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  1. #1
    Member MyDayRegistry's Avatar
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    How To Catch A Coupon Thief
    I recently caught an affiliate on ShareaSale using the notorious "Click Here For Coupon Code" tactic and kicked them out of our program for violation (We prohibit coupon sites) of our T.O.S.

    It got me thinking that there may be other affiliates out there doing the same thing and I was wondering what the best way to perform an audit of my program to ensure that there are not any other affiliates using similar tactics (Coupons, Trademark Bidding, Etc.)?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Best way is to setup a weekly search for merchant +coupon, +discount, +promo, +voucher. Cleaned out over 100 in my top program for adding no value and stuffing cookies when there was no deal.

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  5. #3
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    It's not hard to spot the coupon sites in your program.

    For those where it's not obvious, look at every affiliate driving clicks and figure out how they are promoting your products.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

  6. #4
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyDayRegistry View Post
    I recently caught an affiliate on ShareaSale using the notorious "Click Here For Coupon Code" tactic and kicked them out of our program for violation (We prohibit coupon sites) of our T.O.S.
    Thank You!!!!!!
    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!!

  7. #5
    Member MyDayRegistry's Avatar
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    Thanks Chuck! That's how I found the initial one, but this can't be the only tactic used by coupon sites trying to scam a merchant?

    I also went in and enabled ShareaSale's leap frog and late entrance conditions so the coupon site doesn't get credit.

    Any other ideas?

  8. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I used AvantMetrics for attribution and checked it every day for a month. We also did organic searches to find ex-affiliates who had expired coupons. As Greg commented you need to go through your list of affiliates and find where they have you listed, its called optimization. Ask them to make changes and those that don't respond after two attempts get booted and reported to the network. We prefer to work with affiliates as partners and that means that communication goes both ways.

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  10. #7
    Member MyDayRegistry's Avatar
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    Looks like others are starting to follow suit! Yay, for the affiliates that actually drive the traffic instead of the coupon site that poaches it!

    From CafePress:

    Dear Affiliates,

    We would like to notify all affiliates that we are implementing Leap Frog Personalized Commission Rules to monitor and make sure the correct affiliates are receiving commissions for driving sales. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.
    [B]MyDayRegistry[/B] is an exclusive online registry where you can dedicate and register a specific date by month, day, and year in honor of a special event or person in your life.
    [URL="https://mydayregistry.com/affiliate"]Join Our Program Today![/URL] | [URL="https://www.facebook.com/MyDayRegistry"]FaceBook[/URL] | [URL="https://twitter.com/MyDayRegistry"]Twitter[/URL] | [URL="http://www.youtube.com/MyDayRegistryCom"]YouTube[/URL]

  11. #8
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyDayRegistry View Post
    Looks like others are starting to follow suit! Yay, for the affiliates that actually drive the traffic instead of the coupon site that poaches it!

    From CafePress:
    Dear Affiliates,

    We would like to notify all affiliates that we are implementing Leap Frog Personalized Commission Rules to monitor and make sure the correct affiliates are receiving commissions for driving sales. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.
    From the affiliate side of our business, that, indeed, is good to hear.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  12. #9
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I'm getting very tired of the coupon site bashing that is going on at Abestweb. I've seen thousands of non-coupon affiliate sites that totally are horrible and offer nothing to visitors. At least many of the promotional affiliate sites try to offer something to their visitors other than redundant verbiage designed to trick search engines.

    Please show some respect for members here that offer promotional websites. Sometimes the 'click for coupon' may be just structural limitation in their web design or they feel it's too confusing to have too many names for what the link is -- if it is a "click here for promo" or "click here for coupon" or "click here for free shipping" or "click here if you want to visit the site" ... .or even better... like the non-coupon sites do, just do deceptive linking and embed it in keywords.
    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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  14. #10
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    I agree with leeann. I've been critical of coupon sites in the past but I've evolved to learn how to work with them properly.

    In my experience, coupon sites can deliver an average of 70% new customers. That outweighs the number of sales they close from existing customers. Even then, as my oldest client says, if they close it, leave them alone, obviously I couldn't do it on my own.

    Now, I only work with a handful of coupon affiliates at this point and they are heavily policed. I will not work with the other 99% of them out there.

    Don't bash them until you learn how to work with them the right way.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting


  15. #11
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Thank you akagorilla!
    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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  17. #12
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    stuffing cookies when there was no deal.
    First off, I don't think cookie stuffing works all that much anymore for SEO...also, what do you mean by, when there was no deal?

    The links used are most often whatever the merchants list as promotional. Is "up to 50% off in men's sale department" a deal? Maybe it goes on all year, but to me it is still a deal and it must be to the merchants that keep it listed for affiliates, right?

    So just because somebody goes to one site and sees a shirt with descriptions that was in the merchant's product database then goes to find a coupon and comes across "up to 50% off in men's sale".. and clicks on that and purchases a shirt, then the coupon site is in the wrong? I don't think so...

    The shopper was looking for a deal. The first site did not entice them or they would have clicked through to the merchant while on their 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.

  18. #13
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, there are a lot of coupon sites that will make up deals when there are none active through the network. I get what Chuck is saying. That's why I work close with a small group of coupon sites that listen and obey.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  20. #14
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    A lot of it depends on your program...

    In our case, we did the research and found that when we looked at the top 10 or so coupon/deal sites they were driving a really healthy amount of new customer business as well as reactivating dormant shoppers. They also drove a much higher average order. We made some adjustments to their deal structure to mitigate what we consider to be low value TM + Coupon SEO tactics and found a happy medium with these sites. We continue to monitor the metrics to see what made sense.

    We took a look at some click path data and when we looked at the coupon/deal sites we worked with and whether they jumped on other people's cookies, the huge majority was jumping on other coupon/deal sites cookies.

    I used to have very black and white thinking on this, but there are ways that you can make a coupon/deal site work for you affordably and efficiently.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
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  21. #15
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    What I really do not like is the constant overtones that merchant manipulation of where the final click comes is justifiable. Today, it's the evil coupon thief.. tomorrow it might be the evil price comparison sites...

    Bottom line - Don't like coupon sites? Don't like promotional sites? Don't sign them up.
    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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  23. #16
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    I've seen thousands of non-coupon affiliate sites that totally are horrible and offer nothing to visitors.
    Me too but Google has taken care of some of these sites but not all. But that is another topic for discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    Sometimes the 'click for coupon' may be just structural limitation in their web design....
    Not a valid excuse in my option, sorry. If site owner is going to have websites then the site owner has to know how to code the site or at least pay someone to do it for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    Please show some respect for members here that offer promotional websites. Sometimes the 'click for coupon' may be just structural limitation in their web design or they feel it's too confusing to have too many names for what the link is -- if it is a "click here for promo" or "click here for coupon" or "click here for free shipping" or "click here if you want to visit the site" ... .or even better... like the non-coupon sites do, just do deceptive linking and embed it in keywords.
    If the web owner forces the user to "Click Here" to see a code (and in most cases there is no code), all it does it pops up the merchants site and over right other affiliates cookie, the affiliate doing something dishonest, Since they did not say click here to "visit merchants site" they said click here to "SEE" coupon!!!

    Bottom line in my option if the site owner force a user to click here to see a code (that may or may not exist) and by doing so the site owner pop up the merchants site and over writes other affiliates cookies then the affiliate it steeling commissions from others (no difference from the tool bar affiliates). Just show the code and have a "Click here to go to merchantís site" link would be a more honest way to have a coupon site.

    Again this is just my option but I sure I not the only one with these options.

    Kevin...
    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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  25. #17
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    By the way, MyDayRegistry, I resent seeing this on your affiliate page: Coupon Site Free (We value your hard work!)

    Are you saying that owners of coupon sites do not work hard? The number one reason that non-coupon sites do not like to post coupons is because of the amount of work that it takes to maintain it.

    Do you think it site owners that take a database of products and incorporate that into their websites work harder than coupon sites that take a database of coupons and promotions and incorporate into their website?

    Do you think fake product reviews are of value? Or fake site reviews? Do you think the affiliates offering this type of site works harder and deserves the click?

    Or should it just be the site owners that put up a banner? How about that? Do they deserve the click?

    Shoppers determine what has value - not merchants or affiliates. Stop manipulating clicks.
    Last edited by leeann; January 3rd, 2014 at 03:57 PM.
    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.

  26. #18
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Kevin, deceptive clicks come from all walks of affiliate websites. If you visit ABW, you'd think it just happens with coupon sites. It's getting old.... Ok.. so today the coupon site is the answer to why you are losing sales? What will it be tomorrow? Deceptive linking happens on allllll kinds of sites..not just coupon sites. And not all coupon site owners do that! But if you visit ABW.. you'd think all coupon site owners are thieves. Well, I kinda think manipulating the final click from buyers is deceptive and thief-like...don't you?
    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.

  27. #19
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    The deal is.. it is up to merchants who they agree to affiliate with and if they allow a coupon site, then they shouldn't back track and steal the coupon site's sale just because the buyer clicked from site A to site B that happens to be a coupon site. Sheesh. When did that ever become fair or even legal? Just pay whichever site earned the cookie and end the relationship like a professional.
    Last edited by leeann; January 3rd, 2014 at 04:18 PM.
    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.

  28. #20
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I think the name of this discussion should be "How to Get Attention and Impress ABW Members - Bash a Coupon 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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  30. #21
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    So.... Coupons when used properly are a means to drive new users. This strategy works quite well. You want affiliates who have a large audience and who are willing to give your program a "shout out" to their audience via whatever coupon or special you are currently running.

    It should be pointed out that, when you are trying to get "introduced" to a brand new set of customers, the deal must be really good. You have to get a customer interested enough to spend time investigating your program and then commit to a purchase.

    Coupons are also a useful tool when trying to be price competitive. So, for instance, the manufacturer limits the lowest price that can be displayed on a big ticket item. Say something that needs freight shipping. So, you stick to the lowest price allowed, but also throw in a free shipping coupon that provides a couple hundred dollars more value.

    I personally don't like coupon websites that get between my affiliate website and the final sale, but over time I've warmed to the idea that coupons can be very useful marketing tools.

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  32. #22
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    I'm loving your passion here, Leeann, and I agree with you. Our research has shown that coupon sites add tremendous value to programs, and we do analyze click attribution to identify the true source of the sale. Like Wade and Greg have said, it's a case of chosing the right partners in that area of our industry, constantly monitoring all activity, and if you do, you'll enjoy significant success.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  34. #23
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Easy to lump an affiliate into a group of affiliates - part of that is the outdated profile system on the networks. Times have changed - most of the networks have not.

    That being said, I think the bane here is the "deceptive" practices of a few "coupon" sites. I say "few" because there are only a few that really matter - the rest are cookie cutter script sites.

    We are not a coupon site - but offer coupons. Coupons on a coupon page as well as coupons that are directly applied to the displayed price we show. We show the coupon codes - we don't hide them. On the coupon page you can NOT right click and copy (or view source code, etc), but you can click on the coupon code and a window appears where the visitor can Ctrl+C and when they hit "OK", they go to the merchant's site.

    Is our experience that having the coupon on the product page and applied to the price is more successful than our Coupon page. Since we put up the beta coupon page we haven't had one person go from a product page to the coupon page.

    As mentioned above, about the deceptive coupon sites (and in other threads) just do a search for Zappos Coupons and you'll know EXACTLY who the dirt bags are...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  35. #24
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Cindy Ballard just took 100% credit for my "evolutionary" change on coupon sites.
    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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  37. #25
    Certified Affiliate Manager sunshiner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    Cindy Ballard just took 100% credit for my "evolutionary" change on coupon sites.
    Haha, right. I came into the OPM side as an affiliate of a loyalty site. I also am a coupon user. My advice to merchants, if you don't want coupons to be added, don't have a box on your site for it, no one will go looking for one and you won't lose that sale. If you do have a coupon code box, then work with legitimate coupon sites, lay out the ground rules and make sure they follow them.

    Sometimes it does take a coupon to close the sale, so, would you rather lose a sale for a lousy 10% or so or make the sale through a coupon site? As a merchant you have to decide that. Will it get you new customers? Probably, it at least got you one if a sale was made with that coupon. Studies have also shown that only 10% of a merchants customers will go out and look for a coupon, so they will lose that sale to a coupon site, which in the big scheme of things is no big deal.

    Also, I have a problem with content sites that complain that they are losing sales to coupon sites when they have just as much opportunity to put the merchants coupons on their site too but fail to do so and keep them updated.

    All in all, I do support some coupon sites, others not so much since they don't play fair, but to lump them all as bad is an unfair assessment. The good ones do add value.
    Cindy Ballard, VP of Operations, Greg Hoffman Consulting
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