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  1. #1
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    Coupon Sites - Usually adds no value?
    I notice coupon sites really adds no value to my sales/traffic. I'm assuming this might cause a stir in the hornets nest - but what I've noticed is, as the customer is checking out, all of a sudden we get a cookie from an affiliate (the customer originally came from another source). I won't expose the exact details of how coupon affiliate works in our network to protect coupon affiliates..

    I don't see how this adds value by having coupon affiliates... so far, I've yet to see if this even deserves 1% of the sale.

    Please share with me some of your insights.

    Of the affiliate sales we've had, I haven't seen a customer originally came from a coupon site... yet...

  2. #2
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    but what I've noticed is, as the customer is checking out, all of a sudden we get a cookie from an affiliate (the customer originally came from another source)
    Looks like you needed the coupon site's help to close the deal

  3. #3
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    I really don't think that is the case... the coupons we provide the customers already are highly visible on our site.

  4. #4
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    Majestique - all of a sudden we get a cookie from an affiliate (the customer originally came from another source).
    It means you have parasites as affiliates.
    Read the parasite section:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=167 ebates
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=170 igive
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=172 schoolpop
    and many more...

    These sites will pop up at the last minute to stuff their cookies, overwrite others and ask for a commission.
    Not all coupon sites are bad but all parasites are cashback, coupon or incentive sites.
    You're the merchant, deactivate them.

    Are you a merchant on SAS or an other network?
    If you're on SAS you don't have the notorious predators, ebates, igive, upromise ...

    Do you offer coupons?
    Do you ask for a coupon during the check out?
    If you ask for one, your visitors will look for it on affiliate websites and a cookie will be set, nothing wrong.

    I really don't think that is the case... the coupons we provide the customers already are highly visible on our site.
    If you have a space for a coupon on your shopping cart, more likely your visitors will check around before placing the order. Even if you have a coupon on your site, they will look for a better one.
    Last edited by Zeus; September 17th, 2006 at 01:51 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by majestique
    ...but what I've noticed is, as the customer is checking out, all of a sudden we get a cookie from an affiliate (the customer originally came from another source)
    Sounds to me too like parasites.


  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Nature Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Sounds to me too like parasites.
    Not in ShareASale, and if some were to slip in, Brian would remove them quickly.
    Scott
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bulls#!t
    Don't tell me that you'll do it... SHOW ME.
    Just because everyone else is drinking it is no reason for me to drink the KOOL-AID.

  7. #7
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    "I notice coupon sites really adds no value to my sales/traffic. "

    As far as that, I'm assuming you're a medium to small merchant. So there are some big coupon sites out there with lots of loyal shoppers and getting on their site can jump your sales.

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    The important part is the observation that no coupon site ever drove an original customer to this merchants site. Therefore He's concerned someone is poaching his normal affiliates traffic, or whacking his natural sales with a coupon ROI killing incentive.

    Many merchants make the mistake of also pushing Rebates in their promotional pricing with devious intent to not honor them by making the shoppers jump through hoops to get the rebate. Bad PR and negative customer retention comes from this as eached pissed shopper will tell 10 others about their bad experience.

    Their is one fact this affiliate industry cannot ignor. All the evils start and end with "incentive" marketing practices. Remove all incentives, other then Free Freight, and you'll never ever have problem affiliates or pissed off customers.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  9. #9
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    The important part is the observation that no coupon site ever drove an original customer to this merchants site. Therefore He's concerned someone is poaching his normal affiliates traffic, or whacking his natural sales with a coupon ROI killing incentive.

    Many merchants make the mistake of also pushing Rebates in their promotional pricing with devious intent to not honor them by making the shoppers jump through hoops to get the rebate. Bad PR and negative customer retention comes from this as eached pissed shopper will tell 10 others about their bad experience.

    Their is one fact this affiliate industry cannot ignor. All the evils start and end with "incentive" marketing practices. Remove all incentives, other then Free Freight, and you'll never ever have problem affiliates or pissed off customers.
    I agree Mike.

    I bet you never thought you would see me agree with one of your post.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  10. #10
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    "Their is one fact this affiliate industry cannot ignor. All the evils start and end with "incentive" marketing practices. Remove all incentives, other then Free Freight, and you'll never ever have problem affiliates or pissed off customers."

    I don't know why we go thru this year after year but that is not based on reality. You know very well merchants will always use incentives in one form or another, coupons, deals, sales, promotions have been around since the dawn of business. And you can still have applications popping up offering free shipping or "deals".

    And if someone is popping in at the last second, I would check that affiliate out to see what they're up to.

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    "Their is one fact this affiliate industry cannot ignor. All the evils start and end with "incentive" marketing practices. Remove all incentives, other then Free Freight, and you'll never ever have problem affiliates or pissed off customers."

    I don't know why we go thru this year after year but that is not based on reality. You know very well merchants will always use incentives in one form or another, coupons, deals, sales, promotions have been around since the dawn of business. And you can still have applications popping up offering free shipping or "deals".

    And if someone is popping in at the last second, I would check that affiliate out to see what they're up to.
    So true and the very reason why those same merchants get just what they deserve by every leaching "incentive" affiliate they will attract.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  12. #12
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    Mike, I have coupons on my site, you have coupons on your site. Lots of good affiliates do. Maybe merchants should just get rid of the cheaters and adware. On a side note, I was going to look for coupons on your site but then decided not too but noticed you have a PR0 for some reason but your backlinks are still showing.

  13. #13
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Mike, I have coupons on my site, you have coupons on your site. Lots of good affiliates do. Maybe merchants should just get rid of the cheaters and adware. On a side note, I was going to look for coupons on your site but then decided not too but noticed you have a PR0 for some reason but your backlinks are still showing.
    Some very concerted efforts were made by some ABWer critics to PRO my sight. Prior to that effort front page was PR5 for 6 years and most all interior pages were PR 3-4 & 5. sample http://www.ecomcity.com/ims.htm The backlinks didn't go away. I hope the same perps I outed at ABW get what's coming to all blackhat affiliates.

    This discussion is about the validity of coupons. If your a mass advertiser not interested in anything but more eyeballs ... for heavens sake lead with a handful of coupons and employ e-mail spammers and those BHO point of sale attack dogs.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I think this is a valid concern. When I'm going through the checkout process and see a box for a coupon code I'll naturally visit Google and search for a code to use. This is likely what's happening. The customers see the opportunity for a discount and seek one out. Maybe they would have made the purchase anyway, but that just comes with the territory of offering coupons and an affiliate channel.

    One way to help this is to prevent affiliates from bidding on your brand. You can pay for the top spot on "yoursite coupons" and hopefully you'll spend less money than on the affiliate. There's no sure fire way to avoid this unless you just do away with coupons all together.

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

  15. #15
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    "There's no sure fire way to avoid this completely unless you just do away with coupons all together."

    Sure there is, remove the coupon box, give affiliates that use coupons, coupon text links and banners.

    "One way to help this is to prevent affiliates from bidding on your brand."

    Well, just typing any merchant + coupons and forget about PPC, there is no shortage of affiliates in the natural serps.

  16. #16
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    "all of a sudden we get a cookie from an affiliate (the customer originally came from another source)."

    In this case either a parasite or more likely the customer went to another site to find a coupon and this other site was cookie stuffing

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    "There's no sure fire way to avoid this completely unless you just do away with coupons all together."

    Sure there is, remove the coupon box, give affiliates that use coupons, coupon text links and banners.

    "One way to help this is to prevent affiliates from bidding on your brand."

    Well, just typing any merchant + coupons and forget about PPC, there is no shortage of affiliates in the natural serps.
    Some good points. At least by removing the coupon prompt you won't get last minute discount searchers, but then you won't be able to offer coupons outside the affiliate channel.

    And of course there will be natural serp affiliates, but by eliminating PPC it'll help *somewhat*.

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

  18. #18
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    "but then you won't be able to offer coupons outside the affiliate channel."

    Yeah, that's one of the problems with removing the coupon box. A lot of merchants send out coupons thru email to their customers or paper catalogs to their home. I guess thru email you can make it a coupon text link but then you still have catalogs thru the normal mail. Reality is coupons aren't going away. So it's pointless even starting a discussion hoping merchants will give them up.

  19. #19
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Sure there is, remove the coupon box, give affiliates that use coupons, coupon text links and banners.
    Nope nope nope

    What about our product sites?

    We go thru all the trouble of prescreening for the product

    and in this scenario, we'd have to give the customer a choice:

    click my product link and go straight to the product - but you won't get the coupon

    or

    click my coupon link, go to the merchant's special landing page, and start searching all over again for the product

    (so they DO need the coupon box)

  20. #20
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    True, another reason the box isn't going anywhere.

  21. #21
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    I agree with Snib as I do the same thing when I find a coupon box during the checkout. I will never buy anything ever from a coupon site but I have to click the affiliate link to get the coupon details. Thats probably where the second cookie is being set.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  22. #22
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    Hey Majestique,

    It sounds like the coupon site or sites you're having problems with are cookie stuffing. I run a coupon site myself (Alex's Coupons) and I run into these guys all the time. I do think you need to be careful when you generalize about coupon sites though. There are several clean coupon sites including my own, FlamingoWorld and AmazingBargains. At the same time there are non-coupon sites who are cookie stuffers. The truth of the matter is there will always be cheaters in affiliate marketing. (Each day I think about quitting this business because of them.) My advice is this, if you catch any affiliate cookie stuffing, you drop them from your program. They're not just stealing from you, they're stealing from honest affiliates.

    Take care...

    -- Todd
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    Digital Marketing Manager
    Jones Soda Co.
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  23. #23
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    It is sad all "coupon sites" are lumped together. Some of us have been around long before the term "coupon site" was ever even coined. Those are the folks that are going to send you loyal customers. Many of my customers won't shop anywhere online unless I run the merchants because they have grown to trust my site over the years. Coupon site or not, some folks have loyal customers they can send to you that you would never see otherwise. Not all coupon site owners are dirt bags that send useless traffic. This overgeneralization can lead you to lose many sales. Pick your affiliates carefully and don't make the mistake of excluding people due to ignorance. Educate yourself on how to pick good affiliates.

  24. #24
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Anne Thanks
    Great advice Ann. Lumping or labeling all who are in any industry is a mistake. There are good and bad apples in every endeavor.
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  25. #25
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    You can suppress your coupon box to affiliate traffic. If an affiliate cookie is present, then don't show the coupon box. That is the solution for every merchant. It will remove the cart abandonment problem while allowing you to use coupons in other marketing channels.

    Merchants who display a coupon box during checkout and don't offer any kind of coupon on their site are begging the customer to go out and grab an affiliate cookie during the checkout process.

    Use links for affiliate coupons and suppress the box to affiliate traffc. Problem solved.


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