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  1. #1
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    Yesterday, one of my Linkshare merchant run out of stock for one of the products I'm selling. I know by experience that the stock will be replenished in a few days. Without all the noise around LS, I would have wait.
    This time I decided to find a replacement from an other network, Shareasale. The product is almost identical, but 25% more expensive on Shareasale.
    The link was up yesterday morning with the new vendor. My average sale per day for this product is low 2, high 3.
    I sold already 6 yesterday and the sales are coming fast for today.
    The merchants are roughly identical, the price is less competitive and my web page and traffic are the same.
    Why this difference? I't too early to see a trend but I'm starting to wonder. Could it be the cut of the parasites? Half of my sales?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    Considering parasites can pop off SAS merchants just as well as anything else, probably not.

  4. #4
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    They can pop up on my site but they can't overwrite my id on Shareasale and it's a huge difference. To make the sale the parasite has to drive away my customer with a better offer.

    By the way, it's the first time I'm switching networks and vendors on the same page without changing product or wording. Who did it before and what was the results?

  5. #5
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Zeus.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Considering parasites can pop off SAS merchants just as well as anything else, probably not. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I know for a fact not necessarily true Trust......

  6. #6
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    Not talking about overwriting your SAS id. They can pop up advertising for a competing merchant elsewhere over your SAS links just as easily as they can pop over LS links doing the same thing.

    BLFH reread the 180 solutions thread, they pop over everything even SE results.
    Example: You can use a SAS shoe merchant and another shoe merchant can utilize these programs to pop advertising over that based on keywords in the file. That's part of the TrueTracker deal where Haiko said they will take those that pop over their links to court, if i understood what he posted correctly.

  7. #7
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Yes, reread the first Tommy thread and Brian's post. And if you or anyone else ever sees a pop occurring from a SAS click thru to a Merchant (whether the pop is for a SAS merchant or not), be sure to let Brian know. He has had frequent conversations with 180 and others too I would imagine.

  8. #8
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    To lost my sale, the customer must click on the new offer, it's an extra step. By experience, I know my shoppers are lazy, they just want to go to the check out as fast as they can.
    With Linkshare the parasites are overwriting my ID, the pop up is just there to lure Mr. Messer into thinking they're doing a good job.

  9. #9
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Just wanted to add that there are many other factors that could contribute to what Zeus is seeing, but parasites can't be discounted completely as a possible factor.

  10. #10
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    Specifically what parasites are actually overwriting IDs? I thought they all just pop up advertising now, i know they used to swap out ids, but didn't think so now.

  11. #11
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>BLFH (Ms. B) - Just wanted to add that there are many other factors that could contribute to what Zeus is seeing <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree, there's many factors involved. I know for a fact that a slight difference between two pages can make a difference. Just a word is enough sometimes. Time of the day, or seasons...

    I pick my merchants carefully and avoid to work with less than reputable merchants. The old one on my page is not known for working with parasites. I should say, was, because they got bought out by an other LS merchant with a much different reputation.

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Another thread here today was pointing out forums where the affiliates saw 180Solutions and WhenU overwriting affiliate ID#s with ClickBank merchnants. Some pointed out that other affiliates Findwhat Keywords trigger whenU popups and ID# overwrites.

    Wonder if Ms.B has seen where the big three BHO rogues (WhenU -18Solutions-Gator), who allow targeting certain domains with their infernal Ads, would be configured to just do overwrites right from the affiliates pages with URL server redirects. This was the case with Clickbank merchant links.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  13. #13
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    TrustNo1® I read your posts and I know you think, we have to include parasites in the cost of doing business. I'm thinking (or I was) like you. The lost of money is not my major motivation, I really don't care, for now. It could be different for other people and I'll change my mind if the cut is way above 10%.
    But, these parasites are making the life of my customers, miserable, not directly, but all these downloads, pop ups, spam emails, browsers hijacks are not acceptable anymore. People are again scared to shop on the web, a few years ago it was due to the fear of CC fraud. I've people complaining everyday because they can't see my links anymore. The main reason why these crooks are there is because the networks are making their life easy by monetizing them. They are proliferating and it has to stop.

  14. #14
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    I agree with you on all that, i was just saying i disagree with you when you mentioned parasites and thinking they're taking half your sales. And you based this on a day or two of swithing from LS to SAS. Even Connie who hasn't been to happy with LS lately has had no luck with Shareasale merchants and does good with LS merchants. So i was saying it's probably something else.

    What i'm saying is this kind of stuff affects everyone's sites here, even sites that use nothing but parasite free merchants. As far as your customers, just switching links to another network is not going to solve anything, i think what affiliates should be doing now is educating your site visitors/customers and help them get their computers clean and to keep them clean. I know BLFH is working on something like that, a page/site where affiliates can link to so they can help educate. But they're not taking a 50% cut, not anywhere near that.

  15. #15
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    My post is on the teasing side. One day is not enough to draw any conclusion, but I've sold this same product year after year. It's the first time I'm switching network for the same product on a low traffic page. I'm also looking for comments and experiences.
    I'm seriously thinking to find replacement items for some of my high traffic pages if I can see a difference in sales.

    I'm afraid my customers don't have a clue of what's happening inside their computers. I don't see how to educate them without scaring them to death. Most of them are computer illiterate, I can see that by reading their emails and answering them. I don't have any webmaster kind of sites.

    Why put the burden on the customers when we know who is spreading the disease. How long can you keep a computer clean if you don't stop the flow of downloads? We have to catch them where it hurts, money. And the networks are redistributing them our (and the merchants) money.

  16. #16
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    50%?! That's just too fishy, and I think it's going way too easy on merchants who may be at fault to immediately blame parasites as if there isn't such a thing as a crooked merchant.

    Personally I'd suspect that tracking is effected (because the merchant effected it), or that they aren't sending all the transactions over to LS.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> By the way, it's the first time I'm switching networks and vendors on the same page without changing product or wording. Who did it before and what was the results?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I've been able to do it without rewriting the page a couple of times. In one instance, the merchant closed their program, and for the other the merchant ran out of the item that page had been dedicated to.

    So I changed the links to aim at Amazon as a "quick fix." I mention merchant names on my pages, so I did have to change it to say Amazon instead of the old names. But that was the only change that I remember making on those pages.

    Item One sold a decent amount through Amazon fairly quickly, whereas the old merchant's sales had ground to a halt a few months before their program closed. But Amazon's results let me know that there WAS still good demand for that product at the time. That tells me that something had become rotten in the original merchant's program.

    Item Two, on the other hand, generated NO orders from Amazon at all. None! This item had been selling well through its CJ merchant until they ran out of it. That merchant sent an email that said they weren't able to get more of It, leaving me stuck with Amazon since nobody else, on any network, seemed to have It either.

    Other relevant facts, for those interested:

    I think both original merchants had parasites, so the performance difference between the two of them can't be explained by that.

    Both original merchants *started out* with a fine CR for the items in question.

    Both these instances were where I hand-wrote a single, dedicated page to feature the product. So it's not a feed vs. nonfeed effect. Both were nonfeed pages. Both also had the same layout.

    And I can't say that Amazon had any real sales superiority, after all, they couldn't close the sales on Item 2 even though the original merchant could. All I can guess is that affiliate-programless merchants were severely undercutting them for that item.

    So...I was able to switch merchants without rewriting the pages twice--and I had a 50% score rate. That makes it clear as mud, I know...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  17. #17
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    I don't have a bad opinion of the merchant with Linkshare. I've sales everyday with a dozen of items. Their AM was on ABW two years ago. I've not seen her here for a long time. I don't have the feeling they are not reporting everything (but how do I know?).
    50% is a lot, from one day to another. Many times, with new products, I've sales almost immediately, then nothing for months.

    During the time, I'm typing this, I've an open window with Shareasale and new sales are still coming.
    Thanks Leader for sharing your experience. I use Amazon as a filler, I'm not too excited.

  18. #18
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    If the product is a niche' product then the price differential might not a big force in buyer decisions. Strange how the higher priced, similar or same item, with different cart/network shows better conversion ratio on limited traffic.

    I'd love to find a popular brand Remote Control hobby item and swap out the two individual product links for 30 days at a time. I tried that once with eHobbies and Hobbytron and neither sold the damn RC truck on hundreds of clicks.

    Merchants are tasked with generating steady daily sales and none of my etailer clients can't recite their conversion ratios. One client has had a steady 1/20 conversion ratio not varying 2% for 5 years straight. Every year at father's day time traffic jumps and conversion ratio goes to 1 sale per 10 clicks. Today it was 1/8.

    I'll try putting some competing network merchant items on my showcase page for the merchant. I'm not an affiliate, but can track clicks to sales easily, and perform a test on the same targeted traffic page source. This merchant will never entertain a BHO infested marketing program and He's even leary of Overture and all other 2nd tier PPCSE's due to BHO partnership popups.

    One thing is for sure. If a long term affiliate with steady showcase static page traffic sees a huge conversion ratio dip from a particular merchant there is a cause.... Bad tracking -new data mining application interferring with clickstream -shopping cart brand changeover -BHO's or a crap pile of cookie cannon affiliate tricksters.

    I can track several merchant clients and never see a conversion ratio gap other then some junk traffic signup snafu. I can take the pulse of conversion ratios for Overstock and TigerDirect over 4 years and pin point exactly when things went south. Those AM's at least recognized there was a problem and got to the root cause... if allowed.
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  19. #19
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> with Shareasale and new sales are still coming.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Told ya so
    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!

  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I'd love to find a popular brand Remote Control hobby item and swap out the two individual product links for 30 days at a time. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I may really be wrong, because it has been a while since I did a search like that inside Northern Tool, but I thought I saw some of that stuff there. Or inside CJ, anyway, somewhere.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Zeus,

    Perhaps you should try this again with another item. If the same things happen, you'll know it wasn't just a fluke.

    Andy

  22. #22
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I use Amazon as a filler, I'm not too excited.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'm not excited about Amazon either. Their commission is way below what I like to see, and their nonexistent cookie duration sucks. So they're a "last resort" solution.

    But when I want to put up a particular product, quick (because I already have traffic for the item but the original merchant can't be used), I know Amazon's likely to have it. And usually if I end up using Amazon, it's because nobody else with a program has the item, or those others that do have it look crooked as heck.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  23. #23
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    Zeus,

    Thanks for the pm. And thanks to Leader for sharing her experience.

    Zeus sent the the links of the 2 product pages being discussed and there were a couple of things I thought were interesting.

    Since the item costs over $50, the 25% is more obvious if folks were comparison shopping.

    The SAS Merchant has a 1800 # on the top of the product page. The LS Merchant does not

    The LS Merchant puts information about shipping time frames on the product page, the SAS Merchant doesn't. The timeframes are reasonable.

    I actually had to visually search around for the add to cart button for the SAS Merchant. The page isn't designed for it to catch your eye.

    There is an extra page to beginning checking out on the LS Merchant shopping cart.

    The product display presentation is much better for the LS Merchant than the SAS Merchant.

    For me, the overall web site design instilled more shopping confidence for the LS Merchant than the SAS Merchant.

    Just looking at the web sites, product, etc I would think that the LS Merchant would be the better potential converter. Which just goes to show that well....you just never know sometimes.

    A bit of testing occassionally never hurt. Even if it is a product/Merchant you feel you are doing ok with.

    There are several factors that could be in play with this particular incident.

    First is that the product is something that would make a Father's Day gift. Could be an increase in sales on the product regardless due to last minute shoppers. It could also be why the product is OOS for the LS Merchant to begin with.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I've people complaining everyday because they can't see my links anymore. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This could be a factor in this particular situation just as much as potential parasite activity. For everyone person who bothers to take the time and let you know about that, there are others who experienced the same thing but just moved on. If SAS is showing in any of the ad blocking programs, it's in very few of them.

    I can't remember the timeframe for when the merger happened for the LS merchant. But I do know that I started seeing the merchant show up on some of the more major paras Merchant list quite a while back now. It jumped out at me because this is a Merchant whose AM participated here 2 years ago and took a rather tough anti-parasite stance. And I found it disappointing to see them showing up on the lists. With some of the parasites I've seen them partnering with, it does potentially put you with a 'session' cookie for the Merchant. I am not familiar off hand what the cookie lenght is for with this Merchant. It is a product that I can see people "shopping around" for however.

    I do think that there are probably multiple contributing factors which account for the 50% increase being seen by Zeus.

    It does make for a good point however. 6 sales are certainly better than no sales while the Merchant is OOS. Since the Merchant doesn't give alternative products when you land on the OOS page, in situations like these it seems like a good opportunity to do some testing. You really aren't losing anything if the Merchant you test doesn't convert for you. And you never know what kind of results you might see. If a test Merchant consistently sells more for you than your original merchant (even if you felt you were doing ok with their conversions), why wouldn't you want to product/merchant that performs better? And as Leader pointed out, a Merchant might perform better on certain products and not others.

    Consumers can be a really fickle bunch. Sometimes you just don't know what will float their boat and get them to pull out their credit cards.

  24. #24
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I thought they all just pop up advertising now, <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No. Some do, but others don't. Some still do auto redirects of the browser page.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>i know they used to swap out ids, but didn't think so now. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Some still do cookie overwrites.

    Realize that there are many more applications out there than get talked about here the most.

  25. #25
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Ms. B wrote:
    Just looking at the web sites, product, etc I would think that the LS Merchant would be the better potential converter. Which just goes to show that well....you just never know sometimes. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Once, I accidentally published a product page that wasn't completely finished.

    I had intended to remove it from the list of pages to be updated, but in my haste forgot about it. I realized it was online when I started seeing sales appear, but it was a couple of weeks before I finally caught it. I immediately went in and "fixed" it (completed it), but the sales stopped, almost as if I had removed the page entirely.

    Unfixing the page restored the sales. It's still there, steadily plodding along. I'm pretty surprised it does so well, and I honestly don't know why. The SE ranking is OK, but certainly not #1.

    Sometimes, you just flat out don't have a clue as to why something works, you just have to be thankful that it does.

    Andy

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