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  1. #1
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Leaks, Leaks, Leaks
    Merchants are you aware of the leaks on your websites?

    Do you know what a leak is?

    Do you care?

    A leak is a traffic leak to an affiliate. We send you traffic, and your visitor clicks on links that take them off of your site. To your affiliates, this is bad.

    Types of leaks?

    • Adwords/PPC ads
    • UpFront Badges
    • ShowWiki Badges
    • Reviews on/Links to Amazon
    • Links to sister sites where cookies do not track across domains


    Merchants, you have to more respect for your affiliates...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  2. #2
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    a) Yes we care conversion rates
    b) We're focused on building our brand and optimizing overall conversion rate. I would be much more concerned with a poor shopping cart and site navigation than the presence of some external links (obviously, it depends on the link and its placement). Sometimes, the presence of a badge, even though it has an external link, can raise trust enough to be a net positive for conversion. That's good for affiliates too.

    My suggestion: ask your merchants about their conversion rates.
    Last edited by Nathan Grimm; April 15th, 2013 at 11:04 AM. Reason: slight formatting

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  4. #3
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Grimm View Post
    a) Yes we care conversion rates
    b) We're focused on building our brand and optimizing overall conversion rate. I would be much more concerned with a poor shopping cart and site navigation than the presence of some external links (obviously, it depends on the link and its placement). Sometimes, the presence of a badge, even though it has an external link, can raise trust enough to be a net positive for conversion. That's good for affiliates too.

    My suggestion: ask your merchants about their conversion rates.
    Regardless of a merchant's current conversion rate, removing leaks should show an improvement in AFFILIATE conversions.

    As affiliates we need to be concerned about all of the above and about a thousand potential issues that you didn't mention. But just because a merchant has a poor shopping cart doesn't mean that we should ignore the other problems that could limit our incomes. Yes, I want all of these problems fixed when I'm promoting a merchant. THIS IS NOT A HOBBY!

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; April 15th, 2013 at 02:48 PM.
    "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

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    yes, i want all of these problems fixed when i'm promoting a merchant. This is not a hobby!
    +1

  6. #5
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Do you know what a leak is?

    Do you care?

    A leak is a traffic leak to an affiliate. We send you traffic, and your visitor clicks on links that take them off of your site. To your affiliates, this is bad.

    Types of leaks?

    • Adwords/PPC ads
    • UpFront Badges
    • ShowWiki Badges
    • Reviews on/Links to Amazon
    • Links to sister sites where cookies do not track across domains


    Merchants, you have to more respect for your affiliates...
    I need to ask!

    Do you consider FB and T as leaks too?

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    THIS IS NOT A HOBBY!

    -rematt
    It's not a hobby for merchants either and with conversion rates, merchants have more incentive to improve than affiliates.

    My company spends a lot of resources on conversion rate optimization. We make statistically based conversion rate improvements. Our main websites have 2 maybe 3 outbound links on the store and they're all in the footer.

  8. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Nathan, its fairly easy to set the site a consumer sees when referred by an affiliate as different from one say from your PPC ads. Ask the network about pushing a referer in the redirect URL where your webmaster can suppress AdSense, Social links, Toll Free Numbers, Live Chat, etc.

  9. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal View Post
    I need to ask!

    Do you consider FB and T as leaks too?
    No, because if someone is shopping and gets distracted by a FB/Twitter link, then they should probably be put to sleep as they have no business using electronics...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  10. #9
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Nathan, this thread isn't about merchants that have "2 maybe 3 outbound links" in the footer. It's about merchants that have Adsense on every page, links to sister sites that affiliates aren't compensated for and in some cases their own affiliate links. If a merchant can't make money selling the products that are on their site, they should possibly reconsider being a merchant and most definitely reconsider having an affiliate program. If they find that affiliate traffic has value to them in other ways, then they should look for ways to fairly compensate those affiliates.

    An affiliate program is an agreement between affiliate and merchant that says that I will send you qualified traffic in exchange for a commission when that traffic results in a sale within agreed upon guidelines. Merchants don't have carte blanche to use our traffic however they please. Having an affiliate program means that they understand and adhere to the rules that we've mutually agreed on. The most important rule of an affiliate program is that affiliate traffic is to be used how it was intended; to improve the chance of the affiliate earning a commission for qualified business. Why else do you think we send a merchant traffic? How many affiliates do you think would sign up for a program if they knew in advance that the merchant intended to use their traffic for non-affiliate related business?

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; April 15th, 2013 at 06:52 PM.
    "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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  12. #10
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    rematt, I was responding to the original post which was a general question to merchants and the follow up post that implied that merchants don't have an incentive to improve conversion. I generally find that it's more productive to talk specifics (what's on my sites) than to complain about the crappy half of the internet, which probably isn't reading this forum anyway.

    No affiliate should work with the type of merchant you described. In fact, one of my sites has some glaring problems and I steer affiliates away from it and don't recruit for it.

  13. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Grimm View Post
    No affiliate should work with the type of merchant you described. In fact, one of my sites has some glaring problems and I steer affiliates away from it and don't recruit for it.
    I can attest to that, just today Nathan and I exchanged emails about his site with the glaring problems...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  14. #12
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Grimm View Post
    rematt, I was responding to the original post which was a general question to merchants and the follow up post that implied that merchants don't have an incentive to improve conversion.
    I'm sorry, quoting my post threw me off .

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; April 15th, 2013 at 07:29 PM.
    "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

  15. #13
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    No problem. I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't defending merchants with crappy sites but sharing how my company views "leaks" and conversion rate optimization.

  16. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Just to be ornery -

    Leaks are leaks are leaks. A merchant can have a nice conversion rate with leaks on a site - but there's no arguing that without leaks the conversion rate would be better.

    And - the affiliate wouldn't be sending "Free" traffic...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  18. #15
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    What about the example I stated above? A badge about an award or certification, which does have a link, but also increases trust so that the increased conversion outweighs the clicks lost through the few users who clicked on the badge?

    Same can be true of social media. What if by liking a social media profile, the user buys more product during the cookie lifespan than they would have otherwise?

    I know these are different from the examples you listed in your first post and that there are many many examples of "leaks" that should be "plugged." I just wouldn't agree with a blanket statement that every outbound link results in less money for affiliates (and merchants).

  19. #16
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Grimm View Post
    What about the example I stated above? A badge about an award or certification, which does have a link, but also increases trust so that the increased conversion outweighs the clicks lost through the few users who clicked on the badge?

    Same can be true of social media. What if by liking a social media profile, the user buys more product during the cookie lifespan than they would have otherwise?

    I know these are different from the examples you listed in your first post and that there are many many examples of "leaks" that should be "plugged." I just wouldn't agree with a blanket statement that every outbound link results in less money for affiliates (and merchants).
    The badge is a link to another affiliate - doesn't instill trust in any AFFILIATE other than the badge creator.

    Don't consider social links a leak...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  20. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    The badge is a link to another affiliate - doesn't instill trust in any AFFILIATE other than the badge creator.

    Don't consider social links a leak...
    You're saying that, in that specific case, even if your conversion increased and your EPC, orders, sales increased, it doesn't instill any trust? It's very likely that any person who clicks on the badge and doesn't convert back on the original site wasn't going to convert in the first place.

    On the flip side, what if a merchant, who does currently have a badge, removes the badge on their site and their conversion dips? Does that now decrease your "trust" in a merchant because you're seeing less conversions and thus lower commissions?
    [SIZE="2"][COLOR="DimGray"][B]Online Marketing Manager[/B] (tom.featherstone at surlatable dot com)[/SIZE]
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  21. #18
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Featherstone View Post
    You're saying that, in that specific case, even if your conversion increased and your EPC, orders, sales increased, it doesn't instill any trust? It's very likely that any person who clicks on the badge and doesn't convert back on the original site wasn't going to convert in the first place.

    On the flip side, what if a merchant, who does currently have a badge, removes the badge on their site and their conversion dips? Does that now decrease your "trust" in a merchant because you're seeing less conversions and thus lower commissions?
    I'm saying that I would never know either side if I don't promote that merchant because of the badge. Not saying it's a 100% killer. Just don't like the badges.

    How would we, as affiliates, know if the badge helps or hinders conversions? We can't do A/B testing, we have to trust the merchant. The trust is already in question just with a link to another affiliate on the site.

    Logic prevails that since it's a leak to ANOTHER AFFILIATE that anyone sending traffic to a merchant with such a badge risks losing a sale to that badge affilliate.

    I understand merchants feel the need to get the highest rate of conversion - rightfully so. But not at the potential expense of affiliates...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  23. #19
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    A badge to another affiliate site, another merchant site is considered a leak. The merchant is free to try all kinds of badges, links and what not when they generate the traffic themselves.

    They don't own the traffic that an affiliate sends them after working his a$$ off. Just disable the experimentation with badges/links when the traffic is from an affiliate.

    As Rematt said on this thread, we do it for a living not as a hobby.
    Last edited by sam_park; April 16th, 2013 at 03:15 PM.


  24. #20
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    I'm sorry, quoting my post threw me off .

    -rematt
    This wasn't an apology, it was intended as sarcasm. I must be losing my touch.

    Regardless of a merchant's conversion rate, removing leaks can ONLY improve it from an affiliates standpoint. And yes, even a merchant with a great conversion rate would be removed if they have leaks. I don't have time to manage every merchant that I promote and leaks on a merchant site are indicative of either poor management or lack of integrity; neither of which I want to work with.

    -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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  26. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    This wasn't an apology, it was intended as sarcasm.
    Good to know.

    Not sure if I have much to add except to say, I'm sure if any of the affiliates who've been posting in this thread showed a specific link that ticks them off to any of the managers posting in this thread, the manager would agree.

    I wouldn't link out to another affiliate or merchant from my stores because I can't imagine a situation where it would help convert visitors. I would include links to social media profiles, and possibly badges like TrustE or EPA Green Power Partner because.

    Quote Originally Posted by convergence View Post
    ow would we, as affiliates, know if the badge helps or hinders conversions? We can't do A/B testing
    Which is why I would suggest that affiliates measure how merchants convert for them overall.

  27. #22
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Sometimes less is more!

    If I am going to buy someting on the net because I saw it on TV or just because I heard about it anywhere else, I may use a SE to find a link to that something that I may want to buy right now!

    Step one:
    Type something on the SE box...

    Step two:
    Look at the results from that SE...

    Step Three:
    Decide on what search result link I click first...

    Step four:
    Regardless of what link I click first or last from that SE results page, is not the deciding point from where I may buy that something...

    Step five:
    Once I land on a page that have that something that I am ready to buy now, and have a price that I am willing to pay at that moment...

    If I find any other link on that page to that something related to that something that I am ready to buy now, that link may or may not encourage me to buy that something right now...

    Why?

    Here are just some reasons why I might get distracted from the original ready to buy link:

    1 - I'm ready to buy now, but I see an empty coupon box there, so I may open a new window in order to find a coupon somewhere else and save some money before I enter my CC#...

    2 - I'm ready to buy now, but I see a review link there, so I may open a new window in order to read what other people say about that something before I enter my CC#...

    3 - I'm ready to buy now, but I may see some misleading ads like PPC ads, and other ads with a cheaper price listed on those ads, so I may click on any of those links in order to save some money before I enter my CC#...

    4 - I'm ready to buy now, but I may see a FB link in there, and since FB is so famous, I may click on that FB link before I enter my CC#...

    5 - I'm ready to buy now, but I may see a link to a famous badge to the BBB or another whatever BS (badge) before I enter my CC# and...

    ------------------------

    I understand that sometimes we all may throw a lot of shit at the wall and see what stick on...

    But, if I have to decide between letting a merchant throwing my targeted links at the wall, or me throwing that specific merchant links at the wall, the choice should be obvious...

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  29. #23
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Grimm View Post
    Good to know.

    Not sure if I have much to add except to say, I'm sure if any of the affiliates who've been posting in this thread showed a specific link that ticks them off to any of the managers posting in this thread, the manager would agree.

    I wouldn't link out to another affiliate or merchant from my stores because I can't imagine a situation where it would help convert visitors. I would include links to social media profiles, and possibly badges like TrustE or EPA Green Power Partner because.
    I think you're missing the REAL leaks, Nathan.

    "We're listed on ShopWiki" IS the leak.

    The Upfront badge IS the leak, not EPA Green Power Partner, not TrustE (unless they have links to purchase products).

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Grimm View Post
    Which is why I would suggest that affiliates measure how merchants convert for them overall.
    No. You can no longer trust the merchant. If the merchant touts a 3% conversion rate with leaks on their page you can be damn sure that their conversion rate WILL be higher without the leaks...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  31. #24
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    FB and T are both leaks.

    Since everyone is marketing through social media, many people have learned that social media sites often have deals.

    The sales flow looks as follows:

    The affiliate sends a customer to the merchant. The customer clicks on the T. They find a coupon link and click again. The coupon link overwrites the affiliate cookie, cutting the affiliate out.

    Things get even worse when a merchant uses a FB or T widgets. If the social media department tweeted a coupon code, it would show in the widget. So a single click from the merchant page steals the commission.

    It is not that difficult to display a different header if a user has an affiliate cookie.

    If I were a merchant, I would go as far as to create landing pages for affiliates that had no outbound links so as to increase the conversion rate.


  32. #25
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    Cool
    I am glad that someone pointed out. Often in the course of getting more money from the program, the site owners ignore these leaks. But the fact is that it tends to reduce the stay time of the visitors on your site, which in long term, is quite harmful, depleting the statistical parameters of your site.

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