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  1. #1
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    January 18th, 2005
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    (I apologise for the length of this post. It is something of a plea for assistance, but hopefully raises points worthy of discussion)

    We launched a new version of our luxury goods retail site (EnglishHall.com) at the start of December and needed to reinstall our CJ tracking code as a part of that. We then experienced a breakdown in communication with CJ over whether the code was installed properly. Our tech guys said CJ were wrong and CJ said we were wrong. CJ’s UK office (we are in London) proved no help in answering our questions, and after about a week of stand-off we were deactivated on the network.

    Finally the tracking code issue was resolved in January after repeated calls to the CJ’s US tech team, however, by then we had lost 1/2 million ad impressions (over the vital Christmas period) as well as the trust and confidence of many of our affiliates.

    As one moderator commented here not so long ago:

    ‘If they (the merchant) deactivate I deactivate them permanently’

    To add insult to injury I phoned the US office to talk about our predicament and was told that the UK team were on a training trip in the US and would look into our case as an interesting example. A week or so later I received an email from the UK office purporting to contain ‘a number of recommendations for your program’. This amounted to two short pieces of advice: first, use the mail tool to contact publishers (we have used this a few times over past couple of years, makes CJ a bit of cash of course …), second, set targets for sales based on past publisher performance (hardly a ground-breaking revelation, we already have an incentive in place).

    While I am not blaming CJ directly, I do feel they were hasty to deactivate us without helping one iota to resolve the problem (is showing us where our code was wrong too much to ask after nearly 3 years on the network?). The UK office’s role in all this served only to confuse matters further leading me to suspect that their relationship with the US office is poorly defined.

    The question I hoped CJ would answer is how a deactivated merchant can re-establish the credentials of their program and recover from a serious blow such as this. We have already doubled cookie duration and added a new set of graphical images to the program. I am also considering e-mailing the many publishers worldwide who dropped us individually to explain the situation, and doing the same with our remaining active affiliates.

    I know I am requesting invaluable, free advice, but we certainly need it and I can’t seem to get anything meaningful from CJ.

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    You never will get any meaningful marketing advice as a merchant from CJ. They will push you on some of their favorite BHO parasites who will double dip you by demanding higher commissions on your non-commissionable links. My Cybermall basically is a test bed for seeing which merchants convert and also raises RED FLAGs when they stop reporting sales. Just 2 of my 300 merchants get 1/2 million impressions from me and I'm not a heavy traffic site.

    Best bet is to come here daily and learn the ropes from real AM's like Andy at TigerDirect who faced similar problems when he took over their lame program that also had reporting problems. Within 5 months of running a honest program with high converting landing pages his affiliate sales went up 800%. ABW is the best recruiting forum you'll find if your can take the heat and give us the pre-sell tools.

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  3. #3
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    quote:
    Originally posted by englishhall1:
    I know I am requesting invaluable, free advice, but we certainly need it and I can’t seem to get anything meaningful from CJ.


    English,

    Welcome...

    You have done the first step on the road to creating a kick *ss program.

    You are communicating directly with the worlds best affiliate marketers..

    This is the place to be, stay here and participate, you won't regret it.

    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager

    TigerDirect.com
    P: (305) 415-2313
    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com
    ICQ: 175010
    AIM: miamitigercub

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
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    January 18th, 2005
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    739
    Creating a relationship outside the bounds of the cj program has worked best for us- calling and emailing. Most affiliates (myself included) don't read or skim the cj mail product. To win their trust and keep them- you need to know who your top accounts are and communicate directly with them. Being here is a good start

    Jessica Hutson
    Manager of Affiliate Relations/Development
    Interactive Affiliate Network
    http://affiliate.travelnow.com/affiliates/home.jsp

  5. #5
    Full Member
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Welcome, I was in a similar situation a few months ago where our program was being mismanaged and we were in an unpleasant situation with CJ.

    I took over the program and in 3 months have increased sales through the program by over 600% as well as increasing 30 day EPC from around $2 to around $14.

    How did I do this?

    Well, you have started right, improving the offer to affiliates and showing them that yours is a program that is being actively managed.

    You should go back in the CJ reports and look at which publishers were sending you good customers but have stopped and contact then directly (not through CJ) to explain the situation. Give them a compelling offer to give you another chance (i.e. a bonus with their next sale or higher commission for the next 90 days, or an exclusive coupon for their customers etc).

    Recruit new affiliates to fill the gap of those who left, look and see who is linking to your competitors, try to find non-commercial sites that have a similar subject matter etc. Yuors is a very niche product offering so quality and relevance of sites that link to you is more important than raw number of impressions (e.g. I could send you 80K impressions a day but I bet you would be lucky to see one sale a month from me).

    Hope this helps,

    Regards,

    Mark Mitford
    (English Expat)

    Mark Mitford
    Sales Director
    Dotster, Inc
    http://www.dotster.com/
    15% Commission - 90 day cookie - 0% reversals

  6. #6
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Hi! I just got your links put back up a few days ago.

    I was really diasppoined too by the deactivation right at Christmas!!!

    Glad to see you here and hope to see you again!!

    Feel free to PM me anytime!

    Vicki

    But if the arrow is straight and the point is slick,
    It can pierce through dust no matter how thick. dylan

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    Englishhall, wouldn't it be nice if CJ were to e-mail all your affiliates explaining that the inactivation was a technical problem and that the problem is corrected and that Englishall is a merchant in good standing?

    Hope someone at CJ is listening. I've known Englishhall for a long time and can vouch that they are fair and honest and genuinely committed to their partners. They are the kind of quality business that CJ should support.

  8. #8
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Just a couple of thoughts to add...

    You said your code was wrong - does this mean I have to change the code I was using before you deactivated? I just put up the old code and it would help to know!!

    Second - your banners leave a lot to be desired. They are blurry, especially on the lettering.

    The small animated banners move way to fast and the images are too small.

    Also, you need some half size banners - 392 by 72 would be nice!

    You are selling very nice things - you ads should be clear and look like they came out of a fashion mag.

    Vicki

    But if the arrow is straight and the point is slick,
    It can pierce through dust no matter how thick. dylan

  9. #9
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    January 18th, 2005
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    1,466
    Something is being overlooked. Making major changes in the last 3 months of the year. In most businesses, this is the time to make changes (mid January until early spring). Right now, I'm making changes in my site, recruiting new partners and making link exchanges etc. Once mid October, or certainly November comes around, I don't want any major change happening on my site and certainly not happening at cj. During that time, I don't want cj down for any type of maintenance (even if they claim tracking won't be effected). You have to add a feature do it now. Don't make changes after october. Your big mistake was making a major change in December. Either it was so important and therefore you should have done it months before, or it wasn't important and you could have waited until January.

    Mike
    Bovine Bazaar
    Cow and horse themed gifts and collectibles

  10. #10
    Full Member
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    January 18th, 2005
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    EnglishHall,

    With over 2 years at CJ, I have never seen you at CJ. Under which category are you listed in?

  11. #11
    Newbie
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Thanks for all the advice and criticism.

    I am beginning to see that the onus needs to be on creating one-on-one relationships outside of CJ. Mark, you’ve pointed out a practical path for the next few months for which I’m v. grateful!

    Our December relaunch was a situation of beggars not having the luxury of being choosers. We’ve got a v. small team and ran over the original date by 3 months. It was certainly poor timing and we’ll not make that mistake again. .

    Vicki, it was just the piece of CJ tracking code on EnglishHall.com that was wrong. I will be discussing your exceptionally constructive criticism of our banners as a matter of urgency …

    A major problem I have missed so far is that any site that previously linked beyond our homepage will now be hitting 404 errors, as our site structure has changed. We need to alert all our affiliates to change their link urls. Given the inadequacy of the CJ mail product is the only realistic way to e-mail our 800+ active affiliates individually?!

    I can see now why this board rules the AM roost,

    Harry

  12. #12
    Newbie
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    January 18th, 2005
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    ps. we are listed under Virtual Malls on CJ

  13. #13
    Full Member
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    January 18th, 2005
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    You have two ways to fix the problem of 404 errors and neither involves contacting all your affiliates:

    If you affiliates were using the CJ links without modifying them:

    1) The destination of the links is controlled in CJ. Log into CJ, click "manage links", click on the "banner" group, then for each banner click "view link detail", click the "edit this link" button, and change the Default URL setting to the correct destination page.

    If you have a subset of affiliates that are linking to sub-pages directly:

    2) For the old pages that are now 404 errors get your webmaster to put in place a custom 404 error page that includes CJ tracking and an automatic redirect to your home page. You could also create custom 404 pages for individual products that redirect to the new location for that product. Your web server logs should be able to tell you which of you old pages were being linked to directly the most so that should help with priorities.



    Regards,

    Mark......

    Mark Mitford
    Sales Director
    Dotster, Inc
    http://www.dotster.com/
    15% Commission - 90 day cookie - 0% reversals

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