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  1. #1
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Gotta have a quick venting :)
    Andy,

    Though I'm venting, it's really a back-handed suggestion thread. Take or leave the suggestions, but I could be sending a lot more sales if any of these suggestions are implemented

    I have a Personalized Gifts site, and these are the ARC personalized gifts merchants:

    JewelryBasket

    http://www.jewelbasket.com/jbyywid131.html

    1. Images are all different sizes. I can't use Webmerge to automate page creations 'cause all the image sizes don't match. Which means every single product page would be have to be built by hand.

    2. There's no product copy for the products. The ENTIRE product copy for the above product is

    "1/4 " Wide 17 g. Lobster claw clasp."

    Every other word on the page is Search engine spam. I can't make a product page where my entire sales pitch is "1/4 " Wide 17 g. Lobster claw clasp." They truly need to focus on the PRODUCTS, not what they think Google wants.

    3. They have a datafeed. The product names on the site don't match the product names in the feed. If you search the feed for "personalized", you get a couple results, even though the site lists hundreds. They change the names for google: "Well, we already have PERSONALIZED bracelet, let's call in ENGRAVED bracelet in the feed." Again, they need to focus on the product.

    International Bible Society

    http://www.ibsdirect.com/c-46-imprin...criptures.aspx

    I joined because they had personalized Bibles. But at the time, the page said "This is a special order item/takes 8 weeks/please CALL in order only.

    So I didn't put up a link. Now they launched their new site and it says

    "You don't have to order them in large quantities. Our custom imprints are available on orders as small as four casesójust 96 Bibles, or if ordering New Testamentsó400 will qualify. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. For a quote or to find out more, please call 1-800-266-6364."

    No one coming to my personalized gift site is gonna buy 400 Bibles, and I can't link to a phone number!

    InvitationBox.com

    http://store.invitationbox.com/halloween.html

    I joined yesterday because they have personalized Halloween party invitations. They have one of those annoying NO RIGHT CLICK scripts. You can't right click and open a product in a new window to compare products. You have to manually open 5 browser windows, manually go to the site 5 times, and manually go to each product 5 times. Aargh.

    And forget product graphics. You have to view the page source. Hunt for the product image, open up a new browser and paste it in to see if you got the right image. Aargh!

    I made ONE Halloween party invitation page, with 5 token graphics and said "click here for all 50 Halloween invitations" - and it took 2 HOURS to make because of the no-right-click script. If someone wants your graphic - they'll get it with or without that stupid script! I can't add any more pages for this merchant - even though they have products that match every one of my site's categories - 'cause I'd have to sell 100 invitations just to justify my time! (Aargh)

    ChecksUnlimited

    Actually, Brian just sorta-solved this when he re-introdeced the "link to any page" feature - but since I'm venting... what the hec.

    My personalized gift site is divided into categories: Xmas gifts, baby gifts, grandparent gifts, corporate gifts, etc.

    ChecksUnlimited has products that match each of my categories, but no product feed. So I can't promote the products.

    They have products that fit each category, but there are no appropriate category links (until Brian re-indrodeced make-a-link"


    I'm NOT complaining!

    The bottom line is each of these merchants is a PERFECT FIT for my site, and I should be sending them thousands of sales, but they don't provide the necessary tools, or they make it incredibly difficult to make the link.

    When you hold your seminars, besides parasites, spend more time discussing affilite tools.

    We need - at a bare minimum:

    1. Product ad copy for products

    2. Standardized image sizes

    3. Product sites need product datafeeds

    4. Category links that match the merchant's product categories

    5. Merchants that focus of their products, not Google

    6. Get rid of the useless old-hat javascripts like the no right click and frame breaker (doesn't apply to the above merchants, but there's a Linkshare merchant with a frame breaking code, and everytime you try to make a link for them in Linkshare (which uses frames for custom product links interface), it breaks the frame and you can't access the linkshare interface)

    Sincerely,
    Some annonomous guy in Vegas

  2. #2
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    Billy - http://store.invitationbox.com/halloween.html

    I joined yesterday because they have personalized Halloween party invitations. They have one of those annoying NO RIGHT CLICK scripts. You can't right click and open a product in a new window to compare products. You have to manually open 5 browser windows, manually go to the site 5 times, and manually go to each product 5 times. Aargh.

    And forget product graphics. You have to view the page source. Hunt for the product image, open up a new browser and paste it in to see if you got the right image. Aargh!

    I made ONE Halloween party invitation page, with 5 token graphics and said "click here for all 50 Halloween invitations" - and it took 2 HOURS to make because of the no-right-click script. If someone wants your graphic - they'll get it with or without that stupid script! I can't add any more pages for this merchant - even though they have products that match every one of my site's categories - 'cause I'd have to sell 100 invitations just to justify my time! (Aargh)
    I had big expectation for them. But with their STUPID script, it did turn me off big time.
    They are a pain in the butt to work with, no feed, no product links, no images ....> no affiliates.

  3. #3
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Great post Billy and close to my heart now as I have been waiting for 2 feeds for a while now. I would like to add my 3 points.

    7. Come up with a product identifier and stick with it as long as the product is alive. Don't call it 535 and two months later 4789535 and two months again later IBM39-a.

    8. Don't change the name of the product after it's first introduced. I use a version of it in my file names like stuffed-monkeys.html If it's later foam-stuffed-monkeys then I have trouble. The file name has to stay the same to hold any organic search the file has earned.

    9. On the topic of images I'll add a quality gripe. I wish merchants would take a little more time on image quality. Some are so sad I hate to show them.

  4. #4
    Full Member Deb's Avatar
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    "They have one of those annoying NO RIGHT CLICK scripts. You can't right click and open a product in a new window to compare products. You have to manually open 5 browser windows, manually go to the site 5 times, and manually go to each product 5 times. Aargh."

    I agree that the merchants sometime make it hard for us to work with them.

    This is a bit off your main topic, but I thought this might help you in the meantime. If you are using Internet Explorer, simply click on "File" in the menu bar. Then go to "New," then "Window." This will open a new window identical to the one you already have open. You can then click the link in the new window to go to the page you want without losing your place in the original window. It doesn't solve the problem, but makes for fewer clicks. It's better than having to find the page each time from scratch.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    7. Come up with a product identifier and stick with it as long as the product is alive. Don't call it 535 and two months later 4789535 and two months again later IBM39-a.
    This is incredibly important. I've had merchants change their SKU's and cause my database to duplicate each of these products making the older SKU out of stock. Very sloppy.

    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    8. Don't change the name of the product after it's first introduced. I use a version of it in my file names like stuffed-monkeys.html If it's later foam-stuffed-monkeys then I have trouble. The file name has to stay the same to hold any organic search the file has earned.
    I think merchants should be able to change the product names any time they'd like. I don't think it's a good idea to use the product names in your file names for exactly this reason. It's not a unique identifier and we really can't count on it to be one.

    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    9. On the topic of images I'll add a quality gripe. I wish merchants would take a little more time on image quality. Some are so sad I hate to show them.
    Image quality is important, but I feel like the larger the images the better. This allows us to create a nice close-up view when the shopper requests it. There are solutions to auto-generating thumbnails, so it's better to have large images than thumbnails that are too small. I do agree that there are too many poor quality images in datafeeds though.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  6. #6
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    9. On the topic of images I'll add a quality gripe. I wish merchants would take a little more time on image quality. Some are so sad I hate to show them.
    Don't you just hate - besides bad quality graphics - when a merchant scans an entire page from a manufactures catalog which features say 10 products, and when they crop an image for one product, they leave pieces of 4 more in their finished product image!!

    It takes about 15 minutes to clean up a graphic. It's a one-time thing. And the better the image, the more clicks it gets.

    Dear merchants - invest the 15 minutes!

    If the product isn't worth 15 minutes of your time, then maybe it isn't worth our time promoting it

  7. #7
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    And the opposite of bad graphics...

    There's a merchant who's website has a baby blue background theme

    So they get good-quality graphics from their manufactures, and then add baby blue backgrounds to all the images on their site.

    Yes, THEIR site looks nice. But those of us without BLUE sites using these graphics, they stand out like sore thumbs

    http://store1.yimg.com/I/keepsakes-inc_1893_2341992

    Try to make this BLUE graphic fit in with your site
    Last edited by Billy Kay; September 9th, 2006 at 01:38 PM.

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Billy many of these merchants are just middlemen for drop shippers. They scan images from paper catalogs from various vendors, so their is no uniformity to image size or backgrounds. Without access to the physical product they take the only shortcut available. They could use a program like PaintShop Pro to resize all images in a automated batch. Then create a uniform thumbnail image size from the larger optomized image sized. Sometimes they can only scan paper catalogs and cut-n-paste one smaller image into their ecatalog.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  9. #9
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    I guess I don't see theproblem with the images and I liked that blue background you posted

    Why don't you guys set a width for your images. That way it doesn't matter on the size of the images and all images are the same.

    I do agree however with all your other points

  10. #10
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    no ... then all the images are the same width.
    Height is still an issue.
    And if you do height and width on images with wildy varying sizes, you get distortion on some, the inability to make out what you are looking at on others and if you are lucky, some that actually look ok.

    I had one merchant with images with heights that ranged from 60 to 250 and their widths were just as bad.

    Wonder whatever happened to them.
    ================================================================
    Been away, now I'm back. Not as much, but I'm back & starting from scratch. Where I was, was fantastic. Where I am now, less so. Things have changed, become harder. So have I. Game ON!!!
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  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyKay
    Don't you just hate - besides bad quality graphics - when a merchant scans an entire page from a manufactures catalog which features say 10 products, and when they crop an image for one product, they leave pieces of 4 more in their finished product image!!
    What the heck?!
    It's gotta be that weird webmaster practice I notice a lot: working on the site while exhausted or even sleeping (coding between nod-offs)!

    Sheesh. It's not like it's hard to crop things right.

    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    Billy many of these merchants are just middlemen for drop shippers. They scan images from paper catalogs from various vendors, so their is no uniformity to image size or backgrounds. Without access to the physical product they take the only shortcut available. They could use a program like PaintShop Pro to resize all images in a automated batch. Then create a uniform thumbnail image size from the larger optomized image sized. Sometimes they can only scan paper catalogs and cut-n-paste one smaller image into their ecatalog.
    That's not the only time that happens.

    For instance, for bulbs, I have dormant bulbs here. But, customers want to see pix of bulbs *in bloom!* After all, dormant bulbs look pretty much the same as each other. So, sometimes the pix come from the wholesale (not drop-ship) catalog.

    But even with catalog pix, it's possible to do a decent Photoshop job. Corny backgrounds are easy to fix, too. They just need to "extract" the product and stick their own background behind it. Same thing I do for the pix I take here. Photoshop is an extremely efficient maid
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  12. #12
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    Quick example of an image size issue.
    This is NOT an ARC program, but another program that has been around here and is working hard to fix things up for their affiliates lately.

    I picked a category at random, clicked a page of results from my db and copied the first 10 image sizes for them. I didn't pick and choose, this is the first 10 as they came up.

    351x600
    374x367
    500x462
    600x349
    200x306
    370x542
    500x221
    279x403
    262x350
    500x433

    needless to say, my thumbs for these images look BAAAAAAAAD.
    Frustrating as all get out.
    Billy made some GREAT points.
    ================================================================
    Been away, now I'm back. Not as much, but I'm back & starting from scratch. Where I was, was fantastic. Where I am now, less so. Things have changed, become harder. So have I. Game ON!!!
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  13. #13
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    hmmm I just add width=100 to all my images and they look fine. The only problem I run into is if the images are less than 100 in width then I remove that tag.

  14. #14
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    tuem est Jack.

    Me, I prefer my sites to have a certain look.
    Having two images right beside or below each other that vary in height from 54 pixels to 289 pixels or more can screw up alignments, the flow of the site and just look unprofessional. Not to mention annoy me.

    Out of curiousity, which of these images would you prefer?

    edited - duplicated an image. May as well not make this post bigger than it has to be lol
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Been away, now I'm back. Not as much, but I'm back & starting from scratch. Where I was, was fantastic. Where I am now, less so. Things have changed, become harder. So have I. Game ON!!!
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador
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    which of these images would you prefer?
    1. Short, squat, purple and hard to see.
    2. Skinny Minnie, purple and hard to see.
    3. The obvious choice, just a bit too small.

  16. #16
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    as long as they are all of the same width. I don't like them when they are alll the same heights.

  17. #17
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    Height and width have to be and stay in proportion. If only the width (or only the height) is modified, the pics can end up grossly distorted and look FUNKY.

  18. #18
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by popdawg

    Out of curiousity, which of these images would you prefer?

    edited - duplicated an image. May as well not make this post bigger than it has to be lol
    None. They're ALL too small!

    But if I can't get a decently-big one, then either #2 or #3 from the second line.
    Sometimes an obviously-different background like that shaded purple one draws attention to a pic that would otherwise be ignored.

    But I'd really rather EASILY VISIBLE pix like this (well, maybe a *little* smaller. But not much!):



    It's nice when they're all the same size, granted.

    (OT: Yay, I just realized what was wrong with my 404 pages!! *fixes site*)
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  19. #19
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    O bulbous one, why would you prefer a pic with a blue (or other color) background to one that had the background removed so it's just a pic on a white background or transparent?

    (Posted with respect and affection of course, which naturally you do realize.)

  20. #20
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    O bulbous one, why would you prefer a pic with a blue (or other color) background to one that had the background removed so it's just a pic on a white background or transparent?

    (Posted with respect and affection of course, which naturally you do realize.)


    I only prefer them in some, fairly rare, instances. If I've put a small product pic with a white background on a white page, and I see it isn't helping conversions (but I think that it should help for that particular product), then sometimes just making it more noticible will improve performance. This is especially true for products where the item's looks are a big selling point. Needless to say, I prefer to have pix that are BIG enough to draw attention! But sometimes, the merchant doesn't have any big ones.

    Some images are so darned small, and blend so well, that the eye just skips over them without the viewer even consciously noticing them. So, if I can't get a bigger picture, which is what I prefer to do, a NICE colored background can help. The fact that it doesn't match helps to make the reader actively look at it. Sure it looks a bit clunky to have this odd square there (especially if it's in the main part of the page, like on my aff sites)--but that's a small price to pay to get people to REALLY SEE the picture rather than ignoring it.

    And, it depends on the background quality. The background in the examples (the ones with the man) had shading--not just a cheesy flat-color quickie Photoshop job. And the color's not too awful. The blue in the baby-shoes example would be a no-go for me.

    But, A BIG PICTURE beats all of that. If a picture is too small, it's just not possible to see the details of the item, even if the person gives it their full attention! Making people squint is anticonversionary. I never use thumbnails on detail pages when there's a big pic available.

    Even for an index-page setup, thumbs should be big enough to clearly see the items. People who want to see pix want to SEE them, not just 50x50 glorified dots that don't provide meaningful visual data.
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  21. #21
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    BK,

    Excellent thread.... will follow up and post soon. Ever consider joining a growing OPM firm ?

    Each one of those cases has an open file and history of course, InvitationBox especially was re-launched last week and is still being tweaked.

    Will post more latter..
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  22. #22
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    I personally use no bigger pics then 100 most of the time

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager MotoMerchant's Avatar
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    This is a great thread for someone like me to read.... We have just launched our affiliate program and have a merchandiser feed that we are trying to get picked up by more affiliates, and I am definitely passing this info onto IT, to make sure that we keep our feed as affiliate friendly as possible!!!

    Thanks for posting.

  24. #24
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    and I am definitely passing this info onto IT
    The only royaltry free item in this thread is popdawg's ugly judge graphic

    Everything else, you have to paypal us royalties

  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager MotoMerchant's Avatar
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    Haha. Okay, Um, ill pass that one onto accounts payable... I am sure they wont mind.

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