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  1. #1
    Member GreenAffMan's Avatar
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    Big Issues with Herbs Daily Affiliate Program Closure
    I'm not one to *****, but I have some big issues with how Herbs Daily put their affiliate program on hold.

    My account was approved on April 30th. I worked my butt off and recently made my first sale.

    And then I get an email, out of the blue on June 1, that says this:

    "Thanks for being a part of HerbsDaily team and we appreciate your active participation with us in our program. This is to let you know that we are planning to have a change in our business model and would like to hold the HerbsDaily Affiliate Program for a short duration. We believe in a change which always welcomes a big cause of making best deals in businesses ahead. But, it’s just a hold on promoting online products for a short period. We will be offline effectively from 6/08/2012 for HerbsDaily programs and shall continue to promote our Herbal products in the near future. As we are moving towards a mission of making our business big, with the planned changes, we look forward to continue the opportunity to work with quality Affiliates like you, for our mutual benefit and success."

    Doesn't SAS have a 30-day notification policy of program closures? If so, how is it being policed? And if not, WHY NOT?

    Granted, the program is going on hold, but I've seen a "short duration" turn into years with other merchants. And I'm not sure if they are even staying with SAS.

    The other thing that really ticked me off (this one's the stinker) is that - as you can see in the email above - they said they would be going offline on 6/8. Guess what? They've been offline since at least 6/3. Yep, I just found out I was sending dead clicks for the past five days.

    Sooooo, what is the SAS policy on these things? And how can something like this be prevented in the future?

    I love ShareaSale, but this just doesn't jive.

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  3. #2
    Member GreenAffMan's Avatar
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    I would love to hear ShareaSale's thoughts on this. What their policy is on program closures?

    It's funny, 'cause as an affiliate, I feel like I'm doing more oversight of SAS merchants than SAS is.

    Just the other day, I sent an email to ask one of my merchants to go back online, suggesting to put their program on auto-deposit.

    They replied to me saying they used to get notifications from SAS, but definitely did not receive a notification about going offline. Didn't even know about auto-deposit, which they now have set up after my suggestion.

    Again, I think ShareaSale is a great network, but there are some issues here that need to be addressed.

  4. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    In defense of Shareasale for programs I manage we have three emails for redundancy that get notification on low balance. In defense of the affiliate I think that SAS could have a staffer that calls the merchant when they don't add to their deposit within a finite amount of time. Seems to me that the network is losing and if a program runs out of money its a sign that sales are churning. I know of local utilities that complain of increased operating costs just to find out that they are not collecting from money due.

  5. #4
    Member GreenAffMan's Avatar
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    Going offline is one thing, but the greater issue is how they handle program closures, such as what went down with Herbs Daily.

    1) Accepting affiliates into their program knowing they would be closing the program soon. 2) Sending out a program closure one week in advance. 3) Closing the program the next day.

    Shouldn't there be a 30-day notification, as well as a 30-day cutoff of accepting new affiliates into the program before it closes? And who was it that pulled the trigger on closing the program six days in advance of when it was supposed to close? I imagine SAS had some part in overseeing, because Herbs Daily is not even in the Merchant search results any more. Someone at SAS had to remove them.

    Again, would love to here from SAS about this. I've referred several merchants to SAS and affiliates, also manage programs for SAS merchants. Not that I won't continue doing the same - again, I believe SAS is a top-notch network. But I believe this is an oversight - albeit not nearly as big as what has gone down at other networks - that nonetheless needs to be addressed to prevent future mistakes.

    How can I, as an ethical affiliate and program manager, recommend a network that is missing a beat when it comes to looking out for their affiliates?

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  7. #5
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Doesn't SAS have a 30-day notification policy of program closures? If so, how is it being policed? And if not, WHY NOT?
    Note aware of that as SAS is an at will service, different from most networks. Other networks give affiliates a 7 day notice to remove links. I have had merchants wait until the last minute to shutter a program and I was the hold out on giving affiliates as much advance notice as possible. When I have been told in advance that a program may shutdown I put application on hold.

  8. #6
    Member GreenAffMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    I have had merchants wait until the last minute to shutter a program and I was the hold out on giving affiliates as much advance notice as possible. When I have been told in advance that a program may shutdown I put application on hold.
    Which goes to show why it's important to have a good affiliate program manager like yourself.

    Not all networks are 7 days, though. WebGains is 30. When I had to close a program there, I was given a clear policy, which I very much appreciated....as did the affiliates.

    Even an at-will service still needs boundaries. Otherwise, we're talking about ShareaSale, the Wild Wild West network, don't you think?

  9. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Shareasale has carved out a nice niche, lowered the cost of entry for smaller merchants to test the waters. That said they would have to change their contractual agreement and it would make things more difficult to launch. Perhaps Brian can state there existing terms.

    One big advantage for SAS is no long term contract which is difficult to negotiate from my perspective.

  10. #8
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenAffMan View Post
    I would love to hear ShareaSale's thoughts on this. What their policy is on program closures?

    It's funny, 'cause as an affiliate, I feel like I'm doing more oversight of SAS merchants than SAS is.

    Again, I think ShareaSale is a great network, but there are some issues here that need to be addressed.
    I agree that there are some issues here that need to be addressed...

    Not to hijack your thread by mentioning another merchant but, I don't understand how can on SAS we can still get a new datafeed from a merchant that have been offline since 05/26/2012...

    Case in

    Merchant www . collegejersey.com has gone offline due to lack of funds.
    Temporarily Offline Since: 05/26/2012 at 7:02:04 PM

    Last Commissionable Transaction through Affiliate: 05/26/2012 07:02:03 PM

    Last Compliance Test Completed: 15-Jun-2012

    Datafeed with 16,811 Products last Updated: 06/15/12

    After seeing this merchat ofline for more that two weeks, I decided to remove over 16k products from one of my sites, but the worst part is that most of the products links were already indexed by G. so now I have to deal with product not found issue...

    And btw, if you check thier affiliate program link on thier site, it looks that they're about to close or change someting about their affiliate program...

    So a good question for SAS would be, why cand they still upload a new datafeed, and why can they still be in compliance as of today, if they have been offline since 05/26/2012?

    Who is the one making money from any of those live free to the merchant links, if they have been offline for almost a month by now?


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  12. #9
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Datafeeds are automated once setup so they would have to stop it on the network end. There are generally two ways that datafeeds are updated, merchant posts to an ftp site and network pulls or merchant posts to network ftp site.

  13. #10
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    GreenAffMan,

    Thank you for your comments, we've considered a few things over the years on this and I'll look at how we can use your feedback to improve this. There are a few things that we can't control 100%, but perhaps we can tighten a few things up to make the process smoother even in situations that run a little out of control.

    With regards to offline - please note that we send out at least 3 emails, and in most cases make a phone call to the Affiliate Manager in a situation where an account goes offline. If your Merchant tells you that they did not receive any notification from us, they should check their email filters as well as the phone number listed on the account.

    This has been discussed a lot over the years, but the truth is that there is no reasonable explanation for being offline. We have a duplicate auto-deposit system, warning level emails that are customizable by Merchant, and we make every effort to contact a Merchant when they are offline. We still need participation and action from a Merchant despite those efforts. We do what we do to try to protect your traffic from going uncommissioned - and never want to end up in a situation where the commission that you earn is unpaid.

    I highly recommend two tactics to deal with offline merchants.

    1. Use the API to get automated info on an offline merchant.
    2. Use the Custom Offline Redirect - which, if used, will send traffic back to you in the case of an offline Merchant. This allows you to a) notify yourself in any way you see fit and b) send the traffic to a competing Merchant if you wish.

    Thanks again for the comments on the closure process, we'll work on it and I agree it is something that could use some structure. Our process at this moment is to recommend notification and notice but has not been required. A lot of Merchants follow those recommendations but not all have...
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

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  15. #11
    Member GreenAffMan's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking a look and addressing this, Brian. I still think ShareaSale is the best network out there! Now if we can help Mr. Sal out with these datafeeds!

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