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  1. #1
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Coupon Sites
    Just downloaded this one and haven't read yet. Sure to be controversial!

    Latest case study by Commission Junction 'Why You Shouldn't Ignore Coupon Sites' http://engage.valueclick.com/CouponStudy-ThankYou.html

  2. #2
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    I, like a lot of other affiliates, build a coupon site several years ago(2007?). It was powered by GoldenCan and did well with almost zero work. Now, I hate it and want to run a cheese grader covered with gasoline across my face everytime I have to login and do something with it. I mention this because yesterday I set out to sell it and now your timing with this PDF/post.

    I'm surprised that Commission Junction would be encouraging coupon code sites, but then again I'm not.

  3. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I have done a wholesale cleaning out of coupon sites in the last six months as 99% don't add value and don't keep codes up to date. I work with a few who work directly with me. There may have been some SEO value for the merchant to have so many merchant pages but Google reindexing killed those off.

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  5. #4
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Personally, I cannot wait until the last Coupon site shuts down, but it will be some time before merchants realize that they add no value and in fact in most cases are steeling commission from the merchants directly as well as other affiliates.

    Merchants need to display the coupon codes directly on their sites so shoppers do not leave their site and go looking for one or better yet remove the coupon box all together!!

    Again Coupon sites add no value!!!!
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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  7. #5
    Member Prosperent's Avatar
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    At minimum, attribution models need to be in place that give less credit to coupon sites that snipe the sale at the last second.

    The issue isn't going to go away unless the incentive to do it is removed in the first place.

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  9. #6
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    If their was no coupon box at checkout their would be no issue, shoppers only go looking for coupon when they have already decided to buy at the posted price and only go looking when they see the coupon code box. Makes no since for a merchant to give a discount when the person has already decided to select the products and checkout.

    Post a percent off discount direct on the merchants site may help to get the person to the checkout process but offering a discount after the person has decided to buy makes no since.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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  11. #7
    Affiliate Manager Kush@VMInnovations's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    Again Coupon sites add no value!!!!
    Respectfully disagree. Yes majority of them are junk and add no value but there are always exceptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prosperent View Post
    At minimum, attribution models need to be in place that give less credit to coupon sites that snipe the sale at the last second.
    If a coupon site is sniping a sale they should get no credit = $0 commission for $0 value.

    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    If their was no coupon box at checkout their would be no issue, shoppers only go looking for coupon when they have already decided to buy at the posted price and only go looking when they see the coupon code box.
    Not always true. We don't show a coupon box during checkout - yet people still go searching for them. Some potential customers are just going to search for coupon or cash-back regardless. That's when attribution kicks in - like ShareASale leapfrog.

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  13. #8
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    I can see coupon sites closing sales that may not have otherwise happened. But some standards should be in place for coupon sites. The: "Click Here to View Coupon" bulls#%t would be step one. Certainly a reduced commission would be in order also.

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  15. #9
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    I do not understand how a coupon can close a sale when the shopper has already picked their products and started the checkout process. The only reason they go looking for the discount code is because the merchant has a coupon box on the checkout page.

    I do agree that merchants should not allow the coupon site to force a visitor "Click Here" to see the discount (in most cases there is no code) but allows the affiliate to steal the commission. Networks should BAN affiliate who promote coupons that do not exist at least the merchants should drop them.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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  17. #10
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I do agree that merchants should not allow the coupon site to force a visitor "Click Here" to see the discount (in most cases there is no code) but allows the affiliate to steal the commission. Networks should BAN affiliate who promote coupons that do not exist at least the merchants should drop them.
    I agree and spend a lot of time policing this. Most networks don't monitor coupon sites and could care less as they get paid either way.

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  19. #11
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    In our new program we are not accepting couponers at all. We don't want ANY form of sniping to overwrite any of our affiliates' cookies. We do have a coupon field in the CART but we offer coupons on the site (as an incentive to sign up for our email list).

    There may be (there actually are a few) coupon sites with coupons for our brand. However they can't hurt any of our affs - because those sites are not in our program and cannot place a cookie.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  21. #12
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    We don't want ANY form of sniping to overwrite any of our affiliates' cookies. We do have a coupon field in the CART but we offer coupons on the site (as an incentive to sign up for our email list).
    Yes the way you handle coupons works, you just need to make sure your affiliates do not post the coupon on their sites. That may become an issue down the read.

    I also seen merchants with a top banner on their site displaying a discount coupon if you order today, this is type of coupon works great as well. It gets people to buy right away and they do not have to leave the site to find a code.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  22. #13
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    There may be (there actually are a few) coupon sites with coupons for our brand. However they can't hurt any of our affs - because those sites are not in our program and cannot place a cookie.
    So where are they getting the coupon code from??
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  23. #14
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kush@VMInnovations View Post
    Not always true. We don't show a coupon box during checkout - yet people still go searching for them. Some potential customers are just going to search for coupon or cash-back regardless. That's when attribution kicks in - like ShareASale leapfrog.
    Make so since to look for a coupon if their is no coupon box, cannot be that many people out their doing this.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  24. #15
    OPM Yocheved's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    I do not understand how a coupon can close a sale when the shopper has already picked their products and started the checkout process. The only reason they go looking for the discount code is because the merchant has a coupon box on the checkout page.
    I don't disagree that coupon sites provide little value but you can't discount the possibility that some MAY help close sales. Just because the shopper has already picked their products and started the checkout does not mean they will complete the checkout... There's a whole shopping cart abandonment recovery industry built around that very concept...

    Coupon sites are a stark example of what's wrong with the networks' standard attribution model. I think the next step for affiliate networks has to be either a reworking of their attribution model, or an allowance for custom models.

  25. #16
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    This segment was on Sunday Morning on CBS yesterday. Found it very interesting on exactly this topic.

    The Science of Sales

    (Sorry, I had trouble getting it to play, but I hope it works for you!)
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  26. #17
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    Great article from CJ....Said no one ever lol!

    I'm actually going through this with a merchant right now and have read a few great threads on ABestWeb regarding this very topic, but can't seem to find it.

    I've long ago dropped every merchant on CJ so can't speak for them, but I know ShareaSale has a great time sensitive "LeapFrog" last link rule that merchants can implement, but it still leaves much to be desired. I've also seen a lot of merchants dropping coupon site commission rates which is great, but I would love to see a rule on ShareaSale that gives the previous referrer the difference in the commission if it's within X amount of time.

    As a merchant and an affiliate I have a unique perspective on this topic and have found that it really depends on the type of products your selling. If you have a unique product that someone is unable to get anywhere else then there is no reason to include coupon sites in your program. They offer zero value and erode the efforts of your affiliates that are actually driving traffic to your site. With that said, EVERYONE wants a deal and I agree with CJ's assessment that when people see the discount box they do look for a coupon code they can you use. This is when a coupon code across the top of a merchants site can be extremely effective to close the sale.

    On the other hand if a merchant is selling a product that many other merchants sell the competition is fierce and a coupon code can make all the difference in the world when it comes to closing the sale. This is when a merchant should use the "LeapFrog" rules and protect the efforts of their affiliates as best they can.

    It would be great if ShareaSale showed all the referrers that resulted in the sale so the merchant could see each affiliate that had a part in the transaction. This way the commission could be distributed proportionately to the effort each affiliate put into the sale.
    Last edited by UGIB; December 16th, 2013 at 10:23 PM. Reason: spelling

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  28. #18
    Full Member asr_guy's Avatar
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    made up or taken from elsewhere
    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    So where are they getting the coupon code from??
    That is not relevant - by the time they hit the site (get stuffed) or click the "reveal coupon" button, the cookie is dropped.

    I've seen coupon sites with no coupons, fake coupons, expired coupons, miss-spelled coupons, and heck even valid coupons - as long as they get the commission they don't care. I'm not saying all coupon sites are bad but it's costly trying to weed out any good ones, assuming you feel it's +ROI having coupon sites as affiliates at all.

    -Peter
    [URL=http://www.typoassassin.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=forum&utm_content=p&utm_campaign=sig]Are these affiliates stealing from you?[/URL]

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  30. #19
    Full Member asr_guy's Avatar
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    I think the CJ article is pretty fluffy and although it has lots of stats, it doesn't answer the question "is it better to have a coupon program or not?" or "when it makes sense to have a coupon program". Not sure why they published it but I suspect it's due to a decline in merchant support for coupon sites.

    I agree with UGIB above that as a merchant it depends.

    We recently launched an affiliate program and as we have a unique offering we have no need for some site that leeches traffic from our brand.

    We have explicitly stated in our terms that coupon sites are not allowed. Some sites that are not even in our program are trying to rank for keywords like "[our brand] coupon" - just to get traffic.

    Another affiliate we watch out for are the "context affiliate networks" that are 2-tier affiliates who have 1000's of their own publishers (= affiliates). These networks don't police their affiliates that well and we are not convinced that it's worth having them as affiliates either. Some allow for publisher exclusion but it's sometimes a lot of work to find these bad publishers (e.g. using fake coupon codes) let alone determine their publisher ids, as they cloak their links using obfuscated javascript etc.

    It's bs tactics like this that re-assure us that we have no need for coupon affiliates.

    As for the argument that "price sensitive vendors with overlapping products risk losing sales if they don't have coupons", I feel that is also a weak argument. If your market is so price sensitive then here's a suggestion: add more value to your product AND drop your price. No need for a coupon box.

    -Peter
    [URL=http://www.typoassassin.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=forum&utm_content=p&utm_campaign=sig]Are these affiliates stealing from you?[/URL]

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  32. #20
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Coupon sites add no value to whom? They certainly help out the consumer. I seriously doubt that anyone here can tell me in all honesty that they shop online without trying find extra savings with an online coupon. And if by chance you are one among a small few who don't, then you are obviously OK with leaving money on the table. I use coupon codes all of the time when I shop or travel. The merchants that don't offer them, don't get my sale.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  33. #21
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Actually, if you are a content site and you do not let your visitors know about a coupon that a merchant is offering, then you are cheating your visitor out of potential savings. If they go to search for one because you do not offer that service, so be it...
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  34. #22
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    Coupon sites add no value to whom? They certainly help out the consumer. I seriously doubt that anyone here can tell me in all honesty that they shop online without trying find extra savings with an online coupon. And if by chance you are one among a small few who don't, then you are obviously OK with leaving money on the table. I use coupon codes all of the time when I shop or travel. The merchants that don't offer them, don't get my sale.
    I don't think anyone is arguing that a coupon doesn't add value to the customer. The discussion is whether or not the coupon site has earned the commission if the actual traffic was sent by another affiliate.

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  36. #23
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    Actually, if you are a content site and you do not let your visitors know about a coupon that a merchant is offering, then you are cheating your visitor out of potential savings. If they go to search for one because you do not offer that service, so be it...
    This is also irrelevant and you've actually pointed out why your logic is flawed. If everyone checks for the best coupons regardless of the coupon being offered (Which I do) then it doesn't matter if the content site offers the coupon or not.

    Also, as a content marketer I can positively say that I do not have the time to keep up with every merchants flavor of the month. Yes, I've also tried in datafeeds, but just like you pointed out the customer always checks for a better coupon.

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  38. #24
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    If it adds value to shoppers, how can you argue that it hasn't earned the commission? Content sites need to stop the whine and start offering the savings, but that it too labor intensive for most so they'd rather boohoo that a coupon site took the click. What actually happens is that shoppers go to find additional savings when the site that they are on fails to provide the information.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  39. #25
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    You win some, you lose some. That's the nature of this business. Coupon sites also lose out to other coupon sites all of the time. That's how it goes. And if you don't think coupon sites don't earn their keep, then either you've never had coupons on your site or you have zero concept of what it takes to keep those sites up. I find it amazing that so many people resent coupon sites instead of using it as a learning tool as to how to close a sale on their own site.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

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