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  1. #1
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    Are there any general CJ guidelines (or is it merchant specific) about ordering products via your own affiliate links? There are a couple of Christmas presents I'd like to order, but don't want to do if it violates some (idiotic) rule. :cool:

  2. #2
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    Some merchants dont mind, and some do. I have no problems with affiliates purchasing thru their own links with our program at CJ.

    You should contact the merchant and ask just in case.

    Good Luck

  3. #3
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    I've ordered from my merchants and not had any problem. If any of my merchants ever complain about me ordering from them through my site, I would drop them like a hot potato for having such a stupid rule.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info, all. I agree it would be an idiotic rule, but there are a couple of merchants I wouldn't want to drop because of it. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

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

    Actually the old CJ fraud department was based on self and "friends and family" purchases but they have "evolved" from that

    Many times before I self purchase I ask the merchant .... they are slower than grits falling off a spoon in responding so I'd suggest two things ....

    1. put "self purchase" in the subject
    2. don't hold your breath

    Haiko

  6. #6
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    I suppose if they won't let you order and don't want your business, then you can order from one of their competitors.

    A sale is a sale no matter who it comes from. Why should my neighbor be able to order, but not myself? Makes no sense, just a stupid rule by merchants with their heads up their butts.

    Kind of reminds me of the merchant who reduced cookie duration for no reason and claimed it would have no effect on publisher's earnings.

    Anyways, if you are dealing with a "stupid" merchant and don't want to drop the idiot, then I would order from their competitor and let them know they lost the order to their competitor. I would even pay more from a competitor so the "stupid" merchant wouldn't get the sale.

    Can you tell I don't have much tolerance for "stupid" merchants and stupid rules? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

  7. #7
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    Thanks, Haiko. I'll start writing those emails tonight. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Commission King, I disagree with dropping a vendor because they have a rule I think is stupid. Honestly, I have NEVER found a business that didn't do SOMETHING I considered stupid. Not that all businesses are stupid, just tough to agree 100% on every practice. Whether they allow me to make a purchase is really a minor consideration -- customer service, commission rate, and quality of product is vastly more important.

    If they sell on my site, I'm not going to drop them because they have a rule I think is dumb -- what merchants I use has absolutely nothing to do with my own buying habits or desires... or my thoughts on what I consider to be fairly inconsequential, albeit inane, matters.

  8. #8
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    Having a stupid rule like this would to me be a sign that the merchant has a total idiot running their affiliate program.

    The purpose of having an affiliate program is to increase sales. If you are going to "ban" sales to those that are helping you increase your sales, then something is seriously wrong with that logic.

    If a merchant is offering a 20% commission, then they should atleast give their affiliates that much if not more. They should even consider increasing that too like 25% for things you order yourself (a sort of thank you).

    A common mistake that the stupid merchants make, is that if they are converting well, that they can't or won't be replaced. The truth is there are numerous competitors in most every area that will convert equally as well.

    Another problem with the "stupid" merchant is that if they have a stupid rule like this, then they will probably make stupid changes to their program in the future too.

    Some "stupid" rules are made simply because the merchant really is "stupid". Other "stupid" rules are made to try and "correct" a perceived problem without giving much thought to the possible solutions. For Example a merchant thinks that he has a problem with people joining their affiliate program for the sole purpose of purchasing a product and getting the commission (kind of like a discount).
    First, if your are selling your product, is this REALLY a problem?
    Second, if indeed this is the case, and if indeed it is a problem in some instances, would "banning" ALL affilates from purchasing the Best Solution to this problem?
    There many ways to "fix" the problem without "banning" all purchasing. For example, they could simply require you generate 3 sales before you can purchase and get the full commission on the sale to yourself.

    The point is some merchants make "kneejerk" changes and rules instead of taking a few minutes to think things through and try to come up with a better solution to their perceived problems.

  9. #9
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    quote:
    The purpose of having an affiliate program is to increase sales. If you are going to "ban" sales to those that are helping you increase your sales, then something is seriously wrong with that logic.


    Sorry, but I don't see anything wrong with not wanting to give discounts to people who are in effect, your sales staff. And if someone signs up for an affiliate program just to get a discount, they're cheating the company. The point of affiliate programs is to increase sales, but not by giving a discount to people who have no intention of promoting a product.

    It's similar to employers giving employee discounts -- some do, some don't. I don't assume that the ones who don't are idiots or even bad companies to work for -- they just don't give discounts. I just can't see why that should ever be a make or break issue.

    So, while the decision to not allow affiliates to order on their own code is not a decision I would make, it is, once again, not something I consider important enough to drop a merchant.

  10. #10
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Cedric:
    "Sorry, but I don't see anything wrong with not wanting to give discounts to people who are in effect, your sales staff."

    I have to disagree. Even Walmart gives an employee discount to their sales staff. Almost every company gives a discount to their sales people.

    I agree that a sale is a sale. Right now there is something I want and because of this rule, the merchant will lose a $100 sale. Just seems silly to me.

    Vicki [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  11. #11
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    Since there is a member of the Crucial Technology team on the forum now, I'd be interested in his take on why Crucial won't have a commission on a sale to an affiliate.

    They say that some people join just to get the discount. And...why is that a problem? You make the sale, regardless.

    I bought $150 worth of ram last week for a couple of computers. I would have used Crucial, but instead, I used a CJ merchant that pays a commission.

  12. #12
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    It's also a good way of detecting merchant fraud - I've read of several cases where the advertiser or one of their friends has placed an order through an affiliate only to see it reversed for no good reason.

  13. #13
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    I'm 100% with Commission King on this one. It is NOT "cheating the company" to want a commission off of EVERY sale! The company is willing to pay an override on every OTHER sale, and the idea that there should be an "except affiliates" in there is bogus.

    I agree with dropping those idiots "like hot potatoes". This isn't just some little "irritant" rule--it's a deal-breaker. Places that think my order isn't worth a commission are saying that my order isn't as important as other orders!!! I will not deal with a place with that attitude. They either take my orders (and pay commissions on them)--or I send them NO orders at all.

    Even Crucial Tech is not an exception. I cannot bring myself to hit Join for a place which has such low regard for affiliate orders, despite their EPC. And I'll get any memory upgrades from somewhere else, even if I don't affiliate with the other place.

    I will mention that I don't pick places just because I want to buy things at a discount. I have a lot of things on my site that I have no intentions of buying/signing up for (For instance, I have no use for a home equity loan)! And I also refrain from signing up for places that I don't intend to promote. It takes effort to think up ad copy and make pages (which some merchants DO check), so if I think I'll be the only customer, I'm not going to sign up! Still, the option of clicking my links has got to be there.

    Allowing affiliate orders is GOOD BUSINESS, too--and NOT just for the sake of making a single sale. Satisfied affiliate customers can then say that they have dealt with the merchant! If the product/service is any good, the merchant should WANT those affiliate orders--and the favorable reviews and extra promotion that comes from a satisfied customer with a web site.

  14. #14
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    While even WalMart gives an employee discount, not all companies do and it is a perk, not a right.

    I absolutely think it's cheating the company to sign up for a program just to order product. It would be like getting a job at WalMart, but never showing up for work and still expecting to get your employee discount. A company cuts their profit margin every time they offer a discount -- why should they offer a discount to people who filled out an online form and did nothing more?

    I DON'T believe it's cheating to order product from a company that you are promoting (see my first message in this thread [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]).

    But I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree about the magnitude of this issue. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  15. #15
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    What we have here is a failure to communicate.

    Merchants all seem to think that affiliates are some sort of employee. Not so. They are independent businesses and as such can make or break your business.

    Here's how I look at and think the discount deal from a business/merchant side should be treated.

    1. Affiliates for the most part are promting my business for the most part 'on the come.'
    If they don't make a sale or lead, they don't get paid. Giving them the discount for products they personally order is like saying to them, we appreciate your efforts.

    2. Affiliates are in a sense a potential buying club for our products. If we have 1,000 affiliates and once a year they all buy just one item at say $25, and give them a 20% discount we increase our sales by $20,000.

    3. Affiliates provide a network of connections to potential other business and it is short sited to not try to make it easier for them to make money not harder.

    4. The reason most merchants are so lame is they have never actually had to sell anything on percentage themselves...they all make a salary so what do they care, they get paid whether you promote them or not. And if they get laid off for being idiots, they get
    unemployment and can go find another job.

    For business owners it's always a problem to deal with 'commission sales' people and not many can do it right and survive. That's why almost every major corporation pays sales reps a small draw or salary - then they can control them.

    Control however is really an impossibility when dealing with the internet.

  16. #16
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    Another point...pricing.

    Most companies price things to maximize profit not at the point where they can sell the most widgets.

    They discount when it is obvious the price point is not working...discounts are where the market place determines what a thing or service is really worth.

    The best point is just bit below what people think something is really worth.

  17. #17
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    Ken Evoy of "Make Your Site Sell" fame makes a *point* of giving discounts to affiliates. The person who referred you gets the commission, but he has a special page set up for affiliates to buy his products at reduced prices because he figures the better you know them the more effectively you'll be able to sell them. Sounds like win-win to me!

    I recently spent a fistful of money through my own links to Eddie Bauer. I have no idea whether they even noticed I'd done so. Afterwards I changed some of my copy to comment on what I'd bought. Since then my sales for Eddie Bauer have gone up. Coincidence? I suspect not.

    I think the idea of a merchant asking for a certain level of sales (or at least promotion activity) before buying through one's own links could be a workable middle ground and a way to screen out freeloaders, especially for hard goods where the profit margins are narrower.

    Elisabeth Archambault

  18. #18
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    Leader and Elisabeth make good points.

    quote:
    Allowing affiliate orders is GOOD BUSINESS, too--and NOT just for the sake of making a single sale. Satisfied affiliate customers can then say that they have dealt with the merchant! If the product/service is any good, the merchant should WANT those affiliate orders--and the favorable reviews and extra promotion that comes from a satisfied customer with a web site.


    quote:
    ...a special page set up for affiliates to buy his products at reduced prices because he figures the better you know them the more effectively you'll be able to sell them.


    I agree, personal and genuine testimonials from the webmaster (or webmistress [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] ) can certainly help convert browsers to buyers. I tend to promote the merchants that I have purchased from much more than the ones I haven't because I am confident that my visitors will be as happy with their purchases from them as I was.

  19. #19
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    You guys do understand that I think it's a good idea for companies to allow affiliate purchases, right?

  20. #20
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    Haiko,

    I don't know what your plans are for merchantwatch, but perhaps there can also be some sort of rating system that would include things like "bans affiliates from purchasing", "low cookie duration", "high reversal rate", etc.

    Seems like if you had a code my their name that they ban affiliate purchases, that you really couldn't get in any trouble, because that is a fact about their program.

    I would love to see a "Affiliate Programs that suck" page and for those merchants to get off the list, they would need to change their program to something that is more "acceptable" to publishers. The people on your boards here could create alot of clicks to their site through this page so it will show up in their logs and when they check to see where all the hits are comming from, they will get a little surprise education. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

  21. #21
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    AK--"The people on your boards here could create alot of clicks to their site through this page so it will show up in their logs and when they check to see where all the hits are comming from, they will get a little surprise education."

    Bwaa haa haa! I love it!

    Cedric--I figured you thought they should be allowed...your first post said an anti-affiliate-purchase ban would be "idiotic".

    After thinking about your Wal-Mart analogy, I can also see your point about signing up JUST for a discount being a cheat, too. Even though we are not employees, it is reasonable for a merchant to expect some promotion from an affiliate. After all, they are trying to get more than 1 sale with an affiliate program!

    BUT, I also think that could be easily avoided without barring affiliates from clicking their own links. The merchant can look at the affiliate's site and see if there is promo going on. If they can't find the promo (common on a site like mine where I used to start sending PPC traffic to a specific page BEFORE linking it up to anything on the site), an e-mail asking for details (where's the page and how can the public find it?) could be sent out.

  22. #22
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    AK,

    Right now the template (v1.0) for the info is :
    http://www.abestweb.com/mw/report.htm

    The EPCs will be difficult but I will solicit and interface with the "trusted third parties" for them to do dumps (weekly?) of the data.

    The merchants will be allowed to post answers to affiliate responses and any depicted information on their "Review page" there, also, will be a compact dir of all the worst (The SHIT List) and of course the best. I am trying to allow for full functionality of sorting via all qualifiers in the report for us and compile the most "REAL" information about the merchant and their program so that we can make the best affiliations.

    Haiko

  23. #23
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    Haiko-
    Your template looks good! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Just a question and a suggestion.
    Question:What if a merchant has affiliate programs through multiple sites (ie CJ and CPAbank)? Their terms for each are often different and their payment history can also be different. It would be cool to be able to easily find the "best" affiliate program site to use if someone was interested in promoting a certain merchant.Suggestion: Add a "comments" or "special notes" field to the page for each merchant. This would allow the addition of "bans affiliate purchases", "requires XXX level of activity per month", and a whole host of other little special conditions and qualifers some merchants tend to attach to their programs. It would be really nice knowing what the main "conditions" are from the template page you have set up.

    I really like the concept. Good Job, Haiko!

  24. #24
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    CK,

    Shall be incorpoated in V1.2

    Any other suggestions?

    Haiko

    [ 11-16-2001: Message edited by: Haiko ]

  25. #25
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    I guess it's time to step in and clear up the misconception Spongebo. Crucial DOES allow affiliates to order through their own affiliate links! We do have a policy in place - we allow you to order 1 time through your link.

    So let me explain - Crucial sells to consumers, gov't agencies, large corporations, small business, and VARs (value added resellers). We give a 10% discount to all online orders, as opposed to phone orders. Ordering through your link to 'test it out' and get a little bit more of a discount is fine, in fact, we expect it! The problem arises when VAR resellers customers especially and other business customers abuse the program by putting up a 'behind the scenes' link on a hidden page just so they can click through it and order every other day at greater discounts than their competitors are getting from us. This is unfair and fraud in our eyes.

    Think about it - the reason we have set up our affiliate program is to provide a way for our affiliates to promote our company and our products and to earn a commission by doing so. You get the commission - we get the benefit of you introducing someone to our company, website, service, experience. If you take away one side of that equation where does it leave you? If someone joins the program simply as a way to get a discount without any intention of promoting us in any way and they continue to place multiple orders through their links we are simply losing money on those orders. Everyone wants the best price possible, that's clear. But abusing a company's affiliate program is no way to get it.

    Does any of this not make sense?

    Jared
    Crucial Affiliate Team

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