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  1. #1
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    What do SAS affiliates actually see?
    As a Merchant, I don't see what the Affiliate sees, but I'm curious.

    Our "landing page" tries to make very clear the mutually-beneficial relationships we seek.

    It says, in part, "We are seeking affiliate partners with a focus on luxury jewelry, fashion, style, apparel & accessories for the discriminating fashionista."

    and

    "PLEASE NOTE: Although we are happy to consider coupon-oriented affiliates who are focused on luxury, jewelry, fashion, style or accessories, we are not currently seeking additional 'general' coupon-driven affiliates."

    And yet I'm inundated with applications from "couponsABC" and similar type sites that are just diametrically not that.

    To be brutally honest... We're on retailmenot, savings.com and similar sites that "own" SEO/organic searches for our coupons. I just don't see the need to add more. Am I wrong???

    As to affiliates applying in absolute contravention of wha we say we're looking for... Is that just the nature of the beast? Just human nature not-reading what's right there? Or, are affiliates simply not seeing that?

    I really actually kind of hate that I have to decline 90% of the applications. But I'm not going to start partnerships I know won't deliver real value for both sides, either. Is there any way I could better convey what we're all about???

    Thanks,

    Kris

    PS - For those who may say "advertise here"... I'm going to shortly.

  2. #2
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Sign up for your program and look. Just don't get active.
    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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  4. #3
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Declining 90% of the applications is my fun part of the day. They will join no matter what your description says.
    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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  6. #4
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Agree, apply with your site as an affiliate in the network, if you get pushback tell them you want to see what affiliates see. It also helps with viewing your newsletters after they are sent. You can use your affiliate account to see what competitors say in their program descriptions and what commissions/bonuses they are offering.

    To be brutally honest... We're on retailmenot, savings.com and similar sites that "own" SEO/organic searches for our coupons. I just don't see the need to add more. Am I wrong???
    You should limit coupon sites to a dozen or less. Only need 10 to fill a page organically on Google. Then limit the coupon sites you allow trademark+. If competitors backfill AdWords then allow a few more in. Much easier to regulate when you have 1:1 relationships.

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  8. #5
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    Regarding your "no general coupon sites" policy - are their enough niche coupon/deal sites who actually have traffic in your space? The coupon sites space has gotten really top heavy and aggregated with the top few companies owning a lot of the big super affiliate coupon properties. There is nothing wrong with working with a RetailMeNot.com or Coupons.com as long as you do it smart and use the coupons that you post with them to accomplish something (higher ticket, new customers acquired, etc.) These guys can drive incremental sales if you structure their deals correctly and coupon with a purpose, so I wouldn't discount them outright. I generally try to look at coupon sites and deal sites/bloggers as a couple of different verticals - they are related, but not identical.

    You have your coupon sites like the ones mentioned that are primarily trademark + coupon SEO plays.. these can be helpful at tying up SERP listings vs the competition. Then you have deal sites/bloggers that are more into content generation where they go into some depth on the deals available and often dive into your site to identify deals they think will connect with your audience. Some of these are really good at what they do and can be great partners. We tend to pay them higher than the more SEO focused coupon players. The key is to structure the deals correctly and engage them to encourage and reward incremental behavior while mitigating the cost of non-incremental behavior.

    Definitely look into the SAS Custom Commission rules and Leapfrogging as well to help with this.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com


  9. #6
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    Also - if you go nuts if affiliates don't read details... you'll have a frustrating run. It was pointed out to me that a lot of the big coupon sites may have scripts set up or API processes that apply to all new programs. Like Greg said, enjoy the review process.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com

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  11. #7
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    The vast majority of applicants do NOT read what your program offer has to say. Get used to it.

    From my experience, more than 90% do not read the offer or the terms.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  13. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    What did Bill say? I didn't bother to read it before applying, ... uh, posting, I meant posting.

    As I've pointed out several times before, the network interface and the presentation by the AM or OPM has a lot to do with that. On SAS, for a significant number of merchants, the merchant program terms are one GIGANTIC LONG, LONG, single-spaced paragraph that is virtually unreadable, and if you can get through it all, the headache it produces is unbearable.

    On LS, the standard presentation is broken up into paragraphs, but is for every merchant I have seen, significantly longer.

    IF you want us to read this stuff, make it readable, please!

    Also - As to Pearls.com - it is just the opposite: Kris began this thread complaining that affiliates apply even when they do not fit their "perfect affiliate" paradigm, but the "Merchant provided Terms of Agreement" to agree to for the SAS application is one single short sentence, and contains NONE of the criteria that is quoted in the op. It's ok to have it on your site, but to make such things part of the contract between you and your affiliates, it needs to be in that "Merchant provided Terms of Agreement" and specifically acknowledged and agreed to by the applicant.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  15. #9
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    One more bit of advice for Kris: If you want to attract top affiliates, you absolutely MUST have Auto Deposit activated.
    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]


  16. #10
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    ...but to make such things part of the contract between you and your affiliates, it needs to be in that "Merchant provided Terms of Agreement" and specifically acknowledged and agreed to by the applicant.
    ...and it still will NOT be read by 90+% of applicants.
    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.

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  18. #11
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    LOL - just received an email that demonstrates how little applicants read and/or pay attention to program description or terms...It made me think of this thread and return here to share...

    From the owner of a site named www.couponsxxxxxxxx.com. He was basically asking why he has been declined because he owns an important site featuring coupons, deals, etc. and wants to promote our coupons and deals.

    He actually wrote a lengthy paragraph extolling the virtues of his coupon site; therefore I thought I owed him the courtesy of a reply. My response included:
    .
    Hello Mr. Xxxxxxx -

    The last line of our program description states: Coupon Sites: We do not offer coupons and therefore can NOT work with coupon affiliates.

    I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused, but I don't know how we could better describe this particular program condition.

    Regards,
    .
    In the paragraph preceding the "coupon" condition, we also state:
    Please note - we manually review each application. You MUST describe (in the space provided on the SAS application page) how you will market our products, and include an active, top-level domain, targeting United States visitors, where you will do that promotion. Failing to provide this additional information will mean we must decline the application without further review.
    .
    Like to guess how many applications actually have that "description" filled in.
    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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  20. #12
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Oh boy, hard to keep my mouth shut on this one but gonna try very hard to count to 10 before saying anything I don't wanna say.

    First.......
    "To be brutally honest... We're on retailmenot, savings.com and similar sites that "own" SEO/organic searches for our coupons. I just don't see the need to add more. Am I wrong???"

    Yes, but probably not for the reason you think going by what you've said. I would very strongly suggest you make a search here for one of those sites you mentioned. Am giving you the benefit of the doubt and will think that you just don't really know what the opinion of that site is by quite a few affiliates who are members here. (ethical affiliates)

    Would assume the fact that you're posting here means you would like to get to know the affiliates who post here and have them get to learn more about your program......and then join. Umm, you are the owner or affiliate manager so you certainly have the right to have who you want in your program but might suggest you maybe consider opinions and feelings of members here before posting (especially the ethical coupon affiliate members)

    To be honest I'm not an affiliate manager so I don't know what the "value" is to having affiliates like those you mentioned in your program. Umm, although other affiliate managers have made comments in the past but for whatever reason nothing has been said here. Do know tho that if you're attempting to get affiliates you feel do add "value" to your program umm that hasn't quite endeared you to them.

    I will say that vast majority (think is just one that doesn't) doesn't consider my site to be a "coupon" site but........."Coupon site" is not a bad word and shouldn't be thought of in that way. There are good and ethical coupon sites and there are those that aren't. I know of good and ethical coupon sites, to blankly just not even consider them is not only not fair but at least I think wrong.

    Might just be my lil brain that gets an idea in it and has trouble seeing how others think but if an affiliate is a good, ethical affiliate I don't understand why you wouldn't let them participate in your program if that's what they want to do. If nothing else, it's free advertising. If any affiliate is not an ethical affiliate I don't understand why they're allowed to join or remain in a program.

    Have babbled on more than I should have.

    Phil said: "One more bit of advice for Kris: If you want to attract top affiliates, you absolutely MUST have Auto Deposit activated. "

    Yeap, some members here won't even consider joining your program if you are not.

    Bill said: "The vast majority of applicants do NOT read what your program offer has to say. Get used to it. "

    and Phil said: "IF you want us to read this stuff, make it readable, please! "

    I skim thru them but admit I don't read every word and doubt others do either. Most are sooooooooooo long


    Can't say for sure but am guessing the really large sites probably do automatically somehow join. Probably does take a lotta time to do it but I would suggest (I'm just a teeny affiliate tho so my opinion probably doesn't mean a whole lot lol ) if you really are trying to get affiliates of "value" to join your program do as I think you suggested you would be doing.

    Make an advertisement here

    Post here regularly so affiliates get to know you and your program

    Manually approve your affiliates, take the time to look at their sites and if you have doubts about them, ask them.

    If you don't approve any affiliate and they take the time to write you to ask why you didn't.......explain to them why and give them a chance to explain to you why you might be wrong. If they aren't doing anything unethical, why would you not let them in your program?

    As to your post.....not sure what affiliate managers think the affiliates see either but if you have terms for your program I'm assuming we see them. (since most times they are very, very long) Would definitely suggest spelling out your terms tho, especially in regards to trademark names, not posting coupons from other sites, etc. (but then you would have to enforce those terms as well )

    As I said, babbled on waaaay too much. This is why I try to lurk and not post as much lol Gets me every time, will see something and umm forget me getting outa here quickly. lol


  21. #13
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    Thanks, Phil. That's really - all else aside - exactly what I needed to know. That the "merchant program terms" rather than our program page are what folks really see and (supposedly) read and agree to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound View Post
    What did Bill say? I didn't bother to read it before applying, ... uh, posting, I meant posting.

    As I've pointed out several times before, the network interface and the presentation by the AM or OPM has a lot to do with that. On SAS, for a significant number of merchants, the merchant program terms are one GIGANTIC LONG, LONG, single-spaced paragraph that is virtually unreadable, and if you can get through it all, the headache it produces is unbearable.

    On LS, the standard presentation is broken up into paragraphs, but is for every merchant I have seen, significantly longer.

    IF you want us to read this stuff, make it readable, please!

    Also - As to Pearls.com - it is just the opposite: Kris began this thread complaining that affiliates apply even when they do not fit their "perfect affiliate" paradigm, but the "Merchant provided Terms of Agreement" to agree to for the SAS application is one single short sentence, and contains NONE of the criteria that is quoted in the op. It's ok to have it on your site, but to make such things part of the contract between you and your affiliates, it needs to be in that "Merchant provided Terms of Agreement" and specifically acknowledged and agreed to by the applicant.

  22. #14
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    Phil, purplebear, et al:

    Firstly, I've obviously painted too wide a swath saying "general coupon sites"...

    At the same time, to say what I really mean I will invariably offend someone, and the advice here is all good and points to the real issue: It's subjective in the end.

    It's subjective because there are coupon sites and coupon sites... They range from sterling, amazing partners to well... pretty much "fly-by-night" operators using far-from-legit tactics. And I can't much further define that than "I know it when I see it"...

    On the other hand, there are many good points made here about the issues with a blanket "no more general coupon sites" position: So instead I'll take the advice here and try less to 'filter up front' than simply take each application as it comes and review them carefully and reasonably.

    And in the end, it really is about a 'good match' that leads to noteworthy revenue for both parties, much moreso than "you're not worthy"... I happen to be great friends with the leader of an affiliate site that is FANTASTIC for driving sales of electronics, gadgets and 'toys for boys'... And disastrous for jewelry (we've tried). He's not a "bad affiliate" in any way shape or form. Just not a good match for my program.

    Thanks for your feedback and time!

    Kris

  23. #15
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    Great information in this thread.

    I am in the same boat as the OP. I've gotten many coupon sites apply for program. Many is an understatement. At first, we were just going to stop accepting them but after waiting it out. We actually got more sales from the coupon sites than any other.

    I'm still trying to find ways to attract long term affiliate partners.

  24. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by WristbandNation View Post
    Great information in this thread.

    I am in the same boat as the OP. I've gotten many coupon sites apply for program. Many is an understatement. At first, we were just going to stop accepting them but after waiting it out. We actually got more sales from the coupon sites than any other.

    I'm still trying to find ways to attract long term affiliate partners.
    WristbandNation -

    Curious if you feel the sales you got from them were incremental or not. E.G. were they customers who were gonna buy anyway, but just went and found a coupon? Or are they customers the coupon site originated for you and you'd have not otherwise seen? Or in between???

    Thanks,

    Kris

  25. #17
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Believe in pointing out the good as well as the bad, especially the good since a lot of times that seems to get ignored or maybe just not thought about as much since when the bad happens, uhhh our emotions are a bit high.

    Any member who's been here a while umm probably knows my opinions regarding some "coupon" sites I don't (and others as well) feel are very ethical. Definitely umm have said a few words regarding them. Also, realize the reality in regards to them as well, tho.

    So, umm with that said do wanna say to Kris. Had started working with his program lil while before this thread. Not worked with him for too long but very impressed with how he's communicated with his affiliates, listened to them, attempted to help and followed through with that. Really do feel he's reached out to the members here and actually has been listening and is trying hard to make his program a good program. So..

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  27. #18
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    Thanks, Purplebear!

    Despite the old adage, I often do seem to find the 'stupid questions' and am glad when folks recognize it's based on wanting to learn, even if sometimes it comes across wrong. Bottom line: I hope to prove you right - I'm here to listen and learn and improve our program.
    Last edited by Pearls.com; January 22nd, 2015 at 01:12 PM. Reason: typo

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  29. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hectic GHC View Post
    Declining 90% of the applications is my fun part of the day. They will join no matter what your description says.
    Agreed. No matter what we change our description to say, 90% of applicants are no value added coupon sites with the same generic format. It appears to just be the nature of the beast.

  30. #20
    Member BeepBeep's Avatar
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    Wow. Pearls + coupons? I was thinking of looking into Pearls.com for an upscale website. I was looking for a strong upscale brand. To me nothing says "shoddy . . . " like pearls + couponing.

    Heck, why not just set up CheapPearls.com, BargainPearls, DiscountPearls, etc if that's where you want to go . . couponing for pearls . .

    Please don't. It's a pearl of a website address. Don't throw your great address and pearls to the . .

    Blech.
    Last edited by BeepBeep; January 27th, 2015 at 02:23 PM.
    I'll get the hang of it eventually. :0)

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  32. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeepBeep View Post
    Wow. Pearls + coupons? I was thinking of looking into Pearls.com for an upscale website. I was looking for a strong upscale brand. To me nothing says "shoddy . . . " like pearls + couponing.

    Heck, why not just set up CheapPearls.com, BargainPearls, DiscountPearls, etc if that's where you want to go . . couponing for pearls?

    Please don't . . it's a pearl of a website address. Don't throw your good name to the . . swine? (No offense to couponers but is nothing worth it . . desirable . . marketable . . without the tint and tinge of "FREE . . . 50% OFF . . ".

    Blech.
    Beep Beep... No, tell us what you really think...

    Seriously, thank you for such a passionate and clear viewpoint. It's not only refreshing but genuinely helpful to hear.

    I'll tell you my similarly-unvarnished opinion. There is room for couponing even on upscale sites - done tastefully, limitedly and within reason. For every Apple there's MacMall. There are coupons out there for Coach Handbags, Donna Karan clothing and Christian Loboutin shoes. They're simply not scattered willy-nilly around, nor are they at egregious levels like "80% off retail prices!!!!!!"

    My favorite example is to tell colleagues how "if there was a 10% off, limited-time coupon for Apple hardware, folks would go nuts for it, AND I don't think it would hurt the apple brand"... Particularly if it came via targeted sites like, say, macmall.com... But "70% off ipods!" is a detriment, and that's why you never see it.

    That's where we want to be. Honestly, in our haste and excitement as a new site in 2013-early 2014 we made some mistakes and gave in to the temptation... Never truly nuts, but "30% off site wide!!!" and similar did occur. We're pulling back from that, and trying to refine our engagements to get to the right zone where we're primarily brand-and-value driven, with some occasional, tasteful, promotions.

    Risking a 'ding' for promotionalism... I hope you'd consider joining the program and working with us toward that.

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  34. #22
    Member BeepBeep's Avatar
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    what you really think
    It's how I roll, mostly in the interest of saving us both time. Thick skin + backbone to admit when I'm the village idiot.

    It's the SERPs that will make or break you as much as help build or kill your brand. Have couponing sites adversely affected rising brands, SERPs, etc? Ask the experts and place your bet. Just remember you will need a "point of distinction", in an otherwise (potentially) "commodity market" and don't rely too heavily on the domain to hold a position in the SERPs. I'm not certain couponing sites will enhance your POD nor produce whatever will help Pearls.com hold its place in the SERPs. YMMV. We are in a very grayish (talking the long view) area at this moment AFAIC.

    Best wishes for your success. I'll watch for a while to see how things work out.
    I'll get the hang of it eventually. :0)

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  36. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeepBeep View Post
    It's how I roll, mostly in the interest of saving us both time. Thick skin + backbone to admit when I'm the village idiot.

    It's the SERPs that will make or break you as much as help build or kill your brand. Have couponing sites adversely affected rising brands, SERPs, etc? Ask the experts and place your bet. Just remember you will need a "point of distinction", in an otherwise (potentially) "commodity market" and don't rely too heavily on the domain to hold a position in the SERPs. I'm not certain couponing sites will enhance your POD nor produce whatever will help Pearls.com hold its place in the SERPs. YMMV. We are in a very grayish (talking the long view) area at this moment AFAIC.

    Best wishes for your success. I'll watch for a while to see how things work out.
    Thanks, BeepBeep. Would probably enjoy working with you!

    We spend a lot of effort on organic results for tightly-focused terms. e.g. we do great on "pearls" but that delivers pretty broad traffic. Things like "AAA Akoya Strands" hold more interest and that's where we really focus SEO efforts.

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