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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager OutdoorPlayToys's Avatar
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    How to Handle Deceptive Clicks from Coupon Affiliates?
    Our affiliate program is doing pretty well so far and we are existed about the sales that have been generated!

    But I did notice this week an affiliate sent a sale and when the customer ordered they said they thought there was a %5 coupon for the product could we apply it.

    I visited the site that sent the sale and it is a coupon site that has a button that says "click here for coupon" and then it takes the visitor to our site....I don't like this at all as i find it is misleading....there was no coupon code attached....

    We have NO coupons for that product line right now either...so I had to tell the customer that.....thankfully they were OK with it.....

    Obviously this one slipped through the cracks because I would not have approved this type of site....

    Is it OK to remove a site like this from our program or would that be bad form on our part? This was a nice sale they sent almost $800, but the risk angering customers is too large for me to keep them on...

    Suggestions?!!??! How have others handled this......
    Jill Caren

  2. #2
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    can you contact the affiliate? you might get some cooperation. and if you can't -- better watch them more closely.

  3. #3
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    You should have a written policy in regard to coupon offerings by affiliates.

    If the affiliate in question made claims that a coupon was available which was not, and never was, then it is clear that their intent was to deceive the customer into setting an affiliate cookie. An affiliate like this can be nothing but a liability to you, and doesn't deserve any consideration at all; they are ripping you off and pissing off your hard-won customers. I would terminate them without notice.

    If there is any chance that there could have been a mistake or misunderstanding on the part of the affiliate, then of course it would make sense to get in touch with them and get the situation straightened out.
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  4. #4
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    What he said!

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; June 23rd, 2011 at 09:40 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

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager OutdoorPlayToys's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! I guess I will need to clarify the terms of coupons....I will contact them though first, I guess that is fair, but i get the feeling they will be removed. I never realized how devious some sites are....I have been reading here tonite and am amazed at some of the stuff I have read! Mostly coupon related it seems!
    Jill Caren

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    some programs have terms that say if there is no coupon for the item you can't show a link such as "click to see coupon" that takes them to the merchant site.

    hope that makes sense

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager OutdoorPlayToys's Avatar
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    Makes perfect sense! I just emailed the affiliate asking them to change the wording or they will be removed from the program.

    The customer that made a purchase asked for a discount because they were under the impression the link would give them one....I cannot have that!

    Seems like there is a few sites doing this...should have looked closer! Changing my terms now.....

    Definitely need to get that affiliate manager on board! :-)
    Jill Caren

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    I'd definitely contact the affiliate first... they might just have their website set up to display all coupons like that across the board and didn't mean to offend.
    Trisha Lyn Fawver

    @TrishaLyn | My Managed Merchants

  9. #9
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutdoorPlayToys View Post
    Seems like there is a few sites doing this...
    It's rampant.

    Today was checking out competitor sites promoting another merchant (who is very popular here on ABW) and I was SICKENED by cheesy, clone-script, coupon sites offering "click here for coupon" with no coupon. Some where setting cookies the moment you clicked on the link...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  10. #10
    15 years and counting
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    I wonder why the US networks are so late to ban these "click to reveal" coupon sites.
    They are giving a bad reputation to perfectly legit coupon sites.
    Here's what has been done in the UK (Translate voucher by coupon)
    January 2009, UK affiliate networks collaborate to combat misuse of online Voucher Codes.

    http://hst.tradedoubler.com/file/206...ss-release.pdf

    IABUK : IAB affiliate marketing council strengthens online voucher code best practice guidelines

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  12. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    I wonder why the US networks are so late to ban these "click to reveal" coupon sites.
    They are giving a bad reputation to perfectly legit coupon sites.
    Here's what has been done in the UK (Translate voucher by coupon)
    January 2009, UK affiliate networks collaborate to combat misuse of online Voucher Codes.

    http://hst.tradedoubler.com/file/206...ss-release.pdf

    IABUK : IAB affiliate marketing council strengthens online voucher code best practice guidelines
    Doesn't seem to bother one of the largest coupon/cashback sites in the UK...

    http://www.quidco.com/voucher-codes/
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  13. #12
    15 years and counting
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    And it's not the only site, unfortunately.

  14. #13
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I wonder why the US networks are so late to ban these "click to reveal" coupon sites.
    Because they get their cut when an affiliate cookie has been set. Why derail the gravy train?
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  16. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    Because they get their cut when an affiliate cookie has been set. Why derail the gravy train?
    Unfortunate, but true. Very few "trusted third parties" can be trusted to look out for anyone's best interest but their own.
    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

  17. #15
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    You can gugel any "merchantname+coupon" and find hundreds of thousands of sites for them even if the merchant never offers any affiliate coupons, it is not a unique method.

  18. #16
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    But, not all those couponers are "active". In many of my programs, they have been removed for violations but they remain in search results. They are generally uncooperative in removing landing pages they created because they are still pulling in good traffic for their other monetized offers. In fact, it's stunning how many trademark poachers continue to buy traffic after they have been removed from a program. Once again, they see it as good traffic for their homepage.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  20. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Moderator Note: I've updated the thread title (with Jill's approval - it was "Question about etiquette") and have featured this thread - Great topic!

    When affiliates trick/force customers into clicking, nobody benefits except that affiliate (and the network). The customer loses, because they don't get what they expected. The merchant loses because they get customer service issues and they might have to pay an undeserved commission. Other affiliates lose, because a legitimate click may have been overwritten.

    There's some excellent advice in this thread. Most of what I have to say has already been said above, but I'll echo:

    First, for any unacceptable action that you want to prohibit, it's essential that you clearly spell the restrictions out in your T&Cs. If you don't, you have no ammunition and the affiliate can argue that they didn't know it was prohibited.

    Second, it's certainly good practice to warn the affiliate and give them a chance to change. You'll really have three groups of affiliates who are doing things like this: 1) Those who don't realize it's wrong or who. 2) Those who know it's wrong, but who will do it until they're caught. 3) Those who know it's wrong and won't stop. Unfortunately, it's hard to judge intent so you never really know which group an affilite is in.

    Ultimately, this is a practice that should certainly be prohibited. You just have to go through the proper steps to make sure the policy is documented, communicated and enforced.
    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

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  22. #18
    Affiliate Manager OutdoorPlayToys's Avatar
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    Wow, great read! I am not a coupon shopper so I guess I did not realize how some of these sites work. In this case I emailed the affiliate and kindly asked they change the wording or we will have to remove them.....I will not risk upsetting a customer...thankfully this one was understanding, I am sure they will not all be....

    I have to admit though, the whole coupon world is overwhelming.....the more I read the more I get confused......too much deception out there......but not convinced letting none in my program is right either.....
    Jill Caren

  23. #19
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    However, If a legitimate coupon is revealed, then I don't really see a problem. Or am I missing something?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  24. #20
    Affiliate Manager OutdoorPlayToys's Avatar
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    That's just it ---- in this case there was no coupon revealed. It stated there was but there was not. If there was a valid coupon being used this would be a non-issue.
    Jill Caren

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  26. #21
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    However, If a legitimate coupon is revealed, then I don't really see a problem. Or am I missing something?
    It really depends on how it's all presented.

    Is a merchant paying for just a coupon code being displayed? If not, then it's a problem.

    I don't have a problem when the offer is clearly stated (e.g. $5 off $25 purchase) before the affiliate link is set to see the actual code for the discount.

    But in the situations where the consumer has to click (setting the affiliate link) just to be able to see what the offers are, then I don't think the affiliate did anything to earn an affiliate sale.

  27. #22
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B View Post
    It really depends on how it's all presented...

    I don't have a problem when the offer is clearly stated (e.g. $5 off $25 purchase) before the affiliate link is set to see the actual code for the discount.

    But in the situations where the consumer has to click (setting the affiliate link) just to be able to see what the offers are, then I don't think the affiliate did anything to earn an affiliate sale.
    Agreed. Because I usually don't think like the dark side, I am fond of this set up:

    Regular view:


    Expanded view:


    Coupon view:


    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B View Post
    Is a merchant paying for just a coupon code being displayed? If not, then it's a problem.
    This is a bit fuzzy, to me. Not sure how that is intended<scratch head>
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    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  28. #23
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    This is a bit fuzzy, to me. Not sure how that is intended
    My mind is a bit fuzzy after this week. What I meant is this

    But in the situations where the consumer has to click (setting the affiliate link) just to be able to see what the offers are, then I don't think the affiliate did anything to earn an affiliate sale.
    Affiliate tracking is set when the consumer has to "click" just to see what offers the merchant has. In that case, the merchant is potentially paying just for the consumer to view their coupon deals. Personally, I don't think the affiliate did a dang thing to deserve a commission.

    It's a totally different situation than the shots you posted. But I see affiliates and managers sometimes talking about them like they were the same.

  29. #24
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I'm talking about sites who do this



    The affiliate link get sets when you click that just to see what the deals are. So does the merchant want to pay for some one just looking at the coupons.

    There could be no coupons once I clicked or none I was interested in.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  30. #25
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    To me it all comes down to customer intent. In cases like the one Kellie describes, the customer didn't intend to go to the merchant's site - just to SEE the coupons (if any).
    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

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