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  1. #1
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    When OPMs and Merchants split
    It seems to happen more often than not that when a merchant and OPM part ways, neither side tells the affiliate that the OPM doesn't represent them. I find this unprofessional. Someone should let all the affiliates know and provide a new contact information. What do you guys think?
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  2. #2
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    I could not agree more.

    1.That should be a priority of whoever takes over the program, and

    2. You would think that the outgoing OPM would want to be free of any ongoing or new hassles with a program they no longer are paid to manage.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I agree, the exiting OPM should send out a note if they don't have a forum here - and they should remove their contact info from the network page for that merchant (if one exists). I have looked up the contact info for problems and then found out that is not the person running the show anymore, even though the merchant info page on the network still shows their name and contact info as the OPM for that program.

  4. #4
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    That's a very delicate topic. I agree that it would be nice but how it is handled is the problem. Oranges and I had this conversation at ASE10. We had talked a year ago about a program I was consulting on and later fired. I neglected to tell oranges that I was no longer working with that merchant. I should have sent him a PM, but then I didn't want to get into the details of the break up.

    Most of the time, a merchant just gives up on affiliate marketing because their site doesn't convert. Other times it's a personality conflict and it's mutual. Sometimes one of us gets completely screwed.

    How do you want this handled?
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  5. #5
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Hoffman Consulting View Post
    How do you want this handled?
    We do not need any details, only a simple message that the merchant and OPM have parted ways, and who to contact should issues arise in the future.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
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  6. #6
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Unless it's personally sent by email to a select few or posted in a forum, how can the OPM or manager reach all the affiliates? We wouldn't have the right or most of the time the permission to send that kind of news to affiliates through the network interface.

    I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I'm saying in my opinion most merchants wouldn't think of this or allow it.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  7. #7
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    OPM's/Affiliate Managers who have parted ways with the companies they represented should not have access to contact information for members of the affiliate program in question. Though there have been cases where the outgoing AM has kept the email db as a "buddy list" for purpose of recruiting affiliates to their new programs/merchants

    Of course an OPM is likely to announce these changes in public venues when appropriate, but the bottom line is that it is the merchant's responsibility to keep affiliates informed of changes like this.
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  8. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Hoffman Consulting View Post
    I'm not saying it's a bad idea, I'm saying in my opinion most merchants wouldn't think of this or allow it.
    Amazing that they have this mentality - talk about bad merchant practices. It should be a no-brainer that they would want this info disseminated to their affiliates.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  9. #9
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    OPM's/Affiliate Managers who have parted ways with the companies they represented should not have access to contact information for members of the affiliate program in question.
    This should not even be a consideration. A single parting communication should be automatic, whether from the OPM or from the merchant.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  10. #10
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    If the breakup is friendly then the OPM as his/her last service to the Merchant should announce to the affiliates that he is leaving and to wish the merchant well.

    If it isn't friendly, then the OPM should insist that the merchant should announce the breakup.
    Expert who says Moo

    a.k.a. OJMOO

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  11. #11
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Would it not be a wise idea for OPMs to include in their standard contract with merchants a clause that upon termination of the agreement for any reason, that affiliates shall immediately be notified (by merchant or OPM as specified) of the end of the relationship?
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  12. #12
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    Would it not be a wise idea for OPMs to include in their standard contract with merchants a clause that upon termination of the agreement for any reason, that affiliates shall immediately be notified (by merchant or OPM as specified) of the end of the relationship?
    Great idea, but not enforceable.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    Would it not be a wise idea for OPMs to include in their standard contract with merchants a clause that upon termination of the agreement for any reason, that affiliates shall immediately be notified (by merchant or OPM as specified) of the end of the relationship?
    To be enforceable, the OPM would need to have post-termination access to the system used send such emails -- which some affiliate networks wouldn't allow (remember, too, that some affiliate networks charge fees for sending messages through their systems). Certainly, it would be smart to include specific language to be used to notify publishers in the event of termination; that would reduce accusations that a termination notice was unfairly worded.

    I've certainly received notices from OPMs that they have ceased representing merchants. Usually, these are terse and professional, but occasionally they are unpleasant and raise doubts about the professionalism of the OPM.

    The real problems come when the OPM terminates their relationship with a merchant due to specific events that the OPM believes are unethical (broken tracking, improper reversals, discriminatory enforcement of policies). As a publisher, I'd certainly like to know if a merchant is engaged in such activities. What I don't want or need are vague negative statements from OPMs ("due to a disagreement, our agency has terminated its representation of XYZZY.com, effective immediately").

    I suspect that nearly all of the "vaguely negative" notices I've received from OPMs are intended to encourage me to also stop dealing with the merchant.

    I've worked as "interim affiliate manager" several times, and I've always intentionally used that title in all dealings with publishers, so that when I passed on the role to an in-house manager, nobody would think it meant anything was wrong.

    I assume that many times, merchants terminate OPMs because they believe the role can be performed more effectively by an in-house employee.

    However, I assume that the single most common reason for an OPM terminating their representation is "non-payment of fees," which likely includes "disputes about fees and services." Again, as a publisher I'd like to know if a merchant is having financial difficulties, but there are many other possible reasons for non-payment. As such, I think it's unprofessional for an OPM to reveal that they've ceased representing a merchant due to non-payment or a dispute over fees or services.

    In short: any time an OPM ceases to represent a particular merchant, no reason should be given unless the statement is mutually agreed upon. Even if an OPM knows that a merchant is "financially troubled" or insolvent, it would be unprofessional to disclose this. The exception: an OPM can reasonably notify publishers if the merchant has actually filed a petition for bankruptcy, or if the merchant's web site has ceased to function (and that status is not reasonably expected to change).

  14. #14
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    How about something in Network agreements to require the distribution of an announcement to affiliates when an OPM ceases to represent a merchant? Out of the hands of the OPM and merchant, but done by the network? Just a thought.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  15. #15
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    You'll almost never see a network or OPM speak poorly about a former merchant, even if they're the scum of the earth. You can read between the lines though. If it's a terse, low-key notification, be worried.
    Michael Coley
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  16. #16
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    I did it once because it was going to be handled the wrong way if I didn't say something.

    All we can do is agree on a mutual letter or not. The networks will not get involved.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  17. #17
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    What do you mean its uninforcible? If its in the contract it is enforcable that is what contracts are for. Add a clause that simply says, if this contract is terminated for any reason, the merchant must notice the affiliates that the OPM is no longer representing them. Add an extra clause that says if the merchant does not do this within 30 days of contract termination a fee of $1000 will be paid to said OPM, with an additional $1000 acrewing every 30 days until said announcement is made.

    There you have something perfectly legal and perfectly enforcible and can be easily taken to small claims court if not enforced.
    Expert who says Moo

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  18. #18
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    I agree with Greg it is a very delicate topic. I use to hate it as an affiliate when I found out months later the OPM I had a very good relationship was replaced and they brought in an OPM that I would never work with in a million years. Now that OPM had the details of my sites and stuff.

    There are many times OPM's don't get the chance because they have been blocked out of the account so there is no way to let affiliates know whats happening at all. Of course the serious affiliates would know because I have them on instant messenger and phone numbers.

    In a perfect world the affiliates should be notified of the change but our world it isn't gonna happen anytime soon.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  19. #19
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Oranges and how would you handle it if it was OPM that actually quit the program due to lack of payment. If the OPM isn't getting paid there is no way in hell that they would get the 1000 termination fee also.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  20. #20
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Left as OPM for a few programs in 2010 for different reasons. We had modified the programs to go to affiliatemanager@ which we used for communications and recruiting. We removed all of our information from the program and made it generic as Affiliate Manager. I do not announce when leaving a program but announce when taking on over.

    Closing down a program is a different matter.

  21. #21
    http and a telephoto
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    We try to make sure that the network information is updated and that a notice goes out, but in some cases where it is due to nonpayment or the end of the relationship comes "out of the blue" the OPM doesn't have a chance to let affiliates know. Take for instance when CafePress purchased Imagekind. I had been talking to Imagekind management the week before and had no prior warning and no way other than forums and personal emails to let people know I wasn't managing. By the time they called me to tell me the password to the account was already changed. I actually had to email Shareasale support to get my email address as a secondary address for communications removed.

    Many times things go wrong and there isn't prior warning. I've gotten better at recognizing the "signs" of impending changes and will now remove our contact information from a merchant well in advance of a change. Especially when payments are suddenly delayed.

    Some programs go on and do well on their own, if they paid attention to the OPM or actually were being trained to take over on their own, others just don't "get it" and will either manager hop or ignore their affiliate program once the OPM relationship ends. I try and be sure to let affiliates know when it has been a "training" arrangement and send a message or post a message to the effect that "management is taking it in-house".
    Deborah Carney
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  22. #22
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    It happened again. A great affiliate went to get active recently and found that I wasn't the manager. So I blogged about it today with how I'm going to rectify that in the future. This issue has bugged me for a while now.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Would like to know when there's been a change, also. Depending on who the affiliate manager is when it happens I usually just assume the merchant wanted to work with the bad guys if I had a favorable opinion of the affiliate manager (agree, shouldn't refer to them that way but not sure how else to refer to them) If that's the case or it involves some other changes that are no longer affiliate friendly I'd like to know about it since it may have a bearing on how I promote them or even continue to work with them. I just normally assume the program's going downhill when it happens.

    Agree that ya can kinda read between the lines a lot of the time.

    davidh - "Though there have been cases where the outgoing AM has kept the email db as a "buddy list" for purpose of recruiting affiliates to their new programs/merchants "

    I just assumed affiliate managers did that all the time. Maybe it's just me, but I don't have any problem with that.

  24. #24
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Maybe it's just me, but I don't have any problem with that.
    Their (ex)employers might have a problem with that. Do you want to work with a thief?
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  25. #25
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    We do not need any details, only a simple message that the merchant and OPM have parted ways, and who to contact should issues arise in the future.
    - We don't need details, just need to know that the OPM is no longer managing. This serves everyone best. The affiliate will know how much to "trust" the program going forward if they joined specifically because they have a good relationship with the OPM, the OPM will not be blamed for stupid replies to their queries and the merchant will be able to handle all new issues directly.

    I recently found out an OPM I trust was no longer managing a program after having sent a question to who I thought was the OPM and recieved a completely ridiculous reply from *someone* who I thought was representing the OPM. Turned me off the OPM big time. Turns out it was the merchant who answered, not letting me know it was NOT the OPM I thought I was corresponding with.

    I think it's very important for the OPM especially to let affiliates know. Their relationship with their affiliates is ultimately more important than any merchant.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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