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  1. #1
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    I am sure I am going to get stick for this but I am quite fed up with people's attitudes on here.

    I check the Commission Junction Section of ABW several times a day as it is the best place to keep my finger on the CJ pulse.

    More often than not the new posts are from people with no technological know how whatsoever moaning about problematic log-ins and perceived tracking problems and how CJ must have stuffed something up as the affiliate's sales are down below some strange self perceived norm.

    The fact of the matter is that CJ has merged with Befree and there are some very large changes going on in the back end. No matter what anyone may say these intermittent problems will continue for some time to come until the system is fully integrated.

    I can see from my sales reports that when log-in is not possible (very rarely on my part I might add and I log-in more than 20 times a day. I havent had a failure in weeks) tracking is not affected.

    As to CJ being responsible for your lack of sales this is just not true. Yes CJ does partner with some questionable Publishers who we all (including myself) detest and while they have a significant impact on your bottom line they do not affect your sales to the level that you may perceive.

    There are other areas where you should be looking to find your lost sales and here I will outline a few.

    SERP positioning. (Search Engine Results Pages)

    The most important single cause of lost sales. If you are not doing well in the SERPS you will do crap at CJ.

    CHECK YOUR SITE TRAFFIC

    with a 3rd party program.. hopefully you have one built into your hosting account. IF you are getting crap traffic to your site of course your CJ sales will be crap. Also you need to be getting good traffic to start with. If you are getting less than 50-100,000 hits a day to your sites you dont have a wide enough spectrum of data to analyse. This also means you need to concentrate on the marketing of your site rather than moaning at CJ.

    Backward Links

    VERY IMPORTANT. If you dont have any you wont get much traffic. While you should bear in mind it is only one aspect of good SERP results it is a very important one and will affect your SERP results directly.

    Page Optimisation

    Do loads of research and find out what works best for others then try it and find out what works best for you. Remember your final results are yours and yours alone and the quality of the information you obtain through research, trial and error is the single most important factor that will lead to your success or your demise.

    CHOOSING THE RIGHT ADVERTISER PARTNERS

    Yes I know I capitilized that and I did so due to its importance. When you find a good Advertiser protect Their identity with your life and work on maximising your efforts with them. Figure out how you can get more traffic to them by targeting traffic at their minutest categorisation. IF your Advertiser is not performing you have direct access to the "DROP MERCHANT" button.

    TARGET THE RIGHT KEYWORDS.

    Many of you use wordtracker. This is good. Do a search for gkw.exe on the internet and use this wonderful simple little tool to zoom in on your chosen target area. Use it to find out what keywords are being searched for and in what area. Next do a google search or whatever your favourite engine is for the keyword(phrase) and gauge the competition. Do you have the know how to out do them in the serps? If so go for it. If not go do more research and figure out how to do better in the serps.

    NEVER BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT WITH NEW IDEAS WITHOUT CROSSING THE LINE (Keep on the right side of the tracks.)

    This little insight I offer to you from an affiliate who does reasonably well in this game. I make the money. I know what I am taking about.

    STOP MOANING AND START MAKING MONEY

    Sincerely,

    DPG

  2. #2
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    I don't dissagree with your points but that's kind of the reason for this website to be here.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager Allen Nance's Avatar
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    Dirk,

    Bravo. You have hit the nail on the head.

  4. #4
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    DPG,

    Thanks for the thorough post - excellent information.

    I also appreciate your support.
    Todd Crawford
    Co-Founder, Impact Radius

    Give me a minute before I post again

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
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    Good input DPG,

    What if the affiliate have done all of that you mention and got all the traffic with targeted keywords and still not making sales?

    What to do next? Can that affiliate moan and groan?

    What COC stand for? Crooks Overwriting Commission
    Don't worry tracking is Infected

    Live life to the fullest, You only get 1 chance. Enjoy it while you can... Nothing last forever!

  6. #6
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    "What to do next? Can that affiliate moan and groan? "

    There's only 1 place (well maybe lots) where there should be any of that

    I think it would help a lot of affiliates to learn about consumer behavior, marketing, stuff like that. A lot of people who start this know about computers and how to make sites but really not much about actual marketing. Those that know and do both well are usually the ones that are very successful.

  7. #7
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    quote:
    What if the affiliate have done all of that you mention and got all the traffic with targeted keywords and still not making sales?
    ~ Nova
    Hit the "DROP MERCHANT" button and move on. IF an advertiser is not performing then we are wasting our time with them. There are thousands of merchants at CJ. Many of them are real Gems. Many of them will never amount to much. No other 3rd party offers you as much information about an advertiser's history as CJ does allowing you to make an informed decision before entering into an agreement.

    If they dont perform "DROP MERCHANT"

    It is a numbers game just like everything else in life.

    In friendship for example you have to meet say fifty people you may not get on with in order to establish two close friendships. Affiliate marketing in no different.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
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    quote:
    I think it would help a lot of affiliates to learn about consumer behavior, marketing, stuff like that. A lot of people who start this know about computers and how to make sites but really not much about actual marketing. Those that know and do both well are usually the ones that are very successful. ~Trust
    Agreed 100%!

  9. #9
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    An Important Point I missed (Thanks Trust)

    LOOK AT THEIR EPC

    If their 3m and 7d EPC are both good they are a goer. If either is low check for seasonality otherwise beware. Try to research the sudden rise or fall till you are satisfied as to the reason.

    THEIR EPC IS YOUR TARGET

    You should be able to match or better their average EPC. If you havent reached the average EPC look within. It is more than likely the fault is on your end.

    Poor presentation? Site doesn't flow? Get someone you dont know to play with your site and look over their shoulder. See where thier visit takes them. Are you using a call to action effectively? Why aren't your clicks converting at or above the average level?

    This is true trouble shooting and is at the crux of my point. If things aren't working, solve the problem in a logical and systematic way.

    Looking for someone to blame for this shortcoming is neither logical nor beneficial UNTIL you have eliminated all other rationality as to the cause of the low conversion.

    Dont be afraid to look within for the solution to a problem. More often than not that is where you will find the solution which upon implementation will have no other result than an increase in your EPC and a visible fattening in the size of your wallet.

    There is awesome information to be had here at ABW through the 'search' tool. If you find a post by Leader. Read and digest. Her posts are second to none.

    All the best,

    DPG

  10. #10
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    DPG,

    Honestly, some of the best, most informative posts I've seen in a long time.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Todd Crawford
    Co-Founder, Impact Radius

    Give me a minute before I post again

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    quote:
    CHECK YOUR SITE TRAFFIC

    with a 3rd party program.. hopefully you have one built into your hosting account. IF you are getting crap traffic to your site of course your CJ sales will be crap. Also you need to be getting good traffic to start with. If you are getting less than 50-100,000 hits a day to your sites you dont have a wide enough spectrum of data to analyse. This also means you need to concentrate on the marketing of your site rather than moaning at CJ.


    Well said! And that applies to any form of marketing.

    DPG as usual your posts are correct and to the point. Thank you for sharing your experience.
    Akiva Bergstrom | akiva@affsolutions.com | 718-871-8286

    Affiliate Marketing Solutions by affSolutions - Creator of the Product Showcase Creator™

    Managed Programs: EssentialApparel.com (Join) | SportsFanfare.com (Join)


    Affiliates: Product Showcase Creator Directory | Merchants: License the Product Showcase Creator™!

  12. #12
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    "LOOK AT THEIR EPC

    If their 3m and 7d EPC are both good they are a goer. If either is low check for seasonality otherwise beware. Try to research the sudden rise or fall till you are satisfied as to the reason."

    Interesting point, that I was going to post about. One of the merchants that I am an affiliate with has a very popular item, that I used to sell everyday more than once. Yesterday I checked the 3 month and 7 day epc for this product link. The three month was 195.00 and the 7 day was N/A. The reason why I checked this was because I had not sold this item in three weeks. I am number three in Google for this item and I still get the same amount of clicks. What could be the problem??

  13. #13
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    [...there are some very large changes going on in the back end.]

    what are they? you seem to know something that we don't. spill it out, and be specific so we can comment constructively.


    [I can see from my sales reports that when log-in is not possible tracking is not affected.]

    you have absolutely no way of knowing that from the sales report. the sales report only shows transactions that have been tracked, not those that haven't been tracked.

    i have purchases that i did myself that didn't show up in the reports. that is a fact. i knew of their existence only because i did them myself. but if i didn't, i wouldn't even know that they exist.


    [As to CJ being responsible for your lack of sales this is just not true. Yes CJ does partner with some questionable Publishers who we all (including myself) detest and while they have a significant impact on your bottom line they do not affect your sales to the level that you may perceive.]

    again, do you have any data to back this up? can you compare a list of all existing transactions with a list of all tracked transactions.


    however, i do agree with your suggestions.

  14. #14
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Dirk Gardner:
    ...moaning about problematic log-ins and perceived tracking problems...
    the supposedly "perceived" tracking problems that we are moaning about can be backed up by invoices that weren't tracked.

    on the other hand, your assertion that there is no problem is based only upon your own perceptions - backed up by no data at all.


    i am pro-CJ and i'd like CJ to succeed. but you are not helping them by keeping a blind eye on the problems.

  15. #15
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    Thank you for the info DPG. I'm still learning all of this, and that backed up a lot of what I was wondering about. When things get tough and you wonder if you are headed in the right direction, it's good to get directions from someone already there. Now to just get those links, and then see what I need to change if enough targeted links with good anchor text don't quite get me there. The EPC comments are great, and hopefully it'll make more sense to me once I get past the traffic portion.
    I forgot what I was doing.

  16. #16
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    As said by a previous poster, there have been too many reports on this board from those believed to be reliable people that they have made purchases and friends have made purchases from CJ merchants that they were never credited for. These aren't newbies, as far as I can tell, and they stated that they cleared their cookies and went only through affiliate links but still did not receive credit.

    While CJ appears willing to track certain specific sales, I have never heard of them actually addressing the issue of why these sales did not track in the first place. Correcting a particular sale in which credit was not given is not enough. The fact that it happens at all is the problem.

    If there were not any other reason to question the reliability of being paid by CJ for the work you do on behalf of their advertisers, that alone should drop a few red flags.

    CJ point blank denies that there are tracking problems. But, users report differently. Who are we to believe, CJ who cannot admit a problem without shaking the whole foundation of the company or webmasters who can only gain by ensuring the reliability of their own links and addressing the issue of non-tracking?

    Webmasters have absolutely nothing to gain by lying about this. They desperately WANT to be able to report that tracking is fine and that sales are credited. But, how many times have you read otherwise here?

    Does CJ maintain that they are all liars? Does CJ maintain that they are all incompetitents who don't know what they are doing? How does CJ explain this?

    Do the merchants turn off the tracking at will unpoliced and our trusted third party either turns a blind eye or is unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to ensure that all links work at all times. Or, is it a problem intrinsic to the CJ system?

    Either way CJ MUST address the tracking issue and stop maintaining that all is well when so many dependant on CJ for income tell a different story.

    DPG you can look for other explanations all you want but his looms pretty large in the minds of many and CJ fails to address it other than saying nothing is wrong, which appears not to be the case if you believe those who have no obviously apparent reason to lie.
    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!

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    DPG,

    Very sweet posts regarding CJ. I'm sure CJ just thinks you're wonderful for writing such nice things about them, where you place all of the blame for non-performance on the affiliate, and elevate the network to a pedestal high in the sky.

    I think you have a few good points, in many cases the affiliate is to blame for poor performance. But there are a couple of facts that you skimmed over without giving them the attention you should have.

    Fact #1: All sales ARE NOT being tracked. When an affiliate makes a purchase through their own link, with a clean cookie folder, a fresh computer restart, firewall disabled, and their own site set as home page, and it doesn't track, the problem is CJ's. Perhaps not within CJ's own system, but CJ is responsible for making sure merchants are tracking as well, aren't they? I mean, that is one of the "benefits" of being in the CJ network, is it not?

    Fact #2: Regardless of whatever unknown and unverified degree the affiliates who use software to overwrite others cookies is, the fact is that CJ allows them to do so, in fact, they promote them to merchants! This gives these affiliates an unfair advantage over all the other affiliates in the network. Some of these affiliates are making millions. Where do you think those commissions are coming from? Their own sites? Their own links? Spend some time at those sites, not much time has been spent on them because their traffic comes from your site, and my site.

    Fact #3: Many end users don't know how or why these software apps are on their computers. They have been taken advantage of, and consumers are tired of being used for marketing purposes without their permission. Take a look at some of the new legislation that's being considered across the country. Consider how popular pop-up killers are today. People are TIRED of pop-ups and spy tactics.

    CJ is allowing these affiliates to operate in a "gray area" and as such are setting themselves up for problems in the future because of this policy. Instead of taking the high road, and putting a stop to this nonsense, they are encouraging it.

    Some good points have been made in this thread, and no I don't think CJ is solely responsible for poor performance. However, I do feel they are not without blame, for the very reasons mentioned above.

    Ask yourself: how can they possibly have your best interests at heart when they knowingly allow other affiliates to overwrite your cookies? How can they be innocent when affiliates report sales that never show up? Where are those sales going? It's CJ's responsibility to find out. And how many other sales aren't tracking, ones that we don't know about? Do they not exist, solely because we can't prove they do? That still doesn't explain our own sales not showing up, certainly we aren't expected to believe that our missing sales are the only ones that ever go missing...

    It's time for this industry to straighten up and operate ethically and above board. If not, big bad government will step in and clean it up, which will cost all of us money. Think about that next time you sit down to compose love letters.

    Andy

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    DPG:

    I'll stake out the middle ground here. I think a lot of the complaining about CJ is misdirected for the reasons you cite - people who haven't done due diligence and are looking to place blame because money isn't pouring in. On the other hand, there have been too examples of "tracking being affected" to be ignored.

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Grumpy's Avatar
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    Well said Andy! You've hit the nail square on the head!

  20. #20
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    DPG,

    I know for a fact that alot of what you wrote you don't really believe. Your PMs to me and others show you are both aware and frustrated with tracking issues with CJ, and that you are afraid to talk about them openly.

    A word to all those openingly praising CJ (kissing a$$), and sending greatly contradictory information via private messages to myself and others: STOP BEING COWARDS!

    SARCASM INCLUDED: Be happy with your 15k a month, and care not that it should be considerably more. Don't show empathy regarding those that much smaller, that are feeling the rip-off much more severely than you. Be afraid because your mortgage payment relies on VC money, and never disagree with them openingly.

  21. #21
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    "Your PMs to me and others show you are both aware and frustrated with tracking issues with CJ, and that you are afraid to talk about them openly."

    Just curious about how you know what his PMs to other people are about? And the PMs are just that, private messages.

  22. #22
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    While we can't fix the parasite problem on our end, there ARE things we can to that helps.

    1. Stated many times - choose your merchants carefully. If an AM doesn't know your name, has no idea what your website looks like, doesn't know what state you live in, then you chose wrong! Without a one-on-one relationship, there are things you can't do as an affiliate.

    2. Have a support system in place for your visitors so they contact YOU with any questions before they contact the merchant. Just a few moments ago someone emailed US (not the merchant) asking if "OUR" jewelry box is all wood or if it has a felt liner. So tomorrow, we'll gaze at our reports and if the item isn't in our sales report (the customer phoned in the sale), we'll call the AM and ask him to look for it.

    3. Get feedback from customers. Instead of operating blindly (get the visitors from a search engine, send them to the merchant, then keep your fingers crossed) there are many ways to tactfully get visitor info and use it to your advantage (a lot of you have a voting script on your site). One of the things we do is the next day we email the visitor and casually ask how their ONLINE buying experience went with the merchant. If they say they didn't like the merchant and shopped elsewhere, we know we didn't loose a sale to hijackers or a telephone. If they say they ended up phoning in their sale, boom! we send that info to the AM we're tight with (see #1 above) and we manually get credited.

    Again, it's not a cure-all, but you get credited for more "lost" sales with the extra work you put in.

  23. #23
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    I think the easiest way to fix the parasite problem and something all affiliates can do is get your site visitors computers clean. Studies have shown 75% uninstall - don't like them - had no idea how this stuff got on their computer. Post how to get their computers clean on your site, your forum, your newsletters. Most are very thankful and will remember you(come back to your site) for stopping all the popping.

  24. #24
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    Todd and Akiva, Thank you Much Appreciated.

    Waytogo,

    Sounds like you have found some questionable merchant(s). When you get stiffed, CJ gets stiffed. Use AAQ to resolve your problem that is the correct way to go about it. Like I said above if you find a non performing merchant "DROP MERCHANT" and move on.

    ONLY WORK WITH MERCHANTS THAT DONT PARTNER WITH PARASITEWARE AND MOVE ON. IF a merchant doesnt report sales "DROP MERCHANT" and move on. There are good merchants out there. They are not in the majority but they exist. Find them and concentrate all your energies there.

    It is easy to get stuck on the "I lost these one or two sales and I will yell and scream until something happens" path. The truth of the matter is that the internet and many offline marketplaces are full off people who use questionable tactics to increase their bottom line. This is simply one of the costs of doing business in our chosen arena. Offline department stores write off 5-10% of stock a month to theft. Ours may be slightly higher but you need to treat it as such and work it into your budget.

    WRITE IT OFF AND MOVE ON.
    FIND BETTER ADVERTISER PARTNERS THAT REPORT ALL THEIR SALES. Its all up there in my original posts.

    As to your other questions this is what I use and brings us back to my point about traffic. Here are some images I took a few weeks ago.

    See a pattern?




    Yes CJ partners with questionable publishers as I have stated. But you and you alone have the power to choose your merchants. Find those clean merchants that convert and care about their affiliates and stick to them like glue.

    If you find one that doesn't report, follow the correct channels to find out why and if you are still hnot satisfied by all means out them for the general benefit of other publishers and MOVE ON.

    SSANF,

    Do you even have any CJ merchants left? Don't get me wrong I love CJ. It is the best 3rd party out there bar none. It is not perfect but it is one heck of a lot better that the other ones out there. But if you dont have any CJ merchants left why are you wasting your energies in the CJ forum? Go make some money where you feel more comfortable and stop whining in here.


    ANDY,

    You have got me all wrong. Lets get this straight right now. DPG IS PRO DPG.

    In regards to:

    FACT #1
    Yes agreed. All sales are not tracked and you have to ask yourself why? YOU ARE PARTNERING WITH THE WRONG MERCHANTS. If a merchant stiffs you do you bend down and ask for another portion? No you "DROP MERCHANT" and move on. Remember if you are not getting paid CJ is not getting paid their 33% cut unless that commission has been stolen by a 'fellow' publisher which brings us to:

    Fact #2
    Are your fellow 'Publishers' stealing your commissions? Yes at many merchants they are. In which case 'DROP MERCHANT' and move on. You can try to educate your Merchants and this has worked well for me on occasion but if a merchant allows these so called affiliates in thier programs simply drop them and move on. Find yourself a core of Merchants that do not partner with parasites. Your cookies may still get overwritten but that publisher will not get paid as he has no account at the merchants site.


    Fact #3
    See fact #2

    Andy your post is very good and all very factual apart from the part where you think I disagree with you.

    My point is you have to work with the tools at hand and figure out how to make it work for you. Is the system perfect? Hell no! IS it workable? Hell yes! Interact with and change things that are in your sphere of control.

    Take positive action where it will do good like MS. B/BLFH. But simply moaning without any goal or purpose in mind achieves nothing.


    Ahh sweet little kelly626,

    You know for a fact what I believe? In your dreams! Yes I have had doubts in the past and the specific instance to which you refer that I contacted you PRIVATELY about in response to a post of yours was related to a CJ glitch. For approx half an hour at the end of the day while CJ was importing data into the performance reports you could run a daily performance report and see sales and transactions far in excess of that reported in earlier daily sales reports. This knocked me for 6 and i got straight onto AAQ and PMed Todd directly that I had seen sales attributed to me in this report that where not being reported in my account.

    THis only knocked me for 6 until I witnessed it happen a second time and compares it to other figures. My conclusion? During the half hour period while CJ was importing data into performance reports AT THAT TIME the view daily performance reports was displaying MONTHLY performance reports. AS soon as I had proven that to myself beyond all reasonable doubt I apologised to both TODD via PRIVATE MESSAGE and AAQ for raising a red flag for a reporting glitch.

    I have empathy with all my fellow publishers. What do you think this thread is about? I am pretty much providing the key to the formula that works for me to any and all who will take the time to read this topic and digest it. I am not perfect. Neither is my system. But it works to a degree and provides me with a comfortable living.

    quote:
    Be afraid because your mortgage payment relies on VC money, and never disagree with them openingly.
    Where did that come from?

    Thanks once again for sharing my PRIVATE thoughts PUBLICLY. This will be the last time I communicate with you.

    Billy Kay,

    Great points!


    TrustNo1,

    Great ideas.

    I am concentrating on the ad-blockers at the moment.

    I have been toying with the idea of using an image (so as not to affect serps) that is very visible on all pages that says something along the lines of "SITE DOESNT LOOK RIGHT? Click here to find out why" or "CANT FIND THAT BUY BUTTON?" but i want to come up with something that doesnt raise a red flag and scare them off.

    If we follow the 5% rule and assume that only 5% of people who see our site altered by Norton, Zone Alarm et. al. actually take the time to email us the now dreaded "Dude how do I buy from your site" email we are losing huge amounts of revenue to them.

    I was thinking of having this click through to an explanation of Ad-blocking software, why it affects nearly all shopping sites and how to disable it for the duration of the visit. Along with imaged walkthoughs of disablement for each.

    Still weighing up the benifits of those extra sales against thje possiblity of the image raing a red flag in the first place.

    Best to all,

    DPG

  25. #25
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    DPG

    the only way you can prove that there is no tracking problems is when you can compare a list of all existing purchases with a list of all tracked purchases. if you don't have that, quit assuming that there is no problem.

    it is our assertion that there are tracking problems, and we have proof.

    it is your assumption that there are no tracking problems, so where's your proof?


    the graphs that you have showed only the traffic patterns. they don't provide anything about tracking.


    my advice. if you stop claiming your own perceptions and assumptions as facts, and start dealing with real facts, then we can move forward to make CJ and ourselves even better.

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