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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Question Merchants Showing Ads on their site. As an affiliate do you care??
    Merchants Showing Ads on their site. As an affiliate do you care??

    In the past 6 years since I been here at ABW their have been several discussion about how affiliates feels about merchants displaying Ads on their sites. The argument has always been that we what the shoppers we referred to the merchants site to stay their and shop and not click on an Ad and leave the site.

    Also we do not what to seed free traffic to the merchant so they make money on Ads and we make nothing for sending the traffic.

    A few days back it was posted that a well respected merchant was now displaying Ads on their site. For this discussion it not important who the merchant was. However only one or two affiliates expressed concerns about this merchant displaying ads.

    So I am thinking that:

    There are very few active affiliate left at ABW
    Or
    None of you care anymore about merchants displaying Ads on their site.

    Which is it??
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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  3. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    Merchants Showing Ads on their site. As an affiliate do you care??

    ...


    So I am thinking that:

    There are very few active affiliate left at ABW
    Or
    None of you care anymore about merchants displaying Ads on their site.

    Which is it??
    For me it's not fewer active affiliates or affiliates don't care as much as a problem with how "unread posts" get reset each night. When I click on "unread posts" and the posts are no longer there - I don't dig around.

    We do not promote merchants who have leaks on their site. Some merchants, like Wayfair, hide their ads when an affiliate link is clicked. Merchants that do so are promoted by us...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  5. #3
    Moderator PDXreader's Avatar
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    I think it dilutes a brand image. I feel when people come to your site you should want to keep them there. Establishing your brand for what you sell. If you don't offer something why become known as "just a middle man." Who wants that for branding. Just my personal thoughts on it.
    J. Duffield Affiliate Manager at Snow Consulting
    Let's Connect-PassTheSEO|#GSEG|Twitter|LinkedIn|Blog "Knowledge is Power."

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  7. #4
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    However only one or two affiliates expressed concerns about this merchant displaying ads
    If it's not a merchant I work with, I rarely get involved in a thread. But I will never join a program if I see Ads on the site.

    Just last week I received an invitation to a program that looked like a really good fit, except every page had a small Adsense block at the bottom. I sent an email to the affiliate manager asking if these ads are visible through affiliate links, but haven't heard back.

    It's as important an issue now as it was six years ago...

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  9. #5
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    It looks like an attempt by a marketing director to generate more income through ad sales. Points to their failing at their job. I know when Backcountry did that affiliate went ballistic and it was an idea the president at the time forced on the site. Was eventually removed but not until it created a lot of negative attention to the site.

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  11. #6
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Any merchant with ads diverting your traffic is doing a disservice to any affiliate, find another merchant in the vertical you need.
    Bob Pets Warehouse
    Worlds Largest Pet Supply DataBase
    Join our Share-A-Sale Program [since 2003] Twitter




  12. #7
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    This was always something we looked for on a prospective merchant's site and would not work with a merchant who refused to remove them or hide them from affiliate clicks. It's all about building a solid offer for affiliates and leaks like that do not make a solid offer IMO.

    We found, though, that the vast majority of merchants were more than willing to remove them when it was explained why they were bad for their affiliate program.

    As an ex-affiliate I would not promote a merchant who was diverting my referred traffic to someone else and thus taking away the chance to earn from my work.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

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  14. #8
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    hypothetical situation:

    Merchant A - ads on every page - pays 12% - converts at 5% - EPC $18

    Merchant B - no ads - pays 10% - converts at 2% - EPC $6

    Are you all saying that you would work with Merchant B and avoid Merchant A? Is this based strictly on principle? Wouldn't you have a better chance of making money and sales with Merchant A even though they are running ads? Isn't EPC EPC?

  15. #9
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    hypothetical situation:

    Merchant A - ads on every page - pays 12% - converts at 5% - EPC $18

    Merchant B - no ads - pays 10% - converts at 2% - EPC $6

    Are you all saying that you would work with Merchant B and avoid Merchant A? Is this based strictly on principle? Wouldn't you have a better chance of making money and sales with Merchant A even though they are running ads?
    Wouldn't work with either. I'm pretty sure there are more than two merchants in the same vertical with an affiliate program. Someone has to have their act together.

    If you're an affiliate who does PPC marketing, whether it's DTM or to your site, how much of your traffic is wasted?

    How much higher would Merchant A's conversion/EPC be without leaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    Isn't EPC EPC?
    And you trust the merchant who shows leaks to not fudge EPC somehow? How about the network, do you trust them? Only your own conversion %/EPC should matter, IMhO...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  16. #10
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    How much higher would Merchant A's conversion/EPC be without leaks?
    Absolutely correct observation!
    Bob Pets Warehouse
    Worlds Largest Pet Supply DataBase
    Join our Share-A-Sale Program [since 2003] Twitter



  17. #11
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    How much higher would Merchant A's conversion/EPC be without leaks?
    That doesn't really matter .....

    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Only your own conversion %/EPC should matter, IMhO...
    Your own EPC is what matters, and if your EPC is good enough, then what does it matter if the merchant runs ads?

    Don't get superCool wrong, he's not condoning ads on merchant sites, but in the end it comes down to your own results. You may or may not be able to do better with another merchant. Just sayin

  18. #12
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    That doesn't really matter .....
    But it does. Have had great results contacting merchants and working with them to have leaks removed.

    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    Your own EPC is what matters, and if your EPC is good enough, then what does it matter if the merchant runs ads?

    Don't get superCool wrong, he's not condoning ads on merchant sites, but in the end it comes down to your own results. You may or may not be able to do better with another merchant. Just sayin
    But how would you judge your results if you never went to bed with the leaky merchant in the first place?...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  20. #13
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    EPC? Evil Publisher Commissions!

  21. #14
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    Regardless of the EPC math... I can't stand the idea that my commission could be $0, but at the same time the merchant still has an opportunity to earn AdSense from my traffic.

    And to properly analyze EPC you need to have enough clicks.. it's the under-performers (without enough clicks to judge) that will fall under the radar.

    It's a sign of bad faith for me.
    Last edited by teezone; September 21st, 2011 at 02:30 AM.

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  23. #15
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Thank you all for replying, I was expecting more affiliates to jump in on this topic.

    I always try to work with merchants to explain why thing have negative effects on affiliates. However when they say few or no other affiliates are complaining its hard for me to prove my point. Yes I know I can move to the next merchant but some time it better to work on fixing a relationship then moving on the the next merchant.

    I plan on showing this tread to this and other merchants so they know I not the only one who has a Problem with Ads on a Merchants site. However I was hoping more affiliates would speak up..........

    Kevin.........
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  24. #16
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    However I was hoping more affiliates would speak up..
    I think affiliates' view on the matter is pretty clear..

  25. #17
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I never use a merchant that has outside ads or links on their sites. They are called leaks and will affect affiliate sales and commissions.

    There are plenty of affiliate programs out there that are not run by clueless merchants and affiliate managers.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

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  27. #18
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    I'm with SuperCool. It depends on how the merchant is performing for me. If I'm getting a high conversion rate and/or EPC, then why wouldn't I work with them? That makes no sense.

    I'd definitely have a conversation with the AM about having the leaking ads not show up when the visitor arrives via an affiliate click. Especially if I'm generating the traffic by PPC. If you're a valuable affiliate for them, they will hopefully work with you.

  28. #19
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    We keep using euphemisms like leaks and diversions when what we're really taking about is theft. A merchant that's making money off of my traffic and not paying me the agreed upon commission is a thief. And if I choose to work wit that merchant it will only be a matter of time before they find another way to steal from me. So any short term gains probably won't be worth the trouble.

    Besides, I find it hard to believe that a merchant that has no confidence in their own ability to close sales is going to perform at a comparable level as their competitors with affiliate programs.

    The clearest message that I can send to a merchant that this type of practice isn't acceptable is to not work with them. In another recent thread I mentioned that I typically make this type of decision based on my bottom line, and I believe that refusing to work with merchants that steal from their affiliates is consistent with that approach.

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; September 21st, 2011 at 12:41 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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  30. #20
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calebtheredwood View Post
    It depends on how the merchant is performing for me. If I'm getting a high conversion rate and/or EPC, then why wouldn't I work with them?
    Well, how high is "high"? What rate are you happy with? 5%, 10%, 14%? So if you are promoting a merchant that is selling a unique, hot product, and the merchant normally has a 86% conversion and you are only getting 14% with ads, that is OK? Ok, exaggeration but you get my point

    Quote Originally Posted by calebtheredwood View Post
    ...having the leaking ads not show up when the visitor arrives via an affiliate click.
    I have to 100% agree with this solution. The only fair way I believe to show ads if the ads are blocked when the traffic comes through an affiliate click, otherwise it is a leak. Especially if I am generating traffic through PPC, it is a loss in income because I am paying for traffic that is resulting in a gain of income to the merchant with no return to me. How fair is that?

    By blocking the ads, the merchant is able to maximize on traffic they create on their own, either organically, PPC, direct links, referrals and are able to capitalize on their own traffic stream while leaving the affiliate channel untainted. This traffic steam has been created by hard working affiliates (usually small affiliates not backed by mega ad spent dollars) and to divert that traffic for their own financial gain, is just plain unethical. Especially if there were no ads there before to begin with and all of a sudden they show up without even a peep to affiliates.

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  32. #21
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Ooooh definitely care. Don't know how many times I've written either to a new merchant or affiliate manager about this. It's not an automatic won't join a program if I see this. If it's a new program or affiliate manager I think that possibly just doesn't realize how bad this is I'll apply to the program (if not able to email them without joining the program)

    In my email I'll explain to them that affiliates definitely don't like leaks and will not apply to programs that have them, if they're not aware of them but later find out a lot will then drop the program and in a lot of cases if the program insists on keeping them some affiliates will post in forums what they're doing. If that has been done then a lot of affiliates will learn of it and then probably drop the program.

    In quite a few cases I'll get a reply back asking for an explanation to what a leak is. Rather than taking the time to explain what it is in my first email to them I'll tell them if they don't realize what a "leak" is I'll be happy to explain it to them. (if they happen to know what it is I don't want to waste my time with an explanation)

    I'll explain to them what a leak is then in a lot of cases get a response thanking me for explanation and letting them know because they didn't realize it was a problem. They then will remove them.

    That has actually been my experience in most cases

    Some respond back with the ole Well, it's only a very small percentage of visitors that even click those ads so is really nothing to worry about.

    My response is maybe it's a small percentage to them but if that small percentage happens to be any of my visitors then it certainly isn't just a small percentage to me.

    That kind of response just leads to frustration trying to change their mind and to be honest, I feel I'm just being lied to so that's the end of communication. I don't bother with that program.

    Is it possible for a program to have leaks but still affiliates happy in that program?? Can't speak for others but it won't have me in it.

    I was burned reaaaally bad from a program with leaks in it fairly early on as an affiliate. Had contacted the affiliate manager/merchant and was lied to about them. I was too naive at the time so I believed her and remained in the program for a year til I finally wised up. That was a very, very tough lesson for me.

    So, when I become aware of leaks I'll still give the program the benefit of the doubt that they're just not aware how affiliates feel about leaks or don't realize what it is. If after explaining to them and they refuse to remove them I take it kinda personally as an insult. Signals to me that they don't respect their affiliates and can not be trusted. Without that I want nothing to do with them. Have learned that there are plenty of merchants to work with that won't do this and in the case of niche merchants that do, think it's pretty much a waste of time. If they don't see a problem with leaks they probably think it's ok to do other things that aren't acceptable either.

    Definitely think the majority of affiliates think this very much is a problem.
    Last edited by purplebear; September 21st, 2011 at 10:36 PM. Reason: forgot something cos trying to do it too fast

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