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  1. #1
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Read CJ Pending Terms carefully
    In recent weeks I've received an onslaught of pending offers within CJ. In many cases merchants have negatively changed their terms against affiliates. The most common that I've received are lowering affiliate commissions.

    I've decided to drop a number of merchants for lowering my commissions. I view TOS as a contract. When the contract is changed, it's chance to review the merchant based on my expectations. These terms are rammed down our throats but we do have the ability to make informed decisions and to decide if we want to renew our contracts.
    Last edited by bibby; March 7th, 2012 at 08:56 PM.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    I also suggest we email the contact and tell them we are dropping them as well. The more feedback the merchant gets back from affiliates the better, if we do not start telling them we are upset they will think its ok to drop our commission. Also cc the merchant as well if they have someone else managing their program for them.

    I have emailed many merchants telling them I pulling their links due to the drop in commission. They always come back to tell me that I am the only one complaining or maybe 1 or 2 others so its fine to drop our commission. “Most Affiliates do not care if we lower commissions” However they do not realize that many more affiliates have just pulled their links or dropped their program all together.

    I think it’s time we start fighting back at all of these drops or at least telling them we are pulling their links.
    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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  4. #3
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Good point KSE. It also never hurts to start a thread on the network's forum like a did here with the title "Merchant X Butchers Commission Rate". Then email the AM with a link to the thread.

    I've always felt that it's good to expose merchants who run crappy affiliate programs.

  5. #4
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Fully agree with you on that, I know that has worked in the past!! Looking forward to your post!!!
    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!!

  6. #5
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I think it’s time we start fighting back at all of these drops or at least telling them we are pulling their links.
    One of the few things that affiliate have is the advocacy of ABestWeb and my full support. If you have noticed within a day of an affiliate reporting and posting a negative email from the merchant I or one of our moderators have linked that back to the merchant. This definitely gets their attention. Many times others reading the threads email the affiliate manager letting them know they have been singled out.

    In this day and age is too easy to hide behind technology i.e. an anonymous email address, no phone number, etc. I have been telling affiliates for years if all else fails send a fax to the company, by the time it reaches the affiliate manager it has passed through several company managers. Then its hard to hide.

    Stand up for yourself as you represent many, many other affiliates. Only by sounding the bell will we all see a change in the negative attitude toward affiliates.

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  8. #6
    Outsourced Program Manager Marsha Liebert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    I also suggest we email the contact and tell them we are dropping them as well. The more feedback the merchant gets back from affiliates the better, if we do not start telling them we are upset they will think its ok to drop our commission. Also cc the merchant as well if they have someone else managing their program for them.

    I have emailed many merchants telling them I pulling their links due to the drop in commission. They always come back to tell me that I am the only one complaining or maybe 1 or 2 others so its fine to drop our commission. “Most Affiliates do not care if we lower commissions” However they do not realize that many more affiliates have just pulled their links or dropped their program all together.

    I think it’s time we start fighting back at all of these drops or at least telling them we are pulling their links.
    I agree and it's sad to get such negative feedback. However, I do suggest that those communications be kept polite, professional and open-minded. An e-mail worded in the right way may just get your commissions back up. Keep fighting the good fight.
    [COLOR="DimGray"]Marsha Liebert, Sr. Affiliate Manager[/COLOR]
    [B]Gen3 Marketing[/B]
    :envelope: mliebert @ gen3marketing.com | :telephone 215-302-1653 | [URL="http://marshaaffiliateblog.blogspot.com"][B]My Affiliate Blog[/B][/URL]

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  10. #7
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Liebert View Post
    I agree and it's sad to get such negative feedback. However, I do suggest that those communications be kept polite, professional and open-minded. An e-mail worded in the right way may just get your commissions back up. Keep fighting the good fight.
    No I fully agree with keeping it polite, professional since the purpose of the email it to first tell them the effects of their actions and then hopfully they will change their ways. However I still beleive the affilite should make sure the merchant is aware of the AM/OPM actions and how it will effect their bottom line.
    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!!

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Liebert View Post
    An e-mail worded in the right way may just get your commissions back up. Keep fighting the good fight.
    Respectfully Marsha, the message that I am getting from this thread (and would like to echo) is that we are not proposing that we write to request that our rates be returned to their former level but instead we are informing the PM/OPM/Merchant that we disagree with their decision to cut commissions and we are leaving their program (and hopefully tempering/guiding their hand in the future).
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

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  13. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager Marsha Liebert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianDave View Post
    Respectfully Marsha, the message that I am getting from this thread (and would like to echo) is that we are not proposing that we write to request that our rates be returned to their former level but instead we are informing the PM/OPM/Merchant that we disagree with their decision to cut commissions and we are leaving their program (and hopefully tempering/guiding their hand in the future).
    I hear that and I fully agree. But at the same time, there are always many reasons and issues and financial data that can affect a program and force a merchant to make that call. It's not always an easy decision, but if a company is losing money, they have to make that choice. Which is why, it's best to start off with something non-confrontational. As an OPM myself, I've had to make that hard call with certain merchants, but we always try to keep our top publishers and those who reach out to us personally like that at the same or near to the same level as best we can and work with them closely to keep things profitable for everyone. We know it's not easy and that it can hurt the publishers, but sometimes we're left with no choice.
    [COLOR="DimGray"]Marsha Liebert, Sr. Affiliate Manager[/COLOR]
    [B]Gen3 Marketing[/B]
    :envelope: mliebert @ gen3marketing.com | :telephone 215-302-1653 | [URL="http://marshaaffiliateblog.blogspot.com"][B]My Affiliate Blog[/B][/URL]

  14. #10
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Yes Dave I agree, that the purpose of the email is three fold from my point of view:

    1) To tell them your dropping their program to make a point, and yes in most cases I will not change my mind even with a higher commision offer.

    2) To hope that the AM/OPM learns that we are importain to them and they should work with us and not cut our earning so they can make more.

    3) To let the merchant know how the actions of these AM/OPM will effect their bottom line. And hopfully they will look for a more quilified AM/OPM once they fire the current one!!!
    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!!

  15. #11
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    I can agree that a merchant can have a valid reason for needing to lower commissions. I wouldn't remove myself from their program for that reason alone. It would however be cause for reconsidering other merchants in the same vertical.

  16. #12
    Moderator Nabz's Avatar
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    “Most Affiliates do not care if we lower commissions”
    How can one possibly think that people will not care about a drop in their income.

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  18. #13
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Liebert View Post
    I hear that and I fully agree. But at the same time, there are always many reasons and issues and financial data that can affect a program and force a merchant to make that call.
    Yes some time their may be valid reasons. But what is better? An affiliate sales that they have to pay a percentage of the sale to the affiliate for sending them the sale, OR no sale at all.

    However in the rare case where our terms must change I would hope/expect that AM/OPM notify us by email explaining why they have to take such actions, before they send out the new terms. I think AM/OPM do not send out these emails because they hope affiliats will not notice the change in commision and keep promoting the merchant.

    That Is why I love Bibby suggestion that we create a thread including the merchants name (and OPM) whenever this happens so more affiliate will know about it and can take action (including sending emails)
    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!!

  19. #14
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nabz View Post
    How can one possibly think that people will not care about a drop in their income.
    They think this because most affiliates do not
    a) Drop the merchant
    b) Complain when commisions are lowered!!

    I been told this many time my AM/OPM when I complain about such actions. They say I am the only one complaining......
    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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  21. #15
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    We have all heard the many and varried arguments why commission rates need to drop (no need to beat that dead horse). I think the one component that has been missing from the business equation leading to a commission drop is push-back from the publishers. Our perspective is definitely not being considered enough. If more PM/OPM/Merchants thought/knew/considered that there is a very real risk to the health of their affiliate program if they drop rates (they risk affiliates leaving their program and promoting the competition), they may reconsider the idea.

    On a side note, I never could understand when I hear the argument that a merchant is cutting the base rate for everyone but they will keep it the same for the their top performers. My math may be a little fuzzy but if say, 90% of your sales are coming from 10% of your publishers and you keep them at the same (old, higher) rate, you are really not saving that much are you - but you are alienating 90% of your publishers. Where's the incentive in this scenerio?
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

  22. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Marsha Liebert's Avatar
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    All pretty valid points and we usually treat cutting commissions as a last resort, because it is.

    At the end of the day, though, we can only do so much to educate the merchants, let them know about the ramifications of their decisions and if they simply can't afford it anymore, we have to just do what needs to be done knowing this may be the beginning of the end. We know publishers will be upset and we'll lose business. We know there will be a fallout, and we can only do our best to take care of the damage control. It's a shame that it sounds like many merchants out there don't take the negative feedback appropriately, and they're the ones that will lose in the long term.

    I think it's great idea to start a thread dedicated to this. There will likely be a lot of negative feedback from the merchants in question, but the ones that are more open and understanding will attempt to work things out and this will give them an additional opportunity to do so.

    Both sides have their reasons and it's up to all of us to work together on them.
    [COLOR="DimGray"]Marsha Liebert, Sr. Affiliate Manager[/COLOR]
    [B]Gen3 Marketing[/B]
    :envelope: mliebert @ gen3marketing.com | :telephone 215-302-1653 | [URL="http://marshaaffiliateblog.blogspot.com"][B]My Affiliate Blog[/B][/URL]

  23. #17
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianDave View Post
    On a side note, I never could understand when I hear the argument that a merchant is cutting the base rate for everyone but they will keep it the same for the their top performers. My math may be a little fuzzy but if say, 90% of your sales are coming from 10% of your publishers and you keep them at the same (old, higher) rate, you are really not saving that much are you - but you are alienating 90% of your publishers. Where's the incentive in this scenerio?
    I have always wondered about this as well. Never made since to me either. However it is a way for AM/OPM to try to control you and take control of your site for their benift. Because I giving you more so do as I say or else.
    Last edited by kse; March 7th, 2012 at 10:26 AM.
    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. #18
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Marsha, I want to Thank you for posting in this thread. It’s nice when an OPM is willing to discuss ideas with affiliates. I know OPM's have a job to do as well, but I guess my point is that without affiliates AM/OPM's are no long required.
    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!!


  25. #19
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    Yes some time their may be valid reasons. But what is better? An affiliate sales that they have to pay a percentage of the sale to the affiliate for sending them the sale, OR no sale at all.
    Depending on the structure and type of company, if you're losing money on a sale from an affiliate, no sale is the better option. If the industry has a low percent of repeat buyers, then you have to make money on every sale or you disappear.

    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    However in the rare case where our terms must change I would hope/expect that AM/OPM notify us by email explaining why they have to take such actions, before they send out the new terms.
    Why should the merchant tip their hand to the competition by announcing what, why, and how they're doing something? I agree the merchant needs to provide some kind of notification, and be willing to expand on that in private communications with affiliates as needed, but laying everything on the line in public could be just as detrimental to the merchant as not telling affiliates why they're making the change.

    Bob

  26. #20
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Drumm View Post
    Why should the merchant tip their hand to the competition by announcing what, why, and how they're doing something? I agree the merchant needs to provide some kind of notification, and be willing to expand on that in private communications with affiliates as needed, but laying everything on the line in public could be just as detrimental to the merchant as not telling affiliates why they're making the change.

    Bob
    Who said anything thing about going public? Affiliates should be treated with respect. We are their partner and deserve to be treated with respect. Is that to much to ask???
    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!!

  27. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager Marsha Liebert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Drumm View Post
    Depending on the structure and type of company, if you're losing money on a sale from an affiliate, no sale is the better option. If the industry has a low percent of repeat buyers, then you have to make money on every sale or you disappear.

    These are valid points however, how to handle it is, i think, the bigger issue here.


    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Drumm View Post
    Why should the merchant tip their hand to the competition by announcing what, why, and how they're doing something? I agree the merchant needs to provide some kind of notification, and be willing to expand on that in private communications with affiliates as needed, but laying everything on the line in public could be just as detrimental to the merchant as not telling affiliates why they're making the change.
    Both the merchants and the affiliates have valid concerns here and sometimes, a little extra consideration to open a channel of communication like a quick notification to all publishers about a change, while yes can bring in a lot of hate and negative reactions, can also prevent losing some of the other valued partners on the program with whom you may not have always had such close personal contact. Those that respond so negatively from that initial contact and are not willing to work things out - that may just be their loss and you can still concentrate on those that are responding appropriately.

    I think most of those on the thread here will agree that if had a chance to bring up their concerns and were informed about the change, would be much more open to keep working for a merchant.
    [COLOR="DimGray"]Marsha Liebert, Sr. Affiliate Manager[/COLOR]
    [B]Gen3 Marketing[/B]
    :envelope: mliebert @ gen3marketing.com | :telephone 215-302-1653 | [URL="http://marshaaffiliateblog.blogspot.com"][B]My Affiliate Blog[/B][/URL]

  28. #22
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    Who said anything thing about going public? Affiliates should be treated with respect. We are their partner and deserve to be treated with respect. Is that to much to ask???
    Affiliates should definitely be treated with respect. I guess my biggest question is how much information do you provide and how do you announce it so that affiliates are notified sufficiently while not giving out too much information to competing merchants?

    It's a fine line to walk and not an easy question to answer.

    Bob

  29. #23
    Outsourced Program Manager Marsha Liebert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Drumm View Post
    Affiliates should definitely be treated with respect. I guess my biggest question is how much information do you provide and how do you announce it so that affiliates are notified sufficiently while not giving out too much information to competing merchants?

    It's a fine line to walk and not an easy question to answer.

    Bob
    my advice: don't give too many details, keep it short and simple with an opening for publishers to respond and raise any concerns. you can get into details on a more private level one-on-one if needed.
    [COLOR="DimGray"]Marsha Liebert, Sr. Affiliate Manager[/COLOR]
    [B]Gen3 Marketing[/B]
    :envelope: mliebert @ gen3marketing.com | :telephone 215-302-1653 | [URL="http://marshaaffiliateblog.blogspot.com"][B]My Affiliate Blog[/B][/URL]

  30. #24
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Liebert View Post
    my advice: don't give too many details, keep it short and simple with an opening for publishers to respond and raise any concerns. you can get into details on a more private level one-on-one if needed.
    Fully agree, at least it show that your not hiding the new terms and hope that affiliates do not notice the decrease.
    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!!

  31. #25
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Liebert View Post
    ........I think most of those on the thread here will agree that if had a chance to bring up their concerns and were informed about the change, would be much more open to keep working for a merchant.
    Marsha, not sure if I will agree with you on that part, there is a good chance that I will remove the merchant if they lower my commission. Yes they may be able to trade a percent or two for a much "longer return days" but that not always the case.

    But if the AM/OPM did not give me the heads up directly that they were changing my commission structure and why their doing so, before the network notifies me it’s a really good change their gone. As affiliates we have a lot of other options available to us.

    Bibbys original post was about AM/OPM lowering our commission and hoping we do not notice. It’s time we make sure we let each other know about these negative changes so we out the Merchant and OPM.
    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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