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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    quote:
    Todd Crawford wrote in 1999 to a merchant in a Yahoo news group:

    Third party solutions should provide you (merchants) access to who your affiliates are. A third party solution should not stand in the way of you creating a direct relationship with your clients/employees/agents - in fact
    they should encourage and help you to develop such relationships.

    Do not overlook the value of the trusted-third party. Affiliates need to trust that the tracking and reporting is accurate. If you develop an affiliate program why should an affiliate trust that you will supply accurate tracking and reporting? Why should they trust that you will pay them?

    A third party solution let's the affiliate know that tracking and reporting will be accurate and that payments will arrive on time and in full. Remember the success of your affiliate program is based on the success of your affiliates. If you provide them with the tools to sell your products/services and develop a direct relationship with them they will be successful. Treat them like employees and offer them the best tools available which should include audited, third party tracking, reporting and payment processing.

    Todd Crawford
    Vice President Sales


    I highlighted what I thought was Todd's strongest/most subtle point in convincing this merchant they needed CJ.

    Want to contact that merchant that reversed your sale for that classic CJ reason "other"? Sure you do, and I reason that CJ is delighted that the merchant will get the impression you don't trust them when you do.

    ...It's just like Todd Crawford appearing and telling the merchant "I told you so".

    Who knows where this thread will lead. Anyway, I wanted to let you good merchants out there know that "publishers" ...I know, you probably wouldn't call us that if you really had a relationship with us ...I just wanted to say we trust there are merchants that will pay us and all that...

    I will counter Todd's promotion and say that "why wouldn't an affiliate trust you to pay them".

    I would.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    Yesterday I made over one hundred dollars. Today I made a whole f*cking 55 cents!

    The one thing that get is really starting to make my stress level go up, with CJ, is the inconsistency of sales. Occasionally, I get mediocre sales/commissions. Seldom, do I get killer days, like over a hundred bucks. Between that, days with no sales. You would think there would be more consistency, or should i say, a more consistent pattern? I think that's my point, perhaps, is that there seems to be no clear pattern to the reporting of sales, and I keep thinking there should be some kind of pattern developing.

    I have three times the pages I had two years ago, but making less money. The less money part started just about this time last year, and has not made a significant move upward since.

    excuse me while I vent just a little. Thanks.

    -----------------------------
    Big Chuck
    Why do some affiliate networks continue to enable parasitic technology providers to STEAL my hard earned revenue?

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    I disagree. With my personal sites where I am the merchant. In two years, we have had a total of 3 days where we only had 1 sale. We have had bucketloads of days where we have had zero sales, and many multiple sale days. But in almost two years, 3 days with only one sale.

    No idea. The sales aren't connected, people form around the world, but for some strange reason, it is very rare when we get just one order.

    If all of our sales came from one affiliate - what would that affiliate think? Odd patterns exist, with batch uploading it seems even more likely to have orders bunched.


    Chet

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    quote:
    Treat them like employees~Todd








    Todd must not have w*rked in an average place for a long time. "Treat them like employees" and "offer them the best tools available" are concepts which are fundamentally opposite!

    It SHOULD'VE said, "DON'T treat them like employees--INSTEAD, offer them the best tools available..."

    quote:
    I will counter Todd's promotion and say that "why wouldn't an affiliate trust you to pay them".~Kelly



    Simple, because affiliates have run across DEADBEATS who either don't pay or are constantly munging their reports (or both) and want some kind of insurance.

    quote:
    Want to contact that merchant that reversed your sale for that classic CJ reason "other"? Sure you do, and I reason that CJ is delighted that the merchant will get the impression you don't trust them when you do.~Kelly



    I think that wouldn't be in CJ's favor. After all, the Trusted Third Party is supposed to eliminate the problem of mistrust, according to that pitch! Causing more mistrust by allowing "other" dilutes the pitch instead of reinforcing it.

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    quote:
    Leader wrote:

    "After all, the Trusted Third Party is supposed to eliminate the problem of mistrust, according to that pitch!"


    Todd doesn't give reassurance that a third party would cause affiliates to then trust merchants themselves ...but that they will put their trust in that third party to accurately report and pay them in behalf of the merchants.

    Tod's pitch must be continually valid for merchants to continue to see a need for a third party in this respect. If merchants at some point come to think that their affiliates trust them apart from the third party, they might well pick up on their original thoughts of having their own program, tracking, method of payment, etc.

    Trusting a third party doesn't equal trusting the merchant, and therefore you can't say the problem of distrust is eliminated. A bridge over such distrust has been provided as a way to do business. CJ will work toward insuring that bridge does not become obsolete.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    trust n. belief in and reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing.

    I believe trust must be earned. It is earned by providing good, clear communication so there aren't any surprises, practicing ethical business standards, and by doing the right thing, whether or not it's financially beneficial to do so.

    Sometimes a business must take a loss to do the right thing. Mistakes are made, and it costs customers money. CJ did this with the reporting adjustment earlier this year. They messed up, they admited it, and they took steps to make financial adjustments to those affected.

    However, on the other side of the coin, CJ allows publishers in its network that feed off the work of its other publishers. This is not an ethical business practice, whether legal or otherwise. It's just not ethical or trustworthy to allow this type of activity, especially when it's not properly disclosed upfront. When I signed on to CJ and some of its merchants, the terms I agreed to say in part that I'm going to get paid a commission for sales my site initiates. It doesn't say unless another CJ publisher is also signed up with that merchant and overwrites my cookie! So who's in violation of the terms in this instance?

    The fact is, I'm not getting a commission for all sales initiated on my site. Neither is anyone else if they have merchants that do business with the software app publishers.

    The reason the terms don't specify that you might not get paid, is because NO ONE would agree to them if they did! You might get paid, but you might not, who knows, you'll just have to see how your luck runs...

    I like CJ. I think they could be the best affiliate network. Period. They have the potential. But they've got to improve their communication with their customers. This is a serious problem with them. And there can't be any more surprises. No more changes to the CJ interface we all use without letting us know FIRST what's being changed or removed. And no more support of publishers that take commissions from other publishers in the network.

    Then we can talk about them being a trusted third party. Until then, it's a moot subject: they aren't trusted, which is why there are so many CJ conspiracy theories. Some of them seem plausible, because no one really knows where CJ stands anymore. At the first sign of a problem, people immediately assume the worst is going to happen. Why? Because there is no trust that CJ will do the right thing. Sometimes they do, but they also do nothing when they know publishers in their network aren't being paid commissions for sales initiated from their sites. And that's wrong.

    Cleaning up its network of parasitic publishers and enforcing the CoC without exception would be a good first step towards earning trustworthy status. Until then, there is no trusted third party.

    Andy

    _______________
    Call the Exterminators! We've Got PARASITES!

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Amen to all the above insights. Right on the the money ...or lack thereof.

    Mike & Charlie ...

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

  8. #8
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    quote:
    Treat them like employees


    If I wanted to be treated like and employee , I wouldn't be doing THIS!!

    quote:
    Trusted third party


    Who, CJ??

    Mr.Merchant, if you do business in any way what-so-ever with parasites, your products will not be sold on my sites!!

    LISTEN! CJ don't give no whistles no more! I can hear the music of another piper!

  9. #9
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Wow, how did you find a post from 1999? I read it and can't remember posting it - although I am sure it was me that did it.

    I think my point was that (especially back in 1999), publishers wanted to partner with advertisers that had third-party tracking vs. in-house tracking. Additionally, the "tools" available via network providers tend to be better than what some in-house programs can develop. Networks also offer the same tools across multiple programs, adding more consitancy in managing links and getting reporting. Lastly, aggegate payment goes a long way in the eyes of most publishers, something in-house and some networks do not provide. The easier it is to trust that you will get paid and txns will track, the easier it is to trust advertisers with little or no track record.

    CJ has tried to address these issues over the years by providing EPC metrics, aggregate payment (with upfront payment from advertisers to ensure timely payments), reporting and link management tools, and reliable tracking.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  10. #10
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    In all fairness, late 90's affiliate marketing was no where near what it is today! Todd's statements at the time, IMO, were more of a mantra saying don't keep F'in the affiliates because I can tell you all that back then there was alot of horsehockey with programs, so much so that it really gave birth to the entire "Trusted Third Party" philosophy and great things like the affiliate union and their certification process (see http://www.affiliateunion.com/cert/ ). That was then, this is now and yes while some have tried to remain a trusted third party others haven't unfortunately and thus the need for continued pressure for reform. [Last statement not specifically directed at CJ]

    Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli


  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador
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    If you want the actual post, use the Google search engine and search "Why should they trust that you will pay them?"

    Use the quotation marks in the search and hit the cached copy.

    That was then, this is now, as Haiko pointed out. Pretend to a merchant for a moment and read Todd's pitch as though being said to you as a merchant in 2003. It's really not that outdated. Merchants only need to read ABW forums to know that there's still a huge issue with trust.

  12. #12
    The affiliate formerly known as ojmoo
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    You have to give CJ credit in two very important aspects. CJ does aggregrate payments so you get your money from merchants that only sell a few things and timely payments. There is no doubt that every month I will get a check from CJ. There may be other problems, but those two things are the most important in running any affilaite network. These traits have always been true for as long as I have been associated with CJ.

    Mike
    Stallion Shoppe

  13. #13
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    My opinion is rather simple - the term "trusted third party" certainly can not be applied to the networks with their current positions.

    Examples of why I feel this way:
    1) Open embracement and promotion of BHO providers whos downloadable applications prey on the largest percent of affiliates represented in the networks that are non parasitic.
    2) A COC which allows merchants to determine if they will allow parasites the ability to intervene in normal affiliate tracking by way of allowing a parasite to divert users via popups or otherwise that directs potential income away from the actual affiliate source that referred the user to their site.
    3) The fact that the 60 day non-compliance rule of the COC has ever been enforced to my knowledge. This despite repeated cases where violations have been reported and clearly demonstrated.
    4) Very recently, an affiliate was found to have not disclosed proper information and they were actively divering commissions in violation of the COC. The response from what was documented here on this boards was basically to cancel the transactions, allow the affiliate to change their desciption and then re-apply with merchants so they can continue their operations on a normal basis.

    The above cases are "just a few" examples of why in my opinion they cannot claim this title any more. It appears there is going to have to be someone else step up to the plate to claim this title. In my opinion government regulation is desperately needed with the changes that are happening in this industry.

    I can not for the life of me see where allowing known companies who have been repeatidly found violating agreements, interferring in fincaial based transactions with tactics similar to identify thefy and wire fraud should be allowed to do business in an arena where finacial transactions occur.

    Add on that these downloadable applications not only have the ability and have been shown performing identity theft like operations repeatedly, these same applications have the ability to capture, record and transmit sensitive financial information such as credit card information entered by users during the transaction process.

    It's not practical to suggest a "real trusted third party" would allow this scenario to be a part of "normal business operations".... Not for a short time and definately not for an extended period of time. Add on thhat the networks are actively promoting these programs to merchants and non parasitic affiliates.... well, it's not a pretty picture at all.

    ===============================
    PeePee merchants with PooPoo policies allow our earnings to be flushed down the crapper.

    Why give parasites unlimited cookie durations and credit for sales where they divert our users and overwrite our cookies. PP merchants directly support what many consider unfair trade practices and thievery!
    ===============================

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Todd wrote:
    quote:
    CJ has tried to address these issues over the years by providing EPC metrics, aggregate payment (with upfront payment from advertisers to ensure timely payments), reporting and link management tools, and reliable tracking.

    When will CJ try to address the ongoing issue of publishers within its network overwriting cookies of other publishers? This has been going on for a long time and hasn't been adequately addressed because it continues to happen! What tools will CJ roll out to stop this?

    You guys have the payment to publisher thing locked down pretty well. No one does it as well as CJ. Now could we move on to the BIG issue: not getting paid for sales initiated on our sites?

    Andy

    _______________
    Call the Exterminators! We've Got PARASITES!

  15. #15
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    - - - - - -
    Now could we move on to the BIG issue: not getting paid for sales initiated on our sites?
    - - - - - -


    Amen, and pass the peanut butter.

    - - - - - - - - -
    This is your affiliate network -
    This is your affiliate network on Parasites -

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