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  1. #1
    Newbie crash's Avatar
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    Angry Account Deactivated but no reason given?
    Hi Everybody,

    I just need a place to vent, although I would be interested to understand if anybody else has experienced this problem when working with CJ. I also have a few questions that maybe one of you really smart marketers can answer

    The Facts:
    • We opened our account with CJ in March of this year.
    • We run 12 different sites and configured them within our account, these sites are all new.
    • We process product data feeds and display product information on our sites along with similar products.
    • Traffic is growing slowly but we were actually paid by CJ for 5 of the past 6 months. We were paid in December
    • On December 8 we received a boilerplate your account will be terminated in 15 days message:

    This communication shall serve as notice to you that Commission Junction is exercising its right to terminate the Commission Junction Publisher Service Agreement it has entered into with you in 15 days from the date of this notice.

    Therefore, 15 days from the date of this notice, your account with Commission Junction will be terminated and will no longer be active. Please remove all links/ banners within 15 days of this notice because you will no longer be authorized to post such links/banners and receive any compensation for referrals through such links/banners after 15 days of this notice.

    Additionally, during this 15-day notice period, if you violate the Commission Junction Publisher Service Agreement you agreed to follow, your account may be immediately terminated, prior to the end of the notice period, in Commission Junction's sole discretion, transactions may be reversed from your account ("charged-back"), and any attempt to rejoin the Commission Junction Network shall be null and void.

    If you have questions regarding this notice, please reply to this email using the provided reply-to address and leave the subject line intact.

    Network Compliance
    • We responded to ask why
    • The only responsive we received said basically "we are exercising our option to terminate your account." That was it, nothing else. Nothing about anything that we allegedly did wrong. Nothing. We kept asking. We provided long responses with our background (been in this business a looong time) and still nothing.
    • We don't do any PPC or other advertising at all, so it can't be a trademark bidding issue...


    Has anybody else had their account terminated by Network Compliance but received no explanation as to why?

    In the last paragraph of their email (bolded) it says that if we violate the agreement we could be terminated right away, well, if we are not violating the terms, why would they be terminating our account? It seems that it would be one or the other. Either we did something wrong or we didn't. Did I read that correctly?

    Finally, the last sentence in that paragraph says "...and any attempt to rejoin the Commission Junction Network shall be null and void" Is that part of the if you violate the terms sentence or is that null and void period? I've already created a new account. Do you guys believe that is ok or not?

    It is really frustrating, our account was starting to gain traction and we were getting into more programs and then poof we have to start all over again and we have no idea of what they believe we did wrong.

  2. #2
    Moderator Nabz's Avatar
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    Why not give them a Call ?

  3. #3
    Newbie crash's Avatar
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    Did call
    We did call. Twice thus far. The rep on the phone supposedly sent an email off to help us find out why but we still have no answers. Since this is our life, we'll be calling them every day until we get an answer or they get very sick of answering our calls.

  4. #4
    Member InfoScout's Avatar
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    Did you do any email advertising? Too many SPAM complaints will do it. If your site looks like a link farm that will do it too. It can be a number of reasons. Maybe there's some content on the site that is misleading. An advertiser may have visited the site and reported.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    i want to know the reason too.

    >> Since this is our life, we'll be calling them every day until we get an answer

    At this moment, you better redirect your traffic to other merchants outside CJ to minimize your lost.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    >> terminate the Commission Junction Publisher Service Agreement it has entered into with you in 15 days from the date of this notice.


    no exact reason given is certainly not good.

    But i think CJ is considerate in some sense that you are given 15 days time.
    Plus, they notify you via email.

  7. #7
    Newbie crash's Avatar
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    We don't do any email advertising at all. Our focus for the past 9 months has been on building the sites, integrating the data feeds, writing content etc. All of the stuff you do to get a new site off of the ground. We've not done much of anything to promote the sites except for some small ad buys.

    I am honestly perplexed. In the past I've worked with CJ and got my company to be CJP, been out to Santa Barbara twice. I left that job and started my own thing which is different and not competitive with my old company because I really wanted to do a new twist on comparison shopping. So I've been around for a while, I'm not a clueless noob, and this situation really, really bothers me.

    My plan was to concentrate on CJ and run everything I can via CJ so that I could attain CJP as quickly as possible. Now, I'm going to do the exact opposite and run anything I can on other networks, no matter how small or how many features they lack.

  8. #8
    Member InfoScout's Avatar
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    It's the holidays. They probably won't answer until after the holidays. The last time this happened, it happened to a mass of people, not just one. It may be something up with your site and just find what it is and change it. Like Vrindavan said, start redirecting your traffic to other programs. That's probably the reason they are giving you 15 day - to give you time to transition. Kind of like being virtually fired with two weeks severance. Keep us posted on what happens. I'm kinda wondering what's going on. I have a few good performers on CJ, I would go ballistic if this happened.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash View Post
    We don't do any email advertising at all. Our focus for the past 9 months has been on building the sites, integrating the data feeds, writing content etc. All of the stuff you do to get a new site off of the ground. We've not done much of anything to promote the sites except for some small ad buys.
    Did you hire an outside SEO Company??
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  10. #10
    Newbie crash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    Did you hire an outside SEO Company??
    Yes. I also dropped them because I didn't like some of the techniques they were using, but I don't understand why that would matter to CJ. None of the work these people did were directly related to any of my CJ relationships. Did you have something specific in mind kse?

  11. #11
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash View Post
    Yes. I also dropped them because I didn't like some of the techniques they were using, but I don't understand why that would matter to CJ. None of the work these people did were directly related to any of my CJ relationships. Did you have something specific in mind kse?
    There is a possibility in there. Some SEO firms are little more that short-term-results scams that possibly could have upset the apple cart.

    One of my tidbits of advice to people is to always diversify. Don't put all your efforts into one source of income - if the rug gets pulled out from under you - you can be out of business in a heartbeat (or 15 days).
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    I sort of thinking the same way Bill is and that is thy may have done something that upset CJ but I not sure. Something "Big" had to have been done for CJ to close your account. I have not heard of CJ getting ride of "Active Affiliates" unless something big was done to violate their terms.

    Maybe a site review so we can look at one or two of your sites to see if we see anything their. But you may not want to give out your site url and I understand if you rather not but we may see something their that may explane CJ Actions.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  13. #13
    Newbie crash's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback everybody.

    I'd love for you to check out the sites.

    My profile links to my very small company site and its index page contains links to all of my sites. The shoe site is the one that we have done the most work to build and grow so far, but we have done some minor stuff for all of them. I'd love to know if you see anything.

    The thing that is weird is that the email basically says that we didn't violate the TOS because it says that if we do we would be dropped right away. Basically we don't want to work with you anymore because that is the way it is, but if you violate our terms we will boot you right away and not let you ever come back.

    So if I did something against the terms I just want to know what I did so I can not do it again, but at this point they haven't told me a darn thing.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    First of all I had a quick look at your site and I did not see anything jump out at me. I like the page layout and logo graphics on your sites.

    I had a look at a few sites that link to your site and here is one pages I looked at: informe .com/shoeidiot .com/ I see you have linked to merchant pages on your site, I wondering if that is allowed?

    Also in a lot of your offsite descriptions that link to your site your listing the URL's of your merchants same as above I not sure if this is the problem but I have not seen this done by many affiliates so I not sure if it is allowed. Maybe a merchant put in a complaint about it???

    I would sure like to know CJ reason....
    Last edited by kse; December 31st, 2010 at 11:47 AM. Reason: spelling
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  15. #15
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    For a coupon oriented site, your sites sure have lots of very old and very expired deals. Perhaps that is a problem?

    Beyond that, as for why CJ might have terminated you, nothing is noticeable to me either. I can see why, perhaps, some individual merchants might not be wild about being shown on your site. But that is a merchant by merchant call, not a network one.

    Whatever might be the reason, hopefully you are able to find out since whatever might be causing the problem with CJ could unexpectedly surface someday at other networks, too.

  16. #16
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    I looked at the one site and the CJ PSA. Here's what's odd from what little research I've put into this:

    You obviously aren't the first to be put on CJ notice. However, yours is the only email I could find that actually doesn't very explicitly provide a reason for them doing so. I might have just gotten lucky in my search, but to get no reason does seem very peculiar.

    CJ reserves the right to terminate you at any time if you breach the agreement, true. It however never suggests it WILL happen, just that they can. As far as preventing you from signing up again, it appears to only apply to a breach. For example, if they close your account due to inactivity, it seems reasonable they will allow a re-application. If you violate the CAN SPAM act and they terminate you, then you would be unable to apply for a new account.

    The one site of yours I did look at has some very suspicious activity, but primarily only in the area of making it look a lot more than it really is. While I don't see anything immediately that might directly violate the CJ agreement, it does raise some additional questions.

    However I'm not sure the apparent affiliation with mi*an (abbreviated with wildcard) and the whole hnf.com (abbreviated) is really boding well in your favor either.

    But bottom line, the PSA is pretty clear in section 6a:
    This Agreement may be terminated by either party upon 15 days notice.
    They don't need to give you a reason. It's just not generally good business practice to randomly cut off people, so I suspect they do have a reason. Whether they're obligated to give you one, it doesn't seem to be the case.

    You'd be full well in your right to dispute and appeal and hope they reverse their decision, but there's no legal obligation for them to do so. Still I'd encourage you to do so unless there's something that you don't want them to throw back at you.
    Last edited by bradk; December 31st, 2010 at 01:55 PM.

  17. #17
    Newbie crash's Avatar
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    Brad, you are 100% correct they have every legal right to terminate the agreement at any time with or without a reason. However, I do find it very strange that they would elect to do so without providing some sort of a reason. I can't make corrections without being aware of the problem.

    From the research that I did, it seems that CJ does send these messages out fairly often but if you respond to it they do not follow through with the deactivation. I found that on the net and was actually told that by more than one CJ employee whom I contacted during the 15 day period.

    By the 26th, I thought this was the case with this account because the 15 days ran out on the 23rd and our account was still active. It ended up being deactivated late in the day on the 29th.

    PS Does the requirement of a captcha go away after a certain number of non-removed posts or is it there forever?

  18. #18
    Newbie crash's Avatar
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    mi*an (abbreviated with wildcard)
    Ok, maybe I'm an idiot but I don't understand to which affiliation you are referring.

  19. #19
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    I see no reason why your account would be terminated based on the sites themselves (just took a quick look) but it could be related to the account you created.

    According to whois information, your shoe site is hosted in India.. have you presented the correct information to CJ as to contact details & account ownership for all the sites...? Just a thought..
    Last edited by teezone; December 31st, 2010 at 04:29 PM.

  20. #20
    Newbie crash's Avatar
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    Yep all of the info provided to CJ was 100% correct. You scared the crap out of me with the india thing I sure hope you looked at a different domain because I just checked it and the registration is pointing to my office address and company.

    The domains are registered at godaddy and the sites are all hosted here in the USA with ServerBeach's LA data center.

  21. #21
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    I did see the the sites were hosted in the US, but the first one I checked listed India..

    Check this out (and I hope I'm wrong!):
    http://www.ip-adress dot com/whois/shoeidiot dot com (replace dot with .)

    But when you check with Network Solutions, it points to the US servers.

    Looks odd to me - my own sites lined up when I query both of the above sites.
    Last edited by teezone; December 31st, 2010 at 04:44 PM.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    So no one else is thinking having site discription on their site and other site such as the two below examples are a problem??

    Example 1:
    Search and compare thousands of shoes from over one hundred online shoe stores from Auditionsshoes.com to Zappos.com and everything in between. Shoe Idiot is Shoe Shopping the Smart Way.

    Example 2:
    Find and compare shoes from 15 different online shoe stores including Shoes.com, Skechers.com, Shoebuy.com, Shoebacca.com, Famous Footwear, Payless Shoes and more. Spiked heels to sneakers and biker boots, Shoe Idiot has them all.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash View Post
    Ok, maybe I'm an idiot but I don't understand to which affiliation you are referring.
    sorry, it's a user name that posts messages on the hnf site (know what I mean about that?). I opted against spelling out the username but it stars with mi and ends in an.

    I guess I can't PM you, but.. I just didn't think it'd be fair of me to spell out the full details of what I was getting to.
    Last edited by bradk; December 31st, 2010 at 05:50 PM.

  24. #24
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    You mentioned buying some "small ad buys." Was this via Facebook or a set up with any sort of PPV (pay per view) account? If so, was your site listed as "incentivized" in the CJ profile? I've heard this can cause big issues. Ditto the problematic issues you indicate with whatever the SEO firm did.

    Good Luck.

    This is a really scary post and reminds me (us) how vulnerable we are in this biz.
    Last edited by OTProf; December 31st, 2010 at 05:54 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    I did see the the sites were hosted in the US, but the first one I checked listed India..

    Check this out (and I hope I'm wrong!):
    http://www.ip-adress dot com/whois/shoeidiot dot com (replace dot with .)

    But when you check with Network Solutions, it points to the US servers.

    Looks odd to me - my own sites lined up when I query both of the above sites.
    unless I'm missing something, the first site tells you approximately where the server is located based on IP, that's where you get India from. all that means is the web host is located there. the WHOIS information for the domain has zero to do with that. the registrant can be anywhere in the world (in fact, you could get away with putting in any information in those fields anyway) regardless of where the server/site is physically located.

    unusual for a US individual to use India for a web hosting company? probably. I don't have stats for that, nor does it really matter. but there's a lot more interesting things to note about the WHOIS such as that the site has been around for 7 (?) months despite a copyright notice in the footer going back to 2006 (and the main site was registered in 2002) and has amassed 2700 facebook likes in that time (but I kinda know what's going on there) and has a steady stream of comments and new users with interesting names. but I think I've found worse. enough for CJ to do something? I don't know.

    the compete.com report on traffic is pretty interesting too.
    Last edited by bradk; December 31st, 2010 at 06:01 PM.

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