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  1. #1
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    Question about incentivized sites
    Hi,

    Not sure if this is the right forum for this.

    I keep seeing that a lot of merchants refuse to deal with sites that offer incentives to their viewers, list subscribers, etc.

    Can someone explain to me why they dislike this method of marketing.

    Thanks


    Michelle

  2. #2
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    There's always a question about whether the consumer is truly interested in the product, or merely wants the incentive. There are people out there who will fill out any form for 5 cents, etc.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  4. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    And have several over the years that gamed my programs after looking for a weakness in the purchase path. Michelle if you are running into resistance then you need to solicit the AM/OPM directly. I had a web designer from India who wanted to create a niche site for a merchant but wouldn't communicate directly. That is a read flag and if you were to approach me I would first vet you and want to have a phone conversation.

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  6. #4
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    Sorry for the delay. I never got any e-mail notice you guys had responded. Not good.

    So Jeannine you are saying there's a high rate of refund?

    And the merchant can't then up/cross sell other products down the road because there's no interest?

    Chuck - This is my client's site, not mine, but this is what I'm in charge of. Signing up all merchants.

    I unfortunately have no control over anything

    I was just wondering why the terms sometimes mentioned this.

    It's not a huge deal because while I'm still weeding my way through all the e-mails, I'm sure I got them close to 2,000 merchants, but they want big names & many declined us.

    Anyway, thanks for clearing some of that up for me.


    Michelle

  7. #5
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  8. #6
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    Thanks, I posted.

  9. #7
    Affiliate Manager NickNap's Avatar
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    Jeannine and Chuck are absolutely correct in that incentive-based traffic can be hazardous for many merchants and it's not surprising to see many simply adopt a 'no-incentive' policy. However, it should be noted that there are many different types of incentive traffic. If you are an incentive affiliate, and the merchant whose offer you'd like to run has a blanket policy of 'no incentive traffic', it's worth contacting them to discuss options. With the right structure, incentive traffic can be an excellent source of new customers for merchants.

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  11. #8
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    When it is a lead gen merchant program, the quality of the leads can definitely suffer when the traffic is incentivized. People are willing to endure filling out a form for anything, if it earns them a free cow on Farmville, for example. Depending on the source of the traffic, I've also seen huge sales using fake credit cards made by people who were instantly rewarded with free virtual currency, etc.

    I usually will consider soft incent sites depending on the merchant, but I rarely work with hard incent sites. If an affiliate ever generates poor quality traffic, they are removed from the program immediately and their commissions are reversed. A great deal depends on how the traffic is attracted to the site, and what the incent is - free games or gambling, no thanks. 1% cash back or vitual cash back, worth considering.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  12. #9
    Affiliate Manager NickNap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCrooks - AffiliateWindow View Post
    When it is a lead gen merchant program, the quality of the leads can definitely suffer when the traffic is incentivized. People are willing to endure filling out a form for anything, if it earns them a free cow on Farmville, for example. Depending on the source of the traffic, I've also seen huge sales using fake credit cards made by people who were instantly rewarded with free virtual currency, etc.
    No doubt. There's no lack of horror stories involving incentive traffic, which is why so many merchants have simply given up on all of it. I can't blame them. If it is allowed, the merchant definitely needs the right types of validation and verification services in place for protection along with vigilant management and analysis. If their system will accept bogus leads or fake credit cards, they should probably evaluate that aside from issues around traffic source, but I would definitely advise they do not take any sort of incentive traffic. (An image of matches and powder-kegs comes to mind.)

    Overall, I'm also not a big fan of incentive traffic. I have way too much experience managing it and it definitely creates headaches. But then I look at merchants like Netflix, who we managed a ton of incentive-based traffic for and it worked real well for them.

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  14. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    There are different definitions of what constitutes an 'incentive' site but generally speaking in this context we're talking about sites that pay online users to click on ads or complete surveys, etc. - which means they're sending traffic sure, but not targeting the right audience. Most Ecommerce companies are not looking to pay for ads to be shown to those just looking to make money for viewing or clicking on an ad. And with those types of systems and the technologies that power them there's just too much room for fraud with very little return on investment in a lot of cases when considering the amount of time to test/police/analyze those traffic sources on a regular basis to keep the program clean and on track.

  15. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCrooks - AffiliateWindow View Post
    When it is a lead gen merchant program, the quality of the leads can definitely suffer when the traffic is incentivized. People are willing to endure filling out a form for anything, if it earns them a free cow on Farmville, for example. Depending on the source of the traffic, I've also seen huge sales using fake credit cards made by people who were instantly rewarded with free virtual currency, etc.

    I usually will consider soft incent sites depending on the merchant, but I rarely work with hard incent sites. If an affiliate ever generates poor quality traffic, they are removed from the program immediately and their commissions are reversed. A great deal depends on how the traffic is attracted to the site, and what the incent is - free games or gambling, no thanks. 1% cash back or vitual cash back, worth considering.
    .

    I think their model is cash back after ordering.

    No one has answered my questions in my post to Jeannine

  16. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-Gazer View Post
    There are different definitions of what constitutes an 'incentive' site but generally speaking in this context we're talking about sites that pay online users to click on ads or complete surveys, etc. - which means they're sending traffic sure, but not targeting the right audience. Most Ecommerce companies are not looking to pay for ads to be shown to those just looking to make money for viewing or clicking on an ad. And with those types of systems and the technologies that power them there's just too much room for fraud with very little return on investment in a lot of cases when considering the amount of time to test/police/analyze those traffic sources on a regular basis to keep the program clean and on track.
    Yes, but I wasn't thinking about filling out surveys. I don't even think those merchants exist on CJ, SAS, LS & LC although I could be wrong.

    I don't review every single merchant I sign them up for, but when I do, I don't see that.

    These are regular "pay for purchases" affiliate programs.


    Michelle

  17. #13
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Think you totally missed the point on my post.

    It is one of the answers to your question that started this thread...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  19. #14
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by affiliateresearch View Post
    I keep seeing that a lot of merchants refuse to deal with sites that offer incentives to their viewers, list subscribers, etc.
    Can someone explain to me why they dislike this method of marketing.
    Geno Prussakov, CEO & Founder of AM Navigator – an award-winning OPM agency [plus read more] ... Wrote about this topic in a blog post:
    Incentive or Loyalty Affiliates - Definition and Specifics « Affiliate Marketing Blog by Geno Prussakov

    In a nutshell, this says it all but read the entire blog post:
    "Many incentive/loyalty affiliates are known for using cookie-overwriting toolbars, forcing clicks, and engaging in other unethical behavior."
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
    Twitter me

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  21. #15
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by affiliateresearch View Post
    Yes, but I wasn't thinking about filling out surveys. I don't even think those merchants exist on CJ, SAS, LS & LC although I could be wrong.

    I don't review every single merchant I sign them up for, but when I do, I don't see that.

    These are regular "pay for purchases" affiliate programs.


    Michelle
    Hi Michelle.

    Your original question was:
    I keep seeing that a lot of merchants refuse to deal with sites that offer incentives to their viewers, list subscribers, etc.

    Can someone explain to me why they dislike this method of marketing.
    The reason many merchants (and Affiliate Managers) prefer not to work with affiliates who are classified under those who generate "incentivized traffic", is for the reasons stated above by myself and the others. In short the traffic is untargeted, and does not typically create much sales lift or additional revenue for the merchant, in addition to the fact it tanks their conversion rates. Add that to the fraud that exists within that type of traffic and as Jeannine mentioned, in lead gen particularly, the disadvantages can far outweigh the advantages all around.

    As for your earlier question to Jeannine, refunds is less the issue and more the fact that the sale never actually occurs. Though fraudulent sales is a whole other issue in online marketing I wouldn't say it's the reason most of us prefer not to work with the vast majority of incentivized traffic sources.

    I hope that along with all the other information from the above members, answers all your questions.

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