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  1. #1
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    The CJ-upgrade inspired posts are getting as polarized as the war discussions. I wanted to throw out some random thoughts to get things back to reality.

    1. No affiliate is bound to work with CJ or any merchant. We can walk away any time. So if anyone thinks they can get a better deal elsewhere, walk away. That's one of the great things about being an affiliate. We don't *have* to promote anyone.

    2. The main reason a merchant apparently "shafts" an affiliate is because they can. If you pay peanuts, and people still promote you, why pay more?

    We need to demonstrate to merchants that a better program produces better results. So if you're not happy with the results from a merchant, then dump them. And tell them why.

    If they have poor terms and conditions, point them to competitors who offer a better program and tell them how much more exposure you'd give them if they had a better offer.

    Otherwise they see no downside to their current policy.

    3. Having said that, a lot of affiliate complaints seem to forget the realities of business.

    On top of the commission, the merchant has to pay a cut to CJ, they pay the aff manager's salary and a heap of other overheads associated with affiliate management. There's always going to be a limit on how much commission they can pay.

    Even if you throw in lifetime value (which people overestimate) there's still a cap. Sometimes they just can't payout more.

    And if they give lifetime commissions, that will reduce the commission percentage they can pay out on each sale.

    Only in special circumstances can a merchant afford to pay out high commissions and lifetime commissions.

    99% of affiliates do diddly-squat for a merchant - they're just a cost. You can wheel out the "but they may get big one day" arguments and various affiliate managers will peddle the "all my affiliates are important" PR - and it's good they think like that. But the bottom line is, only the top few % are making them any money, and they're the ones they'll care about most.

    4. In an ideal world the merchant-affiliate relationship should be a partnership and not adversarial.

    Just as merchants should understand the needs and mindset of the affiliate more, so should affiliates understand the position of the merchant better. They're not all there to just rip us off.

    Most are just doing the sums and working out how best to create long-term value out of their program.

    A lot of affiliate-unfriendly policies and practices are down to inexperience or economics, rather than malice.

    Again, instead of just complaining, we need to demonstrate the upside of improved program terms, while recognizing that improvements may also just not be financially feasible or practical. And all the while reserving our right not to promote that program. No merchant owes me a living. But I don't owe them one either.

    5. Don't make any hasty decisions based on new information revealed with the upgrade - like whether a merchant only paid on the first sale or not.

    All these numbers are just part of the picture. We should all have been looking at our own bottom line results from each merchant and deciding whether or not we should continue to promote them. Those bottom line results are what's important.

    Put pressure on merchants to improve terms, of course. But if you made good money from a program, don't cut off your nose to spite your face. And remember, many are paying on the first sale only because:

    1. They're interested in acquisition only
    2. That way they can afford to pay a higher commission percentage on that sale

    Do the numbers! If merchant A earns me more cash than merchant B - all things being equal - then I don't care if merchant A has a 1 day one-time cookie and merchant B has a 90-day, every-purchase-counts cookie. (Though there's nothing to stop me asking merchant A for a better deal!)

    6. This new upgrade may have its problems, but let's not lose site of the good things about CJ. I've been with them a long while and I've always been paid on time. They provide a lot of useful tools. And yeah, they screw up sometimes, too. But nobody's perfect. And they're a business, too. They're not there just for the affiliates, or just for the merchants either. So don't expect too much of them. And there are always alternatives (see 1.)

    My main wish would be they'd stop using corporate speak and just talk normally. I mean, "Action Referral Occurrences."...?

    7. Spare a thought for Todd. He probably agrees with many of the complaints but he's got a company to defend. At least he's here talking. But I wouldn't want his job.

    Comments/criticism welcome.

  2. #2
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    quote:
    We can walk away any time.


    Uh, yeah, like right. Built a lot of sites, have you?

    It will take me months to rebuild all my pages, that is assuming I can FIND good merchants who are parasite free and not connected with ebates.

    But, trust me, I am certainly working on it.

    The Wolf Credo: Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack. Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between. Share your affections. Voice your feelings. Leave your mark.

  3. #3
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    quote:
    Uh, yeah, like right. Built a lot of sites, have you?


    Dozens. Tested merchants out first before committing to them to any scale. Set things up to make "search and replace" easy where possible.

    Yes, there will be a problem where there is no alternative, but that's why testing is so important.

  4. #4
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Well, I have no clue what kind of sites you build but they are apparently nothing like mine.

    Perhaps, you do those shopping mall kinds of sites. I do themed stuff.

    The Wolf Credo: Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack. Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between. Share your affections. Voice your feelings. Leave your mark.

  5. #5
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    Theres truth in everything you said. I think its more of a frustration of what CJ could be. From what merchants are posting there could be better communication on whats happening. Merchants want to be able to set there own cookie duration but CJ puts a limit on that. There have been little improvements here and there but nothing major, maybe the merchant cookie info. Usually when you do an upgrade things should get better and easier. There are things publishers want, but CJ doesn't listen, we are the customer. CJ thinks chargeback % is a bad metric. So what, the publishers want it. Publishers also want to be able to see what product links are being clicked. Those are just 2 things that we used to be able to do but no more, thats going backwards. Me personally, i want the Web Site Performance back on the front page. I want to be able to go and create links quickly. Now you have to do a lot more clicking to get where you want to go. They should bring back the drop down menu for easy access to merchants. They took away the ability to see your own personal EPC with each merchant. Now you can just see the network EPC. They're kinda doing things there own way and disregarding the requests of publishers and merchants. But theres always the next upgrade.

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway

  6. #6
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    MCJB,

    Very well thought out and accurate post. I appreciate you taking the time to provide a positive perspective and turn things in the right direction.

    Thank you,

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    MCJB:
    You explained in one post what many of the professors in my MBA program couldn't summarize in a month of classes.


    Karl Smith
    phillyBurbs - Your Internet Starts Here

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by MJCB:

    All these numbers are just part of the picture. We should all have been looking at our own bottom line results from each merchant and deciding whether or not we should continue to promote them. Those bottom line results are what's important.

    QUOTE]

    I would love to easily be able to look at the bottom line for each merchant.

    I was hoping to see a new report that would tell me easily just how much I make from each merchant on each site. It could be just like the website performance except merchant performance. It looks like all the data is there, just needs different sort and subtotal parameters.

    Where website performance shows each publisher site, it could show a total for each merchant. When you click on the merchant, it could show performance of that merchant on each of a publisher's sites.

    With a tool like that, I could decide quickly which merchants and which promotions I am doing are making me, (and also CJ and the merchant) the most money. It would allow me to put more effort into my top merchants.

    It would also allow me to easily monitor new merchants added, or changes I have made to see it they are actually causing results for me, CJ and the merchant.

  9. #9
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    rghd, the tool was there, it was taken away with this upgrade. Maybe it will come back with next.

    "Very well thought out and accurate post. I appreciate you taking the time to provide a positive perspective and turn things in the right direction."

    Thats a positive perspective but not a realistic one. Read the posts, take notes what publishers want and put them in the next upgrade so we can say nice things. You view this as an attack but instead look at it as people getting frustrated because you don't incorporate what publishers want.

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway

    [This message was edited by TrustNo1® on April 08, 2003 at 02:31 PM.]

  10. #10
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    quote:
    I was hoping to see a new report that would tell me easily just how much I make from each merchant on each site. It could be just like the website performance except merchant performance. It looks like all the data is there, just needs different sort and subtotal parameters.


    It should be coming back...or at least something similar to it.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  11. #11
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    "...There are things publishers want, but CJ doesn't listen, we are the customer. CJ thinks chargeback % is a bad metric. So what, the publishers want it. Publishers also want to be able to see what product links are being clicked. Those are just 2 things that we used to be able to do but no more, thats going backwards..."

    Thank you TrustNo1,
    Very well thought out and accurate post. I appreciate you taking the time to provide a positive perspective and turn things in the right direction.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by TrustNo1®:
    rghd, the tool was there, it was taken away with this upgrade. Maybe it will come back with next.


    I guess I have missed that one. Was there a report that showed one total for each merchant before?

    The only thing I ever found were the reports on the merchants page for each merchant. With that you have to run a separate report for each merchant, which takes a lot of time with multiple merchants.

    I am looking for a report that has a line for each merchant. Was it there and I missed it?

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