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  1. #1
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    Hi all.
    I think I am nissing something.
    On CJ you can tell how an advertisers' link performs via the epc etc. How do you find these stats on befree? I hve looked and looked, but am starting to feel a little stupid.
    Any help would be greatly apprecieated
    Pop

  2. #2
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    Popdawg;

    It is not you who is missing something, it is BeFree who is missing detailed information on merchants. Don't expect to find the kind of info that is available at CJ; it's just not there. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    thanks Workerbee,
    I was starting to doubt my facilities for a minute/hour/day.
    Looks like it's time for some serious trial and error.

  4. #4
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    Popdawg,

    The best thing about BeFree is they do have some very good merchants. Just keep in mind that you'll be dealing with these merchants one-on-one and you'll receive ZERO help from BeFree and Reporting.net

    I only hope I've saved you some time in not waiting if you expect any reply from this network. And if you do not receive a reply from the merchant, that too should tell you something . . . run.

  5. #5
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    quote:
    The best thing about BeFree is they do have some very good merchants. Just keep in mind that you'll be dealing with these merchants one-on-one and you'll receive ZERO help from BeFree and Reporting.net

    I only hope I've saved you some time in not waiting if you expect any reply from this network. And if you do not receive a reply from the merchant, that too should tell you something . . . run.


    I'd like to clarify on the help aspect of your message in regards to Be Free. We actually do support and help affiliates, but perhaps you are not sure how to get that help--I'm sorry about that, but we are trying to make that easier to figure out. If you log on to Reporting.net, on the left hand side navigation is a button called, "Help". Click on this button to get help to a variety of topics, from getting paid, to linking questions, to reporting questions, and more. I used the Help button today, to make sure that some of the questions that have been posted recently were answered there--and they were. Also, in addtion, if the answer isn't there or you still have more questions, there is a button called, "Still Need Help? Click Here" that will allow you to escalate your question to a Be Free support rep for more assistance.

  6. #6
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    quote:
    I'd like to clarify on the help aspect of your message in regards to Be Free. We actually do support and help affiliates, but perhaps you are not sure how to get that help--I'm sorry about that, but we are trying to make that easier to figure out.


    3 years - only one reply to several emails and I waited until 2 MONTHS before that one reply came . . . with an innappropriate, inaccurate answer. What good is a reply after 2 months that states they do not have an answer to the question?

    Nothing in the Reporting.net interface is user friendly towards affiliates, especially the Help department. Forget it~!

    PS: Special Liaison - I rest my case - you can't even provide your name~!

    [ 07-30-2002: Message edited by: Cyclone ]

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Here's some BeFree assistance on merchant selection. Only 2 merchants at BeFree properly track and convert affiliate traffic since BeFree runs absolutely no sales tracking compliance program. One of them is TigerDirect and the other is Computer Geeks. 90% of my others never show a sale 12 months running and I never expect to see their merchant summary show a sale even if I tripple their traffic. SmartBargains and Lens Express are perfect expamples of non-tracking merchants there with nice sites and ZERO sales commission payouts.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I've got to agree with Mike about the non-tracking merchants at BeFree. LensExpress showed only one sale in two years. I think they felt that sale should be reported since I'm the one who made the purchase. :rolleyes:

    Just considering that Gator is one of their merchants and several other merchants like Payless are affiliated with Gator says a lot about BeFree.

  9. #9
    Full Member Abusaki's Avatar
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    About Len Express,
    We still have awaiting funds instead of a check in our reports.
    I sent an email to Maura, affiliate merchant but has not received any reply yet.

    Also in our reports at Gateway, we have been approved for payment since May but have not received any check yet.

    Am I also missing something or WHAT?

    This has made us relunctant in promoting Be Free merchants.

  10. #10
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    If you are having difficulty in receiving payment from a Be Free merchant, you can get help from Be Free. Log on to reporting.net and click on the "Help" button on the left hand navagation, and then you'll see in the middle of the new screen a section on payment.

  11. #11
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    BeFree !!

    I was on the phone with Bill Flynn yesterday for 30 minutes explaining to him what YOU need to do to win over these affiliates.

    Bill asked us point blank - "Why are you opening an in-house program and what are your future plans for BF"

    I spent 30 minutes telling him about the issues, again...

    What you need to improve and what you have done. BF has improved. BF wants to improve and they are turning around and being more affiliate friendly. I have to give BF credit for that.

    JUST one problem. Not fast enough !!

    Supply an e-mail, supply a phone number, let these people know that you have a mechanism in place to help them and hear them out. I know and everyone knows the majority of the merchants won't respond to them. Period. They are left out in the wings.

    Please forward this thread to Bill so he is in the loop. He claims he is not aware of so many issues....

    Bill - that is why some affiliates don't /won't work with us. That is why we are opening the in-house program.

    Turn it around, you have started, continue and move forward and you will have the super partners on this board..

    I want to continue with BF, make it easy for affiliates to work with you !!

    <>

  12. #12
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    Just in case Bill does read this thread...

    I've so had it with BeFree that I've put off promoting Tiger Direct until they open the in-house program. And you won't find me saying this about ANY other network, I think CJ, LS, and Performics, all do a good job -- always with room for improvement, of course.

    BeFree reporting is the worst I've seen, the reports are often nonsensical, there doesn't seem to be any consistency in how merchants use reports (much less what reports are available for various merchants), affiliates can't delete the dogs from their screen, the means for adding a new website ("contact each merchant") are abysmal, and on and on and on.

    And the Acclaim Program? Merchants are in and out of that like the hokey-pokey and affiliates have NO clue why. It's a joke to watch a merchant go from "Acclaimed" to "Under Review" to "Acclaimed" every other month.

    If I could find a replacement for the one merchant I have that converts at BeFree, I wouldn't be there at all.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    First, thank you to the BeFree "Liaison" for attempting to answer questions in the thread, unfortunately, I am not sure he/she realizes the depth of seriousness the problems extend to at BeFree - or at least what the affiliates perceive.

    I too have had problems contacting BeFree. Having been with them for over two years now, I used to try to get answers to problems, both with merchants and the BeFree interface/system. I learned a long time ago, that I would never hear back from beFree - I just gave up.

    As for the Merchants, they are only as responsive as they want to be - some good some - terrible (just like merchants in other programs). BeFree has some really great brandable merchants, I wonder how many get their entire "sense" of what the affiliate marketing channel is from their experience at BeFree - that is sad.

    As for the Liaison's response, it would have been better to give directions for the help section, then say something like - "Sorry, but that's all we have for now, we are trying to be more responsive." At least give some hope that things are on the move.

    I have told the story before. I even tried calling BeFree a couple of years ago, I don't remember where I got the number (it wasn't from the website). The number I used was for one of several regional sales offices as I recall. I was directed to voice-mail for different sales-people. No one ever returned my call (understandably - I wasn't a new merchant - I was simply some stupid affiliate).

    And that's my point, affiliates are treated, and feel like we are the afterbirth - something disgusting, but necessary.

    Hey, we're actually rich in protein - give us a try [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Fred [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

  14. #14
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    Be Free has staff and tools in place to assist affiliate partners. In fact we handle thousands of affiliate inquiries each month--by partners who do one of the following: emailing AffiliateHelp@befree.com or clicking on the "Help" button in the left nav bar of Reporting.net. You will be launched into an interactive web-based support database that covers 80% of partner's questions. If your question is not answered by the database, click on the "Still need help?" button in the left nav bar and your question will be escalated to the support team. Response time is usually within 2-3 business days.

    Be Free DOES care about you! We've made a lot of changes over the past year to improve your experience--based on affiliate input. Here are some of the highlights of the changes that have been made:

    Enhanced Fast Stats reporting to give you a better view of all your merchant programs performance.

    Payment Discrepancy Service--this is integrated into the Help section on Reporting.net. Using this service, Be Free assists affiliates with help in getting paid from their merchants, acting as a liaison to make sure that merchants are addressing concerns and are responsive.

    Acclaim and Active/Advisory Status--these statuses are designed to give you insight into programs that are exceptionally well run (Acclaim) and programs that you may want to watch carefully (Active/Advisory). For Active/Advisory merchants we recommend that you contact the merchant to find out what is going on, and if you don't get a response--you may not want to continue to promote that program (and don't forget about the Payment Discrepancy if there are payment issues).

    The Help section on Reporting.net was built to assist you in getting immediate responses to your questions at any time--with the option of escalating your problem to the team behind the knowledge contained in the help tool. Again to access this, log on to Reporting.net and click "Help" on the left-hand nav bar.

    This is not the end of improvements, we are continually working on improving your experience at Reporting.net and with our merchants. We want you to be as successful as possible--it's to the benefit of all of us: you, the merchants, and Be Free.

  15. #15
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    >>Acclaim and Active/Advisory Status--these statuses are designed to give you insight into programs that are exceptionally well run (Acclaim) and programs that you may want to watch carefully (Active/Advisory).<<

    What are the criteria and what are the metrics?

    >>For Active/Advisory merchants we recommend that you contact the merchant to find out what is going on<<

    But. It seems to me that if a network is providing a "third-party" evaluation of a merchant, all purpose behind that evalaution is defeated by requiring affiliates quiz merchants on "what's going on" when their status changes.

  16. #16
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    How come 7 of my merchants show acclaim marks and were at the same time on active advisory headed to reports only. How come I can force feed a BeFree merchant -TigerDirect-to bust balls there to make sure their e-catalog/cart reporting tags reported 100% of the time starting last September. Prior to that it was a crap shoot. Now that this merchant went overboard to make sure they recorded sales I earned 687.00 from them last month while earning a lousy 27.00 from the other 40 merchants. I no longer ge to see reports or replace links to my BF merchants since the beginning of July. Leaving it up to the crooks to maybe respond to e-mails over non tracking of sales might in this day and age of Corporate responsibility make for some poor PR. Kicking a few of your obvious crooks off the network and publically ridiculing them for tricking affiliates out of free traffic might be a good start. Throw out the lame acclaim program and start rating merchants by a simple conversion rating system would help. Number of clicks by their affiliate pool to produce one sale comes to mind as something you could whip up in one days time!!! Merchants above 500 clicks get a dunce cap to wear for a month!!

    My bet this month is that, since BeFree jumped in my way ( requiring complete banking info to get to links/reports) rather than staying convenently out of the way like they should, my TD sales will be lowered by 400.00. Now maybe I'm not looking at the positives that could happen.

    Maybe someone at Dell will reports sales since Jan 1st 2002 (opps they run one cart with BF & LS tags so no sales slow up)or some merchants that haven't shown one sale since this time last year go honest like IBM -SmartBargains -ProFlowers -Ashford -FogDog Sports -Barnes & Noble ..strange things happen. Maybe the BF merchants tahta haven't busted their Zero sales cherry might come through! Now ComputerGeeks is honest so maybe they will show some sales activity. Some like Verizon, Quest and Verisign are under Fed investigation so maybe they will begin to report sales out of fear! I'll never know til the checks arrive ..right!

    [ 07-31-2002: Message edited by: EcomCity.com ]

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    BeFree Liaison, thank you for responding.

    Maybe we can take this one-at-a-time.

    If I wish to discontinue a program, why can't I simply make a selection at the BeFree interface, and cancel them?

    Let me put this another way. What if I want to stop selling their products, and stop advertising for them, why can't I simply click a button somewhere (at BeFree) to cancel our relationship?

    Or another way to ask this would be: Why isn't there a "Go Away" or a "Stop" button somewhere at BeFree that will allow me to say goodbye to the merchant? - you know, it's been fun but I have to go - that sort of thing.

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

  18. #18
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    quote:
    If I wish to discontinue a program, why can't I simply make a selection at the BeFree interface, and cancel them?

    Let me put this another way. What if I want to stop selling their products, and stop advertising for them, why can't I simply click a button somewhere (at BeFree) to cancel our relationship?

    Or another way to ask this would be: Why isn't there a "Go Away" or a "Stop" button somewhere at BeFree that will allow me to say goodbye to the merchant? - you know, it's been fun but I have to go - that sort of thing.


    Fred . . . if you weren't a guy I'd kiss you dead on the lips~! In 3 years of trying I never got an answer to that one.

    Now, all I want to know is where the big red button is to delete the accounts I still have there. It would be easier to launch a terrorist attack on the actual building than to be able to have any functionability at Reporting.net.

    Further PROOF resides in the fact that "Liason" doesn't even read these threads. POST YOUR NAME or all I'll do from this point on is say "HEY BF"

    No matter what BeFree tries to do I'll never return to their self-abuse system. People have to be total morons to hang onto this dying puppy. I'd rather be working with a thousand merchants who have their own in-house program than deal with one located at BF . . . and I do

    And YES Andy, if you were not at BeFree I'd be happy to load your links onboard. Let me know when you've dropped these bfreeloaders~!

  19. #19
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    By the time BeFree gets around to deactivating a merchant because they haven't paid a dime to even them in 4 months and no longer have a active domain name the e-mail ccontact is long gone. You cannot deactive a BeFree merchant, since they do not recognize you even exist unless you somehow manage to get a check from one of them. I've tried to get off Gators roster since early in Y-2000 to no avail. BeFree pads all their affiliate numbers to enable them to con new merchants into using their service.

    It is also hard for a merchant to get the message through to BeFree that they no longer want anything to do with paying a dime for their flacky service. The top performing merchant at beFree used to be Overstock. After some fallout with BF staff or maybe being suckered into all BF sponsored scumwarez/parasite/spamm campaigns ..Overstock wanted to distance themselves from BF. Problems in the transistion immediately occurred when I pointed out to Overstock that their links at both LS and BF no longer tracked any sales starting in Feb 2002. They could not track sales without disabling one of the network tracking codes on the order confirmation page. This applies to all merchants who run multiple network tags who have a BeFree account. So Overstock limped along alternating then finally disabling all sales tracking at BeFree starting in April.

    BeFree refused to acknowledge that Overstock was even leaving BF for LS and continued the "active status" til July and duped affiliates into thinking they were earning commissions on sales. They then changed the status to "active advisory" with no sales tracking in place tricking even the parasites -Duperaffiliates and Scumware guys into completing their contracts with a non reporting merchant. Am I getting close yet?? Now they problem is BeFree still refuses to ackowledge to their affiliates or Darkside partners that Overstock isn't a BeFree merchant. Why?

    Now their only remaining 100% verified reporting merchant that converts ---TigerDirect--- wants to begin the exit or parallel process? I've news for you Andy ..it won't be smooth or pretty and BeFree will try to cut off your creditability as a rogue merchant. Hell they won't feature you as their top merchant since you won't pay to play the parasite/scumware/spammer routine to fatten their coffers. They are only left with the Dell and MicroWarehouse -BestBuy loosers to play their games and the parasites don't even want them due to poor conversion ratios.

  20. #20
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    Cedric-

    The criteria for the Acclaim Program is listed on Reporting.net by clicking on a symbol under the Acclaim column on the Your Merchant Partners Page. This criteria was defined by talking with affiliates and asking them what business practices they find important in a good affiliate program (obviously timely payment and accurate reporting were there, as well as others).

    (If you want the criteria for Active/Advisory status, click on the ? mark beside the Merchant Status column on the Your Merchant Partners Page.)

    Heather

  21. #21
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    Fred-

    I posted on the thread "Way to Remove Merchant" for the details on how to do this. Here's what was posted there:

    As an earlier post indicated, currently the way to remove a merchant from your Merchant Partners Page and Fast Stats is to email them requesting them to remove you from their program. As you've pointed out, this isn't the most effecient method for you and because of that, we are looking to change this in the near future (I wish we had it now for you!).

    So until then, if you have a merchant that you want to be removed from your listings, you will need to contact them. If you need to get their contact information, you can do that by logging on to Reporting.net, clicking on the "Help" button on the left hand nav bar, and then clicking on the "Merchant Contact Information" button.

    Again, sorry that it's a pain to remove yourself from a program--but we are working on making it much easier!

    Heather

  22. #22
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    >>The criteria for the Acclaim Program is listed on Reporting.net by clicking on a symbol under the Acclaim column on the Your Merchant Partners Page.<<

    Sorry, Heather. My question was unclear. How do we, the affiliates, know when a merchant moves in/out of the Acclaim status on which criterion they gained or lost(of greater interest) that status?

    And what are the metrics used to measure such criteria as: "Provide Be Free with timely and accurate transactions information", "respond to inquiries within five business days", "Be in good standing with Be Free", etc.

    For example, on the "respond to inquiries" item -- does it take one complaint from affiliates or fifty? Is it a judgement call? What if they never respond to affiliates, but no one complains?

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Thank you Heather,

    I understand what to do now, and appreciate your input. If I may, let me point out the part of your post that was the most interesting to me:
    quote:
    "...but we are working on making it much easier!"

    The reason this is interesting, is that we would love to know "what's next at BeFree, as we (the Affiliates) are always the last to know anything (so to speak). If you can find a way to keep our membership updated, and let us know what's coming, it's a great way to build excitement for your program (if that's possible). My last remark was not meant to be rude, but a small dose of reality.

    Also, Cedric's questions are very valid, he is not the only one who wishes to know these things. Why? Well we would like to know if the ratings (in and out of Accliam program) have credibility. I can't say it any plainer that that.

    Heather, did you know that many Affiliates know and understand what metrics are, and what CRM means? I am not trying to ask an insulting question, it's really a statement.

    If you could find a way to tell the folks back at BeFree we are smarter that we look, that would be great. One of those things you can "drop" the next time you're in the lunchroom or something.

    I am pleased you had the courage to use your name, keep up the great work Heather!

    Fred [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    [ 08-01-2002: Message edited by: buy_online ]

  24. #24
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    Cedric-

    Sorry for the delay in response but I definitely wanted to answer your questions.

    quote:
    How do we, the affiliates, know when a merchant moves in/out of the Acclaim status on which criterion they gained or lost(of greater interest) that status?


    Acclaim status notification is emailed monthly to all affiliates that have opted-in to receive Be Free emails (to opt in, log on to Reporting.net, go to the Update User Account area, and check the box at the bottom of the page). Unfortunately, Be Free can not give the specific criteria that was failed by a merchant. I know that this is very frustrating, but due to the legal obligations we have in place with merchants, we are prohibited from sharing this information--even with affiliates. Given this limitation, we must refer you to the merchant--which is a pain--I can certainly understand that.

    quote:
    And what are the metrics used to measure such criteria as: "Provide Be Free with timely and accurate transactions information", "respond to inquiries within five business days", "Be in good standing with Be Free", etc.


    Here are the metrics of which Acclaim are based:
    To be designated as having timely payment, the merchant needs to mail checks within 35 days of the end of the pay period.

    To be designated as haivng timely order files, the merchant needs to have sent a record of a transaction within 2 days of the transaction occurring, on average, over the course of the month.

    To determine if a merchant has accurate order files, we compare the number of rejected records in a given month to the number of overall records. No more then 2% of records can be rejected to pass this criteria. Why not 100%? Because there are a few situations when a record could be rejected that are outside of the merchant's control - for example, if the partner edits their link and drops a tracking parameter, this record will be rejected.

    The criteria of being in good standing with Be Free is based on a merchant not being delinquent, meaning over sixty days, with payment to Be Free.

    In order to determine if a merchant responds to inquiries within five business days, we send test messages to merchants from an outside address as well as monitor complaints from affilates of unresponsive or slow to respond merchants. If we have reason to feel that a merchant is not responding to partners in a timely manner, we will investigate the issue further to see if this is an ongoing problem and contact the merchant to verify the issue. Once we have determined exactly what is happening around communication to partners, we decide if the merchant's behavior should be designated as being unresponsive.

    We also monitor outbound communication, such as a merchant newsletter or general messages to partners.

    I hope this helps you understand the criteria better. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

    Heather

  25. #25
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    A nice reply. I personally think that fast stats is the best consolidated report of the major affiliate networks. The individual reports are a bit flaky, I can live with that.

    The EPC, though, is the one piece of information needed to make informed decisions. Even if you published a monthly report for the few merchants willing to publish their info, it would help bring back traffic. Optimizing the return from traffic is largely a numbers game.

    The way the game works is that Reporting.Net and its merchants put together programs, and affiliates then take that information and work hard to optimize the revenue stream.

    Reporting.net really needs to be active in protecting merchants from scumy affiliate (porn, spammers and those popup ads). You also have to help protect affiliates from bait and switch things that merchants keep pulling.

    I really hope you can find a way to pull your company out of its tail spin. Right now, I really see very little at beFree but a on going string of failed programs, and scumware like gator and 'dupers.

    BTW: My experience is that Active/Advisory means that the merchant has cancelled their program. I know that's not the official defition, but it is the practical one.

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