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  1. #1
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    Angry Are Affiliates being Scammed by Merchants
    Do merchants give SAS a reason for reversals. One thing I notice is each merchant seems to have their own meanings for reversals.

    Some don't seem to make sence "self-referred sale" (Asked fo an explanation and was told my cookie was there, but it shouldn't have been) HUH!

    One merchant on a BIG commish of $199.00 said that altho my cookie was there the real commish was to go to a different affiliate as after a "THOROUGH" investigation including contacting the customer the OTHER affiliate was deemed to be the last click and they couldn't pay double commissions. YEA RIGHT!

    Also it seems that most of the reversals happen on the bigger commisions. I can see people having secoond thoughts about a big purchase and cancelling the order but it seems TOO frequent to me.

    How does SAS know that an order was ACTUALLY cancelled, or if it's just B.S. from the merchant.

    I think what we need is a forum for discussing Transactions/Reversals/Amounts/Merchant I'm not sure exactly, but then we could atleast tell the trends by individual merchants.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I'd contact shareasale@shareasale.com and be specific.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    Some don't seem to make sence "self-referred sale" (Asked fo an explanation and was told my cookie was there, but it shouldn't have been) HUH!
    Could be the merchant was doing a test transaction and may have been at your site and clicked a link.

    One merchant on a BIG commish of $199.00 said that altho my cookie was there the real commish was to go to a different affiliate as after a "THOROUGH" investigation including contacting the customer the OTHER affiliate was deemed to be the last click and they couldn't pay double commissions. YEA RIGHT!
    Not sure about that one. You can only set one cookie at a time... and the last click is supposed to get the sale.

  4. #4
    Plazan Merchant Neil's Avatar
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    If i as a merchant, had this situation i would be more than happy to show the affiliate the refund slip from cc account.
    if they cant , or dont want to prove to that it was a genuine refund,
    dump them
    Find us at shareasale.com 12% commission
    Shareasale Merchant 7191
    PLAZAN SKIN CARE As seen on TV . Used by Jennifer Lopez

  5. #5
    Crazy like a fox suzigeek's Avatar
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    I think I read somewhere on this board some confusion with cookies when the merchant has a program at 2 places like cj and shareasale. I know one pet merchant that is on SAS that also had/has an affiliate thing setup through their yahoo store and they were reversing alot of sales because of so called "cookie confusion". (c) me...

    Anyway are you getting reversals from one merchant or a few?
    Suz~~GearGirl~~

  6. #6
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    Scammed
    Quote Originally Posted by Chet_B
    Could be the merchant was doing a test transaction and may have been at your site and clicked a link.

    Nope they did not click on a link at my site I know that for sure because I did not have a link for them on the site I have listed with SAS at that time. They said the cookie was stored on their own computer. (I have had more than 1 self-referred sale)

    Not sure about that one. You can only set one cookie at a time... and the last click is supposed to get the sale.
    Thats what I thought.

    Bruce - Maybe we could have a Reversal Trend report at SAS

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by suzigeek
    I think I read somewhere on this board some confusion with cookies when the merchant has a program at 2 places like cj and shareasale. I know one pet merchant that is on SAS that also had/has an affiliate thing setup through their yahoo store and they were reversing alot of sales because of so called "cookie confusion". (c) me...


    I don't think this was the problem only with SAS

    Anyway are you getting reversals from one merchant or a few?
    More than 1 - but they call them cancelled/self-referred or whatever they want.

    One of the merchants holds the transaction for 30 days and on the VERY day it is supposed to go through the order gets cancelled.

  8. #8
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janew
    ...have a Reversal Trend report at SAS
    Ah-ha! Such a report could be a useful tool.

  9. #9
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janew
    Thats what I thought.

    Bruce - Maybe we could have a Reversal Trend report at SAS
    I think there is one on SAS.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  10. #10
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    I know one pet merchant that is on SAS that also had/has an affiliate thing setup through their yahoo store and they were reversing alot of sales because of so called "cookie confusion". (c)
    I'm not sure I recall exactly 100%, but as far as I remember it that particular merchant was running their own affiliate site(s) themselves, and it could have been that "affiliate site" that was being credited with the commissions.

    I think we have to keep our eyes open for merchants who have their own personal "affiliate sites" that they run for their own programs and look at those very carefully.

    Further, IMHO not all merchants are actually "merchants" in the true sense of the word as we usually think of it, but some can easily be "affiliates" running sites with a drop-ship arrangement who are posing as merchants, where the original merchant is virtually transparent. It's getting a bit easier to spot those with time.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    I'm not sure I recall exactly 100%, but as far as I remember it that particular merchant was running their own affiliate site(s) themselves, and it could have been that "affiliate site" that was being credited with the commissions.

    I think we have to keep our eyes open for merchants who have their own personal "affiliate sites" that they run for their own programs and look at those very carefully.

    Further, IMHO not all merchants are actually "merchants" in the true sense of the word as we usually think of it, but some can easily be "affiliates" running sites with a drop-ship arrangement who are posing as merchants, where the original merchant is virtually transparent. It's getting a bit easier to spot those with time.
    Webworker, any advice on what to look for would be appreciated. I don't have a clue.
    Blessed Be,
    White Wolf

  12. #12
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    any advice on what to look for would be appreciated. I don't have a clue.
    White Wolf, like I said it's getting "easier" to spot them, certainly not foolproof in any way and not yet there. A certain amount comes with observation over time, a lot comes initially from an "intuitive sensing" and beyond that it's checking for signs of the "merchant" site being very heavily SEO'd and checking their alliances with other sites and/or networks of sites. When spotting very "leaky" sites, it's an alert to start looking into them further.

    Mind you, it isn't the drop-shipping part, that's a perfectly viable, common business model - it's more discerning which ones are in it having a genuine interest in developing mutually beneficial long-term affiliate partnerships, and which ones are just putting something out there to get extra income from affiliate traffic initially, which might be for just a season until they get established enough to drop affiliate channels altogether. Or simply as a way to get some extra income for which they pretty much ignore or disregard the interests of their affiliate pool, while taking advantaqe of the research benefits to them - like other people's keyword research for example.

    The intuitive part isn't anything that's tangible or easy to describe. Christians might call it the "dividing asunder between soul and spirit" or sensing what's in the "inner man" - which is actually spiritually perceived. In the Eastern philosophies that would correspond to the concept of "chi" or the energizing, inner life force that's within every person - which, incidentally, can be perceived even online. Then, pagans/wiccans might use something like "aura reading" or similar means - afaic, some can just pick up the "vibes" of people so it's almost automatic.

    There are so many approaches, but what it all boils down to, when there aren't any obvious clues to arouse suspicion, is that there's just a gut-level feeling sometimes, which is one of the most valuable tools we can have once we're aware of it.

    Once there's any suspicion or cause for further checking, the next steps would include checking out their site for obvious connections with other "affiliated" sites or networks of sites - and telltale signs of being heavily SEO'd. On other words, plain old SEO investigating so to speak, particulrly examining their linking patterns.

    Check out if they've got other sites linked to from the bottom of their pages - who are they to? what's the connection? Then, are they linking to other sites within their own site navigation, particularly toward the bottom of the homepage, giving the other sites a PR or an anchor text boost? Who's at the other end of those links? What shows up using linkdomain: at Yahoo Search? Who shows up at Google looking at "related" sites?

    The main obvious signals are sites that are new on the scene which may provide little in the way of tools for affiliates, which would be understandable for a new merchant, but with some, over time there isn't any sign of improvement or any sign of interest on their part with communicating with affiliates. Granted, there are some good ones who don't communicate or put forth much effort, but put together with the previous signals mentioned, it can give a thumbs up or thumbs down feeling.

    Added:
    Here, Poopie Nubert is giving a heads-up about a site that raised his suspicions, and he's got a much better trained "eye" than I would, having far more experience in affil markeing

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=66692
    Last edited by webworker; December 2nd, 2005 at 11:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    The reversals mentioned in the original post sound bogus. And, the correlation between high-ticket sales and reversals isn't limited to SAS. While there may be a legitimately higher reversal rate for those, I do believe that some merchants just can't bear to part with the real big commissions. It just seems to happen way too often.

    Quote Originally Posted by Webworker
    Once there's any suspicion or cause for further checking, the next steps would include checking out their site for obvious connections with other "affiliated" sites or networks of sites - and telltale signs of being heavily SEO'd. On other words, plain old SEO investigating so to speak, particulrly examining their linking patterns.

    Check out if they've got other sites linked to from the bottom of their pages - who are they to? what's the connection? Then, are they linking to other sites within their own site navigation, particularly toward the bottom of the homepage, giving the other sites a PR or an anchor text boost? Who's at the other end of those links? What shows up using linkdomain: at Yahoo Search? Who shows up at Google looking at "related" sites?

    The main obvious signals are sites that are new on the scene which may provide little in the way of tools for affiliates, which would be understandable for a new merchant, but with some, over time there isn't any sign of improvement or any sign of interest on their part with communicating with affiliates. Granted, there are some good ones who don't communicate or put forth much effort, but put together with the previous signals mentioned, it can give a thumbs up or thumbs down feeling.
    I agree that leaks are bad, although I'm not so sure about it meaning that there's a drop-shipper on the other side. To me it reeks more of desperation, or an overabundance of greed.

    But I have to take exception to some of these supposed "signs" that I quoted, because they could cause people to draw an inaccurate conclusion about many aspects of MY site (GoodBulbs). And, I think it could cause mal-conclusions about any site that's run by any person who also has lots of aff (or other) sites.

    As for me (I know you didn't specify me, but a lot of your signs might lead readers to the wrong conclusion about GoodBulbs, so):

    I'm NOT drop-shipping. I wouldn't put MY name (or company name) as the merchant, on anything where someone ELSE'S customer service and product are making the reputation. With my own hands on everything, I know exactly what's going on, and that's how I like it.

    SEO: OF COURSE I'm going to use everything I can. Unlike a lot of merchants, I've been playing this "game" since late 1999. Having a clue as to the basic things to put on a page isn't a bad sign, IMO. And to not link to my merchant site from my aff sites (with direct, non-commission-eating links) would be dumb.

    So yeah, I've got all the obvious stuff included--type of bulb, product name, nav as flat as I can make it (without sending the people to the Back button in a cloud of confusion)...

    RELATED SITES: Any merchant who doesn't link TO their merchant site from their other sites--with direct links that are spider-visible (and don't override tracking) is smoking something, unless there's some darn good reason not to! Those other sites = a source of free links from sites that will never refuse to link, after all! (Before anyone goes running over to G's related sites thing--most of the sites that come up in it are NOT mine.)

    *checks related links*
    G's method of reckoning "related sites" is pretty whacky judging by what it shows for mine...
    And Yahoo thinks ABW is the most related site! ROFL

    Seems that they both think that almost any site that links in is somehow related

    COMMUNICATION: Long-time readers of my posts know exactly what to expect there...

    TOOLS: The TWO tools that are actually worth a darn--datafeeds and Make-A-Page--are handled by SAS. Other stuff is junk anyhow...

    Check out if they've got other sites linked to from the bottom of their pages - who are they to? what's the connection?
    I agree completely that merchant sites shouldn't be leaky. The only offsite link I have down there goes to ZenCart, and I don't believe any real customers are going to click that! (If they do, they'll be back quickly after seeing what to them would be pretty boring stuff...)
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  14. #14
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    Here is one I got today
    "VOIDED Self-Referral I entered this phone order manually through web based system without clearing my affiliate cookie"

    How do you order by a manual phone order through a web based system?

    Merchants - Is it time to name names?


  15. #15
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    janew,

    For a lot of online merchants, especially smaller ones, when an order is received on the phone the easiest and sometimes only way to get it into the system is to process the order through their online store... as if the customer on the phone were typing in the information. The commission credits because the merchant often visits their affiliate's sites to see links, etc... It is so common that we have a help topic on the subject as well since a lot of merchants are suprised when they see it is an affiliate transaction, etc...

    As always, if you have concerns over specific transactions please forward that information to us.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  16. #16
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    It is so common that we have a help topic on the subject as well since a lot of merchants are suprised when they see it is an affiliate transaction, etc...
    Speaking of that, how about making the link to the "clear aff cookies" tool more obvious (like part of the main nav)? I had no idea where it is now that the SAS site's been redesigned (and it'd be a pain to have to go through the help files just to do that, anyway)...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  17. #17
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    I had a transaction voided today by Flora2000 for what i feel is a pretty lame reason. It is "VOIDED Non qualified lead Sale Affiliate Defined Sub-Tracking".

    What exactly is that and how can I counter this? When I spend my time, money and efforts marketing their site, the least they can do is pay out when I get my first sale through them.

  18. #18
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    We had a problem once where our shopping cart was having trouble processing a certain item on our site. My development manager (who must have at some time clicked an affiliate link).

    It took about 6 test orders to get the issue resolved, but they were all affiliate orders - I had to reverse them all as "Test Transactions".

    I believe there is a way in SAS to put a reversal as "Other" and leave a comment (I haven't looked there in a while - haven't been reversing much! )

    Even though its never come up, I would have no problem offering comprehensive documentation on a reversal at HomeOfDecor.

    Dave

  19. #19
    Full Member clyderose's Avatar
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    hi fsm,
    this is Clyde from Flora2000.com, can you get in touch with your website or a transaction id and i can tell you why i voided it. The main reason would be because the customer came through google with the keyword Flora2000 and you got credited due to that. We do not credit our partners for sales in major search engines with the use of our brand name. I definetly give comission if its a small or unheard of engine which is still not suppose to be done.
    Regards,
    Clyde

  20. #20
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Someone doing dropshipping IS a merchant! They just aren't the supplier.

    The supplier may or may not also be a merchant. But, the one doing dropshipping has all the same responsibility including taking the risk and losses due to bad credit cards.

    Dropshippers are very good to use when the merchant/supplier does not wish to have an affiliate program. And, often, even when the, too good for the Goddess, merchant DOES have a program, you can still get a better commission through the dropshipper's program.

    I wouldn't even have a whole lot of my products, at all, if I were not working through a dropshipper unless I wanted to assume the problems of being a dropshipper, myself.


    I had a crazy situation last month where a merchant did some kind of a crazy screw up for a couple of days. They must have been doing test purchases or something. But, I KNEW I did not get 37 transactions from the same link on the same page in only two or three days.

    I had to contact the merchant and and SAS to alert them to the problem before I could get them to stop doing it.

    Shit happens.
    Last edited by SSanf; March 8th, 2006 at 08:08 AM.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  21. #21
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clyderose
    hi fsm,
    this is Clyde from Flora2000.com, can you get in touch with your website or a transaction id and i can tell you why i voided it. The main reason would be because the customer came through google with the keyword Flora2000 and you got credited due to that. We do not credit our partners for sales in major search engines with the use of our brand name. I definetly give comission if its a small or unheard of engine which is still not suppose to be done.
    Regards,
    Clyde
    Is that in your terms of service? If not, you own the affiliate for the transaction!

    If that is your policy, you must state that in your terms of service or withholding payment is cheating the affiliate.

    If it is in your terms, the affiliate has no justifiable complaint. But, it would be good to tell them the reason.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  22. #22
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    What a joke!
    clyderose: I normally would support other merchants, but What a joke! That is absolutely ridiculous! You should be happy if google and Yahoo rank you affiliate sites high enough that affiliate cookies get tagged on your customers. Are you sure you should have and affiliate program?

    Plus - The unique names people have on there website should be an advantage to affiliates for advertising, not obstacles...People find me through the keyword ARA watches. ...That is a unique name that affiliates need and should want to work with.. Pretty tough to compete with words like flowers.

    I am not a big shareasale merchant - I am ranked well on search engines for many keywords and my site does well on its own....But there are a few affiliates that bring me sales and are right up there on the search engines with me on a few unique keywords....I do not get affiliate sales everyday, but when I do , $30 commissions are not uncommon for a watch....I am happy to give commission because it is more exposure and an affiliate worked hard enough to get me found, despite knowing who I am.

    I do not believe that merchants should be allowed to give reversals unless it is a test transaction, the sale got cancelled, or they are on two networks and they paid out a double commisson (in which case it should go to the last referral).......

    Setting dumb limits on an affiliate program will really hurt the industry.

    Cheers,
    Richard
    ARA Master Watchmaker & Sons
    www.masterwatchmaker.net

  23. #23
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    If it isn't in their TOS, I would certainly have to count that as a scam. Although, I don't think they intended it to be since they came here and admitted it and don't appear to see anything wrong with it.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  24. #24
    Newbie wesleyt's Avatar
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    (continuing on this subject...)

    Besides which, if your name came up high on
    Google because of PPC advertising, then you
    most definately owe the affiliate the sale.

    Wesley
    -------------------------------------------
    All our food has improved flavor...except the napkins -- they taste the same.

  25. #25
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    Their terms say

    "You may not use the word Flora2000 or Flora2000.com in any search engine optimization text"

    which is a pretty general comment. One persons opinion of qualifying something as "search engine optimization text" and anothers can vary greatly.

    That aside, I thought the whole purpose of a mechant having an affiliate program is to use it as another form of advertising? Do you run an ad in the newpaper asking people to buy flowers from you and then not tell them who you are are or where you are located? No? I didn't think so. But that is exactly what you are asking your affiliates to do by setting such limits on them.
    ~Michelle
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