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  1. #1
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    More and more good merchants are upset because a few affiliates have no ethic. (I'm not only talking Ebates and other parasites). It's becoming worse and worse and our affiliate business could end because of them. CJ have been promoting theses bad affiliates by monetizing them and not taking any action. It's out of control, now and it's going to hurt them bad one day. What can be done? What kind of advices could be given to merchants? Just an other example, GolfGods. They may have to end their program.
    Dear XXXX,

    Thanks in advance for all of the support that you have given us so far.
    We are going to make an announcement concerning our program in the next couple of days, and since you are one of our best affiliates, we would like to give you a heads up.
    We have been having a lot of concerns with the program through CJ.
    Amongst these concerns are as follows:
    1. We have found several publishers that we feel are being credited for sales that they were not resposible for.
    2. Several publishers were infringing on our trademarks by advertising as Golfgods directly.
    3. We are competing heavily with some of our affiliates for paid placement that is causing the prices for us and them to skyrocket out of control.
    4. Other costs associated with the sales that is bordering on making the affiliate structure not worth the expense.

    I didn't like them to reduce their cookies to one day but they have their reasons.
    Not all of you are sharing my concerns but a few of us can make a difference.

    It's not the big that eat the small... it's the fast that eat the slow. Jennings & Haughton

  2. #2
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    ---1. We have found several publishers that we feel are being credited for sales that they were not resposible for.

    If it's not about parasites, I would love to know what they mean. If it is about parasites, I would love to know who and how.

    ---2. Several publishers were infringing on our trademarks by advertising as Golfgods directly.

    A simple Perl script could show those publishers.

    ---3. We are competing heavily with some of our affiliates for paid placement that is causing the prices for us and them to skyrocket out of control.

    Another Perl script could show those. Although I don't see why playing the bid game should be against the rules, unless it is forbidden in the rules. Me I'm too cheap to pay more than 8 cents in PPC. Oh, and I just got a crazy idea that it could be their business competitors masquerading as their publishers.

    ---4. Other costs associated with the sales that is bordering on making the affiliate structure not worth the expense.

    This is what I don't understand at all. What other costs? Am I missing something important? Well, I'd love to know more on the subject. Is it about some fees for CJ? I can only guess.

    Beer without vodka is wasted money

  3. #3
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    --- 3. We are competing heavily with some of our affiliates for paid placement that is causing the prices for us and them to skyrocket out of control.
    Assuming this is illegal per the terms of the agreement with affiliates, any affiliate doing this should be terminated immediately.

    --- 1. We have found several publishers that we feel are being credited for sales that they were not resposible for.
    Why were these affiliates approved for the program? This should be illegal per the agreement and these affiliates should be terminated immediately.

    --- 2. Several publishers were infringing on our trademarks by advertising as Golfgods directly.
    Hmm.. Is the agreement with affiliates clear that this is illegal (and spelling out exactly what you deem as advertising as Golfgods directly)? If so, a warning to any affiliate doing this, then a termination if no compliance.

    4. Other costs associated with the sales that is bordering on making the affiliate structure not worth the expense.
    Hmm..


    Zeus,

    You're right, though, I'm hearing more merchants saying something similar to this.

  4. #4
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    Affiliate marketing, in the beginning, was sold as a way for advertisers/businesses to save money, plus get results versus what they were spending and getting results on for cpm advertising. Pay for performance became the way to go.

    Now, from some of the emails and messages we have all gotten from time to time that advertising through these networks, mainly the big three, is not worth the invstment. Yet, while some move on to explore other affiliate programs, and start their own in-house program with software that has become increasingly available with these disappointments, others still stay in it for the long haul, obviously having much success.

    Here are some solutions I think would help:

    • The big three need to terminate the infringing parasite/thiefware affiliates.
    • I understand the need for vigilance in trademark infringement - suspend infringing affiliates until they come into compliance.
    • Provide training to new, and incoming advertisers before they launch their program.[/list]

      These are some of the ideas I had. CJ, imho, has lost focus of what they sold themselves as in the beginning; a good return on the investment of advertising dollars vs. what advertisers were spending on cpm ads. Now, the cost of advertising through the big three has become very expensive. Advertisers are having to pay a lot of money upfront for a service that use to sell itself as a we don't make money unless you make money service. The idea, from what I understand, in the beginning, was that merchants only had to pay for results. Some merchants are caught off guard without knowing, fully, the ins and outs of the business, or the affiliate program. There account is started, and their program is launched, and there they are with their pants down, caught off guard.

      My two clicks. btw, I do applaud CJ for doing away with ppc. Good move, imo, for the advertisers, and it help some of us become better atproducing sales.

      Big Chuck
      If you can't run with the big dogs, then stay on the porch!

  5. #5
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    ---3. We are competing heavily with some of our affiliates for paid placement that is causing the prices for us and them to skyrocket out of control.
    - - - - -

    As far as I'm concerned, I'd rather have my affiliates paying for PPC than me. I mean, think about it. I could pay for all the PPC keywords myself, or I could have 20-30 affiliates bidding on those same keywords. IMO, a surfer has, for example, the top 10 choices that pop up. In option 1, I have a one in ten chance of attracting that persons attention. If my affiliates all bid, I have an 8 in 10 chance - or better - that that surfer will choose either myslef or an affiliate, and end up at my site.

    So, affiliates want to compete with me for keywords? GREAT! In fact, I'll let them take the lead, if they are bidding high enough in rank, who cares, as long as I get the sale. The only keywords I would object to are my company name.

    I drank what??! -Socrates

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Very astute observations by both the affiliates and merchants. Basically all the above is why I've stayed true to the original plan that equated commissions to the value add offered by the affiliate/publishers. Merchants were seeking ways to INCREASE sales by getting MORE targeted traffic than conventional online advertising methods. Win Win is more sales at less cost.

    Then comes the networks giving new life to the "incented" traffic by monitizing the BHO's and datafeeding merchant incent offerings. At one point CJ actually required the incent affiliate to get explicite written permission from the merchant to join the program. The two areas where rampant affiliate fraud occured, prior to EPC launch, was CPC and incent affiliates.

    At one point my client merchants at CJ knew the costs of doing business monthly and all profited off of affiliate generated traffic. Only problem was recruitment as they got buried amongst 1800 not ready for prime time merchant offerings. One of those was www.suspenders.com , who had the highest conversion ratio of any CJ merchant then and now, but no way to tell the affiliate pool about their conversion ratio. My suggestions to CJ staff led to the EPC move by CJ that trumped BeFree and Linkshare. They only failed when not booting out the incent affiliates along with the CPC crew.

    Now the new and existing merchants are finding out those incent BHO's have added millions to the pooled costs of running a network program and they can't defeat the BHO with diversion tactics. In come the PPCSE keyword bid battles -expired domain re-directs -raised entry fees -spammers and others playing the tricks for clicks game. EcomCity, and all my etailer clients still make the shopper rule their domains. No outside advertisers need apply to murk up their focused offerings.

    Charlie ...

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

  7. #7
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    Let's see if I understand this right. If a merchant is paying 10 cents a click and getting one sale every 10 clicks, they are paying $1 per customer. If they pay their affiliates more than $1 per sale, aren't they losing money?

    Ray

    If it's slick, it's not sticky.

  8. #8
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Ray the volume of sales is more important than idividual sale profits. The merchant only needs to profit enough to justify the effort.

  9. #9
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Let's see if I understand this right. If a merchant is paying 10 cents a click and getting one sale every 10 clicks, they are paying $1 per customer. If they pay their affiliates more than $1 per sale, aren't they losing money?
    - - - - -

    Let's also say I have 9 competitors. If the visitor clicks on a competitor's site I get 0 income.

    Situation 1 , if I am placed decently on a given kyword, I get 40% of the clicks.

    Situation 2, where my afiliates fill most of the top 10 spots that garner traffic, I make 80% of the sales, but pay out a little more in sales commission.

    I don't look at it as 'losing money' but rather as 'not gaining' money if I don't fill the top 10 positions with my affiliates.

    I drank what??! -Socrates

  10. #10
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    Don't know about GolfGods, but...

    When "good merchants" leave CJ and show up at LS or somewhere else (which happens quite frequently I've noticed)... let's think about that for a second.

    Most of these "bad affiliates" use LS and other programs...not just CJ. So why the move to these other programs?

    This tells me the problem is for the most part with CJ (seeing through the eyes of the merchants )

    Now, if GolfGods wants to end the idea of an affiliate program altogether...someone finish the rest of this sentence. Yea, someone will backorder their domain name at Network Solutions.

    Merchants leaving CJ will obviously tell you whatever it takes to get you to follow them somewhere else.

    GoldGods wouldn't be going into details about affiates, etc. if they were going to end an affiliate program altogether.

    My prediction: Affiliate programs will be alive and well for many years to come, and more and more merhants will be forced to come to grips with the fact that affiliates expect to be paid.

    Oh, by the way. Why not just reverse the sales for these particular affiliates that are credited for sales they didn't make? Why not just terminate your affiliation with the few affiliates that outbid you?

    Just leave CJ, but I don't need your BS e-mails.

  11. #11
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    The squeeze is on...... but it sure likes cj is winning the game to me. You only need to take a look at which network is getting the most new clients and that's a no brainer right.

    The only problem is it's mostly been a "rash of trash". CJ doesnt care as long as they get their fees and is doing little to help affiliates garner better results by providing better information (quite to the contrary).

    They largely cater to the parasites and most knowledgable AM's just take the "guard dog" approach and carefully eye their programs and affiliates. The fact is that most AM's are not going to do this and further, it's becoming a standard practice for Am's to think this is part of THEIR JOB. It shouldn't be but an alternative that handles it isn't currently available.

    I've always felt that the networks should protect it's merchants and affiliates from the gross wrong doings that can be done by both. It seems that this "wish" has little appeal to the networks as reversals, outright theft and diversion, shoddy reporting, what seems to be the inability to react to sales that are being blocked and the "piss poor compliance teams", who rarely find anything wrong when clearly major problems exist!

    The squeeze is just beginning and will only get worse with no action. IMO, it seems the name of the game for networks now is "monthly merchant fees" instead of helping improve sales for affiliates and merchants.

    Lets see... less reporting, less features, less ability to see what is selling, what seems to be an increased flow of parasites and dupers, a screwed up datafeed that most have problems working with and now they are even actively spidering the sites of their affiliates with what was deemed a rouge spider that surely wasn't tested and was very badly behaved.

    You think things are bad now? It's only going to get worse as the squeeze progresses.

  12. #12
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    From my perspective, if Best Value Golf Product, Inc. (GolfGods) have decided that these are all valid reasons to pull their program so be it. This is where I do agree, it is just business.

    Anyway, once they dropped their cookie duration to almost nonexistent, I lost interest, and decided they can run their business, and affiliate program, any damn way they deem appropriate for themselves.

    I do at least applaud them for giving detailed reasons for their troubles with their affiliate program, as they see it. That demonstrates to me an affirmation from a merchant that there are growing problems with affiliate programs as a model in it's current form. But once they gave their reasons, it is simply their job to take steps to try to adjust their program or pull it.

    One question I would have, is how many Merchants have complained about trademark infringements? I would think the potential would be high, but it is the first I have heard of it. The PPC issue comes up all of the time, and I have said before, I don't understand the cookie issue unless they are referring to parasite ware. All they need to do there is pull the plug like GigaGolf did on para(sites).

    Pressure from both sides, (Merchants and Publishers), need to be applied to CJ and other 3rd party trackers/managers, (Linkshare, Befree, whatever), to shift affiliate marketing back in the direction that makes it appealing and worthwhile on both sides. Otherwhise the whole concept will cut out the middle class publishers, and will leave only the parasites, and mom and pops, with mostly unscrupulous merchants finding ways to cheat them both. What a mess...

    I know that the affiliate game alone is not worth it right now given the current squeeze from all the cheating, and don't forget about the economy.


    CJ has become too big, and is not taking on the type of responsibility that is commensurate with their growing position and market share. In other words, get this straight, CJ, every industry of business needs proper policing, and auditing to continue to be viable for ALL 3 sides, meaning, including you. It is now your responsibility, to be a positive cog in helping to clean up this business, like it or not. Eventually they will be forced to come to this realization. Specifically, I don't care if GolfGods is hurting, if they shorten their cookie duration, MAKE THEM REFLECT AS SUCH IN THE DATA YOU PROVIDE THAT REFLECTS ON BOTH GOLFGODS.COM AND COMMISSION JUNCTION...

    Jonathon Palbicke
    Webmaster
    www.krookedstix.com
    Webmaster@krookedstix.com
    Krooked Stix, Inc.
    It's all golf baby!

  13. #13
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    quote:
    1. We have found several publishers that we feel are being credited for sales that they were not resposible for.
    Do they mean other affiliates are getting the credit, or do they mean that no affiliate should be given credit at all?


    quote:
    4. Other costs associated with the sales that is bordering on making the affiliate structure not worth the expense.
    Some merchants may be thinking "cost" of attracting a customer, not cost of attracting sales.

    For example, getting a huge-amount transaction may be good for business but paying the affiliate a big commission on just one transaction may not be cost-effective in attracting customers.

    Unfortunately, some merchants only look to attracting customers through their affiliates.
    Instead of promoting sales, their motive is simply to steal our visitors.

  14. #14
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    quote:
    Originally posted by NotKrooked:
    From my perspective, if Best Value Golf Product, Inc. (GolfGods) have decided that these are all valid reasons to pull their program so be it. This is where I do agree, it is just business.

    If you review golfgods' statement, I don't think you will find anything there that would justify reducing the cookie duration. Terminating the program, yes, but not reducing the cookie.

    I think this is just a ruse on their part so they will not take the heat on reducing the cookie.

    I have to agree, it is all a business decision - including blaming the affiliates.

  15. #15
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    I agree with you waytogo. I posted my anger at them reducing their cookie duration in at least one post. The "just business" statement was used by someone else as a response to my argument that 1 day cookies are unethical...

    And so pulling the plug is fine.

    I don't think there are many programs that can ethically justify 1 day cookies, that to me is pure exploitation, and on top of that, CJ is not requiring GolfGods to change/update their info reflecting this fact.

    That galls me to no end...

    Jonathon Palbicke
    Webmaster
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    Webmaster@krookedstix.com
    Krooked Stix, Inc.
    It's all golf baby!

  16. #16
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    This is worth getting angry about with respect to this issue. This is fact, not conjecture. I am basically reposting this to make sure many more read this...
    quote:
    Dear Golfgods.com Publisher,

    You are receiving this message because Golfgods.com has changed their cookie duration. This change will go into effect on 4/8/03.
    The cookie duration is the length of time a cookie remains active in a browser. The cookie allows us to track publisher commissions. We allow our Advertisers to set their own cookie duration.

    The former Cookie Duration was 45 days.
    The new Cookie Duration will be 1 days.

    If you have any questions, please contact the advertiser directly.

    Best regards,

    Client Services
    Commission Junction


    It is not April 28, and the one day cookie is still not reflected correctly.

    As of today: 4/28/2003

    1. Action: Sale
    Action Criteria Not Specified Action Referral Period 45 day(s) Action Referral Occurrences 1 time(s) Commission 7.00%

    Here is commission junction reply to my request for accurate information/update.

    First here was my request to CJ on 4/16/2003

    quote:
    Best Value Golf Products, Inc. made an announcement April 1, 2003 that the cookie duration would be reduced to 1 day. You have not updated your information confirming
    this fact.

    This is important because Louis, (CEO - GolfGods), sent me a response to an email stating that they were going to
    reconstruct their affiliate program to make it more appealing.

    Until the terms are changed on your site, I will not be able to determine when that change is made.




    Here was there response...

    quote:

    Jonathon,

    We will not be modifying GolfGOds detail page on CJ. It is the advertiser who is responsible for making the changes to their terms and to their detail page. Any changes that need to be made will be handled from their end.




    Well as you can see, it still has not been "handled on their end" and is egregious cheating as far as I am concerned, especially with respect to any new affiliates that my sign on.

    Jonathon Palbicke
    Webmaster
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    Webmaster@krookedstix.com
    Krooked Stix, Inc.
    It's all golf baby!

  17. #17
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    It sounds like excuses from a looser to me.

    "We just have to reduce cookie duration to pay less" because spending less is always better than spending more.

    Close the bussines to spend less, oh no, cheating affiliates is so cheap they will make the effort...

    - If they find publishers you do not like, then they can drop them, but they choose to cut cookie duration for all, that is a looser strategy...

    Bad luck to you Golfgods!

    Fer

  18. #18
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    Sorry about all the typos on my last post, I just whipped it up there but you get the idea...

    Jonathon Palbicke
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    Webmaster@krookedstix.com
    Krooked Stix, Inc.
    It's all golf baby!

  19. #19
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    One month is a long time for them to change their info, especially from a merchant that's so concerned about affiliates.

    I'll say this is all smoke and mirrors. Pojecting or claiming something that they know very well is not true.

    This reminds me of that big infamous company starting with the letter E.

  20. #20
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    Please make an effort to relabel to title of this thread so it is clear...Right now it is very misleading...

  21. #21
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    Most of the points made in this discussion are very valid.

    Maintaining a fair exchange should be as much a priority for an affiliate network as it is for the merchants and affiliates. Affiliate marketing, when done through a network, should be a 3-way partnership and can only be successful when treated as such. It's important that we(networks) be more than an automated, online brokerage for affiliate marketers. Only by providing a valuable service to both merchants and publishers can you maintain long-term profitability. Once you allow either group to abuse the other, you begin to compromise the value of your own service and, more importantly, provide a disservice to your quality partners.

    If, and only if, you do not have long-term profitability in mind would you leave the entire program in the hands of the marketers. Regulation of the promotions, information provided about the program, acceptance of partners into the network and fraud by merchants OR affiliates has got to be a priority of the network. If you make the network a great place for affiliates, you will attract the ones that the merchants like. If you have what the merchants want, you can be more selective about which ones you allow to advertise. As your acquisition of partners becomes more easily selective, you grow a better network while all parties concerned grow with you.

    One important thing to remember is that, while we probably all agree with this philosophy, affiliates and merchants can only drive the industry in this direction by being equally selective in the partners they choose. Every time that marketers complain about a company's policy and continue to work with them, they grow that company's marketshare while reducing that of a potentially more beneficial partner.

    Choose your partners wisely.

    Joe Flores
    "Profitman"
    Affiliate Manager
    www.affiliatefuel.com

  22. #22
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    Profitman

    Amen...

    Jonathon Palbicke
    Webmaster
    www.krookedstix.com
    Webmaster@krookedstix.com
    Krooked Stix, Inc.
    It's all golf baby!

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