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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    SUGGESTION: Cut Less Checks, More Often
    I know I shouldn't be suggesting more changes when Linkshare still doesn't have the problems fixed from the last changes. I also know that people will see "cut less checks" and think "That's a stupid idea!" But, I think is a simple change that could really help.

    I suspect that part of the problem that caused the 5/16 checks not to be mailed until 5/25 is that that there were too many of them. I suspect that we'll see the same thing with the 5/23 batch that was just generated. I believe that the primary reason for this is that Linkshare is setting a $1 minimum and they're trying to pay weekly. That's just plain stupid. (Sorry, but it is.)

    Linkshare should make a variety of options available for affiliates to choose from. Here's what I suggest:

    1) Weekly, with at least a $500 minimum payment.
    2) Twice a month, with at least a $100 minimum payment.
    3) Monthly, with at least a $25 minimum payment.

    The default should probably be #3 for new affiliates, and could be defaulted for existing affiliates based on their average monthly earnings.

    Let affiliates choose both a frequency and a minimum amount, but for frequencies of more than once a month, require a higher minimum amount.

    There's no reason to be cutting checks under $25, unless it's a balance for an affiliate who has deactivated their account. If affiliates can't accumulate a consolidated balance of $25, there's something wrong.

    There's no reason to cut small checks more than once a month. If I were earning $25 per month, I wouldn't want two $12.50 checks.

    For affiliates that are earning $100, $500, or more per month, it's helpful and beneficial to pay more frequently. A very small percent of affiliates fit in this category.

    By decreasing the number of check you send in each batch, you should be able to speed things up considerably. Instead of taking 9 days to process checks, it should take 1.
    Michael Coley
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  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Here's what I suggest:

    1) Weekly, with at least a $500 minimum payment.
    2) Twice a month, with at least a $100 minimum payment.
    3) Monthly, with at least a $25 minimum payment.
    One word answer ... all across the board ... GENIOUS - it has my full support!
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  3. #3
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    I like your thinking, but a few corrections/suggestions...

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I suspect that part of the problem that caused the 5/16 checks not to be mailed until 5/25 is that that there were too many of them. I suspect that we'll see the same thing with the 5/23 batch that was just generated. I believe that the primary reason for this is that Linkshare is setting a $1 minimum and they're trying to pay weekly.
    Actually, LinkShare has stated they'll be paying twice a month--on the 8th and 23rd, I believe (I could be off by a day or two on either figure). As much as the process hurts right now (and luckily my cash flow has actually survived this disaster), I believe it will be smooth once a few checks have been sent out.

    Also, I don't think they're really sending out that many checks. My first payment (on 5/17) was numbered in the 1900s. My second payment (on 5/25) was numbered in the 4600s. That's only 2700 checks in between. So figure 2700 checks per payment. My employer submits several times that many checks every two weeks, and we get paid like clockwork. I don't see what the problem is. It's not like the checks are being personally signed.

    As an aside, I work with a merchant that actually hand-signs their checks, and I know they have many affiliates. And they're one of my quicker paying merchants.

    The one thing we need back ASAP is the "Payment Report" that we used to have. If that was available, I think it'd all make a lot more sense as to where our money was coming from. In fact, I know it would.

    Michael

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Right. Ongoing, they're planning on paying on the 8th and 23rd. This month, they were planning 5/9, 5/16, and 5/23, which is weekly. I should have been more specific.

    I'm somewhat surprised that they're cutting so few checks. They used to cut around 10,000 per month, I believe. With a $1 threshold now (or am I mistaken on that?), I would think they would have tens of thousands of affiliates earning checks. If not, they're in pretty bad shape. Either that, or they had very few affiliates verified for those first two batches!

    How did you get your check numbers? Have you actually received two physical checks? If so, congratulations!
    Michael Coley
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  5. #5
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    I'm assuming they're check numbers--I don't know for sure. I don't know if they correspond to actual check numbers or not, but you can see the Payment ID in the Affiliate Payment Summary. Follow along (not obvious until you dig):

    1. Click on "Affiliate Payment Summary" on the "Network Transaction Analysis" tab.
    2. Click on "Issued".
    3. Select "Payment ID" from the dropdown menu.

    There you go. I assume each individual Payment ID corresponds with an individual affiliate's payment, but I can't guarantee it. Just an educated guess, I suppose. I'll let you know for sure when I receive my first check.

    Michael

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Let's not forget that the checks will be consolidated now, so instead of one affiliate receiving 10 checks, they'll only receive 1. Considering this, maybe there will be a natural balance to the consolidation. Anyway, I think it'd be best if LS just did direct deposit. I'll take 2 per month

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  7. #7
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    2 checks per month, as in the new LS system, is the same frequency that Performics uses. I like it. Seems to work fine.

    marcelle
    Last edited by marcelle; May 28th, 2005 at 02:35 AM.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Edit: Saw Marcelle's post. I agree--Performics doesn't seem to have any problems doing bi-weekly payments. There is no excuse for not being able to pay more often than monthly. Bi-weekly would probably be enough for most affiliates, but if LS is going to outdo Perf. in this area, that leaves weekly!

    ~~~~~~~~~

    As for the premise of monthly checks being somehow better or technologically easier--I don't think there's anything stupid at all about weekly checks. "Too many" checks to cut?! COME ON!

    THINK ABOUT IT--paying only once a month would mean that a BIGGER BATCH of checks would have to go through at the same time, because that gives people more time to make sales between checks.

    The whole idea of agitating for LESS FREQUENT payment strikes me the same as when I learned that there used to be women in the US (in the 1920s), who were *against* women's suffrage!!!

    What was stupid, was LS deleting their old system before they got the new one out of beta!

    The idea of having different threshholds for different payment schedules would save LS money in check-processing fees. (IMO your suggested "weekly" cutoff is too high, though.) But only a total Tinker-Toy organization would have a technical problem with cutting checks in and of itself, be it monthly, weekly, or even daily.

    I'm somewhat surprised that they're cutting so few checks. They used to cut around 10,000 per month, I believe.
    I'm not, although it's probably because of the validation snafus.

    I would also expect massive fubarrage to happen if they haven't fixed that issue with making the checks out in the correct names. If there's as many as some recent threads seem to indicate, it WILL be a logistical problem to match all those up to their proper accounts and get it all credited right.

    There's no reason to be cutting checks under $25, unless it's a balance for an affiliate who has deactivated their account.
    The REASON is that the affiliate earned it so they should PAY UP within a reasonable amount of time, regardless of the reason that affiliate stopped sending traffic through their system! It's called "doing the right thing!"

    I can see rolling it over for a while, but if it's been a few months and the aff still hasn't hit the $25, LS should PAY, then close out the account as inactive. (That last sentence can go to other networks too. Eating the money, however small the amount, is pure BS!)
    Last edited by Leader; May 28th, 2005 at 02:54 AM.
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  9. #9
    Newbie 9944kb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Edit:

    The REASON is that the affiliate earned it so they should PAY UP within a reasonable amount of time, regardless of the reason that affiliate stopped sending traffic through their system! It's called "doing the right thing!"

    I can see rolling it over for a while, but if it's been a few months and the aff still hasn't hit the $25, LS should PAY, then close out the account as inactive. (That last sentence can go to other networks too. Eating the money, however small the amount, is pure BS!)
    Got few checks for amount $20 last month. Dont like this. My bank take $15 fee for each check.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    I just cashed a check for 1.65 yesterday from an indie merchant. (they pay every month if they owe you).
    My idiot former employer once sent me a check for 0.03 as a stock distribution after they went bankrupt. (didn't cash that one) Think it cost 32c or so to send!

  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9944kb
    Got few checks for amount $20 last month. Dont like this. My bank take $15 fee for each check.
    In a well-done system, you could set your payment threshhold higher if you wanted to, but wouldn't be *forced to* have a threshhold (or less checks).

    Personally, since I have no check-cashing fees, I'd be glad to have those $20s, or even that $1.65 check from that indie Simcat mentioned, rather than nothing. $20s add up fast!

    Even though most terms set a threshhold of at least $25, I have a higher opinion of places that pay out even the little amounts (to those who do not choose a high threshhold). It seems more honest to me than eternally "rolling over" balances on those affiliates who, for whatever reason, will never quite get to the threshhold. I could see rolling it over for a while, but if it becomes clear that the affiliate really isn't going to ever hit the threshhold (say, after 6 months), they should be paid their full compensation. Even if that "full compensation" is only a dollar!

    The only good reason I can see for keeping a *mandatory* theshhold, is if the merchant has a large amount of people signing up for their program just to get a discount (and has a problem with that!). Then they may want to discourage discount-seekers by making them hit some figure that'd be more than what a single order would bring them.
    Last edited by Leader; May 28th, 2005 at 05:17 AM.
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  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    I can see rolling it over for a while, but if it's been a few months and the aff still hasn't hit the $25, LS should PAY, then close out the account as inactive. (That last sentence can go to other networks too. Eating the money, however small the amount, is pure BS!)
    Right. I never suggested eating the money or never paying. I just think a $1 threshold is pretty ridiculous. If an affiliate is only earning $5 per month, what's wrong with waiting 5 months to get a check? Remember, this is a consolidated check including earnings from virtually all of their Linkshare merchants.

    Keep in mind that these small checks still cost Linkshare something to process. I'm sure they mark these costs up tremendously and pass them on to the merchants. The higher the costs for the merchants, the less they can pay for commissions. It makes sense to limit the number of small checks.

    I think it would be a good idea to run a special $1 threshold batch once (or maybe in twice) a year. If this is done, it should be optional, as there are groups of affiliates (foreign, especially) who incur expenses to deposit checks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    IMO your suggested "weekly" cutoff is too high, though.
    $500 may be a little high, but the concept is the important part.
    Michael Coley
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  13. #13
    Member jrb16915's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Another option for small amounts might be to pay by paypal. Frankly, the whole paying by check process instead of direct deposit is bizarre for an online business. At this stage I can understand why people would be reluctant to share their banking information with Linkshare, IMHO direct deposit is still the way to go for the majority of people who are making a living at affiliate marketing.

    Regards,

  14. #14
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    But at first, you were in opposition to weekly checks except for very high earners. You had said,

    I believe that the primary reason for this is that Linkshare is setting a $1 minimum and they're trying to pay weekly. That's just plain stupid.
    I think that statement is flawed. Paying weekly is not stupid at all. It's completely the opposite!

    I'm sure they mark these costs up tremendously and pass them on to the merchants.
    Like others have said, with checks being consolidated, LS will end up cutting a lot less of them no matter what the payment schedule. I would seriously expect them to end up cutting less checks even with the weekly schedule!

    Say you've got 10 merchants due to pay in a month. With the old way, LS would have to do 10 checks every 4 weeks.

    But with consolidation, that'd only be FOUR checks--if they pay every week!
    There is no logical reason to oppose a standard of weekly checks.

    LS has an opportunity to set a Gold Standard if they can get the weekly checks/no threshhold working smoothly. The only ones who should have any reason to oppose it are competing networks, and those who have to pay fees to cash their checks. And the latter group should have the ability to set their own threshhold.

    Of course, the whole idea of "checks" instead of direct deposit is still archaic, but first things first... (edit: I see JRB16915 beat me to that last point... I agree with him/her about the trust issue, too, but I'm sure some people would jump on DD anyway.)
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  15. #15
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    No, it's primarily the small checks that I think are wasteful, and the combination and small and frequent payments that's outright stupid. For an affiliate who earns $1 per week, why send a $1 check every week? There's no reason for it. I think weekly checks make a lot of sense, above a certain threshold. For people who earn $25 per month, a single check (processed promptly) every month should be more than enough.

    You're continuing to miss two important points:

    1) There are costs associated with cutting these small checks, and as affiliates we ultimately pay that cost.

    2) The more checks Linkshare cuts in a batch, the longer it will take to process that batch.
    Michael Coley
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  16. #16
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    No, YOU'RE ignoring the important points:

    1) Only a tinker-toy joke of an organization can't handle cutting a big batch of checks.
    2) The longer you allow payments to back up, the more checks you'll have to cut at the same time. So if their infrastructure is truly so cheeseboy that a big batch will break it, letting things pile up for a whole month will REALLY kill it!

    3) The problems with their infrastructure are obviously programming issues, not the size of the batch, or whether there was a batch at all. This ongoing verification problem, and the problem with not being able to change the legal entity, those are signs that someone has left errors in those new pieces of code.

    As for costs, that's a spurious argument. "Costs" are part of doing business. I think the cost (both financial and mental) of waiting to get money out of LS is more than the cost of not doing so! In other words it's well worth it to get paid faster, IMO. I've got no desire to have someone else making interest off my money for an extra month, whether it's LS or any other network.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Let's not forget that the checks will be consolidated now, so instead of one affiliate receiving 10 checks, they'll only receive 1. Considering this, maybe there will be a natural balance to the consolidation. Anyway, I think it'd be best if LS just did direct deposit. I'll take 2 per month

    - Scott

    Once this whole mess gets staightened out, I would definitely prefer direct deposit!

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