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  1. #1
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    Now, it is certainly possible that nothing at all is wrong on CJ's end, but I would like to see what other people here think if my concerns are valid (some of my own experiences with lower tracking than I expected, and personal sales not showing up):

    quote:

    Response (Matt von Trapp) 12/02/2002 12:06 PM
    Hello Richard,

    We are not experiencing any tracking problems. It does appear that your revenue dipped for a couple days last week. I checked to see if any of your advertiser's has tracking issues but they aren't at this time. There is no reason we can find to attribute the dip to tracking.

    Best Regards,




    then

    quote:

    Response (Matt von Trapp) 01/09/2003 08:38 AM
    Hello Richard,

    We have not experienced any reporting delays. It looks like you have some sales today so it may have been on end .

    Best Regards,





    my favorite:

    quote:

    Response (Ed Brustmen) 02/07/2003 07:46 AM
    Dear Richard:

    There was some work going on yesterday that affected reporting, meaning that reporting was delayed. I'm not sure quite yet of the status of that since it's still early in the morning, but I'm certain it is just a delay. It may also have involved the Internet in general. The worm virus that hit about a week and a half ago has still been slowing things down for the Internet in general. That has affected us as well, albeit indirectly. They thought the worm was over, and I suppose it is, but the sluggishness of the Internet has been ongoing ever since it hit.

    Sincerely,
    ejd




    (Please note regarding above that I had already pointed out that my own traffic was actually higher than usual, yet sales were low - the worm was well in the past)

    and the one that pushed me over the edge today, regarding purchases that my wife has made that have not been tracked recently (only 3 out of 6 items my wife has bought or applied for have tracked in the past month):

    quote:

    Response (Liz Arde) 04/01/2003 04:35 PM
    Hello Richard,
    Your wife managed to pick up the cookie for the Performics publisher's link after your cookie. I cannot go through screen by screen on what your wife did several weeks ago, but it is a fact that she clicked on another link after yours for shoes.com, so you did not get the credit. (Toggling between browser windows to compare shoes at another site may have been where she picked it up.)

    Booksamillion is still an open issue. Since she has returned part of the order that will obviously lower the commission payout when it is posted.

    Regarding Premier Equity, please contact the advertiser to discuss the missing transaction first. If you contact them and are unable to resolve the issue in a reasonable amount of time, then please open a new (separate) incident to Client Services.

    Also, you may not be aware of this, but making purchases from your own links violates the Terms of Service that you agreed to when creating your Commission Junction Publisher account. You may want to reconsider continuing to do this or at least contact the advertiser to verify that they will allow your purchase before proceeding.

    Best Regards,
    L.




    The reason this pushed me over the edge is because Liz Arde has misrepresented the user agreement. The applicable part of the user agreement is section 2.2 in the third paragraph:

    quote:

    An Advertiser may prohibit You from receiving compensation for a Payout attributable to Transactions made directly by You or on Your behalf by Your agent by Linking to Advertiser from Your Web site or in Your subscription email.




    "An advertiser may prohibit" seems a lot different from "violates the Terms of Service" - or am I just crazy?

    Additionally, my wife definitely did not click on any other link when she made the shoes.com purchase. After I've talked to her, she did say that she has visited coupon sites at times (although didn't think she did when she bought the shoes). While she didn't click on a shoes.com link from another site, I'm wondering if she did visit a coupon site and it popped up the shoes.com site automatically, resetting my cookie - which would suck, but cj is right that I wouldn't get credit.

    By the way, I'm a 5 star affiliate - I can only imagine how they treat the smaller folks...

  2. #2
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    quote:
    Also, you may not be aware of this, but making purchases from your own links violates the Terms of Service that you agreed to when creating your Commission Junction Publisher account.


    There has been quite a few occassions where people here have said they have made purchases through their own site.

    Wondering why Tod or anyone else has not spoken up at those times... to remind everyone that to do so is a violation.

  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    quote:
    The reason this pushed me over the edge is because Liz Arde has misrepresented the user agreement. The applicable part of the user agreement is section 2.2 in the third paragraph:


    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    An Advertiser may prohibit You from receiving compensation for a Payout attributable to Transactions made directly by You or on Your behalf by Your agent by Linking to Advertiser from Your Web site or in Your subscription email.



    Sounds like some egg was caught on CJ's face and now they have to bring up legalities to hide it.

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    How the heck are we supposed to verify tracking when CJ asks us to furnish the invoice # -order date and delivery receipt so they can look into it. When the merchant gets caught red handed they turn to their BHO trampled on TOS and claim they don't track sales from the complaining affiliates link.

    OK CJ and the other networks how about rotating test purchases throughout your merchant pool on your own dime, and verify your merchants haven't turned off their tracking codes. After all your the trusted partner who guarantees the tracking of sales in we use provided network links.

    OH...there are ways my referral cookies get overwritten ranging from BHO popups, merchant e-mail flyers, ...and more diversion or cookie overwrite schemes than can be written in a normal post. Do these same merchants pay double commission rates to incent/reward Dupers who have no clicks or impressions making auditing legit sales impossible?

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  5. #5
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    quote:
    Also, you may not be aware of this, but making purchases from your own links violates the Terms of Service that you agreed to when creating your Commission Junction Publisher account.


    And here it is again... this person didn't purchase from his own site. His wife did. I think then the TOS need to clarify that family members, friends, or acquaintances may not purchase through your site.

    Why would a merchant object to you buying something from them?

    If it is because you should not profit by your own purchase, the TOS should clarify that if you plan to buy from one of your own merchants, first delete these particular cookies from your machine before proceeding.

    If you did purchase from them at some time,
    might you possibly forget you have that commission causing cookie on your machine from the time you tested their link?...or may a family member not be aware that a commission causing cookie is present?...and thus be in violation?

    Ok, the TOS means we're not to click the links for any reason? Not to test the links, test for cookies being set, nothing? Every affiliate I know is then in violation and should turn in their badge.

    What the heck is the situation? Let's clarify this. What's the motive? If CJ doesn't want affiliates to purchase something for the sole purpose of checking tracking accuracy, state, "you may not purchase from a merchant you are affiliated with for the sole purpose of testing such merchant's (or CJ's) tracking accuracy.

    "Honey, remember not to do any shopping until I clear the cookies folder".

  6. #6
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    Please explain why it purchasing from your own site is not allowed. The merchant gets a sale, CJ gets their commision and you get a discount. It seems to be a win - win - win situation. The only reason that comes to mind is to prevent affilaites from dectecting merchant fraud.

    I could type much better if I had knuckles

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    This is where the system at CJ is totally screwed up. We don't know if the links work properly unless we click on them, especially when the link is a product link.

    Since CJ's very vague and totally useless "Product Catalog 1" is the best description we get on individual products now, there's no way to verify if the link works unless we click it to see. The fact that this totally changes our EPC as well as the link EPC seems lost on CJ. They just don't get it.

    Now we're not supposed to buy through our own links? WHY??? Is our money not as good as someone else's?

    There have been many topics here in the past regarding tracking of publisher's own purchases, yet I don't recall anyone saying that's not allowed. I know Amazon has such a policy, and their reporting system is weak at best since they seem to be using 1959 technology to update their reports. This is perhaps the biggest drawback of Amazon's affiliate program, and one that I feel they need to address in the near future.

    This is just another way that CJ makes it difficult to be effective at affiliate marketing, if it is indeed true.

    Andy

    AFFILIATE MARKETING STANDARD: The site upon which the initial action to buy occurs is the site the commission is paid to. Period.

  8. #8
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    quote:
    Now we're not supposed to buy through our own links? WHY??? Is our money not as good as someone else's?


    Heck, I'm going to sound like an apologist for merchants but...

    Most aff progs are about acquiring new customers. These have a value beyond the first sale - the so-called lifetime value. Understanding that allows merchants to payout commissions on sales that mean they actually make a loss on that initial sale, but they make it up in later purchases, assuming the customer goes direct to the merchant's site in future.

    If an affiliate buys through his/her own links, then they'll always do that - which means every sale is a loss to the merchant.

    Equally, you'll get affiliates who simply sign-up to get discounts and without any intention of ever promoting the merchant, i.e. they're just a net cost.

    Against that you can balance the goodwill issue of letting affiliates purchase through their own links. And if your commission payout lets you make a profit on the first sale anyway, then there's no problem anyway.

    Just some thoughts...

  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    LOL .."Heck, I'm going to sound like an apologist for merchants but...

    Most aff progs are about acquiring new customers. These have a value beyond the first sale - the so-called lifetime value. Understanding that allows merchants to payout commissions on sales that mean they actually make a loss on that initial sale, but they make it up in later purchases, assuming the customer goes direct to the merchant's site in future.

    If an affiliate buys through his/her own links, then they'll always do that - which means every sale is a loss to the merchant."

    You just defined the ebiz battle plan of the B-a-HO parasites. Expand your family of consumers by creating a loyality reward/coupon sharing club. Negotiate double the normal commissions rate. Set new cookie on every popup alert and all other linking methods to the merchant's money pool. This assures for the BHO that the stupid merchant gets NO LIFETIME VALUE for repeat shoppers. They double dip the the merchant for life with a family & friends scheme without having to woryy abound domain traffic -clicks or impressions.....SWEET!

    Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  10. #10
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    This is all very interesting. As an AM, I would like to just give you my 2 cents:

    CJ's policy is set up that way to allow merchants the ability to say that their affiliates may not purchase through their links if they choose...it's not a default. I'm not sure why a cust serv rep would present it that way. There are plenty of merchants (Eastwood is one of them) who do not mind if an affiliate purchases through their links. As MJCB pointed out, it is a goodwill gesture that we can extend to our affiliates. One more value-add.

    However, MJCB is also right in that some merchants' calculations for commissions and incentives do account for lifetime value of the customer, especially if the purchase will likely spawn many return purchases that can recoup losses from the initial aquisition. To many merchants, affiliate programs are definitely an aquisition tool and not a retention tool. (However, this may be complicated by cookie durations...I'd be interested to see what cookie durations merchants who do not allow affiliate purchases - could it be counterproductive?)

    However, it is up to the merchant, which is apparent in CJ's TOS, and not up to a cust serv member at CJ to police. That is what AMs are for.

    Anyway, that's what I think.

    -patrice

    patrice.colancecco.milligan
    affiliate.marketer
    eastwoodcompany.com
    e: patrice@eastwoodco.com
    v: 610.323.2200x2206
    f: 610.323.6268
    ::visit our private forum on abw::

  11. #11
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    One more thing...

    Frankly, I'd be upset if a CJ rep told this to someone asking about Eastwood. Did this person even know the merchant's stance? (I guess not, if she said you should check with the merchant.)

    I strive to be helpful and friendly to affiliates, and this would be counterproductive to what I was trying to do. I realize it's only one reply from one rep, but I hope that it's not something they do all the time.

    That said, most of my interaction with the cust serv reps at CJ have been very helpful and even pleasant...and I ask A LOT of questions.

    -patrice

    patrice.colancecco.milligan
    affiliate.marketer
    eastwoodcompany.com
    e: patrice@eastwoodco.com
    v: 610.323.2200x2206
    f: 610.323.6268
    ::visit our private forum on abw::

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    I'm with Mike, my very first thought was how on earth can we verify that tracking is working properly if we are not allowed to check our own links?

    Hopefully Todd will pop in here soon and clear this all up for us.

    Ron - 7 Days A Week Marketing
    Every day is a chance to learn something new and an opportunity to teach others.

  13. #13
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    quote:
    Originally posted by 7-days:
    how on earth can we verify that tracking is working properly if we are not allowed to check our own links?



    Don't worry Ron. That's CJ's job to ensure that the tracking is working and all sales are credited properly. And they consistently FAIL to ensure that.

    I have exchanged more than 15 emails/ask-a-question notes with CJ and one merchant to receive my commission for a known sale (not by me or my family members) for the last 2 months. I did not receive the commission and do not expect it any more. It's more of a hassel when you can identify a sale which was not credited and contact CJ and/or some merchants.

  14. #14
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    As a merchant, I am always looking for new customers that will hopefully be repeat buyers. Just like publishers are looking for surfers who will be loyal to thier affiliate link sites. We are both in business to make money.

    I encourage affiliates to purchase from our site. When they receive the product in a timely fashion and like the quality, they are A) more likely to buy again, B) tell others to buy from us and C) make our links more prominent. I win because I made a sale and they win because they saved money and know we are a reliable site.

    I know you guys hate the term "employee", but using an affilaite link to purchase produts at a discount is not much different than an employee discount, which most retailers offer thier employees. Merchants who would disallow publishers from making purchasers are IMHO just plain dumb.

    Additionally, if a merchant is dumb enough to price thier merchandise at a point where they lose money as a regular part of their business, they won't be around long. They will join the ranks of the dot-bombs. Isn't that what killed pets.com...

    Scott Marino
    WebUndies.com

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Scott,

    quote:
    I encourage affiliates to purchase from our site. When they receive the product in a timely fashion and like the quality, they are A) more likely to buy again, B) tell others to buy from us and C) make our links more prominent. I win because I made a sale and they win because they saved money and know we are a reliable site.


    Exactly!!! I make quite a few purchases online. One of the main reasons is to see how the service and the products that I am buying are. This allows me to promote a merchant to my visitors with the confidence that they will have a good experience and come back again. It also allows me to add some spin as to how fast the shipping was, how good the product and service was. Nothing works better than saying "We shop here and love it" or "one of our favorite places to shop at". JMO of course.

    Its also nice to see how the merchant is tracking though

    Coincidence Me baby!

    Affiliate Programs That Just Might Work

  16. #16
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    You were sitting just behind your wife looking at her, just looking at her, then you realizaed that, oh, what a coincidence she went to buy from a link that was on a site owned by you! You did not tell her anything, but you watched carefully.

    Legalized.

    Fer

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