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  1. #1
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Promoting "Non-Existing" Affiliate Programs?
    I just encountered a very strange situation, in which a company's own web site claims that the company has an affiliate program, and even signs up affiliates and generates HTML code, but in fact the company says it does NOT have an affiliate program, and does not track or pay affiliates for sales.

    A few weeks ago, my fiancee ordered a folding beach chair from koolestproducts.com -- and after she had submitted her order, she noticed an "affiliates" link and pointed it out to me.

    Since the company offers products that my fiancee couldn't find anywhere else, I thought I saw an opportunity, and so I decided to sign up for their affiliate program, and was assigned affiliate ID number 1. Yes, "one." Yes, that's right, affiliate number 1.

    That seemed pretty odd to me -- normally you'd expect a company to create some "test" affiliate accounts while testing the program. In addition, the affiliate program terms (percentages, etc.) were never spelled out, although after I signed up there was a reporting page that indicated that I'd be paid $1 per new customer, $2 per sale, plus 3% (hmm: 1, 2, 3).

    I sent an email to the company, asking them to confirm that there really was an affiliate program operating.

    Several days later, I received an email reply saying that my email was being forwarded to someone else within the company. I heard nothing further.

    A week or so later, I called a couple times, leaving messages on the company's answering machine (no, they do not answer the phone during business hours, nor do they return phone calls within 24 hours).

    Okay, these were all Really Bad Signals, and sure enough, I finally received a return phone call yesterday, telling me that the company has no affiliate program, is not tracking orders or sales, and really doesn't have any plan to offer an affiliate program this year. When I pointed out that this was quite inconsistent with the web site's link and signup form for affiliates, which even generates HTML linking code for affiliates to use, the response was vague.

    Now, in fairness, the company is apparently not doing anything to promote its affiliate program, other than to have the link on its site. But after my fiancee became a satisfied customer, I actually thought there was an opportunity to promote the company's unique products for mutual profit. Clearly, I was wrong, and if I could actually speak to the owner of the company, I'd let loose -- but the poor gal who called me back was clearly a battered underling.

    So, in case you missed the message here: Koolest Products (koolestproducts.com) does not really have an affiliate program. If you find the company through a Google search or something, do not sign up for their affiliate program and do not promote the company's products, unless you actually hear from a human being at the company who tells you otherwise (and even then, I'd suggest placing a test order before doing any promotion).

    They do make some cool folding beach chairs, though.

    Sigh.

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Have SAS call them up and run it on auto-pilot.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    My guess is that their cart software came with "affiliate program capability," and included that link in their template by default (along with the affiliate program pages), and the company never got around to disabling it or removing the link. With no promotion, they probably never got any interest in it before you called, so they likely forgot all about it being there.

    Hopefully they'll update their site now!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  4. #4
    Member SuccessPoint's Avatar
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    If you create a lot of "landing pages" that point to your real main site... a good way to hide the fact that you are artificially increasing your page rank and spamming the SEs is to make a false affiliate program... make the pages appear to be owned/created by outside affiliates.

    This might be the reason. Check his back-links.

    I would put up a page that says "no longer accepting affiliates"… just in case someone clicks the “join affiliate program” link.

    - SP

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager William's Avatar
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    Talking
    I think "Leader" found the source of the problem. It was probably a turn-key site that never had the affiliate program disabled. Now the companies pry scratching their heads trying to figure out if it's worth the investment of going into affiliate marketing. Either way, I see opportunity knocking on your door, whether you promote them or compete against them.

    William

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager DavidVanHook's Avatar
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    The only problem here, to me, sounds like that this company has a good product and is un-aware about Affiliate marketing. From what was said (I dunno) I don't think this company was trying to disceive anyone, it probably is a turn key site who didn't disable the page for Affiliates. I think we should keep our eyes on them because it's always a matter of time before a company catches Affiliate fever, then look out. (I feel like this is insider trading a bit- waiting for somehing to hit- that you're already in the know about)

  7. #7
    Member SuccessPoint's Avatar
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    I think we should keep our eyes on them because it's always a matter of time before a company catches Affiliate fever
    It might be a good opportunity for an AM that is looking to take on another program.

    - SP

  8. #8
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
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    Something similar happened to me this summer. I was searching for products for personal use and found some neat things on a niche site. I noticed they had an affiliate program and since I also promote those types of products I signed up. After entering all my info, name, address, phone number, site name and SSN# and clicking enter...I got a "file not found" page.

    So I sent the affiliate manager of record an email asking if the info had been stored, what my status as an affiliate was, where to find link code, etc. and never received a reply. They still claim to have an affiliate program on that site, too.

    In any case I never ordered anything from them simply because if they can't be bothered to return emails I don't trust their order fulfillment or customer service is adequate.

    Does make you wonder, doesn't it?

  9. #9
    Member SuccessPoint's Avatar
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    After entering all my info, name, address, phone number, site name and SSN#
    umm... I guess you don't worry about identity theft and other scams involving personal information.

    - SP

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