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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    An alternative to JS links?
    I'm not sure how feasible this is, but in talking to affiliates and AM's via PM and chat this week, much of the discussion has been about the idea of getting links directly from the merchants, including having datafeeds ftp'd directly to affiliates, instead of using the new CJ JS links (an idea from a merchant, not mine).

    Now, my question is, what happens when CJ eliminates the legacy links once and for all. Will what I receive directly from the merchants, if I go that route, not work any more? Can anyone speculate?

    Also, I must have missed it, when will datafeed links change to JS links?

    Don't you all think it is a sad state of affairs when merchants, who are paying CJ for their services, are looking for ways outside of CJ to conduct their affilaite business? Some are even considering adding their own internal affilaite programs outside of CJ, just to retain some of their top affiliates.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7-days
    Don't you all think it is a sad state of affairs when merchants, who are paying CJ for their services, are looking for ways outside of CJ to conduct their affilaite business? Some are even considering adding their own internal affilaite programs outside of CJ, just to retain some of their top affiliates.
    They just need to dump CJ and either go inhouse or to another network. I NEVER thought I would say this, but Performics and Linkshare are both a much wiser choice than CJ.

    Shareasale would be the perfect choice in my opinion, but I know some merchants are hung up on thinking that because SAS isn't some three-headed corporate monstrosity that it is too small for them.

    In a nutshell it comes down to anywhere but CJ.


  3. #3
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    Hey, you can only try to help them out with good advice.

    Javascript only links is going to:
    a) have more affiliates put up links
    b) have less affiliates put up links or pull them

    Easy answer - b

    This makes CJ more or less money? Less

    The competition is thanking them for making poor business decisions.

    Part of me, a small part, thinks they'll have both or the date to switch them out will just get continually pushed back. The new links will be available in a few days and will go along with the normal ones. So they have the ability to offer both types and track both types. They should leave it at that.

  4. #4
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    I for one have virtually stopped adding any CJ links since the announcement of javascript. I've started experimenting with other revenue streams, and networks. Anybody still adding more CJ links even though they will eventually be defunct?

  5. #5
    Moderator Nabz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mastershops
    I for one have virtually stopped adding any CJ links since the announcement of javascript. I've started experimenting with other revenue streams, and networks. Anybody still adding more CJ links even though they will eventually be defunct?

    Same here, I'm not adding any new merchants, and rejecting merchants requests with reason LMI.

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It's all speculation as to whether that would work or not. Until we see exactly what CJ is going to do, we won't know for sure. They've been pretty explicit that they won't allow email links or PPC links to be used on web sites, and I suspect that they would consider direct links on web sites as a way to skirt their rules.

    For what it's worth, I finally found some people who are really excited about LMI. The other networks love the idea of CJ doing something so stupid.

    I've talked to numerous merchants this week (including indies, CJ merchants, LinkShare merchants, and merchants who at one point were considering CJ). Everyone is talking about LMI and everyone's reaction is about the same. "What where they thinking?" "I sure am glad we didn't move our program to CJ." "How in the world did this get approved?" "Why are they still moving forward with it?" "I've never seen an issue that caused such a negative reaction." "I saw over 300 members and visitors in the LMI thread at one point." etc.
    Michael Coley
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  7. #7
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    Just saw an article in Infoweek that JavaScript is now the avenue of choice to install worms... that don't require any user action to set them off after harvesting users email address books ... another built-in CJ advantage

    Charles

  8. #8
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by micheck
    Just saw an article in Infoweek that JavaScript is now the avenue of choice to install worms... that don't require any user action to set them off after harvesting users email address books ... another built-in CJ advantage

    Charles
    Lovely.
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    Rexanne

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  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    What's so hard for CJ/VC to understand. Make all valid cookie setting clicks be physical clicks... no exceptions. The simple CJ html codes, and sales parsing report tag, was never ever any problem for even the stupidest merchant AM to impliment. Just dump the Spyware web-bug data/privacy mining crapola and make a truce with the referral shopper over rogue BHO's. Just kick them all to the curb by enforcing the physical click requirement.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    I always remember CJ saying, "If you don't make money, we don't make money". I'm wondering how this new change and the [potential] loss of revenue from affiliates and merchants looking the other way will change that philosophy. Even today in a support response they told me, "We hope that you can understand that we are doing this for your benefit our success depends on yours."

    I'm still not seeing the benifit and still stand by my statement that there is someing more going on here than meets the eye. If there was not, CJ would have easily let us use both type of links and the pure fact they are not indicates something else, at least to me.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  11. #11
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    "We hope that you can understand that we are doing this for your benefit our success depends on yours."
    Apparently nobody outside CJ has figured out how it's for our benefit yet, and other than the crumbs that have been released about it, apparently there's a gag order inside CJ for saying anything beyond the allowable PR spin.

    I'm still not seeing the benifit and still stand by my statement that there is someing more going on here than meets the eye. If there was not, CJ would have easily let us use both type of links and the pure fact they are not indicates something else, at least to me.
    Nothing can convince me that the something else isn't for "intelligence" purposes, gathering data for the benefit of the mother ship's core business activities.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Well, employees come and go at the networks and if there is really something else going on we will hear about it soon. Sure wish I had an inside contact at CJ like I do at some of the other networks. All I have are the merchants and their AM's and they admit they don't know exactly why CJ is switching to the JS links either as they got the same prepared "press release" that we did.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  13. #13
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    CJ is no longer an affiliate marketing network. They are an advertising agency that provides a large number of web publications for merchants to place their ads on.

    While affiliates do need individual product links, publishers only need to make available advertising space where merchant ads may be shown.

    If you work with CJ, you need to create publications to show ads. If you are an affiliate marketer, you need to work with an affiliate network which provides the tools you need to market the individual products.

    Why should you be surprised? They told you that they only wanted "publishers" some time ago when they changed the name of their associates from "affiliates" to "publishers". Did you think they were kidding or didn't know what the change in terminology implied? Why do you think so many were displeased with the change and insisted that they were not "publishers" but were "affiliates", anyway?

    This is the time to look at what you have and want to offer and decide which direction your business needs to go. Are you really an "affiliate" or are you a "publisher"? Decide. Then, act accordingly.

    To those who doubt me on this, I refer you to my signiture.
    Last edited by SSanf; June 21st, 2006 at 08:31 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!

  14. #14
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mastershops
    I for one have virtually stopped adding any CJ links since the announcement of javascript. I've started experimenting with other revenue streams, and networks. Anybody still adding more CJ links even though they will eventually be defunct?
    Not me. I'm not about to go to all that work, especially for something so iffy. My energy is better spent promoting my bulbs than trying to switch out countless links that took years to put up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ssanf
    This is the time to look at what you have and want to offer and decide which direction your business needs to go. Are you really an "affiliate" or are you a "publisher"? Decide. Then, act accordingly.
    Like I've always said, I'm NOT a "publisher!" Bling-blanged if I'm going into the c*ntent business.

    CJ must be smoking something more powerful than crack. They're apparently giving up being one of the biggest affiliate-network businesses in order to be just another ad agency. Fat lotta good that'll do ValueClick, after all, they *already had* regular ad agencies!

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    I think we all now know one of the reasons Todd Crawford left. Can you imagine the hot seat he'd be in right now if he was still here trying to help us? It would be a no win situation for the poor guy.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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  16. #16
    Member SaltyFrog75's Avatar
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    My site is a content rich travel site and direct product recommendations and links are the way I make the most money. So I don't know if I'm what people consider an affiliate (what I've always thought I was) or a "publisher."

    All I know is that if JS scripts are going to be the only option at CJ, I'm going to need to find different companies that sell the same or similar products that I'm currently recommending.

  17. #17
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I was under the impression that it was the merchant who mattered and not the network. In an competitive arena then there are many merchants for a particular product so you can choose the best paying and easiest to work with.

    If CJ starts costing merchants business then they will move to another network. If it costs the merchants by forcing them to restructure their datafeeds, links, etc. they will not sit idly by.

  18. #18
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    I notice a lot of Befree merchants moved to Linkshare lately, so I guess the loss for CJ is starting to grow and taking place right now as I'm sure they would have moved to CJ. The problem with LS is their links screw your web pages up if you use CSS plus you have to deal with the very unfriendly interface, out dated links and lots more. CJ has the best interface but they don't include dates on the links most of the time and this leads to many unhappy website visitors for the affiliate, keeping outdated links in the system is BAD, LS has outdated links dating back to the turn of the century for some merchants. I still think SAS is the best Affiliate program although they have some faults too like a tacky interface and many merchants with lousy links but they make up for it in other departments.

    There is a huge opening for someone with the right plan to come in right now and totally dominate the affiliate network scene and show everyone how it should be done, I think SAS could do that if they invested some $ into a couple of good web developers & designers to totally revamp their website & back end as they are closer than all the other networks to doing it the right way.
    Battling to make a living in this difficult and one sided industry

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glinted
    I notice a lot of Befree merchants moved to Linkshare lately, so I guess the loss for CJ is starting to grow and taking place right now as I'm sure they would have moved to CJ.
    I heard from one BeFree merchant that moved to a network outside of CJ that CJ was being difficult, slow to answer questions, etc, so they said, "who needs this" and moved to another network. That's just an isolated case, but it should not have happened, none the less.

    Regarding SAS and the golden opportunity, yes, I think other networks will benifit from this CJ move to required JS links. But I don't think Brian at SAS should spend a fortune to get it. He's slowly developed a sound and profitable program at SAS and I would hate to see him grow too big too fast. It's the personal touch of SAS that I have always liked (as well as it being parasite free). Heck, if I went to New York or California, do you think the presidents of LS or CJ would meet me for lunch? Never, but Brian and Carolyn did several weeks ago. Somehow the big companies have lost that personal touch with their affiliates (and their merchants) and now feel they can dictate what we should do. Sorry, that just does not work for me.
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  20. #20
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    very interesting 7days. I guess after thinking about it more, CJ do have many other good points like great stat reports, quick payments in local currency & a large amount of top merchants. I like the interface the best and is fast & easy to use. My biggest complaint with CJ besides the new LMI propsal is that they have too many merchants with links that have no exp date and it leaves me to guess when they have sold out or finished the promotions. Thats why I like SAS as they have that sorted out with the promotion feed. I can update hundreds of merchants promotions with SAS in 2- 5 minutes where with any other network it can take weeks to do the same thing
    Battling to make a living in this difficult and one sided industry

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Not to be all negative about CJ, up until they told me they are requiring me to change all my links, they have been my netork of choice, mainly because of a couple of good merchants I use and they way they send me my datafeeds, plus good and fast support. However, other networks are now offering similiar merchants, easy access to feeds and personal support. The initial support ticket responses from CJ these days are more or less scripted and used for many of us.
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  22. #22
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    "I was under the impression that it was the merchant who mattered and not the network."

    If you're talking about as far as affiliates, untimately it's the merchant unless they're on a network that loses any kind of sense. Moves like this can damage the affiliate-merchant relationship. And when that happens, you end the relationship and move on. Some people stay in relationships because they feel there are no other options, that this is the best they can get. Not a way to live or do business.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7-days
    I heard from one BeFree merchant that moved to a network outside of CJ that CJ was being difficult, slow to answer questions, etc, so they said, "who needs this" and moved to another network. That's just an isolated case, but it should not have happened, none the less.
    Heard the same from the AM of a fairly large program there. Sounded like they would probably move to Linkshare too. CJ has been my network of choice for quite sometime & I sure hope some of the good merchants will either setup direct programs or hop on other networks if CJ doesn't scrap this whole thing.

    Just keep the existing links up indefinitely alongside JS. Problem solved, everyone is happy, business carries on as usual.

  24. #24
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I've talked to several former BeFree merchants recently who moved to LinkShare, SAS, or indie programs. All have been very thankful that they didn't go to CJ, especially after the LMI announcement.
    Michael Coley
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  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I've talked to several former BeFree merchants recently who moved to LinkShare, SAS, or indie programs. All have been very thankful that they didn't go to CJ, especially after the LMI announcement.
    Which leads me to ask, Just What Is CJ Thinking? Well, I suppose CJ has no control over any of what is going on and this is all ValueClicks doing, which may explain the timely exodus of some top executives.

    I'm kind of anxious to look back a year from now to see what all happened between now and then. It should be real interesting.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
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