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December 14th, 2004, 09:24 AM #1
Affiliates are online 24 hours a day. They're passionate about their sites. They're quick to fix problems. They're always looking for new features to add. They often have a very entrepreneurial/maverick mindset. They work at home in comfortable clothing.
Networks (and many merchants) work Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. They often take a long time to fix problems. They're slow to add features. They usually have a corporate mindset. They wear suits.
With these huge differences, it's no surprise that affiliates and networks don't always see eye to eye.
Out of all that, I think the area that's the most frustrating to me as an affiliate is the "speed" at which most networks and many merchants act. When there's a problem with my site, I usually have it fixed in minutes. If it takes an hour or more, it's a major deal. With the networks, problems usually take days to fix. Often, they can drag on for weeks or months.
I'm impacted by several of these problems that have dragged on for weeks or months right now.
1) Linkshare's October Payment Debacle. They generated incorrect vouchers at the end of October. Merchants paid Linkshare based on the incorrect vouchers. Linkshare corrected the vouchers and is still reconciling things. Most of these payments are now almost a month late.
2) Linkshare's Slow Payments in General. Between voucher generation, delays in processing checks, delays in printing checks, delays in stuffing envelopes, and delays in getting checks to the post office, Linkshare adds at least a 2-3 week delay in getting checks out to affiliates.
3) Tracking Problems. I've had several tracking problems from several merchants that have taken weeks or months to resolve. Some of those are still ongoing.
4) Linkshare's Direct Deposit. Linkshare has been promosing direct deposit and consolidated payments for three years now. What is taking so long?
What can the networks and merchants do to be more responsive to problems? Is it just not a priority? Is it a shortage of programming resources? Is it a problem with outdated technology?
I would like to challenge networks and merchants to think more like affiliates. Make things that impact affiliates a priority. Provide after hours emergency support for your top affiliates.
December 14th, 2004, 12:09 PM #2
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by MichaelColey:
Networks.... They wear suits.
I take offence to that. While somewhat low on the totem pole, we at MaxBounty are a network, and do not wear suits, nor just work from 9-5. As a matter of fact, I can often be found working in my bathrobe quite late into the night.[font=verdana][b][size=3][color=red]Are you familiar with [URL]MaxBounty.com[/URL] yet?[/color][/b][/size][/font][font=verdana][b][size=1][color=black]
• Over 120 merchants with CPA/CPS programs seeking affiliates
• Over 4500 network publishers seeking programs to advertise
• Earn $100 per merchant and 5% per affiliate on the second tier [/b][/color][/size][/font]
December 15th, 2004, 09:07 AM #3
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
Every merchant and affiliate does business differently. Some merchants may not be readily available, or may take a long time to respond. You should evaluate the merchants you work with, before you sign on. Ask if there is a way to contact them after business hours. I work for fastfind.com, and our affiliate director Missy, takes her computer home everynight, checks email after hours, and has her cell phone readily available for all affiliates to contact her.
This is your business, you decide what partnership works best for you! Good luck finding your success! fawn
December 15th, 2004, 11:09 AM #4
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
I totally agree with JP. Though I prefer my flannel jammies over a bathrobe.
Not all, but several affiliate managers I know are addicted to this industry as are our top affiliates... So yes, selected affs have my cell number, but then I have theirs too. So if my cell number gets out in public, it's mutually assured destruction!!!
December 15th, 2004, 01:00 PM #5
- - - - -
So if my cell number gets out in public, it's mutually assured destruction!!!
- - - - -
( EC races back to the public restroom and scratches C's number off the wall )
Seriously, though, Linkshare is looked upon as one of the top tier networks, and they really, really DO need to get consolidated checks worked out.
Not much of an issue for me, as I only generate a few sales for their merchants every once in a while, but I'd put more effort into it, if they had that feature.
Good post, Mike.Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.
December 15th, 2004, 03:14 PM #6
LinkShare's lack of consolidated payments shows they are not interested in being pro-affiliate. They make promises and do not keep them.
It's almost 2005 for Pete's sake, and LS acts like it's still 1974. They are seriously behind the times, technology-wise. They need to get with it.
December 15th, 2004, 09:43 PM #7
> I would like to challenge networks and merchants to think more like affiliates.
It's hard for some merchants to understand how affiliates think and work. I can assure you of that.
> Provide after hours emergency support for your top affiliates.
All affiliates should get support no matter if they are your "TOP" affiliate. Put it this way I might not be the top affiliate now, but I might be in the future. As a merchant one should see it this way too.
I think it would be great if all merchants had affiliate managers that could help them understand this business and also have managers that are affiliates themselfs (not of the same program, never compete) but when managers start generating the same type of income from being an affiliate, then they will understand and work 24/7, even working from home in their confortable environment.
I speak for my self, I started as an affiliate and still work 24/7, I now also manage merchant programs 24/7 too, the longest I have ever taken to reply to an affiliate as a manager has probably been around 8 hrs, not days.
Like you say, the one thing that might make some merchants take longer to respond is the resources available to them such as having no webmaster or programmer on site, but continuous communication with affiliates is key.
December 16th, 2004, 04:28 AM #8
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
- Orlando, FL
I think the classification is not "networks" but rather the big networks.
Companies like Linkshare and CJ are corporations and will work on corporate time frames.
Take this for an example. I used to work in the banking software field. With a team of 4 developers and 2 interface guys, we built a fully integrated Internet Banking and Bill Pay application in 45 days. Our competition was the a large corporation with an 85-person programming team. It took them 2 and a half years.
It is not networks vs. affiliates. It is that big corporations think in big corporation minds. Small networks like JP or Carolyn or SAS are entreprenurial (god I wish I could spell) in nature and will be able to react to problems in your time not theirs.
Ever try to buy a Ford F-150 with a sun roof from the factory? Ford probably wasn't willing to help you and could care less that you wanted it. But I guarantee there was a customizer in town who had his welding torch and saw ready to dig into the roof of that truck.Chris Mayr
When amassed, even dust can become a mountain.
There is a finite amount of intelligence but an infinite amount of stupidity in the universe
December 16th, 2004, 05:47 AM #9
That's exactly the distinction I was looking for. Linkshare has a huge corporation mindset, and it severely hampers them in this business. CJ is comparable in size, but usually not in mindset.
Some other huge companies have overcome this. Look at Google. They're far larger than Linkshare or CJ, but are very focused on their advertisers and publishers. When you email them, you usually get a response within 24 hours. They're continually rolling out new features that make things easier. They're reliable. They pay quick. They're focused.
What can Linkshare and some of the larger merchants who are tied to the corporate mindset do to become more like that? Is it just a matter of deciding to do it?
December 16th, 2004, 06:35 AM #10
From a Merchant perspective I have to say that one of the things I pride myself on is always building strong lines of communication. I jump for joy when I get a response from an Affiliate, as it tends to not happen as often as I would like.
However dealing with corporate correspondence with CJ for instance is like running your head into a brick wall. I agree it makes it seem impossible to get anything done.
December 16th, 2004, 07:36 AM #11
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Linkshare has a huge corporation mindset <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I'd rather compare them to someone working behind the green curtain.
December 18th, 2004, 11:28 AM #12
The big company like Linkshare, CJ and others like em should have 24/7 support.
If I have a company like that and have hundreds/thousands merchants and thousands of affliate associated with me, I sure will hire people dedicated to that kind of supports!
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