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  1. #1
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    A Joyous Holiday Season and Time To Screw Over Affiliates
    What is going on?

    Is there an organized effort to totally screw over affiliates this holiday season?

    Did merchants suddenly realize that they can get away with free or nearly free affiliate traffic for a period of time?

    Over the last day all three of these events have been discussed:

    Tommy Hilfiger reduced their commission rate to 0%

    Cache lowered their commission rate to 1/10 of One Percent (.10%)

    Red Envelope "restructured" their program, reducing current commissions to 0% while admitting that they will still process orders through affiliate links, but that they just won't pay commissions for them. Then in January, they're closing their program.

    Conspiracy theorists, any opinions?

    If there are any more of these closures and/or commission rate reductions, please post them.
    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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  3. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    What a bunch of horse sh*t.

    More additions to our "Black List" of whom NEVER to trust or work with from this point forward: Red Envelope, Jeff Debo and ProvideCommerce, Cache, and Tommy Hilfiger. (Fortunately we do not have a "Board" to whom we answer.")

    As Sonny and Cher sang in 1967: "The Beat Goes On."
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  5. #3
    Full Member Lindy Rig's Avatar
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    Because there is no equality in the relationship... We give traffic, they get sales, we get commission, but obviously they don't need sales/relationship with us at crucial times during the year... they are able to "put the screw(s)" to the affiliates, and we quietly make the decision to suck it up, or "black list" them (like Bill suggested).

    I have a couple sites where I only work with a few indys. So far so good... but I have a following, and an email list, and a sticky site. Reading what is going on, I believe if one of my indys did something like this to me, I would probably find reasons to start posting poor reviews of the company or product, or both... directing my audience to other merchants. That would seem to level the playing field.

    Other thoughts on how affliates can "unionized" ( -ish) to level the playing field some?

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  7. #4
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    That is crazy and shouldn't be allowed at the network level. It's one thing to terminate specific affiliates either for cause if they are doing something against terms, or to decide that you don't want to work with specific types of affiliates provided you give proper notice. It's even okay to close your program (with proper notice) if you determine that the channel isn't working for you. But to zero out commissions during peak season, or worst, zero them out in peak season, then close the program after the holidays is just ridiculous and unfair and shouldn't be tolerated by the networks at all. Guessing this is being done in networks like Linkshare/Rakuten than get paid on a percentage of sale and not commission? If so, the network is complicit.

    If a merchant I was working for pulled this crap, I'd be looking for a new gig as there's no way I could be associated with something like this.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com


  8. #5
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    I'm super disappointed and mad at these types of shady merchants. I agree with Wade that networks should have some regulations against malpractice like this.

  9. #6
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateWarrior View Post
    Guessing this is being done in networks like Linkshare/Rakuten than get paid on a percentage of sale and not commission? If so, the network is complicit.
    Cache is on CJ
    Red Envelope is on CJ
    Tommy Hilfiger is on Impact Radius...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  11. #7
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    wow... CJ usually gets paid on a cut of commission, although I know that sometimes they'll do deals on percentage of sales as well. Pulling that crap in Peak season is straight up stealing.. and the sad thing is, they know that the coupon/deal sites and a lot of the big loyalty plays will keep those links up at zero payout as they just want the brands on their sites. It's the smaller guys who are depending on the sales that get screwed.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com


  12. #8
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    This sh1t has become the norm now a days. Affiliates unwillingly play into this trick by having naked links on their sites, blogs. It becomes an impossible task to find and replace links on a short notice.

    Vendors like Cache and RedEnvelope make these decision based on the fact that there is no way in hell most affiliates can switch/inactivate all their links during the busy time. By lowering commissions to ridiculously low levels(as in the case of Cache) or keeping the links active and not paying commissions(as in the case of redenvelope), they are ensuring they get free traffic but don't have to pay for it.

    If most affiliates had the ability to zap all those vendors from their site with a single click, they wouldn't pull this trick.

    Every affiliate shd make an effort to learn some basic php & mysql skills, and host their links in a database(mysql). With links in a database, it takes just a few minutes(or seconds) to inactivate, switch links.

    Pls do yourself a favor, learn some php and mysql.
    Last edited by sam_park; December 17th, 2014 at 12:29 PM.


  13. #9
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Another great one to add to the list - Diamond Factory on LS:

    Yesterday (with no prior notice) Dec. 16, they informed affiliates that their links stopped accruing commissions on Dec. 11! And, that the program would close Dec. 31.
    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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  15. #10
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    The problem is, the people making these decisions will never see this thread.
    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

  16. #11
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    The problem is, the people making these decisions will never see this thread.
    Therein lies the rub.

    Further reality: Even if they did see it, Greg, most who make such decisions just do not care what we lowly affiliates, and ams and opms like you and Wade, think. Those of us on this thread (and many, many others) are in a different world than the people running Tommy Hilfiger, Cache', RedEnvelope and Diamond Factory.

    We can vent here, but the likelihood of the next Red Envelope seeing this and deciding NOT to screw their affiliates, is less than minimal.
    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]


  17. #12
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    As the adage goes, I'm voting with my feet (or, links in this case). I don't NEED too many merchants to do what we do well. Our hotels are all indie and I have had no problem with any of those relationships in several years. (Side story here: I found one skimming a few phone reservations about three years ago at the end of a year where they had paid us $67K in commissions. This year they are down to about $100 in commissions from some residual links. Another supplier was happy for our business.)

    We have a few revenue avenues but reservations are one of our two "main" avenues. Our other big avenue is currently CJ-heavy with suppliers - but that is about to change. A couple of them are also available at SAS and/or AL. I've just started reconfiguring our custom datafeed - changes will be fully in place for 1st quarter, which is the largest quarter in this particular vertical. I know CJ won't care - we aren't large enough for them to care. However, we care about our results and that's what really matters.

    Sorry - done venting now...
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.


  18. #13
    ABW Ambassador
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    Another problem is that some merchants simply go dark secretly without affiliates even notice it.

    For example, 1800pools (Avantlink merchant) site and their datafeed are completely dead. Not sure for how long. I just found out yesterday that all my links are dead. There wasn't any notice from the merchant or the network as far as I know.

    Their site was down with the message direct shoppers to go to their Amazon shop(I took a screen shot of their homepage). This is another sneaky way to get free traffic from affiliates without paying commission. I don't think I get pay for the sales from their Amazon shop.

    I have to spend all afternoon and night yesterday to switch out their links. Trust me, I was beyond mad at that point. I really think we should spend our precious time pushing our holiday sales, not playing cat the mouse with merchants...
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  19. #14
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    You can add Vanity Row on Affiliate Window to the mix here. I still don't know when they closed, I found out when the datafeed was below minimum size to accept and I went in to try to download a copy for a look. Moved out in the night but kept the traffic.

    Jacob Bromwell on SAS refused to update their datafeed or correct missing image problems for months, then when they updated the feed a few weeks ago they cut off affiliates. This is a very old US company, and I think it is where that old office sign
    "The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves"

    originated.

    If affiliates search through ABW before signing up with a program they might run across information that saves them some trouble. When you abuse your affiliates, sooner or later someone here complains.

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  21. #15
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    You can add Vanity Row on Affiliate Window to the mix here. I still don't know when they closed,......
    There seems to be a good bit of churn on AffWin. Jeannine announced "alternatives" to Vanity Row on December 10th but I couldn't find an actual closing announcement. Of course, not being an affiliate of VR, I would not have received a direct announcement. Did you?

    If you look at the announcements sub-forum you can see an indication of churn.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  22. #16
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    No Bill, no announcement. Nothing in their interface either that I could see, but there never is. Not a big loss, they were on my list of things to lose shortly anyway, it is just nice to know rather than the network continuing to send out the datafeeds by ftp as though it were a valid program. I have seen a lot of replacement suggestion posts for AW, I do not use that network much and I would not replace one with another from that network. No reflection on Jeannine, but the interface is horrible. I have one left there that I followed from Buy.at for now.

  23. #17
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    WOW............I thought that I was the only one being picked on............

    Tea Collection (been with them for 3 years) kicked me out in early December because I did not promote that quickie short notice sales to their likeing. They did pay me commissions on sales.....but then lowered me to "0%" before the life of cookie was completed.

    Flirty Lingerie (Been with them for 4 years) ended their program with out any warning. Cut all links immediately.

    Bromwell fixed their data feed after I complained and bumped my commission for letting them know that they were falling apart.........But sales have not materialized.

    Merry Christmas
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  24. #18
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Bromwell fixed their data feed after I complained and bumped my commission for letting them know that they were falling apart..
    They knew for months and did nothing. They offered me 30% after their termination email but I know it will be broken again, so I just pulled the plug. I wish you luck.

  25. #19
    Tax Paying Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    They knew for months and did nothing. They offered me 30% after their termination email but I know it will be broken again, so I just pulled the plug. I wish you luck.
    And I thought that I was special........I received a personal E-mail from the CEO about my good work...............Another balloon popped....Who can you believe...if not the CEO
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  26. #20
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    No Bill, no announcement. Nothing in their interface either that I could see, but there never is......
    Indeed a shame. What had been such a promising new network when it first came to the US has become a disappointment.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    No reflection on Jeannine, but the interface is horrible. I have one left there that I followed from Buy.at for now.
    Agreed, no reflection on Jeannine - we love her - but I am now totally gone from Affiliate Window.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  27. #21
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Add Belk (CJ) to the list.

    After dropping commissions to 3% this past week or so, they sent out this email today:

    Hello,

    As you know, last week we had to temporarily reduce our commission rate for the remainder of December. This was the first full Q4 that the Belk affiliate program was live, and thanks to you, it was a HUGE success! We could not have predicted the tremendous growth we have seen over the past several months and due to this, we need to pause the program for January. This is our slowest month for sales, as it is focused on Holiday Clearance.

    We understand that a program pause affects your planning and revenue, and we promise that we have explored all other avenues in an effort to avoid this.

    Our program will resume again on February 1, which is both the beginning of a new fiscal year and fresh budget. If you are interested, we would love the opportunity to resume our partnership and make 2015 a success as well.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  28. #22
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Belk's response to success is utterly disgusting. Affiliates do a great job for them and are rewarded by being upon.

    My response to this would be to tell them they can stick their lowered commissions and paused program, and have a nice, cold winter.
    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]

  29. #23
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    ...We understand that a program pause affects your planning and revenue, and we promise that we have explored all other avenues in an effort to avoid this...
    Except for COMMON SENSE. What a crock of sh*t.
    I've never worked with them and now they are on the "Blacklist" so I never will...
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

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