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  1. #1
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Ever been caught between program changes?
    Applied a day or so ago for a merchant on CJ.

    Today we were declined.

    Five minutes later we get an offer.

    4% lower commission. 3% instead of 7%.

    Fits one of our niches. Don't really mind their 7 day cookie and only a single occurrence (as much), most shoppers won't make more than one purchase in a 7 day period - but, 3% that's something that will need to be dwelled upon.

    Ever been caught between program changes?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  2. #2
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    I have 3 program terms in CJ (depending on the type of publisher) but I have to choose one of them as the default. When publishers apply to my default program, I will switch them to another program term which gives them ~7 days to decide if they will accept that or not. My terms depend on the type of publisher, not because I want to do a bait and switch with everybody by cutting the commission by more than half like your example.

    I wont decline and re-offer, I just switch them... is that the same thing?

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager jojoinla's Avatar
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    I need to start archiving a program's terms. I had rewards points with one, then sometime later the rewards program disappeared like Jimmy Hoffa.

  4. #4
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrintRay View Post
    I have 3 program terms in CJ (depending on the type of publisher) but I have to choose one of them as the default. When publishers apply to my default program, I will switch them to another program term which gives them ~7 days to decide if they will accept that or not. My terms depend on the type of publisher, not because I want to do a bait and switch with everybody by cutting the commission by more than half like your example.

    I wont decline and re-offer, I just switch them... is that the same thing?
    Sorry, but that absolutely IS bait-and-switch. If I applied to a program with specified terms, received a reply as you're described accepting or offering approval on inferior terms, I'd 1) be pissed, and 2) say not interested, possibly in more flowery language.

    You need to specify in your TOS that different terms are offered "depend[ing] on the type of publisher" and specify WHAT categories you place different publishers in to (that alone, is suspect, unless your categories are coupon, incentive and ALL OTHERS) and what terms are offered each.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  6. #5
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    First thank you for the response.

    Second thank you for not using more flowery language.

    Yes I do state in my program settings that there is a range of commissions. Here are the details (which may or may not change your mind), also maybe more information than you really wanted to hear:

    my default program - 10% returning customers, 15% new customers (3,357 pubs)
    reward/loyalty sites - 10% returning customers, 12% new customers (84 pubs)
    Content sites - 12% returning customers, 18% new customers (120 pubs)

    So its not as severe as my post may have indicated.

  7. #6
    Affiliate Manager Kush@VMInnovations's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    Sorry, but that absolutely IS bait-and-switch. If I applied to a program with specified terms, received a reply as you're described accepting or offering approval on inferior terms, I'd 1) be pissed, and 2) say not interested, possibly in more flowery language.

    You need to specify in your TOS that different terms are offered "depend[ing] on the type of publisher" and specify WHAT categories you place different publishers in to (that alone, is suspect, unless your categories are coupon, incentive and ALL OTHERS) and what terms are offered each.
    Ditto, in TOS merchants should note that the default commission is X but depending on promotional methods and niche, commission may be increased/reduced to Y or Z.

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  9. #7
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrintRay View Post
    First thank you for the response.

    Second thank you for not using more flowery language.

    Yes I do state in my program settings that there is a range of commissions. Here are the details (which may or may not change your mind), also maybe more information than you really wanted to hear:

    my default program - 10% returning customers, 15% new customers (3,357 pubs)
    reward/loyalty sites - 10% returning customers, 12% new customers (84 pubs)
    Content sites - 12% returning customers, 18% new customers (120 pubs)

    So its not as severe as my post may have indicated.
    If I were looking at this, I'd think this outfit has no clue.

    First, what distinguishes affiliates between the first and third categories?

    Second, different commission levels between "returning" customers and "new" customers is a disingenuous pretense to deny affiliates their full commission, on two levels. On one level, the merchant can say that ANY customer is a returning customer, and the affiliate has no way of knowing when or if that visitor ever in fact did make a prior purchase from the merchant. On the second level, if the "customer" was in fact the merchant's property, then he/she would not have been on the affiliate's site looking for information and products; if the customer were the merchant's property then he/she would have gone directly to the merchant site to make their purchase; the merchant has no idea if that customer has bought other products from other merchants selling the same or similar products in the past, and utilizes the affiliate site to choose among alternatives and was motivated by the affiliate's information about your site and your product to choose your site for that purchase over other similar merchants from whom they might or might not have purchased in the past and might or might not purchase in the future. The affiliate has done their job and earned the full commission.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

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  11. #8
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    Thank you for your opinion.

    The answer to your first question is communication between myself and the affiliate. In the printing world content publishers are very specific. Designers, photographers, wedding planners, people that generate their own print content, etc...

    I am sorry, but I couldn't follow the second point.

    Obviously nobody is forced to join our program.

  12. #9
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrintRay View Post
    The answer to your first question is communication between myself and the affiliate. In the printing world content publishers are very specific. Designers, photographers, wedding planners, people that generate their own print content, etc..
    "Content" publisher has a different meaning in the affiliate world. If you are an am, you need to know what it means to us.
    Quote Originally Posted by PrintRay View Post
    I am sorry, but I couldn't follow the second point.
    Very simple - Distinguishing between customers as you have most often is a phony distinction used for one purpose only, as a smokescreen to keep from paying affiliates their hard-earned commissions.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  13. #10
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    I really don't want to hijack the OP's post. We are out in the weeds now in regards to the original question.

    I will make one more post because I think there is a miscommunication here, and you will either accept what I say or not. If you don't accept this, then please PM me and we can continue with this discussion without filling the OP's inbox.

    I am not sure why you keep saying the publisher is not going to get their "hard-earned commission"? If your commission rate is 10% and sometimes you get more how is that not getting your commission?

  14. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Not a hijack of the thread at all. Please continue...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  15. #12
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrintRay View Post
    I am not sure why you keep saying the publisher is not going to get their "hard-earned commission"? If your commission rate is 10% and sometimes you get more how is that not getting your commission?
    It is not sometimes getting more, it is most times getting less.

    "Returning" customers are not going to affiliate sites looking for your product(s) if they are truly "your" customers. They are searching for the best product, best information, and the best price. If they somehow are referred back to you it is because of the efforts of your affiliate. If the affiliate had displayed better information, content, pricing, for your competitor, the customer would have gone there. You only have this new sale, regardless of past history, BECAUSE of the affiliate's effort, and they have earned the higher commission rate.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  16. #13
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    Hey Phil, on the returning customers vs new customers issue, there is a flaw in your logic that comes into play if a merchant is working with coupon/deal sites or with the software guys - If they are showing a coupon box on their site, they are going to get people searching the coupon sites for codes whether they are existing customers that are being marketed to aggressively by the merchant or not and there is a good chance that if they aren't presenting deals of their own beside the coupon code field, that there is going to be some cannibalization of existing customers by coupon affiliates. These guys aren't doing much more than optimizing for trademark + coupon in a lot of cases and if the merchant doesn't have a separate term for coupon/deal guys, they are getting full rate for it. That's not anywhere near the same thing as a hard working content guy like you busting his ass to write content.

    I'd be inclined to have similar terms to what he does, but pay content affiliates the same, and pay the coupon/deal sites a different commission for new customers vs what they can earn for cannibalizing my existing customers.

    I think the way he is looking at things is that all affiliates are getting a bonus for sending a new customer, which is what a lot of merchants look to the affiliate channel for.

    Of course, then you get into issues of transparency in what is a new vs existing customer.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
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  17. #14
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Good point, Wade. The transparency issues aside, and while I have no coupon sites and only know about how coupon affiliates are dealt with as an outsider, it seems that many merchants do give them lower commissions across the board, which would take care of this problem. For merchants that do not do this, I can see the need to segregate past and new customers in some fashion. I need to think about this for awhile.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  18. #15
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    Sorry for not responding yesterday, it was getting late and I had to hit the gym and be back home for dinner which the wife likes to get to not much past 7pm.

    AffiliateHound your statement that “It is not sometimes getting more, it is most times getting less” was very troubling for me. Our commission rate is 10% and I will NEVER let a publisher make less than their commission rate. I take this very seriously.

    Wade this was a succinct way of putting this “I think the way he is looking at things is that all affiliates are getting a bonus for sending a new customer, which is what a lot of merchants look to the affiliate channel for.”

    The only thing I will add here is how we define a new customer. If a customer comes to us from any publisher’s link and we have no record of this person in our system (Billing name), they are new. If we determine that a customer is new we will pay “more” commission (you can call it a bonus if you wish). We will never pay “less”.

    This new customer information is sent to CJ automatically. Having CJ in the middle allows us to play fair with all publishers when a customer is ‘new’.

  19. #16
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    1. Ray, you are using semantics to deny the facts. In affiliate marketing, statistics show that something like 2/3 of all affiliate-produced sales are to customers new to the merchant. Thus, you are clearly reducing the commission rate paid for that other 1/3. It is unreasonable to say the higher commission rate constitutes a bonus.

    2. Sending your info to CJ does nothing to verify its correctness.

    3. As to the idea of new versus old customers in the printing business, let me relate the following:

    I engaged in my prior profession for 27 years. I had considerable printing needs, and over that time period, probably used 12 or 15 different printing businesses, from small, mom-&-pop types to giants such as Stuart F. Cooper, Staples and OfficeDepot. Seldom was I fully satisfied on an order, whether it was regarding quality, price, or on-time delivery. I went back and forth to different printers according to price offers, new styles, timing, etc. If I placed an order with Stuart Cooper in 1975, then 25 orders with 10 different printers over the next 20 years, then was induced by a Stuart Cooper add in 1996 to go back to them (an add which today could well be found on an affiliate website), I am not "their" customer and I resent that anyone would consider me so. But if their records showed to them that I was, and that was used to reduce an affiliate commission rate, I'd be steamed.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  20. #17
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    I really appreciate your time in responding (I do). I can tell that you have been doing this for a long time and I respect that in this very competitive industry. This is exactly the reason why I am on these boards, so I can see how publishers look at things from their perspective.

    Thanks for your example, its helpful in seeing it explained in those terms. I’ll think some more on what you said and how that may apply to us.

    However, I still think we are not exactly on the same page here. I understand that you think the below statement is a matter of semantics, but it really isn’t.

    My commission is not 15% which I reduce to 10% if the customer is a “returning” customer. My commission is 10% which I can increase to 15% if the customer is “new”. Why is this NOT semantics? Because if the customer is new (to us) then there is a life time value to that customer that we can monetize with internal marketing (emailing our customer base for example), and that will allow me to pay a little more up front to the publisher because I will recover that later. If the customer is already in our database the life time value for that customer is already being monetized. Therefore, I don’t have more money to give away to the publishers up front. My only other option is to pay 10% commission to everybody for any sale period. All of my tests to date show that "new" customers only constitute at best about 35%. If you have any published results that show new customers are 2/3rd of all traffic please direct me there.

    Our 10% commission is in line with our competitors. I cannot increase our costs by giving everybody more commission, and I cannot cut our revenue by throwing out all coupon sites. For better or worse coupon sites are part of the affiliate marketing.
    Last edited by PrintRay; July 19th, 2012 at 06:05 PM.

  21. #18
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrintRay
    My commission is not 15% which I reduce to 10% if the customer is a “returning” customer. My commission is 10% which I can increase to 15% if the customer is “new”. Why is this NOT semantics? Because if the customer is new (to us) then there is a life time value to that customer that we can monetize with internal marketing (emailing our customer base for example), and that will allow me to pay a little more up front to the publisher because I will recover that later. If the customer is already in our database the life time value for that customer is already being monetized. Therefore, I don’t have more money to give away to the publishers up front. My only other option is to pay 10% commission to everybody for any sale period. All of my tests to date show that "new" customers only constitute at best about 35%. If you have any published results that show new customers are 2/3rd of all traffic please direct me there.
    With all that said (including the lifetime value of a customer), let me ask you this: If they truly are "your" customer why are they on my site (or affiliatehound's or another affiliate) to see your product - and clicking through from there? Evidently all of your internal marketing came up short - somewhere - AND THAT REFERRING AFFILIATE just helped make up for that shortcoming and helped your CUSTOMER RETENTION.

    I guess I'm just "old school" (like AffiliatHound?) and believe that a sale is a sale is a sale (unless it is poached from another affiliate or from your own SEO or PPC efforts via couponing or toolbars) and should be compensated at an equal level.
    This is exactly the reason why I am on these boards, so I can see how publishers look at things from their perspective.
    I still hang around here here for a "somewhat related" (and more selfish) reason. I want to see how merchants look at things, from their perspective, to see if they are worth considering for promotion on any of our sites.
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  23. #19
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    Fair enough Bill.

    If having a multi tiered commission causes this sort of hard feelings, Once my test is done I will consider returning the commission to 10% across the board for everybody.

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