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  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Recently, a few of my Linkshare merchants have signed up with LivePerson.

    It's a popup window that scrolls across the screen with a live person chat that offers the customer a free gift - ONLY if they place the order thru them - rather than the normal online process.

    I've asked. The LivePerson rep works on commission.

    The free gift is ONLY available if order placed thru them.

    I've contacted 4 merchants asking how they track the LivePerson sale back to my affiliate ID - none have responded.

    So if Parasite is defined as "Something that pops up and steals another affiliate's commission", then LivePerson fits the description to a tee.

    We as affiliates, need to nip this in the bud before it spreads and becomes another parasite plague!!

  2. #2
    15 years and counting
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    Great find Billy Kay! Do you mind to share the Linkshare merchants with us?

  3. #3
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Actually, Anne found it in Improvementscatalog. And I just happened to be updating some other LS merchants and saw it - and noticed the trend!!

    I won't name names (yet), but here's an unanswered email that should help:



    Still waiting for a response...


    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: Linkshare Commissions
    Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 14:43:26 -0700
    From: The Mail Order Shoppe <myemail>
    To: affiliates at limogesjewelry.com

    Hi Nazish,

    There's an annoying banner than crawls across your screen offering the
    visitors we send you a FREE GIFT WITH THIS ORDER - but ONLY if they
    place the order thru the liveperson chat feature (from a
    person who works on commissions) rather than online.

    How do you track these liveperson sales back to my affiliate ID?

    Please respond at your earliest convenience, as there are many
    affiliates waiting for this response.

    Below is the text of one of our conversations with a chat rep.

    Welcome to Limoges Jewelry!
    You are now chatting with 'Chris'
    Chris: Welcome to Limoges Jewelry. My name is Chris and I am your
    personal shopping assistant. I can tell you about our current specials
    and promotions, and I can assist you with your checkout. What items are
    you interested in today?

    you: Do i get the free gift if i order online - or just with you?

    Chris: Just with me

    Chris: ;-)

    Chris: Sterling Silver Snap Hoops; Free with today's Purchase; Click
    Here!

    you: There is no Affiliate Code on this webpage. How do I confirm the
    afiiliate site (MINE) gets credit for the sale if it's place with
    LivePerson?

    Chris: Well you can order with me or with the site
    Chris: But for the free gift you can order with me ...
    Chris: =)

    you: Hmmm... I spoke with the LP person on Improvements Catalog...
    you: She works on commissions...

    Chris: oooh okay
    Chris: Me too
    Chris: lol

    you: I wonder if Limoges splits the commissions with LP and the
    affiliate who sent the traffic...
    you: Do you know??

    Chris: Well i want to know as well but i am new so i am just learning
    about this stuff
    Chris: Nope
    Chris: I will find out sometime ...

    you: Ok Thanks for your help - I'll contact Limoges on Monday

    Chris: Thank you very much for shopping with Limoge's Jewelry. It has
    been a pleasure assisting you today. Please ask for me, "Chris", if you
    need assistance in the future. To better serve you, please fill out the
    post chat survey after closing this window, we appreciate your feedback.

    Regards,
    [me]

  4. #4
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    I've LivePerson on a few of my web sites. It's a wonderful tool for customer support but you can steal customers from an affiliate web site in no time. It's really too powerful in the wrong hands.
    To have Sales people online with a free gift ONLY available if order placed thru them is not ACCEPTABLE.
    We need LinkShare to address that immediately and deactivate these merchants (or stop them to steal our customers)
    Do you know with LivePerson you can follow your visitors thru your web site and "force" a chat window to them when you want to?

  5. #5
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Well, those are merchants to delete at once!
    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!

  6. #6
    Full Member BrattyKitty's Avatar
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    I would be VERY interested in a list of merchants implementing Live Person or any other similar program on their sites

    It's pathetic to work your fingers to the bone, only to have your commission diverted to someone else.

    Sheesh!

    If such a list is in someones possession, I would appreciate a copy...
    Never argue with an idiot.
    The person watching, may not be able to tell the difference!

    :female: :star: :envelope: [url="http://www.bridalbasics.ca/"]:weddingca[/url]

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Oh, Geeezzz, not another parasite method.

    If you are seeing 5 of them, then there must be dozens of them for all the merchants at LS. You'd think LS compliance department would have caught this (errr, sorry, what was I thinking).
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  8. #8
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    I just noticed Backcountry use then as well and they are a CJ merchant.
    One day parasites and their ilk will be made illegal, I bet a few Lawyers will be pissed off when the day comes.
    Mr. Spitzer is fetching it nearer

    YouTrek

  9. #9
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    The benefit to the merchant is the chance to upsell and create a larger order so this justifies the commission to the LP rep, but if they pop up on the affiliate traffic, they are violating basic contract law ... the terms of their affiliate agreement with you [the affiliate]. So the merchant has to do a few things, these being:

    1) identify such activity in their TOS; and /or
    2) not use LP on affiliate traffic
    3) Amend their commission terms so that the affiliate would still earn for sending the raw traffic (ie adding a CPC deal).

    But the way it is now, is just wrong and as I said a violation of their contract with affiliates.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Maybe this thread is more appropriate in the Suspicous Activity Forum since LP is a service available to anyone? I know that Billy has seen with specific on a LS Merchant, but this could be happening anywhere?

    And agree definitely not right.

  11. #11
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I mailed the thread to Nazish, let's give her a few to answer here in the LS forum, if she doesn't I'll move it.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  12. #12
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Haiko,

    I posted this in Linkshare because I found Linkshare merchants ('cause they were the ones I was updating at the time)

    If it applies to merchants on other networks - feel free to move the thread.

    I've emailed Nasish every day since Sunday - no response (that's why the tops of each subsequent email say "Still waiting merchant response")

    I forwarded a copy to Linkshare and Sarah said she'd check (I wasn't planning on posting her email - unless WEEKS go by without a response) but here it is:

    Hi Bill -

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I've asked my team to investigate, and I'll get back to you when I know more.

    Sarah

  13. #13
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Sorry Billy you just got my blood going because it seems that this is potentially a bigger leak than when Merchant's have commission call centers and their 1800 number plastered everywhere. The consumer still has to make the decision to pick up the phone and call. But with LP (or similiar services), they can reach out to the customer while they are on the site. LP can certainly increase conversions if it remains tied to the referring affiliate, but a bad thing if it doesn't.

  14. #14
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    That's why I posted it Kellie!

    Anne and I weren't getting anywhere on our own.

    We needed certain people that people listen to (YOU and HAIKO!!!) to see how wrong it is - and how if we don't stop it now... well you know what will happen:

    Affiliates spend their time and money attracting people to their own sites

    We then spend our own time and money promoting merchants

    We then send people to the merchant - with the promise of making money for our investment - and then the merchant "pops up" a better deal.

    We'd all be out of business real soon!!!!

    (I also posted because I didn't get a response from the merchants. I give 'em a chance, then go public.)

  15. #15
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    FYI: I also contacted ImprovementsCatalog and got what appears to be an autoresponder reply.

    I'll copy it from the other thread to keep it all together:

    Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 07:37:07 -0700
    To: info@improvementsaffiliates.com
    Subject: Linkshare Commission Question

    Hi,

    There's an annoying banner than crawls across your screen offering the
    visitors we send you a FREE GIFT WITH THIS ORDER - but ONLY if they
    place the order thru the live chat feature rather than online (from a
    person who works on commissions).

    How do you track these live chat sales back to my affiliate ID?

    Please respond at your earliest convenience, as there are many
    affiliates waiting for this response.

    Below is the text of one of our conversations with a chat rep.

    Regards,
    B Knoblach

    The Improvements Personal Shopper will join the chat now!
    You are now chatting with 'Cherida'
    Cherida: Welcome to the ImprovementsCatalog.com live chat service! My
    name is Cherida; I am a live product specialist and your personal
    shopping assistant. I can answer questions about our products and tell
    you about current specials. What items are you interested in today?
    Cherida: Place your order with me today and I will send you a FREE
    Patriotic Flag Magnet Set!
    you: do i get the free gift if i order online - or just with you
    Cherida: Just thru me..
    you: ok thanks
    Cherida: Did you want to place a order with me today?
    you: no
    you: I'm an affilliate. If someone places an order thru you do I still
    get my commission?
    Cherida: I'm not sure of that .. to be honest
    you: Who should I ask?
    Cherida: You might have to ask someone that you work with .. Maybe,
    customer service..
    you: OK Thanks. Have a nice day

    -------------------
    Hello,

    Thank you for the information. Please be advised we are looking into the matter and will advise as soon as information becomes available.

    Thank you for your cooperation in this matter and have a great day!

    Sincerely,

    The Affiliate Network Management Team for ImprovementsCatalog.com

  16. #16
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Billy just meant I wasn't trying to just have your thread whisked away elsewhere. And I totally agree with all your points about the potential problems with this.

    I never actually get a person when I go on sites with LP. But I think that has more to do with the time of day (or night as it is) that I'm usually on Merchants sites. I do know that I'm seeing it on more and more sites though and the sooner it's addressed the better.

  17. #17
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    I wondered why my sales with Limoges dropped so drasticly. Now I know. Thanks for posting this information. Time to convert product pages to a competitor's products.

    Gene
    TCS

  18. #18
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    It is interesting to see this thread becasue we were discussing this at our local web builders meeting Monday night. We agreed it was a BETTER alternative than an 800# because we thought it would leave the customer on the site and let the affiliate cookie track the sale. But it sounds like they are somehow negating the cookie and setting a new one?

    Take something that could be helpful to the affiliate community (upsells mean more commsissions, customer service means more commissions) and make it bad, I should have known.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  19. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    There is no way that this method of sales or upsell through a Live Chat is good for affiliates unless the person on the other end will give the affiliate the credit, and that is if they know or remember to ask for ID or code etc.

    I would not trust this type of method unless they offer you an item as an upsell and then to click-through an add it to you cart while you are on the site and then let you continue through to checkout as normal so that it tracks with your code, ID, that is the only way it can benefit affiliate and merchant.

    If you notice on the top right hand corner of shop4tech.com there is a Live Button (powered by PHP Live) for people that have customer service or return questions but 1 - they do not try to sell anything through there and 2 - it is only online during normal office hours.

    I have tested them on 2 occasions to make sure and no sales or upsell questions were asked.

    BUT, I still do not trust and will continue to test this from time to time to make sure.

    If any one wants to test for me too please do so at any time, because somebody will get over the head if they don't let you go to checkout and complete your order.

  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jrami:
    There is no way that this method of sales or upsell through a Live Chat is good for affiliates unless the person on the other end will give the affiliate the credit, and that is if they know or remember to ask for ID or code etc.

    I would not trust this type of method unless they offer you an item as an upsell and then to click-through an add it to you cart while you are on the site and then let you continue through to checkout as normal so that it tracks with your code, ID, that is the only way it can benefit affiliate and merchant.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Until this thread was started, this is how I assumed Live Help would be used. To upsell, but in the online cart that tracks the affiliate.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  21. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Loxly,

    &gt; To upsell, but in the online cart that tracks the affiliate.

    Right that is how it should be.

  22. #22
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    It appears that Limoges is doing this as well. So far we have Improvments and Limoges... anyon else? I did get a note from Improvements that they are going to pull this, but not sure when they will.

  23. #23
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    As a member of the Limoges Jewelry's Affiliate Team, I'd like to take a moment to address your concerns. It is NOT our intentions to detract from our affiliates' commissions. We only recently became aware of this service's affects upon affiliate commissions and since then have been working to rectify this matter with our provider. In fact, we are currently working on a program which will not allow the chat service to come up if a visitor is coming from an affiliates site.

    Our Affiliate Program and its affiliates are very important to Limoges Jewelry. We realize what a driving forces our affiliates sites can be, therefore we would NOT intentionally participate in something that would jeopardize such relationships.

    That said, we're working on this situation and your concerns have certainly been addressed. I expect this matter to be resolved asap and will definitely keep you all posted.

    Lastly, it's also helpful to know that all sales where a customer chats with a chat rep and still goes ahead to purchase on their own using the shopping cart...still get tracked via LinkShare and affiliates DO receive commissions. In fact, this service has helped convert these visitors into shoppers leading to higher sales AND commissions for our affiliates.

  24. #24
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We only recently became aware of this service's affects upon affiliate commissions and since then have been working to rectify this matter with our provider. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You admit these LivePerson folks have been stealing our commissions. Until I posted here, you made no contact with affiliates regarding the problem. Did you hope we wouldn't find out? How do you plan on reimbursing us?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Our Affiliate Program and its affiliates are very important to Limoges Jewelry. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    But not to the extent that you answer our emails, right? None of mine have been responded to yet.

    Assuming you're here because Haiko forwarded this thread (via email), does that mean there are only some people's emails you anser? Do you cherry pick which affiliates you honor with a response?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Lastly, it's also helpful to know that all sales where a customer chats with a chat rep and still goes ahead to purchase on their own using the shopping cart...still get tracked <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That's not the question here. The question is how are the sales tracked back to us when the visitor WE sent you falls for the bribe and buys thru the LivePerson dangling a carrot to order from him and NOT thru the affiliate link?

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador
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    Billy you nailed it.

    I love the idea, that "hey for people who do ignore the free gift - those few -we help you!"

    Lovely.

    CHet

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