merchant earlier in the week asking why I had been dropped. Thinking it was because I was a coupon site, I told him I had nothing but banners up ( to clarify I did not have coupons posted). His current listing had three banners up on the merchant page that his affiliate panel provided... and many also spread throughout categories... 100% of the creative I had posted was provided by his program.

    Here is what I wrote:
    I am confused... your link was on the main page of CleverBabies.com
    and CleverMoms.com, and also in a multitude of baby cagetories as well
    as the Storie pages on CleverMoms, CleverDads, and CleverBabies. If I
    am not mistaken, your banners ( 3) had over 21 placements on my sites.
    In addition I had three text links, all main page placed for your
    site. With 1000 merchants to advertise for, I feel that your site had
    substantial exposure compared to most of my other baby sites, which is
    why I was sending sales.
    If you want me to add you back to my sites please let me know,
    otherwise, I am sorry the sales I sent were not enough ( I think five
    in the last week?)

    This was his response:
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    "Thank you for your inquiry.

    We have changed our policy regarding approval criteria for affiliates.

    As you stated, "I have nothing but a banner up". This results in little
    value added in securing a sale, particularly as that banner is only the
    Storkie page.

    If you put an ad on the homepage(s), where it would have more exposure,
    that would satisfy our current policy and I will change the status back
    to approved.

    If interested, I'd be happy to have a custom ad created for your
    homepage(s). Just let me know where you would like to place it and any
    size guidance.

    Let me know how you would like to proceed."

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Upon questioning this policy, and explaining to him i had a multitude of banners in various categories, had him listed as a featured merchant on two main pages, as well as having the dedicated Storkie pages, the following reply arrived:
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    "Allow me to clarify.

    Every transaction resulted from a click on either the dedicated Storkie page on CleverMoms or CleverBabies. Given the volume of clicks, this makes me believe that the only exposure for Storkie is when a customer comes to your site and specifically searches for Storkie, or when a customer searches in Google for "Storkie coupons" and lands on the dedicated Storkie page. I believe that there was no Storkie banner on either of the CleverBabies or CleverMoms homepages, though there may have been links to your Storkie page - otherwise there would have been a lot more hits to Storkie.

    Our current affiliate policy only approves affiliates who uniquely generate leads, not who serve as the final portal before a sale.

    Yes undoubtedly clicks from your site resulted in sales. But considering the type of exposure you have provided thus far, I believe these sales would have happened regardless. Visitors came to your site searching for a coupon for Storkie. They found the dedicated Storkie page. They saw no coupon. They clicked on the banner taking them back to Storkie to see if that did anything. Then they ordered. That level of providing exposure no longer qualifies for commissions.

    Make sense?"

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    My reply:

    This is just silly. I had your links up and sent you sales and you are
    bantering over how you got the sales.. lol. The links were under
    featured merchants on my main pages ( text links) , where people click
    through TO the storkie page from the main page.. Calling me a liar is
    not in your best interest... I had you linked on my main pages, and
    that is how they found you IN my site. The text link was your name,
    which linked them to your page on the site... On that page, I had
    three banners posted that YOU provided that I had links on and they
    clicked on them. So you are upset that customers clicked on links YOU
    gave me to put on my site? lol.

    Anyway, I have a merchant site and I am happy to have sales and don't
    care where they come from. If someone had 24 links on their site for
    me, I would be bowing down kissing their feet, not arguing about why a
    customer clicked on my link, lol.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    "Anne, I'm not calling you a liar. I think we're just talking about different things.

    Our requirement is for affiliates to provide a minimum level of exposure in order to qualify for commissions. Having a text link of our company's name in a list of 100's on your main pages is not sufficient. Having a dedicated page for Storkie coupons is not sufficient.

    It sounds like the way you view it is that sales are coming from your site, since you are providing links to Storkie. And that is where we seem to differ in opinion, as I qualify and quantify that exposure and the value added from visitors using those links.

    I wish you the best of luck with all of your other affiliates. If you are giving them exposure and creating value for them, that's fantastic."

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    my reply:
    You did insinuate i was telling you a lie when you said the links were
    not on my main page when I said they were. And you were not just on
    the merchant page.. or the main page via text link...I had you listed
    in multiple baby categories, so when customers were looking in a
    category, and your store had items in that category, they clicked
    through to your merchant page I had set up, then clicked through to
    your store. So where you saw people clicking through from the
    merchant page, they may have, in fact, come from category pages on my
    site. You know what they say about assuming I guess. Regardless, you
    GOT the sales...

    If you can find other affiliates who are running thousands of stores
    able to give main page premium placement to a basically unknown store,
    then I applaud your efforts, it will be a job well done. I did without
    being asked and was dropped for sending sales, lol.

    You singlehandedly severed this advertising relationship ( and who
    knows how many others) with not so much as a question or remark before
    dumping me after being a good affiliate and sending countless sales to
    you...

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    So who knows, I guess everyone has an opinion. To me, I sent sales and should not be dropped for sending them. Makes no sense.
    Last edited by Anne; March 14th, 2010 at 12:59 PM.

  9. #9
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    That affiliate manager should not be allowed to manage an affiliate program.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador beachcom's Avatar
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    This is absolutely ridiculous. So, if you had not been a coupon site, and generated the sale that would have been alright? Is that his logic?

  11. #11
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    I had the same experience twice last week with new SAS merchants. I'm not too happy.
    You're accepted in their programs, you spend time finding the best way to promote these merchants, you respect their agreement, you drive sales and suddendly, out of the blue, you're dropped. And they give you stupid reasons.
    I've no problem if a merchant don't accept me in their program. That's their choice. But if you're driving sales for them after being accepted, you must be doing something right. Last one, a shoe merchant, told me my site didn't fit their products. They want only blogs talking about fashion. Guess what? Their links were on a fashion blog. She (the owner) was just looking at the wrong site. Unable to understand anyway what's a referer.

    I'm not trying to convince these merchants to keep me as an affiliate. It will not work in the long run anyway. They have no idea of the chance they have to make a sale. Let them try on their own.

  12. #12
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    It appears the manager is wanting more than just banners on the page to justify the sales. I'll say that Anne was far more patient and polite than I would have been during the email conversation. As I've gotten older, I don't tolerate 'stupid' very well.
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  13. #13
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachcom View Post
    This is absolutely ridiculous. So, if you had not been a coupon site, and generated the sale that would have been alright? Is that his logic?

    Apparently, he is the Grand Poohbah of 'value added links' as well as an affiliate link conversion prophet... Basically he looks at your site and can magically determine your link value ( even if you are using his supplied links) and can approximate with 100% certainty which sales he would have had anyway, regardless of your links.. lol.

  14. #14
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    There is a big difference between "would have" and "did". If the merchant sealed the deal on their own, why is the customer drifting off and only finding their way back after having been steered back to the merchant by an affiliate. If not for the affiliate, one of this merchant's competitors is who "would have" gotten the sale.
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    That affiliate manager should not be allowed to manage an affiliate program.
    Cut him some slack, the guy will be busy a long time sending out termination notices to all 1,550,000 sites that show up for his term. He hasn't actually got any time to think things through.

  16. #16
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    This is more than a "clueless affiliate manager problem", it is a network issue.

    No network should tolerate a merchant program that has this policy, especially if it is not spelled out in their TOS. Of course if their TOS read "We reserve the right to judge, after the fact of any referred sale, the quality of your links and referrals, and at that point determine if such referrals are of sufficient quality to award you a commission. We further reserve the right to terminate you from our program if we, using subjective criteria, make, after the fact, a determination that such referrals are of insufficient quality." they would not have any affiliates.
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  17. #17
    http and a telephoto
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    Sounds like they don't do their own seo very well and are mad that you rank above them on many terms. Believe it or not, as OPMs we have to explain to many of our merchants (or potential merchants - we turn many down) that they can't discount affiliates that rank above them, because that is what affiliates *do*. They bring them traffic they *couldn't* get on their own.
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  18. #18
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Well personally I can't point a finger at SAS because I have yet to have an issue with any merchant that was not resolved once they knew about it... the problem is affiliate managers not knowing what they are doing and erroneously making decisions on the fly in response to their lack of knowledge ( my last experience was Flashing Blinking Lights who recruited me to their program then started reversing sales on repeat customers even though it wasn't in their TOS and then said they were reversing sales because I was a coupon site, lol. All erroneous hodge podge, but SAS DID make good on the reversed sales and FBL did apparently update their terms. Anyway, my point is, like Forrest Gump says.. stupid is as stupid does... I feel this is just a result of poorly educated affiliate managers, and SAS can do their best to educate them but no one can predict or control what they do when no one is looking... not sure how that type of thing can be managed.. only dealt with as it arises.

  19. #19
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    nix
    Last edited by Anne; March 14th, 2010 at 04:26 PM. Reason: deleted

  20. #20
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    .... referrals .....of insufficient quality
    Well I suppose if there was something wrong with the money that the customer sent.
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  21. #21
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    Sounds like they don't do their own seo very well and are mad that you rank above them on many terms. Believe it or not, as OPMs we have to explain to many of our merchants (or potential merchants - we turn many down) that they can't discount affiliates that rank above them, because that is what affiliates *do*. They bring them traffic they *couldn't* get on their own.
    Exactly. I've had dealings with one merchant who would not approve my application on basis of the fact that I outrank them for some fairly straightforward generic terms that they are targetting too. They just don't get the clue that the sales I generate are going to their competitor, and a long-term share for them is there for the taking, just by clicking a button.
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  22. #22
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Oh Lordy ... this is insane!

    *looks over my shoulder to see who's trying to stick it to me ...*
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  23. #23
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    I feel this is just a result of poorly educated affiliate managers, and SAS can do their best to educate them but no one can predict or control what they do when no one is looking... not sure how that type of thing can be managed.. only dealt with as it arises.
    Even with education some merchants "don't get it". There are lots of people out their trying to educate merchants, then they hire a (cough) dumba$$) (cough) SEO firm that tells them their affiliates are preventing them from getting the spots they couldn't/can't get on their own and that they need to remove the affiliates to get those spots.

    If you knew what we talk to merchants (new, old and wannabees) on a daily basis you would be amazed there are any good merchants at all.

    And Hi Rosalind, nice to see you here at ABW again

  24. #24
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I hope someone points the genius to this thread, but it sounds like he is so sold on his own strange logic that chances are this thread wouldn't phase his thinking -- just as I doubt any suggestions from Brian w/ SAS will change things.
    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.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Well sounds like they saw that Anne's site had an decent conversion combined with low number of clicks causing them to conclude it was because they were a coupon site, or that in fact the "coupon" keywords that drove the traffic. High conversion with low clicks means the stats show a high EPC so why on earth would they complain.

    So Anne, next time just click your links to Storkie couple times a day and you should be all set ( I know probably too late now after termination), as a matter of fact program a bot to do that and the merchant wouldn't complain.

    * made note of clueless merchant *

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