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  1. #1
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Merchant TOS That Make You Say What? ....Huh?
    So I little while ago I saw in my "Review offers pending approval" tab that a fairly well known merchant that has been around for a long time but that I've never before looked at had made me an offer. I looked at the site and saw some good product lines that fit several of my sites, good brand names, decent pricing, and other good stuff, that sort of make up for their really low commission rate (probably why I never considered them before).

    But, then I read through the "Policies" on their Merchant Detail, and I see this:
    Some of our vendors are extremely sensitive about how and where their brand names are marketed, and for this reason have demanded that their products are not marketed on affiliate websites. We take a proactive approach to dealing with this by making sure that these restricted vendor products are never included in our datafeeds, but we also need your help to make sure that you do not market them on your website/s. We value our relationships with these vendors, as we value our relationships with affiliates, and by keeping the list of restricted vendors updated, we hope to avoid losing any business partners. The following list is a small percentage of all our vendors, for a complete list, click here. Please ensure that none of the following vendors are on your websites:
    What followed was a list of several dozen brand names.

    This is ridiculous on several levels. First and foremost, I do not believe for a second that the merchant's vendors have made this restriction. Many, many of these brands are available to promote on hundreds of other merchant sites, and in fact I currently do promote many of the products this merchant offers from some of these vendors, through other merchant affiliate programs. Second, it is asking a whole hell of a lot to expect your hard-working, time-strapped affiliates to check every product before promoting it against some ever-changing list of VERBOTEN brands.

    This is just another bad merchant practice that is making it harder and harder for affiliates to survive. Happily, I do not need this merchant and they certainly do not need me. Never the twain shall meet.

    I'm sure that some of you merchants/ams/opms out there will say this is a perfectly fine restriction and yes, it comes from the vendors. Sorry, the weight of evidence says not so.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I'm sure that some of you merchants/ams/opms out there will say this is a perfectly fine restriction and yes, it comes from the vendors. Sorry, the weight of evidence says not so.
    When I was working for a well known outdoor gear dealer I got a request from Oakley to restrict affiliate sales. As it was one of our Top 5 brands I wrote back that I would be happy to remove it completely from the program. This included previously approved affiliate PPC (their ad spend), take it out of the datafeed and audit all affiliate sites to make sure all references were removed. Sorry that it would significantly impact their sites SEO numbers (this was 2006 and datafeeds were indexed to the merchants site). The next day I received a letter of apology and was asked to restrict just affiliate PPC.

    Yes as an OPM I have had similar situations where the affiliates after establishing market share where required to pull back so the agency marketing the site got better positioning with PPC and SEO. Hound I recommend telling them you are happy to market their competitors as well as competitors as well as spread the word to your 10,000 brethren (and sisteren).

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  4. #3
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    I just looked at the TOS of another merchant, this one I had never heard of. This section under "Non-Commissionable Items" gets today's prize:

    "Offer only valid on orders of $60 or more. Offer valid on orders less than $60 but greater than $45, if and only if a promotion code provided through this program is used. No commission on orders less than $45."
    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]

  5. #4
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    maybe they just need a new affiliate manager

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    This is ridiculous on several levels. First and foremost, I do not believe for a second that the merchant's vendors have made this restriction. Many, many of these brands are available to promote on hundreds of other merchant sites, and in fact I currently do promote many of the products this merchant offers from some of these vendors, through other merchant affiliate programs. Second, it is asking a whole hell of a lot to expect your hard-working, time-strapped affiliates to check every product before promoting it against some ever-changing list of VERBOTEN brands.
    Unfortunately, this actually does happen on the merchant end. A lot of it happens when the initial agreement is made between the merchant and vendor. I do know that some merchants don't have the clout to have this negotiated in their favor. I have had vendors in the past that had it worked into the agreement that we weren't able to promote them.

    In these situations, the merchant's best foot forward would be to not include them in their data feeds, to not give commission on said products, and to CLEARLY communicate from the beginning that situation. I'll stress clear and consistent communication.

    Affiliate managers are rarely in the position to change this from the get-go. It's just the general structure of things. I've had a couple of situations where I was able to prove out to the vendor what they'd be losing out on and that changed their mind, but sometimes it's just out of our hands.
    [SIZE="2"][COLOR="DimGray"][B]Online Marketing Manager[/B] (tom.featherstone at surlatable dot com)[/SIZE]
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  7. #6
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    I get the feeling they know EXACTLY what they are doing...and depend on most of the affiliate sign-ups to NOT read their TOS. In addition, many of today's applicants that do read the (usually) long and arduous "terms" do not understand much of what they read. Heh - just look at the large number of newbies who introduce themselves here where English is, obviously, not their primary language. There are many aff managers who give little (very little) regard to the masses of affiliates.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  8. #7
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    If only we had a network who wouldn't let these kind of TOS stand. In order to be in the networks, the terms must be simple and transparent, no gotchas.

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  10. #8
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Featherstone
    ......I'll stress clear and consistent communication......
    Unfortunately, for far to many affiliate managers, that is called "wishful thinking." Over the past 14 years we have worked with several programs where communication is clear and consistent; however, the majority of programs we deal with have that attribute sadly lacking.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
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  11. #9
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    Post the names up so we can all stop using them. We're always pulling merchants from our network for the very things described in this thread.

  12. #10
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    This is one of my all time favorites:

    We reserve the right to require an initial one-time $500 holdback for our administrative purposes. You must reach a minimum of 200.00 in at least one currency to request payment in connection with your account. Should your account have less than a value of 120 total in your requested payout currency at the end of any pay period following your first pay period of participation in the program, your account balance will be returned zero.
    I asked the AM about that and was told "not to worry about it" and he was surprised I "found" that.

  13. #11
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    I haven't posted in here for forever, but I do drop by to read up if I'm having problems with something to see if I'm the only one - often it turns out I'm not and my questions are answered.

    This GAN migration definitely is keeping things busy, but reading CJ TOS for a merchant that is migrating has me wondering what this is all about. Anybody who can explain?

    "OSP Group may choose to leverage tag container technologies such as but not limited to Tagman, BrightTag, Tealium, etc. to trigger the image pixel based on the “Last Click Attribution” method across OSP Group’s online marketing programs. If enabled, OSP Group will only be paying commission to Publishers for eligible orders as determined by OSP Group"

    Does this now mean things *won't* track at all without the CJ tracking pixels attached? I've been dropping those suckers for years for a number of reasons.

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  15. #12
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elegantplus View Post

    This GAN migration definitely is keeping things busy, but reading CJ TOS for a merchant that is migrating has me wondering what this is all about. Anybody who can explain?

    "OSP Group may choose to leverage tag container technologies such as but not limited to Tagman, BrightTag, Tealium, etc. to trigger the image pixel based on the “Last Click Attribution” method across OSP Group’s online marketing programs. If enabled, OSP Group will only be paying commission to Publishers for eligible orders as determined by OSP Group"
    That's interesting terminology - haven't seen that with any other merchant.

    They are a strange group. Don't know if they're just learning the CJ interface but with several of their programs it was: "You're Approved" > "You're Terminated" > "You're Approved, again" - and ""you're Approved > "You're Terminated". Good thing we don't just rush out and put merchants up all willy-nilly...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  16. #13
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    My team manages 5 programs in CJ. I'm thinking of inserting a easter egg in the terms and rewarding the affiliate that finds it. Maybe a trivia contest, a puzzle or a bribe. First person to find it gets an actual cookie sent to them?

    Wouldn't that be fun? Kidding of course...
    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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  17. #14
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    "OSP Group may choose to leverage tag container technologies such as but not limited to Tagman, BrightTag, Tealium, etc. to trigger the image pixel based on the “Last Click Attribution” method across OSP Group’s online marketing programs. If enabled, OSP Group will only be paying commission to Publishers for eligible orders as determined by OSP Group"
    Had a local affiliate contact me about them with the comment they got from CJ after being deactivated:
    "OSP cannot work with publishers located in Utah. That is the reason why they declined your application."
    Not sure if its a simliar issue to this: http://www.abestweb.com/forums/louis...es-166863.html

    Anyone have a contact for OSP Group?

  18. #15
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Doesn't make sense with us - some of their programs they said yes, some no.

    Well, actually they said yes to all. Then flip-flopped a few times, lol...

    lindsey.martin/@/ospgroup.com
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  19. #16
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    May have spoke too soon.

    Just got terminated for a second time from the same program.

    Heck with them - don't need 'em anyway...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  20. #17
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    OSP Group Brands, will not be able to have relationships with affiliates in States that adopt the Nexus Tax Laws, which are listed below. These Nexus Tax Laws specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers - including but not limited to those referred by affiliates like you - even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state. Arizona Arkansas Colorado Connecticut District of Columbia Georgia Illinois Iowa Kansas Louisiana Maine Minnesota Missouri Nevada North Carolina North Dakota Pennsylvania South Dakota Utah Vermont Virginia.
    We don't have a nexus law in Colorado - sheesh...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  21. #18
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    They don't work with anyone in a Nexus state. They're really, really clear about that. They dropped all affiliates who do overnight a couple of years ago when the NC legislation went through.

    Miraculously my (new: thanks to this migration) contact inside OSP answered my question - although I'm not very happy about the answer.

    It's about activating software to track last click and attribute commissions to those running re-targeting banners (and PPC) - which I don't use but lots of top level domains do: lots. Cookie length is moot if that's how they're going to play. Might as well make it a 3 hour cookie, not a 30 day cookie. And no, I'm not really all that happy about seeding things for their retargeting for free.

    I have been passed off to CJ for my question about the actual tracking pixels issue though. Still waiting to hear from them.
    Last edited by elegantplus; June 20th, 2013 at 05:38 PM.

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  23. #19
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    We don't have a nexus law in Colorado - sheesh...
    Quote Originally Posted by elegantplus View Post
    They don't work with anyone in a Nexus state. They're really, really clear about that.
    BUT conspicuously missing from their list is the great nexus state of California.
    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]

  24. #20
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound View Post
    BUT conspicuously missing from their list is the great nexus state of California.
    Noticed that, too.

    One of their sites must have stores in California?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  25. #21
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    Warehouse maybe? They are a catalog group.

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