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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    "Any affiliate program that LOWERS their commissions is the affiliate program to drop."

    Richard, what do you think of affiliate managers that drop affiliates because they didn't get links up yet. Say only a month after joining a program.

  2. #2
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    >>Richard, what do you think of affiliate managers that drop affiliates because they didn't get links up yet. Say only a month after joining a program.


  3. #3
    Animal Lover
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    Any suggestions for a replacement? I went with EntirelyPets only because they were with SAS and I could rely on them being parasite free. A lot of the others that I've looked up are sleeping with the parasites.

    Oscar

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    Reminds me of the years we spent in broadcast advertising
    I've spent my life marketing something and the mind set of the small retailer never ceases to amaze me. They want more profit, but they don't want to stay open more hours, or clean the store, or be nice to customers, etc. And when we sold radio and TV advertising, even the stations pulled the same crap - "Oh, you exceeded your sales quota. Now we're going to cut your commission in half, because we only wanted to pay you this much".

    Pleasssssssssssssse! My reaction when I got the email above was to cut this pet store out of my life. Who needs it? And I'm not going to spend any time at all trying to figure out how to tell them. Let them figure out who the angel was who helped them cut expenses.

  5. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Hi all;
    "What do I think of an AM that drops affiliates after 1 month?" Not a very good AM.

    I don't drop affiliates until they have been a non-active member for 3 months UNLESS they contact me.

    I send out monthly newsletters asking affiliates to check their links. Non active affiliates get at LEAST 2 other email's asking them if they want to work with me and if they need help and to please let me know one way or the other.
    .
    No response, i assume they don't so I drop them.

    One thing I have seen is even after this and I drop them, I have had a few write me and ask me why I dropped them.

    I tell them and also let them know I want to work with them so please sign up again but this time respond to my notes and/or get a link up.

    This tells me they want to work with me and I will do everything I can do help them make commissions.

    As to lowering commissions, what gall!!! I reward affiliates that hit certain amounts of sales in a given period with increased %'s , (say an additional 1-2%) not lower.

    I look at affiliates in our program as gravy. without affiliates you would not make the sale so even 20% profit on a sale that would not have been made is Profit.

    Long live affiliate marketing!
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  6. #6
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Reminds me of when I was selling radio advertising for a while. Every time my pay started to exceed the station manager's they cut my commission. His ego couldn't take it. Needless to say, I was soon selling for another radio station.
    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!

  7. #7
    Crazy like a fox suzigeek's Avatar
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    The merchant is offline right now. They go offline often but not for long periods of time. Time for me to replace them...to bad they converted for me. I have emailed them a few times about going offline and they did respond.
    Suz~~GearGirl~~

  8. #8
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    Some merchants forget that they pay you commission only once and they get that customer for a long long time.

  9. #9
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Question
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard - AMWSO
    I don't drop affiliates until they have been a non-active member for 3 months UNLESS they contact me.
    What do you do with those affiliates that have not sent a single visitor within half a year? Numerous e-mails have been sent to them. Still no traffic.

    Drop them? Or keep reminding?

    Geno

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    WOW;

    What i would do is go visit their site, see if the link is still there.
    1. if it isn't write and tell them that you will drop them in 3 days unless they respond. Then do it.

    2. if it is there, click on it, see if it works and then if it does write and offer them a suggestion for better placement. text plus banner, whatever
    if it does not work then you know what to do.

    The reason I drop them after 3 months with no reply is I am anal and like to see active affiliates and high % of active to inactive.

    I don't want to be bothered writing and rewriting affiliates that can't be bothered to get a link up. I want to spend my time on those that want to make money.

    I figure if the link is not up within 5 days MAX the chances are less than 10% that the link will ever be placed. At least this holds for LS and MyApp. What I am seeing with SAS is they take twice as long or longer to get the links up. No idea why.

    Any one else see this? How many of you all AM's see affiliates getting links up with in 5 days?

    This is what I tell all my affiliates.

    "Affiliate programs are a two way street, we, the merchant, provide you with the items to sell while you as the affiliate must provide a link to allow your visitors to find these items. Without co-operation there is no affiliate program in effect"
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  11. #11
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno - RussianLegacy


    What do you do with those affiliates that have not sent a single visitor within half a year? Numerous e-mails have been sent to them. Still no traffic.

    Drop them? Or keep reminding?

    Geno
    OK - had to comment - warning rant coming....
    (disclaimer - I am not yet a member of your program)

    Is it costing you anything to keep an affiliate in your program - traffic or not?

    If not, why would you drop them?

    Look, from my perspective - I have a lot of sites, with different themes and merchants. I work when I feel like it on what I want to work on.

    If, as a merchant, you do not have auto approve - by the time you get around to approving me, I may have very well moved on to another site/theme. If so, it may take me some time to get back around to you.

    Or - I may have joined your program with the idea of putting you up on one of my sites when I get through with something I am doing now. This may or may not be a while.

    Or - I had a great idea in the middle of the night - joined - and then in the morning all sh!t hits the fan with another merchant who decided to change all their images, links, whatever. If so - it may or may not take me awhile to get to you.

    I am a busy person. I have a life that requires me to stop what I am doing occasionally to fix dinner, go have coffee with the mother in law, let the dog in or out, answer the phone, handle the daily demands of 2 kids, etc...

    I don't mind a letter asking if I need some help. (allthough it has been my exp that these so called offers to help rarely do) Usually I will answer back in a timely manor - if the phone doesn't ring, etc.. If I can't answer right then I will save your letter and hopefully answer it sometime soon. (if I don't forget or get sidetracked)

    Sending me numerous letters asking me to put up your links may or may not just totally P!ss me off - depending on what kind of day I am having.

    So - again - I ask, is it costing you anything to have me in your program not sending visitors?

    If not - send me a reminder - maybe another one in a month or 2 - most likely I will have by then finished whatever I am busy with and will get your links up.

    I may even do a good job for you.
    You might even be glad you didn't drop me.
    Ebudae


  12. #12
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard - AMWSO
    WOW;

    What i would do is go visit their site, see if the link is still there.
    1. if it isn't write and tell them that you will drop them in 3 days unless they respond. Then do it.


    The reason I drop them after 3 months with no reply is I am anal....

    Puts this to memory - Richard is anal, do not join unless prepared to deal with it, lol



    Edited to add - if I was to get a letter like that, I would not take kindly to it. I don't like to be threatened and there are other fish in the sea... Most likely I would hit the drop button before you had the chance just on principal.
    Ebudae


  13. #13
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebudae
    (disclaimer - I am not yet a member of your program)
    Too bad for you! Missing out on an excellent opportunity to earn money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebudae
    So - again - I ask, is it costing you anything to have me in your program not sending visitors?
    It isn't. HOWEVER, when only 6% of your affiliates are sending you traffic, it makes you thinking: why keep the other 94%? Hoping they'll get to it someday? How long do you wait? I am motivating them as hard as I can. Paying them cash just to add the datafeed to their webiste, offering them higher comissions, etc... Still... 1 or 2 (out of several hundred!) would respond, add the feed, and the other hundreds would ignore it...

    Funny how it is: you have a unique product, you are willing to pay people to promote it, they express interest, join your program, and then just stay idle... Out of several hundred of my affiliates only 5-6% send me steady daily traffic, and only 2 (two!) generate sales every day. That's small and sad...

    Geno

  14. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    What Ebudae said... If it doesn't cost you anything to keep an inactive affiliate, why delete them? Eventually, some of them will become active, but if you delete them they won't.

    I have about a dozen different sites planned that I will be developing over the next five years. When I see a merchant that is a good match for one of those sites, I apply. When I'm ready to put up links, I don't want to have to wait for applications to be approved.

    I have hundreds of merchants that I'm not yet active with, and invariably I get several deactivation notices every month. Very few merchants give advance notice like Richard.

    I repeat what Ebudae said again... If it doesn't cost you anything, what harm does it do to keep inactive affiliates? (I suspect that it might cost something in sending out newsletters...)

    What I would suggest is to create a separate group for your inactive affiliates. Don't send your normal newsletters to inactive affiliates (except maybe during the first three months after they sign up). Anywhere from monthly to quarterly, send out a special mailing to your inactive affiliates. Have it very focused on them. Tell (generally) what other affiliates are doing: top checks, EPC, conversion ratios, etc. Offer help if they need it. Talk about the consumer incentives that their visitors would like. Offer a bonus if they become active.

    Those inactive affiliates can be a very valuable recruiting tool. Where else are you going to find thousands of affiliates who are interested in your program? Don't delete them. Recruit them!
    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

  15. #15
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    I figure if the link is not up within 5 days MAX the chances are less than 10% that the link will ever be placed.
    WRONG!!
    If an affiliate joins, just leave them the heck alone unless they contact you! Certainly DO NOT badger them!

    I often join a bunch of programs planning to get to them. Some need to get around to approving me. Some need to approve for me to use their data feeds. So I join well in advance of my need to use them. Some times, I set aside a day or two just to review new programs and join all of interest that day and request access to their feed at the same time.

    I have a system. I go get all the latest data feeds, do those pages. When done, I go back and get new merchant's feeds along with updated old feeds and do that batch. These will get worked into new sites along with old sites, often in alphabetical order. This can often be a lengthy process because most of the work is done on the feeds and some feeds (Consider Betty Mills 34,000 products) can take as long as a couple of days up front work before I ever generate the pages. But, you do the math. If I have 400 merchants I use and I average 2 a day on every single day, how long does it take me to get to you?

    I always eliminate seasonal and on sale items, of course, and I appreciated them being so noted if you want me to use your feed next time. I do not like broken links and out of stock items. I want to know which of your products I can count on you to keep in stock.

    I may reverse this for "Christmas" and other holidays. Then, I will look at your feed (and others) to make special seasonal pages and I need those products so noted.

    Just because I join your program does not mean I am hot to to trot to put you up today or even next week or month. That does not mean your links aren't going up. They will, when I get to you. That is, unless you are not ready and already have me approved and the FTP access approved for your feed.

    When I get to where you are on my "To Do" list, up you go, maybe on several sites, unless you aren't ready for me, that is. If your feed is shit or you do not have good categories, I may discard your feed and forget you until next round when hopefully your feed will be right. I have to want or need you very badly to waste time on a bad feed. There are too many other merchants waiting. And, I like it like that!

    I think you need to understand that affiliates with many merchants have a system that has worked for them for a long time. Either go with the flow and leave them alone to get their work done or limit yourself to only affiliates who have nothing better to do than fool around with each new merchant one at a time.

    Also consider that almost all of us have many, many sites not even listed at SAS or any other network. You cannot go to the site and see if your link is up because you may not KNOW the site where your link is!!

    I have over 35 sites. I only list arepresentative few at SAS and those may not be the sites where I put your links.

    Sounds like you want to cut off your nose to spite your face. Try to imagine yourself as an affiliate working with several hundred merchants and ask yourself how you would efficiently do it and you may have your answers.
    Last edited by SSanf; May 31st, 2005 at 09:04 AM.
    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!

  16. #16
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Because we are reluctant to chance our site list "getting around", I see no problem with asking an affiliate if they have put up your links and if so, where you can see the site as long as you aren't a pain in the butt and don't do it too often. They won't mind that if they can remember which site(s) they put you on.
    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!

  17. #17
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    soooo many merchants.
    soooo many sites.
    soooo many things on the todo list.
    soooo sick ... sorry, that's another story.

    AM's, read and reread Ebudae & Michael's posts.
    ================================================================
    Been away, now I'm back. Not as much, but I'm back & starting from scratch. Where I was, was fantastic. Where I am now, less so. Things have changed, become harder. So have I. Game ON!!!
    ================================================================

  18. #18
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    What Ebudae, Ssanf, and Popdawg said.

    I used to get merchants up fairly quickly. But, as my total amount of merchants has grown, the response time has slowed.

    I have a merchant now that's been rotting for about a month. I keep meaning to put them up, but other things have taken precedence. Especially since they have no feed! Aggravatingly, their program's info page says they do have one, but they don't, and didn't respond to my email about it. If I didn't see that others are doing well with it, I'd dump it like a hot potato.

    Now that I saw the last few posts, I guess I'll slap a link up somewhere and click it just so they know I exist.

    I am motivating them as hard as I can. Paying them cash just to add the datafeed to their webiste, offering them higher comissions, etc... Still... 1 or 2 (out of several hundred!) would respond, add the feed, and the other hundreds would ignore it...
    Sounds like you need to convince them that your program will not be a dud! When I turn down money, higher commish, etc... it's because I think my chances of selling the stuff are nil, but I can't quite bring myself to just hit Drop yet.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  19. #19
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    From the affiliate side, I have 80 domains reserved, for when I get to them. Affiliate marketing is not a day to day business for me: I've mapped out my pojects, and prioitized them. If you drop me before I get to the domain I am going to use for your products, I will promote your competitor for everything I'm worth. If you use a somewhat uppity/aggressive tone in your emails before dropping me, I may even go out of my way to develop competing sites. Merchants are there as a source for me. They do not tell me when to jump, let alone how high.

    From a Merchant's viewpoint, I'm not going to turn down free gravy.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  20. #20
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    I understand completely what everyone is saying here...which is why it always amazes me that this problem exists... Richard (as well as many other merchants that have commented on this topic) has stated that he likes to email an affiliate after a certain amount of time to ask about their progress, etc... As elbowcreek and Leader point out there are often very good intentions to work for that merchant, but other priorities or programs get in the way, etc... I would think, that upon being contacted by a merchant - an affiliate could respond with something very similar to what has been stated here... that as an affiliate, you certainly intend to work on the program, but that your timeline is full and that you would prefer to stay in the program, etc.. etc...

    As a merchant, if you receive that response... doesn't that tell you what you want to hear... that there is a living, breathing person on the other end who may turn into a quality affiliate for you, but just needs more time? I can't imagine that a response like that would trigger a "drop affiliate", etc...

    Are affiliates not responding to merchant emails? Are merchants dropping even after hearing back, etc... Is it the tone in emails that causes problems?

    The reason I ask these questions is that we always try to build tools and also provide support based on common questions and problems that people are having. Affiliate/Merchant communication is a big issue in AM, and if there anything that I can understand more it helps us when I need to guide a new merchant towards "best practices", etc...

    And I have to address one last subject - because I do believe it is important...

    Ebudae has stated that it does not "cost anything" to leave an affiliate in the program.... I am going to argue that this is not the case. Yes - technically in monetary costs, the merchant is not being charged (at least on ShareASale) to have an additional affiliate in the program. However, just as affiliates are pressed for time in the day to get everything done that they would like - so are merchants. Merchants are forced to choose between spending time on 1) building and updating product datafeeds 2) generating creatives 3) developing new commission and bonus structures 4) recruiting new affiilates and 5) motivating existing affiliates. (Among other things that merchants do...)

    So..... between all of those, if you are an affiliate of the program already, and you are generating good revenue from the program.... you would like the merchant to be spending as much time as possible on number 1,2 and 3. The more time that is spent on number 5 is time that can't be spent on improving the program in other ways.

    I'm not going to suggest that a merchant can't get this all done - but I am simply pointing out that often times there are unspoken costs and time constraints that do make this more of an issue than may appear on the outside (for a merchant).

    Thoughts anyone? I'll actually probably split this thread into a new one because it is a good discussion on affiliate/merchant communication... coming at the end of a merchant specific comment....
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  21. #21
    15 years and counting
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    What Ebudae, Ssanf, Popdawg, Leader and elbowcreek said. Pushy merchants and AMs should listen!

  22. #22
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Cripes! Who has time to read the merchant e-mails, anyway? Does anyone really read them? Well, a few will be read if I think the merchant actually has something to say to me, personally. If the heading is just a trick to get me to open it, I won't open any more.

    If you belong to 400 programs, are you really going to sit and read the upwards of 800 e-mails a month or are you going to make pages? Forget all the motivating bullroar and do 1 through 3. That will be enough motivation for anyone who is serrious. Our check at the end of the month is the motivator.

    Now excuse meeee while I toatally tear down my largest site and re-design it. It will take a week or five so I hope you understand if I don't respond to your e-mails.
    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!

  23. #23
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Thanks SSanf, I understand - and the volume of email is definitely a problem, and one that merchants are aware of I am sure... but if you aren't reading the emails than you are probably not getting the news about 1,2, and 3.... i.e., emails updating datafeeds, new coupons, etc... The merchant also may be sending out those emails only to active affiliates, etc... so as to make the emails more relevant to certain groups of affiliates.

    What is the better solution here? Do you prefer a message board environment? RSS Feeds per merchant program? Old fashioned email? Phone calls? etc... What I am trying to get at is a better solution for the problem... I know there is a lot of variety in this as some affiliates enjoy more contact - and some prefer to be left alone, etc...
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  24. #24
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Posted by WebWorker right before I split the threads....

    >>drop them in 3 days unless they respond.

    And THAT right there is the advantage of the inhouse email that CJ has - though that would not be checked as often as ISP mail.

    There are emails I NEVER got from merchants because at least 90% of the affiliate mail lands in the bulk mail folder, and some can easily get deleted if there 400-500 to sift through. Losing one or two emails isn't worth taking a ton of time to meticulously sift through the volume of "enlargement" and "dribble" and other claptrap that comes through.

    3 months or 6 months may or may not be adequate depending on how some people do sites and plan ahead - especially now with the Google sandbox.

    People have different systems they use. I've got a couple in the pipeline now planned for 3-6 months down the road to give the fruit time to ripen and rank. The programs I sign up for with the future in mind won't see anything for a while, but those are my assets - and I use "collecting" good programs to decide on the type of sites I'll be doing.

    I'm taking a few domain names this week for future development; I'll go through my available merchants I've signed with to see if it's worthwhile to do that type of site as a final check. No sense to it unless there's inventory - and the merchants are the inventory, but only if I'm already signed up. Example: eluxury turned me down because my site doesn;t target their price niche - bullpucky, I've seen bargain basement sites with their links. But I *will* be doing a site wth that niche/pricing in mind, which can't be done without merchants to populate it, which I HAVE got because I signed up long ago, they're already in my "bank" of merchant assets.

    Plus - it may take a few days to get a site up and running using datafeeds, but NOT so when you hand roll sites slow as molasses.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  25. #25
    Plazan Merchant Neil's Avatar
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    its funny that this thread is around today...

    here is something that i posted in another thread,
    about an hour ago

    it is common knowledge that a very high % of affiliates just sign-up and then don't do any work. lots sign then leave your program until they can fit it in.
    I am very aware of the way they work.

    as merchants, we will never fully understand them, as we are not on that side of the fence..

    strange, but wonderful creatures those affiliate animals..
    Find us at shareasale.com 12% commission
    Shareasale Merchant 7191
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