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  1. #1
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    One of the Dumbest Terms Changes Ever!
    Today I received this email from the AM of Hearst Ranch Beef:

    "Affiliates are NOT allowed to do SEM for this program. Failure to comply will result in removal from affiliate program and withheld payment for orders generated. 25% commission on all sales 30 day cookie life Custom banners as requested Unparalleled affiliate support".

    They must be referring to paid advertising like PPC, right?

    I sent this email to the AM:
    "This is the dumbest thing I've heard. Do you mean Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) or ALL SEM (Search Engine Marketing)?
    SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a form of SEM.
    Asking an affiliate not to design pages for the organic results of search engines is like asking a spider to stop spinning its web
    ."

  2. #2
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    It would not surprise me in the least if it was actually for organic traffic.

  3. #3
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinny O'Hare View Post
    It would not surprise me in the least if it was actually for organic traffic.
    Then how is one to be an effective affiliate?

    That's just ridiculous!

    I'll see if they respond to my email before removing myself from that program.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    It could be meant as it was sent. I had one merchant, back in my affiliate days, who asked me to "tone it down" since I was ranking higher than their non-U.S. sites for their own trademark. I told her toning it down wasn't something I do-she booted me out.
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  5. #5
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    If they really mean SEO/SEM, I agree that is the dumbest thing I've heard in a while. I would run from any merchant that had such a policy. Just writing a blog post with a good title and content could disqualify you

  6. #6
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Yep if that's what they mean, they should step back and screw their heads back on. If an affiliate is outranking them for their targetted terms, they should be happy that the affiliate is promoting them and not their competition. "Here's a piece of the pie; take it or leave it".
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  7. #7
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    This merchant may misunderstand the term SEM and think it means PPC.

    "Search engine marketing, or SEM, is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through the use of search engine optimization, paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion.[1][2]. Usage of the term "search engine marketing" has been inconsistent. The trade association Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) includes search engine optimization (SEO), and SEO is also included in the industry definitions of SEM by Forrester Research, eMarketer, Search Engine Watch, and industry expert Danny Sullivan.[3]. However, the New York Times restricts the definition to 'the practice of buying paid search listings'.[4][5]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_marketing

  8. #8
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Actually, the email was sent by the merchant's consultant from
    an email adrress at lsf-corp.com.
    They should know the difference, shouldn't they?

  9. #9
    http and a telephoto
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    SEO consultants do strange things.... there is another thread where I explained some of the stupid things that SEO consultants "blame" on the affiliate program and tell companies to change. Clueless.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
    Full Member Lanny's Avatar
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    If you remove yourself, you will lose commissions and cookies set
    Quote Originally Posted by bibby View Post
    I'll see if they respond to my email before removing myself from that program.
    If they respond and you are not satisfied with their answer, I suggest you just remove any text links/banners you have for them, from your web sites.

    If you remove yourself from their program, and you have any commissions coming and/or cookies set, you will probably lose that.

    There's a thread about that, somewhere on ABW. GL

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    SEO consultants do strange things.... there is another thread where I explained some of the stupid things that SEO consultants "blame" on the affiliate program and tell companies to change. Clueless.
    +1 Had a client who hired an SEO firm. About 4-5 months later the client tells me the SEO was complaining about our affiliates since they were beating the pants off him on PPC and wanted to forbid PPC with affiliates. SEO firm cost of customer acquisition was between 3-4 times more than the commission paid to affiliates. After a meeting it was a no-brainer that the SEO firm stop managing PPC and have the client get out of it entirely and let the affiliates run with it.

    SEO firms are often at odds with an affiliate program unless they know how to manage those relationships.
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  12. #12
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    SEM just means different things to different people.

    For some, it just means PPC.

    For others, it's PPC and SEO etc.

  13. #13
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    SEM just means different things to different people.

    For some, it just means PPC.

    For others, it's PPC and SEO etc.
    I take term changes very seriously and if a term change like this comes across, I need to know what is expected.

    The terms, SEM, SEO, PPC are all well defined terms and for consistency sake, affiliate managers and especially consultants should use the terms correctly.

    Let's say the AM really means PPC when referring to SEM. So I continue with my SEO and make a bundle of sales. Now the AM doesn't want to pay and now refers to SEM as SEO and I'm banned and lose my commissions.
    I would have no comeback to this because the terms said "NO SEM".

  14. #14
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Bibby I agree 1000% that its stupid on the merchants behalf.
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador beachcom's Avatar
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    Below are some terms a "DumbMerchant" wants you to abide by. Just fished this out of my spam box:

    Search/Social Marketing Policy: "DumbMerchant" Affiliate/Publishers are not allowed to promote via:
    - Social Network Advertising - no promoting on Facebook, Twitter, et al. Or Facebook Advertising not allowed.
    - Paid Search Advertising -no pay-per-click campaigns are allowed either branded or otherwise.
    - Contextual Marketing - no "contextual" campaigns are allowed, run through contextual networks of any kind.

    Only SEO (meaning listing "DumbMerchant" on your website appropriately) and banner/text link placements on websites/blogs are allowed. Any newsletter or email placements, please get approved before deploying.
    Why even bother having an affiliate program?

  16. #16
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    Tow things: first, I would take this with a grain of salt if you haven't heard from the APM at your merchant. It could be this SEO consultant's way of trying to get paid. He might have guaranteed "first 3 results" or something like that, and doesn't have as much game as you do.

    Second: I'm new to this, but uh, I think that's what I am paying my affiliates for, to get out and market my wares in ways that I don't have the capacity, capability or expertise to do. And if you can outplay me in an area that I believe I have capability, etc. then so be it. Bottom line: is it getting me more sales?

  17. #17
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by OriginalGeek View Post
    Tow things: first, I would take this with a grain of salt if you haven't heard from the APM at your merchant.

    NEVER take a change in TOS with "a grain of salt".
    These are legal agreements, that if not clarified, can mean a lot of trouble down the road.

    This needs to be clarified explicitly by the merchant/AM/OPM and if it isn't clear, or hasn't been made clearer, in the TOS I would recommend NOT working with the merchant.
    Deborah Carney
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post

    NEVER take a change in TOS with "a grain of salt".
    These are legal agreements, that if not clarified, can mean a lot of trouble down the road.

    This needs to be clarified explicitly by the merchant/AM/OPM and if it isn't clear, or hasn't been made clearer, in the TOS I would recommend NOT working with the merchant.
    Earlier, bibby said:


    Quote Originally Posted by bibby View Post
    Actually, the email was sent by the merchant's consultant from
    an email adrress at lsf-corp.com.
    They should know the difference, shouldn't they?
    Who knows if this "consultant" has the authority to change the TOS? And by "grain of salt", I mean "inquire further".

  19. #19
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OriginalGeek View Post
    Who knows if this "consultant" has the authority to change the TOS? And by "grain of salt", I mean "inquire further".
    The merchant's info page on SAS shows these new TOS and states: "Updated Merchant provided Terms of Agreement will become effective on 06/30/2010"
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  20. #20
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post

    NEVER take a change in TOS with "a grain of salt".
    These are legal agreements, that if not clarified, can mean a lot of trouble down the road.

    This needs to be clarified explicitly by the merchant/AM/OPM and if it isn't clear, or hasn't been made clearer, in the TOS I would recommend NOT working with the merchant.
    I haven't heard back from the AM!

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager
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    I think some dialog with the AM is still worth it. Was the TOS posted on their website approved by the AM? What do they mean by SEM? Have they thought this through all the way? Is their objective to dismantle their affiliate program?

    I guess that's about enough from a newbie though.

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