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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Arrow Things Affiliate Networks could do to improve their service to Publishers/Affiliates

    LinkShare:
    - Please remove all the   in the link text, it's extra work for us to "search and replace  " everytime we get a link. I'm sure every affiliate removes the  s otherwise they'll get horizontal scroll bars, because some text tend to be really long and   s make the text not wrap.


    LinkShare and ShareASale
    - Make all your text and other links XHTML1.0 compliant.
    Many of us know that XHTML is the new HTML, and in order to build a quality site (for search engines like google, that care about quality sites) , our code need to be understood well by search engines. Some of us have made the extra effort to create an XHTML compliant site, but when we add links from affiliate networks, we have to do extra work on each and every link to make them XHTML compliant

    Making your links xhtml compliant is very easy. if there's an <img src=""> tag , just make it <img src="" />

    If you understand html, you can read in 1 hour how easy it is to make HTML into XHTML here: http://www.w3schools.com/xhtml/xhtml_html.asp


    CommissionJunction:
    Obviously, we want an alternate option to JavaScript links. Why?
    - Main reason is because remote Javascript links are slowing the page down

    I think these are the main things that could be improved upon unless there's more...


  2. #2
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    Performics:

    Separate out the "Expired" links into their own category so that we have an easier way to review them, and so that they don't slow down the process of looking for new / active links.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gr_Sacc
    Performics:

    Separate out the "Expired" links into their own category so that we have an easier way to review them, and so that they don't slow down the process of looking for new / active links.
    Thats a good point, but i think there's a work-around for this one. If you sort links by expiration date, then you'll see all the latest ones that are available.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager jai @ Expedia(SEO)'s Avatar
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    hi, these are good suggestions.

    I am going to CJU here in London tomorrow and i will bring these up and see what they say. Anything else you want me to look into like the JScript issue?

    Since these are great observations, can i ask if you have any recommendations for us at Expedia? Probably most of you guys have either used or are using our IAN program and any suggestions would be very helpful to me.

    Yes, i know i am opening myself up, but if you have good ideas or clear ideas, i would love to know from the group. I say constructive criticism is always a good thing.

    Thanks!

    Jai

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Yes, please ask if they plan to keep Legacy links indefidently. Having heard it at the Affiliate Summit this week and hearing it again in London at CJU would help convince us CJ has made a 180 degree turn on this matter (even if they are not telling us in writing).
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager jai @ Expedia(SEO)'s Avatar
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    will do

    I am not leaving until 6pm tomorrow, so i will collect as many questions as you give me.

    Once I get all the data, I will do a bullet point Q&A for all of you to make it clean and clear for all of us.

    How about paraciteware, cookiemonstersters, data feeds types, payment types, etc anyone need anything on these?

    Jai

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jai @ Expedia(SEO)
    will do

    I am not leaving until 6pm tomorrow, so i will collect as many questions as you give me.

    Once I get all the data, I will do a bullet point Q&A for all of you to make it clean and clear for all of us.

    How about paraciteware, cookiemonstersters, data feeds types, payment types, etc anyone need anything on these?

    Jai
    Jai Thanks for helping us out.

    I'm probably too late in posting this reply, you might have already left

    If Affiliates have a global setting that says that "they want to opt out of merchants who accept parasite ware" just like there are global settings for merchants who want to opt out of affiliates who participate in say, incentivized programs... It will make us affiliates sleep better, as we wont have to weed out the merchants who participate in malware :-)

    All affiliates should provide XML data feeds in addition to whatever they are already providing. If everyone agrees on one feed protocol it will be great, but that hardly happens here in the US. every company gives different outputs.

    Theres a lot of things that could be improved on the user interface of ShareASale, LinkShare and Performics .

    I am a software developer and I know it's extreamly difficult if not impossible to correct what's already messed up, but if SAS and LS build their system from scratch after getting everyone's feed back, to make their system easy to use and provide us with a "clean uncluttered" interface, that's easy on the number of clicks we have to make to get anything, it will make a lot of affiliates happy.

    Affiliates mainly go to get html code, but the code from SAS and LS have a lot of bugs in them. They should run their code on an HTML validator , before they add it to the interface for affiliates: They can easily validate the HTML they provide us here: http://validator.w3.org/

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    "improve their service"
    I've been thru enough improvement updates now to know how they usually go.

    Just a goal not to make things harder for affiliates would be a big improvement.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager jai @ Expedia(SEO)'s Avatar
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    Well, that was fun! Lots of food, drinks and chit-chat.

    So, the CJ reps were very nice and helpful. i asked them a bunch of questions and here are a few of the answers i got.

    I spoke to the UK MD and he told me they intend to keep Legacy links indefidently. They are going to push new sites to only use the new system, but the older site have the choice. He does want to move you guys to the new JS, but is understanding of the difficulties. He was receptive to my idea to help site with initiatives, programs, incentives and tool to help with the move. so we shall see.

    As for parasiteware, they are pushing for new initiatives, but nothing specific was placed on the table. i pushed for a consortium where us Merchants will work with networks (td, cj, ls) and forums like these to track down sites and companies who 'support' such theft. I am sending around emails and offer to bring merchants, networks and affiliate to create checks and balances. So if you have any suggestions or have events I could get more of us to attend, please let me know. So far, eBay, Lastminute, Doubleclick, Thomas Cook, and CJ are interested in joining.

    So, let me know if you have any questions and i will field them for you, but i am sure their AMs are pretty receptive if you ask them direct questions.

    Jai

  10. #10
    Affiliate Network Rep
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    Improving the links view
    Quote Originally Posted by best123
    Thats a good point, but i think there's a work-around for this one. If you sort links by expiration date, then you'll see all the latest ones that are available.
    We will be modifying the default sort at the end of this month to present links with the most recently added at the top. In a subsequent release, we'll be splitting the expired links into their own area entirely.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Larry Adams
    Affiliate Product Manager
    Performics

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador
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    "He does want to move you guys to the new JS, but is understanding of the difficulties. He was receptive to my idea to help site with initiatives, programs, incentives and tool to help with the move. so we shall see."

    Ain't going to happen. No incentives, programs, tools or time. Let's flip it. Here's an incentive for CJ to keep html and put it back as the default. It you don't, merchants and affiliates will leave. You'll lose business. How's that for an incentive.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Here's an incentive for CJ to keep html and put it back as the default. It you don't, merchants and affiliates will leave. You'll lose business. How's that for an incentive.
    Anyone with commonsense would see it that way. CJ, unfortunately, seems to live in their own little world...
    Follow my dog, Maya, and I, as we fumble around the affiliate marketing world: www.MarketingMaya.com
    Recent Project: Cheap Personal Checks (using DigitalQuill)

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    CJ has a strong reason to hold on to JS

    We affiliates have many strong reasons for not using CJ JS links

    It's like two strong forces each going in their own direction

  14. #14
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    what the heck is xhtml? I've never even heard of it

    the biggest requirement for feeds is having them in txt format. I'm not sure why you're pushing for xml feeds as this doesn't seem to be used much does it?

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    xhtml is the better html.

    If you understand html you can easily understand what xhtml is.

    It's just well-formed html that conforms to xml wel-formedness rules.

    html is based on sgml which has very loose requirements, for example it doesn't care if a <li> tag is closed or not.

    xml has great potential, the same data written in xml can be represented in many different formats - it is only limited by our ability to understand and work with it.

    major data feed providers are already provding feeds in xml format. one big advantage of xml feed format is that html errors are eliminated, because xml requires data to be welformed only exception is that errors could creepe in if html was wrapped inside <!CDATA[[ ]]>

    Well LS and SAS dont need to make the html code they give us xhtml compliant, but at least they can make it HTML 4.1 compliant , this means ensuring proper nesting of tags and getting rid of all bugs in their html code.

    I have written to CJ and LS , and they dont want to make their stuff xhtml compliant. I guess because no one cares about it and it wont be cost effective for them to make their links xhtml compliant.

  16. #16
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    Also bear in mind that most users write sloppy html code. Xhtml sounds much too picky too me. And we already know proper code oesn't influence rankings on the search engines.

    The problem with xml is it's not interchangeable withtxt files. If it could easily be converted into txt files then it might be a more viable solution. Bear in mind that many users are not programmers.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    i recently learnt that search engines don't care about html or xhtml.

    i try to make my code as xhtml as possible, because it helps me speed up the process of finding bugs in my code

    especially because css is so browser dependent, and css behaves differently in different browsers, and can be very difficult to fix it if the base code itself is buggy.

    when i know the foundation of my code is good, it's easier to find and fix bugs and thats why im doing everything in xhtml.

    in affiliate marketing they say you only need basic html skills to get started, if you can write html you are a programmer, because html is a programming language. similarly you can expand your skills to other programming languages , it gives you the flexibility and ability to do more.

    otherwise you just end up using pre-prepared code from someone else and your site doesn't look unique because the same code is used by every affiliate.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador
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    - Make all your text and other links XHTML1.0 compliant.
    That shuts out too many who don't use XHTML and don't intend to.

    Many of us know that XHTML is the new HTML
    More of us know that affiliate sites need to be cost effective in construction and maintenance.

    (,and in order to build a quality site for search engines like google, that care about quality sites)
    No, Google is not taking validation into consideration for scoring.

    our code need to be understood well by search engines.
    That's why xhtml might not be such a good idea, because some have reported that some search engine parsers don't deal well at all with XHTML. It's best to stay with what's proven to give no problems if s/e crawling and parsing are the primary consideration.

    AND most important - what's user friendly, which means browser compatible. How about our code needs to be understood and fully supported by all major browsers? XHTML isn't there yet.

    xhtml is the better html.
    Maybe for purists and programmers, but not for the majority of affiliates, who don't code for love, but for profit.

    if you can write html you are a programmer, because html is a programming language.
    Not so at all. Programming involves logic structures and HTML doesn't.

    similarly you can expand your skills to other programming languages , it gives you the flexibility and ability to do more.
    HTML is *not* a programming language, it's a markup language - there's a world of difference between the two.

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    ok, what ever. programming and selling dont mix.

    we don't need xhtml

    but at least get rid of the bugs in the HTML links

    i program because i have a programming job, not for love.

    xhtml is not for purists, it's for people who dont want to pull their hair out trying to fix bugs in their code every second of the day.

    html is a programming language and a mark up languge.

    xml is purely a markup language.

    programmers learn languages.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador
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    OK, here's one for how networks can improve. Let's have a form to fill out to make it simple to report problematic merchants to the network. That doesn't mean the network has to act, that's based on their own discretion. But the input from affiliates is valuable data and could help the networks improve over time.

    html is a programming language
    Show us the if/then/else and repetition logic and structures for the "programming code" in HTML then, if you insist.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    html doesnt have if , then constructs but when you say <b> it is a processing instruction , that looks cryptic to a person who doesn't know html

    if someone can learn and understand html , they can learn and understand any programming language.

    everything is cryptic as first sight until you go deeper and try to understand what it is.

    a programming language gives you much more flexibility in the way you want to build your website,

    you think everything on buy.com is written in pure html?

    who do you think sells more? a site written in pure html ? or a site that has some interactivity to it? interactivity and dynamic content requires programming.

    Writing something in HTML may not be pure programming but it is coding.

    Programmers write code, everyone can write code if they want to.

    Just dont say that a nicely written website doesn't sell.
    Last edited by best123; August 9th, 2006 at 07:21 PM.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador best123's Avatar
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    Here are some good reads about XHTML:

    XHTML Makes Pages Faster:
    http://my.opera.com/Fryman/blog/show.dml/375760


    If you want your site to work well in today’s browsers and non–traditional devices, and to continue to work well in tomorrow’s, it’s a good idea to author new sites in XHTML, and to convert old pages to XHTML as your work schedule permits:
    http://alistapart.com/stories/betterliving/


    What are the advantages of using XHTML rather than HTML?
    If your document is just pure XHTML 1.0 (not including other markup languages) then you will not yet notice much difference. However as more and more XML tools become available, such as XSLT for tranforming documents, you will start noticing the advantages of using XHTML. XForms for instance will allow you to edit XHTML documents (or any other sort of XML document) in simple controllable ways. Semantic Web applications will be able to take advantage of XHTML documents.

    If your document is more than XHTML 1.0, for instance including MathML, SMIL, or SVG, then the advantages are immediate: you can't do that sort of thing with HTML.

    http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/2004/xhtml-faq.html#need


    Why should I care if my document is in correct HTML? It displays all right on my browser.

    All browsers know how to deal with correct HTML. However, if it is incorrect, the browser has to repair the document, and since not all browsers repair documents in the same way, this introduces differences, so that your document may look and work differently on different browsers. Since there are hundreds of different browsers, and more coming all the time (not only on PCs, but also on PDAs, mobile phones, televisions, printers, even refrigerators), it is impossible to test your document on every browser. If you use incorrect HTML and your document doesn't work on a particular browser, it is your fault; if you use correct HTML and it doesn't work, it is a bug in the browser.
    Last edited by best123; August 9th, 2006 at 07:56 PM.

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