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  1. #1
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    Livechat has killed Affiliate Marketing.
    The prevalence of livechat has, imho, killed affiliate marketing.

    Undoubtedly cookies are overwritten with livechat applets, affiliate sales have dropped off since this years huge growth of livechat on merchant websites and a lot of major corps are using livechat to their own advantage - after affiliates drive customers to their sites. Funny how a large percentage of affiliate sales now occur outside of "regular corporate hours"!

    Yup, with the introduction of first the BIG phone number - Call 1-800 for even bigger deals - and now livechat - with a) no attempt made to credit the affiliate drivers and b) the overwriting of affiliates cookies - I'm afraid affiliate marketing is now a thing of the past. Merchants still want you to drive the traffic but are doing anything they can to keep the sale for themselves.

    So many examples I don't know where to start but, I will echo another post about Dell. Not only do they not respond to requests for legit commissions to be credited to the affiliate but, when asked who the salesperson is on the packing slip and how their name got there - total Dell shutdown.

    I could go on but, we all need to talk about livechat and how it's killing affiliate commissions and keeping merchants afloat - after we've driven the customer to the merchant site.

    I still rank high on affiliate sales charts so am not a sore loser but, I know a rip when I see one and ain't afraid to call it like it is.

    Comments please.

  2. #2
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    Livechat has been around for awhile now, threads from back in 2004 - acme and live person help - ABestWeb Affiliate Marketing Forum

    So nothing new.

    "killed affiliate marketing."

    "I'm afraid affiliate marketing is now a thing of the past"

    That's nothing new either. Affiliate marketing died back in 2001, almost 10 years ago.

    Just work with merchants you're comfortable with, do good with.

  3. #3
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    Not all live chats kill cookies. Mine doesn't, neither do 90% of the other merchants I know using them.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  4. #4
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I didn't even have time to come and write "Trust will be here shortly to set this straight".....

    Trust, do you have an email alert set up to identify when someone starts one of my panic stricken sky is falling threads?

    Aspasa: Affiliate marketing has become (and in a sense always was) a process of thoughtful partnership consideration. There are many issues that face the industry, and I was concerned last year that the wheels had come off the cart.

    While I still look at every "new" issue that comes up very closely (i.e. Privacy/tracking opt outs), I now simply file them away, and try to build a business model that has a response to every challenge.

    To me, it starts and ends with one simple premise: Build a website that has value and attracts visitors. No matter what happens in the future, there will be a way to monetize that traffic.

    Diversify your niches, diversify your traffic sources, and diversify the marketing methods that bring you revenue: Affiliate links, Adsesne, Paid Placement, CPM, etc.

    If you follow that path, you are bullet proof.
    Last edited by Kevin; December 21st, 2010 at 08:38 AM.
    Kevin Webster
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  5. #5
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    I agree with Kevin, diversification is key. I think it's also important to stay educated and to keep up with the industry in order to avoid the scammers. Connecting and communicating is the best way to keep the affiliate industry strong imo

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It's also important to pick and choose who you work with carefully. If you choose merchants who have poor customer service, affiliate UNfriendly policies, payment issues, tracking problems, and the like, I can see how you would think that affiliate marketing is dead.
    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

  7. #7
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    not all live chats kill cookies. Mine doesn't, neither do 90% of the other merchants i know using them.
    +1

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager Steven.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    Not all live chats kill cookies. Mine doesn't, neither do 90% of the other merchants I know using them.
    I'd agree with this also. In certain scenarios, live chat can be very helpful in quickly providing the answers to questions to close a sale, and then redirect traffic to a track-able order form.

    Here is a sneak peak of the backend of our live chat program.
    http://screencast.com/t/Ei4pqmk0

    Notice the visitor has easy access to the affiliates ID should they call in, and the live chat operator also has instant access to view this information as well, should it be needed to credit any order not processed through the order forms.
    Last edited by Steven.C; December 21st, 2010 at 06:12 PM.
    Steven Clarke
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  9. #9
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    Trust, Kevin, Michael thanks for your balanced comments to my - <rant>opinion</rant>

    Trust's comment <quote>Livechat has been around for awhile now</quote> is no doubt true. I have no reason to doubt the voice of experience. However in my "niche" there has been an increase in livechat to the point of "prevalence" on my Merchants' sites this year.

    Also my comment <quote>Undoubtedly cookies are overwritten with livechat applets</quote> wasn't meant to mean 100% - as miss reading Loxly implied. As such, my point stands.

    Interesting how no-one has addressed the "salesperson on the packing slip" point.

    Still, I'm wisely and attentively heeding the words of those with the knowledge and the experience that have gone before me.

    Thank you for your balance and generosity.
    Last edited by Aspasa; December 22nd, 2010 at 01:56 AM. Reason: 1st post was Beta....

  10. #10
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    SeeksSteven - thanks for the sneak peek. Very much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeeksSteven View Post
    Here is a sneak peak of the backend of our live chat program.
    TechSmith | Screencast.com, online video sharing, 2010-12-21_1806
    In return all I can offer you is a sales opportunity - clearly this is not the livechat that Dell is using!!!


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    Livechat has been around for awhile now, threads from back in 2004 - acme and live person help - ABestWeb Affiliate Marketing Forum

    So nothing new.
    Correct - Nothing new. But, that was not the thrust of my post. The intention of my post was to start a discussion on how affiliates perceive livechat. The link you kindly posted I have read but is hardly a "discussion" - as with the few other sporadic links containing that keyword - on this site. I am surprised that there has not been more talk on this topic. It leads me to believe that I am in a minority. Nevertheless I do want to check that and hence my opening writing style - chosen to promote discussion!

    Also, interesting and most valuable to note the balanced responses (unlike miss reading Loxly's) from more "seasoned" affiliates. These are not only a quantum leap beyond what less experienced affiliates perceive livechat to be but also a valuable learning lesson for those - noobs - determined to succeed.

    Again, I thank you all for these.
    Last edited by Aspasa; December 22nd, 2010 at 02:28 AM. Reason: Original release was Beta....

  12. #12
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    I didn't misread anything.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    The Sky is falling on Affiliate Marketing again? It's been a while since the last doomsday report but let me have a quick look at the stats...hmmm...nope I see affiliate sales up from last year across the majority of out clients, including a couple that have chat.

    Ultimately chat is just a tool, it's only an evil cookie eating sales stealing spawn of the underworld...if the merchant wants it to be that way. OR it can be an awesome tool for helping customers, driving up conversion and supplying on the spot discounts to customers. I know which version I would focus on when looking for merchants to work with.

    Merry Christmas!

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
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  14. #14
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    There are dozens of ways an unscrupulous merchant can find to cheat affiliates. But the bottom line is; how long would you be willing to promote a program that doesn't convert? I think each of us have our own litmus tests for programs, but what we all look for is a steady conversion rate. I very seldom promote a single merchant within a particular niche, at least initially. I may start with 5 or 6 merchants within a niche and narrow that to the best converting 2 or 3. If a merchant is skimming, they won't convert competitively and they won't last long on my sites.

    Now you may be thinking that they benefited from my "free" traffic before I dropped them and that more affiliates will promote them until they figure out that this particular merchant's conversions are low. And you may think that the merchant is happy with this churn and burn method of doing business. But no smart merchant is going to play that game. The smart merchant understands that the growth of their program relies on long term relationships with experienced affiliates, and it doesn't take very long for word to get out that a merchant is gaming the system. It's not easy to repair a bad reputation.

    In addition, the practice of allowing non-affiliate channels to overwrite affiliate cookies appears to be against the TOS of most networks so if you have reason to believe that a merchant is using such a tactic, the network quality team should be your first recourse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspasa View Post
    I heard you were fired for terrorizing and stalking newbies and others online. Is that true?
    Now for your asinine comment, Loxly is one of the most respected members here at ABW. She has selflessly helped hundreds if not thousands of members here. You on the other hand have contributed very little if anything. On the contrary, you ask a question and then attack a respected member for giving their opinion. I would guess that there will be very few willing to answer your questions in the future. Remember, ABW is a community. And like any community you have those that give, those that take and those that add absolutely no value what-so-ever. Guess which category you're currently in.

    As far as your credibility? You have none! You need to grow up, this isn't how adults or professionals conduct themselves.

    -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

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  16. #15
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Does live person kill cookies? I am thinking of using it. Do you suggest chat, is it going to help with conversions?

  17. #16
    Affiliate Manager Steven.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decorative Ceiling Tiles View Post
    Does live person kill cookies? I am thinking of using it. Do you suggest chat, is it going to help with conversions?
    WebsiteAlive.com
    ProvideSupport.com

    Both are two very affordable programs. They do not overwrite affiliate cookies. And as far as conversions are concerned, imagine as a potential shopper the ability to get immediate answers to your pre-sales questions. I've found it to be a win win for the customer and merchant.
    Steven Clarke
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  18. #17
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    Milan, the Live Chats that overwrite affiliate cookies are the ones that are services where you have the service provide the manpower for the chat in exchange for commissions. If you install software on your server or use a hosted chat software that you or your own staff mans you should be fine.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  19. #18
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeeksSteven View Post
    WebsiteAlive.com
    ProvideSupport.com

    Both are two very affordable programs. They do not overwrite affiliate cookies. And as far as conversions are concerned, imagine as a potential shopper the ability to get immediate answers to your pre-sales questions. I've found it to be a win win for the customer and merchant.
    Yeah, you are right and I am the worst I want my answers right now when I am ready to buy.

    I think I have not made myself really clear as far as the "Live Person" chat goes.

    Does anyone know if this kills cookies?

  20. #19
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    Milan, the Live Chats that overwrite affiliate cookies are the ones that are services where you have the service provide the manpower for the chat in exchange for commissions. If you install software on your server or use a hosted chat software that you or your own staff mans you should be fine.
    Yeah, this one is reccommended by my host. No commissions on my chats, I am the only one who will answer them.

    Thanks Loxly

  21. #20
    Affiliate Manager Steven.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decorative Ceiling Tiles View Post
    Yeah, you are right and I am the worst I want my answers right now when I am ready to buy.

    I think I have not made myself really clear as far as the "Live Person" chat goes.

    Does anyone know if this kills cookies?
    If you're referring to the LivePerson chat software, it is similar to the other two I've recommended just a bit more feature packed. And no it does not overwrite any cookies - not without some tricky/custom coding, but not in its default setup.
    Steven Clarke
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  22. #21
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeeksSteven View Post
    If you're referring to the LivePerson chat software, it is similar to the other two I've recommended just a bit more feature packed. And no it does not overwrite any cookies - not without some tricky/custom coding, but not in its default setup.

    Yup,

    That is what I was reffering to. Thanks for you your help.

  23. #22
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Moderator Note: Personal Attack and other off-topic posts removed

    This is a good discussion. Let's keep it on topic. There's no place on ABW for personal attacks.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  24. #23
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    Had an initial call with one of the tech reps at LPSN. Not sure if we can give you the "official party line", but LP does not in any way kill cookies sent by other vendors.

    What we imagine the problem is, is the fact the conversion may happen on another domain (instead of the customer domain, inside the chat window which is on our domain). We are not sure what solutions we can/should offer to these issues, and if they even apply to LP specifically.

    More insight:
    - "I know of a cookie called "Domain" that a customer put on their site. Since this customer has a vanity URL, that means that we also get their cookies. Java has taken some RFC too literally and decided that a few keywords are blocked from being cookies - Domain is one of them. That created an issue with our monitoring tag - it didn't work. Not exactly an example you are looking for, but still it's good to know."

    - "In general, LivePerson uses 3rd party cookies unless specifically defined otherwise.
    That means that for most cases we cannot conflict with other cookies because our cookies are at liveperson.net domain and not on our customers' domains."

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  26. #24
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aspasa View Post
    Undoubtedly cookies are overwritten with livechat applets, affiliate sales have dropped off since this years huge growth of livechat on merchant websites and a lot of major corps are using livechat to their own advantage - after affiliates drive customers to their sites. Funny how a large percentage of affiliate sales now occur outside of "regular corporate hours"!
    Sorry but that has to be about the most baseless assertion I have read.

    Live Chat does not "overwrite" cookies. If you are concerned about the telemarketing aspect that an order that could have been generated through your referral has redirected to another channel (live chat) then there is a small amount of validity in that, however most sites use chat to enhance customer experience, especially where they may have misleading or confusing information.

    If you keep abreast of developments you'll discover that networks like for example Rakuten Linkshare, have an offshoot whereby affiliates can each have a "dedicated" telephone number linked to individual merchants that subscribe to the service which when a customer having seen the number on your affiliate site, ring it to be redirected straight to the merchant as part of a personal shopper experience and that all sales resulting from that telephone referral get credited to the affiliate that referred via the dedicated exclusive line. Just ask Linkshare for more details. Other networks similarly are looking at possibly introducing that.

    Telemarketing is just one arm of the marketing mix and does not impede affiliate marketing. They can in fact work in tandem so if there are specific issues regarding individual programs, speak to the affiliate managers concerned and have an open discussion with them. You may be surprised just how much can be accomplished.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

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  28. #25
    Affiliate Manager p3steve's Avatar
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    OK so I hope you guys don't mind me reading and digging up old articles here.

    I always hear about how something new has killed affiliate marketing. On a technical level I dont' really know the answer to this but if I had to take an educated guess, your cookies are not being overwritten or removed or erased etc. In fact, companies seek out ways to track cookies even better to increase their marketing efforts to gain more sales. Providing affiliate a percentage isn't really a big deal and most merchants I know of are happy to pay them.

    As far as internet sales go I believe the trend is upwards. Correct me if I am wrong but more and more people shop online today than ever before. I think what has changed is that there are so many people trying to get a piece of the pie, that unless you are really good at affiliate marketing you are simply left with a really small piece. Now, not to be discouraged, I came in 6-7 years ago (late 2004 or 2005 ish) after the bubble sort of burst and picked a nice niche. Instead of focusing on all the little things that may be out of my control I really just focused on building relationships and getting to know people and over time I was bringing in enough money each month I didn't need my normal 9-5 slave job. It was nice, and it changed my life and I owe a lot to affiliate marketing. But in some ways I was still getting a really small piece of the pie.

    Anyway those are my thoughts on that.

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