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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I've just been pondering a few things. I feel that the 2 big networks (CJ and LS) are reluctant to make any changes that might be beneficial to their merchants and affiliates, because of fear those changes would have a negative impact on their business.

    But what if Todd or Stephen appeared at ABW one day and posted that effective immediately their network would no longer allow any affiliates or merchants who operate in gray areas?

    No more affiliates who use software downloads to overwrite cookies or remind end users to buy through them.

    No more merchants who consistently fail to perform, have high reversals, or have a history of payment problems.

    No more affiliate marketing trickery. No forced cookie setting, no hidden windows, no auto popping of a merchant's site without a physical click, etc.

    And let's also say that the network ENFORCES their new terms. One warning with immediate action required, and then after that zero tolerance to the offenders, if you're caught doing anything sneaky again, you're gone. Do you think their business would suffer or explode? Do you think there would be a mass exodus of merchants and affiliates, or do you think affiliates and merchants would be standing in line to participate in this new, "clean" network environment?

    I'd like to hear what affiliates, merchants, and AMs think.

    I think there would be a huge influx of affiliates, many who have pulled away from the networks as well as many who don't use them very much to begin with. And I think the merchants will eventually follow the affiliates.

    I believe the bottom line would be increased income and operating efficiency for the networks, merchants, and affiliates because of the clean environment. Merchants won't pay for their own SE or newsletter traffic any longer, and affiliates will be paid for the sales their sites generate.

    What do the rest of you think?

    Andy

  2. #2
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    "No more affiliates who use software downloads to overwrite cookies or remind end users to buy through them."

    It would be nice but fact is parasites don't need networks to operate and can work directly with the merchant.

    "No more merchants who consistently fail to perform, have high reversals, or have a history of payment problems."

    Drop them, stop looking at networks to make your business decisions for you. You partner with a merchant, keep an eye on them and make good business decisions.

    "No more affiliate marketing trickery. No forced cookie setting, no hidden windows, no auto popping of a merchant's site without a physical click, etc."

    I agree with you there, you should have an actual click to set a cookie.

    In the end focus on working with good merchants. There are some great ones in each network that perform month in, month out with no problems. Find them, work with them.

  3. #3
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    It's hard to say what the short-term impact would be, if any. If you remember Abu's posts after he got rid of Ebates, overall sales did not increase, but he didn't look at the corporate sales, he only talked about affiliate revenues.

    But if you look at the current Linkshare thread, a website with a PR2, not to forget all documentation on this matter, that wins a $15,000 prize pretty much tells you that sales that seemed to have come from that website really came from other sources, not its own to win such an award. This should have raised eyebrows to begin with.

    I think merchants who know how to analyze their stats would see an increase in sales from their corporate advertising. I'm not sure about affiliate sales. My own opinion is that BHO steal more from merchants themselves than they do from affiliate sales in most cases.

    This all depends on the industry, of course. Some affiliates lose much more than others, I'm sure, and it would be more noticeable with some merchants than others. Because the venim is spread out over the entire affiliate marketing network, the losses are less for each affiliate individually than they are for merchants at the corporate level.

    Long-term effect. You hit the nail on the head! Affiliates are so sick of being ripped off that they would embrace more parasite-free networks.

    Look at all the posts on this board praising SAS and how many people are deleting their merchants from CJ and LS, including myself. When a new merchant posts about which network they should use, or one they're considering, they're ALWAYS steered in SAS's direction.

    More posts from people who have deleted parasitic merchants and replaced them with clean ones who say that out of nowhere their sales increased after doing that. What does that say?

    Take all the posts from AM's despising networks for allowing something like this to happen. If it wasn't such a burden to switch networks, CJ and LS would have lost several merchants by now. When their contracts with these parasitic networks come up for renewal, I'd bet a lot that many merchants will have found other alternatives by then and it won't be such a pain to implement because they'll be ready for it. If this doesn't send a strong message to networks, I don't know what would! They're obviously blind AND deaf.

    Yes, more parasite-free networks would mean increased revenues for all involved. Don't forget trust between all parties, which would result in more websites created to promote more merchants...

    Catwoman

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    ~~~~~~~~~~

    To affiliates, I think it'd have all the overall effect of bathing a flea-ridden dog without treating the house and yard at the same time.

    Every dog owner knows that to get rid of a flea infestation for longer than 10 minutes takes treating ALL areas the dog (our customers) goes in--otherwise they just jump back on from somewhere else.

    Microsoft's anti-BHO update and laws like the one WhenU's arguing about in Utah are the flea bombs that complete the effort. Without that or something like it, getting parasites off of the major networks will just be shifting the problem around.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    As for the networks themselves--

    I think there would be a HUGE mad musical-chairs-like shifting of affiliations, both from and to the networks! The paras would be going from, and others would be going to. There'd be a lot of steppin' and fetchin' on the parasite side. But then they'd settle down somewhere else, provided there was a "somewhere else" to settle into.

    And there'd be much shifting of money. Parasite money. FROM the current big networks, TO whatever (currently under-the-radar) network would still take the parasites.

    That money shift may or may not have bad long-term consequences, depending on how much financial leeway the majors have for such a shift. Also it would depend on whether the network the parasites went to managed that cash influx well.

    If the new place blew through the parasite dough 90's-style before the current major networks ran out of spare change, then the majors could brag "parasite free" and the competitor who took the paras in would die.

    If, on the other hand, the current majors didn't have a big enough reserve to handle the initial exodus, it could spell doom for them instead.

    Based on the actions of the big networks, I think they see DOOM as the likely result. Anti-parasite activists see this as an ethical/unethical type of decision, seperate from financial considerations. But the networks' ACTIONS say that *they* see this as a choice between allowing it or committing business suicide. Nobody in their right mind will choose Death, so they're keeping the paras!

    It's fine to talk about the long-term, but if the networks don't have enough reserves to make it through the SHORT term, the long-term point is totally moot. If you're in real danger of starving, the cholesterol content of a Big Mac Combo Meal becomes utterly irrelevant.

    ARE they really in danger of starving without the parasite-generated transaction fees? They act like they believe they are. Whether it's an overly-cautious belief or an accurate one I can't guess without seeing their financials.

    All this is IMO.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  5. #5
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    Nice scenario but it won't happen.

    The networks "escape goat" when you get past their pushing parasites onto merchants is their claim that .... "merchants want parasites as partners".

    Regarding the statement "It would be nice but fact is parasites don't need networks to operate and can work directly with the merchant."

    I say hogwash: Load up the parasites listed in the parasite section, click on their links and see how many of them set a cookie that is based on a merchant relationship outside of the major networks - which ones work with merchants directly and bypass a networks tracking trust?

  6. #6
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    What i said is true. Of course they use them now because it's convenient. But they don't need them. You think if the networks kicked out all the parasites that a merchant couldn't get in deals with parasites? Of course they can. You're saying that if they all got the boot the parasite problem would be gone? That's "hogwash"

    There've been affiliates here that have posted emails from some parasites saying they can pop their site over pretty much anything.

    Merchants can open an inhouse program and do it that way.

    A parasite can charge based on impressions or clicks.

    All kinds of ways they can work together without a network.

  7. #7
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TrustNo1®:
    What i said is true. Of course they use them now because it's convenient. But they don't need them. You think if the networks kicked out all the parasites that a merchant couldn't get in deals with parasites? Of course they can. You're saying that if they all got the boot the parasite problem would be gone? That's "hogwash" <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Of course I agree that merchants don't need networks to work with parasites. But what merchant in their right mind would do it independently? THAT would be suicide. Unless the parasite can detour enough customers from the competition, which is doubtful at best.

    What parasites do is overwrite cookies from affiliate links and merchants' corporate advertising. If there are no affiliate links to overwrite, where are the sales coming from?? Do you think enough people would actually click on a pop up from a competitor's site for any BHO to get a REAL sale?

    Catwoman

  8. #8
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    "What parasites do is overwrite cookies from affiliate links and merchants' corporate advertising."

    You think that is the only way parasites operate?

  9. #9
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    Until the parasites bypass networks they ARE dependent on them and if that occurrs, the parasites business would suffer for many reasons.

    I made no such claims that they would die or "be gone" as you suggest I did. I simply refuted your statement which is hogwash.

  10. #10
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    You refuted this statement, you even quoted it:

    "It would be nice but fact is parasites don't need networks to operate and can work directly with the merchant"

    Now explain how that's not true and hogwash. You can't. I even gave you some examples how they don't need a network, they can simply sign up thru a merchant's inhouse program.

    If a merchant wants to work with a parasite, they will, regardless if a network is involved or not. Might make things a little harder but it can still be done. So my statement you quoted and called hogwash is correct, and you even supported my statement by saying "I made no such claims that they would die or "be gone"
    We agree they won't die or be gone if the networks happen to boot them all, which we both know won't happen.

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    The senerio posed above can and will work out just fine in the long term. You just have to look at the underlying dynamics of the Pure Play Advertising Network. Whether it's the rich man's organized BHO or the sleezeball affiliate using the poorman's cookie stuffing model, both mainly seek stolen money from the 3rd party AM firms. The ones with real Ad budgets hire 3rd party buffers to keep them at arms length from the stench of this industry.

    Those current network endorsed AM firms have a monopoly right now and immediately throw new clients into the same gorrilla marketing cesspool of their existing merchants. Because of the Do-Not Call and Can-Spam legislation and now the FTC and various State spyware/adware legal initiatives, the actual major budget merchants no longer can be buffered from the stench, and smoke and mirrors stat spins from their AM firms.

    The solution is to allow the spooked merchants to invest some time -effort and money in a Parallel Sales network as a safety net. Do not allow any non-physical click affiliate into the Parallel network so they have no cookie ID# to earn a dime. They can pop all they want till the laws whack them off at the knees, but they won't earn a dime on sales generated on the sales Network.

    When the actual merchant management sees steady better sales conversions from domain bound affiliates, who can actually afford to redesign their sites to be shopper friendly window shopping pages, they'll endorse this Sales Network model. The other double dipping sleezebag ridden model can continue to be a IAB/DMA rats nest lieing through their teeth about the issues cover here for 3 years.

    That is the secret sauce. The small startup Parallel Sales Network generates 3 times the sales per clickstream stats then the existing network. The smaller network invites the major network's actual merchants giving them free access to view the transparent live stats generated by their honest affiliates. The obvious difference will become the recruitment tool as any existing merchant can run on the Parallel sales network without the Adwhore baggage and legal hassles.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  12. #12
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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  13. #13
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Mr Sal that looks like a gathering of the Affiliate 101 kindergarden class....
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  14. #14
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>But what if Todd or Stephen appeared at ABW one day and posted that effective immediately their network would no longer allow any affiliates or merchants who operate in gray areas? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    First, I don't think that will happen and IMO it's not feasible for it to happen.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Do you think their business would suffer or explode? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes. Unless they did some very clever strategic planning. It could potentially be more financially realistic if they do a weaning process possibly vs "cold turkey" cleaning house.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Do you think there would be a mass exodus of merchants and affiliates, <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Not sure what you consider a "mass exodus" but surely there would be a drop in affiliates from cleaning house.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>do you think affiliates and merchants would be standing in line to participate in this new, "clean" network environment? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I would like to think they would, but I honestly don't think they necessarily would. Affiliates aren't necessarily standing in line when a Merchant cleans house.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I believe the bottom line would be increased income and operating efficiency for the networks, merchants, and affiliates because of the clean environment. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't see how that could be denied. The problem is that the stats the Merchants are seeing under the current situation are so completely skewed.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>fact is parasites don't need networks to operate <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Not sure that is completely true. I think they do need the Networks more than they have in the past.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>can work directly with the merchant.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Sure they can. But would they? Or more importantly would the Merchants? At this point in time, I don't think you would see them with as many Merchants as through the Networks. Also working privately with the Merchants would not be as profitable for them as when they run through the Network. Many deals would most likely turn to CPC or CPM vs CPA which isn't as profitable. Merchants would most liikely see them as players in the Advertising Channel vs the Affiliate Channel. Additionally, Merchant's would be removing a layer of insulation in the current litigious environment regarding these applications. They may not be as willing to open themselves to that exposure.

    I don't really recall seeing what looked like a lot of private deals spring up with WhenU when they were dropped from LS via the LS Merchants. I'm not saying it didn't happen at all..just that I don't recollect seeing a proliferation of it.

    Additionally the Gator model hasn't exactly been a profitable one for Gator in the past (which is what we would be talking about for many of the apps if removed from the Networks and they go 'private'). Read their SEC filings. Interesting reading. They started showing a profit and are contributing the bulk of their current profitability to the running of Overature ads. I can tell you that I am seeing more SE results being popped by Gator and WhenU than Merchant sites. That is probably indicative of more than one thing.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>And there'd be much shifting of money. Parasite money. FROM the current big networks, TO whatever (currently under-the-radar) network would still take the parasites. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Already happening with just more Merchants dropping software app partners. I'm seeing them carry more lead stuff plus seeing some way down the food chain Networks showing up. But then...major brand stores aren't participating in those Networks. And how much of a threat to your revenue is some teeth whitening ad popping on a major apparel store?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Load up the parasites listed in the parasite section, <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    And unfortunately just a small % listed in that section of what is currently out there and running aff ID's.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Merchants can open an inhouse program and do it that way. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Can they? Yes. Would they? Qustionable. Some might, but how many in the end?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>A parasite can charge based on impressions or clicks. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes, I would think not as profitable as CPA. Also can't skew those stats as much for the Merchant's looking at ROI to continue such.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Do you think enough people would actually click on a pop up from a competitor's site for any BHO to get a REAL sale?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes. They do. How good the conversions would be are dependent on quite a few factors just like conversions for anyone else.

    But I think the real question here is whether Networks would/could do it. Because the paras will stay right where it is most profitable for them until they are forced to do otherwise.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If a merchant wants to work with a parasite, they will, regardless if a network is involved or not. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    True..the question becomes how many WILL want to?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The small startup Parallel Sales Network generates 3 times the sales per clickstream stats then the existing network. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The small Network would have to be able to attract the big name Merchants (at least a few in the beginning) to have a comparison between the small networks stats and what the Merchant was doing with the big Network. Also you will have to deal with the corporate mentality of them possibly not caring if the small network converts 60% better than the Big Network, because in the end revenue from the Big Network is 90% more than the Small Network. Corportate mentality won't disappear unfortunately.

    Most of this post is JMO.

  15. #15
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Sort of like a girl having an operation to replace her hymen. She might fool some people but she would not regain her innocence and purity. Nor, would she rid herself of the consequences of the STDs she had picked up along the way.
    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!

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