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  1. #1
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    Scott, while you are here:

    What is the time frame that BeFree allows for merchant voucher approval? And for payment in the case of merchants who send their own checks?

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  2. #2
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    ALso - How long soes it take to process payments if the merchant wire-transfers the money to you on, for example, last Thursday?

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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    For example, payments wired last thursday for a merchant with the initials TD? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Just so you know, I'm not ignoring you. I'm collecting the specifics that I don't have off the top of my head.

    --scott

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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    We monitor merchant payment behavior closely. The merchants who do well generally send payments out within 15-35 days of the end of their payment period (which may be monthly or quarterly), depending on the merchant. Different merchants have different accounting processes, frequency of fraud, resources, etc., which explains the variance.

    We also work closely with all merchants to ensure that they are aware of the process and don't forget to hit all the buttons to make things work properly. Further, we make contacts with the accounting departments to let them know what to expect from the whole process.

    For the merchants who aren't doing such a good job, and to answer your question, our intervention starts 45 days after a voucher has not been paid. At that point, we send an email expressing concern and offering assistance and then follow up.

    If 60 days go by with no payment on a particular voucher period, the merchant goes into our "offending" process. At this point they've earned some very special attention from our compliance team and our finance department. In addition to working with the affiliate manager, we also contact their accounting department and work with them closely until the payment is resolved.

    To answer your second question, wire transfers can take a few days to appear in our bank account. So a transfer initiated on Thursday may not show up until Monday, or even Tuesday. I can check on it but that's really Andy's place to speak on this, so I'll leave that to him to communicate.

    (Andy, I'll drop you a note on the status).

    --scott

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  5. #5
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    OK Thanks Scott. I was just a little concerned because a particular merchant who is really on the ball when it comes to getting stuff sold seems to take their sweet time when it comes time to pay those who generate the sales.

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  6. #6
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    Scott,

    Is it normal to have "Pending" on Payment status for date 08/01/02, i.e July's commissions are still pending (BlueFly)???

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    Jessica123,

    Pending means that the merchant hasn't yet approved your payment.

    It's not likely that you're singled out.

    I'll see what I can find out, but have you tried contacting the merchant?

    --scott

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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    Jessica123,

    I got word of your inquiry to Bluefly and they've asked me to encourage you to email them to ask about payment: affiliate_support@bluefly.com

    I've been assured that you will get a prompt response.

    --scott

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    Scott Jangro
    sjangro@befree.com

  9. #9
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    Thanks a lot Scott, I will contact them to find out.

    While at it, this situation prevails among many merchants and is not specific to one merchant or the other. As an affiliate of couple of hundreds of stores, I find it troublesome to keep tracking of who is paying, or actually, who is not paying. In my view, having to contact merchants about these subject, circumvent the very essence of this "new economy" and is highly inefficient, especially for the merchants.
    For example, the reason I have not contacted this particular merchant, is simply because I don’t know if it is just me “pending” or is it that all their affiliates are still “pending”.
    BTW, same goes for “paid” status: I have couple of merchants with “paid” status for 07/01/02, and I have no idea if checks were actually sent, or is it only my check. Once again, instead of having to email BeFree’s help and receive something like “Unfortunately, there have been delays in processing XXX's affiliate checks. Please be patient as we hope to have them processed and mailed as soon as possible” , you could have just posted it on the site.

    Scott, maybe you’ll find it useful to consider implementing something that will provide more details about the status of payments and checks. It can really save a lot of time to affiliates, merchants, BeFree’s customer support.

    Best,
    Jessica

  10. #10
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    I was starting to write an email inquiring about the payment, and I entered, again, to check the payment status, and it was changed to “Approved”.
    So I guess that the email to them won’t be necessary – thanks a lot Scott.

    BTW, this only highlights the need for a more accurate payment status…

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    Jessica123,

    I'm glad that their payment process is moving along again. I don't know if our inquiry had anything to do with that. I do understand that they are normally quite prompt.

    That said, your point about managing all your relationships like that is a good one. I can understand that it is difficult to stay on top of each one.

    Part of it might just be having a good understanding of what each payment status means and how long they can take, and why. We do provide detailed status messages so you can know exactly where things are. Later today I'll post a description of all the status codes and some detail of each.

    But I don't think you're describing something that status codes can resolve. You're really looking to address, for example, why payment seems to be sitting in a particular status for such a long time -- something that a computer with programmed business rules can't really assess.

    If there were a way for a merchant to acknowledge a delay, perhaps that would help. There are ways, but perhaps a comment that can show up right alongside the payment status would add value.

    Let me know if I'm "getting it" or not. If you have other ideas, I'm all ears. In the meantime, watch here for some clarification on our status codes.

    Here's to a reflective and thoughtful 9/11. My thoughts will be with those families who have lost loved ones as I try to live my life normally and appreciate my young daughter blissfully ingnorant of what's going on in this world.

    --scott

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    Scott Jangro
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  12. #12
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    NOw here's a good one.

    A merchant manually adds a bonus, so I know that they have visited the BF merchant interface with their own eyes and fingers, but payment is still "pending approval".

    I scratch my head in confusion.

    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img]

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  13. #13
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    Dear Scott,

    A comment next to the payment status would certainly be great. It is reasonable to assume that when affiliates feel that something is stuck, they’ll contact BeFree’s help which will in turn contact the merchant for an answer. This creates an unnecessary burden on all parties, and a simple comment will definitely help reduce the clutter.

    For example, prior to posting here (or contacting support), I clicked the help sign next to “Voucher history” and read that Pending means “Voucher has been generated and is pending approval.”. I thought that a merchant that pays monthly commission will “process” the vouchers before the next voucher is due; hence I figured something is probably wrong. The thing is, that I had no way of knowing that no voucher was processed at all, and not just my voucher…

    While on the subject, couple of months ago, I was dropped in error by a merchant. The only thing that “saved” my commissions was that I noticed it and emailed the merchant, which promptly acted to fix the situation. Anyway, since the account was already closed by the merchant and could not be reopened, I realized that there is no way for an affiliate to:
    1. Know that he was dropped
    2. Access the account after it was closed (in order to find out due payments and so on)

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    As promised, here's an overview of the the payment process and status codes for Be Free (if merchant uses Be Free's payment processing service as most do):

    Prior to the payment process being initiated, you just see your earnings listed as "outstanding earnings". After the end of a payment period (monthly or quarterly), typically after a few days to make sure all the orders loaded correctly, the merchant starts the process.

    1. Payment Pending Approval -- the payment process has been initiated for the period and you're marked for receiving a payment this period.

    Next step: merchant must review all of the outstanding payments and mark them as approved.

    2. Payment Approved -- The merchant approved your payment.

    Next step: Yours was approved, but the merchant is still approving payments. When they're done, they submit them all for payment.

    3. Awaiting Funds -- The merchant has initiated the process for submitting funds to Be Free.

    Next step: Merchant arranges to have the funds sent (by check or wire) to Be Free.

    4. Submitted to Processor -- Be Free has received funds in the bank account and have started the check writing process.

    The transition from Be Free receiving the funds to 'Paid' typically happens in 2-3 days.

    5. Paid -- Checks have been sent.

    Unfortunately, for some merchants, there are things that slow down the process (lots of payments to approve, lengthy accounting process to get money transferred, etc.)

    Fortunately, many of them have got or are getting the picture that you expect to get paid on time and more and more are getting better at it.

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    Scott Jangro
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    [Uncle|Crankin']_Deelz,
    quote:
    A merchant manually adds a bonus, so I know that they have visited the BF merchant interface with their own eyes and fingers, but payment is still "pending approval".

    I'm not really sure I understand your question, but that's never stopped me before.

    So you've got a merchant that went in and added a manual bonus, but didn't approve the payment?

    I can really only guess, but approval can be done globally, so maybe the merchant's process is to touch the ones he/she needs to touch and then approve all.

    Or maybe your question was rhetorical and I should have left it alone. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

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  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    quote:
    I realized that there is no way for an affiliate to:
    1. Know that he was dropped
    2. Access the account after it was closed (in order to find out due payments and so on)

    Yeah, I recognize that this is a problem.

    We're working on changing this. Tell me if this is more like what you'd want:

    If you are disabled, the merchant won't be removed from your merchant list. You'll see status indicating you're disabled, be able to run reports, check outstanding commissions, etc. You won't be able to create links or earn additional commissions. When you're done with them, you'll be able to remove them from your list permanently.

    And you'll also be able to disable yourself from any programs and get them off your list.

    Thanks for the feedback.

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    Scott Jangro
    sjangro@befree.com

  17. #17
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    quote:
    So you've got a merchant that went in and added a manual bonus, but didn't approve the payment?


    Exactly.

    All settled now. I wasn't trying to press you on this one, Scott; it's just I know he lurks here so I figured he would be more likely to see what I say here than in his email which probably redirects to some stagnant hotmail account.

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  18. #18
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    Scott,

    Exactly!
    BTW, some affiliates asked in the past for an option to remove a merchant from their list, so with improvment you are solving both problems.

    Best,
    Jessica

  19. #19
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    Scott sure has cleared up the payment proceedure and status questions. Over 3 years I have found your can seperate the merchants into 2 categories. Advertisers vs Sales Partners.

    You'll always have late payment problems with Advertisers (AM reports to Advertising Dept.) because the Ad bills are always the last to get paid in a depressed market. Sales Partners, like TigerDirect, have an AM who reports to the sales department and has to push sales not impressions or clicks. Sales partners also value their outside sales force and know a commission check spurs more sales activity.

    One other BF payment status term pops up from time to time. "voucher cancelled" and payment reset to next pay period. Real red flag here, since those where this happened to me involved merchants who raised minimums and went quarterly. ALL eventually deactivated their programs. One -PcConnections - paid up what was owed the affiliates.

    WebMaster Mike

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