Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    63
    I've done affiliate programs since they were called associate programs. I started what is now my main site in Jan 2000. I built it up slow and eventually worked my way up to over $4000 in commission from one merchant in the one month of April 2004 - that wasn't a surprise to me because it was well in line with the trend.

    Then something happened in May. Sales plummeted, commissions zeroed. In June my commission was less than $100!

    I have looked at my stats until my eyes are red raw - no significant change. Checked my Goodle Adsense impressions - not a flutter. Reviewed my SE rankings - same old top 3 (kidding!).

    The merchant couldn't throw any light on this so basically I have gone from every day being a $120+ day to maybe barely $3 a day - and I don't know why.

    Just as I was in the middle of the process of buying a house too

    Shows you what a rough ride this affiliate game can be. Never mind, I'll bounce back - I always do!

  2. #2
    Eternal Optimist Look4's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Home base: Pennsylvania
    Posts
    438
    Is the traffic you're getting the same traffic you were getting before? i.e. If you can see the search phrases (not just words) that are referring from the search engines, are they the same as before? If you're getting roughly the same number of visitors for the same search phrases, then they should be arriving in the same buying mood as previously.

    Hopefully the merchant shows not only sales but also click throughs (and impressions). If click-throughs or impressions have plummeted, it could be something with your content management system that is bungling the affilate ID codes, or even messing up the links out so visitors don't even get to the merchant site. I'd figure the latter was one of the first things you checked though...

    If the same number of visitors, with the same buying mood are being sent to the merchant, then the merchant isn't properly converting. This is what I have encountered the most often. Normally their sales overall are impacted, not just from my sites - although they don't always admit it.

    1) They changed the navigation to something that confuses users and they give up on ordering
    2) They changed pricing or product / service levels
    3) Their tracking system is busted
    4) They added Adsense and they are cannibalizing sales with ads from their competitors showing up on their own site. Dumb, dumb, dumb, but I've seen it happen.
    Tom C.
    [URL=http://www.cafepress.com/simplesignshop]Simple Sign Shop[/URL]

    Every day leave someone or something better than you found it.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,356
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Never mind, I'll bounce back <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    But don't just "wait" to bounce back.

    Act like you're just starting out again, but knowing the ropes this time around, and work work work work work.

    Still plenty of time for the second wind to kick in nice and hard at Xmas time

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Nunya, Business
    Posts
    23,684
    "I built it up slow and eventually worked my way up to over $4000 in commission from one merchant in the one month of April 2004"

    And never base your business around 1 merchant.

  5. #5
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,126
    sounds to me like your merchant joined a parasite

  6. #6
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Land of The NFL Champs!
    Posts
    2,942
    Things took a dip for me in May and June also, although I managed to recoop much of the loss. Is this a major network merchant? Something screwy going on I think - perhaps ads being blocked by scumware (kazaalite).
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,350
    Sloth,

    If you'd be willing to share the name of the merchant, you might gain some valuable insight. If other affiliates experience the same thing, for instance, or not.

    Just and idea. Sometimes there is power in numbers.

    Lily

  8. #8
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    461
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Sometimes there is power in numbers.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Not sometimes. ALL the time!

  9. #9
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    5,482
    Things change quickly on the web. I've done a lot of struggling keeping my income up as well. It's not only the affiliates but the merchants too. Homevisions now has an epc around the 4 dollar mark. I think they were about 15 dollars last year. Who knows how much parasites are getting? Google seems to be getting harder to work with and Yahoo pulled the rug out from under their paid inclusion subscribers. Competition seems to nearly double every year and I hate to say this but some of the anti-data base people may have been right in that the results are getting washed out by the mere numbers of like pages with like content. You can't just use the generic desciptions and titles any more. YOu have to write your own sales pitch.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    63
    Thanks for the replies, I appreciate your input. This is a long post but it does cover some points that I have not seen elsewhere in these forums so it will be worth anyone's time to read.

    Look4 - great tip about linking search phrases with buying mood. This wasn't the case here. In fact my sales dropped so sharply I can identify the exact day the change happened.

    The merchant didn't change their navigation, nor products. I can't detect any change in service. They didn't add Adsense, although I agree with your point. A good merchant should never allow clicks to 'leak' off their pages. I'll say more about the tracking system later.

    Chief_Bobbit - that's that advice I have given myself. You can imagine how disappointing it is to go from so much to so little. However, affiliate programs are not my only business and I have turned my attention elsewhere until I can get a resolution on this.

    TrustNo1 - I agree. However, this merchant is (was?) massively better in EPC than any other in my field. Even so, I doubt if I will rely on a single merchant in future.

    Nyfalcon - This is interesting. I'll have to think how this might be detected.

    CheeseHead - People in my field would say it is a major. They have their own system.

    Aunt Lily, Dirk & Heyder - I was probably the first to use a database for this merchant. I have a method of building a DB for merchants who don't have a feed. However, when they started their feed I changed over because it was simpler and more reliable.

    I don't want to reveal the merchant yet as I am about to accuse them of something pretty major and I have no proof. Rather than sour the relationship completely I would rather hope that they read this, recognize themselves and correct their actions.

    This is what I think happened - the merchant has a long cookie. Any program with a long cookie would show an increasing trend in sales from the creation of the site up to the point where cookies set on Day 1 start to expire.

    Also it is possible that the merchant's stats could show an increasing trend in clicks, if they log 'cookie clicks' to the affiliate's account. This appeared to be the case here. Clicks increased to somewhere around 10x the clicks I was sending them directly, so I have to assume that most of the clicks were returners being tracked by the cookie.

    On the day of the big drop, both in sales and clicks, I had opened a number of new accounts with the merchant, with the intention of registering several of my sites to different accounts so I could track performance separately. Previously they had all been registered to the same account.

    My thought is that this unusual activity, although I hasten to say not dishonest in any way, probably alerted human attention. Since from what I can gather from these forums I was among the top earners from this merchant, I reckon they decided I was earning too much and turned off my cookie!

    As I said, I have no proof and this is just speculation, but it does seem to account for what has happened.

    The next point that came to me is very significant - why do merchants have affiliate programs? The simple answer is to increase sales. However, I have to wonder how much profit there is on hard goods when a hefty commission is paid out to affiliates. It might even be the case that there is no profit at all on affiliate sales.

    This leads to the awful conclusion that merchants have affiliate programs simply to gain exposure on the web and increase their pagerank and SE rankings. The affiliates they use to achieve this are simply an irritation to them and they don't jump with glee every time they cut an affiliate check.

    My conclusions are..

    - Don't promote only one merchant, however effective they are today. They might not be tomorrow.

    - Don't make affiliate programs your only business.

    - Merchants can manipulate statistics without affiliates knowing what's happening.

    - Zero-value database sites are a fad that will disappear when Google and the other engines start providing truly useful search results.

  11. #11
    Eternal Optimist Look4's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Home base: Pennsylvania
    Posts
    438
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sloth:
    - Zero-value database sites are a fad that will disappear when Google and the other engines start providing truly useful search results. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Ain't that the truth?

    (Ducks to avoid flying rocks, darts, and assorted other sharp objects thrown at him...)
    Tom C.
    [URL=http://www.cafepress.com/simplesignshop]Simple Sign Shop[/URL]

    Every day leave someone or something better than you found it.

  12. #12
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    379
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> - Zero-value database sites are a fad that will disappear when Google and the other engines start providing truly useful search results. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    First of all anybody that used a datafeed out of the box is asking for problems down the road. You do need to massage it a bit to make it stand out.

    Secondly don't use datafeeds exclusivlely. Mix it in with hand crafted pages. As has been mentioned many times, don't put all your eggs in one basket. This applies to just about everything.

    Also remember that for the most part domains are throw away commodoties.

  13. #13
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Land of The NFL Champs!
    Posts
    2,942
    Is it possible that when you started the new accounts your long-duration cookies were no more?
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Thailand
    Posts
    102

    When you get 4000 USD you are kicking in probably 40.000 USD or even more for the merchant.
    I had merchants who phoned or emailed me, with the questions in the way 'what the fxxx is going on, you dont have sales currently.'

    So... if can cant find the problem by tomorrow RUN!
    Pete

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    536
    I believe Cheesehead's idea is the best possible reason for the drop. Contact the merchant and alert a person about the problem.
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  16. #16
    CPA Network Rep JP Sauve's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    369
    Probably best to never keep all your eggs in one basket.
    [font=verdana][b][size=3][color=red]Are you familiar with [URL]MaxBounty.com[/URL] yet?[/color][/b][/size][/font][font=verdana][b][size=1][color=black]
    • Over 120 merchants with CPA/CPS programs seeking affiliates
    • Over 4500 network publishers seeking programs to advertise
    • Earn $100 per merchant and 5% per affiliate on the second tier [/b][/color][/size][/font]

  17. #17
    Devil's Reject Electropulse's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    987
    the switch is in the off position.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,624
    The only way to know is they switched off your tracking is too make a test purchase. If the sale shows then you have to explore other avenues. Isn't there another similar merchant you can promote while you investigate this merchant.

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    63
    Thanks JJJay - that sounds like an idea. Only snag is I'm in the UK and the merchant only supplies to US. I'll find someone to help though.

    Hey - that's a good idea for a website - making test purchases from merchants, particularly those who don't like you making a purchase yourself.

    Anyone think this should be a new discussion thread?

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    128
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TrustNo1®:
    "I built it up slow and eventually worked my way up to over $4000 in commission from one merchant in the one month of April 2004"

    And never base your business around 1 merchant. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You Couldn't have put it better then that! Last year 80% of my income came in from 1 merchant now this year 80% off my income comes in from 200+ merchants and that one merchant barely provides the other 20%!

    It's not easy staying on top in the affiliate biz but as long as you are very adeptable to change you will do alright. Staying positive and having someone to support you is they key!

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,624
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sloth:
    Thanks JJJay - that sounds like an idea. Only snag is I'm in the UK and the merchant only supplies to US. I'll find someone to help though.

    Hey - that's a good idea for a website - making test purchases from merchants, particularly those who don't like you making a purchase yourself.

    Anyone think this should be a new discussion thread? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    There is a test purchase forum here at ABW,

    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=fr...9&f=7116014211

  22. #22
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    6,795
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sloth:
    I've done affiliate programs since they were called associate programs. I started what is now my main site in Jan 2000. I built it up slow and eventually worked my way up to over $4000 in commission from one merchant in the one month of April 2004 - that wasn't a surprise to me because it was well in line with the trend.

    Then something happened in May. Sales plummeted, commissions zeroed. In June my commission was less than $100!

    I have looked at my stats until my eyes are red raw - no significant change. Checked my Goodle Adsense impressions - not a flutter. Reviewed my SE rankings - same old top 3 (kidding!).

    The merchant couldn't throw any light on this so basically I have gone from every day being a $120+ day to maybe barely $3 a day - and I don't know why.

    Just as I was in the middle of the process of buying a house too

    Shows you what a rough ride this affiliate game can be. Never mind, I'll bounce back - I always do! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    quote: "I earned thousands in April, near zero in June."

    After reading and re-reading this post for the last four days, I have came to the conclusion that while this post made me feel bad the first time I read it, I must admit that maybe I have been doing this AF business in the wrong way and that maybe it's time for me to explore new tactics and be able to have the kind of problems mentioned above.

    I am working from USA, and the day that I am finally be able to earn thousands of dollar in commission in any given month from ONE merchant, that will be the day that I will stop thinking what I am thinking about how some affiliates make over 5k a month (NET) - FREE and CLEAR of any EXPENSES like (ppc, etc) without doing any of the known tricks for clicks and other unknown tactics.

    Sal.

  23. #23
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    318
    Hi,
    I am in the same boat,using google and ad sense seemed to increase earnings, and as fast as they started, the bottom of the economy, and the time of the year dropped me to peanuts,I am getting a load of clicks, but they don't pay the bills, i think people are "browsing", we checked out some shopping centers in the area, and that's what they are doing,"browsing", even the usually crowded walmart parking lot, we founfd kids playing stick ball there, no cars, or few cars, when Home depot opened 2 months ago, they are already hurting,best we can do, is create a better mix, of merchants, prices and products, hope the Iraq mess clears up fast, and people will have a few bucks to shop online again.
    JJ

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    796
    With a drop off that sharp, and no change in traffic statistics, I would be highly suspicious of some tracking or reporting problem with the merchant or their third-party tracking/reporting if they are using such.

    Since you said you use AdSense on the site also, you should be able to use thier statistics as a reality check. Did your AdSense earnings fall off the cliff too? If so, suspect the industry or economy. If your AdSense earnings held up, again suspect tracking and/or reporting.

  25. #25
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    63
    I am very grateful to all who have taken the time to reply.

    Mr. Sal - I don't use ppc other than for the occasional test, so everything is generated from free traffic - SE, links, random browsers.

    I feel as though I have done all the right things and that the $4000+ month and all the months leading up to that were genuine, so eventually by rebuilding with a range of merchants I hope to get back there again.

    Regarding that advertising thing that people seem to talk about occasionally, I got a couple of $1000 checks aroung the beginning of the year, but now it has gradually tailed off to around $200-$300. I need to spend some time analyzing this too.

    Of course having both advertising and affiliate links on the same pages means that one will drain clicks from the other. I find it difficult however to match the earnings per click of advertising any other way.

    Sorry for the guarded language.

    My New Year's resolution (I'm working ahead of time for once!) is to set things up so I can measure EVERYTHING so I can operate 100% by science rather than intuition.

    One day I'll get back to nurturing my content too That's how I got to be successful in the first place. I don't know any tricks.

  26. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Woe is me
    By perfectG in forum Commission Junction - CJ
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: December 1st, 2003, 02:46 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •