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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager bblythe's Avatar
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    How Important Is Impartial
    I was on another thread where the topic of unique links for content publishers came up. We were talking about providing a link, that applied a coupon for the publisher's users automatically. This way the coupon couldn't be scraped by robots, and I would be able to provide a discount tailored to the individual affiliate.

    I have always tried to offer my content affiliates coupons when it seemed appropriate, but some of them refuse as a rule. They feel like if they add coupons, especially unique coupons, they will seem impartial and their click-through rate would go down.

    Do you agree? How important is appearing impartial to content affiliates?

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Not logical unless they are a review site...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  3. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I think teezone recently commented that she runs mainly content/datafeed sites and includes coupons to be competitive.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager keystrokes's Avatar
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    Anymore I think you need to promote a coupon along with the product/review/feature - otherwise potential buyers will simply go find the same one you have access to on one of the major coupon sites.
    Char Polanosky
    Affiliate Manager, All Inclusive Marketing
    char (at) allinclusivemarketing.com

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager BretLiquidweb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keystrokes View Post
    Anymore I think you need to promote a coupon along with the product/review/feature - otherwise potential buyers will simply go find the same one you have access to on one of the major coupon sites.
    That's an interesting point. However, what if you are offering very generous referral payouts. If you add the coupon it's almost like double dipping. The only way to be able to allow a coupon would be to reduce the referral commission.
    Bret Hitchcock | Liquid Web Affiliate Manager
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  6. #6
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BretLiquidweb View Post
    That's an interesting point. However, what if you are offering very generous referral payouts. If you add the coupon it's almost like double dipping. The only way to be able to allow a coupon would be to reduce the referral commission.
    That is a very different issue, and is a very poor turn to this thread. It demonstrates an extremely affiliate-unfriendly attitude and attempts to validate the second of the two most serious problems (after nexus tax issues) affiliates are facing daily, an issue that could lead to the demise of the industry - continually diminishing commission rates.

    Here, you have a content affiliate, providing motivated customers to your site, and the first thing you can think of is lowering the affiliate's commission rate. "Double Dipping" my &*%#*&%.

    < rant > .... </ rant >
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager BretLiquidweb's Avatar
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    My first thought, and this is just a thought. No coupons anywhere. Level the playing field. Then a referral partner would earn the payout easy. Plus if they click on the link a cookie is imbedded(they being the person buying).
    Bret Hitchcock | Liquid Web Affiliate Manager
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  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager keystrokes's Avatar
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    In today's society that would not fly. Everyone is looking for a bargain - give the affiliates a fair commission and access to the same type of coupons that are being offered outside of the affiliate channel. Without access to coupons and fair commissions, there is no incentive for the affiliates. They are part of your marketing team - treat them that way and they will give you the return you are looking for.
    Char Polanosky
    Affiliate Manager, All Inclusive Marketing
    char (at) allinclusivemarketing.com

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager BretLiquidweb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keystrokes View Post
    In today's society that would not fly. Everyone is looking for a bargain.
    I would agree depending on the market. So you are in fact correct but not 100% correct. Premium services tend to cost a premium, so it depends on the market you are in.
    Bret Hitchcock | Liquid Web Affiliate Manager
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  10. #10
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keystrokes View Post
    In today's society that would not fly. Everyone is looking for a bargain - give the affiliates a fair commission and access to the same type of coupons that are being offered outside of the affiliate channel. Without access to coupons and fair commissions, there is no incentive for the affiliates. They are part of your marketing team - treat them that way and they will give you the return you are looking for.
    Quote Originally Posted by BretLiquidweb View Post
    I would agree depending on the market. So you are in fact correct but not 100% correct. Premium services tend to cost a premium, so it depends on the market you are in.
    So affiliates who drive sales of "premium" products or services do not deserve a fair 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]

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager BretLiquidweb's Avatar
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    They totally do. Lets say we offer twice the commission then a company that is exactly the same as we are in cost etc. They offer coupons so they can't afford to pay the double amount. So it's a juggling act. That is where I was getting at. Not sure which is correct.
    Bret Hitchcock | Liquid Web Affiliate Manager
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  12. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Coupon codes are ad units, without them you don't get placements on those kind of sites. There is nothing wrong with not offering coupon if your company does do that across the board. Don't undercut affiliates and if a discount code eats your gross margin then you have to adjust commissions to stay profitable. For my largest merchant we calculate Return on Ad Spend and that includes discounts.

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  14. #13
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Don't undercut affiliates
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    ...and if a discount code eats your gross margin then you have to adjust commissions to stay profitable.
    You should also consider what life-long customer acquisition is worth. Profit may not come on the first sale. But what about the 2nd, 3rd, etc...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  15. #14
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    You should also consider what life-long customer acquisition is worth. Profit may not come on the first sale. But what about the 2nd, 3rd, etc...
    The concept of the loss leader. Offline merchants have used it for a century.

    Las Vegas was built on the concept of getting the guy in the door. Don't think they teach that at BigBusinessCorporateMarketingMBA Tech
    Last edited by Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound; May 13th, 2013 at 04:08 PM. Reason: typo
    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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  17. #15
    Marketing Manager
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    Back to the original question: is impartiality important for content affiliates and do coupon codes affect that?

    Impartiality is important to some content affiliates and not others. Some have a keen eye towards building trust within a community and are rightly reluctant to endanger that trust. With them, advertisements are always clearly delineated from other content.

    Other affiliates optimize for conversion and develop highly advertorial content. These publishers often drive inexpensive traffic from search engines, email, and social media to their content sites.

    Both content approaches work but they shouldn't be mixed. I.e. You don't want to serve up an advertisement disguised as objective content if your main strategy is building a community that trusts your recommendations. Likewise, if you aren't developing a long-term community around a topic, you should optimize for conversion because you aren't going to get a second shot with your visitors.

    Obviously there are many different shades to these two strategies but I see our content publishers generally falling into either of these categories.

  18. #16
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Both content approaches work but they shouldn't be mixed.
    One may not work as well as the other when the next Penguin update rolls out.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  19. #17
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Grimm View Post
    Back to the original question: is impartiality important for content affiliates and do coupon codes affect that?
    Stick by my original response:

    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Not logical unless they are a review site...
    We use coupons, apply them to our displayed price with text saying "using coupon Example123" - take vanity codes when they can be had. Doesn't show we are partial to one merchant or the other...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  20. #18
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    Saw my name mentioned here, figured I might as well join in..

    Coupons have nothing to do "impartiality" ... a coupon is not subjective, it's simply an offer from a merchant.

    I would hope a merchant would not reduce referral commission for a coupon - if you can't afford the discount, don't offer it. Dinging me (the publisher) for the discount is underhanded, in my opinion.

    Back to "impartial" content publishers - I say what I think on my site, but readers can do whatever they like. Withholding a coupon makes no sense.. I'm trying to give them all the information to make their own decision. They come to my site, read what I say - maybe they agree or disagree.. and maybe the coupon helps the decision.

    The only problem with coupons on a content site is the management process - you have to know when to remove them. I can see that as a good reason a content site would refuse to go down that path (a few too many expired offers can cost you with merchants). But let's not confuse subjective opinions/reviews with facts (price, coupon, etc).


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