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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Kelli,

    Thank you for passing this information on to your team. They need to realize they are missing the mark. It may be easier and cheaper to broadcast emails and do callings, but for most affiliates that do this all the time, we find it a waste of our time and a waste of your teams time.

    Now, maybe this is a tactic of LS, kind of like all the credit card offers I get every week, in the hopes that someone will bite. Only LS knows for sure the results of their campaigns. But please understand they are seen by us as unprofessional and waste time. Most people here would love it if a representative called or wrote us personally and developed a relationship. I realize you can't do that for low performers.

    But, with that said, I DO NOT want someone from LS to call me who is also an affiliates. I think that practice at LS is wrong and it is precisely why I have stopped talking to some folks at LS. I am not going to explain my business model, campaign successes to someone who is also an affiliate. That's another thing that is unprofessional and should be addressed.

    Thank you again, Kelli, for passing this information to your team, but also pass it on to upper management.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador LinkShare Moderator's Avatar
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    Ron,
    No one in our services group is running an affiliate business on the side. As part of our new hire training process, we ask all customer facing employees to set up a basic website (if they don't already have a personal home page - many people do) and register their account with LinkShare. We do this so that everyone can experience LinkShare and our merchant programs from the affiliate perspective - the interface, reporting, merchant offers, LinkShare and merchant communications, linking code, etc. It's really that simple. We are very serious about protecting the confidentiality of our merchant and affiliate information.

    I would bet many merchant PMs have sites as well. In addition, I know for a fact that there are 3rd party Affiliate Program Management services/reps that have affiliate sites of their own, probably for the same reason.

    If you want to make this the reason you won't talk to a representative from LinkShare, feel free. However, you're looking for an issue and motivation that just isn't there.

    And, Ron, I am LinkShare upper management. I'm part of the Senior Management team and am very capable of escalating feedback and issues, when necessary, and making sure the appropriate people at LinkShare are in the loop.

    Kelli

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    "We do this so that everyone can experience LinkShare and our merchant programs from the affiliate perspective - the interface, reporting, merchant offers, LinkShare and merchant communications, linking code, etc. "

    Did they like SynergyAnalytics?

    As far as the newletter, i just always click the consumer promotions link or click it once i sign into LS. It's now November 4th, one of the busiest months of the year, would be nice to get a November Consumer Promotions live.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Kelli,

    This is, actually, wonderful news that none of your customer support people are making money from affiliate marketing. Really, that is a big step and I am very pleased to see this has been halted.

    No, for the record, I do talk to folks at Linshare. I've talked to several actually in the last few months. However, I did stop talking to those who said they were also affiliates and that was just in the last six months. I feel much more confortable dealing with folks now that I know you have knuckled down and restricted them from doing affiliate marketing. That's a full 10 point score card for LinkShare!!!

    Thank you!!!!

    And thanks to LinkShare for finally seeing the light (at least on one thing).
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador LinkShare Moderator's Avatar
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    Ron,
    I don't think my post mentioned anything about this being a past practice that was halted. Nothing has changed. Setting up a basic affiliate website has always been a new hire training practice for us. The person you mention has never made a living doing affiliate marketing.

    Kelli

  6. #6
    Full Member bwc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LinkShare Moderator
    Ron,
    I don't think my post mentioned anything about this being a past practice that was halted. Nothing has changed. Setting up a basic affiliate website has always been a new hire training practice for us. The person you mention has never made a living doing affiliate marketing.

    Kelli
    Why not hire people that actually have experience?
    Better yet, why doesn't LS actually LISTEN to the affiliates in these forums and implement the changes we've been stating for years? The only time I see a LS rep here is to cover over the stink-pile.

    As far as email received, I also agree, there's next to nothing relevant to our daily lives in there. It's reads more like some insider diatribe. And the major pain is to receive the canned messages about merchant updates that never state what the update is. Do you enjoy reading and rereading TOS documents? Make the things ADD the changed content and send the changes without making us have to log into the site to reread them.

    And please, put a limit on the number of spam messages a merchant can BLAST in and/or outside the LS inbox. Far TOO many merchants mass blast their supposed opportunities like we can't read just one message subject line. They think sending 10 or 20 emails with the same subject line is going to get affiliates signing up? It makes affiliates vacate their LS inbox altogether.

    Blah,blah blah . . . I'm talkin to the freakin wind again . . .

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    I never implied these people were making a living doing their affiliate sites. It's just when you talk to them on the phone (the one person excluded), and you here a LS employee tell you that their affiliate sales were low yesterday also, or they had this or that problem too, it does not make the caller feel secure in sharing information.

    Obviously, for the years I've been dealing with LS on the phone I never realized it was manditory that employees had to build their own sites, nor did I know they never made any money off of it (if I understand you correctly).

    Which leads me to wonder, as people will do what people do, what is keeping an employee who finds out what is working for an affiliate to not duplicate it on their girlfriends site under her name....or under some other name. What protection is there to keep an employee from stealing our techniques and duplicating them elsewhere in some way?
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7-days
    ...nor did I know they never made any money off of it (if I understand you correctly).
    She said the person you mentioned never made a living off of it. There's a big difference. I guess that could even be interpreted to mean that they aren't doing it full time (duh!).

    Personally, I find this to be pretty disturbing. It's one thing to understand our business. It's another thing to be a competitor. With the access that LinkShare employees have to affiliate information, that's a very unfair advantage. They do which affiliates are doing well. They know which merchants convert the best. They know which URLs on affiliate sites are generating the best business. They know which keywords are generating the best business for affiliates that link directly through LinkShare to merchants. They know what commission rates affiliates are able to negotiate. I wouldn't be surprised if using this kind of information would be illegal.

    So, I wonder if any LinkShare employees have their own BHOs?
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Ummm, reading back I don't see where it was said that the employees don't make money at this, just Kelli saying they must register their site with LS. Not sure where I thought they did not make any money, perhaps they do make money at their sites, which is even more alarming. What does LS do when an employee starts making lots of money at their site. What's to keep an employee from leaving and setting lots of sites based on our business models?

    Hmmm, this is more disturbing than I previously thought.

    Yes, I realize other networks may have the same issues. Maybe it is time we address this with them as well, but right now all the cards are out on the LS/affiliate table and it is LS's turn to address this.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Michael,

    I don't think the intention of LS to require employees to create sites with links is meant to be competitive on their part. The one site I actually did see, from an upper management employee I believe, was a far cry from that. But I did find out about this site of theirs right after (a few days) after he had asked to see my sites and I foolhardily sent off a list of them. This, and the conversations with other employees over the years who have also talked about their sites AND SALES sent up a red flag for me and the reason I'm sharing this information.

    I had hoped from what I read above was that LS had changed their rules, which Kelli tells us they have not, so employees could not have their own links. This makes it very difficult for me to discuss and address problems with any of my sites or links with their support staff in the future.

    I'm not sure what the solution is here, but affiliates don't have a lot of trust in LinkShare and finding out LS's employees could potentially be their competitor certainly does not help.

    Perhaps if LS wants their employees to "experience" the affiliate world, they should set up one site at LS for all employees to experiment with. There would be no commissions going to employees, but perhaps if commissions are collected, they could go to a charity like the Red Cross.

    Still, I want some assurance an employee is not using my information to build a site for themselves in some way.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  11. #11
    A Real *and* Darn Cool Member! lstolze's Avatar
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    I understand why this is upsetting to our community, but I feel the need to play Devil's Advocate here. How can LS assure us (and themselves) that their employees are not misusing our information? Honestly, LS has no control over what their employees may do in their spare time, and how do you prove that an LS employee has 'misappropriated' some other affiliate's tactics?

    I DO believe that their employees should not discuss their own trials and tribulations as affiliates with affiliates, but keeping them from being affiliates - that's impossible.

    I think that if we want to complain about this issue, two things need to happen. One is, this thread should be split, as I feel it has gone off the original intention, and two we should give suggestions on how to fix this, and not just say LS needs to stop this, etc.

    Just my two cents!
    ~Lisa - Brilliant Mastermind, or Nut? You decide!

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Lisa,

    I was trying to do just that, suggest alternatives, as I did. And, as I said in my last post, I'm not sure what the solution is. I just want LS to be sure they know there are those of us who feel this is a conflict of interest and it worries us. Let's see if they are listening and what they do about it.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  13. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I don't have time right now, but I'll split this out later (if another Moderator doesn't get to it first).
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  14. #14
    Full Member bwc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7-days
    I just want LS to be sure they know there are those of us who feel this is a conflict of interest and it worries us. Let's see if they are listening and what they do about it.

  15. #15
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    This thread has been split out from the Linkshare Affiliate News thread.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  16. #16
    A Real *and* Darn Cool Member! lstolze's Avatar
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    I apologize if this was mentioned at some point and I missed it, but I would like to know if LS employees are required to sign some sort of non-disclosure agreement, and/or, anything that states they are not to compete in AM, nor misuse client info for their personal gain?

    Is our information only available to certain types of employees in LS? Or is it easily accessible by many departments, regardless of what their purpose is? Seem like obvious things, but I would like to hear the answers on this from Kelli.

    Thanks.
    ~Lisa - Brilliant Mastermind, or Nut? You decide!

  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Great questions Lisa.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Thanks, Michael, for splitting this off.

    Yes, good questions, Lisa.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    If we can't get any information, they shouldn't be able to either. And as for their ability to make money - let's force them to use the list of merchants that haven't figured out the reporting yet either. I don't know who they are, but Linkshare does. Maybe if they worked on their sites and saw nothing happening the way we do - they would at least begin to know what we're trying to say.

    Is there a smilie symbol for :tongue firmly implanted in cheek?

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