Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    15 Years of Fighting the Fight - Nothing Changes
    I belong to a Music Row organization for country musicians. The president that made the Billy Kay building wrap in Nashville asked if I'd teach the 700 members how to monetize their band websites.

    I reluctantly agreed and on Easter Sunday I applied to Sam Ash Music. An hour later I got a generic rejection letter.

    I looked: Here is their ONLY requirements:

    We encourage all interested sites to apply to our program. However, before you can participate in our program, we will need to approve your site. Mainly we look for sites that:
    • Are aesthetically pleasing
    • Do not display content that may be deemed pornographic or offensive


    I meet them. If EPC is important, mine was 67.29, which of course is above average.
    The unsigned rejection letter stated

    We regret to inform you that Sam Ash Quikship Corp. has chosen not to accept you into their affiliate program at this time. The reason for this decision may be as follows:

    * inability to access Web site
    * Web site not yet live
    * traffic levels too low
    * inappropriate material on site

    If you feel you've been rejected in error please email us at samashaffiliates at linkshare

    Please feel free to re-apply with Sam Ash Quikship Corp. whenever you feel you have been able to address the concern(s) listed above.
    Of course NONE of those reasons apply to me.

    When I pressed for a reason, I was told there are filters that weed out affiliate "Noise".

    Some of us have been fighting for some kind of rationality in this business for 15+ years, and it never changes.

    1. If ever there was a perfect fit, 700 band websites partnering with Sam Ash Music would be it! Yet, the Network and merchant are so out of it, they lost this match made in Heaven.

    2. If there are indeed "Noise" filters, and they are NOT stated on the merchant application page, what possible purpose can that serve?

    3. The rejection letter was unsigned - from the so-called "Team". "WE" have to supply all our personal and confidential information on our accounts... "they" can remain anonymous and take no responsibility.

    4. Affiliate Marketing is promoted as a "partnership"... and neither the Network nor the merchants understand even the most basic definition of the word. As a merchant, I have "partnerships" with several dozen manufactures. Not a single one sends me anonymous emails. There is always a HUMAN on the other side.

    So who looses?

    The Network. 700 band sites will be promoting their competition

    The merchant. 700 band sites will be promoting Guitar Center instead

    The affiliates. My mind boggles at how much targeted traffic is NOT going to be sent

    Visitors - who will loose out on targeted recommendations

    Yep - that's EVERYONE! Everyone looses!

    Best,
    Billy Kay

  2. Thanks From:

  3. #2
    Affiliate Manager OutdoorPlayToys's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 22nd, 2011
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    93
    Wow! That is very sad on everyones part that the merchant is so unresponsive and unwilling to even listen to you to see that it is a perfect match for them.

    I have seen this quite a bit as an affiliate, I was turned down from several merchants when I was promoting photo gifts - never a reason given....but there was always a competitor to promote, so I hope that is the case for you.

    Jill
    Jill Caren

  4. #3
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 20th, 2005
    Posts
    8,266
    I, too, feel the frustration. < sigh >
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  5. #4
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Location
    Tropical Mountaintop
    Posts
    5,636
    It happened to me too recently, the email with "your site is not a good fit". When I wrote back to ask which site they had decided that I was planning to use - no response. Their loss I figure and move on, but it isn't the first time.

    I just feel that they are probably right, we are not a good match as I will not work with poorly managed programs.


  6. #5
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 20th, 2005
    Posts
    8,266
    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    ...I just feel that they are probably right, we are not a good match as I will not work with poorly managed programs.
    Good point. I will save that thought - and just may send it in reply to any future decline emails I may receive.

    I have been doing this for a dozen years so far and have learned that there are far too many ways in this business to earn a living. It is pointless to put up with aggravation from nonsensical merchants and/or their affiliate managers.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  7. Thanks From:

  8. #6
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    Of course, I gave them my patented response..

    "If you feel you've been rejected in error please email us at
    samashaffiliates-at-linkshare"

    Nah! The error was on MY part - for thinking that Linkshare has changed
    into a professional affiliate network.

    Regards,
    Billy Kay
    But that's not the point.

    Applying to a merchant is the FIRST STEP in the whole affiliate marketing process. And it doesn't work.

    If, after all these years, the Networks haven't fixed the first step, there's not much hope for fixing the myriad of problems that occur afterwords.

    Best/Billy Kay

  9. #7
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    In Razerback country.
    Posts
    1,911
    It seems I always have an example of how online marketing and bricks and mortar marketing are alike - and my head always implodes over the silly thinking of small Mom and Pops. After all, EVERYONE already knows them, right?

    Today's example: There's a new little deli right smack downtown. It's been there for about 2 and a half months and when you go in there's always a choice of a dozen tables because they have one at a time customers. It's always echoing in there. The food is awesome and the service good enough and I keep bringing people in to eat there, hoping it will catch on before they can't make the rent anymore.

    We are hours away from the biggest festival we have all year. Thousands of people are going to be walking and standing a few inches from their door from tonight until Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of these people will by dying for a place to sit down and grab a bite.
    I asked what they had planned for during the festival - thinking they might stock up on quick grab bottled water or cookies or even a quick grab sandwich.

    They aren't going to be open. Since the block will be closed off, the parking will be down the block, so they're closing. I tried to point out that people who park down the street will be walking past THEIR FREAKING STRUGGLING BUSINESS and would gladly stop in for a rest on the way back to their car if nothing else. All I got was "That's a good idea. I'll have to think about that". And they're going to be closed for the weekend.

    I just feel that they are probably right, we are not a good match as I will not work with poorly managed programs.
    Thanks for this one - I need to remember that, too!

  10. #8
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,126
    I thought Sam Ash went out of business years ago.

    Billy you have more choices then Sam Ash anyway on better networks. Maybee we need some guitar shaped Crystals to sell

    What about Legacy Learning?
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  11. #9
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    I just feel that they are probably right, we are not a good match as I will not work with poorly managed programs.
    I started following that philosophy several years ago. There are ALWAYS going to be poorly managed programs. When they decline or terminate us for stupid reasons, they're doing us a favor.

    I think it's always a good idea to point them in the right direction (as Rexanne did with the deli), because SOME will listen and learn, but there are always going to be some who never learn.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     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

  12. Thanks From:

  13. #10
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    April 21st, 2011
    Location
    Spokane Valley, WA
    Posts
    5
    Thanks for the reminder!
    I just saw this thread in the ABW newsletter Michael sent out and even though it's been a few weeks, I thought I'd add my quick thoughts.

    Sometimes, there is a time and place to not approve an affiliate, because you want to keep a good reputation for your company since it will be promoted all over the world. There are those affiliates who will just apply not because they like your product, but just because they like your commission rate.

    That said, I also seem to get a lot of affiliates who will apply where they have a main site listed that is x and it does not pertain at all to our industry. Here's the difference. Instead of just declining them, I usually will send them a message and ask where/how they would like to promote our products. Sure enough, many times, I will get a response from them with a different site that would be a great fit for our products. So...approve they get!

    If I don't hear back from them within a week or two, I may end up declining them, which then, they obviously can email back if they are still interested in the program. And sometimes they do. If I ever get an email back from an affiliate after I decline it says a lot to me. Mostly, that they are willing to take the time out of their busy day to let me know they are genuinely interested in our products. In that case, it sure would make me think they also are genuinely interested in making money by selling them, which as we all know, makes our company money. Win, win, win. So...they will usually get approved.

    It really does surprise me that even after you further inquired about why you weren't excepted, you still got the big X from the program. If I were an affiliate, I most likely would have gone elsewhere too. But as an AM, this is a good reminder to continue to be open-minded about those affiliates that you would normally just disregard. I'm sure I'm guilty in the past of not being as open minded and considerate of potential affiliates. So thanks for posting, Billy, and reminding us AM's that you never know who might be your next affiliate who could really start generating revenue for your company!

  14. Thanks From:

  15. #11
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 5th, 2005
    Location
    Park City Utah
    Posts
    16,646
    Several of the networks send their canned responses for declines and the merchant doesn't have the ability to change it. Commission Junction is a prime example whereas Shareasale give full control over that email template.

    I can only think of one example out of 100 in the last six years where I didn't accept someone repealing a rejection. It was due to pornographic banners three clicks into the site for singles cruises i.e. images in the banners.

    I do have to say that affiliate managers and OPM's are still human. Billy did you bother to try to contact the merchant with a call? If this was important I would think that a call was warranted. I would think a pointed comment or voice mail would help educate the merchant. If you are unable to contact them then I would consider the program unmanaged and question joining it.

    Present company excused I find many affiliates hiding behind the animosity of email. AM/OPM's seek transparency and need to have it on their end too. It goes both ways.

  16. #12
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    Chuck,

    Several responses - none directed at you

    1. My affiliate info is clearly listed at Linkshare.

    2. If there are any requirements a merchant has - they should be clearly stated on the merchant page

    3. It is my job to apply to a merchant... not track them down and beg

    4. | Sam Ash Music 1-800-4-SAMASH

    The only contact info is the toll free number (which is for customers) since they had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for the affiliate manager

    5. It is the Network's responsibility to facilitate communication between affiliates and merchants. They failed.

    6. It is the merchant's responsibility to to state their terms up front and to communicate with an affiliate that took the time to apply. They failed.

    7. To his credit, Adam Weiss did contact me the next morning to help ME get into the program. But it's not about Billy Kay. I was teaching Country Artists how to monetize their websites thru affiliate marketing. I was not about to have 700 sites rejected due to "noise".

    The title of this thread is "15 Years..." and I've stated the first step is applying to a merchant. IMO, the first step is broken. After 15 years... "I would think a pointed comment or voice mail would help educate the merchant." is a waste of my time. The Network and the merchant FIRST have to admit there's a problem in order to be taught.

    Since we've been discussing this for 15 years, I'm going with they're untrainable

    Best,
    Billy

  17. #13
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 5th, 2005
    Location
    Park City Utah
    Posts
    16,646
    Billy thanks for the response back and I agree with you. LinkShare has the most transparency with a second being AvantLink. My point is the non-management of many programs. Is your issue with the merchant or the network (or both)? More specifically is the 15 years of fighting a reference to merchants creating a barrier to entry of their programs or the network not doing anything to change this?

    I also understand that without a direct relationship with the AM for Sam Ash Music there is little chance of getting the 700 members joined to the program.

    Playing a bit of the devils advocate here to help make your point with I agree with. Looking for the best way to get some visibility for this specific instance and as a touch point for others who have to deal with this.

  18. #14
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    Subject: Google Alert - billy kay
    Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 19:47:34 +0000
    From: Google Alerts
    Web new result for billy kay

    Featured 15 Years of Fighting the Fight Nothing Changes ABestWeb ...
    The president that made the Billy Kay building wrap in Nashville asked if I'd teach the 700 members how to monetize their band websites. I.
    http://www.abestweb.com/.../15-years...nothing-change...
    See what you started Chuck! Just got a goog alert. They're watching us!!!

    LOLOL

  19. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 5th, 2005
    Location
    Park City Utah
    Posts
    16,646
    Just a little side benefit of the authority level of ABW for the merchant. Also went out in the ABW Twitter. It takes about a month for a merchant to pick up in their log files or SEO reports when they could ahve simply answered your email in the first place.

  20. #16
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    Just my opinion - and just on this one topic... the first step of a business partnership...

    The merchant and the network know my name and contact information, as it's a part of the required information to join a Network.

    Common sense dictates that for a partnership to work, it should be reciprocated. I should know the name of the person at either the Network or merchant who I'm in contact with. I can't think of any other relationships I'm in where I don't know the name of the other party - except affiliate marketing.

    If a merchant site (like Sam Ash) has a link to a page for their affiliate program, said contact information should be stated there. The reasons are endless.

    What if I joined the Sam Ash program and was approved, and the Welcome email came from someone who I would never work with - maybe someone who used to manage another program and destroyed it. You know the type of AM I referring to.

    I feel there should be a contact link PRIOR to applying. For the above reason... and many others.

    I remember having a long discussion about this during one of the ThinkTanks. And the merchants that participated worried they'd get too many emails. Well... that's part of their job! If they don't want to be bothered with potential affiliates, they shouldn't have an affiliate program.

    This came up: What about giant companies like WalMart and Sears? Can you imagine how many "silly question" emails they would get from prospective affiliates? My op is... these "giant" companies can hire more affiliate managers if responding to affiliates is currently too draining on them.

    As I've stated several times, a merchant should spell out any conditions for approval on their merchant page. Anything less is unconscionable.

    If they are going to use the vanilla default merchant approval page provided by the Networks, they should be required to add the line "I, the merchant, have read and agree to the default terms we're stating to the affiliates"

    Anything less then this, and the system will remain broken.

    Best,
    Billy

  21. #17
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 5th, 2005
    Location
    Park City Utah
    Posts
    16,646
    As an OPM and at times managing up to two dozen programs I would get no more than an email a day. Some brands feel they are omnipotent and that everyone is dying to work with them. They force affiliates to jump through hoops.

    I pride myself on having many points of contact and clear contact information on programs I promote and manage. It goes both ways when a merchant wants transparency they need to be transparent. To me an ambiguous Affiliate Team signature means its the intern of the month who is running the program. There is a good 90% failure rate with affiliate programs that are non-managed or under managed. Wonder why!! Maybe we should spin off a thread, how to get 700 musicians into your affiliate program?

  22. #18
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    Back in the days when I'd rag on networks and merchants as my full time job (LOLOL), I always had the disclaimer "Nothing stated refers to the OPM firms here on ABW"... because you're all considered "one of us"

    My purpose for this thread was to point out how silly the application process is. But, since we still have merchants who consider zero-day cookies good, I don't have much hope for change.

    As a merchant, I agree with your own problems. If that phony wordpress tries to join my program one more time....

    Perhaps a good thread to start would be "What should the MINIMUM requirements for all 3 parties (aff/merch/network) be for the application process.

    Best,
    Billy

  23. #19
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 7th, 2010
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,307
    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    It happened to me too recently, the email with "your site is not a good fit". When I wrote back to ask which site they had decided that I was planning to use - no response. Their loss I figure and move on, but it isn't the first time.

    I just feel that they are probably right, we are not a good match as I will not work with poorly managed programs.
    Absolutely right, their loss and their AM(if they got one) has his/her stock in the sand.
    Last edited by Decorative Ceiling Tiles; May 27th, 2011 at 03:44 AM.

  24. #20
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    3,492
    This happens to me all the time. Not daily, but often enough to feel like it's part of the daily routine.

    At least 25% of the sites I have listed on CJ are for designer apparel and footwear. I've been turned down by more designer apparel and footwear merchants than I can count on my fingers.

    Their competitors are happy with the paying customers I send to them.
    CUSTOM BANNERS by GRAPHICS CANDY ~ Banner Sets and Website Graphics ~ Professional design, reasonable rates
    DESIGNER DOG CHECKS ~ We double-dog dare ya to write one!

  25. #21
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,126
    Billy Have you ever wondered if your affiliate site is good enough to get into your own affiliate program. I hear your affiliate manager is very strict.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  26. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. One networks way of fighting fraud
    By HardwareGeek in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: September 12th, 2008, 03:10 PM
  2. Google Needs Input on Fighting Scumware!
    By Cheesehead in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: July 18th, 2004, 03:31 AM
  3. How many are actively fighting parasites?
    By Tracy in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: May 9th, 2003, 03:32 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •