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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    I've seen Andy too and I like his position.
    Taking a position doesn't really make a difference. SAS is a great network but the reality is that CJ is a top network and all their merchants aren't moving. And CJ has it's benefits over SAS too. If a program is doing 250k a month in SAS, in CJ it can probably do double that as there are many affs that don't work with SAS for whatever reason. Big guys. Maybe that will change but right now that's the way it is.
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  2. #2
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akiva
    Taking a position doesn't really make a difference. SAS is a great network but the reality is that CJ is a top network and all their merchants aren't moving. And CJ has it's benefits over SAS too. If a program is doing 250k a month in SAS, in CJ it can probably do double that as there are many affs that don't work with SAS for whatever reason. Big guys. Maybe that will change but right now that's the way it is.
    Akiva,

    I beg to differ but in order to not sidetrack this thread, I won't go into deep explanation. Let's just say i'm not interested in working with the "big guys" that wouldn't want to work with SAS.

    IMO, the size of the "network" today has very little to do with a programs success. Case in ChecksUnlimited on BF the SAS and I have others...

    "How" the network "facilitates" the merchant / affiliate relationship is key.

    Today IMO, the "value" of any network has shifted to the affiliates that support it. A network without affiliates is well, a software platform...
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Andy,

    The big guys are not necessarily those whom we don't like. As we've seen many affs will say: "Merchant X is using parasites, everybody drop them!" Yet how many actually do? This has been a major issue. Larger merchants are attracted to larger networks. It's that simple. Many affiliates put their time and energy into larger merchants and that is where you have brand recognition and better conversion. Again, SAS is great and I also support their network but the fact is there are at least 5 other SAS competitors whereas CJ and LS dominate. Supporting one network over the other doesn't get the AM industry anywhere. Positive change within the industry as a whole, working together and supporting eachother is what will make everyone cash so that we can live happy, peaceful lives. Vandetta's, bias etc. don't get you anywhere in business. Cooperation does. If only CJ would cooperate more with their Advertisers and Publishers there wouldn't be threads like this one...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Rodriguez
    Akiva,

    I beg to differ but in order to not sidetrack this thread, I won't go into deep explanation. Let's just say i'm not interested in working with the "big guys" that wouldn't want to work with SAS.

    IMO, the size of the "network" today has very little to do with a programs success. Case in ChecksUnlimited on BF the SAS and I have others...

    "How" the network "facilitates" the merchant / affiliate relationship is key.

    Today IMO, the "value" of any network has shifted to the affiliates that support it. A network without affiliates is well, a software platform...
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  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I thought this discussion was worthy to be split out so nobody would have to feel guilty about bring the other thread off topic.

    I agree with Andy here. Merchants can actually do better on SAS than on the big networks. Sure, many of us will still work with merchants even if they're parasite-infested, but that doesn't mean we'll promote them as much. How much I promote a merchant varies depending on the EPC I earn. And the fact is, parasite-infested merchants have lower EPCs.

    Checks Unlimited is the perfect example. Once they moved over to SAS and became parasite-free, the program exploded. (Of course an incredible OPM helped, too, but I don't think he could have done anywhere near as good if he kept the program at BeFree.)

    Another advantage on SAS is that merchants pay a lower network fee so they can afford to pay higher commissions.
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  5. #5
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akiva
    The big guys are not necessarily those whom we don't like. As we've seen many affs will say: "Merchant X is using parasites, everybody drop them!" Yet how many actually do? This has been a major issue. Larger merchants are attracted to larger networks. It's that simple. Many affiliates put their time and energy into larger merchants and that is where you have brand recognition and better conversion. Again, SAS is great and I also support their network but the fact is there are at least 5 other SAS competitors whereas CJ and LS dominate. Supporting one network over the other doesn't get the AM industry anywhere. Positive change within the industry as a whole, working together and supporting eachother is what will make everyone cash so that we can live happy, peaceful lives. Vandetta's, bias etc. don't get you anywhere in business. Cooperation does. If only CJ would cooperate more with their Advertisers and Publishers there wouldn't be threads like this one...
    Akiva, in 2003, I would have agreed with you. Since then, I grew tired of waiting for CJ to "cooperate". As I tried to make points, they have staff members whose job includes talking merchants into ebates and more.

    And my position has gotten me very far in my business.

    "If only CJ would cooperate more with their Advertisers and Publishers there wouldn't be threads like this one..."
    As the years have passed, I have come to view this as hoping, not a plan. Business people take steps to improve their business, they don't wish and hope for changes to occur.

    I am not knocking you, I know enough about you to know you're not naive and you are a professional business person with lots of talent and smarts. But I do wonder how long your patience will last if CJ never takes the step you'd like to see... Personally, I see them moving farther away from my interests and yours, not closer.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    I am not knocking you, I know enough about you to know you're not naive and you are a professional business person with lots of talent and smarts. But I do wonder how long your patience will last if CJ never takes the step you'd like to see... Personally, I see them moving farther away from my interests and yours, not closer.
    Well, thank you

    Looking at what I wrote, I think it could be said more clearer. First off, there's no point in a CJ vs. SAS or vs. LS or vs. any network. Affiliates will join whichever network they feel can make them cash. Theoretically an affiliate can join 40 networks but in reality it does not happen. There's a reason why everyone is up in arms about CJ. And when people say they are dropping links, leaving etc. there'll just be someone else that will come and snap up the opportunity. You can't threaten CJ or any network by saying "fine, I'm leaving". They don't care because they know that as soon as you leave, someone else will be making that money you made.

    Now...

    Point #1: From the publisher end en-masse, CJ is a gold mine. Many, many affiliates (or publishers in CJ terms) earn their income soley from CJ merchants. How or why does not matter. They do. I know who some of them are and while many of them read ABW daily or once in a blue moon, some don't post and some are not even registered. A while back I emailed one and asked him to join a program on the SAS network and he told me he only works with CJ and LS merchants. I don't know why he didn't join SAS or for that matter ShareResults, Clixgalore etc., but the fact is he didn't. I guess he feels he has enough at CJ and LS to keep him busy. Well, he's also in an Asian country that has a high fraud rate - that may explain it.

    Point #2: CJ is not going away no matter how many merchants move to SAS and the CJ board here at ABW will still be plenty active. The fact is, merchants make money by using CJ. They don't want to move. Going from the dying BeFree to SAS was a forced choice - that doesn't mean SAS is better or worse in terms of a network.

    Point #3: If you want to get into the technical details of CJ vs. SAS, CJ wins the tech side. I know their system inside out and for a merchant it's a pleasure. You can send your datafeed to CJ via FTP or CJ pulls it from your server - daily whereas with SAS you need to email it to them and it takes a few days to show up. CJ imports within 2 hours. If a merchant pays a few bucks more, you get better internal recruiting tools like pulling up affiliate accounts which are not joined to your program and literally researching affiliates BEFORE you make them an offer to join. Batch corrections are the bomb for merchants. Just FTP over your cancelled returned order id's and amounts in a delimited text file and CJ processes it within 2 hours. A merchants dream. This is not to say that CJ is better per se but by being a so to speak "higher volume network", CJ is forced to implement these more advanced features. Again, SAS is great. So is LS. So is any other network. They're all great if they earn you money. However a large merchant will want to go with the dominator. It's the nature of the biz.

    Therefore I come to my final point and that is that hoping for more cooperation is just that, hope. But at least there's hope. Claiming to disown CJ (now come on, if you're doing well with CJ merchants are you really gonna leave?) because of whatever reason, doesn't get you or us as a business community anywhere. And if you do leave CJ, there are at least five affiliates waiting to take your place.

    Go SAS!
    Go CJ!
    Go LS!
    Go networks!
    Go indies!

    ... off to fill my tummy with some steak
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  7. #7
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    What you just posted is before these recent events. If the only option is javascript, if it goes in any direction, affiliates putting up CJ links, it won't be more for the many reasons already posted. Those merchants making money on a big network can make that money anywhere. Take Checks Unlimited. Going from BF to SAS and doing a lot better. You don't need a big network. You need a good program. And if the network gets in the way, then you move on, you don't accept it. Why any merchant would accept this is beyond me. Like a few people have already said. Make it an option. If not, they don't care what you think and that's not a network you want to do business with.
    Last edited by Trust; May 25th, 2006 at 07:09 PM.

  8. #8
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    [QUOTE][Yet how many actually do? /QUOTE]

    Some don't, but more are than even a year ago. I'm talking to those affs and I'm seeing their sites. There are affs who are becoming more proactive on that. At the least they are acting on that bit of information in some way within their own business model.

    You can't threaten CJ or any network by saying "fine, I'm leaving". They don't care because they know that as soon as you leave, someone else will be making that money you made.
    Agree about just threatening to leave a Network isn't productive.

    What should be the point is what Network matches best with an affiliate. Sure CJ isn't going away anytime soon. And I personally don't think CJ is going to change their minds on the link thing. They sure as heck didn't when they made the last change to their links and folks had to change them out. OTOH, it isn't the same CJ as 2 years ago. And CJ may well not be the place for some affs to maximize their revenue potential at anymore. It doesn't mean those affs can't make money and even good money at AM. Just that CJ may not be the best place for them to do it. And there are options for them. Having options is a good thing. It breeds competitiveness in business. And it levels the playing field.

    But business is about being about making good choices in your business relationships. And while there are some affs who are doing just fine on CJ (as with any network), there are others I've talked to who have taken a huge hit only promoting CJ for different reasons. And they've finally moved on elsewhere (those who didn't drop out of AM all together) and they are making a go of it elsewhere.

    And change within the Industry can be made to happen when people stick up for a certain philosophy (whatever that philosophy may be). If SAS is a better solution for an aff currently, then they'd be a fool not to be there just because CJ was a good choice in the past.

    As it stands now, there are some affs who are going to take a hit to their business with the link change. They'd be neglect if they weren't thinking of contingency plans right now if things go through as CJ has stated (what little has been said). For those affs, SAS (along with some others) may well be a viable option. Taking a wait and see attitude hoping CJ will change their mind until June 23rd would not be a very smart business approach IMHO.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    What you just posted is before these recent events. If the only option is javascript, if it goes in any direction, affiliates putting up CJ links, it won't be more for the many reasons already posted. Those merchants making money on a big network can make that money anywhere. Take Checks Unlimited. Going from BF to SAS and doing a lot better. You don't need a big network. You need a good program. And if the network gets in the way, then you move on, you don't accept it. Why any merchant would accept this is beyond me.
    Many merchants join CJ or LS as they see their competitors there. Plus CJ does have better internal recruiting tools on the merchant end. I can sorta "browse" the CJ network of publishers and decide which ones to ask to join my program, even offer them a better offer if they join etc. Other networks don't. It comes down to a few things but the bottom line is that CJ is not going away and if anyone thinks that leaving or threatening to delete links makes CJ care, it doesn't. There are tons of affiliates waiting to earn the cash that you earn. If you can earn more at another network, definately do so but don't think that CJ cares.
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  10. #10
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    "Other networks don't."

    Maybe presently. But networks make changes all the time. Some make bad changes, some make good. This is a bad one. Some have become too dependent on CJ. What about your partners, does it matter what they think? I don't see much positive response. Who's in charge? Networks have a lot of merchants conditioned that you need them and it comes across in some posts. It's like a bad marriage. Starts off great but then things go bad and you stay because you don't think there's anything better out there.

  11. #11
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    [QUOTE][if anyone thinks that leaving or threatening to delete links makes CJ care, it doesn't. /QUOTE]

    That may very well be true.

    But then how to what degree should a business care about their clients? Personally, I'm kind of fond of the businesses I partner with caring about our business relationship.

    But you are right and the bigger a corporation gets the degree of 'not caring' seems to also grow proportionally.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    "Other networks don't."

    Maybe presently. But networks make changes all the time. Some make bad changes, some make good. This is a bad one. You've become too dependent on CJ. What about your partners, does it matter what they think? I don't see much positive response. Who's in charge? Networks have a lot of merchants conditioned that you need them and it comes across in some posts. It's like a bad marriage. Starts off great but then things go bad and you stay because you don't think there's anything better out there.
    I'm speaking for the majority of merchants. Not necessarily myself. As I said, merchants go where their competitors are. It sort of feeds itself. I remember back in 1997, I was working for a startup here in NY and one of our competitors joined Linkshare - I was dying to join Linkshare. Why? Because my competition was there. You're thinking like an affiliate, not a merchant.
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  13. #13
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    Merchants need to get together and stop letting networks push them around. Same with merchants who have to be exclusive when they join LS. If they got together and said no, what is LS going to do? Have an empty network. Of course not. It's like merchants don't realize the power they have. A lot of merchants have this weak mentality where they just accept whatever the network throws at them. It's sad to see. Especially when I know who should be moving affiliate marketing. The merchants, not the networks. It's pathetic. Your partners don't want javascript only links. Don't choose a network over your partners. They're dictating to you how you're going to do business. That would be unacceptable to me. Do something about it.

  14. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B
    Agree about just threatening to leave a Network isn't productive.
    I'm not just threatening. I will not put up JavaScript links. Period. If they require it, I'll switch to other networks (many CJ merchants are on multiple networks) or remove the merchants from my sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B
    I personally don't think CJ is going to change their minds on the link thing. They sure as heck didn't when they made the last change to their links and folks had to change them out.
    Are you talking about the change from commission-junction links to qksrv links, or the qksrv links to all the new domains? None of those were required. I still have quite a few of the oldest form of links. They still work. They still track.

    JavaScript links have their uses. I use AdSense blocks that are JavaScript. I use eBay Editor Kit links that are JavaScript. But those are fixed sizes, in specific places, on specific pages. I typically have no more than one of those per page. I have some pages with hundreds of affiliate links. Even if I wanted to switch them all out with JavaScript, the page would take forever to load.

    There's no comparison between this link change and previous ones. The previous changes were optional. The previous changes used the same technology. The previous changes provided advantages to affiliates. This, apparently, will not be optional. This uses a drastically different technology. This provides absolutely no advantage in most cases and signficant disadvantages in many.

    I believe CJ will come to their senses and make this optional.
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    IMO in aff marketing the commerce is driven from the merchant who offers the goods and the customer who visits the aff site and passes (hopefully seamlessly) thru the network on to the merchant site.

    I think people resent the fact that a middleman, trusted 3rd, whatever... limits both ends of the equation more and more on what they can and cant do.

    I agree, however dont make business decisions based on emotion, or what you 'think' wont work until you try it.

  16. #16
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Mike,

    I've no doubt if you say you wouldn't put up js links, then you won't. Personally I think that you aren't the only one. In the past affs had ranted about leaving whatever network over I change they didn't like. But they didn't leave. What Akiva was referencing. I was just saying that idle threats aren't productive. I've no doubt in this case, there are those who mean and will follow through. If it's mandatory it's just not going to work for them.

    I hope CJ does change their mind. But I've been racking my brain trying to recall an instance in the past where they shifted after the decision had been made. And this does require programming on their end. I just can't come up with one. And the posts from folks who talked to customer service...it sounded like CJ is being firm.

    This certainly isn't the same as the change to the multiple domain/link structure change. My only point was that there was a lot of opposition to those changes at the time. A lot of public noise. Affs saying if they had to change out all of their links anyway, they'd just put up another Networks. And I talked to Todd during that change. And CJ's stance was very firm on the changes as they had stated were going to happen as they stated them. It was just about the history of their flexibilty.

    I hope that they do change their minds. This is going to be a hard and not good thing for many affs who relie on CJ right now if they make them mandatory.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Merchants need to get together and stop letting networks push them around.
    Most merchants are not one-person operations. If they're a decent size there's a whole marketing department where decisions are made by a few people and then it gets run by legal for approval. You're suggesting that merchants get together and form a Union. That's a great idea but it's highly unlikely that any merchant's legal or CEO's, CFO's etc will agree to that. Corporations want to do business not band together with other merchants. (Though between us, it would help affiliates if they did.) Merchants care about the bottom line. The CFO wants to see the profit go up. That's it. They don't care if you paid your rent. In fact most merchants look at AM as a "channel". They don't understand what AM is. They think it's the network that does everything as heck the checks are paid to Commission Junction Inc., Linkshare Inc. etc. You, as an individual affiliate are not even on their radar. That's where a good manger comes into play. A good manager understands the relationship aspect and works that. The people above him/her don't give a hoot about you, the affiliate. They want to see the profit graph go up. If it does, all is well. The AM can't decide to 'band together' with other merchants as he'd have to get approval from all the superiors and legal etc. which it would never pass. The merchant end is a different world.
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  18. #18
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    Then get together with your department and decide who is running your business. You or the network. Seriously, where do your partners come into play? Just going along with things that make your partners unhappy is not good business. I guess it's the easier route tho.

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    From a network point of view, they need to have some control otherwise they'd get screwed over by merchants. For example at LS the exclusivity clause prevents a merchant from transitioning their program to an in-house system while they are live on Linkshare. They have other clauses that prevent merchants from taking the affs with them too. This is all to protect themselves from getting screwed. CJ doesn't provide merchants with publisher contact info as they know that if they would, once a program is doing well, merchants can easily transition it to an in-house platform. There are ways around that but CJ makes it as hard as possible so as to keep themselves in the game. But you are right. That is a bad deal in the long run as merchants will get fed up if they feel pushed around. Smart businesses understand this and adapt. The ones that don't eventually become the small players (the exception is if they have a nasty legal dept. that can and would sue merchants for TOS violations if they try to leave). Business has an ugly side too.
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  20. #20
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    One thing that bothers me in this thread is the fact that everything seems to be Merchant this, Merchant that. What about what the affiliates want. Remember they have an equal (or should) say in the matter.

  21. #21
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    This is going to be a hard and not good thing for many affs who rely on CJ right now if they make them mandatory.
    CJ's revised FAQs say that the change is mandatory. They will give notice but once the notice period is up legacy links will no longer be tracked. This is going to hit a lot of smaller affiliates hard, especially the mom and pop type operations and those just starting out. I think it's also going to hurt the smaller merchants as well.

    The trend seems to be for the bigger AMs to manage a smaller number of big affiliates rather than managing a lot of smaller affiliates and this just seems to make it easier for those merchants and CJ.

  22. #22
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Forgive me if I still live in the Dark Ages, but since when were the links that affiliates place on their sites called "legacy links"?

    I was only aware of this term upon the beginning of this "javascript vs. static/regular html" link controversy.

    I've been with CJ since late 1998 early 99 but I never regarded the links as "Legacy."
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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    "but since when were the links that affiliates place on their sites called "legacy links"?

    since a couple of days ago when they decided to call the old super fantastic never fail links 'legacy links'

    I dont think they have come up with a term yet for the even more super fantastic never fail javascript links.

    Corporations love to have their buzzwords and proprietary terms...

  24. #24
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    It's 8:15 am and I have a ton of stuff to do today so i will keep my comments short although I have plenty to say on this.....

    Personally, and no offense to anyone ...

    I couldn't give a rats arse as to what any network offers....really...

    What do I need to succesfully run my merchant's programs?

    1) Honesty
    2) Integrity
    3) Solid, basic reporting
    4) Multiple good linking options
    5) Near 24/7 accessability and communication

    The rest, I can care less about. Recruitng, im blessed that affiliates like honesty and don't like to be stolen from....I have plenty of affiliates that like to get paid and hate being stolen from by the "networks"

    Really folks, Akiva is right in that network comparisons don't mean squat today.

    Since the inception of the OPM business, what do the networks have? The have a software platform. Period. Think about it.

    Who runs the affiliate programs? AM's and OPM's do....

    We dictate to the merchants. We work with you, the affiliates. Who answers your questions? Who handles the daily workings of the programs?

    AM's and OPM's folks. Period.

    Give me a network that cares about both sides of the relationship and can't be bought. Give me a network that lives by the golden rule, has integrity and honesty. Give me a network that won't turn a blind eye to theft for the mighty dollar....

    I can work with that network and work with any merchant on that network and grow their program. It's proven and I do it everyday.

    Your right, networks don't matter, it's the relationships that matters most. It's the affiliate / merchant relationships that matter. Merchants wouldn't have programs if no affiliates promoted them. Affiliates wouldn't have income if no merchants offered progams. What do we have left? A software application. Today, AM's and OPM's run the relationship. Not the networks!

    For my time, my money and my merchants, we take the high ground, we run on SAS.
    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

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,608
    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B
    Mike,

    I've no doubt if you say you wouldn't put up js links, then you won't. Personally I think that you aren't the only one. In the past affs had ranted about leaving whatever network over I change they didn't like. But they didn't leave.
    ok, maybe i won't leave, and still put up the js links. but the tens of thousands of links that i currently have will be replaced by only a few. so the net effect is the same.

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