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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    how to handle a PPC violator
    Hello all;

    I have an affiliate that is violating our PPC biding rules and is using our tradmark name in their PPC campaigns.

    I have written them 2 times in the past 3 weeks asking them to remove said ads but no response.

    So this time i have written them advising them that if they DO NOT cease i will lower their commissions to $0.00. I hate to do this but see no other options to get their attention.

    If i delete them the offending ad will go to a 404 error page which is no good for us.
    If i allow it to continue it affects our ppc campaign.
    An affiliate should not be allowed to do this as it is expressly mentioned in the T&C
    I have added a PPC violation in SAS
    They send in more than a few sales so hate to lose them but....

    How do other AM's Handle this?

    Thanks
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  2. #2
    http and a telephoto
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    We warn, if they do not respond we remove them. Dead links cost them money and look bad for their site. If it is against the TOS and is blatant, we reverse the commissions as well. Especially if they send a terse reply or don't reply at all. If it is a lot of reversals or there are suddenly a bunch of TOS bidders popping up, we also send a general newsletter reminding the affiliates what the specific TOS is and to check that they are following the rules and that the reversals are because of others breaking the rules.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Yes, thanks,
    I agree but am trying to be diplomatic but i guess that doesn't always work. How do u know 100% that the sale came from the PPC bid? Sometimes in SAS u cant see the last url

    I figure by setting their commisions to $0.00 we still make the sale and they will remove the bid as there giving us free sales.

    I have already mentioned it in a newsletter/

    Another point. WE update our feed every week and as we sell Jewelry the price changes, we add and delete items. I have told the affiliates that they must update their feed weekly and it is also in our TOS. Yet we still have some affiliates that haven't updated their feed this year ;-(

    do you drop them or hope they will fall in line?
    Last edited by Richard - AMWSO; September 13th, 2010 at 06:10 AM.
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  4. #4
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard - AMWSO View Post
    How do u know 100% that the sale came from the PPC bid?
    It doesn't matter. As long as they are violating your TOS, all sales are subject to reversal.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  5. #5
    Member KirkMcD's Avatar
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    You should file a Trademark complaint with Google.
    This will prevent all advertiser's, except those authorized by you, from displaying the trademark in the ad text.
    They can still bid on the keyword though.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    You're doing what we do. Rarely is TM poaching an innocent mistake. Back in 2008 we set a policy that TM poachers found in one program are subject to removal from all programs.

    What was happening was we would spend time, time our clients paid for, tracking down poachers and building a case against them and then take action. This can be an hour or can be 10 hours if they're hiding it. Then these same affiliates would pop up in all of our programs and each time we were building a case which was a waste of our client's money and our resources.

    Nearly all poachers I've seen in our programs do this all the time and not just to us. If they're in 20 programs they're poaching in 20 programs. Just make sure that is what they're doing, document it and treat them accordingly. If they're a fairly new affiliate you can give them the benefit of the doubt but if they've been around for years they know better (or should).

    If they're experienced (and are therefore repeat) poachers they are there to steal-from your affiliates, you and your clients.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

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  7. #7
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard - AMWSO View Post
    Yes, thanks,
    I agree but am trying to be diplomatic but i guess that doesn't always work. How do u know 100% that the sale came from the PPC bid? Sometimes in SAS u cant see the last url
    Most don't have a page set up, they are just doing DTM TM or brand bidding and therefore are easy to spot. If they are bidding against your policies, and the policies are clear, then you have the right to remove them and/or reverse commissions depending on what your TOS states.

    We *always* send them a note through the network. No response or rude reaction gets reversals and removed. Affiliates that are following the rules want to know that you are enforcing your rules.

    I know about the 0% commission discussion and I don't agree with it. I want bad guys out of the program completely.
    Another point. WE update our feed every week and as we sell Jewelry the price changes, we add and delete items. I have told the affiliates that they must update their feed weekly and it is also in our TOS. Yet we still have some affiliates that haven't updated their feed this year ;-(

    do you drop them or hope they will fall in line?
    If it is clear in your TOS that they need to keep the feed updated, and they don't, both you and they can have customer service issues. I would contact the affiliates that you know have out of date products and encourage them to link to categories instead of individual products. If you make every effort to communicate and it falls on deaf ears and you are getting complaints, then you can drop them. The other thing I would recommend doing is replace the image for the dropped items with "This product is no longer available" so that the affiliates can quickly see on their pages that they have products that need to be updated.

    Even though affiliates can pull your feed via the products link, you can limit those that can pull it via ftp to those that you have discussed the rules with. You may want to take your products out of the product search and make a page if they go in and out of stock that quickly and the prices change frequently.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    As long as it's covered in your T&Cs and you've carefully checked to make sure it wasn't an accident (from a broad match, for instance), I totally agree with this way of handling trademark poachers. Most are incredibly obvious (copying your ad and using a variety of methods to hide their tracks). They're a black eye on the industry. More than one merchant has shut down their program because of trademark poachers. That hurts all of us. You have to hit them where it hurts (the pocketbook) to stop them.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Thanks all;
    I have gone with one last email advising them if i do not hear from them in 24 hours will delete and reverse sales (10 in past two weeks) since the first day i sent him a note....
    This is not someone new to the affiliate game.

    Would it be adviseable to post their affiliate id?
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  10. #10
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard - AMWSO View Post
    Would it be adviseable to post their affiliate id?
    Many AMs and OPMs share that kind of information in the private AM Only forum.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Private forum?? pray tell where is that and how do i get on?
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    AM Only forum is here.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Michael ;
    I found that one ( and made a post) and also the inner circle one.
    Thing is they are not private or by invite so any one it seem has acccess.
    so what the difernece between posting the affilitaes id here or there?

    Is there a PRIVATE am forum that only am's can access?
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  14. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Nope, you found a different sub-forum. Use the link above.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  15. #15
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    I did and it also is not private as far as i can see. ( unless i am automatically admitted)
    As i did not have to apply and was able to reply to a post
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  16. #16
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard - AMWSO View Post
    I did and it also is not private as far as i can see. ( unless i am automatically admitted)
    As i did not have to apply and was able to reply to a post
    You have access because you are an manager and Michael already gave you access. That is not a public forum, only Managers have access.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  17. #17
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    GREAT
    Did not realize it was an automatic approval.

    So, is it ok /accepted to post the affiliates id there in the am's forum for other am's to see? Very seldom would an affiliate be bad with one merchant and squecky clean woith others.
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Yes, it's okay to post it there. It'll help other AMs know who the repeat offenders are.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Question for ShareASale that might help know what to do...

    Let's say Customer comes to Affiliate A's site. He sees a banner ad for Learn & Master Piano. He clicks and decides this is a good course. He leaves with intention to come back.

    He then types "learn and master piano" in Google and finds Affiliate B's ad which goes directly to our site (in violation of our PPC rules). Customer clicks and buys.

    If we have removed affiliate B, and it goes to the dead link, what becomes of the cookie? Who gets credit for that sale?

    In the case of DTM TM violations, there really is no good way to handle it.

    If you delete the affiliate and they don't take down the ads, you lose sales because of the dead link.

    If you change the commission to 0%, it overwrites the original affiliate's cookie.

    Either way, you have losers.

    It's rare that I have to deal with it thankfully, but we go with the following process:

    1st Violation Step 1: WARN via email - make sure to tell them to let you know that it is done. The removal is not complete until they have reported it complete.

    1st Violation Step 2: The following day, call and warn. Then wait 2 days before proceeding.

    2nd Violation Step 1 / 1st Violation Step 3: WARN via email and phone again and lower commission to 0%

    2nd Violation Step 2 / 1st Violation Step 4: Report to Google or whoever and get the ad removed.

    2nd Violation Step 3 / 1st Violation Step 5: Once that is done, remove them from the program.
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  20. #20
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Matt - in your scenario the original affiliate would get credit if you had removed the second from the program, as the second click didn't work due to them not being in the program.

    If you have them set at 0% then it would credit as such.


    @Richard - when you submit at PPC Violation report, make sure to follow the instructions on there 100% - we are looking at both sides of this issue (from the affiliate perspective AND the merchant perspective) and both have very different stances. We need to be 100% sure that a) a keyword is in the legal agreement as a restricted word b) that affiliate actually bid on that word and c) the correct affiliate is being reported.

    Many times, Merchants are submitted 50% of a PPC Violation report, and while we may "assume" that the violation actually occurred - we are not able to actually give a strike to the offending Affiliate without being 100% sure.
    Thanks,

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

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador CCBerries's Avatar
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    Brian,
    A thought about the PPC violator that gets kicked out of the network..

    Several years ago I caught PPC violator and after no response to emails kicked him out of my program. That ended up biting me in the butt because it turned out that he had scheduled a PPC program on the busiest days of the year (for me just before Valentine’s) , so I had to jack up my bid to get a working link in front of the end user and then spend several hours that night (early AM hours) on the phone with Google to get the bad ad removed. It was months between the removal of the affiliate and when the PPC campaign went live.

    Logically SAS can now terminate affiliates for PPC violations but their scheduled campaigns can sit out there waiting to go off at the worst possible times.
    Would it be fair for network terminated affiliates links to pass through the network without setting the cookie and still pass to the merchant’s site rather than dead end at SAS?

    Can the same protection be offered on a merchant terminated affiliate if the PPC violation was proved to SAS, (preventing abuse by merchants... maybe SAS has to set the flag for it at the individual merchant level)?

  22. #22
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Brian;
    I submitted 100% of the offending PPC violation and included a screens shot showing that they had not only our name BUT our URL. It is a sponosored ad right at the top for a search of our trademark name

    After 4 emails and threatening to delete/ reverse commissions they dont even bother to reply.

    If they affiliate replies to you about the PPC violation do we get to see the response??

    As far as Matt's scenerio, if i set the commisions at zero then no one gets commissions but he does get credit for the click.

    Richard

    I looked at their details and it seems this is NOT their first offense and i resubmitted the PPC violation

    Affiliate's Feedback: 3 feedback records // Total Score -3 (Average Rating: -1.00)
    Last edited by Richard - AMWSO; September 16th, 2010 at 12:42 AM. Reason: addition
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  23. #23
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    @Richard,

    Feedback is different from PPC Violation reports... they aren't related in any way.

    On PPC Violation reports, that information goes to us and there is no further status update given to the Merchant. It is setup this way because the PPC Violation report is not connected to your ability to either terminate, or modify commission structure of an affiliate. You are able to do either of those at anytime, ... the PPC report is to let us know that you've found a violator - and we take it from there on a network level. Once an affiliate has 3 strikes, as confirmed by ShareASale off of the reports that merchants send... they are kicked out of the network.

    The most common mistake is an incomplete PPC report. Most commonly, the screenshot does not show the actual affiliate ID, making it impossible for us to correlate one to the other. Just showing us an ad or a sponsored ad is not enough because there is nothing to show that that particular ad is being run by an affiliate.... There are examples on that PPC Violation report page that show the type of screenshot that is necessary.



    @CCBerries - One could definitely argue that it would be fair to have those links operational, but it does raise other concerns that I can't really discuss ... it has been considered and options considered as well to try to curb the problem a little bit... hopefully we'll find something suitable.
    Thanks,

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

  24. #24
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Brian;
    the screen shot i showed does NOT show the affiliate id, it just shows the ad. NO google ad does, But all you would need do is duplciate the search to see the offending ad and then follow thru to see the affilitae id

    Why would anyone run an ad for any merchant unless they were an affiliate and stood the chance to make sales/$$?
    Last edited by Richard - AMWSO; September 16th, 2010 at 10:11 PM.
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  25. #25
    http and a telephoto
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    Competitors run ads.

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