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February 14th, 2012, 06:12 PM #1
Merchants dropping coupon affiliates
- Join Date
- May 20th, 2007
I'm seeing a growing trend of merchants who don't want to work with coupon affiliates (e.g. ASOS).
Generally I think this is for a few reasons:
1. Coupons + affiliate commission erode margins
2. Merchant might have made the sale already without the coupon
There's a few arguments against both of these:
1. Coupons help close the sale.
2. See above.
The problem is that we generally have absolutely no leg to stand on with the networks, merchants can quite happily have a program, then get rid of all the coupon affiliates (who will still promote them anyways).
I'd like to have an open discussion on what can be done by both publishers & networks to improve the coupon experience for advertisers.
This could be ideas like:
- Not paying commission on non-affiliate coupons (that way sites can still promote the high value codes but risk not getting paid)
- Better methods for syndicating exclusive coupons
- Better tracking for exclusive coupons
I'm sure there's plenty more thoughts that people have on this subject!Merchants, build your own coupon landing pages with [URL="http://couponzor.com/"]Couponzor[/URL] - Example Landing Page: [URL="http://istockphoto.couponzor.com/"]iStockPhoto Coupons[/URL]
February 14th, 2012, 07:02 PM #2Not paying commission on non-affiliate coupons (that way sites can still promote the high value codes but risk not getting paid)
Better methods for syndicating exclusive coupons
Better tracking for exclusive coupons
Networks generally don't care who gets credit for the sale as long as they get the credit for the network fee. They have no interest nor incentive to spend development time or dollars to correct this otherwise it would have been done five years ago.
February 15th, 2012, 07:36 AM #3
I have been observing this trend for a few years now. It was one of the primary motivators for building our pixel container & analytics platform (AvantMetrics).
February 15th, 2012, 08:52 AM #41. Coupons help close the sale.
February 15th, 2012, 07:27 PM #5
I've been seeing the trend for a long time as well. The bottom line really is that coupons need to be part of a merchant's overall business strategy in order for it to make sense for them to work with coupon affiliates. And merchants really would like to see more of them doing more to add value - doing something unique and different to help introduce their brands to new customers vs. only relying on searches for the merchant name + coupon.
Most merchants want to see their affiliates driving new customer revenue for them - vs. simply capitalizing on their existing customer database, or just popping a coupon over the merchant site when a user visits the merchant site directly (skipping the search engine and any other middlemen entirely) in order to get a commission.
We see a lot of coupon affiliates promoting false/expired deals - the merchants get complaints about this from customers who often blame the merchant for false advertising and demand the deal be made good on.
Coupon affiliates would do well to reach out to their promotional partners/merchants to offer ideas and find out how they could better work with them in a way that adds value from the merchant's perspective, and also how they can make the relationship a more profitable one for themselves and for the merchant. Affiliate Marketing is supposed to be about shared success so let your partners know you're invested in their success as well as your own and you will get a lot further ahead.
If a coupon affiliate can do more to introduce the brand to users who have never heard of it before, and promote the brand without stuffing cookies or overwriting someone else's value-adding efforts illegitimately, less merchants would be inclined to say "NO coupon affiliates!"
I'm interested to hear from coupon affiliates about what they think they can do to help add value. I agree it's an area we all need to work on.
Ideas could include listing merchants in places where new audience segments would find them and be promoted to. Featuring them on the homepage including a blurb about why they are worth buying from, including them in a newsletter or blog to your own loyal base of online shoppers, or featuring them in a section that markets to their category but not necessarily just their own customers.
All of this can add value from the merchant's perspective. But tactics like "mysite.com/merchant+coupon >> click to reveal" -- when used as the sole means of promoting a merchant, don't.
February 15th, 2012, 09:32 PM #6
In a hurry, just logged in real quick to reply to a pm so won't be long answer.
Least from some emails I've gotten regarding this (not accusing me of doing it since I definitely don't do it but they've talked about it ) All coupon affiliates are kinda lumped together cos of some of the bad guys. (those who post coupons, savings, etc. that have not been given to them. ) They'll post coupons, deals, etc. that were only intended for newsletters or emails from the merchant or maybe catalogs.
I guess the merchants get mad about this (which if haven't been made available to the affiliates they have every right to be upset about it) Guessing they just don't know how to stop this behavior so they throw up their arms and say ok, just won't work with any coupon affiliates. Definitely think that's a stupid way to react to the problem and they're only hurting themselves but can understand their frustration.
As I said, in a hurry so probably didn't explain myself very well.
February 16th, 2012, 01:59 PM #7
Funny, I look around here and elsewhere and find old and new examples of merchants that have "dumped coupon sites". And then check them at the top ranked coupon sites.
More often then not, their network links still work, still dropping cookies, still (presumably?) getting paid. Is this 'dumping' just for show, or maybe only the no traffic sites get dumped?
Other merchants say 'no coupon sites' but provide coupons for their affiliates?
All I'm saying is try not to send mixed messages to your affiliates.
February 16th, 2012, 02:57 PM #8
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
- Nunya, Business
"Not paying commission on non-affiliate coupons (that way sites can still promote the high value codes but risk not getting paid)"
As far as that, there was a merchant that tried to get out of paying a commission to me because they said I had such a coupon on my site, a high/non affiliate coupon, which wasn't true. Luckily, Google had a cached page of the day in question showing I didn't. It seems the person went my site, clicked thru, then used a higher coupon they found elsewhere. That's something a merchant can use to try to get out of paying.
March 5th, 2012, 11:38 PM #9
I personally will not even buy mostly without a coupon
- Join Date
- February 9th, 2012
People like me who would not even buy without a coupon if the price isnt right or worst, even search your competitors to see if the have lower prices. This is the way I think at least. My first step is finding what I want and i know right away if I would buy at the listed price. If its above then I visit a coupon site. If i find a good coupon i buy, if not, i dont buy. Never bought any pizza hut or footlocker shoes without a coupon code.
Follow the major brands.
Last edited by jenniferson; March 5th, 2012 at 11:44 PM.
April 13th, 2012, 08:31 AM #10
I have a merchant who has a very unique niche gift and does not allow coupon sites into there program and as an affiliate myself I agree 100% because all they do is steal my hard earned traffic and commission.
Unless the merchant is a big box store a coupon site adds ZERO value to their program.
However this merchant does see the value to offering affiliates that add value (Content, Content, Content) an occasional coupon code, but is reluctant to do it because the coupon sites will pick up the code.
My question is...
1) What would be the best way for the merchant to ensure a coupon site does not get into their program? and if they do how to find out and kick them out?
2) How does the merchant request that the coupon sites offering fake coupons or "Free Shipping" take them down?
Last edited by MyDayRegistry; April 13th, 2012 at 08:32 AM. Reason: Grammar & Punctuation
April 13th, 2012, 09:50 AM #11
I have no problem with coupon sites in general. I think that they can and do add considerable value to a well managed program. However, I have no tolerance for affiliates that violate the rules. It gives them an unfair advantage and potentially has a negative impact on my income.
-rematt"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
April 13th, 2012, 02:12 PM #12
In a hurry so not gonna give a long answer.
"Unless the merchant is a big box store a coupon site adds ZERO value to their program. "
Am sorry but umm, you can't make a general statement like that. I agree that there are some reaaaaaally bad "coupon sites" There are a lot of different I guess maybe a word for them would be styles of coupon sites, tho. Not all are the same. There are some very, very good "coupon sites" that add a lot of as you said "value to their program". The merchant should appreciate those affiliates and try to work with them as much as possible. It's a beneficial thing for both of them.
A smaller merchant may not be known to a lot of people but if they have a coupon at one of those good coupon sites it can help them to get visitors to their sites and possibly sales that they would not otherwise have had. That merchant may never have had those visitors if it were not for that good coupon site having them on their site. At the very least it gives them exposure and kinda levels the playing field for them since they are seen on sites with the other big merchants.
Completely agree with the other posts. The merchant or affiliate manager has to umm do their job. They determine which affiliates are in their programs. Those bad coupon sites only exist cos they are allowed to exist. The merchant or affiliate manager has to consider the terms he or she wants for their program, let it be clearly known to the affiliates and then as was said, enforce them. Plain and simple.
If every merchant had terms that most people would consider how they should be and if they were enforced, you wouldn't have any of the bad coupon sites. A merchant or program only has the affiliates in their program that they themselves have put in their program. If they remain in the program when they've done things the merchant or affiliate manager doesn't like, the merchant or affiliate manager only has themselves to blame.
Ooooh, why do I continue to say am gonna give a short comment. lol Sorry, was so long.
April 25th, 2012, 08:33 PM #13
The best way for merchants to avoid working with coupon sites is to not have a coupon code/box at their checkout...anywhere. If they want to offer a lower price through their emails to the their customer base, they should have a separate landing page redirect for them that can't be accessed any other way. This gives their own customers that "sale" feeling and keeps a coupon from being scraped by what would have been their customer anyway.
JCPenneys has taken the new approach, best prices without a sale or coupon, and I've started shopping there and will continue to because I don't want to wait for a sale when I need something NOW but want the best price, and they have nailed it.
April 25th, 2012, 08:48 PM #14
April 27th, 2012, 10:30 AM #15
Is it really worth taking the time to spam a post when one of us just reports it as spam and your comment gets removed?
April 27th, 2012, 12:27 PM #16
April 27th, 2012, 12:34 PM #17
April 27th, 2012, 12:59 PM #18
Yes, its silly to spam your program when your profile lists it, deleted, reported to 12 spam databases and banned!
Alan, development pushed back on the Impact Radius test so will be a few weeks.
September 14th, 2012, 02:40 AM #19
- Join Date
- September 14th, 2012
I worked with Impact Radius at my former employer...NOT a fan of Impact Radius for many reasons. Tracking is very delayed....very complicated platform.
Wanted to say hi to Chuck as I am in SLC, UT
I work as an affiliate manager for a new company based out of NYC called CenterPoint Media, LLC
[Removed Link. Read the forum rules.]
Last edited by BurgerBoy; September 14th, 2012 at 06:09 AM. Reason: Removed Link. Read the forum rules.
September 14th, 2012, 11:09 AM #20
Hi Michelle, looks like you are getting off to a bad start and are close to being banned.
Good to hear you are in SLC as we have a large affiliate marketing community and a meetup next week at the Gateway. Look at the Events forum for details.
September 14th, 2012, 09:40 PM #21
September 6th, 2013, 06:43 PM #22
A Perspective on coupons sites
I wanted to share my thoughts and experience about coupon sites from a merchant, affiliate network and affiliate’s perspective, this is how I see the coupon world within the affiliate marketing industry and why it still remains a hot topic.
From my research (please feel free to jump in and correct me) Asa Candler started the US coupon phenomena in 1895 and American has had over 100 years in which to turn this into an American institution, coupons are nothing new and most if not all online and offline businesses here in the USA have “special offers”, all the coupon sites are doing is using technology to advertise what is, mostly, already in the public domain.
The merchant’s perspective (true examples)
Here is where conflict can occur and can still be seen happening today.
1. Coupon sites that rank above the merchant in the search engines. I have heard a number of merchants complain about this as and when it happens. Whilst it is clear to us that the merchant can’t blame the coupon site from out ranking them, I can see how some merchants would not be too happy. What this tells me is that the Merchants had not researched or been advised about the impact it may have on their natural page ranking by working with a strongly positioned coupon site. I wonder… did the merchant know at the time that he/she had the option not to work with coupon sites. This raises another question, should the role of an affiliate network be advising “new to the industry “merchants about the impact they may have on their own search engine listings. I’ll be generous and assume that all outsourced affiliate agencies would be advising their clients of such a possibility.
2. The coupon site that goes ahead and lists the merchant’s website without having joined the merchants program. Why would a coupon site do this? The competition between coupons sites is fierce, that’s a given. A strongly positioned coupon site in the search engine can list a new merchant’s offering within minutes. The coupon site now having out ranked the merchant is in a position where by they are essentially bullying the merchant into giving them a coupon “It’s better to work with that coupon site if they are coming up before you”, I have heard being said. “new to the industry” Merchants have very little recourse and of course this will sour their views on coupon sites.
3. The coupon site that offers coupons that don’t exist, have expired or inaccurate redemption terms and conditions. This slightly overlaps with the above. The merchant decides to work with coupon sites; all is well until he/she discovers one or all of the above. The consumer and the merchant end up being the victim here. New Customer acquisition is the number one priority and investment for most online retailers and most have additionally invested in trying to provide a stellar customer service only to be undermined by a coupon site that simply may not have thought about the very essence of affiliate marketing, referring potential customers to an online store that you promote because they are good. Do those affiliates even remember the days when affiliate marketing was all about referring people to a company that they themselves would shop at? This to me has been the most frustrating part about managing coupon affiliates, this harms the industry so much that I believe these affiliates who habitually do this, have no place in within the affiliate marketing industry and I am appalled that they are still allowed to continue this practice, see affiliate networks and their role. The merchants that this has happened to have a right to feel angry about this, for they have to now undo the damage and try to win the customer over, that’s if they get the chance, in all likelihood the customer has abandoned the shopping cart after the code did not work.
4. Affiliates stealing other affiliates unique codes, I remember when a voucher site came under fire for doing this and was ousted on a public forum and although they were singled out, the truth of the matter was that there were others doing it too. Affiliate Networks were under pressure by worried merchants, worried affiliate victims and potential victims to come up with a solution and although voucher management is fairly standard practice, we still see a few affiliates trying to pull a fast one.
Summery, I understand why some merchants get upset and I think they have a right to get upset in some instances, maybe their public voice is too acidic but all one needs to do is crawl into their skin and see things from their perspective, learn from it and put measures in place to ensure our industry does not get it in the neck the next time. The answer to avoiding all this annoyance and frustration, I feel, can be found right at the beginning of setting up a merchants affiliate program, affiliate networks need to help in the education process and point out the pros and cons of working with coupon sites. Outsourced affiliate management agencies should be educating their clients about the pros and cons of working with coupon sites; I know a lot of them do this already. Hard working, honest coupon sites who adhere to terms and conditions should not have to take the brunt and be negatively labeled en mass because a few affiliates have been allowed to continue such bad practice. How do we get this to stop? All It takes one very brave affiliate network who has until now turned a blind eye, to step up and make the economic decision,” if we ban (for ever) the coupon sites who has habitually undermined our merchants and our affiliate networks wishes, we may lose money to a competing network but at least affiliates and merchants will trust us and will help promote our industry in a positive light” or am I being naive. On a side note, wasn’t there a public pledge that all affiliate networks could sign stating they were free of adware, malware affiliates… maybe this could be resurrected pertaining to bad coupon sites?
So why would merchants want to work with coupon sites?
I am at an advantage whereby I can take a well known existing client in country A and promote from scratch as an unknown in country B. If I take one of our clients and split out their report by affiliate types, I can see that 5,600 new customers between the end of 2011 to mid 2013, came directly from coupon sites. New customers that, which the client would not have acquired, had it not been for us working with good coupon affiliates. The sales value was a stunning $265,000. Not only did the client have no other marketing initiatives in country B, but I saw by working with the coupon sites they would help us as a means to enter the new market.
Coupon sites harming the brand and consumers seeing them as a discount store. If I had a penny for every time I heard this, I’d have bought the Washington post way before Jeffrey P. Bezos. Who ever came up with the word “Brand” should have added some instructions on how to use this word within the right context. In order for coupon sites to” harm the brand” I suspect one would have to be a brand, right? But when a merchant who no one has heard of before starts talking about coupon sites “harming their brand” I have to wince. For merchants just starting out, working responsibly with coupon sites would be beneficial in so many ways. In a sentence, just look at the Super brands Walmart, Macys and Amazon, all offer coupons.
My strongest persuasion that merchants should be working with coupon sites has its origins dating back to 1895, “American has had over 100 years to turn coupons into an institution” why break the habit of a lifetime.
September 6th, 2013, 06:58 PM #23
September 6th, 2013, 08:19 PM #24
Definitely agree, very well said
Also as to the paragraph Convergence highlighted from your post........... guess in my own lil la la land maybe there will be a day that happens but don't think I'd live long enough to see it. Sadly, I'm not naive anymore in my thinking that money's not the most important thing in life to an awful lot of people. Have erased a lotta stuff cos am not gonna go on and on posting negatively. Just saying money's the name of the game to an awful lot of people. How you get there doesn't really much matter most of the time.
September 8th, 2013, 03:29 PM #25
Ahhhh purplebear never give up and never surrender. As our industry evolves affiliate networks, managers and affiliates will become more cooperative when it comes to getting rid of bad apples. Yes money talks, “but it can’t sing and dance and it can’t walk…” (Gotta luv that song, sorry I digress) but history shows us, once affiliates and affiliate networks have had enough of being overshadowed by a bad egg, they’ll do something. I have seen it happen before and I’m sure it will happen again. Chin up, stay positive and don't forget, the chicken crossed the road for a reason lol
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