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  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    When Tracking is Ignored - and Voided
    The whole basis of our paycheck is based on the "cookie". Someone clicks on our special links, goes to the merchant and buys something... the magic cookie tells the Network and the merchant that we initiated the sale, so give us our just reward.

    A merchant just voided a sale because it said it's internal reports stated the sale originated from their own Google ad.

    FUK their internal reports! Cookies don't just magically appear! The cookie can only be set if someone clicks MY link!

    Further, I make people register (for each product) before sending them off to the merchant. At the time of this sale, someone registered (of course I have no idea what they purchased once they got to the merchant's site), but in this case the total is an exact match (if the person bought TWO of the items).

    I complained to the merchant.... no response.

    So I filled out a SAS support ticket, hoping if they hear from the Network it would carry some weight.

    After a bunch of back-and-forths, they ended with "We stick by internal reports... NOT SAS's cookies. If this affiliate has any PROOF his site initiated the sale, then tell him to furnish the proof and we'll re-consider"

    Seriously? Our TOS states the cookie IS the proof?

    If they want anything else, then perhaps the Networks and merchants can supply us affiliates with the name, address, phone, first son's name, etc of every buyer we refer!!!

    How can they ask for PROOF is we're not privy to any of the information that will supply said proof????

    Aaargh!!!!

    All My Best,
    Billy Kay

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  3. #2
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    If they clicked through your link, got to the merchant's site, and then left to find a coupon or something, they could have gone back through a Google ad. In that case, the SAS pixel still would have fired, giving you the sale, but their internal reports would show that the visitor last came from Google, not from you.

    Or they could just be lying because "internal reports" can so easily be made-up.

    Either way, I'd seriously consider ditching them. They sound awful. That's no way to treat your affiliates... they should have given you the commission.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  5. #3
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    The over-riding truth of affiliate marketing: We are at the mercy of the honesty and ethics of the merchant community.

    To be an affiliate, we have no choice but to trust them, because, as you have laid out, we have no way, as merchants seem to demand, to prove even by a preponderance of the evidence let alone beyond a reasonable doubt our having promoted sales and earned commissions.

    Reports show transactions and commissions earned, but we do not know if the one should be two, if the two should be three, or if the five should be 25. And, we certainly do no know if the zero should be ..........

    And most of the time asking for the reason for a reversal is a futile waste of time.

    The most insulting response from a merchant when a commission you know has been earned (your own purchase, a purchase made by a friend or relative) is not reported or is reversed, is when they say that they STAND BY their internal controls, there was no commissionable transaction, but we'll give your the money, "this time", because you are such a wonderful person.
    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]

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  7. #4
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I "can't" drop 'em DMC because I have a whole site devoted to their products. BUT I did decide to stop updating them.

    If they email in December asking why my site still says "Easter Sale", I'll be more then happy to give them an earful!

    And FYI, they're Personalized Crystal Awards, Glass Trophies, Gifts | CrystalPlus.com

    Best/Billy


  8. #5
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Huh, that looks like the place I signed up with when another merchant closed up quite awhile ago. Because I had lots of other stuff to straighten out, I just finally got to the steps to integrate their feed. This saves me all that wasted werk - so thank you! I'll leave the useless banners up until I get to it, but I surely appreciate knowing how they work before setting it all up!

  9. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Even worse than the ones who reverse sales because they feel it should be attributed elsewhere (despite the fact that they claim to offer X number of return days) are the ones who don't even fire the tracking pixel if their internal tracking indicates that the customer has been touched by some other channel.

    Usually, we don't even know we aren't getting credit.

    One of the things I track for each merchant on my site is my conversion ratio. If a merchant has a lower conversion ratio than their peers, it tells me that something is wrong. Whether they're stealing from me, have tracking problems, or just have a poorly converting site, it's all the same to me. The low converters don't deserve to get the traffic. So I send customers to merchants that convert good.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela


  10. #7
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Agreed, I have one merchant that I am highly suspicious of, because the only sale I've had there was my own and that one was only after contacting SAS about the non-tracking issue. I've sent hundreds of what I consider to be highly targeted clicks and had zero commissions in the past year. If they can't convert any of these people who are clicking on specific products for an immediate need, it is a waste to send them to this merchant when another could have made at least a dozen sales in this time. I started to swap them out for a different merchant late last year, but my internet issues cut that short. It is still high on my priority list of things to do. I have no trust with this merchant now.

  11. #8
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    One of the things I track for each merchant on my site is my conversion ratio. If a merchant has a lower conversion ratio than their peers, it tells me that something is wrong. Whether they're stealing from me, have tracking problems, or just have a poorly converting site, it's all the same to me. The low converters don't deserve to get the traffic. So I send customers to merchants that convert good.
    Absolutely. This is the strategy that I adopted about 4 years ago and it's worked well for me. I don't promote merchants. I promote products and product categories and I review conversion rates and income earned on a regular basis within each category. If a merchant is converting or earning more than a couple of percentage points below other merchants within the same category they are replaced.

    Initially this strategy caused a lot of churn on my sites, however 4 years later I very seldom need to replace a merchant and my year over year sales have shown a steady increase.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon


  12. #9
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    SAS tracks the click and sale so it should be easy enough to determine if the Google Ad was after your click:
    Click Date: 08/05/2014 at 07:05:31 PM // Period of time between click and sale (Return Days): 0 Days
    That is data from the merchant side, not sure what you see from your end. I would ask them to tell you be the date/time stamp is for the Google Ad. Them tell them they need to add that information to their program description i.e. if an in house ad gets clicked after the affiliate click then the affiliate makes no commission"!

  13. #10
    OPM Yocheved's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    SAS tracks the click and sale so it should be easy enough to determine if the Google Ad was after your click:

    That is data from the merchant side, not sure what you see from your end. I would ask them to tell you be the date/time stamp is for the Google Ad. Them tell them they need to add that information to their program description i.e. if an in house ad gets clicked after the affiliate click then the affiliate makes no commission"!
    It's possible they're also using GA's conversion path report to determine that the user clicked on the AdWords ad and then your ad. Even if they were looking to determine who drove the first click, unless, as Chuck mentioned, the merchant specifically indicated in their terms that they will pay affiliates only if theirs was the first click in the conversion path, they should not be reversing your commission. And if they just don't want to pay because they paid for an Adwords ad.... well, I can't imagine they'll have an affiliate program for much longer.

    That said, we have some clients who are very focused on the first click. For them, we've sometimes moved affiliates to a lower commission term if we see consistently that they are always mid-to last in the conversion path.(99.9% of these are coupon sites, who are generally one of the last referrers for obvious reasons) The attribution issue is a complicated one but I don't think you can say that a given referrer has NO value (as in this case, where the merchant reversed the commission). It's just a matter of how much value you assign to each click along the path.

  14. #11
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    WEEKS after MY reversal, this merchant is still on a reversal binge. It says (today), their 7-day Reversal rate is "7 Day 40.00 %" Oyyy!

    Best/Billy

  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Kay View Post
    WEEKS after MY reversal, this merchant is still on a reversal binge. It says (today), their 7-day Reversal rate is "7 Day 40.00 %" Oyyy!

    Best/Billy
    Wow, as a new merchant, that blows my mind. I highly doubt any quality affiliates will be signing up to them during a period like now where their reversal rate is so high, and they are also going to lose a high % of the affiliates who's sales are getting reversed.

    Seems crazy to me to throw away potential long term affiliate sales over having to pay for an adwords click. Or maybe it's just plain greed.

  16. #13
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apptaidRyan View Post
    ...Or maybe it's just plain greed.
    Ya think?
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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