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  1. #1
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    I can't hardly believe it. 3 days in a row with no apparent loss of transactions.
    Tracking has seemed to be off and on (more off than on) for the last 3 weeks, but finally my sales volume is back to "normal" levels.
    As luck would have it, I had been removing my CJ links and replacing them with offers from their competitors when all of the sudden their tracking started to work again.

  2. #2
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Something is fishy. It always seems to work out that way. IT's like they give you what you want sometimes to keep you on.

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    CK,

    Ever notice how your average EPC across the board is verrrrry close to the overall EPC for those merchants averaged out?

    Things that make you say hmmmmmmmmmm!

    Haiko

  4. #4
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    Yeppers, I have noticed the same thing.

    And you know what? I too am now going hmmmmmm

    BIG TIME!

    I just checked that out and it's only off by .03 cents! Very odd since I am currently only promoting 1 Cj program.

  5. #5
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Breeze,

    I have long speculated that the EPC reporting is just a farce at CJ .... and is just for the edification of publishers
    Everyone's' stats are proportionally related to the "$$$$$" rating if your rated at $$ and your EPC for XYZ is way lower than a $$$$ and $$$$$ will see close to the same EPC .... powerhouses don't look at the proportions (as much) but they would see the same if they generated a report!

    Haiko

  6. #6
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    Huh?

  7. #7
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Elisabeth,

    Do a few reports (over time)... put it into excel and compare your stats to the reported EPC ... you'll see what I am saying.

    Haiko

  8. #8
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    Elisabeth,

    quote:
    Sounds like regression towards the mean to me. What's so weird about that?



    ALOT!

    I have Never been an average performer and I assume many of us have not either ... there is NO way that you with your site has an average EPC .... my TM affiliated site has over an $90 EPC .... that is way off the mean!

    I will not settle for CJ imposing stats on MY stats .... I and many should see higher #s! but we don't because of the stats!

    Haiko

    [ 11-12-2001: Message edited by: Haiko ]

  9. #9
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Elisabeth,

    I did not mean to edit your post

    Just had tooo many things going on at once, I apologize.

    Haiko

  10. #10
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    Haiko,

    I haven't run the report yet like you said, but notice huge fluctuations in my month to date EPC. It climbs and climbs and then drops and drops and drops. I must have just bottomed out and CJ figured they better start crediting my sales again or something.

    I'm a "$$$$$", so should I have a higher EPC than the average? :eek:

  11. #11
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    Haiko, I wondered what happened!

    quote:
    I'm a "$$$$$", so should I have a higher EPC than the average?


    Not necessarily.

    It would be possible to rate $$$$$ even if your EPC was way below average, as long as you could churn enough traffic. Remember that EPC means earnings per 100 clickthroughs (C is the Roman numeral for 100). As long as you had enough "hundreds" you'd eventually rack up some earnings. On the other hand, a very high EPC would not necessarily correlate to a maximum $ rating if the person's overall traffic was low and there hadn't been many transactions to base the number on.

    A better-than-average EPC would often go with a higher $ ranking but it doesn't have to, because they are measuring different things.

    Elisabeth

  12. #12
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    What Elisabeth said. I have $$$$$ from my high-traffic low-profit site. My EPC, I'm guessing (I don't know what average is), is significantly below normal. That site has hundreds of transactions (leads and sales) per month.

    OTOH, my new site (falls under the same $$$$$ ranking) has a much higher EPC... a fine EPC. I've had two sales on that site (of course, it's only been open for about 2-1/2 weeks).

    Take it all with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
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    What Cedric said.

  14. #14
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    What you really sell and what actually gets reported is the real mystery.

    I have no doubt that merchants only report in the neighborhood of 50% of their sales made by publishers to CJ, since it is so easy to control that number thru turning tracking on or off, using the bogus CC routine and more. Same or worse applies to
    Linkshare and BeFree.

    It's not ALL merchants but probably in the 75% range.

    For example, if you sell one or two items and the merchant owes you say $10, you are most likely going to get paid. However, if you sell 500 items and the merchant owes you
    $5,000, they will do everything they can to keep from paying you.

    If you have the right product or service and you have a bunch of high traffic publishers, you can actually see real dollars in terms of sales. Which means you have to pay real dollars out (if you are honest).

    So if you have 1,000 affiliates who each earn $1,000 you have to payout $1 million.
    Well, how hard is it to say let's stiff them
    all and keep the million or let's stiff all the real little ones with no capital because they can't really do anything to us.

    Result, you are $1 million to the good and all you have to do is incur some flack which
    people soon forgot or remember but who don't really matter. Then you go out and do it again.

    Getting affiliates is pretty much FREE anyway. And there are so many of them, that you can always get more to replace the ones you stiffed.

    How to solve this problem...make all merchants pay a per click against commissions or don't promtoe their stuff.

    Even that's hard to do, because their are always publishers who NEED money and will try to make a merchant or ad network money even when they know they stand at least a 50-50 chance of being screwed.

    any real suggestions on how to fix the problem?

  15. #15
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    You don't have much faith in human nature, do you, Professor?

    I don't think shady merchants are nearly as common as you seem to think. And neither is the pool of affiliates who can produce sales in the amounts you are describing. (Consider the unremarkable level of earnings it takes to get a $$$$$ rating at Commission Junction.)

    Cheating for short-term gain is a sure way to kill long-term prosperity, and most merchants are smart enough to know that. I think most of the problems most of us experience are due to simple bumbling and glitches, not cheating. In other words, lack of competence, not lack of ethics.

    My experience has been that 99% of merchants want to do the right thing, and if there's a problem that's a genuine problem, not just a blip in the stats, they want to sort it out. Honesty IS the best policy, if only for reasons of self-interest!

    Elisabeth Archambault

  16. #16
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    I think something is strange as well. I can understand traffic fluctuations and window shopper but geez. About a week ago there was a day I made .74 . Yes, 74 cents. I don't understand that at all. I usually average at least $70.00. The three days following that day I averaged around $170 per day.

    Yes, traffic is weird sometimes and people are not always going to buy things, but you would think there would be some sort of constant. And the fact that I received .74 in commission given the fact that traffic was normal?

    I love CJ and am glad they pay on time but some things don't add up. :rolleyes:

  17. #17
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    Wow, that's a scary post, Professor. The thought of commissions being turned on and off like a light switch makes me wonder how many of the information sites I enjoy are going to be able to remain free.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that merchants can always get new affiliates to replace the ones they stiff. Can affiliates get well enough organized to change that equation -- so that screwing an affiliate generates so much negative publicity that it becomes a losing proposition?

    Selma.

  18. #18
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    They seem to be working on something. Maybe they will have tracking working round the clock again soon.

  19. #19
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    It's the first half of the month so my sales are moving again (although still slower than usual, despite increasing traffic & click thrus). Just noticed weird fluctuations between CJ's stated systemwide (ie not my own stats) 3 month & 7 day EPC in two particular links (these are general links not products) which are amongst my top clicked links...7 day EPC for these 2 links are about one fifth the 3 mnth EPC. Got me wondering if tracking problems relate to particular links only or whether its systemwide.

    Whatever it is something feels wrong. I was interested to read somewhere else on these forums that when someone asked CJ why some product images didn't show, CJ said it was because a server was down...yet they never admit to such a thing regarding apparent statistical tracking problems.

    Despite this I haven't found a better mass provider for our needs as affiliates - but I'm starting to go looking.

    [ 11-13-2001: Message edited by: futuresky ]

  20. #20
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    All of this gets you to thinking doesn't it. I know this was touched on briefly the other day in another post, don't remember which one but that you put up a new merchant turn on the traffic and boom 2 or 3 sales almost immediately then nothing. This has happened over and over to me with merchants on 2 networks. I am beginning to wonder if the beginning sales are tracked and paid as normal then you play hell getting the next sales to track or even credit.

    I think what I would like to see is some demographic info about the customer. Like what product they bought, how much, if a click thru abandons the shopping cart and moves on, if the merchant collects other pertinent info I would love to see that too to determine if indeed it is a wobble, if what I am doing is right for that merchant or if that merchant is skinning me for free traffic.

    Mike :confused:

  21. #21
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    One thing's for sure: the REPORTING'S slower than molasses yesterday/today!!! I just checked my stats...a sale from YESTERDAY was credited at 4:15 PM Pacific Time TODAY! That was about 20 hours after the sale was made.

    Because of that, I would assume that some sales will eventually show up for today, too. Strange thing is, yesterday I saw the figure change in the Balance, even though I couldn't find the actual transaction.

    I personally tend to think that if there's been a problem (for this month and last month), it's not in the tracking. It's spikier that it would seem to belong, but at the end of the month, my deposit amount has been right in line with normal!! So the transactions do all seem to be getting through, even though they come in intermittant gulps (instead of a steady stream). If the tracking was really "turned off", the transaction volume at the end of the month would be down...

    As for the percentage of crookery...

    Thinking about it, I'd say that the percentage of crookery likely closely matches the percentage of lawbreakers in other types of non-porn, non-casino business. I don't have the figure for white-collar crimes, but the Dept. of Corrections probably does.

    As for the $1 million dollar commission bill, not only are there not too many affiliates that can make $1000 for a single merchant, there aren't too many merchants that do that kind of volume. And if they DO do that much business, they should have LESS incentive to cheat--after all, a place with a $1 million commission bill has taken in $10 million (gross) if they have a 10% commish. So they'd still have a whopping $9 million left after paying their affiliates...enough to make the 10% commission an easily bearable figure!

    I will say that the "bumbling" factor is real as well. I've saved myself some stress by avoiding the really amateur-looking places--AND by avoiding the ones that are SO big that they have to use a "web development TEAM" just to put a new product into their mix/change some simple thing. It's too easy for a step to be missed (like, ahem, putting the Reporting Code in) when there is a Team involved. The old "I thought HE was going to do it" thing! While a "legitimate" occurance, it's a lot less likely to happen if the "team" is one or two dudes at a computer, with nobody to try to shift the job onto.

  22. #22
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    It is refreshing to see some people so trusting just because they get a check.

    1. I find it absolutely remarkable: officially CJ has ever lost any transactions, and not once have they ever had trouble with the tracking computers where they actually lost transactions despite all the other problems.

    2. Has there ever been any official word from CJ confirming they are concentrating any effort to combat merchant fraud?

    As far as I know we have only heard from CJ insiders working unofficially on their own time. They have had months since the article proclaiming their fight against affiliates, but still not a peep about the other side.

    Lex Sisney and CJ should stop hiding behind these two characters they throw up on these boards to dispel real issues at the heart of affiliate marketing.

  23. #23
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    Turning the tracking off and on is not a big deal...just comment out the tracking string.
    Takes about a minute total if that...you start to get lots of traffic and off goes the
    tracking link...you put it back a few hours later...no sales made during that high traffic period show up.

    Simple trick...and you can bet it is used by
    most big time advertisers.

    As for paying out 10%. Anytime anyone has to payout serious money they will try like hell to limit the how much and when.

    And as for not having many people making $1,000 from one advertiser - we used to have 5 advertisers we made over $1,000 with EVERY MONTH. And we are small stuff.

  24. #24
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    As far as fradulant Merchants .... I dont get it!!

    Say they they sell a widget for a buck and their cost is 30 cents. They pay the Publisher 10% or 10 cents and CJ gets 3 cents. They still make 63 cents on a sale they would NEVER have had if not for the efforts of the Publisher.

    So why shoot themselves in the foot?

    I agree with Elisabeth in that it is not in their interest in the long term ... Or atleast I would hope so [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Regards,
    Dave

    [ 11-14-2001: Message edited by: dhelle ]

  25. #25
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    Shooting themselves in the foot?

    throwing money away while the competition is avoiding tracking is shooting in the foot

    to my knowledge, there has never been an official merchant-fraud investigation at CJ

    is there even anything in the contract to say merchants HAVE to track 24/7?

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