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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Why Include Deactivated Advertisers in Promotional Links?
    I'm scratching my head over this one and the reason why you let inactive advertisers, especially ones that haven't had a working program for such a long time still let their links be included in promotional feeds? Can you please clean up the promotional feeds to not include advertisers who no longer are offering a working program. I find it annoying when trying to find links and merchants to constantly come across advertisers like "Moab Sports" still having links sneaked into the promotion feeds. This is ridiculous, they have not been active for a very long time!
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  2. #2
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    If a merchant is inactive in any network, their links and datafeeds should be shut down immediately IMO.


  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prosperent View Post
    If a merchant is inactive in any network, their links and datafeeds should be shut down immediately IMO.
    But, since it looks like that's not going to be happening anytime soon...

    I have decided to drop any merchant with a datafeed if I have that merchant products on my site, and that merchant is offline for more than 7 days...

    A week is a very long time to be off-line for any real merchant, but I am just giving the merchants enough time in case they have a real and valid reason to be off-line that long, like another katrina hurricane or similar event...

    It's bad enough as it's to lose tageted traffic to out of stock products, reversals, parasites, empty coupon box by shopping cart, leaks, etc,etc, to also have to deal with dead end merchant links.

    If a merchant don't care about their affiliate program, why should we care about that merchant?

    Just because a merchant may convert when they are online, it's not enough reason to be at the mercy of their bad affiliate program management...

    Even if a network may not let an off-line merchant links go thru, that merchant is still getting free branding by having 100's or 1000's of products links on our individual sites...

    When someone lands on our site looking for Product-X and we send that visitor to a dead end, or to a different or similar product, we may lose that visitor for ever if they come back looking for more products from that same off-line merchant that we have listed on our site, and just because that merchant datafeed was updated while the merchant was still off-line...

    If affiliates are making a lot of sales for a merchant, that merchant is making a lot on money from those affiliates, and while a surge of sales may cause any merchant to be temporarily off-line, the is no reason for that merchant to be more than 72hrs off-line.

    Again, If a merchant don't care about their affiliate program, why should we care about that merchant?


  4. #4
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Glittered,

    Which promotional feed are you referring to? The Deals Database?

    With regards to links - everything does shut down when the Merchant is offline with regards to traffic. There are some tools on ShareASale that you can use to then redirect the "offline" traffic to other Merchants if you would like.
    Thanks,

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

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  6. #5
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    Glittered,

    Which promotional feed are you referring to? The Deals Database?

    With regards to links - everything does shut down when the Merchant is offline with regards to traffic. There are some tools on ShareASale that you can use to then redirect the "offline" traffic to other Merchants if you would like.
    Brian,

    It's good to have that tool to redirect "offline" traffic to other Merchants, but what about this situation:

    merchantID=9576 have been Temporarily Offline since 03/16/2013 (A whole month), but their datafeed while it has not been updated since 2011, it's still available to download by FTP.

    I know that we can quit any merchant at any time, but what good is that available datafeed, if no one is going to make money with it while that merchant is Offline?

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  8. #6
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    Last I looked there were merchants that had been offline for a year or more that still had datafeeds up.

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  10. #7
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Yes, feeds may still be there... I was referring to actual traffic that would be shut off immediately.

    With the feeds... I can see the argument for turning them off but at that same time there are arguments for not turning them off.

    Considering that it is just as easy for an affiliate to disable or ignore a feed based on offline information, at this point in time it is less intrusive for us to continue to show that feed than it would be to turn it off.
    Thanks,

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

  11. #8
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Brian.

    You know - You've turned into a network that could care less what the affiliates need or want.

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  12. #9
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Well, that certainly is not our goal.

    My point with the datafeed was that if we changed that now - and started immediately removing feeds on an offline situation - it would likely cause more harm to Affiliates. Over the years, we have not done that ... and so a change now could possibly cause a lot of problems for Affiliates. Some Affiliates may have scripts that automatically look for feeds daily and if they got a blank it could overwrite their current, etc... As most offline situations are short - I think it would cause more harm than good at this point.

    The links, as I said, stop immediately as it certainly isn't fair to send traffic to an offline Merchant.

    If you feel like there is another situation where we have ignored or could care less about Affiliates, feel free to put them here or email me at brian@shareasale.com - I've always tried to be as responsive as I can and would certainly be happy to discuss anything!
    Thanks,

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

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  14. #10
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    Some Affiliates may have scripts that automatically look for feeds daily and if they got a blank it could overwrite their current, etc... As most offline situations are short - I think it would cause more harm than good at this point.
    I'm one of those affiliates that have a script that automatically look for updated feeds that I am already using...

    And while I may agree that some offline situations may be short and may not worth the hassle of removing and adding those datafeeds on a regular basis, I find it stupid for any affiliate (including me*) to have a dead merchant datafeed on their sites for over a month.

    *I feel stupid for still having that dead mearchat datafeed on one site, but since that directory isn't getting any traffic lately, I have been busy doing something else more important, before deleting that directory and droping that merchant.

    But anyway, a few dead merchants datafeed here and there, will do more harm to a network quality, than to some affiliates sites.

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  16. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy View Post
    Brian.

    You know - You've turned into a network that could care less what the affiliates need or want.
    Brian, being the CEO of a network, is kind enough to participate here which is not the case for any other network here. Kudos for that. But sometimes I do feel that Brian seems to think SAS has figured out every possible existing and future issues. If you report something here, SAS has already addressed it long time back. Sorry if it sounds too sarcastic.

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  18. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    Glittered,

    Which promotional feed are you referring to? The Deals Database?

    With regards to links - everything does shut down when the Merchant is offline with regards to traffic. There are some tools on ShareASale that you can use to then redirect the "offline" traffic to other Merchants if you would like.
    thanks Brian and everyone for the discussion.

    I found this in the "Current My Merchants Deals Database". It's not a huge problem but just a little annoying as I seen merchants who I knew were offline sometime ago like Moab sports and then I see the promotional link thinking "great they are back in business" so I go to get links etc to find that is not the case.

    I just think if a merchant is offline then their links in these feeds should not be included until they come back online. That is just some feedback whether you use it or not that is up to you and I won't lose any sleep over it but glad to see we can all discuss this and have things improved. I also helped with developing this feed to where it is today way back a few years ago when it started from my feedback. So glad to see it is still going strong but was hopeful things like this would have been improved by now that I'm trying to use these tools more lately.....
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  20. #13
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    Is there one good reason why the deals database have links from offline merchants.

    We all know that there is a magic tool to redirect dead links, but why have dead links in the deals database in the first place which is something that do get updated regularly. Its not like its a static database. When a deal from an active merchant expires, doesn't that deal come off the deals database? Shouldn't that be the case when the merchant goes offline?

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  22. #14
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Glittered,

    Thanks for the info - I figured it was the Deals Database you were talking about.

    I would agree that if a Merchant is offline - they should not be able to post new Deals in the feed which then go out to Affiliates via RSS/API/Etc...

    This is a little bit of a different case but I can understand the confusion and problem.

    The deal you are seeing was posted in 2006 but was a "never expiring" coupon... which is why it is still in the feed.

    Essentially there are 2 different issues here:

    A. Allowing a Merchant to post new deals while offline
    B. Continuing to display a past deal when that Merchant is offline.

    "A" I think is an easy one that we can work on here. I don't think it comes up very often ...

    It is a much more common scenario to see "B" and I'll have to think that one through a little bit. There could be ramifications in removing it from a feed (similar to what I explained a little earlier with Datafeeds).
    Thanks,

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

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  24. #15
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    Should be trivial to add a flag to the system that allows an affiliate to turn off offline feeds. I still can't imagine a scenario where an affiliate would ever want an offline merchants feed, but my solution covers both situations. As it stands, an affiliate that works with more than a few merchants needs to monitor everything on their end. Networks are supposed to make our lives easier, not more difficult.

    Prosperent affiliate network.... that does have a nice ring to it.

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  26. #16
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    sam_park,

    We love participating here at ABW and don't worry about sounding too sarcastic! Feedback here at ABW has been instrumental in shaping the product over the years ... I'd much rather have an honest conversation about what you like/don't like - and I'll always to my best to listen and hopefully come up with a solution that works.

    The part that is probably hard to understand is that we get feedback from all kinds of angles. Affiliates, Merchants, OPMs, Vendors, etc... As we are in the middle of all that - it can occasionally be tricky to balance.

    Take for example... PPC Violations. Merchants often ask for us to remove Affiliates immediately when they violation PPC terms... While that is what they wanted - I didn't think it was fair to Affiliates who get caught up in mistakes/misunderstandings... so instead we came up with the PPC 3 Stikes Policy which allowed for balance and was basically a compromise.

    I use that only as an example... but if you feel like I'm not doing everything that is asked here at ABW it isn't that we aren't listening or responding it is more likely that the issue has multiple sides and we need to try to find a solution that is a "positive" for most of them.

    Specifically to your question - "Is there one good reason an offline deal should show up in a feed?" I need to think about it a bit - I am not sure that there is a good reason but I don't want to change something without fully thinking about it. As I mentioned above.. there are thousands and thousands of people using these feeds and over time they get used to the way those feeds are delivered and so making changes does have an effect - even if it seems like an obvious change.

    This specific case is a little unique in that it is a deal posted in 2006 (set to never expire) so there may be more than one scenario that needs looking at... but either way, we'll take a look at it and see if an adjustment should be made in that feed.

    As I told glittered above, I definitely agree that an offline Merchant should not be allowed to post new deals ... While I don't think it is happening often I'll look at it to make sure that we put protections in place so that it doesn't happen.
    Thanks,

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

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  28. #17
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prosperent View Post
    Should be trivial to add a flag to the system that allows an affiliate to turn off offline feeds.
    In what system? The network's or the affiliate's software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prosperent View Post
    I still can't imagine a scenario where an affiliate would ever want an offline merchants feed..
    If the merchant is already on our site, say x,xxx products and goes offline, and the feed is no longer available, most affiliates will delete those x,xxx links causing x,xxx 404 pages. If the merchant comes back online in a short period of time (each affiliate has it's own definition of "short") then the affiliate has to setup that merchant again. We're fortunate because when a merchant goes "Offline" on SAS, we have the ability to prevent outbound links to that merchant - bypassing SAS' offline feature while still having the links on our site therefore, preventing x,xxx 404 errors.

    I think what the issue seems to be is that merchant's need to be cut-off from having any type of feed after a set period of time - 30 days of being offline, for example. I say this for SAS because the majority of SAS merchants do seem to come back online quickly, unlike other networks. CJ, for example, removes feeds from your feed subscription when a merchant is "Deactivated". Affiliates can't get their feeds anymore. When a merchant on CJ is "Reactivated", if ever, the affiliate has to add their feed back to their feed subscription. I personally prefer the CJ method - even though it's far from perfect itself...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  29. #18
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    The flag would need to be on the network side. An option to not include feeds from offline merchants. You could just as easily offer affiliate the ability to not allow merchants that have been offline for more than X days or whatever. Simple db query would do it. I agree that not including merchants that have been offline for a few hours/days would be an issue for some affiliates, but a merchant that has been offline for a month or a year is another story. The solution I described, if implemented at the network level takes care of all of these situations.

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  31. #19
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    And while on the subject of "Promotional" links. An expiration date should be mandatory and nothing over 30 days out. It's not a "promotion" if it never ends...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  33. #20
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    That's an issue on all of the networks. We have to do a ton of processing on both coupons and promotional links because of this.

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