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  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    First, I think we need a separate category for this topic, as I've found the better my relationship with an AM, the better the program (read: more money!)

    My question:
    I have links to three extremely similar stores - I'll call them Target, K-Mart and Wal-Mart (but it's NOT them).

    I have a friendly relationship with each AM

    I send each about $15000 in business a month. I have "private offers" from all 3.

    I get 35% and 33% from the first two - about $10,000 a month.

    The 3rd only gives me 4% - about $600 a month - for the same $15000.

    Not only that, when I check the "Sales You Don't Get Paid On" report, there's usually $5000 in FREE sales I gave them because the customer took longer than 7 days to make the sale.

    I've pointed out this major difference to this AM every month for over a year. I've even printed out the Linkshare Reports and forwarded them to her to show her I wasn't making it up.

    She stands by her company policy: "We feel 7 days is enough", "We're already paying you 1% more than everyone else", etc.

    Am I wrong in asking to at least give us the "No Pays" as WE did the work.

    Anyone know of a tact I can try. Or, if "my fellow affiliates" think I'm just being greedy, then maybe I'll have to live with it!

    FYI: While this is a name-brand company, and her title is Affiliate Manager, I don't think she has any authority whatsoever, as no matter how simple my question is, her response is always preceeded by something like "The people upstairs say..." or "I agree and I suggested that, but they told me..."

    Thanks, Billy

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Are these merchants in the same industry? I have some merchants that pay 1% and some that pay 50%. They're in VERY different industries.

    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com

  3. #3
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    Billy

    your correct, this AM you are talking about has no stroke!

    You can tell by the way she talks....

    it's time to move up the ladder...

    I for one dont like to talk to people with no stroke...

    for the kind of volume you are sending... talk the VP marketing

    YOu have to be brash.. it may take a bit of time to find the right person, but once you do...get the problem resolved...

    or find another compeditor who wants your biz...

    In the affiliate marketing biz... it's all about who can deliver the the eyeballs to the merchants website...

    I personally would have already figured out who the person with stroke is...

    YOu say it's a woman ... I would already know everything I needed to know including the color of her panties if she wears any....IF she doesnt wear any I would know why....

    (Ladies of ABW... please dont be offended.. I am THAT guy your MOM warned you about!)

    I have been in sales for almost 40 years... listening is the key... and asking questions as the conversation moves along...

    Billy as often as you talk to this AM there is nothing you shouldn't know about this person... she should consider you a good friend...

    if you dont know how to do this... go find one of those gogetintouchwithyournavel seminars... or if money is tight... start watching Oprah!

    Seriously, watch how she gets sugary sweet with her guests.. how she is able to pull out what she wants them to say..for her show...

    I met her once... it was a great experience... She is friends with an business associate...
    he hosted a party in her honor I was invited...

    I was introducted to her... I told her I could not stand your persona...it made me want to vomit!
    We when on to have a coversation that lasted several days... while she was in town...

    We were picking each other minds..to figure out the other... it was exilerating... better then #$@!

    JOe

    And, that's the bottom line because it's my2cents!

    [This message was edited by my2cents on February 14, 2004 at 08:39 AM.]

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    Whatever you do as an affiliate, do remember to not divulge special offers publically. These offers are extended to unique merchants and are confidential in nature, many of which even state that in the terms. I guess I would just be very careful in not mentioning names or merchants at this point as you may risk your relationship by doing so...

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Nature Boy's Avatar
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    I believe I would start looking for a comparable merchant and start negotiations with them. Of course, I would let the original merchant know that they could be replaced.

    I don't care who they are, if you tell them that your going to take away $15000 a month from their sales and send it to a competitor, they WILL listen.

    -----------------------------
    Scott

    Have a nice day unless you have other plans

  6. #6
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Cool Forum! I really wasn't expecting a response!

    I'm going to attach the emails from a few weeks ago where I brought this to her attention again (highly edited to not reveal their identity). I think she knows that she's out of line with her competition and I think she knows we have other options.

    Judging from your comments, I think I need to be stronger - or even go over her head. (Don't know how to do that just yet...)

    Don't know about the rest of you, but this situation arises more than I want it to.

    We used to sell address labels from a company. Made $4000 a month. Then they merged with another company who didn't want to continue the affiliate program. Searched Linkshare and found a merchant who sold the same thing - but only paid 5%. When I get a check for $136 - it's frustrating knowing those same exact links a few months ago made us a few thousand. PLUS, if Company A can afford a 35% commission, then Company B definately has some breating room above the 5% they're paying!!

    Anyway, here's the copy of the emails and thanks again.

    Hi (AM),

    Can you pass these two suggestions on to the "higher-ups".

    Here's our January totals for our 3 "(xxx very similar)" companies (xxx,
    xxx and xxx):

    XXX-1
    Sales: $12,987.60
    Commission: $4,545.66

    XXX-2
    Sales: $11,922.75
    Commission: $4,197.46

    XXX-3
    Sales: $9,132.93
    Commission: $547.98

    We sent all 3 companies about $10,000 in business, but one's commission
    rate doesn't even pay the salary of one web guy to make the links! Can
    you ask the powers-that-be to consider raising their commission rates in
    2004. They'll probably say no, but at least I did my part and asked -
    and pointed out the $3000 gap in commissions for the same amount of sales!

    Also, I've mentioned this before, but the "No Pays" for XXX-3
    are way above the norm. I've printed out just ONE page from January,
    but it's actually several pages long! If we get that many orders that we
    don't get paid on, it should raise a warning flag that there's something
    wrong with the current cookie duration - and it leads to frustration on
    our part, as we feel we're doing all the work and not getting compensated.

    That's my "Wish List" for 2004. Hope your superiors can see my point.

    Happy New Year
    (Me)

    (There was an attachment showing Linkshare’s No-Pay Report for this merchant here):
    ---------------------------

    Hi Billy:

    Happy New Year! Sorry to hear that you were disappointed with our sales
    compared to other websites. Right now the Company feels that 7 return days
    is a good fit. We did extend the Return Days to 14 for the months of
    November and December as a holiday promotion, and were shocked to see how
    few affiliates bothered to opt-in and participate in the promotion. Did you
    take advantage of this double in return days?

    I would be happy to test a private offer with you for the month of February
    and see if it affects sales. We could offer you as follows:

    (details of offer were here)

    Of course in exchange we'd want increased placements, since
    I have to justify each private affiliate offer I make. If using this formula we see a marked
    increase in demand, then we can talk about a win-win program for the
    remainder of the year.

    Billy, please let me know if you think this would be enough of an incentive
    to really get this affiliate relationship moving up to a higher level.

    Best regards,
    (AM)

    -------------------------------------------------
    Hi AM)

    Hope you had a good holiday. Dissapointed? No - just trying to "train" you! So far, I suggested you add products (I think my first email to you). You said the higher-up were afraid - due to availability issues, etc. But you eventually added products. I suggested you increase cookie days and again you did, albiet temporarily. So I keep suggesting what works for affiliates (well, what works for us).

    I DO hope you'll bring up the cookie issue with the higher-ups once in a while, because there are a LOT of NoPays.

    Here's the view from the other side - and I'm just speaking for us...

    First we add a product (like your PRODUCT A) to our site. We have the thumbnail page, then the product page, and then have the final link go to one of our OWN order form to test the product. Then we send the order to the merchant on our own (we test their ordering system, customer service, delivery, etc.) When we do this, NINETY FOUR PERCENT of people who click the final SUBMIT button actually place a sale.

    If the product sells and the company is ok, we then change the final SUBMIT button link to the merchant's product page via an affiliate link (Our SUBMIT button for PRODUCT A then goes to XXX-3’s page.) As soon as we change this link, we go from 94% to 12%. Either our own order forms are more customer friendly then every merchant in the world(!), or the more obvious, we loose 82% of our sales to people who decide to phone-in their orders.

    Then if you add the people who took longer than 7 days to make up their mind, we drop even more!

    We added one more page inbetween the product page and the affiliate link - the pre-registration page - where we get the customer's name and email before we send them on their merry way to XXX-3 (or any other merchant).

    Using PRODUCT A again, only 1 in 12 people who went to the thumbnail page in our sports section, liked the picture and the sale price, clicked thru to the product page, which contains the larger graphic, full product specs, a pop-up detailed image, then took the time to register their names and email, liked the current promo (like free shipping) and then clicked the final SUBMIT button - only 1 in 12 show up on Linkshare reports (which as I said previously, when we took the orders ourselves was 9 in 10).

    That said, we have drop-ship relationships with countless merchants, vendors, suppliers and manufacturers. We can always go back to taking orders ourselves, but neither XX, XX or myself want to do the one thing that entails - dealing with the customers!! Returns. Chargebacks. Mis-spellings. Mis-directed mail etc. We loose 90% of our sales with affiliate links, but we try to make up for it by adding triple the amount of products and creating bunches of niche sites that rank well in search engines.

    For example - back to PRODUCT A. We have 3 choices. We've used a drop-shipper (9 out of 10 were sales), butwe’d have to go back to dealing with customers. We have XXX-4 as an affiliate (thru Performics), but customers click on your version of the product more than theirs. So we use XXX-3!!

    Anyway, I'll answer your email tomorrow…

    Best,
    Billy

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Billy dropped you a PM (Private Message).

    Cheers

    Chris

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    There is NO way in blue h*ll I would promote Company C when the other two had such better offers for the same products.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> We have XXX-4 as an affiliate (thru Performics), but customers click on your version of the product more than theirs. So we use XXX-3!! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Your figures show that even with the extra clicks, XXX-3 is making you less than the other options. So DUMP XXX-3! Even if only a few then choose one of the higher-paying options, you've got your money back and then some.

    4% when the others are paying 35% is nothing more than a slap in the face. Dump 'em!

    ~Cheapskate merchants need not apply

    [This message was edited by Leader on February 16, 2004 at 07:05 AM.]

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
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    That AM is pretty clever. She knows you are not going to drop her program (been pleading for twelve months), so just take your 4%, stop whining, and be happy you have the other two programs (with stupid AMs).

    Now, the way to get more money out of the third AM: Offer her something. Your whole argument has been lame ('you should increase our commission by 29% because so-and-so did').

    Why would Walmart care how much KMart is paying you?

    If you want more money, either drop the merchant (you won't), or offer them something in return.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador
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    You have two choices IMHO.

    1) Dump them and funnel the traffic to the other 2 companies. If you did this, an increase of $2000 of sales from that traffic already thumps the current sales of Company C. Anything else is gravy.

    2) Carry on as you are. From this conversion, it seems as if you are enjoying this cat and mouse game. If this is true, continue as you are.

    IamJaloppy

  11. #11
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    1. You guys (gals?) are great. Stumblin' onto this forum (a linkshare MERCHANT turned me onto it) was a great suprise.

    2. Gotta be quick - I'm at a hotel and the internet connection is as slow as...

    3. Two important things happened. We feature products - not general links to merchants. Our conversions to this company dropped significanly this month. We found out that our links were being overwritten. For example, the link from our Karate Belt Rack led to a pansy heart wind catcher(????)

    We contacted merchant and she said "if something goes out of stock, THEY change to link to something else because it's better than going to a blank page".

    I filed a complaint with my associate rep with Linkshare (I've complained so many times to Linkshare, they actually assigned me - an affiliate - a personal rep) - and she actually agreed with me! (Because Linkshare is loosing money to when someone who wants to buy a Karate Belt Rack is shown a wind catcher instead).

    4. Finally, got an email from this merchant this morning (isn't it a holiday?) saying my private offer is expiring and to call and discuss possiblilties. I want to YELL and say "Our sales are down because YOU changed the links!", but whatever I decide, it appears I need to decide soon!

    Many, many thanks for your input!!!!

    Billy

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