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  1. #1
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    Coupon affiliates aren't the only unethical affiliates
    Bibby;


    You say "Coupon affiliates aren't the only unethical affiliates."

    I am new to this world and have found many practices I find scammy, scummy and outright unethical. I just want some clarification please. I was looking at creating a deal site where merchants could post deals with or without coupons. I would also have articles that I would post, as well as, let the merchant post articles.

    Are coupon only sites generally viewed as unethical by nature?
    Why do other affiliates not have current deals from their merchants on their site?
    Is the main distinction that coupon sites do not have value add for customers such as blog or articles?

    Are sites such as Amazon affiliates, which only carry feeds from Amazon with no additional value considered in the group of coupon or affiliate sites?

    Is hi-jacking something that is more than customer going to first affiliate site then going to another i.e. coupon site and then clicking through or is there more to it?

    I know that I will often go to more than one website when researching for an online purchase and these may all be affiliates. I may click through to merchant site from more than one of these affiliates.

    I guess I do not understand what the difference is. If the issue is that one site has coupons then isn’t it on the affiliate to be up to date and display those deals themselves?
    I am not ranting just confused and seeking clarification.

    thanks

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonerman View Post
    Bibby;


    You say "Coupon affiliates aren't the only unethical affiliates."

    I am new to this world and have found many practices I find scammy, scummy and outright unethical. I just want some clarification please. I was looking at creating a deal site where merchants could post deals with or without coupons. I would also have articles that I would post, as well as, let the merchant post articles.

    Are coupon only sites generally viewed as unethical by nature?
    Why do other affiliates not have current deals from their merchants on their site?
    Is the main distinction that coupon sites do not have value add for customers such as blog or articles?

    Are sites such as Amazon affiliates, which only carry feeds from Amazon with no additional value considered in the group of coupon or affiliate sites?

    Is hi-jacking something that is more than customer going to first affiliate site then going to another i.e. coupon site and then clicking through or is there more to it?

    I know that I will often go to more than one website when researching for an online purchase and these may all be affiliates. I may click through to merchant site from more than one of these affiliates.

    I guess I do not understand what the difference is. If the issue is that one site has coupons then isn’t it on the affiliate to be up to date and display those deals themselves?
    I am not ranting just confused and seeking clarification.

    thanks
    Unethical affiliates are in every niche, nook, and cranny. Ethics is subjective and therefore difficult to define.

    Value and content is also subjective. Some consider "Deal Sites" and "Coupon Sites" as those that get visited AFTER someone has already visited the merchant's website - hoping to find a "Deal" or "Coupon" for the item/s they found at the merchant. If you are a "Deal" or "Coupon" site then you would feel differently.

    Many merchants are experiencing great traffic from the major Coupon/Deal sites. They also are experiencing that the traffic is often not the first referrer. Which means the shopper came to the merchant's site, then left to go find a Coupon/Deal. Often times the merchant has paid for traffic via advertisements or PPC. Which means they paid to send their visitor to a Coupon/Deal site, where they will AGAIN pay in the form of affiliate commissions.

    Then the merchants have many, many more non-Coupon/Deal affiliates. They too often pay for advertisements or PPC, etc to bring visitors to their affiliate site and, in turn, send that traffic to the merchant in hopes of making a sale and subsequent commission. Somewhere between landing on the merchant's site (from the non-Coupon/Deal affiliate) and checkout, the visitor LEAVES the merchant's site looking for a Coupon/Deal. They either end up at a COMPETITOR's website where the merchant loses the sale and the original referring affiliate has spent money with no results - OR - they find a Coupon/Deal affiliate who drops their affiliate cookie, overwriting the original affiliate's cookie, and the visitor checks out. The Coupon/Deal affiliate gets the sale and commissions. This upsets the non-Coupon/Deal affiliates and they let their merchants know that.

    Amazon Affiliates has nothing to do with anything. Just because an affiliate uses any number of thousands of datafeeds available, doesn't make them a coupon site.

    Hijacking is also subjective - depends on if you feel you're commissions have been hijacked or not. Some would define hijacking of commissions losing out to a coupon site after they have already done the work to get the original referring traffic to the merchant. There are far more serious definitions of hijacking, as well.

    Not all merchants accept coupon sites. So an affiliate who works with merchants who don't work with coupon sites, can't or won't show coupons from other merchants on the same website.

    Clear as mud?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Unethical affiliates are in every niche, nook, and cranny. Ethics is subjective and therefore difficult to define.

    Value and content is also subjective. Some consider "Deal Sites" and "Coupon Sites" as those that get visited AFTER someone has already visited the merchant's website - hoping to find a "Deal" or "Coupon" for the item/s they found at the merchant. If you are a "Deal" or "Coupon" site then you would feel differently.

    Many merchants are experiencing great traffic from the major Coupon/Deal sites. They also are experiencing that the traffic is often not the first referrer. Which means the shopper came to the merchant's site, then left to go find a Coupon/Deal. Often times the merchant has paid for traffic via advertisements or PPC. Which means they paid to send their visitor to a Coupon/Deal site, where they will AGAIN pay in the form of affiliate commissions.

    Then the merchants have many, many more non-Coupon/Deal affiliates. They too often pay for advertisements or PPC, etc to bring visitors to their affiliate site and, in turn, send that traffic to the merchant in hopes of making a sale and subsequent commission. Somewhere between landing on the merchant's site (from the non-Coupon/Deal affiliate) and checkout, the visitor LEAVES the merchant's site looking for a Coupon/Deal. They either end up at a COMPETITOR's website where the merchant loses the sale and the original referring affiliate has spent money with no results - OR - they find a Coupon/Deal affiliate who drops their affiliate cookie, overwriting the original affiliate's cookie, and the visitor checks out. The Coupon/Deal affiliate gets the sale and commissions. This upsets the non-Coupon/Deal affiliates and they let their merchants know that.

    Amazon Affiliates has nothing to do with anything. Just because an affiliate uses any number of thousands of datafeeds available, doesn't make them a coupon site.

    Hijacking is also subjective - depends on if you feel you're commissions have been hijacked or not. Some would define hijacking of commissions losing out to a coupon site after they have already done the work to get the original referring traffic to the merchant. There are far more serious definitions of hijacking, as well.

    Not all merchants accept coupon sites. So an affiliate who works with merchants who don't work with coupon sites, can't or won't show coupons from other merchants on the same website.

    Clear as mud?
    Hello;

    Thanks for the reply, it is helpful.

    What is your opinion on the following point? If customers are going to a coupon site after they have gone to another affiliate so that the original affiliate loses the commission, and the differentiator is that the original affiliate does most of the work by providing value such as content. Isn't it up to the original affiliate who does all this work to provide more complete value to include any coupon and discount info on their site so that customers will stay with them instead of going elsewhere?

    My point about the Amazon affiliate was that many of these add no real additional value over that found at Amazon. Sorry for confusion, I was trying use them as an example. If an affiliate simply relists the products of the merchant and adds no real value can they really complain about customers going elsewhere for discounts. Amazon was probably bad example but generally I meant this type of rehashed sites using datafeeds without any real value for the customer. I would argue having coupons/discounts is a value add for my customers. Personally I would not run strict coupon site. (It would have value added content)

    On hi-jacking I was curious if this meant more active methods affiliates use to take the commission, or was it simply that there were multiple affiliates involved in getting the customer to the merchant, and all but the last actually earned from it. From your response it sounds like there may be more nefarious means deployed.

    "Not all merchants accept coupon sites." I found that interesting and wondered what the reasoning would be for the merchant. I would assume that the merchant in this case does not use coupons anyway.

    Thanks; I apreciate your comments

  4. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonerman View Post
    Hello;

    Thanks for the reply, it is helpful.

    What is your opinion on the following point? If customers are going to a coupon site after they have gone to another affiliate so that the original affiliate loses the commission, and the differentiator is that the original affiliate does most of the work by providing value such as content. Isn't it up to the original affiliate who does all this work to provide more complete value to include any coupon and discount info on their site so that customers will stay with them instead of going elsewhere?

    My point about the Amazon affiliate was that many of these add no real additional value over that found at Amazon. Sorry for confusion, I was trying use them as an example. If an affiliate simply relists the products of the merchant and adds no real value can they really complain about customers going elsewhere for discounts. Amazon was probably bad example but generally I meant this type of rehashed sites using datafeeds without any real value for the customer. I would argue having coupons/discounts is a value add for my customers. Personally I would not run strict coupon site. (It would have value added content)

    On hi-jacking I was curious if this meant more active methods affiliates use to take the commission, or was it simply that there were multiple affiliates involved in getting the customer to the merchant, and all but the last actually earned from it. From your response it sounds like there may be more nefarious means deployed.

    "Not all merchants accept coupon sites." I found that interesting and wondered what the reasoning would be for the merchant. I would assume that the merchant in this case does not use coupons anyway.

    Thanks; I apreciate your comments
    Again, "Value" is subjective. Does the Google's SERPs offer any additional value to the destination site? No. Just a link.

    Ask yourself this: How is it that a shopper arrives at an affiliate's site first and not the merchant's? Better marketing perhaps? The value can be the simple fact that a link to the merchant was actually found and when followed the merchant has the possibility of closing a sale.

    You can even say that having a coupon code on a website is "value", if you want. All depends on what side of the coupon trail you are on. So, what is "complete value"? It's certainly not throwing up some poorly written or spammy blog posts. It's certainly not showing a coupon code. Or is it?

    Hijacking has many definitions. Depends on who is the caller and who is the pot. Everything from a "non-deserving" affiliate ending up with a sale or one that drops a cooking via automated means and all sorts of gimmicks in between.

    The merchants who don't accept coupon sites may respect their network of affiliates, and/or, may not have a coupon box at checkout (therefore ensuring the shopper that is in their cart doesn't leave looking for a coupon or finding a competitor)...
    Last edited by Convergence; June 14th, 2012 at 08:21 PM.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input.

    I still think that any useful info is of value, including coupon codes. I am somewhat hesitant to get into this industry as I see many espousing and using unethical tactics. I need to keep researching. I have seen others advising against some of this when people ask in the forum and that is why I joined.


    Thanks again, you have given me much to think about

  6. #6
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonerman View Post
    I still think that any useful info is of value, including coupon codes.
    "Value" like "Art" is in the eye of the beholder.

    Say I'm looking for green hair scrunchies. I know all there is to know about green hair scrunchies. I don't want a tome of information about green hair scrunchies. I don't want reviews. I don't want opinions. I want to find the most options for green hair scrunchies out there. So I find a website, unbeknownst to me, is an affiliate site. This site has hundreds of green hair scrunchies from a handful of merchants. Has great pictures and I can browse without being inundated with trivial information. I bookmark the site so I can come back time and time again. My own portal for green hair scrunchies.

    I wasn't interested in what the webmaster thought was "useful info", nor was I looking for coupon codes. I found value in the site because it was what I was looking for.

    Know your product. Know who your visitors are. Know how to market to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by zonerman View Post
    I am somewhat hesitant to get into this industry as I see many espousing and using unethical tactics. I need to keep researching. I have seen others advising against some of this when people ask in the forum and that is why I joined.
    Glad to have you here. It's a great industry. But, just like any industry, there are some bad apples. Be a good player and help maintain the integrity of our industry...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  7. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Convergence, thanks for the illustration. As an OPM for a merchant I am interested in offering a discount code to encourage your consumer to by from us versus the competition. From your example you can see the high value on datafeed affiliates who create product and price comparison sites. Those extend the opportunity to sell versus everyone going to Amazon. Datafeed affiliates are highly values and have worked extra to master the technology.

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  9. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonerman View Post
    Bibby;


    You say "Coupon affiliates aren't the only unethical affiliates."

    I am new to this world and have found many practices I find scammy, scummy and outright unethical. I just want some clarification please. I was looking at creating a deal site where merchants could post deals with or without coupons. I would also have articles that I would post, as well as, let the merchant post articles.

    Are coupon only sites generally viewed as unethical by nature?
    Why do other affiliates not have current deals from their merchants on their site?
    Is the main distinction that coupon sites do not have value add for customers such as blog or articles?

    Are sites such as Amazon affiliates, which only carry feeds from Amazon with no additional value considered in the group of coupon or affiliate sites?

    Is hi-jacking something that is more than customer going to first affiliate site then going to another i.e. coupon site and then clicking through or is there more to it?

    I know that I will often go to more than one website when researching for an online purchase and these may all be affiliates. I may click through to merchant site from more than one of these affiliates.

    I guess I do not understand what the difference is. If the issue is that one site has coupons then isnít it on the affiliate to be up to date and display those deals themselves?
    I am not ranting just confused and seeking clarification.

    thanks
    Coupon sites do not sell products... only % 0ff coupons. They are only viable if they happened to set the last cookie before the "enter coupon code here" field is filled and the sale is completed. Mostly they are in a cookie setting war with other coupon/deal sites.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

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