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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager RichRowe's Avatar
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    Blindsgalore Deactivates Coupon Based Affiliates
    Coupon Code Affiliates have generated a lot of discussion over the years, but I am starting to see merchants take more action recently.

    Blindsgalore made a difficult decision starting on the 1st of April - no April Fools here - to deactivate Coupon Code Affiliates/Websites from their program.

    Blindsgalore is a featured program on the ShareASale network, with great offers that covert really well for affiliates.

    The challenge confronted by Blindsgalore is when a customer would visit the website, see the "coupon code" box, then would search on the internet for best codes.

    Affiliate Marketing Best Practice = Last Click Wins

    In this case, there has been an increase in sales going to affiliates over the last few months, even years. Blindsgalore was left with the difficult decision of moving away from these types of affiliates.

    I know there is a lot of opinion on this and I would like to hear any feedback you have to help merchants with this same challenge.

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    We're not a coupon affiliate...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  3. #3
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    RichRowe,

    You may want to consider utilizing clickstream commissions ... essentially you can pay an Affiliate from prior in the clickstream as opposed to the "last click" based on parameters such as the click taking place late in the checkout process, or a specific Affiliate/Group of Affiliates.

    In other words, you don't have to make a blanket decision to remove Coupon Affiliates totally - you can use tags and rules to

    1. eliminate the core of the problem (late checkout clicks as you mention)
    2. reward appropriate commission
    3. incentivize other behaviour such as coupon affiliates sending your deal to their email list, which is a totally different behaviour that late checkout clicks.


    It's basically good for everyone. Coupon Affiliates, Non-Coupon Affiliates, and yourself. Open up a help ticket from within your account and we can help you...
    Thanks,

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

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  5. #4
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    I am seeing a very smart trend, Merchants having a very visible coupon page on their sites. That way shoppers can get the coupon direct from the merchant and never leave their site. If you offer coupons, don't hide them from the shoppers!


  6. #5
    Affiliate Manager RichRowe's Avatar
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    Thanks Brian for the reply.

    I have already submitted the support ticket. Could not find ore information on "clickstream commissions" or "clickstream" in the knowledge database, so looking forward to working with ShareASale on this.

  7. #6
    Affiliate Manager RichRowe's Avatar
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    Thanks flamingoworld and Convergence on the replies.

    The Blindsgalore coupons are easy to see and find on the website - top of everypage.

    I really think the appearance of a "Coupon Code" box gets customers thinking they can find better codes than those listed on the website, which are always the same as the ones listed on the affiliate offers.

  8. #7
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Overall, I have to agree with Convergence and his "+1" on your statement about deactivating couponers.

    I had been using a merchant on another network that employs a "shared attribution" model. I started seeing the short end of the 70-30 commission split far too often and we are NOT a coupon site. So, if that model is implemented, it needs to be monitored carefully.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  9. #8
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Are you sure people are leaving and getting coupons from coupon affiliates before checkout? How can you be sure affiliates aren't just sending more traffic?
    Another thing you might look at is the majority of coupon sites sending more sales or just one or two? If it is just a few you might look to see their practices, do they have something sneaky they are doing to always get the sale?

    I am bummed we were dropped, I hate it when all coupon sites are lumped together. I was doing a side business for a while and got out of it and am back focusing on my main coupon site and know we could have sent some good business your way.

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  11. #9
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    I don't have a coupon site and I do find it somewhat frustrating to think that traffic that I send to a merchant is re-directed at checkout to a coupon site. But the fact of the matter is that I have absolutely no insight into this activity. I can only speculate that I'm losing sales to coupon sites.

    Do I blame the coupon site? HELL NO! They're doing exactly what I'm doing; trying to make a living. I blame the dumb-ass merchant that puts a coupon box on their check-out page and then complains that customers are leaving their carts to search for a coupon.

    Sales 101: When a customer is in the buying phase of the sale (and generally when they're on the "CHECK-OUT PAGE" they're ready to buy), you don't offer them a better deal. You shut-up and let them enter their credit card info. Dumb-asses!

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon


  12. #10
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    Sales 101: When a customer is in the buying phase of the sale (and generally when they're on the "CHECK-OUT PAGE" they're ready to buy), you don't offer them a better deal. You shut-up and let them enter their credit card info. Dumb-asses!

    -rematt
    Exactly!

    I have been voiced my opinion about not having a "DO YOU HAVE A COUPON CODE" box on the merchant's checkout page for years. I never understand the logic behind it no matter how others spin it.

    Customers are at your shopping Cart and they are ready to check out. Why would anybody in their right mind want to remind them they should go away and search for "COUPONS"? We all know how many things online could distract them once they leave your site. They might never come back!

    I said it before, and will say it again:

    Merchants: IF YOU HAVE A COUPON TO OFFER, PUT IT ON YOUR OWN SITES.

  13. #11
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    The merchants have coupon boxes on their sites for more reasons than just to lose already closed sales to coupon affiliates. In most cases, it's to support email marketing to customers using codes, or for customer service reasons. I agree though that a lot of this debate would be unnecessary if we didn't have the box on the site that prompted the off-site search in the first place.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
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  15. #12
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateWarrior View Post
    The merchants have coupon boxes on their sites for more reasons than just to lose already closed sales to coupon affiliates. In most cases, it's to support email marketing to customers using codes, or for customer service reasons. I agree though that a lot of this debate would be unnecessary if we didn't have the box on the site that prompted the off-site search in the first place.
    I understand that merchants using different marketing channels to drive sales. I have had merchants offering custom coupon codes which are embedded in the links so the coupon site affiliates can get their credit by sending costumers to the merchants' sites. I'm totally fine with it.

    What irritate me the most is when there is clearly no coupons available for certain merchants, you will still see hundreds of coupon sites show up on the first page when I test search "merchant + coupons". I know this merchant doesn't offer any coupon, but customers don't know that. They will click on one of those fake "coupons". The result?

    1. They feel cheated and never come back to the merchant's site
    2. They go ahead and checkout without a coupon (the fake coupon site get my commission since it get the last click)
    3. They get distracted while searching for the non-existing coupons online and never come back to the merchant's site

  16. #13
    Affiliate Manager RichRowe's Avatar
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    I appreciate everyone's input on this. That is why decided to create this post.

    As for how does Blindsgalore know they are losing sales to affiliates?? There is no 100% way of knowing this, that is the big challenge.

    We have good affiliates and they are doing their part - no problems there at all.

    The idea of removing the "Coupon Code" box from the shopping cart I believe sound and an idea that has already been shared.

    I look forward to working with ShareASale on a possible solution and letting everyone here know the outcome.

    I want to make "flamingoworld" happy again

  17. #14
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichRowe View Post
    I want to make "flamingoworld" happy again
    +1 brother
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
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  18. #15
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayfly View Post
    What irritate me the most is when there is clearly no coupons available for certain merchants, you will still see hundreds of coupon sites show up on the first page when I test search "merchant + coupons". I know this merchant doesn't offer any coupon, but customers don't know that. They will click on one of those fake "coupons".
    That is a never ending battle but I get it. Larger brands don't care, unfortunately.
    Greg Hoffman
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  19. #16
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateWarrior View Post
    The merchants have coupon boxes on their sites for more reasons than just to lose already closed sales to coupon affiliates. In most cases, it's to support email marketing to customers using codes, or for customer service reasons.
    But these issues don't exactly take a genius to solve. The merchant's email campaign or discount from customer service can simply send the user to an intermediate page prior to checkout that allows them to enter the code. Or better yet, just embed the code as mayfly suggests. There are probably dozens of ways to accomplish the same thing, none of which tempts the user to leave the merchant's site.

    The other problem that the merchant creates for themselves is the user that searches for "product name + coupon" as opposed to "merchant name + coupon". They may find a better price or a better coupon at a competitor.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

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  21. #17
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Has anyone worked with a merchant that fully removes the coupon code box in the cart but auto populates the cart when the referrer is an affiliate coupon code link? We have the latter but get breakage primarily with coupon sites that do a pop-up with the code but use a generic home page link. Spend a lot of time verifying links with our top coupon affiliates. The coupon box is always present unless the cope if auto popped.

  22. #18
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichRowe View Post
    I want to make "flamingoworld" happy again
    Then don't lump us in with other coupon affiliates and let us back in the program. We don't play any games, we don't do the click to reveal coupon and we don't do any ppc or search targetting of merchants.
    Our biz plan is to offer coupons for different merchants and say if someone is on our site searching for blinds coupons they will be shown a list of those blinds merchants we offer and can choose which one they want to shop at.
    We try to get loyal visitors to our site and offer them merchants who have coupons. Many times we bring in new customers to merchants where the customer may never have heard of the merchant but because we have a coupon for them they will shop there.

  23. #19
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Prime example:
    Blinds Coupons, Special Offers and Discounts

    I searched blinds coupons in google. If you have your own coupon page and optimize it, even if someone goes off to google to search for a coupon, they find your own coupon page in the listing. The coupon sites in the google results don't get the credit for the sale, you do.

  24. #20
    Affiliate Manager Kush@VMInnovations's Avatar
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    What Brian@ShareASale said, there is an easy fix to this problem. You absolutely don't have to kill off your relationship with all coupon sites, just implement the leapfrog feature that ShareASale offers. Learn more here and here.

    I manually review each transaction to make sure the appropriate affiliate is getting credited but here is what our rule looks like: "Commissioned Click Must be: Less Than or Equal To 3 Minutes ago use oldest contiguous click. Previous Affiliate's Click Must be: Greater Than 3 Minutes ago use oldest contiguous click generate leapfrog transaction"

    Analyze your transaction data, if on average it takes at least 10 minutes to make a purchase set the leapfrog to 7 minutes or whatever makes sense to reward the proper channel.

    Here is what happens: content affiliate referred us a potential customer, that customer is about to purchase but decides to leave the shopping cart to go find a coupon (they usually don't because we hide the coupon box). If the coupon they find is on another affiliates page and they click through that page 2-3 minutes before completing transaction the original content affiliate's cookie will not be overwritten. Because of the leapfrog rule above the content affiliate will earn the credit. Leapfrog rules can be set to specifically protect content/niche affiliates from cart sniping ones.

    You can set several rules to fit your needs and don't burn bridges

    Hope it helps.

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  26. #21
    Affiliate Manager RichRowe's Avatar
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    A final decision has been made.

    Blindsgalore has decided to proceed redeveloping their affiliate program without coupons affiliates. This was a back and forth discussion, but ultimately, it was determined this new direction would better for Blindsgalore.

    This is not a reflection on Coupon Affiliates or anything they did wrong.

    Kush had a great idea and if working to protect affiliates from snipping was the challenge, “ClickStream” would be a great tool to implement. Unfortunately, it was Blindsgalore that was concerned they were crediting affiliates for sales they originally generated.

    This continues to be a topic of discussion and one I hope to continue being a part of on behalf of the affiliates. I look forward to working with affiliates on this new direction.

  27. #22
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    How do you plan to block them if they still list your site? Obviously you are going to boot them from your program but coupon sites want to be the source to look for deals. Are you going to block them from searching your site too?

  28. #23
    Affiliate Manager RichRowe's Avatar
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    I am no longer managing the Affiliate Program at Blindsgalore.

    The recent change in their affiliate program and their pursuit
    of other marketing channels made the decision to move on
    easy to make.

    I enjoy building relationships with affiliates and seeing both
    parties succeed.

    I hope to continue working with many of the great Publishers
    I have met on current and future program launches.

    I wish them continued success in their brand and products.


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