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  1. #1
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    Buy.com Sales and Affiliate Excluded Coupons
    Hi,

    I have contacted the Buy.com affiliate manager few days ago and complained about the affiliate excluded coupons and how these are impacting my sales and how my conversion ratio is dropping. She said that no other publisher complained about lower conversions. I would like to see if that is the case. That is why I am posting this message here.

    Please let us know what you think about the affiliate excluded coupons. Here is a portion of the message I wrote to Melissa.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now with the new four coupons ($50 off $500, $25 off $250 etc) my sales are at the bottom, despite my Buy.com traffic getting doubled in the last few weeks. I am not sure maybe the delay in shipping is causing my numbers to look lousy but in any case I would like to see the impact of these "affiliate excluded" coupons on my sales.

    With these coupons around I really don't feel like promoting any Buy.com items. Here is why...
    Someone comes to my website and clicks through and buy a projector for $675 after $15 coupon. Had he looked around a little more, he would become aware of the $50 coupon that could be applied to his purchase and he would buy the same projector for $640. This customer might eventually become aware of the coupon, in which case he would not trust the deals at our site any more. This is a significant loss from our side.

    I understand that it is the last few days of the quarter and you are trying to boost your sales but you ought to see the big picture and the impact of these promotions on our sales and thus yours.

    You said in your previous email that no one has ever complained about the lower conversions. I think this is not quite right, I am going to post this message to ABestWeb forum and will hear more about the concerns of others.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Internet Cowboy
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    Yet another example of this company looking out for affiliates.


  3. #3
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    They sent me a "please join us" email last month

    but as soon as I saw the rules about affiliate excluded coupons, I declined

    for the reasons you stated above

    nothing good ever comes out of those rules - other then sending free customers to merchants

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager affiliatemanager's Avatar
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    Hi MattDunbar,

    Per my email to you this morning, I pulled your sales from June to present and to keep your sales totals confidential, non commissionable coupons accounted for 3% of your total sales to Buy.com.

    I also mentioned as a reminder, that affiliate referred traffic DO NOT SEE the non commissionable coupons.

    As you know, Buy.com positions itself as the low price leader. Therefore slim margins. When we calculate what coupons we want our affiliates to promote to their visitors, we have to factor in 3-10% commissions plus our commission to CJ for tracking. So, when we offer a 5% coupon, we have to add 3-10% as well as CJ's % for total cost. Again, slim margins. When we have coupons on our site for non-affiliate referred traffic, we can offer a larger discount because we do not have to pay affiliate and agency commissions on those sales.

    3% of total sales for non commissionable coupons, is not the reason why your conversions are low. Especially if your referred visitors are not seeing the coupons when they click on your link to Buy.com. As offered before, letís take a look at the creative or offers you have on your site. I provided a report of what your visitors are buying; now letís focus on offers that your audience is interested in.

    If you look at the report, most of your sales are coming from the $15 off $200 coupon and $10 off $175.


    Best Regards,
    Melissa

    Melissa D. Salas | Senior Marketing Manager
    85 Enterprise Ste 100 |Aliso Viejo | Ca. | 92656
    P/F: 949-389-2431 E: affiliates@buy.com
    www.buy.com | www.buy.com/affiliates

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager affiliatemanager's Avatar
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    Hi Billy Kay,

    Thanks for your post. As mentioned above, your visitors will not see the non commissionable coupons when they visit our site from your links.

    If you have additional concerns or questions, please feel free to give me a call at 949-389-2431.

    Best,
    Melissa

  6. #6
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    Not quite so!!!
    Melissa,

    If they don't see the noncommissionable coupons how did the 3% came from?
    Plus the list you sent me covers period until September 23rd. The affiliate excluded coupons mostly released after this date.

    Also not everything are the numbers. What about the trust between our visitors and our site getting destroyed just because of this affiliate excluded coupons?

    I think that I am sending more free customers than reported in the excel sheet you sent me. I would very much like to see the same excel sheet for the last ten days of September. Having said this, I am inclined to stop promoting Buy.com until you revise your policy about the affiliate excluded coupons. This is hurting my margins a lot and moreover destroying the trust our loyal visitors have toward our site.

  7. #7
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    I can see both sides of this issue. While it is obvious that the affiliate coupons have to have smaller value than those that are offered outside of the affiliate channel, I think that mattdunbar's point is that such offers can still hurt the reputation of one's site. For example, even though those coupons are non-commissionable, I still see a number of coupon sites that list them anyway.

    As a result, by not running these coupons (which I'm still not doing), I run the risk of users who do make purchases through my site seeing these coupons posted at a later date on other affiliates' sites. If that happens, then how likely are they to return to my site? I'd guess probably not very likely, since my site would not be seen as having the best coupons.

    I'm a bit confused by your statement that visitors will not see non-commissionable coupons when they visit the site from affiliate links. Is that to say that if I make a smartlink directly to one of these coupons that a user will not be able to see it (since it comes from an affiliate link)? Or, is your statement suggesting that users will not see these offers posted elsewhere on the site during their normal browsing, if they came from an affilate link? I can verify that the former is not true, since I just created a link to one of these coupons and tested it out myself. Ideally, if the former could be accomplished, that might help matters, but I think that sites would then just resort to posting a direct link (rather than an affiliate smartlink), since they're not getting a commission anyway... As a side note, I've seen at least one site posting these coupons where if you click the link, it directs to a product and then redirects to the coupon page. I'm assuming that there is a reason for this (i.e. trying to get a commission) - do you have any insight on that?

    Thanks.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager affiliatemanager's Avatar
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    HI MattDunbar,

    The 3% of your referred customers that actually used a non commissionable coupon could have resulted for a number of reasons. We rarely have a coupon published on our website. We had a 10% off coupon recently. If a customer went to your site, then to Buy.com, they didnít see the 10% off coupon. Nor did they buy that day. If they returned to Buy.com within the 14 day return days and then bought using the non commissionable coupon, that would be a reason why it was still reported under your sales. Another reason could be if you have it advertised on your site before you realized it was affiliate restricted - but you said you don't publish them, so that can't be right? Most of our restricted coupons are sent via email specifically to our customers who must use the email account we sent the coupon to in order to redeem it. Some customers try to visit loyalty sites such as Fatwallet.com to try to get a better deal such as the coupon amount PLUS the loyalty rebate. That's why they say "Not compatible with affiliate program" so customers know the coupon is not valid with any other offer.

    Murat, I have an affiliate coupon budget, and our loyalty/retention department has their own. Buy.com can remarket to our existing customer base at anytime to try to get them to come back and purchase. As mentioned before, most non commissionable coupons are only valid TO THE CUSTOMERS EMAIL ADDRESSES WE SENT THEM TO. Which also means if the coupon went viral, no one could use it unless we had the email address used on file.

    I would hope you are reaching an audience - including new customers- to Buy.com everyday that we couldnít reach via our own marketing efforts. Thatís why we have an affiliate program. If we are re-marketing to our own customers - with restricted coupons and when I say restricted, not only from affiliate marketing, but any other customer trying to use it - or if affiliate referred traffic is not seeing a coupon highlighted on our site - then your visitors will never know the coupon ever existed.

    I have margins I have to adhere to as well. So, I would like to pay you a commission on referred sales, rather than offer your visitors a greater discount... wouldnít you agree? Itís one or the other.

    Does this make sense?


    Also, I will email you with your request. It will take approx 48 business hours, so Monday/Tuesday I will have the updated spreadsheet.

    Talk to you soon!

    Best,
    Melissa

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager affiliatemanager's Avatar
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    Hi jmschmitt,

    Thanks for your post. I see what you mean and let me explain. Just so you know, not a single affiliate is being paid on restricted coupons - whether they post them or not. Fatwallet for example is aware they don't get paid on restricted coupons, however they post them anyway for their users. Most of the time, the coupon can only be used to the email addresses we sent the coupon code to. I understand what you mean by perception, but truthfully, there is very little crossover from the customers we remarket to, to the customers you refer to Buy.com. Mattdunbar is just an example. Only 3% of his sales were customers who used restricted coupons. Some customers think by visiting an affiliate site, they can get a greater reward (i.e. cash back) even though it clearly states its not valid with any other offer - or compatitble with affiliate program.

    Then we have the rare coupons that actually appear on our site, i.e 10% off. Those are the ones that are supressed from affiliate referred traffic. This type of coupon shows as an advertisement on Buy.com. I think you were confused with restricted coupons that have an actual landing page. Yes, technically you can create links directly to that page, however there is only two ways a Buy.com customer can see that page. 1. From a link on our site, which they can't see the advertised link when referred from an affiliate and 2. If we send the coupon directly to our customer and they click on the link in the email or log in to Buy.com using the email address we sent the coupon to.

    Alot of our affiliates are on our email list as well. Most may not use the email address they receive our emails from when they make a purchase at Buy.com. Therefore, they are always getting emails from us to come back and make a purchase. Then, as a customer and an affiliate, they decide to publish the coupon with or without knowledge that the coupon is non commissionable.

    In short, only the coupons available in the CJ interface or the newsletters coming from me directly are affiliate coupons and can be advertised.

    Does that make sense? Feel free to call me if I confused you, I know exactly what you mean, I just hope I communicated it clearly! :-) 949-389-2431.

    Best,
    Melissa

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager affiliatemanager's Avatar
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    HI Mattdunbar,

    IT was able to produce the report for me as requested from 9/24 to present. Out of all your sales to Buy.com, only 3 used a non commissionable coupon. I'll send you the report. Most of your orders came from the $15 off $200 and $10 off $175 coupons (32% of your sales)

    Best,
    Melissa

  11. #11
    Internet Cowboy
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    So you send them a customer, then they offer the customer you sent a bigger and better coupon and the customer now ends up going straight to them and bypassing you all together, not to mention clicking on a link in their newsletter that washes your 15 day cookie. Now you don't get the referral period AND you lose a customer to their cannibalistic coupon practices.
    Why anyone would promote a merchant with this behavior is beyond me.


  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of incentive advertising. If you aren't a recognized couponer high in the serps and PPCSE listings, or enploy an incentive BHO like www.pricebandit.com (WhenU) your dead meat at Buy.com. Care to tell the folks here what percentage of affiliate reported sales have coupons attached. Care also to point out why affiliates pushing your products, not your stupid ROI killing coupons, can't get double the normal commission rate for having their referrals dodge the POS (Point of Sale) attack dogs?

    You raise my rate and still make more money per sale then if it was made from an incent hawker. I say screw wasting traffic on Buy.com till they have a SE spam proof GoldenCan application and whack the browser and SERP spammers. Look at the spammy crap your program is famous for within the affiliate industry... http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...%2Ecom+coupons
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  13. #13
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    Melissa,

    Thanks for the explanation but you are missing the point. The affiliate exclusive coupons are not only being promoted through emails. They are sometimes promoted every where at Buy.com when you visit Buy.com directly.

    So I direct a customer to your site and he does not see those affiliate excluded coupons, that is CORRECT!!!. Two things can happen from this point on:

    - If he buys he would by at a price which he could have bought cheaper had he used the affiliate excluded coupon. So he is getting punished by buying the item through our site.

    - If he doesn't buy and come back later to Buy.com directly, he would see the affiliate excluded coupon. If he buys I do not get any credit.

    In case 1, the customer is getting penalized directly and we are getting penalized in the long run.

    In case 2, I am not getting anything.

    So for us it is a lose-lose situation. I understand pretty well all the margin stuff. I am not asking you to allow us to promote the affiliate excluded coupons. But you need to be reasonable with those coupons.

    You are giving us a $15 coupon and the affiliate excluded coupons happen to have $50 value ($50 off $500). If you are going to use affiliate excluded coupons, it should at least be comparable to coupons you are offering us to promote.

    Thanks for your message but I don't quite buy it! I am sorry

    Matt

  14. #14
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    orders OK!
    Melissa,

    The number of orders look decent. I think the problem is with the CJ delaying the reports because I don't see 80% of these orders at CJ. That is why I was concerned about the conversion. That being said, my points I posted here are still valid.

    If you are going to use affiliate-excluded coupon, those should be comparable to what you make available to us. Just my 2 cents.

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager affiliatemanager's Avatar
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    Hi Mattdunbar,

    I just sent you an email.

    As long as the customer has your cookie on their computer, they will not see the coupon advertisement on our site during the return day period, so if they click on your site and come back to Buy.com and buy up to 14 days later, they still won't see the ad.


    ABW'ers, if you have any questions regarding this topic, please give me a call at 949-389-2431.

    Best,
    Melissa

  16. #16
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    "I think the problem is with the CJ delaying the reports because I don't see 80% of these orders at CJ."

    How long does that usually take for orders to get into our reports? Thanks

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager affiliatemanager's Avatar
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    Hi Trustno1,

    We'll send the transaction file over to CJ within 24 hours from when we receive the shipment record from our warehouses. Then its up to CJ to post them to publisher's accounts with the calculated commissions. So if you factor in 3-5 business days to ship a product, then a business day to send the shipment file to CJ, plus their time to process/calculate the commissions and then post to your reports, I think it may take up to 8-10 business days latest? Just a guessamate on a worst case scenario....

    Have a great weekend!
    Melissa

  18. #18
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    Sometimes 2 days
    event date: 26-Sep-2005 17:54 PDT Post date: 28-Sep-2005 00:30 PDT

    That was a buy.com sale

  19. #19
    Member $Cleopatra$'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    So you send them a customer, then they offer the customer you sent a bigger and better coupon and the customer now ends up going straight to them and bypassing you all together, not to mention clicking on a link in their newsletter that washes your 15 day cookie. Now you don't get the referral period AND you lose a customer to their cannibalistic coupon practices.
    Why anyone would promote a merchant with this behavior is beyond me.
    Well said Uncle Scooter

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador
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    Not only is this practice bad for current buy.com affiliates, it encourages buyers to not use affiliates as if they do, they are blocked from seeing coupons. This teaches them affiliate sites make them pay more.

    That is a horrible behavior to teach and in all other situations false.

    Buy.com has continually proven that they could care less about keeping honest hardworking affiliates, for the life of me I can't understand why anyone would stick with this company that is constantly playing such games.

  21. #21
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    They probably had the coupons already, searched google for a better deal, but their coupon was still better so they used theirs instead of yours.

    But I have pulled the majority of my buy.com links down because of the leaks, I get the ocassional sale still but newegg does my wallet good.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Did anybody notice that this thread is almost 2 years old?

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

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Did anybody notice that this thread is almost 2 years old?

    - Scott
    Yes, and I'm sure the OP did as well. Given the quality of her postings and the frequency of them, I consider her a spammer.

    When someone bumps an old post for no valid reason, they should be given a ban warning.

  24. #24
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    geez I didn't notice the date and didn't even see my post from 2 years ago in here lol

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardwareGeek
    geez I didn't notice the date and didn't even see my post from 2 years ago in here lol
    Was wondering about that

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

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