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  1. #1
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I'm really getting the idea that ALL toy and hobby merchants are commission cheats and non-reporting wanks. In over 6 years total income from over 700,000 targeted clicks starting with eToys right through KBtoys,eHobbies and now Hobbytron, is under $150.00. These toy/hobby merchants suck big time.

    I pray that all of them go bankrupt, fire their AM's and Overstock gets off their lazy butts and open up a real toy/hobby section featuring the bankrupcy stock.

    YTD ...HobbyTron.com commissions=$8.00 sales=1 returns=0 clicks=3,187 impressions=96,463 CTR=0.032 $0.08 0 EPC=$0.26

    Not one click didn't come from my own pages showcasing the complete lineup of Hobbytron products. I revamped the pages to eliminate or neutralize eHobbies & KBtoys prior to Christmas 2003. It is imposible without turning off reporting to get a high showcase CTR on 3187 clicks with only ONE SALE! I've gone beyond my responsibilities as a loyal value-add affiliate for this merchant as felt their YTD 2003 performance sucked....

    HobbyTron.com earnings=$87.38 sales=15 0 clicks=3,797 274,226 0.016 $0.32 0.004 EPC=$2.34

    I've e-mailed this merchant about the other wanks within this etailer verticle and was assured they were honest....BS. My sister has run a Hobby/Toy shop locally for 18 years and sells the same stuff everyday averaging only 150 walk-ins daily. The markup is 40-50% across the boardm so these guys even lie about how they suffer from low margins and cry about 5% commissions.

    Anyone out there have any Hobby/Toy merchants worth a hoot or should I take all those clicks and send them to http://www.spywareguide.com/txt_onlinescan.html and whack the friggin BHO's infesting this market. Stuff those coupon SE cookie stuffing spammers claiming they get Hobbytron conversions from playing cookie setting tricks, PPCSE blind redirects, as I had some Hobbytron coupons on those pages and they failed the test.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Mike,

    I haven't partnered with most of the ones you listed, (thank goodness!) but my experience with eHobbies has been about the same as yours. And their EPC figures and one green bar status at CJ after all these years indicate to me something is very with their program.

    Why CJ doesn't investigate these non-performing merchants is amazing to me. Of course, CJ does get their monthly fees from them, so CJ IS making money on that relationship, but none of their lowly affiliates are, apparently.

    Of course, CJ's affiliates are at the low end of the food chain, so why do they care? They'll just go get more to replace the others...

    Andy

  3. #3
    Internet Cowboy
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    Mike,
    I have been a Hobbytron affiliate for over a year. While I have had a bit more success with them than you have, the overall results are still poor at best.
    Hobbytron plays the .net .com game. We get paid for sales through Hobbytron.com. When you buy something from them, all of the confirmation emails and all printed material in the box urge you to shop Hobbytron.net, therefore zapping us of any residual sales.
    Their datafeed is a mess, their inventory spans too many hobbies and doesn't have a good selection of merchandise for any single hobby.
    As an avid radio-controlled airplane and car enthusiast for many years, I know what a good selection is and Hobbytron's overall selection is poor.
    In their defense, I have never had a single reversal from them and I have made many purchases through them and have gotten paid for each one.
    I haven't found a better program for hobby equipment or I would have dropped them by now. I have three dedicated hobby sites so I have to have something to populate these pages. Until someone better comes along, Hobbytron is about the best we have, at least that I know of.
    Scott


  4. #4
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Mike,

    I am sorry for your [YTD ...HobbyTron.com commissions=$8.00 sales=1 returns=0 clicks=3,187 impressions=96,463 CTR=0.032 $0.08 0 EPC=$0.26]

    But now I feel better after knowing all the clicks, impressions and headache that I save myself in the last six months.

    I just remembered this old post I made November 08, 2003


    Some merchants convert good for some affiliates (for one reason or another), but some affiliates might never get a good conversions from a few ยค merchants.

    Sal.

  5. #5
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    Evolve

    This is a copy and paste from their Affiliate Newsletter. That's that thing they send out to affiliates with promotions that help with conversions. If you don't use everything they give you, don't complain.

    Coupon code: ROBOT
    Offer: 10% off on any Robot kit/accessory order.
    (Except Lego Mindstorms)
    Expires: June 1

    Coupon code: SCIENCE
    Offer: 10% off on any Science kit/supplies order.
    Expires: June 1

    Coupon code: MAGIC
    Offer: 10% off on any Magic kit/Trick order.
    Expires: June 1

    Coupon code: BALLOON
    Offer: 10% off on any Balloon animal kit/balloons/supplies order.
    Expires: June 1

    Coupon code: KITE
    Offer: 5% off on any Kite/Kite accessories order.
    Expires: June 1

    Coupon code: NIKKO
    Offer: 5% off on any Nikko Remote Control vehicle order.
    Expires: June 1

    Coupon code: ROCKET
    Offer: 5% off on any Model Rocket kit/accessories order.
    Expires: June 1

    Coupon code: COSMIC
    Offer: 10% Instant Rebate off the Megatech Cosmic Flyer and Free
    Shipping.
    Expires: June 1

    Coupon code: AIRSOFT
    Offer: 10% off on any Airsoft gun/accessories order.
    Expires: June 1

  6. #6
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    I do fine with hobbytron and in the past the AM has gone out of his way to help me.

    Mike be honest, how does hobbytron compare to any merchant no your site? All you do is complain of poor conversions, so is it every single merchant with an affiliate program is a cheat or your site doesn't convert?


    Chet

  7. #7
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    Chez,

    All anyone does on this board is complain about their low converters. (except of course, for AMs who brag about conversion rates...regardless of the merchant's actual conversion rates.)

    BTW, my best converting merchant is ????????????????????.

    By definition, ABW is a place where people tell each other which merchants to avoid...not which ones to pursue.

  8. #8
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    I do ok with Hobbytron, considering the minimal amount of time I put into the effort. Their datafeed, while needing a bit of refining is far from a mess and I've been able to automate the updating. Found one problem in doing this, a stray comma in a price field & their AM & programmer took care of it promptly.

    Had one large sale reversed due to an invalid credit card but see no reason to fire their AM for it.

    Sales are generated with little to no ongoing effort, reversals are low, the AM is responsive, I get paid, ... I guess they'll stay.

    Wayne

    (I do wish they offered a comprehensive model railroad catalog. No online merchant with an affiliate program seems to.)

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
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    "By definition, ABW is a place where people tell each other which merchants to avoid...not which ones to pursue."

    Some of my better merchants are those that people have told me to avoid. It's good to try them out for yourself. The people saying to avoid a merchant maybe just don't know what they're doing, not marketing them right, not doing everything they can to get a conversion, maybe a bad fit for their site, lots of factors.

  10. #10
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    Trust,

    I suspect several people use ABW to speak ill of their best merchants. In some minds, looking out for Number One just might entail misleading posts. Cuts down on the competition for that merchant.

    I also realize reports about saleless gaps are misleading. A merchant with a 1 in 50 conversion is bound to have a few affiliates churn through 1000 hits without a sale. Saleless gaps say very little, but the ensuing discussion sometimes reveal trends.

    I agree that we should do our own tests. However, most of us only have limited capacity for testing merchants. For example, you might want to have only a dozen merchants in test mode at a given time. So people need help in deciding which merchants to test. Info does not replace the need for testing, but can shortline the procedure.

    Having sent hundreds of thousands of clicks to deadbeat merchants, I am to the point where I greatly appreciate any help in determining which merchants to test.

    Quite frankly, I think CJ's EPC is sufficient for that need. I score a little under Hobbytron's EPC. When a CJ merchant uses parasites, I tend to get about 80% of their reported EPC.

    For BeFree, Linkshare and the rest, threads about the legitimacy of merchants is greatly appreciated.

  11. #11
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    yintercept, Mike is doing a disservice to a fine program because of his own inadequacies. And if you check Mike's posts, instead of assuming what I am saying, you will see, across the board, nothing converts for Mike anymore. Oh, except of course for the freaking suspenders.

    So does that mean all affilitate programs have gone down? That all should be accused of cheating affiliates? That is ludicrous to say that is the purpose of ABW. If that is ABW, and Mike is just doing what is expected, I would never visit ABW again. If you notice, quite a few of us are suggesting hobbytron is worthwhile to check out - should we leave ABW because were are not fulfilling the purpose of ABW? Your entire post is not only illogical but one of the craziest attacks on ABW and its users I have ever seen.

    Chet

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I point everyone here to go read the November 8th thread entirely... http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...6415#851106415 and then ask yourself why thta quiet AM for Hobbytron made no comments. Why even when posting some of those coupon codes did nadda for improving my traffic conversions due to not spamming the SE's with the coupon codes. Heck I didn't in my long test perform any "tricks for cookie setting tricks" and still advise ABW affiliates to hound this merchant into addressing their poor performance over the last 8 months.

    No merchant site can live with a 1/800 conversion ratio, let alone try to make it when it goes above 1/1200. Ask the merchant what happened to those 4700 shoppers I sent him allowing Hobbytron to bank money from their affiliate program and stay afloat. Maybe those whacking them for a 1/24 conversion ratio would care to post their URLs and share the secret rather then run their mouths like they're affiliate saints, while this industry is under Federal legal scrutiny and SE's cleaning out their nest of abusers.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  13. #13
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    Here's a secret. People are clicking those links not to go to the merchant but to escape your site.

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran jc101's Avatar
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    Ecomcity, Not to be offensive but If I was a shopper on your site I wouldn't be able to find what I wanted. No offense but in my opinion that is redesign your site. I agree with Trustno1. I'v gotten clicks from Hobbytron but don't premote them that much. I am going to be making sites for them soon, as I can get sales with almost any merchant that has a way for me to link to there merchandise.

  15. #15
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Trust and Jason I'll redesign and concentrate on making EcomCity more navigitable with lean mean selling machine pages when the TOS's get changed to level the playing fields. Right now EC averages 7800 clicks to merchants every month and the shoppers land mostly on specific category interior pages. I have no Hobbytron links outside their targeted audience pages.

    The FTC -SE monopolies and peed off shoppers demand action to clean up this industry like they do the e-mail Opt-Out spammers come the Bush June16th deadline to the FTC. Commission Holes will be plugged and when the networks take action like this ... http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...6415#679106415 and merchants have to compete on transparent site wide conversion ratios. At that point I'll double my traffic, use PPCSE and actually look at making money from affiliate marketing and alternate dropp shipping sources where no viable merchant is available.

    I pay for a unused Miva shopping cart in my hosting fees, since I never could find a honest computer distributor who'd actually pay on orders I processed myself when I ran the cart/ecatalog for 3 years. I've got carbon copies on over 1 million in booked sales from 4 outfits, who all kited the me on monthly commissions. Those commissioned account managers have all been fired when the legal papers hit their bosses desks. Small bone to throw me rather then pay-up the full amounts owed. Currently I'm content to wait for the weeds to be pulled from the garden plot before planting any seeds.

    If the coming new adware/spyware laws and TOS changes pillage the 3rd party AM firms client lists I'll see a new crop of cleaned merchants running programs through pro-domain bound affiliate managers. Best move would be to see, before Christmas 2004, AM's for 400 major BHO friendly merchants get canned as a PR move.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  16. #16
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    Mike in the other thread, do you think the hobbytron am didn't help you since all you did was attack his program, just like here, while others have noted they convert fine.

    You will find some people don't respond well to baseless attacks, at this point all I can do is congratulate you on not making a racial slur against him to "bait him into responding".

    It is great that your imaginary battles and winfalls can keep you off the streets from shooting people, simply put - your site sucks, you know it sucks, and you refuse to change it - you demand that everyone else takes steps back so they are equal to you.

    You might find followers like yintercept who equally want to blame their failures elsewhere, but I have said it before and will say it again, anyone who follows or listens to use is a fool, because not only are you designed for failure, you welcome it.

    Chet

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador
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    "In over 6 years total income from over 700,000 targeted clicks starting with eToys right through KBtoys,eHobbies and now Hobbytron, is under $150.00."

    700,000 targetted clicks less than $150 commissions.

    That says it all. The worst converting affiliate i know.

  18. #18
    ABW Veteran jc101's Avatar
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    700,000 targetted clicks less than $150 commissions

    Wow. I agree with Trustno1.

  19. #19
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
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    Oh, Mike...
    quote:
    Right now EC averages 7800 clicks to merchants every month...

    quote:
    In over 6 years total income from over 700,000 targeted clicks starting with eToys right through KBtoys,eHobbies and now Hobbytron...


    Well, let's see:

    7,800 x 12 months x 6 years = 561,600 clicks, yet you say you sent 700,000 to the toy merchants alone?

    Got any calculator merchants?

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