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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager globat's Avatar
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    Arrow How to make Globat.com's affiliate program better
    Ok, I really believe I've earned my living here on ABW, bumped virtual heads with some people, and hopefully helped others while slowly earning some credit. I have every intention of making Globat's affiliate program the most successful program out there and I would really like your help with it.

    Since Globat.com already has a pretty successful affiliate program in-house at http://affiliates.globat.com as well as with Commission Junction I'd like to get some feedback as to what you think we should do to

    - make the lifes of our affiliates easier
    - help increase conversions/sales
    - provide better tracking mechanisms
    - be able to pay out higher commissions (while staying in business)
    - make our payout structure clearer (there's obviously confusion)
    - increase communications with our affiliates
    - etc...

    I'd appreciate some constructive feedback from everybody who has ever worked with affiliate programs. What did you like or not like. What made you switch. Whats important to you? I really would like to get as much feedback as possible to better learn how to see the web hosting and affiliate world from an affiliate's point of view.

    Looking forward to your comments.

  2. #2
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    In testing Globat's affiliate program on a few spyware-infected machines over the years, I've occasionally found spyware improperly claiming commissions. http://www.benedelman.org/news/091405-1.html doesn't happen to show any Globat-specific examples, but I'm thinking of problems of that form. That page gives a pretty good introduction to the problem.

    These aren't easy issues to solve on your own -- you'd need a testing lab, packet sniffer, etc. Big pain, expense, specialied skills.

    How about establishing a "bounty" program? If you agree to pay out a bounty consisting of the rogue affiliate's current-month commissions (say, through the 10th of the next month, when you cancel that affiliate's account and reverse its commissions) (or, say, $1000, whichever is less), you'll find that there are a few ABW'ers willing to find the bad guys, make video and packet log proof, and send you what they find. Indeed, I'd probably be inclined to take a look and see what I find.

    A few other merchants have made this offer. Perhaps other ABW readers will chime in with links and even experiences.

    The core idea, of course, is to cut out the "fat" (fraud) in your program, reducing your unneeded commission pay-outs, and improving the ROI of the affiliate program.

    I actually mentioned these problems to Chris (another Globat staff person) some months back. I think he was interested, but I don't know that he ever really pursued the spyware problem.

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Moving thread to CJ forum.

  4. #4
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Scott,

    I also have a standing offer for Merchants who participate here and are looking to 'clean house' and grasp an understanding of the parasiteware issues (if they don't have a basic understanding). I'll be more than happy to phone conference with you for free to get you going in the right direction. My only criteria is that the Merchant is serious. Everyone benefits when Merchants move their programs foward in a positive manner and to that extent I'm willing to assist if I can.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by globat
    I'd appreciate some constructive feedback from everybody who has ever worked with affiliate programs. What did you like or not like. What made you switch. Whats important to you? I really would like to get as much feedback as possible to better learn how to see the web hosting and affiliate world from an affiliate's point of view.

    Looking forward to your comments.
    Scott,

    If you can make it to Miami next weekend, you will get an education like no other. You can meet Kellie, Haiko and many others that will tell it like it is. Kellie will be presenting and Iguarantee you will be on the edge of your seat...

    Forget the current price, you can still get the special ABW deal.....
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  6. #6
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    My opinion is pretty obvious BUT I will say this.
    Go to Miami ... learn from Andy ... make it dandy ... right, g'nite.
    ================================================================
    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!!!
    ================================================================

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager globat's Avatar
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    Love the idea of "sniffing" out the fraudsters and offering a bounty. We're doing a lot of manual cleaning, but these folks are obviously always a step ahead of the curve. Please keep the suggestions coming. This is great!

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager globat's Avatar
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    Hi Kellie, I wasn't sure where to post this. Just FMI, why'd you move it to CJ?

  9. #9
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    From Globat's affiliate terms (of its in-house program):
    Globat reserves the right to reset all Affiliate accounts that have not accumulated more than $150 in commissions by December 31 of each calendar year to zero on January 1.
    Seems a little harsh, doesn' it? Affiliate signs up on December 15, sends you two new customers, and "earns" $130. Then January 1 comes around, and affiliate's balance gets reset to $0. Not very nice! It doesn't cost Globat anything to carry the balance forward, as CJ does and as all other affiliate programs do (in my experience). And incidentally I don't think Globat does a good job of bringing this provision to affiliates' attention; it comes in a pargraph misleadingly labeled "time of payments and minimum commissions" rather than "forfeiture of commissions" (which would more accurately describe the substance of this rule).

    I hope you'll tell us that Globat hasn't used this rule and doesn't intend to. Fair enough. Then take it out of the agreement!

  10. #10
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    Incidentally, there are numerous other "gems" in the Globat affiliate agreement. I'll hold my tongue at present, but I encourage other ABW readers to read it -- carefully! -- and post their own critiques of sections that seem particularly noteworthy.

  11. #11
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I can why you thought the Inner Circle might be the right forum by it's tag line. But that forum was really set to use for moderated discussions of important Industry issues. Not really for this type of general Merchant specific thread. It was a toss up to move it to CJ or Midnight Cafe.

  12. #12
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Ben,

    I'm curious for your thoughts on the 'bounty' approach. When recommending it merchants, what do you suggest to them for mechanisms/controls of potential abuse with a bounty system?

    For example, affiliate Y is one of my primary competitors. I open an account at someplace like 180Solutions. I use affiliate Y's links as my ad URLs and target the Merchant's web site. I then 'document' affiliate Y popping on the Merchant via the affiliate link and/or overwriting another affiliate's tracking code (maybe even MY real tracking code). I submit the documentation to the Merchant. Not only do I get my competitor terminated from the Merchant's program but I also get their commissions as a bounty.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B
    I'm curious for your thoughts on the 'bounty' approach. When recommending it merchants, what do you suggest to them for mechanisms/controls of potential abuse with a bounty system?
    Your example certainly shows a potential problem with bounties. I've never seen this in the adware space, though this is not unheard of among SEOs. It's a troubling prospect.

    I suppose it's worth noting that the problem of one affiliate using another's ID to run spyware traffic is possible even in a no-bounty world. This could still get the other affiliate terminated -- wouldn't get their commissions as a bounty, but would still get the other affilaite in trouble (potentially useful to the first affiliate if they're in a PPC war, etc.).

    Ultimately I guess it all comes down to trust. From whom is a merchant receiving reports of fraud? If from those with some track record preparing such reports, who seem to be trustworthy and honorable in every other respect, merchants can feel pretty good about what a bounty-tester reports. I often encourage merchants to talk to the about-to-be-terminated affiliates to hear their side of the story, and perhaps they'd give an admission that would end the inquiry, or refuse to discuss the matter (again likely to be perceived as an admission), or deny the charges vehemently (in which case more investigation might be in order0.

    For merchants with reasonable budgets, and with serious dedication to stopping spyware, I still think it's preferable either to run testing internally or to hire experts to do testing, generally on a flat-fee basis rather than for bounties. But in practice many merchants don't want to spend money this way, with benefits uncertain. The bounty system offers the very immediate benefit of eliminating any potential downside to merchants -- fighting spyware becomes guaranteed revenue-positive rather than uncertain. That should mean more merchants get tough on spyware, as bounty systems become more widely available. And that's definitely a good thing. So that's why I tend to be positive on bounty systems.

  14. #14
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    Remember the old joke about how to fix a certain car when the guy says "Jack up the radiator cap and drive a new car in under it" is the only way to fix it.
    That applies here.
    Scott, your company has a history of dirty tricks to affiliates, partnering with known parasites, finding ways to keep affiliate commissions and much more.

    If you were truly interested in cleaning up your program and your reputation, the first thing you would do is change your payment terms in CJ to show your real payout.

    The first image attached (gb1.jpg) shows you advertising a $90 payout and a $100 payout at the same time. The last time I checked, your program offers a $65 payout with incentives to get the affiliate up to $90. I have no idea where the $100 figure comes from.
    This is CLEARLY deceptive as it is not common practice to advertise the highest payout available as your base payout.

    See gb2.jpg now. Clearly your program pays $65 for the first sale, $75 or the second and $90 thereafter according to your advertiser detail screen.

    Of course, if an affiliate disputes this, they are kicked out of your hosting program by your idiotic management staff, as was I when I disputed this.

    I am sure you will retort with something to the effect of this being an honest mistake than needs to be fixed and you will get on it right away. If this had not been brought to your attention multiple times before, this might be a valid retort.

    This, coupled with
    Globat reserves the right to reset all Affiliate accounts that have not accumulated more than $150 in commissions by December 31 of each calendar year to zero on January 1.
    and the way that your company reacts to problems tells me that there really is no hope. You have forever stained your image and should start over.

    You asked. I offered specific advice. I do not mean to slam your company at all, but the way you treat affiliates is inexcusable.
    Attached Images Attached Images


  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager globat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Remember the old joke about how to fix a certain car when the guy says "Jack up the radiator cap and drive a new car in under it" is the only way to fix it. That applies here. Scott, your company has a history of dirty tricks to affiliates, partnering with known parasites, finding ways to keep affiliate commissions and much more.
    Not true! What is true is that some affiliates, and I'm sorry that you apparently are one of them, have certainly had problems with either our affiliate program or terms in the past. However, lets be realistic here, I won't be able to get that number down to zero, but the thread will be (it already is) helping me to understand some underlying core issues that you and some other people have issues with and, if we can, eliminate them, going forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    If you were truly interested in cleaning up your program and your reputation, the first thing you would do is change your payment terms in CJ to show your real payout. The first image attached (gb1.jpg) shows you advertising a $90 payout and a $100 payout at the same time. The last time I checked, your program offers a $65 payout with incentives to get the affiliate up to $90. I have no idea where the $100 figure comes from. This is CLEARLY deceptive as it is not common practice to advertise the highest payout available as your base payout.
    Thank you for pointing that out! Our reputation is absolutely not taunted (although I conceed that there have certainly been issues with some affiliates that needed to be addressed). You generalize this way too much. We have nearly 20,000 affiliates and on this forum I have seen only a handful of issues (which I hopefully all addressed). With all due respect to these affiliates, this does not at all give our program a bad rep! There's still 19,000+ affiliates that feel very different. However, back to your screenshot,the $90 payout program is still an old one. Our payout on CJ is actually $100 (after sale one and two, which are only $65). As far as the actual commission payout on CJ goes we state the following in our program description (you'll find that in the same area where you found the image):
    How much do I get paid - really?

    We pay serious commissions! Within any given one month period your first and second sale will result in a $65 commission. For any sale hereafter (3+) we will pay you $100.

    Also, as soon as you sign up with us you get our Welcome Email, which says this: "Globat.com pays up to $100 per qualified sale! Your first sale (even for your own website) and second sale will result in a $65 commission. For any qualified sale hereafter (3+) we will pay you a $100 commission (in any one month period).

    Our affiliate program is tiered, thats a fact, and for now that is not to be changed as hardly any of our producing affiliate have any problems with this. CJ won't let us show our tiered program in any other way without making this a $65 program in general with an incentive, which it is not (we actually have an incentive of $10/sale after 30 sales/month on top of the $100, if you look closely). As I explained in one the other threads, CJ has been pretty tough for us to manage lately and we're trying to make the best of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    See gb2.jpg now. Clearly your program pays $65 for the first sale, $75 or the second and $90 thereafter according to your advertiser detail screen.
    There are two things wrong here. Number one, this is an old program description, the new one (as of Aug 20, 2005) shows the $100 payout, I just checked that. That's your wrong. However, you are correct, that for some reason this screen (even the new one) still shows the $65, $75, and $100 payout, which it shouldn't (not at all actually). I've just tried to change that, and I couldn't. I will check into this on Monday.

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Of course, if an affiliate disputes this, they are kicked out of your hosting program by your idiotic management staff, as was I when I disputed this.
    I understand that you might be pissed off about that, but quite frankly we don't kick people out because they complain about something. If you called them idiots back than, that might be another story.

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    I am sure you will retort with something to the effect of this being an honest mistake than needs to be fixed and you will get on it right away. If this had not been brought to your attention multiple times before, this might be a valid retort. This, coupled with and the way that your company reacts to problems tells me that there really is no hope. You have forever stained your image and should start over. You asked. I offered specific advice. I do not mean to slam your company at all, but the way you treat affiliates is inexcusable.
    Let me start by saying that you sound a little bit like a "dumped girlfriend" who now claims that the guy mistreads women. I'm sorry (I really am!) that you had a bad experience with our affiliate program, but that doesn't mean at all that we mistread our affiliates! Continuing on, I generally believe retorts are valid no matter what as long as someone really solves the issues. Of course I retort - I have an interest in changing things, but I am also realistic. As you know bu now, I tell you openly when we messed things up, but I also tell you when you (or someone else did). Like it or not, but we're not sending men to the moon here and affiliate programs, as much as this forum is mainly about them, are usually only a small part of most companies business strategy. I'm am here, however, to focus on that part and make your and many other of our affiliate lives a bit easier and actually resolve issues (yeah, Haiko, a of customer service always comes out of this ). Why do you think I'm starting a thread such as this? I assume that my day's as full as yours and I don't want to waste anyones time, by creating empty postings. We will make changes based on feedback we're getting and I am taking everything into consideration. Ultimately, I hope, we'll get close to being great!

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager globat's Avatar
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    Ben, I am going to get with Chris about this again. Chris is the COO of Globat and he remembers talking to you about it a few months ago. We do already do some form of scanning and manual policing; would you be in a position to guess what percentage of commissions could be affected by this (considering that you did an initial scan already)?

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager globat's Avatar
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    Andy, I would have loved to make it, but I'm travelling myself right now. Next time, please let me know early (if you can), I'd love to at least send someone over, if I can't make it myself.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by globat
    We do already do some form of scanning and manual policing; would you be in a position to guess what percentage of commissions could be affected by this (considering that you did an initial scan already)?
    One shouldn't overstate what I did a few months ago. In perhaps an hour of casual testing, I found a handful of spyware folks targeting your program. As I recall, I sent Chris a single example out of the several that I found. I think I also sent him some proposed new language for the affiliate program T&C's. I'm not sure whether he ended up using that new language.

    It's hard to say, as a general matter, what portion of a typical merchant's affliate commissions result from bogus spyware-delivered "leads." For some merchants that I talk to, we sometimes find a top-10 affiliate using these methods. All told, I sense that we sometimes find on the order of 3%-6% of "problems" sufficient to (properly and appropriately!) reverse transactions and refuse payment. Numbers are generally larger for merchants who haven't run any prior tests or examinations in the past. Larger for merchants with larger affiliate payouts. Smaller for merchants who are very obscure or very careful about who they let be an affiliate.

    But ultimately most of my merchant clients don't tell me how much commission they reverse on the basis of my work: It's none of my business, really; I don't need this information to do my job (of finding the rogue affiliates); and I don't ask.

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager globat's Avatar
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    I'm also curious about the problems or good things you guys have been experiencing with web hosting affiliate programs in general. What do you like or not? What would you say are the three most important things a hosting affiliate program should have/offer for you to consider it worth promoting? Anybody willing and able to comment?

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