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  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Stumbled upon a site today that besides using every tacky SEO trick, listed a bunch of coupon codes for a Linkshare merchant that I couldn't find in the Create Links interface.

    Contacted merchant as to where I can find these coupon codes. He replied fast (thanks) with:

    "Actually those coupons are meant for targeted customers which are stolen and posted on the internet. The affiliate program usually does not promote any type of coupon."

    Isn't this against a rule of somekind?

    Why buy from my website when another affiliate has a coupon for 20% off that I don't have.

    What an unfair advantage this other website has against mine!

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Why not ask the AM if you can use the coupon and offer this other site as an example. He'll either have the other site remove the coupon or allow you to use it as well.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  3. #3
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    If the merchant has one code for affiliates, then a better one for 'targeted customers' then why promote the merchant?

    Drop them fast. If they have a better coupon for non affiliate use then they are not worth promoting

  4. #4
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    I agree, it is a merchant issue and not something you should make a case against this affiliate. I fear sometimes we are too easily turned against one another in this market and ultimately no one really wins in this scenario.

    Your best bet is to as what kinds of coupons are out there, or if one can be created for your site and go from there. Please, let us not take this out on each other...

  5. #5
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Some scuzzy affiliate knowingly violates the terms of his and every other Linkshare affiliates's TOS by stealing and publishing unauthorized Coupon Codes - to the direct financial detrament of myself and all other honest affiliates, and the response is:

    1. Drop the merchant

    2. Be nice to this sleazebag and don't turn against each other.

    AAAARRRRGGGGHHH!

    At least 10 things popped into my head, none of which were drop the merchant or be nice to this thief.

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Out the sleezeball phoney coupon SE spammer. Put him/her in a hole filled with rattle snakes just like them...but have more bite then bluster. Every sleezy affiliate technique uncovered here is just the tip of the iceberg. These are all copy cat moves just like the blind cookie settings comping from the PPCSE's and web pages of these wanks.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  7. #7
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Mike,

    I DEMAND that Charlie do the posting from now on - or at least hire a translator!!!

    (Thanks Mike) I was beginning to think everone thought this was acceptable.

  8. #8
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    Ya, good thinking guys...Smear them in the mud, flog them, and if that isn't enough brutalize them with snakes. War mongers, the lot of you

    Gee, you guys are such swell fellas. Too much bad attitude and hatefullness here. Whatever happened to due process and second chances? And yes, I am ready to be flamed

  9. #9
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    I think that you missed the point of my post.

    If the merchant has an affiliate coupon, and a better one for targeted customers, then they should not be promoted.

    Is it fair to affiliates if we are not given the best coupons? Of course it isn't.

    That is why I stated that the merchant should be dropped.

    Why should affiliates not be allowed to promote the coupons? All coupons should be available to all, or no coupons at all

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    If an affiliate violates the TOS he needs to be dropped by the merchant or at the very least be given fair warning.

    This has nothing to do with bad attitudes or hatefulness. Merchants will wind up dropping affiliate programs all together if there are too many violations.

  11. #11
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    GRRRRRRRRRRR

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Most coupon sites are more than happy to comply with merchant requests when they have specific coupons they don't want listed. Unless told otherwise, we usually assume that all codes we find are acceptable for affiliate promotion.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  13. #13
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    Billy, I'm not sure what the big huff is about. Why are you really mad? Are you really angry because some other affiliate posted a coupon code he got out of an email or catalog? Or are you mad because you didn't come across the code sooner? I will say that most AMs do not police every coupon site to see if they are posting "illegal" coupons. But they do police some of the bigger ones. All the merchant has to say to an affiliate is not to post those codes not authorized through the affiliate channels. If this "illegal" site is still posting the codes, then I'm sure they are not a large enough affiliate for it to be worth the AMs time to track down.
    So - Post the code, unless told not to.

  14. #14
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    Along the lines of your thinking, what really bothers me is if a merchant offers coupons to a channel outside of the affiliate arena but does not offer any coupons to affiliates. There are a number of merchants that have regular coupons outside of the affiliate channel but refuse coupons for us. Now I can understand perhaps needing to reduce the coupon amount to keep things profitable but to just say no coupons for affiliates when you are running them through every other marketing channel known to man is just plain narrow minded. Further, it shows a true lack of committment to affiliate marketers and the flare we bring.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Julian:
    I think that you missed the point of my post.

    If the merchant has an affiliate coupon, and a better one for targeted customers, then they should not be promoted.

    Is it fair to affiliates if we are not given the best coupons? Of course it isn't.

    That is why I stated that the merchant should be dropped.

    Why should affiliates not be allowed to promote the coupons? All coupons should be available to all, or no coupons at all <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

  15. #15
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    Believe me if a merchant doesn't want a coupon posted, they know where coupons are being used (from what sales and from what source the coupons are being used) and if it is a real issue they WILL contact you.

    There are too many unknowns for either the merchant or the affiliate to keep perfect track of, meaning if it is a legitimate coupon code it is most likely fair game. You can also simply email the merchant and ask if it is okay, but no need to turn one another in...

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sideburn:
    Billy, I'm not sure what the big huff is about. Why are you really mad? Are you really angry because some other affiliate posted a coupon code he got out of an email or catalog? Or are you mad because you didn't come across the code sooner? I will say that most AMs do not police every coupon site to see if they are posting "illegal" coupons. But they do police some of the bigger ones. All the merchant has to say to an affiliate is not to post those codes not authorized through the affiliate channels. If this "illegal" site is still posting the codes, then I'm sure they are not a large enough affiliate for it to be worth the AMs time to track down.
    So - Post the code, unless told not to. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

  16. #16
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I'm "mad" for 3 reasons:

    1. He's using promotions we're not allowed to use. The TOS states we're only allowed to use the promos available in the Linkshare interface. And this is hurting MY bottom line.

    And I don't condone the suggestions of "Post them 'till you get caught"

    2. How long does it take to make ONE link with linkshare? Twenty minutes? Log on. choose make links. choose merchant. choose sub-affiliate. choose text-link. browse until you find the appropriate link. only to find the merchant doesn't have a coupon! Hec I can save a DAY'S work simply by going to this guy's site and copying all his coupon codes!! (So I'm mad at the wasted 20 minutes)(times the number of merchants I have to update)

    3. As jane pointed out, there's always the possiblity that as more affiliates use tricks, the more there's a possiblity merchants will just stop using affiliates - again, affecting my bottom line.

    But, hey, this isn't the most important post at ABW!

    So I'll just keep pluggin away at what I do!

    PS: (Julian) Can't drop this merchant. One, they convert. And two, they're a "destination city". People go there (like Vegas) to go to VEGAS. I can't substitute another merchant (or a city)

  17. #17
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    Billy, I am unclear on the suggestion that this affiliate is using any "tricks"...This has not been established and as such seems to be brought for the sure sake of making an arguement.

    Honestly, that affiliate is not hurting your bottom line in any way. The chances of each affiliate losing a sale to another affiliate is simply competion and we ALL find ways to have a competitive edge over one another. Merchants know when coupons are being used from their affiliate sales, believe me they will stop it if they choose to.

    As I mentioned, why don't you simply email the merchant and ask if you may use the coupon in question or another coupon as you have noticed it on several affiliate sites. I guess it is a matter of how you approach it, but I just don't feel we should be turning each other in just to get back at the competition (not that you are doing that, mind you).

    In the end all competitive differences hurt someone's bottom line, that is a fact. This is part of our industry and no I am not suggesting an anything goes environment either, just trying to be a reasonable as I can. To put a finer point on things, may merchants offer coupons but not all partners use them on their sites or email marketing. This just differentiates us and is just one means to competing.

  18. #18
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    Fact is what you see in the creative is not the only thing available to affiliates. A lot of times by just asking merchants, they will make a code just for your site or let you use codes you find elsewhere. It's up to the merchant and what they allow one affiliate, they might now allow another. All the merchant has to do is say if an affiliate uses coupon codes and gets a sale by using codes that they shouldn't be using, then they forfeit any commissions earned. Blue Nile is one that pops to mind. You get a sale thru your site with an unauthorized coupon, you get no commissions. Merchants know who are getting the sales and it takes less than a minute to check a site. And they can drop an affiliate at will. It's up to them.

  19. #19
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Everyone (except me!!) was right. Just got the official response from Linkshare. They have no rules against doing this. If a merchant doesn't want you to, he'll let you know - in the "usual" manner.

  20. #20
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    Billy, didn't mean to sound like I'm "turning on you", just wasn't sure what the big deal was. But I understand your plight, completely. From my perspective, I have had custom coupons created by a merchant, with my site name in it, and those have been "stolen" and posted on other sites. I was upset, told the merchant, they did nothing on their own, but asked I wanted done. I looked at that situation 2 ways A) I could have them remove the coupon, or B) they could continue to promote my site for free. While this is not applicable to your situation, it is what goes on out there. Many AM's will even have a "don't ask don't tell" policy about codes, which is why I said to post until they say not to. Not as to be sneaky, but as to not put the AM in a bad situation. But I do warn, that some sites do not like coupons being posted AT ALL, just figure those ones out ahead of time, not hard

  21. #21
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    I love when my exclusive codes are stolen, free advertising to my target audience, coupon users )

  22. #22
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Maybe this is wrong. I don't get into coupons. All I know is that if I were trying to start a coupon site, I would go to all the high ranking coupon sites I could find and copy down what codes and merchants they have. Then, I would join those merchant programs and use my "master list" as a base to get started.

    I guess, I would have to figure some way to check and see if the codes were still active and what the start and stop dates were and so forth. I am not really sure after that because I don't do coupons. But, that probably is what happens.

    I am not sure how it is supposed to be done, anyway.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  23. #23
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I really thought it was a NETWORK TOS that said you can only post the stuff that's given to you thru the interface.

    But it's the individual merchant who can or can't make that rule.

    I contacted another merchant because this aff had SIXTEEN coupon codes for their shoestore that I could,'t find - merchant says he got them from their customer mailing list and told me to go to their home page and sign up!!!

    Oh well, every day is a learning experience in this biz...

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador
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    Why do you think a lot of affiliates keep well away from coupons?
    It is such a minefield out there. So many unauthorized coupons floating about.

    How much work would it take to verify all of those coupons?

    Nah. I am happy earning what I earn without many coupons at all

  25. #25
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    I can't help but marvel at the hypocrisy on this board. "Legit" affiliate sites complain about coupon sites, when very few offer any kind of real content beyond a pre-fab store front or a "shopping portal" that amounts to a bunch of links.

    Not to Pick on Mike of EcomCity.com, but I'm going to pick on Mike of EcomCity.com. He complains that couponers amount to being the evil of the affiliate world, but his site offers no real content, just a bunch of links stuffed into a horrid design with the hopes that someone will click a link so he can set a cookie.

    So before you complain about couponers, ask yourself if *your* site offers any real value to your visitors? Do you offer any real content? Do you provide any real service?

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