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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    Buying from our own links
    I read the terms of use and am still not clear on this. Can we buy products using our own links on our sites and receive commissions? Thanks.

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    That really depends on the individual program, if their terms aren't clear try sending an e-mail to the AM for clarification. That being said, I believe that most programs don't mind affiliates purchasing through their links, some even encourage it. One benefit is that you become a consumer of the product and will have a better feel for it's properties and qualities which should translate into better promotions.

    Another benefit to you is that you get to view the entire checkout process first hand and see if there are any barriers to the consumer as well as confirm that orders are tracking properly.

    -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

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    For most merchants, yes. Some merchants do not allow self referrals so it is always best to ask either the AM or the merchant.

    I have used my own links to purchase items so that I know better how to describe the customer service and shipping parameters of that merchant. Sometimes it can be a mistake to rely on what it says on their site but when you order a product yourself, you have first hand experience with the products and services you are promoting.

    (GMTA, lol!)
    Last edited by 2busy; February 6th, 2011 at 11:35 AM. Reason: saw rematt's response

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    For my programs i encourage it.
    I know for one Amazon will not give credit for sales u make via your affiliate link
    Last edited by Richard - AMWSO; February 6th, 2011 at 10:14 PM.
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


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  5. #5
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Yes check with the AM/OPM but I always allow affiliates to buy from their own links. Make sure to save the order ID in case it doesn't credit to your account. Some times clearing cookies doesn't guarantee a return purchase getting credited to your account.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Yes check with the AM/OPM but I always allow affiliates to buy from their own links. Make sure to save the order ID in case it doesn't credit to your account. Some times clearing cookies doesn't guarantee a return purchase getting credited to your account.
    +1
    plus, it always makes me happy to think an affiliate chose us over one of our competitors and they get personal experience with our company and processes. Of course, if you're paying the same price as anyone else using your affiliate link to order what difference does it make that it's your affiliate link?

  7. #7
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Yes check with the AM/OPM but I always allow affiliates to buy from their own links. Make sure to save the order ID in case it doesn't credit to your account. Some times clearing cookies doesn't guarantee a return purchase getting credited to your account.
    Oh by the way, I used my own link last year when I bought a surfshelf. Forgot to ask first, buddy. Thanks.

  8. #8
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    > "Another benefit to you is that you get to view the entire checkout process first hand and see if there are any barriers to the consumer as well as confirm that orders are tracking properly." <

    I'm constantly amazed at the "deal-killers" I encounter during the checkout process at merchants' web sites.

    Last month, I discovered that one merchant charged a flat rate of $10.99 for shipping for all orders; this helped me understand why consumers who'd clicked on links to buy a $9 "booklet" product (which might cost $2 to mail) had never placed orders. When I spoke with the merchant, he told me that orders over $XX got free shipping -- but this information didn't appear during the checkout process (contrast Amazon, which constantly reminds us that we'd qualify for free shipping if we just add $9.87 [or whatever specific amount] more to our order).

    Since I spoke with that merchant, he reduced his standard shipping rate to $5.99, and removed a prominent "coupon prompt" from the checkout process (he's never had any valid coupon codes, but I quickly found several of his "affiliates" who were promoting non-existent coupon codes in order to poach the advertising fee). I've still seen zero conversions, but at least he's trying.

    There are lots of other issues that can arise during the checkout process, and there are other issues that we might not consider unless we specifically "think about placing an order" (many are discussed in the Merchant Best Practices forum here).
    Last edited by markwelch; February 8th, 2011 at 08:27 PM.

  9. #9
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I always make a point of using my own links whenever I buy something online, to test tracking. Unfortunately, tracking failures have happened often enough over the years that sometimes I'm surprised when an order *does* track.
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  10. #10
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch View Post
    I'm constantly amazed at the "deal-killers" I encounter during the checkout process at merchants' web sites.
    One of my favorites are merchants that REQUIRE you to create an account prior to completing the purchase. I can understand the desire to create a return customer, but they've gotta sell them something first.

    -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

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager affilorama's Avatar
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    You should check the terms first before buying through your own link.
    Michelle
    Affilorama Group Ltd
    Affiliate Marketing by Affilorama | Free SEO Software by Traffic Travis

  12. #12
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Always check the terms ... but also ... an important thing here is just acting in good faith.

    Affiliates who simply join programs to get a discount on their own purchases, I think is in poor form and really adds no value to a program... We do see a lot of these actually and usually they end up removed from the network. I'm talking about people who have no other intention ... which is a very small percentage.

    Affiliates who place test purchases, or occasionally purchase thru their links I do not see a problem with personally, and the majority of merchants will likely see the value in this as well.

    As with everything - intent in important here. An affiliate program isn't a coupon for consumers, they are 2 very different things.

    @Rematt - that drives me nuts too and I often have conversations with new retailers who do this simply because it is built into shopping carts. Requiring registration before purchase I think is a huge block on conversion - though it is nice for the retailers to have that info later.
    Thanks,

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

  13. #13
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    As I see it an affiliate sale is a sale added to the program as the gross margin is taken into consideration with the cost of sale. I use affiliate programs to buy common things like toner replacements for my laser printer. If you check with the affiliate manager you have a 50/50 chance of being allowed. I for one like to have these purchases as they add to the monthly sales. I have not had a merchant refuse them but its always best to ask especially if a repeat sale may not track due to cookies not completely clearing.

  14. #14
    Certified Affiliate Manager sunshiner's Avatar
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    I've had some merchants offer me the same family deal that they get from their company, which is really a good deal. Of course, you can't use your affiliate link, but its a really nice gesture.
    Cindy Ballard, VP of Operations, Greg Hoffman Consulting
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  15. #15
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    I would echo Brian's point.

    My team works for several merchants with ShareASale programs and almost always allows and encourages using your own links to make a purchase. I want you to have the assurance of seeing for yourself that the tracking is working.

    For content sites, I think it comes through in the writing when they say "I bought this..." and they can talk about the shopping experience and product.

    The only time I can remember a problem was when a special friends & family coupon was used with the affiliates link. A margin killer like that will raise some eyebrows.

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