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  1. #1
    Internet Cowboy
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    Parasite-Free Networks and Merchants with multiple platforms.
    Did you just find a new merchant on the network that touts itself to be completely free of parastes? Isn't it a nice feeling knowing you can promote this merchant and not worry about parasites? It is! Or is it?

    What if this merchant you just found at the parasite-free network has another program on another affiliate network and that program has parasites in it? What will happen? Your traffic will get stomped on and your cookie will be reset the same as if you were in the program where they allow parasites.

    Most parasites are triggered by a URL on the merchant's web site, usually in their shopping cart or somewhere in the buying process. So if you sent your visitor from a parasite free network, it matters not once they are on the merchant's site. You will lose this sale to the parasite every time if it is on the shopper's computer.

    I encourage you to look at this and consider the question "Are merchants and Affiliate Managers taking advantage of affiliates by doing this?"

    If a merchant has parasites in their program at one network, then joins one of the many, smaller networks that actively seek out parasites and cheaters and remove them, can they claim to be parasite free just because they are on a network that does not allow parasites and cheaters? I think NOT!!!

    Let the smaller networks know that these merchants are taking advantage of their reputation in the merchant's attempt to dupe affiliates.

    I have tried multiple times to get some of these smaller networks to use an icon to let affiliates know that a given merchant does or does not have an affiliate program elsewhere, but to no avail.

    Affiliates need to know if the merchant has another program on another network. The smaller network should also know this because parasites stealing sales from affiliates are then stealing sales from the smaller networks too.

    I will not say that I will never promote a merchant who operates on multiple platforms. What I WILL say, is that I will not spend any money or even serious amounts of time promoting such a merchant.


  2. #2
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    If they're clean on both platforms, I don't see a problem. If they're clean on one and have parasites on another, then it's a problem as far as the parasite part.

  3. #3
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    If they're clean on both platforms, I don't see a problem. If they're clean on one and have parasites on another, then it's a problem as far as the parasite part.
    My point exactly. If they have parasites on one then they have parasites on both, even if one is an outspoke anti-parasite network.
    I can name several programs that fall into this scenario right now. There was a recent thread about Omahasteaks on SAS. There are others too and I think that affiliates should be encouraged to stay away from these programs all together.


  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    AM's running program that consider it OK to double dip their boss and advertise on their competitions web sites vai BHO's parade here their ethics and view of a level playing field.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  5. #5
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Where's the accountability from EVERY network?! I guess we've all been asking that for years. Remove the P's platforms and they can't cheat..

    hmm maybe someday, or then again while it's unregulated, maybe not..

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    And remember, outside of a network, private deals can stil be made and tracking put in place. I posted about dualies re" Omaha Steaks which was intra-networks, but also posted about an ink merchant who missed SAHS so much after the CJ boot, that the ink merchant penned a private deal with SAHS using SAHS's tracking.

    And since tracking is often scripted server side, not client side, and sits on secure cart pages, it can be very difficult to know all the parties who can reach into the cookie jar.

  7. #7
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary-AvantLink
    Where's the accountability from EVERY network?! I guess we've all been asking that for years. Remove the P's platforms and they can't cheat..

    hmm maybe someday, or then again while it's unregulated, maybe not..
    Accountability from every network would be wonderful. Unfortunately it is about as promising as a visit from the Easter Bunny.
    This is where the AvantLink and SAS and other networks with ardent anti-parasite stances can shine.

    Want to get a leg up on your competitors? All you have to do is let the affiliate know which of your merchants do or do not operate an affiliate program on another network/platform or in-house. This is NOT telling your merchants that they must be exclusive to you, but it is letting your affiliates know which merchants they don't have to worry about parasites with and which ones they do.

    If you have a merchant on your network who has parasites in their program at another network and you call this merchant parasite-free, you are doing a terrible dis-service to your publishers. Furthermore, this merchant is staining the reputation of your network if you do not disclose their involvement with other networks to alert potential affiliates that some research might be in order.

    Given the choice of two very similar merchants, one operating two programs across different networks and one operating only on your network, my guess is that an affiliate would choose the one operating a single program 80% or more of the time. The more educated the affiliate is about how these things actually work, the higher that percentage would be!
    Last edited by UncleScooter; March 6th, 2006 at 07:34 PM. Reason: changed wording


  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    I agree that this can be a real issue and think it's important to realize that parasites are "connected" to a merchant and not necessarily a network. To claim to be parasite free when they're not, is not only wrong but can/should damage that merchant's reputation.

    I will also add that there are legitimate, well intentioned reasons for being on multiple networks. Freelance Work Exchange originally signed up with CJ and they were listed as a UK program. They thought they could open their program up to more affiliates by also working with SAS, which they did about a year before I signed with them. Most here know my stance on parasites and know I donít work with them. Rob Palmer is in total agreement with this "no parasite" stand. He doesn't want fast cash but long term relationships, which makes my job easier.

    With thousands of affiliates, it can be difficult to know what each one is up to but I can say I know who is generating clicks and sales with us and am working on more personal relationships with them. Today, affiliates need to know what all of their prospective merchants are doing, whether or not they run on multiple networks. If youíre serious about affiliate marketing, you need to know who you partner with. It IS, after all, a partnership.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  9. #9
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rice
    I will also add that there are legitimate, well intentioned reasons for being on multiple networks. Freelance Work Exchange originally signed up with CJ and they were listed as a UK program. They thought they could open their program up to more affiliates by also working with SAS, which they did about a year before I signed with them.
    It's quality affiliates, not quantity that you should want. Signing up with another network to "open up" your program to more affiliates is backwards to me. Well intentioned maybe, but misguided.

    I'd argue that any affiliate you'd truly want in your program is completely capable of being there through either CJ or SAS and you don't need to be at both places simultaneously to recruit quality affs.

    The idea that quality affiliates only operate in one location is wrong, in my opinion. The idea that good recruiting comes from affiliates casually browsing through a network's merchant listings is also false.

    As a merchant, you are increasing the baseline fees and work duplicated in order to get on multiple platforms, so you'll be reducing your ROI, decreasing your available service timeslice for your affilaites and in the eyes of knowing affiliates like myself and Uncle Scooter, getting a big black eye concerning the ability for us to know, and for you to police, bad actors in your program.

    Good luck with that. I'll be dodging dualies as best I can.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    I totally agree itís quality affiliates we want and not quantity. As I said, the decision to open on SAS was made over 1 year ago, before I was involved with their program. The thought then wasnít quantity either but a different pool of affiliates. Listing with CJ as a UK merchant means many US affiliates wonít see the program information because of their settings. Listing on SAS was a way to get exposure to US affiliates. I am working with CJ to get this changed, though.

    I also agree that the quality affiliates are likely on most, if not all, of the major networks. Iím not one who thinks a merchant should rely solely on any network for recruiting.

    The only ďwork duplicatedĒ experienced so far was in the creation of our newsletter since CJ and SAS had to be coded differently but total time for the second newsletter was probably less than an hour since they both had very similar content. Policing 1,000 affiliates on SAS is much easier than the same number on CJ. The amount of time policing, per affiliate, does not increase because we are with SAS too. In fact, the time required to police, per affiliate, decreases with each new affiliate who joins via SAS. Outside of the newsletter, Iím not experiencing any other issues about my timeslice for my affiliates. How my time is spent with affiliates is a matter of priorities. Top priorities for me are resolving issues quickly and policing, protecting my clients and our affiliates. Issues are addressed when they happen and checking for bad players is done 3-4 times per day. Running a solid and clean program are my priorities.


    While I understand, and respect, your concerns about my ability to police the bad guys, I donít agree that running on CJ and SAS decreases my ability. You and I have talked a few times and you know I have the utmost respect for your opinion as a seasoned, successful affiliate. Iím not here to try to change your mind but to say that I donít see my ability to police being affected because we are on CJ and SAS. I wonít go into the details but running on both networks has been discussed a few times with FWE.

    Thanks for your input, I do appreciate it.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  11. #11
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    "I'd argue that any affiliate you'd truly want in your program is completely capable of being there through either CJ or SAS and you don't need to be at both places simultaneously to recruit quality affs."

    Well, some affiliates have their favorite networks and they could be good affiliates. Ssanf as an example. No longer has merchants on CJ, but lots of them on SAS. Sometimes if you're only on one network and that network takes a turn for the worse, it's good to have that other option available. For merchants that want to be on a network at this point, I like the CJ/SAS combo. They usually go 1-2 in the voting of favorite networks.

  12. #12
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    The UK reason is legit and had not occured to me. Not a smart thing, shame on me.

    If SAS decreases the time to police, then I hope you push to have all your US affs there and only there.

    And yes, we often discuss things offline, I did not mean to aim my questions at you specifically. Rather I meant you as a merchant and really meant any merchant, not specficially you.

    All that said, and throw in my personal and unwavering endorsement for you as an AM as well, even in this particular dual platform program, given the choice between a dualie or not, with all else being equal, I'll pass on the dualie EVERY time.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Thanks Donuts, sorry if I misunderstood your post. I greatly appreciate your kind words. It's no secret that SAS is my first choice. I have 2 other clients besides FWE on SAS and 1 more that agreed to terms, but hasn't inked the agreement yet, that will be on SAS as well. There's one more who is working the numbers. If they sign, it will be SAS too (I discussed this with them already).

    So, I lost you with FWE but have some new merchants, you may be interested in, coming online soon.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
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  14. #14
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    I look forward to hearing about them Greg, as always.

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