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  1. #1
    Member chris7530's Avatar
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    Great idea: 'noindex' coupon site's brand pages
    Great idea from this blog post: 5 Huge Mistakes with Coupons for Affiliate Programs and Merchants - Adam Riemer Marketing

    about requiring coupon sites to add the 'noindex' meta tag to the brand pages to keep them out of the google index for retailer's 'brand name + coupon' terms.

    As a concrete example, look at this page which ranks #1 in SEO for 'gap coupons'

    http://www.retailmenot.com/view/gap.com

    Even though Gap has a coupon page ranked #4 for me, Google decided that retailmenot is the most relevant landing page for the term (likely because Google is invested in retailmenot Portfolio | Google Ventures because there's nothing compelling or unique about their site). Since Google won't address this problem, retailers should insist that coupon sites add the 'noindex' term to the 'head' section of their branded landing pages to keep them below their own pages in SEO. This is no different than the bidding restrictions in PPC and can be justified for similar reasons.

    You might ask, why would coupon affiliates do this. The answer is they won't unless retailers/merchants take away their commissions by refusing to let them into their programs if they don't abide by these terms. Again, this is no different from PPC bidding restrictions. Also, in my own experience it's a good gamble for retailers because I found almost 0 incremental sale loss from removing all the coupon sites from my program (much like what this retailer and many others found: Marketing Technology - Why Wine Enthusiast stopped paying coupon sites a commission - Internet Retailer ). What I found is that the commissions to non coupon affiliates increased dramatically (I also kicked out loyalty sites).

    Lastly, stepping back and considering what type of traffic a coupon site would generate if they didn't poach a retailer's branded terms, you could surmise that the incremental customers would be ones who come to the coupon site through the coupon site's home page and are thus 'deal seekers' and incremental, not the customers who were already in a retailer's checkout process who left to search for a 'brand + coupon' term. This is exactly the type of traffic a coupon site should be generating. It also prevents coupon sites from overwriting the cookie and stealing the commission from the original affiliate who might have brought the customer to the retailer.

    I come from this from the perspective of a merchant/retailer and also as one who has noticed some of my best affiliates where losing sales to coupon sites because of last click attribution.

    Would love to get people's thoughts on this approach. Please keep it civil

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I am taking couponers out of PPC trademark+ other than one that I trust and have a close relationship with. This is for a merchant that we have frequent promotions with. Keeping one to drive out competitors who are bidding on trademark+. I have no problem with couponers in organic as long as they keep things up to date and have worked extensively over the last year to remove any that don't stay up to date. I also have attribution on that merchant so am seeing who is introducing and who is merely benefiting from last cookie.

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  4. #3
    Member chris7530's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    I also have attribution on that merchant so am seeing who is introducing and who is merely benefiting from last cookie.
    Can you share more about how you are operationally managing this? For example, how to you measure attribution, what software do you use, are you reversing commissions for cookie overwriting affiliates and returning the commissions to the prior affiliate who generated the originating click? Sounds more complicated than just taking them out of play via 'noindex'

  5. #4
    Affiliate Manager Kush@VMInnovations's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris7530 View Post
    Can you share more about how you are operationally managing this? For example, how to you measure attribution, what software do you use, are you reversing commissions for cookie overwriting affiliates and returning the commissions to the prior affiliate who generated the originating click? Sounds more complicated than just taking them out of play via 'noindex'

    This may answer the question Clickstream Commission Rules | ShareASale Blog

  6. #5
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Am using Avant Metrics and have been a beta tester from the start. Implemented it a year ago and just used it for insight into the clickstream. Had issues 250 exclusive coupon codes two years ago because at that time I felt the more coupon sites listings the more organic traffic you get. Google put an end to that. Last summer I went on a quest to get rid of all coupon codes that weren't being used as a conversion project for the Magento shopping cart as they all had custom scripts. That was round one.

    Then I looked at click stream data on who was getting commissioned (last click model) and found that couponers with out-of- date merchant pages i.e. expired codes got a big share of commissions. We implemented a 3 strikes and you are banned process. If after two attempts a week apart and the couponer didn't respond or comply we exorcised them from the program and filed a network complaint.

    Next round was to setup a 1,2,3 attribution model. Working closely with the network support we setup a 40/40/20 split. We tagged all affiliates and this was done across both CJ and AV. We added the CJ pixel to the Avant Metrics pixel container, tagged merchant PPC as well. If the affiliate is an introducer they get a 40% of total commission. If an influencer they get 40%. If the only affiliate and either an introducer or influencer they get 100% of the commission. Closer get 20% regardless of the other two. If no closer it goes to the other two or both. Make sense??

    I pulled the trigger in October but we hit a huge sales spike due to merchant advertising and a new spoke person. I panicked as the data was overwhelming so I pulled it and just analyzed the data.

    Something unique to this merchant is that we have exclusive coupon codes that I download everyday (read 7 days a week) and credit to the specific affiliate. The codes when properly used with the private link will set a success message on the merchant landing page and put the coupon code into the cart including Free Shipping. Needless to say we have increase program and merchant conversion several times over the last year and have a close relationship with the site developer. They revamped the site, hosting and cart this time last year resulting in several points of increased conversion. Our work with attribution also increased program conversion several points and we are almost at 5% this month. I co-manage this program with OPM Paul Schroader and we work hand-in-hand to drive the bottom line (read sales).

    Here's an example with my affiliate test account on how the coupon code works: Wise Food Storage - Emergency, Long Term, and Camping Meals

    I pulled the trigger in January and went full attribution. More affiliates are getting commissions and those upstream from the closer are benefiting. I have to admit that it really bothers me that content sites, bloggers and niche affiliates were not getting paid even though they probably introduced the consumer. Lots of work to remedy that but this is a big step in the right direction.

    Next project is to completely rethink the entire coupon channel and re-engineer it based on better visibility. This merchant has a high degree of competitor competition and I am in a pitched battle partnering with several affiliates to bring them to their knees. They messed with the wrong guys to put it bluntly!
    Last edited by Chuck Hamrick; April 7th, 2014 at 10:21 PM.


  7. #6
    Member chris7530's Avatar
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    Thanks Chuck. Really appreciate you taking the time to write this up and share your experience with the rest of us!

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