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  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    CJ Account De-Activated for Dormancy
    As many folks here know, I've been mostly inactive as an affiliate for the past 18 months. During that time, my remaining web sites have earned less than $500 in advertising revenue. During 2010, I earned only $1.48 through CJ.

    Over the past 65 days, I've spent part of my time building out a new web site, focused on a specific niche that I've previously worked in successfully. Based on my past experience in this niche, I expect that once I start promoting my site, it will likely drive hundreds of transactions per month to several advertisers; my mid-range revenue forecast for the new site is $1,000 per month by September 2011. Based on that same past experience, I expect that my newest site will probably drive a few dozen transactions per month to a particular CJ advertiser, plus occasional transactions for other CJ advertisers, with a mid-range estimate of only $60 per month through CJ.

    Yesterday, I spent most of the day "re-generating" about 2,000 pages of directory content, and uploading them to my hosting account. (Of the 60,800 web links in the directory, only 111 are to CJ advertisers, though some of those are featured prominently on specific higher-traffic pages.)

    My site officially moved from "prototype" into a "soft launch" phase at 12:01 a.m. today (January 1).

    A few minutes ago, I logged in to CJ to search for any new advertisers who might carry the same types of products featured on my new site. To my shock, I was presented with a message that my account had been de-activated due to dormancy. The message also stated that I could re-apply and re-activate my account, but that all my existing relationships with advertisers would need to be re-established. After I "re-activated," I found that my advertiser relationships appear to be unaffected (though I won't be surprised if they start de-activating in future days). I also found that my account balance had been reset to zero. (It had contained $1.48 from a single transaction in March 2010.)

    Some key points: While my CJ account was "mostly inactive" during 2010 (with a total of only 210 clickthroughs during 2010, and only a single transaction generating $1.48 in advertising revenue in March 2010), and after nearly 18 months of nominal activity, my new sites began generating new clickthrough activity (but no tracked sales) in late 2010. I also created relationships with new advertisers in November and December 2010.

    I've long known that CJ doesn't like small web publishers, and I've been unhappy with many of CJ's policies and practices over the years. I really don't understand why they'd act in this way -- taking an affirmative step to wipe out a nominal account balance and de-activate my relationships with CJ advertisers. (Of course, CJ's poor business decisions aren't unique in this industry.)

    Cj's action has served to remind me that my relationships with its advertisers are quite weak and tentative, and that I should continue to focus my efforts on relationships with advertisers through other affiliate networks. I'm still debating whether to simply "pull the plug" and remove all links to CJ advertisers from the new web site, or instead to merely "demote" the links for CJ advertisers, when I next update it.
    Last edited by markwelch; January 1st, 2011 at 02:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 20th, 2005
    That's (unfortunately) CJ for ya. Also why I seldom promote CJ merchants. In fact, I currently have only one with any recent sales at CJ - my own purchases of a brand of coffee I like. It's enough to keep the account active.

    I had thought about Groupon - mainly because of Carolyn. But Gropuon is spending heavily with AdWords and I am earning something on every AdS---- click on a couple of my "local" sites. So I don't really need CJ to earn $ from Groupon.

    BTW - Welcome back and Happy New Year.
    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.

  3. #3
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Central/Western NY State
    but Mark, with all due respect, we've heard countless times over the past two years that six months without a sale at CJ would cause problems. halfway between March and now you could have made a small purchase from one of your affiliate links and possibly saved your account?

  4. #4
    Tax Paying Member
    Join Date
    November 14th, 2005
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I am sorry that you have run into this with CJ. You are not alone.

    My first network was CJ......First earnings were with CJ......60 dollars which made me feel good...........CJ confiscated every penny due to slowness of sales.........

    Since that time, I have not worked with any CJ merchants.......One merchant has asked me to rejoin CJ.......but my gut feel says NO

    I am sure that they know how to make money......but in my opinion, they are harming the industry by discouraging newbies, such as me at the time, from continuing in the business.
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  5. #5
    Join Date
    April 6th, 2006
    I think CJ should send out an email when an account is deactivated for this reason. At least your advertiser relationships weren't deactivated.

    It's easy for some time to go by without realizing... I have an account at a particular network that I keep "intending" to cultivate, but the months have passed by quickly.

    I can imagine the frustration.. and while I'm not defending the lack of communication on the part of CJ, I haven't had any major issues with them (once a payment went missing, it took weeks to have it reissued, but at least they always pay on time).

    For my site, I go where the stores are, not the network where they are located. I know this isn't a shared view, but for my niche, it absolutely has to be the case. There are pros & cons to all networks, I wouldn't exclude one unless something was really amiss...
    Last edited by teezone; January 1st, 2011 at 02:32 PM.

  6. #6
    Full Member
    Join Date
    November 21st, 2010
    actually, when I read the PSA in full, glorious detail, I caught this bit:

    6. Term, Termination, Deactivation and Notices.
    (c)... CJ may temporarily deactivate or terminate Your Account if: ... (ii) Your Account has not been logged into and/or there have been no Transactions credited to Your Account for any 30 day period
    so the reality is you obligate yourself to a transaction 'and/or' logging in at least once every 30 days.

    unless a click-through qualifies as a transaction

    my guess the basis for this is that they're putting a price on the infinitesimal resources each individual 'dormant' account consumes since it probably eventually adds up. For me to be considered a 4 bar affiliate given my small revenue stream, it must suggest that the extreme number of cj affiliates are small timers.
    Last edited by bradk; January 1st, 2011 at 03:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    I certainly logged in multiple times in November and December, so I assume the issue was the lack of any sales transactions in 9 months. I assume their process is 100% automated, and doesn't consider any other factors -- for example, if the publisher has recently (1) logged in multiple times, (2) activated new relationships with new advertisers, (3) configured new web sites in the CJ interface, (4) downloaded advertisers' datafeeds, and (5) started a fresh flow of clicks from the new site to CJ's advertisers.

    Ultimately, this is a circular situation. Because I know that my relationships with advertisers through CJ are weak and tentative, I will delay adding CJ advertisers' links, and I will put other advertisers' links in preferred positions. With few CJ links, all in poor positions, the CJ advertisers draw fewer adviews, fewer clickthroughs, and few if any sales. Since I don't expect to drive much volume for CJ's advertisers, I know that CJ might de-activate my account and confiscate any small balance, so I really have no incentive to link to CJ advertisers at all.

    I'm very fortunate in one respect: within this particular niche, for these particular merchants, I haven't identified any products offered by CJ advertisers which are not offered by multiple non-CJ advertisers. The only reason to continue to display the CJ advertisers' links is to maintain the "completeness" of my directory. As the directory has already grown to a point where there are an overwhelming number of links on some pages, I already know I'll need to create an algorithm to limit the number of links shown per product, and "culling all CJ" links is a likely place to start.

    When CJ's advertisers currently comprise only 111 links out of 60,800 in the directory, that's not much of a concern -- but I know that several of CJ's advertisers sell hundreds of the same products as other merchants whose products are included in the directory, and some of those products, if added, would appear on my directory pages that don't contain overwhelming numbers of links.

    Unfortunately, each of CJ's advertisers use different product titles (including book titles in datafeeds that don't match the manufacturer's titles which appear on the advertiser's landing pages!), and their datafeeds omit useful SKU (UPC/ISBN) information (again, even when valid SKU data appears on the landing pages), so importing CJ's datafeeds requires extra manual effort to correct product titles and match products. I had planned to write a script to automate part of this process (including contacting merchants to seek permission to "scrape" data from the landing pages), but now I can't justify that extra investment for such a tenuous relationship.

    Writing this reply has had an interesting effect. I started with the notion that I would definitely continue the CJ relationships and try to drive enough traffic so I'll be credited for multiple transactions per month. As I considered the situation further, I think I've convinced myself that there is simply no legitimate business reason to maintain a relationship with CJ or its advertisers.

    Surprisingly, during this same time period, I've had multiple transactions in my Google Affiliate Network, Share-A-Sale, and Amazon accounts, with similar (nominal) click volume (and zero self-transactions). I know that with such low click volumes, the conversion disparity is not statistically significant (and really is likely to be just a statistical fluke) -- but this data makes it even harder to justify continuing my relationship with CJ.
    Last edited by markwelch; January 1st, 2011 at 06:06 PM.

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