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  1. #1
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    Interesting Situation - Opinions Please
    Good day, all.

    I have an interesting situation that I'd like to get the communities opinion. I recently joined an affiliate program for a company that I haven't worked with before. I e-mailed the affiliate manager asking about use of images and such, as I always do with new merchants. He asked me to call him, so I did.

    First, a tiny bit if background. My goal for this affiliate relationship was to create a site dedicated to this product, and have a forum where users of the product could review and recommend it. I also planned to feature a buyers guide, so that they user could find out which version of the product was right for their needs.

    I explained this to the affililate manager, and he kindly told me that they don't allow "stand alone sites" for the product ... but I was welcomed to add their product to one of my other affiliate websites (that contain products other than theirs).

    This doesn't make sense to me. Why would a merchant not allow me to feature just their product on a website dedicated solely to them, but they would love to have me add them to a site the features other products.

    I can almost gaurantee that my initial idea for a site would produce more sales than simply adding them to one of my existing sites.

    Any insight/opinions?

    Jason PG

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager
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    I wonder if this is a new affiliate manager and he doesn't completely understand what you are offering him? As an affiliate manager, I would jump at this opportunity and do when I have an affiliate who wants to dedicate a site to my company's products.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Coach sstark's Avatar
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    I agree, as an AM I would love to see affiliates setup custom websites just for my product...

    ...However the only thing that I can think of as to why this AM would deny this would be along the lines of Branding. They would not want their customers thinking that you are the actual merchant, and not them. Also with SEO, you might be competing with their keywords.

  4. #4
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    sstark,

    The Terms & Conditions for this Merchant prohibits using their Trademark names in Pay Per Click and Paid Adververtising ... which is completely understandable.

    I never use Paid Inclusion ...

    Jason PG

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    Maybe if you suggest showing him a mock-up of the site so that he feels comfortable that his branding is safe, he would want to move forward. I definitely think sstark hit the nail on the head with that.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Coach sstark's Avatar
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    yes, I can't see them denying you after you show them the website idea for this product and how it will not hurt their branding or SEO.

  7. #7
    Plazan Merchant Neil's Avatar
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    BLATANT PITCH,

    you can build a site for my products any day
    Find us at shareasale.com 12% commission
    Shareasale Merchant 7191
    PLAZAN SKIN CARE As seen on TV . Used by Jennifer Lopez

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager inflatemouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil

    you can build a site for my products any day
    Definitely, the whole purpose of Associates is to increase visibility. One site that is very comprehensive is far better than two that are broad.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Coach sstark's Avatar
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    haha, yea I am sure 99% of AM's, myself included, would LOVE to see this level of commitment from their affiliates, and would do anything possible to help the affiliate design the website.

  10. #10
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    Sorry to bring up an old topic - in fact, it's almost two years old, but something very odd has come up with this situation (see my first post).

    Basically, I am running an affiliate site for a product ... the site promotes the product and has a forum for people to review it. Initially, the President of the Company told me I could NOT do this because I was using their copyright in the URL. This was understandable, so I choose another URL, which he Approved through e-mail. He also told me that I had to include a copyright statement at the bottom of each page, so that people know that the product is copyrighten to his company (more on that below). Again, understandable.

    This was mid-2005. I have been running the site ever since - and making a couple hundred dollars a month in affiliate revenue (10%).

    I have not received the payments for November and December 2006, which is just over $600 -- and tonight I know why.

    I just received what is basically a CEASE AND DESIST ORDER from the same president of the same company that I discussed this project with in mid-2005. He says I am illegally using their copyright and I am to take the site down immediately.

    ?!?!! Why would anyone want to shut down a site that is bringing them $2000+ in sales every month? I'm doing exactly what he told me I could do in mid-2005.

    He told me I couldn't bid on his copyrighted product names for Search Terms. I didn't, I never pay for advertising. Google picked up the site, because of the FOOTER on the page the he REQUIRED me to put on every page!

    I'm so dumbfounded right now. He told me that if I don't pull the site by Feb 1st, he's going to move forward with litigation.

    What kind of company treats a well-performing affiliate like this?

    ACK! HELP! What should I do? I pulled the site immediately, pending further discussion with him... I'm so confused.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    I think you did the best thing and pulled the site. Based on what you told us, it seems the next best thing is to remove any mention of that company, sign up with their competitors and send your sales elsewhere.

    Don't forget to respond to that merchant, tell them the site was changed and make sure they know that the site will surely promote their competition.

    One last thing-don't spend too much time fretting about it. Get away from such merchants as fast as you can. Learn and move on.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rice
    I think you did the best thing and pulled the site. Based on what you told us, it seems the next best thing is to remove any mention of that company, sign up with their competitors and send your sales elsewhere.

    Don't forget to respond to that merchant, tell them the site was changed and make sure they know that the site will surely promote their competition.

    One last thing-don't spend too much time fretting about it. Get away from such merchants as fast as you can. Learn and move on.
    Thanks for the advice. Now, they owe me about $970 ... do I have the right to go after that money?

  13. #13
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    Any chance you'll let everyone know who the merchant is so we can steer clear of them? (After you get everything cleared up)

    Every situation and every person is different. Personally if it was me, I would just write it off [literally] and move on. Your account should be able to put a dollar value on the loss. It's far more than the $970.

    I woulnd't give it any more thought. I've had worse happen to me. It was when I learned that a verbal agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on.

  14. #14
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    If you didn't violate any agreement, then they owe you the $, but check the agreement carefully.
    I'm not a lawyer, but you could post on one of those free legal forums, and see what the consensus is there.
    Fighting it though may cost you more than the $1000 you're out in commissions.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Im Curious:
    Do searches for the name of the co. or their specific products show your site ranked highly (Organic, not PPC), perhaps even higher than the company itself?

    I think sometimes companies get upset if their affiliates rank higher than the co. itself. (maybe they expect all those affiliate driven sales to appear out of thin air, LOL).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    (maybe they expect all those affiliate driven sales to appear out of thin air, LOL).
    They grow on trees.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    Im Curious:
    Do searches for the name of the co. or their specific products show your site ranked highly (Organic, not PPC), perhaps even higher than the company itself?

    I think sometimes companies get upset if their affiliates rank higher than the co. itself. (maybe they expect all those affiliate driven sales to appear out of thin air, LOL).
    There are a few search terms that involve their copyright that my site does appear before theirs.

    A big problem here is Semantics. He specifically told me I could not pay for search engine advertising with his trademarks. I never would, and never did. But my site DOES come up with organic search results, and he accuses me of "Parking" my website on their "Search Word" ... ??


  18. #18
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    The real question, did you save the emails from 2005 discussing everything? If so, you have documentation that you have every right not only to the money owed, but to continue as an affiliate long into the future.

    If the compnay is not convinced, then perhaps the next step is the network and then legal counsel. Your future revenue is just as much in question as what's currently owed, so it's worth a few bucks to look into.

    Good luck!
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eathan
    The real question, did you save the emails from 2005 discussing everything? If so, you have documentation that you have every right not only to the money owed, but to continue as an affiliate long into the future.

    If the compnay is not convinced, then perhaps the next step is the network and then legal counsel. Your future revenue is just as much in question as what's currently owed, so it's worth a few bucks to look into.

    Good luck!
    Thanks. I absolutely have the 27-page e-mail thread from 2005

  20. #20
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    It sounds like he "licensed" you to use his TM and is now saying no more. It's his TM, he's allowed to do that and is required to do it if it dilutes his ownership - which it sounds like it is doing with the organic searches of the TM showing your site.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    It sounds like he "licensed" you to use his TM and is now saying no more. It's his TM, he's allowed to do that and is required to do it if it dilutes his ownership - which it sounds like it is doing with the organic searches of the TM showing your site.
    That is terrific insight - and that is exactly what it sounds like.

    I just wish it could have come a bit nicer than a virtual CEASE AND DESIST order :/

  22. #22
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason PG
    I just wish it could have come a bit nicer than a virtual CEASE AND DESIST order :/
    I'm sure it was just the readilly available answer that also had some legality to it, I seriously doubt it was thought out in any way or an intentional FU, if that helps. It still sucks tho.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  23. #23
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Sounds like it's time to read over those 27 pages again, particularly where they said yes.

    It may have been a temporary grant of license, but it might've also been permission to market. If you're not 100% sure, I'd still work towards re-establishing your previous relationship and run those 27 pages by counsel if needed.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  24. #24
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Eathan, I seriously doubt he'll find anything that would justify the cost of an attorney, not to mention that is temporary license only generated $200 a month in earnings. IMHO, the only thing he should "search for in those 27 pages" is a legal foundation (the license) for a possible small claims court case to get the $970 owed.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    I wouldn't waste my time trying to get back into this merchant's favor. Why would you, unless you love abuse? Promote their competitors. Instead of saying they made a mistake and would like to change things, they send a cease and desist.

    Unless you violated their Terms of Service, they should pay you what they owe you. Nicely remind them of this.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

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