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  1. #1
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    An other crooked merchant: 1st Phorm (1dboverdrive)
    Don't waste your time promoting 1db Overdrive and 1db Godness (supplements from 1st Phorm Int'l)
    This crooked merchant approves you (They are not on Auto-Approval), then as soon as the sales come in, they switch your commission to $0.

    Not a word to tell you: Thank you for the sales, but we're not sure you deserve a commission... Nothing in their agreement to give you a clue on what they don't like... Coupon sites, review sites... No restriction...

    There's a cost involved in promoting a new merchant.

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    LOL - I read 1bdoverdrive as 1 Ben Dover Drive. Guess that's appropriate.
    Michael Coley
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     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

  3. #3
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    "1st Phorm" must be "IllPumpYouUp" brother.

    Same excuse "We don't work with coupon sites" but there's nothing in their agreement regarding coupons.
    No TM, keywords, PPC... restrictions.

    If you have special offers, deals, coupons on your site or blog, they will consider you as a coupon site and deactivate you after your first sales
    They offer a 40% discount on their site but you can't promote it...

    Clueless merchant, stay away.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    they will consider you as a coupon site and deactivate you after your first sales
    Do I understand correctly that you do not qualify for deactivation until you make your first sale??
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  5. #5
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    Clueless merchant, stay away.
    I find it hard to believe that merchants like this are clueless. A clueless merchant would remove you from their program, a devious merchant would reduce your commission to 0%. They have no problem with traffic from coupon sites, they just found an excuse not to pay for it.

    -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

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witzer View Post
    Do I understand correctly that you do not qualify for deactivation until you make your first sale??
    Well, my site was accepted by them. They are not on auto-approval.
    They knew exactly what to expect. Nothing is hidden.
    They waited for the first sales to switch the commission level to $0. Then my site was deactivated. Not a word, just the automatic emails from SAS for commission changes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    I find it hard to believe that merchants like this are clueless. A clueless merchant would remove you from their program, a devious merchant would reduce your commission to 0%. They have no problem with traffic from coupon sites, they just found an excuse not to pay for it.

    -rematt
    They did both, one after the other.
    I'm sweeter as I get older. They offer 40% commission, quite a bit chunk of money. I've the feeling they want to hand pick the sites that deserve that money. That's not exactly the rules of affiliate marketing.
    Did I close the sale, yes or no?
    Obviously, they don't know what they are doing. Switching the commission to $0 was an eye opener. I'm sure they don't know SAS fires an email for each modification.
    Their affiliate program is pretty new. (Starting date, Jan 24, 2011) but old enough for an affiliate to build the traffic.

    It shows a new program should look for help at the beginning. Their agreement is a shame. They are just looking for trouble.

  8. #8
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    Zeus,

    Let me try to better explain the situation.

    1) The campaign was initially set up as an auto-approve.

    2) After two weeks time, we had to cancel any coupon related sites such as yours because they did not generate a single sale to a consumer that wasn't already a repeating customer. Since that time, we, as a merchant, are not auto-approving any more affiliates. If you would of generated any NEW sales, we would of kept you as an affiliate.

    Explanation of our commission structure:

    we pay 40% commissions to our affiliates because we know that the large majority of consumers that try our product, come back as long term customers. As a company, we don't mind even losing money on our initial sales because our goal isn't to make a quick buck, it's to help customers and build a long term relationships.

    3) We did NOT dispute any of your commissions earned. We will be paying your commissions full (at a loss to us) even though they were from customers would had already been ordering from 1st Phorm well before any affiliate campaigns had begun.

    4) As for approving you then setting commissions to 0% and declining you: We were initially set up on auto-approve and within 14 days set it to manual approve (when you were declined). When canceling any affiliate the commission value needs to be set to 0%. We were not trying to be dishonest in any way, shape, or form. If anything, we could of tried to dispute the charges or just turned commissions to 0% while keeping you on as an affiliate. We didn't do either.

    In closing, although we will not be approving any coupon related affiliates, we are always here to to assist in any way we can. As a merchant, we are willing to help with any design work & content creation.

    If you have any questions, contact us through ShareASale and we can review over the phone or by email.

    Blake

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1stPhorm View Post

    2) After two weeks time, we had to cancel any coupon related sites such as yours because they did not generate a single sale to a consumer that wasn't already a repeating customer. Since that time, we, as a merchant, are not auto-approving any more affiliates. If you would of generated any NEW sales, we would of kept you as an affiliate.
    So after 2 weeks you decide to change your affiliate policy and only pay for NEW customers, did you notify the existing affiliates of your change of heart or was this done by telepathic means?

  10. #10
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    We are, and have been, personally emailing any affiliates that were declined.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    That is nice that you had been personally emailing those declined.

    But that is not what I asked.

  12. #12
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Question
    Quote Originally Posted by 1stPhorm View Post
    We are, and have been, personally emailing any affiliates that were declined.
    so, does your TOS / policy as published reflect these conditions?

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    "we pay 40% commissions to our affiliates because we know that the large majority of consumers that try our product, come back as long term customers. As a company, we don't mind even losing money on our initial sales because our goal isn't to make a quick buck, it's to help customers and build a long term relationships."
    I think you should sit down with whoever does your pricing and come up with a solid price.
    This price should include your profit margin,shipping costs and the percent you are going to pay the affilates. You cannot offer a huge discount on your products on your site without having all these costs in place. If so then don't have an affilate program and expect affilates to bite it. This is a very poor business practise at your end and all I can see is that you want the traffic that affilates send you. And who asked for a 40% commission? The norm would be 10% to 15%,was this just to entice us to join?

  14. #14
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    Yes, or TOS/Policy/Agreement does state that we wont be accepting any affiliates with coupon, coupon code related sites.

    Since we are unable to have a policy on ShareASale that only pays affiliates for new sales, or to exclude sales from a particular region, our only option was to remove coupon related sites.

    As long as a sale is made while not coming from a coupon related site, it will be honored.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    I like many affiliates here have a coupon section with merchants who are offering coupons.
    So I guess this would make me a coupon related site? Plus many merhants I have listed offer coupons

  16. #16
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    We can't promote coupon sites such as: RetailMeNot.com & CouponCode.com.

    However, the issue has now be resolved because we are manually accepting affiliates.

    Quote Originally Posted by mailman View Post
    I like many affiliates here have a coupon section with merchants who are offering coupons.
    So I guess this would make me a coupon related site? Plus many merhants I have listed offer coupons
    Last edited by MichaelColey; February 21st, 2011 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Unlinked Example Coupon Sites

  17. #17
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    "we pay 40% commissions to our affiliates because we know that the large majority of consumers that try our product, come back as long term customers. As a company, we don't mind even losing money on our initial sales because our goal isn't to make a quick buck, it's to help customers and build a long term relationships."

    mailman, after the first sale, the customer belongs to 1st Phorm. They will not pay you a commission on repeat orders. (What's the value of their 60 day cookie?)
    You'll be also very lucky to make your first sale, because they don't pay a commission if your customer did order from them in the past (and they can say what they want).

    They want to build a long term relationship with their customers (AT YOUR EXPENSE). Just give them free advertisement, that's why they have an affiliate program.

    The problem is that you have no idea if the visitor on your site is one of their customers.
    If you use PPC, I suggest to ask Google to don't charge you for any cost related to former 1st Phorm customers. Tell them you want only new customers. Let us know of Google answer.

    I see two major problems. One is not new. I had the same disagreement with my first merchant in 1994. He had a problem paying a commission on former customers even if in 1994 there was not that many Internet customers.
    The problem is that YOU CAN'T really track former customers. NOBODY is going to trust a merchant willing to MANIPULATE the transactions. My experience is that either you pay a (smaller) commission on every sale or you don't start an affiliate program.

    An other major problem: What's a coupon site?
    A few years ago, it was pretty easy: "A web site listing coupons, deals and other savings offers"
    The problem is that most new affiliate business models are using (if not listing) coupons or deals for merchants offering them.
    Is a review site offering coupons, a coupon site?
    Is a blog with some posts with a coupon, a coupon site?
    Is a forum like ABW listing coupons in some threads, a coupon site?
    ...
    More and more pseudo AMs who know nothing about Affiliate Marketing want to deactivate you if you have coupons on your site even if you're not a coupon site.

  18. #18
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    Yes, or TOS/Policy/Agreement does state that we wont be accepting any affiliates with coupon, coupon code related sites.
    THAT WAS NOT TRUE. You changed it a few minutes ago.
    Updated Merchant provided Terms of Agreement will become effective on 02/28/2011:
    We will no longer be paying any commissions on coupon or coupon code related websites. Please email us at 1stPhorm@gmail.com if you have any questions.

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    I also believe Zeus that there are many more merchants that fall into this category.They start up an affiliate program just to gain expose and traffic. They will find and fill the loop holes to avoid paying. I often wonder what it costs to become a merchant on one of the major networks and run it for 6months?
    I believe that 1st Phorm has lost any credibility here and all but killed their affiliate program

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    "we pay 40% commissions to our affiliates because we know that the large majority of consumers that try our product, come back as long term customers. As a company, we don't mind even losing money on our initial sales because our goal isn't to make a quick buck, it's to help customers and build a long term relationships."

    mailman, after the first sale, the customer belongs to 1st Phorm. They will not pay you a commission on repeat orders. (What's the value of their 60 day cookie?)
    You'll be also very lucky to make your first sale, because they don't pay a commission if your customer did order from them in the past (and they can say what they want).
    We are not trying to pay only for new customers. However, what is the benefit of having an affiliate who only targets are product names and driving traffic to existing customers without generating a single new customer?

    We have no problem paying for more then one order, especially if the affiliate is the one who generated the sale.


    They want to build a long term relationship with their customers (AT YOUR EXPENSE). Just give them free advertisement, that's why they have an affiliate program.
    We have no problem paying commissions on sales, but again, would you, as a company want to pay commissions to someone who's only targeting existing customers?

    The problem is that you have no idea if the visitor on your site is one of their customers.
    If you use PPC, I suggest to ask Google to don't charge you for any cost related to former 1st Phorm customers. Tell them you want only new customers. Let us know of Google answer.
    If you decide to run PPC for generic search terms the odds of you reaching an existing customer are minute.

    I see two major problems. One is not new. I had the same disagreement with my first merchant in 1994. He had a problem paying a commission on former customers even if in 1994 there was not that many Internet customers.
    The problem is that YOU CAN'T really track former customers. NOBODY is going to trust a merchant willing to MANIPULATE the transactions. My experience is that either you pay a (smaller) commission on every sale or you don't start an affiliate program.
    This problem is now fixed since we are not accepting coupon code related sites.

    An other major problem: What's a coupon site?
    A few years ago, it was pretty easy: "A web site listing coupons, deals and other savings offers"
    The problem is that most new affiliate business models are using (if not listing) coupons or deals for merchants offering them.
    Is a review site offering coupons, a coupon site?
    Is a blog with some posts with a coupon, a coupon site?
    Is a forum like ABW listing coupons in some threads, a coupon site?
    ...
    If you're interested, send me an email with you're phone number and I'll personally call you to discuss the details of our updated agreement.

    Also, we did NOT manipulate a single transaction nor did we dispute any of the sales generated, even if they were from existing customers.

  21. #21
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1stPhorm View Post
    Yes, or TOS/Policy/Agreement does state that we wont be accepting any affiliates with coupon, coupon code related sites.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    THAT WAS NOT TRUE. You changed it a few minutes ago.
    Good catch, Zeus.

    So we have a merchant making up rules as they go, changing the TOS after the fact, and implying that the TOS was in place all along. Certainly not giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling...
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  22. #22
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1stPhorm View Post
    We are not trying to pay only for new customers. However, what is the benefit of having an affiliate who only targets are product names and driving traffic to existing customers without generating a single new customer?

    We have no problem paying commissions on sales, but again, would you, as a company want to pay commissions to someone who's only targeting existing customers?
    As a company I may not like the idea of paying commission to someone that may, or may not, be targeting existing customers only, but...

    If as a company I have decided to run an affiliate program in order to get new customers, and if for example: I will pay 10% of the sale to an affiliate that get me a new customer, of course I may not like the idea of paying commission to the affiliate that send me some customer that had bought something from my company before, because I (erroneously) would think that that same customer was already mine, forever...

    ----------------------

    This is what I really think, and what I would try to do if I decide to run an affiliate program and grow my business...

    I would be paying commission to my affiliates for new sales I make to the PEOPLE that came to my store to buy something, because one of my affiliates send those people to my store...

    As long as the affiliate is not doing something illegal, unethical, deceptive, tricking the visitor, or stealing other affilates cokies, I don't see a reason for not paying that affiliate their hard earned commission, regardless of who that new or old visitor (customer) is or was...

    Nobody owns anybody!

    Here is a real example:

    In the real world, sometimes you may see a Cola war between Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola

    Who in this planet don't know about those two Cola King's by now?

    According to your not paying commission on existing customers, then I would think that you can't ever run any affiliate program anywhere, if you were to own any of those two Cola companies, because you may think that just because we all may have drinked your Cola before, that now we may never buy the other one again...

    But, if you run an smart affiliate program with any of those two example Cola King's as the owner... , maybe some of your better affiliates can make the difference on your bottom line, regardless of which (new or old) buying customers, those affiliates send to your store...

  23. #23
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I also remember the first time it happened -- the old, drop the comm. to zero and not tell the affiliate. It was with a popular hat company that is (was?) on SAS. I just don't get why it is even allowed. There also seems to be some deep ignorance about contracts and how if something changes, it doesn't void out the previous agreement.
    Last edited by leeann; February 22nd, 2011 at 03:32 AM.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  24. #24
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1stPhorm View Post
    We have no problem paying commissions on sales, but again, would you, as a company want to pay commissions to someone who's only targeting existing customers?
    What if your customer was searching for an alternative, found an affiliate's site, and that affiliate pointed out the benefits of your store vs another store? I guess there's no benefit in that either.

  25. #25
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    I just don't get why it is even allowed. There also seems to be some deep ignorance about contracts and how if something changes, it doesn't void out the previous agreement.
    I think it has to do with merchants with the attitude of; "it's my program and I can do whatever I want". They forget (or don't realize/care) that they are only one party to a legally binding agreement. And the fact that networks are reluctant to take action against their customers allows merchants to act with impunity.

    -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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