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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Possible Future Truth in Advertising Issue
    This is distantly related to the Legacy Learning FTC issue and in the spirit of "an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure" line, I have no idea if this is something that also might legally impact aff sites which display item prices in the future, but some may want to take preemptive action now to protect your site's reputation.

    Awhile back, a reader wrote me with a complaint that a price on my site was inaccurate as the price on the merchant's site was higher and demanded to know which was correct. I forwarded her letter to the merchant's customer rep, stating that I use PopShops & that it was the current price in their datafeed. The customer rep wrote to the customer (& cc'd me) that it was MY fault for not updating their datafeed. I contacted the network & the rep got in touch with the OPM. The OPM firm said that the particular OPM assigned to that merchant was leaving & apologized to me that they had not updated the feed. I have PopShops set to automatically not show invalid datafeed items and stated this to everyone. However, the new OPM assigned to the account also warned me to update the feed regularly. As PopShops only uses the most current datafeed provided to them, I found this warning quite offensive.

    The network rep graciously offered to write the customer but I declined as a reader has no understanding about these background business relationships & felt it would only further confuse the issue. Unless the apology was from the merchant, it would be meaningless. By then, a couple of weeks had gone by and the damage was done to my site's reputation. Of course, I no longer promote that merchant.

    As a result, I placed a price disclaimer on all pages to protect myself in the future.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz


  2. #2
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    For a couple of months, several of Amazon's widgets were showing incorrect prices, on a regular basis. I reported it multiple times. For awhile they would write to me occasionally; then they said nothing. After about 8 weeks it was fixed. I wanted to use the Search Widget, so I put a price disclaimer under it, saying to check the price at Amazon which may differ due to Amazon's bug. I wasn't worried about the FTC; just worried that people would think something was wrong with my site. A great way to build confidence (not).
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    Valerie Magee
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    With enough consumer complaints to the FTC about inaccurate prices on websites, I feel that somewhere down the line they could focus on this. It might fall under the "bait & switch" or "truth in advertising" categories.

    Iin the meantime, yep, inaccurate prices certainly don't help build customer confidence in an affiliate site. Most of the time you won't be contacted, you'll just lose a customer.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  4. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Majority of our stores do not show pricing, but a Buy Now button and/or For pricing and more information type link. Three reasons for this, piss-poor datafeed management by merchants, to instill a call to action, and to CYA...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  6. #5
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    When we first started our affiliate program and built the first datafeed we did NOT include pricing. We hoped that affiliates would, and we encouraged them to, use the approach, as suggested by convergence, of putting a "Click for pricing and/or More Info" type call to action into play.

    Well, we received all kinds of complaints and/or requests to get those prices in place. Some of them came from esteemed colleagues here at ABW. So, being the new kids on the block, we complied with the next datafeed upload - and included pricing. Fortunately (for us) we have only had one (small) price change since we did that. I had the "updated" feed online the next morning and GoldenCAN and PopShops had the updates within the next couple of days.

    Now, that we are more established, we won't hesitate to go back to our "zero pricing" model if things get a bit "touchy" with government regulations/guidelines. I don't believe having - or not having - prices diplayed would have made any difference in our rapid growth. In our vertical (among the personal checks - not B2B), just about every merchant has similar pricing. Most people (other than bargain shoppers looking for plain checks) will make a purchase decision based on the selection and quality of the images. A "couple dollar" difference in price makes no difference.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
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  8. #6
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    In your case Bill, yes, it's more about selection and quality....and I'm sure the pricing falls within a reasonable scope. I found displaying the price increased clickthroughs/sales over the long run. I use PopShops, create pages with different merchants & depending on the product category, prices can have a wide range.

    However, on some pages where the merchant isn't on PopShops, I mention a general price range at the top. After reading yours & Convergence's posts, I'm going to go back & on a few pages use a "Buy" button without a price this time. I had it before, just visually didn't like seeing it so often. Convergence, you're right, a CTA & a CYA is necessary.

    Time to go back & experiment again. Thank you both for getting the old gray matter perking.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  9. #7
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    On one of my sites where I don't show any prices at all, the buttons say "Click here for pricing and options" There are two merchants there and they both offer options that alter the price. Rather than explaining it over and over again (especially since it changes often and is different for both merchants) I let the shoppers get it directly from the merchants. They don't seem to mind.

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  11. #8
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    On one of my sites where I don't show any prices at all, the buttons say "Click here for pricing and options" There are two merchants there and they both offer options that alter the price. Rather than explaining it over and over again (especially since it changes often and is different for both merchants) I let the shoppers get it directly from the merchants. They don't seem to mind.
    Good idea
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