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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Merchants: Read This Before You Join or Renew At LinkShare
    Merchants,

    If you are considering joining LinkShare or renewing your contract with them, please consider all the following that has occurred in the last month. Merchants are our key to profits, but the network is simply the tool we use to get them. We as affiliates need working tools and need to get paid on time. We need you, the merchant, to insure we are given everything you can to provide us with working tools. This means you choose a network or affililiate program that gives us those tools or you make sure the one one you are using has the staff and resources to fix problems quickly when they occur. And that we get paid.


    1. LS sends email to all affiliates informing them of project Athena and new timeline for payments. Problem is, not all affiliates received the email because of an error with the email system LS uses.

    2. Affiliates who have problems are not able to reach LS support by email because LS has their spam filter set too high at their support email address. This problem was identified months earlier, but still was not fixed. Furthermore, affiliates report throughout the whole process, even after spam blocking filter supposedly loosened, that dozens of email support requests go unanswered (and thatís dozens per person!).

    3. All affiliates are required to reregister and be verified. There were numerous problems with this:

    a. Affiliates registered and verified, then unverified.
    b. Affiliates list get web name as payee name and canít change once entered.
    c. Affiliates who were verified, then unverified canít get verified.
    d. LS holds all checks until affiliate can be verified.
    e. Affiliates are unable to determine what is incorrect on their verification screens. No message on screens and LS affiliate support will not give information either.
    f. When LS is asked what company is verifying our information so we can cross check it ourselves, they keep it secret and will not share with affiliates.

    4. Payment delays to affiliates. Affiliates who are with merchants that paid LS commissions on time are having their checks held over four weeks. LS refuses to budge and pay these affiliates, even at the urging of merchants. Furthermore, LS refuses to pay interest on this money they are holding.

    5. Payment dates keep getting delayed. Due to LSís inability to solve their verification process, payment dates to affiliates keeps getting put off.

    6. The only system available to check and verify commission payments is a system that has been in beta testing for months and does not provide the data for the periods in questions (anything after Feb. 2005).

    7. Communication on a regular basis from LS home office by email to all affiliates (not just those that visit ABW) is almost nonexistent and much of what is sent out is the same information in each email. And it really is worse that I make it sound hereÖ.read the posts hereÖno business partner should ever have been hanging out in the cold the way LS treated their affiliates. Only about a handful of emails are sent to affiliates during this problem period.

    8. There are also reports of affiliates being terminated during this process without any explanation.

    9. The new reports system in place (in beta as mentioned) cannot be viewed by most people using browsers other than MS Explorer. Nothing has been done in months to correct this for those affiliates.

    10. Affiliates report checks from LS during this period that bounced.

    11. Affiliates are all required to agree to a new legal agreement that is worded poorly, but is fortunately changed after much debate at ABW.

    Okay, fellow affiliates, what did I leave out?

    (Followup Added by Michael Coley: An Objective Review of the Truth of These Claims)

    (Followup Added by Michael Coley: Which Issues are Resolved and Which are Unresolved?)
    Last edited by MichaelColey; June 4th, 2005 at 10:20 AM. Reason: Added Followup Links
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Wow! That's very succinct and complete. And considering the anguish that you've gone through during this process, it's incredibly fair and unbiased. Most of us would be tempted to make wild accusations and rave about the incompetence, but you've just laid out the facts. Good job!
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  3. #3
    Affiliate Marketer Rogi's Avatar
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    Now we need a merchant to post with the 'merchant side' of problems with Linkshare. I think that above post will defer a lot of affiliates but perhaps one of the merchants who recently left (or are planning to do so) can share the problems they've had with LinkShare.

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I seriously doubt that any merchants will publicly complain about Linkshare, no matter how accurate and legitimate their complaints would be.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I seriously doubt that any merchants will publicly complain about Linkshare, no matter how accurate and legitimate their complaints would be.
    Why? Is there some sort of nondisclosure agreement for merchants?

    I'd think that the ones who left wouldn't be worried about LS's opinion...and I'm sure some of them have a robust enough legal division to deflect any attempts at silencing them...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    Nice Job Ron. I can honestly say that I have been involved in each of those scenarios except the browser issue.

    Bottom line, prospective Merchants need to determine if their business is compatible with Linkshare.

    Fred

  7. #7
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Well, here is a question. Since all this has been going on, it has been impossible for affiliates to make links and update sites to sell the merchant's products and to join new programs and sell products for new programs, correct?

    That being the case, LS is not delivering the services promised to the merchants, are they?

    So does LS intend to rebate any portion of the merchant's fees or compensate the merchants in any way for the lost business?

    And, from what I have read here, I would think that many merchants have lost substantial sales opportunities from all this. If the merchants are not reimbursed in some fashion, I think they have a legitimate gripe and should consider at the very least changing networks.

    I think they could easily get out of the LS contract because at this point, LS would seem to be in substantial breech of contract.

    And, if any merchants are in fact considering changing. I would like to point out that SAS is not only reasonably priced but they have the fewest problems of any large network out there.
    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!

  8. #8
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    In the interest of spirited, non-partisan, debate - I've decided to take on the role of devil's advocate. Not because I believe that Linkshare should not take on no responsibility for the problems that have arisen, but rather - so that we might focus on the problems that are truly important.

    Among these, I find to be a lapse in tactical implementation of a well-intended strategic vision, and most of all - an unacceptable breakdown of communication to both affiliates and merchants.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    1. Assuming this is correct, there is no excuse for this.

    2. I've had every email answered, but again, if this is correct (and not a 'non-linkshare issue), there are no excuses for not answering customer inquiries.

    3. The registration and verification requirements are 100% understandable. The problems are much less understandable

    a. As I understand, affiliates were allowed to register before the 3rd party did its thing. When teh 3rd party became involved - it seems they needed to 'unverify' those who didn't match up. This I see as a simply lack of communication.

    b. The way I see it, the payee name taken from the legal name - that seems reasonable. I can't see an instance where the payee would not be the legal name. They should allow changes, though (even after verification), in the event of mistakes.

    c. This is not true. It happened to me. I was verified, then unverified, then verified again. It looks to me like they had to fix whatever glitches are inherent with such a large change.

    d. Unacceptable. Only commissions earned *after* the new registration procedure should be subject to the verification. Anything earned before this new verification system became mandatory should not be affected by this.

    e. I received a message that told me my Social Security # did not match my name and address. That seems fairly self explanatory.

    f. I have no idea why this information is not shared - though I expect is it to prevent people from somehow "tricking" the 3rd party. That said, if the 3rd party is able to be "tricked" - it should not be a trusted 3rd party. Unacceptable.

    4. Interest being paid is not really standard, but again, I defer to 'point d' on this one. Commission earned before the verification cut-off should not be held for any reason.

    5. I don't think payment dates have been delayed (setting myself up, I know - I know I've always received "March's commissions" in "May" (just over a month later). I think we are just being grouped into different groups, based on verification, and Linkshare is sending checks every week based on the newly verified. Still, I defer to 'point 'd' - March's commissions should not be affected.

    6. Running a "sales and activity" report for March gives me my commission.

    7. I agree 100%. I think this is the real problem.

    8. I'm unable to verify this. If there were some mistakes with termination, though, I would think a call to Linkshare would recitfy this.

    9. This year - 95% of the U.S. browser market was Internet Explorer. While all browsers should be supported, I think it was prudent of Linkshare to concentrate on this majority. Large companies must focus on the rule, not the exception. http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/interne...t.explorer.ap/

    10. I find this terribly hard to believe. More than likely it is a merchant problem.

    11. This point is, then, moot.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    I say all that to say this:
    While *TERRIBLY FRUSTRATING* - we should realize that payments are, at most 2 weeks late, and that Linkshare is trying to do some good things here for both us, merchants, and of course - themselves. Such drastic changes will not come without problems.

    I submit to ye brethren , that instead of complaining about problems of the past - we look at what problems still exist, try to figure out *why* they do stlil exist, and come up with a feasible solution to those very problems.

    Incessant ranting will not facilitate a productive dialogue with anyone in power to make changes.

    And I, too, am still waiting on my March commission. And I, too - like many others, have had to dip into savings to cover advertising costs.

    I look forward to my analysis being ripped to pieces.

    But not by diddy
    (Diddy, u know you my N!%%a)

    .


    I look forward to being bitten to pieces for my analysis


    .

  9. #9
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    Thanks Ron for the summary of problems. I totally share your opinion and frustration about LinkShare. I am betting that in a couple of years LinkShare won't exist!!!
    Buy.com just made the right movement, now is the turn for Target, Walmart, J&R and others ...

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the comments. It was real hard not to take an unbiased look at the problems when most of them have occured to me during this period. My goal here is to inform prospective merchants of how we have been treated and let them know this is not acceptable. If a merchant signs up for a LinkShare account, let them go in with their eyes wide open and know that we will not stand for this type of treat towards affiliates by any network. We as affiliates have little control on what can be changed (except to switch networks), but Merchants have the ability to choose which network and if a network is not doing what is in the contract, they should be able to leave that contract for breach of contract.

    Best case scenerio here is that we all wake up tomorrow and find out that Mr. Messer has seen the light [HALLELUIAH!] and changes the way he does business from this day forward to treat affiliates like the business partners that other networks and merchants do.

    P.S. RealDeal....sounds like you got off real lucky during this fiasco. Hope you are still singing this tune the next time LS does something like this.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  11. #11
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    7, I totally agree with you - what has taken place is unacceptable - no argument there. And I have been lucky, thank God (big G)

    I just hope Linkshare can QUICKLY put to rest the outstanding issues which have caused us weeks of sleepless nights, and let all of us who really add value to the network (read: affiliates) get back to what is really important.

    Capitalism.


  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    The problem here is....Mr. Messer has a history here of the way he treats affiliates. This is a long standing history. So, sadly, I really do not expect that things will change much. Once this all gets straighten out people will be much more tolerant...

    ...that is until Mr. Messer implements Project Zeus while he watchs us all drown again.

    I just don't have hope that Mr. Messer will change overnight or that he will implment a new improved support system or he will....(read almost any post here in the last few weeks).
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  13. #13
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    Ron - Mr. Messer has a history here of the way he treats affiliates.
    It seems there's very few people here to remember the fiasco of the .com around 1999/2000 with Messer not paying the affiliates after keeping deadbeat merchants in the system for months. Many affiliates left but he came back crying to have us back. That was not enough, he's doing it again.
    Good job, Ron, right to the point and accurate. Don't suggest Messer to use Greek Mythology to name LS projects. Don't forget I gave birth to Athena and I don't feel good anymore. "Hephaestus cleaved Zeus's forehead with an ax, and Athena sprang forth fully armed."

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    You want another example?

    I received an email and PM from Mr. Messer on May 19th:

    I PM'd you but I wanted to let you know that you are now validated under the new fix that will go live tonight.
    Great, right? NOT! Again, Mr. Messer tries to pull the wool over my eyes and make me think I'm getting paid. Today I receive an email from LS that states:

    You are receiving this email because your LinkShare affiliate account has not yet been validated.

    If you have not logged in recently to your account you should to so now to access the new registration form. We need updated information in order to process payments through our new consolidated payment service.
    Now, when I log on to LS I get no error message. When I check Your Account, Update Profile, all seems fine and no error message there either. This could also explain why I can't get any report to show when I was paid.

    This, future and existing merchants, is just another example of what we affiliates have had to put up with. Don't you think it is just a tad bit much? I am now entering my fifth week of not having commission checks from Linkshare. With this latest validation problem, just guess when I might finally get my check?

    Now I think it is appropriate timing for me to "rave about the incompetence" as Michael so nicely put it.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Just bumping this up for those who did not see it yesterday.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  16. #16
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSanf
    Well, here is a question. Since all this has been going on, it has been impossible for affiliates to make links and update sites to sell the merchant's products and to join new programs and sell products for new programs, correct?
    No, that isn't correct. Even if you are being presented with the verification screen, you just have to hit Home at the top and you can access all areas of your account, make links, etc. (That is if you want to... considering...)
    ~Michelle
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  17. #17
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7-days
    You want another example?

    I received an email and PM from Mr. Messer on May 19th:



    Great, right? NOT! Again, Mr. Messer tries to pull the wool over my eyes and make me think I'm getting paid. Today I receive an email from LS that states:



    Now, when I log on to LS I get no error message. When I check Your Account, Update Profile, all seems fine and no error message there either. This could also explain why I can't get any report to show when I was paid.

    This, future and existing merchants, is just another example of what we affiliates have had to put up with. Don't you think it is just a tad bit much? I am now entering my fifth week of not having commission checks from Linkshare. With this latest validation problem, just guess when I might finally get my check?

    Now I think it is appropriate timing for me to "rave about the incompetence" as Michael so nicely put it.
    I had the same thing happen and I contact Mr Messer and he told me that as long as I am not getting the error message any longer to disregard the email message.
    ~Michelle
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    In one of Stephen's posts, he called Ron (yes, even Ron!) a liar in regards to this thread. I thought it would be beneficial to take an objective look at Ron's claims.

    1. LS sends email to all affiliates informing them of project Athena and new timeline for payments. Problem is, not all affiliates received the email because of an error with the email system LS uses.

    Mostly True. There are many reasons why people wouldn't have received the update. Spam filters are probably a big factor. I don't think it's been shown that there is an error in Linkshare's email system. In any case, there should have been an update in the affiliate interface in addition to an email.

    2. Affiliates who have problems are not able to reach LS support by email because LS has their spam filter set too high at their support email address. This problem was identified months earlier, but still was not fixed. Furthermore, affiliates report throughout the whole process, even after spam blocking filter supposedly loosened, that dozens of email support requests go unanswered (and thatís dozens per person!).

    True. Slow or non-existant support responses has been a frequent problem at Linkshare and has just been made worse by the volume of support emails received as a result of Project Athena and the delayed payments. Linkshare really needs to implement a support ticket system so they can ensure that support is handled better.

    3. All affiliates are required to reregister and be verified. There were numerous problems with this:

    a. Affiliates registered and verified, then unverified.

    True. Actually, there was no verification with the initial registration (although we were not told that at the time). So we thought we were verified when we successfully registered, then after the first payment cutoff, we found out that we weren't.

    b. Affiliates list get web name as payee name and canít change once entered.

    True. This was a commonly reported problem that is still not resolved.

    c. Affiliates who were verified, then unverified canít get verified.

    True. Many affiliates still haven't been able to get verified or were only able to get verified by entering different information (home address instead of business address, husband's name, personal information instead of business information, etc.).

    d. LS holds all checks until affiliate can be verified.

    True. This was true at the time that the claim was made, although Linkshare eventually changed this (for the third check, which most people haven't received yet).

    e. Affiliates are unable to determine what is incorrect on their verification screens. No message on screens and LS affiliate support will not give information either.

    True. This is still a problem.

    f. When LS is asked what company is verifying our information so we can cross check it ourselves, they keep it secret and will not share with affiliates.

    True. Linkshare is still not sharing this information.

    4. Payment delays to affiliates. Affiliates who are with merchants that paid LS commissions on time are having their checks held over four weeks. LS refuses to budge and pay these affiliates, even at the urging of merchants. Furthermore, LS refuses to pay interest on this money they are holding.

    True. This is true. At the time that the claim was made, there were merchants whose affiliate checks would have gone out four weeks earlier under the old system. At the peak of the delay, it was around six weeks (checks that would have been received by mid-April were not received until the end of May or early June for many affiliates).

    5. Payment dates keep getting delayed. Due to LSís inability to solve their verification process, payment dates to affiliates keeps getting put off.

    True. Originally, Linkshare planned batches on 5/9, 5/16, and 5/23. The "5/9" batch went out around 5/17 (please PM me if you have an exact postmark date for this first batch). The "5/16" batch was mailed on 5/26. The "5/23" batch was postmarked on 6/1.

    6. The only system available to check and verify commission payments is a system that has been in beta testing for months and does not provide the data for the periods in questions (anything after Feb. 2005).

    True. The old reports ("Payment Report" and "Merchant Payment History") have not been updated since the February period. The new reports will be in Synergy Analytics, which has been in beta testing for months. At the time the claim was made, the necessary reports weren't available. They were made available shortly thereafter, but didn't provide all of the information necessary to verify commission calculations, adjustments, and the period that the payment covered. The new report in Synergy Analytics has since disappeared without any explanation.

    7. Communication on a regular basis from LS home office by email to all affiliates (not just those that visit ABW) is almost nonexistent and much of what is sent out is the same information in each email. And it really is worse that I make it sound hereÖ.read the posts hereÖno business partner should ever have been hanging out in the cold the way LS treated their affiliates. Only about a handful of emails are sent to affiliates during this problem period.

    True. Ron was actually being generous here when he said "a handful of emails". I only recall two or three.

    8. There are also reports of affiliates being terminated during this process without any explanation.

    True. These appear to have all been affiliates in countries that Linkshare has determined not to want to do business. When these affiliates asked why they were terminated, they were told that Linkshare does not reveal reasons for termination.

    9. The new reports system in place (in beta as mentioned) cannot be viewed by most people using browsers other than MS Explorer. Nothing has been done in months to correct this for those affiliates.

    True. This has been well documented, even by Dave who is a Linkshare employee.

    10. Affiliates report checks from LS during this period that bounced.

    Partially True. These weren't consolidated checks, but checks from February or before. One batch of checks was issued incorrectly and had "stop payments" placed on them (without notifying the affected affiliates). Another affiliate had a different check bounce, but it was because the check was torn causing the routing numbers to be missing. This is not widespread, and is definitely not due to an NSF situation.

    11. Affiliates are all required to agree to a new legal agreement that is worded poorly, but is fortunately changed after much debate at ABW.

    True. The original legal agreement raised quite a stir. The way it was worded, Linkshare could pull credit reports on people and decline them based on their credit. This was changed to more accurately state Linkshare's intentions.

    Everything Ron said was true.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; June 7th, 2005 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Added Additional Details
    Michael Coley
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  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Thanks Michael. Verification from another affililiate is much apprecited. Reading it again, I see I did try just to give the facts and leave any emotion or bias out of my letters to merchants. I think it is important to also include the opening statement in the letter to see my intent in sending the letters:

    If you are considering joining LinkShare or renewing your contract with them, please consider all the following that has occurred in the last month. Merchants are our key to profits, but the network is simply the tool we use to get them. We as affiliates need working tools and need to get paid on time. We need you, the merchant, to insure we are given everything you can to provide us with working tools. This means you choose a network or affililiate program that gives us those tools or you make sure the one one you are using has the staff and resources to fix problems quickly when they occur. And that we get paid.
    Mr. Messer was very clear in his statement yesterday that my letter contained "manyfalse" "facts". I'm not really sure where he is seeing that, but as I still can't get him to understand that my check is coming six weeks later than it would have, I gather he just must be reading something between the lines that is just not there. Unfortunate and sad to see a CEO of a company treating affilites with such regard!
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  20. #20
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    In fairness to Linkshare, I think it's important to point out that some of these issues have since been resolved. It's been a rough implementation and affiliates have been very frustrated. Things have improved somewhat, but there's still a lot of work to be done to successfully finish up this implementation.

    1. LS sends email to all affiliates informing them of project Athena and new timeline for payments. Problem is, not all affiliates received the email because of an error with the email system LS uses.

    Unresolved. Linkshare needs to do a better job of communicating. They need to more clearly state what is being done and what to expect. They need to open up a second line of communication in the affiliate interface because not everyone will get emails. They also need to look into their email system to see if there are problems.


    2. Affiliates who have problems are not able to reach LS support by email because LS has their spam filter set too high at their support email address. This problem was identified months earlier, but still was not fixed. Furthermore, affiliates report throughout the whole process, even after spam blocking filter supposedly loosened, that dozens of email support requests go unanswered (and thatís dozens per person!).

    Unresolved. Linkshare needs to implement a trouble ticket system and work to answer all support requests in a timely manner.


    3. All affiliates are required to reregister and be verified. There were numerous problems with this:

    a. Affiliates registered and verified, then unverified.

    Resolved. It's actually not resolved, but explained. The affiliates that were "unverified" were never verified in the first place. Nobody was verified initially, although we were left with the impression that we were.


    b. Affiliates list get web name as payee name and canít change once entered.

    Unresolved. This should be resolved once Linkshare allows us to change the Payto Name.


    c. Affiliates who were verified, then unverified canít get verified.

    Partially Resolved. Although many affiliates have been verified, there are still verification problems and there are also many of us who were verified by entering incorrect information.


    d. LS holds all checks until affiliate can be verified.

    Resolved. With the third batch, they opened payment up to all registered affiliates, whether they were verified or not. Eventually, they'll be switching back to only paying verified affiliates again, and this could become an issue again if the verification problems aren't resolved.


    e. Affiliates are unable to determine what is incorrect on their verification screens. No message on screens and LS affiliate support will not give information either.

    Unresolved. This is still a big problem. We need the old reports back as a temporary solution. If Linkshare is going forward with Synergy Analytics, we need new reports that provide all the functionality of the old reports. We also need a new report that shows vouchers that are being queued up for our next consolidated payment. We need the reports to show us what period the merchant is paying for. We need the reports to show merchant adjustments, like we could with the old reports. We need to be able to see supporting detail for the vouchers, like we could with the old reports.


    f. When LS is asked what company is verifying our information so we can cross check it ourselves, they keep it secret and will not share with affiliates.

    Unresolved. We have still not been told what company Linkshare is using to verify our information. If there are errors, we need to have a way to correct it.


    4. Payment delays to affiliates. Affiliates who are with merchants that paid LS commissions on time are having their checks held over four weeks. LS refuses to budge and pay these affiliates, even at the urging of merchants. Furthermore, LS refuses to pay interest on this money they are holding.

    Probably Resolved. Now that Linkshare is on a regular batch payment schedule and are paying all registered affiliates, this shouldn't be an issue. I say "Probably Resolved", because it's not clear that everyone has been paid. Linkshare has issued "thousands" of checks in the last three batches, and that seems like a low number. I would have expected Linkshare to have tens of thousands of affiliates earning enough to get a check.

    5. Payment dates keep getting delayed. Due to LSís inability to solve their verification process, payment dates to affiliates keeps getting put off.

    Mostly Unresolved. Ongoing, it looks like it will be a 1-3 week delay after a merchant pays Linkshare before affiliates get paid. 0-2 weeks depending on when the merchant pays in the cycle, and another 1 week for Linkshare to process the batch. Linkshare could still make considerable improvements here. Instead of paying twice a month, they could pay weekly (and perhaps raise the payment threshold). In addition, they should be able to process the batches considerably faster than they have with these first three batches. If they paid weekly and cut their turnaround time down to 1 day, it would be a 1-8 day delay instead of a 7-21 day delay. This would be a tremendous plus for Linkshare.


    6. The only system available to check and verify commission payments is a system that has been in beta testing for months and does not provide the data for the periods in questions (anything after Feb. 2005).

    Unresolved. This is still a big problem. We need the old reports back as a temporary solution. If Linkshare is going forward with Synergy Analytics, we need new reports that provide all the functionality of the old reports. We also need a new report that shows vouchers that are being queued up for our next consolidated payment. We need the reports to show us what period the merchant is paying for. We need the reports to show merchant adjustments, like we could with the old reports. We need to be able to see supporting detail for the vouchers, like we could with the old reports.


    7. Communication on a regular basis from LS home office by email to all affiliates (not just those that visit ABW) is almost nonexistent and much of what is sent out is the same information in each email. And it really is worse that I make it sound hereÖ.read the posts hereÖno business partner should ever have been hanging out in the cold the way LS treated their affiliates. Only about a handful of emails are sent to affiliates during this problem period.

    Unresolved. Linkshare needs to do a better job of communicating. They need to more clearly state what is being done and what to expect. They need to open up a second line of communication in the affiliate interface because not everyone will get emails. They also need to look into their email system to see if there are problems.


    8. There are also reports of affiliates being terminated during this process without any explanation.

    Unresolved. Linkshare needs to make it clear what countries they work with and if affiliates are terminated for reasons other than fraud, they should be told why.


    9. The new reports system in place (in beta as mentioned) cannot be viewed by most people using browsers other than MS Explorer. Nothing has been done in months to correct this for those affiliates.

    Unresolved. Synergy Analytics needs to be updated to work with other browsers and with Macs. Most affiliates would actually prefer that Synergy Analytics be entirely scrapped. We liked the older reports. Synergy Analytics needs some major streamlining if Linkshare decides to keep it. It's extremely time consuming to use.


    10. Affiliates report checks from LS during this period that bounced.

    Mostly Resolved. The majority of these were the Lands' End checks that had a stop payment placed on them. The one remaining complaint should be addressed. In the future, affiliates should be notified if a stop payment is going to be placed on their checks.


    11. Affiliates are all required to agree to a new legal agreement that is worded poorly, but is fortunately changed after much debate at ABW.

    Resolved. The new agreement is much better.


    There's still a lot of work to do. This implementation was made long before it was ready. In the future, Linkshare needs to make sure that they're ready before they try to roll out a new project.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Again, nicely done Michael and good idea to provide the status of these many problems. It only shows how much went on and how much is unresolved. Mr. Messer posted this message to me yesterday:
    You seem to be ok sending letters with many false and misrepresented facts to our merchants and posting those claims on these boards, but when I bring those facts to the boards you refuse to deal with it.
    I think he has it backwards. We the affiliates have been most vocal in bringing these facts to the boards. It is Mr. Messer who has been less than forthcoming dealing with them here on the boards. Yes, he has gone from posting a few times a month to a few times a day, but he is certainly only answering the parts he wants to and sometimes not addressing the issue as we ask.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  22. #22
    The Thin White Duke PreacherMan's Avatar
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    Truly excellent posts Michael. Thanks for those

  23. #23
    Full Member
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    At the risk of throwing gasoline on a fire ... in all fairness to the LS staff I have been working with over the last several months (mainly Kalila) - I have NEVER had an email unanswered or ignored - they have replied within one business day and provided me a date that they would accomplish my requests or notified me that they had already accomplished them.

    It appears I may have been lucky in one case - when I complained on a Friday that I, too, had the wrong name in the PAY TO: spot on my profile, Kalila told me to try again the next Tuesday and I was able to edit that field and I have received one check (and another is 'in the mail'). I am not able to edit that field now but I've attributed that to LS freezing the fields after I was verified.

    Charles

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Charles,

    I think there are many lucky folks who can get in. Someone from LS, maybe Mr. Messer or Noxid, posted something here in the last two months that their spam filter was set too high and was blocking some affiliate emails. Yours just must have looked more liget than others. Additionally, when I have sent an email to a specific person at LS it always gets through...no problems. It is their general support email address, which is the one probably 90% of affiliates use, that seems to be the one with problems.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  25. #25
    Full Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    6. The only system available to check and verify commission payments is a system that has been in beta testing for months and does not provide the data for the periods in questions (anything after Feb. 2005).

    Unresolved. This is still a big problem. We need the old reports back as a temporary solution. If Linkshare is going forward with Synergy Analytics, we need new reports that provide all the functionality of the old reports. We also need a new report that shows vouchers that are being queued up for our next consolidated payment. We need the reports to show us what period the merchant is paying for. We need the reports to show merchant adjustments, like we could with the old reports. We need to be able to see supporting detail for the vouchers, like we could with the old reports.
    I would also like to add that the new payment report in Synergy Analytics has disappeared now. There is no way now to verify the status of our consolidated payment.

    marcelle

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