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  1. #1
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Merchants Who Require You To "Join" First
    I was looking through new merchants on Shareasale a while ago, and I found a home decor/furnishings merchant that joined the network two weeks ago and that has quickly put up some impressive numbers. They would appear to have some products that I'd be interested in, so I clicked onto the site, and found that before I could look at any products or product info, I had to join up and provide my email, and perhaps more. I quickly closed the tab, and sent off the following email to their affiliate contact:

    Hello,

    As a long time affiliate - full time for more than a decade - I was intrigued by the outstanding numbers your program has put up in such a short time. A few of my sites deal in home decor and I am always looking for new merchants that have interesting products in the dining, home bar, and outdoor furnishing niches.

    However, when I attempted to look through the site, I was stopped in my tracks by your requirement of a sign-up before being able to see any product info whatsoever.

    I strongly feel that such requirements are not only consumer-unfriendly, but EXTREMELY affiliate unfriendly, and detrimental to your affiliate program attaining any long term success, even with your apparent initial numbers.

    I for one would never again bother with your site or your program, and I suggest that many, many affiliates feel the same.

    best regards,

    moi
    So, affiliates, do you agree with me or is this of no concern - would you just join the site and look around? AMs, OPMs, Merchants , what are your thoughts?

    Depending on whether or not I receive a response and what that is, I may or may not name the merchant.
    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]


  2. #2
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    OK, their email contact address bounced, so I will name them - maybe they'll see this:

    It is Dot & Bo (dotandbo dot com).
    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]

  3. #3
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I would not affiliate with any merchant who requires an email before viewing the
    products.

    Merchants do this as a step to sell customer data.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
    Twitter me


  4. #4
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    I've seen various affiliate sites listing places like this (not this one that I recall) and many note "sign up required" or similar... Would certainly do something like that were the shoe on my foot.

  5. #5
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearls.com View Post
    I've seen various affiliate sites listing places like this (not this one that I recall) and many note "sign up required" or similar... Would certainly do something like that were the shoe on my foot.
    I think that would eliminate 85% of potential clickthroughs to any product that included such an advisory.
    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]

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound View Post
    I think that would eliminate 85% of potential clickthroughs to any product that included such an advisory.
    Yes, definitely. But as you say, they have good metrics... So perhaps it's worth sending fewer clicks, but those that go convert well...???

    Just saying I've seen it so someone obviously thinks it worth doing.

  7. #7
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    As a consumer I would simply pass them by figuring that Dot & Bo are either stupid or arrogant or both.

    As an affiliate I will simply pass them by figuring that Dot & Bo are either arrogant or stupid or both.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  8. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearls.com View Post
    Yes, definitely. But as you say, they have good metrics... So perhaps it's worth sending fewer clicks, but those that go convert well...???

    Just saying I've seen it so someone obviously thinks it worth doing.
    They've been active less than two weeks, so it could be one huge sale.
    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]

  9. #9
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Coupon traffic. Maybe they were on another network and migrated the top affiliates?

    The terms are also ridiculous.
    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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  11. #10
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Agree with Greg - Coupon traffic.

    We don't market any 'membership' merchants...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  13. #11
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Merchandise doesn't seem to be what it should, high markups:
    Ripoff Report DotNBo
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  14. #12
    ABW Ambassador
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    I don't promote such vendors. Don't know how to.

  15. #13
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    There is only one report there, on the ripoff site - I wouldn't put too much stock in that on its own. Every business makes mistakes, I could list numerous of our own here - and I'm sure all of you could do the same. However, some individuals use those ripoff sites not in the way they are intended - so unless there is a clear trend there, I wouldn't let one review skew my opinion. We have quite a few "1-star" reviews on our Facebook page, for example, that tell only one side of a story but businesses have little to no recourse on these sites and many times it is better to ignore than engage, but that's another story.

    On the email/forced signup - I agree that it isn't my favourite method of customer interaction, but it doesn't have to mean that you can't work with the retailer. If those products are really what you are looking for to place on your sites, I'd recommend the following approach:

    1. Email the AM - but stay away from things like "I won't work with you" or "This is a terrible way to do business" .... while those things may be true, they ultimately won't help you work with the Merchant as the AM is likely to just assume that your mind is made up and thus not take the time to think about the problem. Instead? I'd recommend, if you truly do want to work with them, phrase the question in a very positive light and try to use it to your advantage to gain data on the practice in general. Ask them if there is a method for which you can view the site, test it, see the products, etc... Indicate your interest and put them in a position to help you get over the hurdles. Even an open ended question such as "are there any scenarios where I could send my readers to pages that do not have the email signup?" allows the Merchant to weigh the possibility without having to defend the practice.

    2. Ask questions about why they do that - try to get a feel from them about how it improves their overall conversion. Clearly, they would not use a method that is proven to decrease conversion - affiliate or otherwise. Make them prove it to you with statistics, and it may help you understand more about who their customer is, thus helping you target your readers better. It may even tell you something that confirms your suspicion that you don't want to work with them - even better in that case as you have more info to work with and less doubt. You can even use this as a way to work on your commission structure. Ask what is paid out on email signups even, how they are tied to purchases, and how future purchases are handled. Ask for data and reasoning, it will help you in the long run even if you don't end up promoting the Merchant after all.

    Anyhow - I don't like these types of forced emails any more than you, it usually turns me off as a consumer, so I understand the concern. However, they have grown in popularity, and thus dealing with them as a marketer is more a reality. Ultimately, you want a Merchant that converts higher than others. IF this method helps do that, and does so significantly so that you are paid for the work that you do - you may not want to dismiss it without getting all of the facts and hearing the other side of the story from the AM.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.


  16. #14
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    favourite
    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

  17. #15
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Great response and insight, Brian, but the bottom line in this instance is that the email they have listed bounces and there is no clue as to the identity of any actual person, only "affiliate" at "merchant name".

    I guess I could have been more inquisitory rather than indignant in my message, but, then again, they never received it.
    Last edited by Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound; January 27th, 2015 at 12:53 PM.
    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]

  18. #16
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Haha - very true. Can't defend the practice of not having a working email!
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

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  20. #17
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Dot & Bo appears to be a members only website, nothing new, they want to control who views their site and has access to their discounts. Working with Ancestry.com years ago they would allow you access to a certain number of pages on the site then force a membership sign-up. Always felt they forced it too soon for a newbie to find pertinent genealogy information which is complex and not easy to quickly comprehend.

    Perhaps you could educate them that they are screening off consumers who once they view the site (which is excellent, I joined) and have limited access would decide to become a member. The site is not https: which surprises me being a closed membership site. Their pages are indexed and when you click through you get the forced sign-up gatekeeper before you can read the page. Seems counter productive but they may find that consumers willingly give them their personal information to see the page. It appears to me they use it for remarketing cutting out several steps on offsite remarketing.

  21. #18
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Yes, competitors certainly can use Ripoff Reports, I realize that and shouldn't have posted only that link.

    So I searched other more legitimate business & consumer sites/forums, but won't post any more links. They're a reseller (+ wholesalers/dropshippers?) that curate finds for consumers who enjoy this service. It saves them time, $$$ (depends...) and has that je ne sais quoi "snob" appeal that appeals to many consumers.

    Main complaints mirrored poor communications mentioned above + delayed shipping (probably due to reselling, which they're working on to improve).

    Membership sites may be some affs' cup 'o tea. But to apply this strategy to recruiting affiliates? All they have to do is not allow automatic approval, and they have the aff's email/website.

    P.S. - Nevermind. I just checked SAS and affs don't have to provide email first + you can view their products.
    Last edited by JoyUnltd; January 27th, 2015 at 04:43 PM. Reason: P.S.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  22. #19
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    FWIW, I wholly support Brian's fundamental viewpoint of "get the story"... As a consumer I have to admit I'm nearly 100% wouldn't engage with a 'provide your details before we let you in' model. But I can see where it might work well for some folks.

    I will say I'm pleased to hear the notion that great metrics don't necessarily mean a touchdown, no-questions-asked - in the sense that there's more to great affiliate partnerships than "the numbers".

    As a merchant, I have to wonder if the opposite applies: if not-great-metrics but other factors looking like a good match similarly engender real consideration? Or is that just "too bad so sad?"...?

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