Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 28
  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    mailordering.com
    Posts
    906
    I have been approched by many merchants offering their own affiliate programs. Anyone have any comments?Is this the new trend? Are merchants leaving the "Trusted Third Parties?
    Gerry

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,054
    I think it's true. Some good programs are now available for merchants to create their own affiliate programs. I have found that some of the best affiliate managers have set up their own programs. A couple examples are Clubmom.com (Shawn Collins) and FurnitureFind.com (Craig Summerix).

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,650
    I don't know the trends, but I've had experience both good and not-so-good with independent merchants. I'd say if their products/services are a good match for your mix, independents are worth a try. Move cautiously, though. Do some small-scale testing to sort the duds from the dreamboats, then expand your promotions for those who perform well.

    With independent affiliate programs it's important to read the fine print carefully when you join. You *don't* want surprises coming later! You may have to dig for the terms about cookies (or lack of). It's usually buried about seventeen paragraphs deep in the terms of service. I find the certification checklist from affiliateunion.com is helpful when evaluating a new merchant.

    Elisabeth Archambault

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    mailordering.com
    Posts
    906
    Anyone know where someone can get more information on the software?
    Gerry

  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    12,817
    As for trends, I really haven't seen a trend toward non-network merchants--I see a smattering as always.

    COMMENTS:

    I'd say that the basic methods for choosing merchants are about the same whether in or out of a network.

    TIPS on what to watch out for, take 'em or leave 'em:

    Does it look like somebody slapped the page together quick in the hopes of a quick buck? Watch out if the answer is Yes!

    Are there Terms and Conditions? No Terms = No contract. In other words, they don't have to pay!

    When Terms ARE present, read them! Every last little, boring, legalistic word!!! Take a few days if you have to, but don't click Join until you've read it ALL! Scum can be hidden anywhere. It tends to like the middle and the end as a hiding place--BUT some have the manure right in the first clause!

    Is the product saleable?!!

    Do the prices and commissions indicate that the merchant will have enough left for all expenses? Watch out for things that are way cheaper than they should be!

    Is the merchant within suing distance? It's not going to be nearly as intimidating for a dud to get a suit threat if you're 2,000+ miles from them as it would if you were only a couple of states away.

    Do they make false statements! Like, "YOU WILL MAKE A MINT peddling our stuff" (it's impossible for them to know what you'll make, so the claim is pure BS), or "We're the Number One site that sells X" (and you know they're NOT), etc. Run if they do!

    All affiliate programs seem to die sometime. There are usually clear signs (but not always). Look for the signs.

    Most merchants that close their programs will take your last check with 'em. If a program's already deteriorating, it probably isn't worth bothering to sign up! It's like choosing produce: Don't pick veggies that are already starting to mold!!

    If the place has been through 5 networks and then goes indy, it's not because they don't think the networks have value! It's because they have 5 bootprints on their butt...

  6. #6
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,157
    I don't think there will be a mass exodus from using the main solution providers (Be Free, CJ, LinkShare & Performics), but I think it is definitely a trend on some level.

    I moved the ClubMom program from Be Free to MyAffiliateProgram largely because I didn't think I was getting a great ROI from Be Free.

    After a seamless relaunch, our affiliates are getting everything they got from Be Free, plus their links are shorter, and stats are now real-time.

    And our checks will be processed by Paychex (who does the ClubMom employee payroll), rather than running them through the Be Free system.

    Since announcing that we were leaving Be Free, I've been contacted by a number of merchants that are using the various solution providers, and I can say with confidence that there will be defections in the coming quarters.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,279
    I don't think there's a trend, either -- except Yahoo stores seems to now offer an affiliate program as part of their setup. Don't know how long they've offered it, but I've just started seeing sites using it.

    With all the caveats others have listed, my single top performer moved from a network program to their own... mid-month (a bit back). I already have their check from the second half of the month when they moved -- the first half, with the network, even though it has been marked as "paid" for a some time, I have yet to see.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    West Coast USA
    Posts
    3,043
    I'd find out who the top affiliate guy/gal is and talk to them on the phone. Do they have a forum to talk things over?

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    135
    Leader brought up a valid point about reading the affiliate agreement. Sometimes, there is troubling language that gives the merchant sweeping powers. ClubMom, for example, is one of several programs that have a clause wherein they can cancel the affiliate [for fraud or SPAM; comment inserted later for clarity] and keep the affiliate's money.

    I've heard great things about Shawn and ClubMom, so I've always wondered about the reason for that clause and why an affiliate should forfeit commissions. It seems wide open for abuse.

    [ 01-22-2002: Message edited by: SpongeBo ]

    [ 01-24-2002: Message edited by: SpongeBo ]

  10. #10
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,157
    SpongeBo - regarding your comments and concerns about the ClubMom affiliate agreement (http://www.clubmomaffiliates.com/aff...eement.shtml), where in our agreement do you see a clause that enables us to "cancel the affiliate at any time and keep the affiliate's money"?

    There are two cases where we explicitly state that affiliates will have their account closed and forfeit their commissions: if they send spam with their CLubMom affiliate link, or commit fraud against us.

    Otherwise, any affiliate whose account is terminated with reason (such as violating our agreement by promoting us on a site that was not approved by us) is paid in full.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    796
    Where's the checks and balances with a merchant run affiliate program? Where's the quality control on the merchant, the affiliate, and the affiliate program? Where's the consistancy?

    I'm afraid the old "trust me, I'll be honest" claim has been violated a little too often in the wild west of cyberspace. Aren't merchant-operated affiliate programs akin to letting the wolf tend the sheep?

    A scamming or deadbeat merchant or a spamming affiliate won't last long in a network.

    With a third party in the soup who has money to lose if things aren't kept honest, there's some hope to eventually catch up with the crooks, and there's some consistancy and quality control.

    The bottom line for me has been that network-operated programs outperform the merchant-operated programs by a large margin.

    I really wish there were some A+ merchant-run affiliate programs because I think the network operators are gouging the transaction ... but in my book the networks are the lesser of the evils.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,157
    Whiznot - any affiliate program, whether it is with a major affiliate solution provider or in-house, is subject to the only real third party checks and balances - the affiliates that talk about which programs are good and which are scams.

    Would you say CyberRebate was a safer bet than Amazon, since CyberRebate was with LinkShare and Amazon is in-house?

    The top credit card program - NextCard - they have a CJ program, but they also have a rather successful in-house program.

    Top matchmaking affiliate program - Match.com - in-house.

    What does a program have to do to be a "A+ merchant-run affiliate program" in your book?

    Shawn
    ClubMom

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    796
    Shawn, your program may be fine ... and the fact that you dare participate in an open forum like this is a good form of check and balance in my book, because if you anything less than top-notch you'd get pounded on real fast.

    Many of the merchant-run programs are too small to get talked about on forums like this. Only the biggest affiliate programs tend to get talked about. It's very rare that I get any feedback on merchants when posting inquiries on the forums.

    Right now I'm passing up a merchant-run affiliate program with a well-know merchant that I would really like to work with and I know I could send them thousands of highly targeted visitor a month starting today. I'm passing them up because I can't even get a phone number to call for details about their reporting. These clowns want me to download their one-sided agreement, give them my life's history, sign it, and fax it to their legal department when there's not a soul I can talk to before hand. They've done a perfectly thorough job of hiding any personal contacts. It appears they see cyberspace as a big cash cow that doesn't need any personal contact. How utterly stupid! And most of the merchant run programs I've run into have some similar form of stupidity right up front. And my biggest collection headaches of the last thirty days have been with merchant-run programs.

    I don't want to get into listing all the things that would make an A+ affiliate program ... it would take a small book ... most of them have already been discussed in the threads of this forum and since you hang out here, I imagine you know what they are, and probably practice them.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    135
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>ClubMom may terminate this Agreement at any time if your site is determined (at our *sole discretion*) to be unsuitable for the Program, even if your site has not changed since the time that your Affiliate Program application was accepted. ClubMom also reserves the right to monitor Affiliate sites at any time to determine whether they are in compliance with this Agreement. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That's the cancellation part. Though forfeiture is not in this passage, you do keep commissions for "spamming," but don't define spamming clearly enough.

    Why forfeit commissions at all? Shawn, you're a good person. But what if an affiliate manager were not? What if a merchant decided that I was spamming and kept commissions?

    I'm not convinced that spamming--or any behavior--merits forfeiture. Cancellation, yes. Forfeiture, no.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    796
    Shawn, I took a look at your affiliate page. Did you really pay one affiliate $75,000 one month? If that was based on your current 25 cents pay per registration, then you would have received 300,000 registrations that month just from that affiliate.

    Your site also says your top December affiliate earned only $875. What happened to that super affiliate?

  16. #16
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,157
    Hi Whiznot - yes, we paid Wotch.com (they confirmed this in the AssociatePrograms.com newsletter - http://www.associateprograms.com/sea...tter120.shtml) $75,203.75 in May 2000.

    This was based on a different acquisition effort for us where we paid a CPA of $1.00, and there was an incentive of free chocolate to moms that completed the registration.

    The reason that our numbers were unusually low for December was that we were closing our Be Free program on Dec 31, 2001, and we were encouraging everybody to get their links down. So far this month, we've tripled the commissions paid out in December 2001.

    Shawn
    ClubMom

  17. #17
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,157
    Spongebo - Honestly, I didn't think there was any gray area with spam/UCE (unsolicited commercial e-mail) - if an affiliate sends e-mail promoting ClubMom to a list of people that have not opted-in to receive messages from that affiliate, that to me is spam.

    Do you have a different interpretation?

    Anyhow, if I receive a complaint that an affiliate has sent spam, or I come across a posting on the Newsgroup: news.admin.net-abuse.sightings, I dig in and do some homework.

    I won't just make a suddent decision to hold the commission - I will talk to the affiliate and the person that complained (if possible), and request any documentation that the person was indeed on an opt-in list.

    You're entitled to your opinion that spamming does not merit the forfeiture of commission. But I disagree with you. Spam in the name of ClubMom is damaging to our company and our brand - we've spent a lot of money to build our reputation, and I am not going to reward anybody that recklessly risks what we've built for their own profit.

    We clearly state the perils of spamming in our agreement, and frankly, I would rather not work with anybody that is turned off by our stance on spam.

    I'm curious how you would defend spamming, and believe that such behavior would be deserving of payment?

    Shawn
    ClubMom

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    796
    Shawn, I wish you the best of success with your new merchant-operated affiliate program. What made you select MyAffiliateProgram software from Kowabunga?

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    135
    Shawn:

    I wasn't defending SPAM, and I don't SPAM. And no, there is no universal definition of SPAM. Google, for example, considers repeating a phrase too much as SPAM. Another merchant considers putting a link at the bottom of a opt-in newsletter to be SPAM. The definition of SPAM is arbitrary and open to carpricious behavior.

    On the other hand, if I made money promoting your product, I expect to be paid, no matter whether or not you perceive that I damaged your reputation. I will *never* give any affiliate program the right to keep money that I earned. It's too arbitrary, as I've said several times, and too open to interpretation. Affiliate managers get fired. What SPAM interpretation will the next affiliate manager have?

    ClubMom has decent affiliate terms, on the whole. Most places don't. Have you seen those terms demanded by PeopleFrist? They are beyond ridiculous. I mentioned you and ClubMom only because you had posted earlier, not because you are a suspicious merchant.

    On the other hand, I've repeated twice that I've heard good things about you and ClubMom (now it's three). I've furthered the reputation of you and you affiliate program. Are you willing to pay me for that? I didn't think so. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    [ 01-23-2002: Message edited by: SpongeBo ]

  20. #20
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,157
    SpongeBo - I'm not sure where you found the Google definition of Spam, but I would suggest you take a look to www.cauce.org (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email) if you truly crave specifics about Spam.

    BTW, which "merchant considers putting a link at the bottom of a opt-in newsletter to be SPAM"?

    As I mentioned previously, I consider spam to be synonymous with UCE (unsolicited commercial e-mail).

    Your attitude of "if I made money promoting your product, I expect to be paid," has been echoed to me countless times by people that I have caught for trying to steal from me.

    In fact, I had an experience last year with a gentleman where he promoted ClubMom with the following copy of hs site:

    ---------

    Click on the banner to get your access to my server!! You will get a username and password that gives you full access.

    Instructions:

    1) On the top-left, click the button to join the site. If the button does not appear, you need to click on the "ClubMom" icon on the top left, then sign out, and sign up again.

    2) On the final page, titled "Thanks for joining ClubMom!" the username and password are the first word on the last line. (All lower-case. It begins with an "e.")

    NOTE: You do NOT have to verify your email address. You can type fake info if you like.

    ---------

    He too thought he was fully deserving of a commission check.

    You said "I will *never* give any affiliate program the right to keep money that I earned." And I certainly agree - all money earned by affiliates should be paid by affiliates.

    As an affiliate myself, I read an agreement before I join a program. If I have a question about something, I shoot a note to the affiliate maanger. If they don't respond, or their response is not to my liking, I simply do not promote them.

    I appreciate that you've stated that you heard good things about myself and ClubMom - I suppose we can let that cancel out your mistaken statement ClubMom has "a clause wherein they can cancel the affiliate at any time and keep the affiliate's money."

    Shawn
    ClubMom

  21. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    135
    .

    [ 01-24-2002: Message edited by: SpongeBo ]

  22. #22
    Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    86
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Hi Whiznot - yes, we paid Wotch.com $75,203.75 in May 2000<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    They were the days! [img]tongue.gif[/img]

  23. #23
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,157
    Whiznot - Thanks - I chose MyAffiliateProgram after analyzing what everybody had to offer and the costs of their offerings.

    I like their technology & interface a lot, their service is fantastic, and their pricing (flat fees, rather than a % of the action) has cut my average monthly service fee costs significantly.

    Shawn
    ClubMom

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Syracuse
    Posts
    4,205
    Hi Shawn, I joined your program. I just have one question for now. It looks like clicks are in real time. Are leads also in real time? Thanks. Umm how long before I can ask for a raise? <IMG src=http://www.abestweb.com/ubb/icons/icon38.gif>

    One other thing. I went to add the banner and text link that you have on my first page to get links. The banner didn't load. I went to the other links and got a different one. I receive probably about 65% women to my site so this might work out for both of us. Take care!

  25. #25
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,157
    SpongeBo -

    1. Nothing personal here, I was just explaining my end of it. I responded to your assertion that spamming should not result in forfeiture of commissions. Like you said, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

    2. We certainly cannot "unilaterally make a decision and keep commissions." When we contact somebody re: fraud or spam, we do so after careful consideration of the legal implications of such an accusation, and we are sure to have sufficient material to prove our case. We don't play any games with people, which is why you never see anybody claim that we did not pay them.

    3. No, I do not mention the cauce definiton as the sole defintion of spam in my contract. I was providing that as a point of clarification to you, because I consider it to be something of a universal definition.

    Good luck to you.

    Shawn
    ClubMom

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. What about merchants who don't appear to have an affiliate program?
    By Lindy Rig in forum Newbie Affiliate FAQs & Helpful Articles
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: November 20th, 2012, 01:14 PM
  2. Merchants: Are You Sabotaging Your Affiliate Program?
    By Greg Rice in forum Merchant Best Practices Forum
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: January 21st, 2009, 03:46 PM
  3. Replies: 32
    Last Post: October 21st, 2008, 10:10 AM
  4. Replies: 22
    Last Post: May 17th, 2004, 08:29 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •