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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Questions of Loyalty Programs
    Hello,

    I am a definite newbie to the affiliate marketing space and am trying to find my AM legs. I've been busy trying to recruit the top VIPS in my vertical, but as an afterthought, am thinking are these publishers are in my best interest. For example, I've been doing research on Loyalty programs, and have found that there are several recommended sites in my vertical, namely iGive, Ebates, Mr. Rebates, etc... However, I've also been reading a few threads on this site and now have concerns. Especially about iGive and their required toolbar install. Can anyone give me feedback on whether they recommend Loyalty programs and have any current 2010 or sooner info on iGive?

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador SunshineTricia's Avatar
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    As an owner of a loyalty site, my response would be that you really have two different questions:

    1) Should I allow loyalty sites into my program?
    2) Should I allow sites with toolbars into my program?

    The answers to those questions are not necessarily the same. Some loyalty sites do not have toolbars. Some sites with toolbars are not loyalty sites.

    There are a lot of pros and cons to allowing loyalty sites into your program, but I would evaluate the toolbar question separately. (and I can't think of any pros on the toolbars!!)
    --Tricia Meyer-- I love being the exception to the rule.

    Tricia Meyer | Helping Moms Connect | Wine Club Reviews and Ratings | Hunger Games Fan


  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    It seemed to me that there was some confusion about "Loyalty" sites vs "para" sites going on in the question. Loyalty sites do not pop a cookie inside the cart, parasites do. Toolbar sites can look more productive than they are because they are moving numbers from the merchant's column to their own.

  4. #4
    Newbie
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    Loyalty is also a broad umbrella
    From the publisher side, my only advice is to ask as many questions as you need to feel satisfied because "loyalty" means different things to different people (and verticals). I work for a shopping site that uses an ebates-style cashback program for customer retention and - even though it's been a success & pretty darn popular with our customers - has caused no shortage of headaches when merchants first hear the word "loyalty." If we can overcome their initial concerns (no paid traffic, etc.) it's almost always ends happily but has indeed proven to be a dealbreaker for a handful of big merchants.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thank you for your feedback. I am on the fence, especially about iGive and the referenced toolbar install. I do feel that Loyalty programs as a whole are great for customer retention, however, I guess with anything, I am surprised at the sneaky practices some businesses show to acquire that extra profit. I'll have to make sure and do my 'due diligence' in order to make the best decisions.

    If anyone has anymore feedback for a newbie, it is certainly welcome! Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Hi Hilary,

    I agree that toolbars and loyalty sites are two separate issues.

    I'll answer your question regarding iGive. This is current regarding their toolbar. Here's a bullet list of behavior:

    • It will automatically redirect the browser to the iGive affiliate link for direct type-ins to the merchant
    • It will automatically redirect the browser through the iGive affiliate link for your paid traffic (except affiliate traffic see below) such as paid search listings
    • It will automatically redirect the browser through the iGive affiliate link for your unpaid traffic (such as organic search listings, newsletters, etc)
    • It will automatically redirect on traffic from another affiliate if that affiliate codes their links with server-side redirects with the iGive affiliate link (affiliate overwrite)
    • It will prompt the end user that a rebate is available with a flashing icon in the toolbar if the traffic is from another affiliate who has coded their site with a straight network affiliate link or has appended "afsrc=1" to a server-side link. If the end user clicks the prompt, it will redirect the browser through the iGive affiliate link


    You should understand that the above behavior is considered "compliant" for software applications (including toolbars) by GAN, as well as some other networks.

    If this type of traffic is not something you feel you should be paying affiliate commissions on, you should also note that loyalty sites are not the only affiliates who use this type of technology.

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  8. #7
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilary View Post
    I am on the fence, especially about iGive and the referenced toolbar install.
    Hilary, let me see if I can help you off the fence. The way that toolbars "typically" work is that they sit in the users browser until the user visits a site that the toolbar affiliate is an affiliate of and the toolbar then pops up a reminder or sets a cookie for that site.

    Why is this wrong? Because the toolbar affiliate doesn't take into consideration how the user arrived at the site (frankly they don't really care, but you should). It could be through your PPC campaign or an affiliates PPC campaign, a direct browser type-in, a response from your e-mail campaign or a review on an affiliate site. It doesn't really matter to the toolbar affiliate, they claim credit for all of these scenarios even though it's obvious that they don't deserve commissions in any of them. They had absolutely nothing to do with the shopper arriving at your site.

    One argument that is common from toolbar affiliates is that users should be able to decide who earns a commission on their sales. Huh? Since when is the user part of the contractual agreement between affiliate and merchant?

    The end result of this scenario is that non-toolbar affiliates will no longer promote merchants that allow parasitic affiliates into their programs, we can't afford to when they steal our commissions. The problem for merchants is that parasites don't initiate traffic and without non toolbar affiliates sending them traffic, the toolbar affiliates have no one to poach from but the merchant themselves. Kinda sucks, huh?

    I'm not sure if iGive is still using a toolbar, but if they are, you should have an independent review of their behavior PRIOR to working with them. I say independent because if they're not above stealing commissions, assume that they aren't above lying about it also.

    So hopefully, I've given you enough information to help you get off the fence. If you need more background data, you should visit the ParasiteWare forum.

    Good luck, and welcome aboard.

    -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

  9. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    Hi Kellie,

    That was an awesome overview - exactly what I was looking for! Thanks a bunch!

  10. #9
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks rematt. You've definitely helped! I appreciate the feedback .

  11. #10
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    I'm not sure if iGive is still using a toolbar, but if they are, you should have an independent review of their behavior PRIOR to working with them. I say independent because if they're not above stealing commissions, assume that they aren't above lying about it also.
    Your welcome. I guess Kellie answered the question and provided the independent review. She's great to have around.

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; March 23rd, 2011 at 02:12 PM.
    "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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