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  1. #1
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    Yesterday afternoon, I had a long phone conversation with Todd Crawford at CJ.

    In a nut shell these are the important points that were covered.

    According to Todd, an he is right about it:

    1. I have been, for the last six months slamming CJ big time in just about every post and in ways that are hard to deal with, sometimes very personal and about things which he says a untrue or viewed wrongly from my side of the issue. My side being both merchant and publisher.

    2. I am the only merchant doing this and that it is affecting his sales and brand name that he has worked so long and hard
    to build. And that CJ never has done anything but try to build thier brand and business in a ethical manner.

    3. And he can't figure out why is I am not happy with CJ why I just don't go away.

    Well, I explained why I was angry about the situation -

    1. CJ's failure to treat affiliates and merchants equally relative to reporting of and tracking of sales and their constantly violating their TOS by not enforcing it's provision in an even handed manner.

    2. The fact that as affiliates we have to pay for the traffic we send to CJ merchants and that ANY delays or matters which are not
    handled swiftly cost us time and money. The fact that we affiliates do not get paid a salary to do what we do and that it's really frustrating spending 10 to 12 hours a day trying to build a business and make money and see nothing when your main partners because they are corporate and get paid a salary with weekends off, simply ignore your complaints because of CORPORATE issues is infinitely frustrating.

    3. That as a merchant, I paid the fee to be one, I have paid MY CJ affiliates over $100,000 and made money for CJ and they don't seem to care and that this problem has become real and accelerated since Bill Gross and Idealabs invested in CJ.

    4. The fact that scumware is allowed to be apart of the CJ system at all.

    Todd' point on this point was that the scumaware affiliates DO NOT MAKE hardly any money and are not seen as a problem. My answer was that, if they make one cent and you know about, CJ is open to possible major civil and criminal actions and if they get sued over it they will go down and so will all of us who deal with them as the 'trusted third party.'

    In our talk, I really didn't have a coherent answer for Todd's last question. But I mulled it over for hours, slept on it and I think I finally have an answer that does make sense and is understandable and feels right.

    We are talking here mainly about the NetBiz part of the deal - the merchant/affiliate situation. Now this arrangement is somewhat different from simply being an only affiliate
    but even from just the perspective of being an affiliate the point is valid.

    Both CJ and NetBiz are apart of a mutually intractive network. We both try to earn money from our various positions on this network.

    NetBiz has 7,500 affiliates on the CJ network. The affiliates are assets of the company. We recruited some and CJ recruited some. Ceasing to do business with CJ would
    eliminate a good part of what makes NetBiz a viable entity - our affiliates.

    We do not need CJ per se but we need the 7,500 affiliates and if we leave CJ we can't take them with us.

    Now we have put blood (real bood in case you don't know the situation), sweat and tears into building NetBiz over the past 6 years. Just like Todd has with CJ minus the real blood part. We have been a part of CJ's successes and failures and they have been a part of our successes and failures.

    To leave CJ would entail starting over from the beginning and wasting 6 years or so of time we cannot get back. So even, if CJ is
    apparently ingesting a truckload of stupid pills (from our view) the alternative solutions are not worth doing.

    Now from the affiliate perspective. We accepted them into our program and as such we have a resposibility to do what we can to
    help them succeed. For the most part, we have kept our end of that bargain. When they were making money we had no problem paying them and we always have had a positive balance at CJ. And when they were not making money due to the change to CPA, we sent them to various places where they could make money
    and have done what we can to help them keep going.

    Our 7,500 affiliates are also apart of CJ and for us to abandon CJ would mean we are abandoning them. And I am not ready to do that. From my point of view - the affiliates come first. Without them we are ZIP and so is CJ.

    The difference being I understand this and Todd and CJ do not.

    Now as merchant we are willing to try any number of ideas to see if they work. If 7,500 affiliates can bring is even $1 per month in sales on average we have a decent viable small business. At $10 it's a million dollar deal.

    Now for CJ to purposely screw up my merchant account and not activate it for 3 months isn't what I would call swift, but it's understandable.

    So it is in my best interest and in CJ's best interest to HELP every merchant and every affiliate succeed.

    They do not, but I believe they eventually will get around to doing so and that these times are simply the time of growing pains.
    We get angry on our end - they get angry on their end. But in the end we will all go to the bank together.

    So that's why I stay with CJ.

    Now, if CJ were Snare or BeScrewed, I wouldn't waste a second on them. I'd begone in a heart beat. Because they do not care about their own business. Not so at CJ, even with Bill Gross in the mix.

    Getting on CJ's case the way I have, may not be good in one sense, but they are seriously aware of what I have been saying. And that is good.

    Whether we hang with CJ or not was left in Todd's corner. But either way, I will win and so will my 7,500 affiliates.

    Scumware cannot be allowed to exist and I will fight that whatever it takes. If it means taking all the adnetworks down then that's what i am willing to do.

    The only way affiliate marketing can succeed is for all the parties to merchants, the tracking networks and the affiliates to work together and be as honest as possible.

    And to get to that point, sometimes you have to make decisions that are financially detrimental in the short term.

    Merrill Lynch just agreed to pay a $100 million fine to the State of NY for their mistakes. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of what they are eventually going to have to pay for front running stocks based on analysts calls. Front running was an has been illegal for decades. They knew it. they just thought they wouldn't get caught. All the money they made in the doing cheating, will now have to be paid out in fees to lawyers and to buy off legal claims. In the end they are back to square one, broker and older. They can recover the money in time but not the time.

    As the 'trusted third party' CJ has to earn the trust. That means you have to blow out all the cheats and follow your own rules.
    When and if they do that, we'll all win.

    If they do not, someone will and they will lose. And Todd's point of having worked hard for years to build a business will not matter.

    Todd mentioned that he would love to have 1,000 good merchants and 1,000 good affiliates and that they had too many merchants.

    My answer was what is so hard about that. Just teach both sides how to do it. And he said that I couldn't tell CJ how to run it's business.

    I didn't think about it then but, consider this - Leader has probably been responsible for more affiliates actually learning how to make money and actually doing it than everything CJ has ever done in this regards.

    Why? Don't know. And on the merchant end, have they ever done anyting to help merchants succeed and been successful at it.

    Haiko and Mike could probably fix up any merchants site on CJ to double or triple their sales.

    Has CJ asked sucessful affiliates to 'site review' a merchants site? Not that I know.

    And the end...the real deal is we all have to work together because we are all apart of the network and the success or failure of one is tied to the success or failure of all of us.

    One fo two things is going to occur - CJ will do what's right and succeed, or someone else will come along and do it for them as their competition.

    I'm not going to bash CJ anymore. I'm just going to defend my interests and those of my affiliates, shareholders and merchants to help them succeed because that is the only way I can succeed.

    If CJ wants to do the same great...if not then who knows.

  2. #2
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    Please spare us.

    If you would spend half of the time working as you you waste writing manifestos on CJ maybe you'd find success.

    So what about the giant class action suit? You said you'd make a billion dollars. You're giving up because of one phone conversation?

  3. #3
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    The suit is still a go.

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well Fred you put some heart and logic into this observation. CJ a year ago wanted to differentiate itself from Linkshare and BeFree and create a level playing field for merchants and affiliates. Gutsy call but one thta moved them into the #1 recruitment site for active affiliates. The other two were too slow to adopt the needs expressed here for building a trust lost during the .com bomb period. CJ pays without begging every single month for any affiliate earning the 25.00 minimum...period.

    Do they have too many mon-n-pop and 2nd tier merchants? Sure they do but LS and BeFree cannot devulge their conversion ratios for their major merchants so it's a tie. CJ wins hands down as a starting point for any new affiliate and in recruitment (big problem for merchants). When ABW came along and allowed merchants like TigerDirect -Overstock and others to create a forum to showcase their programs and commission opportunities both BeFree and LS get new affiliates.

    My opinion is not to replace the big 3 with a new enity but rather to work them into a money making machine for web site owners. The second tier networks can have all the merchant dropouts,shady programs and no budget startups. CJ should police and evaluate the earning potentials of each new merchant applicant. ABW and the non-member affiliates will weed out the non-performers and a "secret shopper" service will run the cheaters out on a rail.

    The net result for Fred and the rest of us is 3 platforms for all parties to make money by focusing buyers to willing sellers... for a legit fee.

  5. #5
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    >I'm not going to bash CJ anymore.

    What have you done with Fred, you fiend!?

    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]


    I

  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    "Todd mentioned that he would love to have 1,000 good merchants and 1,000 good affiliates and that they had too many merchants.~Fred"

    Only 1,000 affiliates?!? One for each program?! I know most would sign up for more than one merchant, but--hardly any would sign up for all of them! I'd say that low number of affiliates would greatly reduce the coverage a merchant could attain, myself.

    "The second tier networks can have all the merchant dropouts,shady programs and no budget startups.~Mike"

    It would be much nicer if the no budget startups were seperated from the dropouts and shady merchants.

    There is a big difference between a startup that's trying its best to pay up and do right, and a shady merchant who tries its best to not pay! With the first one, yes, there is the risk that the merchant's business will fail...but with the shady ones it's almost 100% certain that affiliates will be screwed, because with shady ones, it's their plan!

    Those types should not be treated equally. Perhaps a "farm team" network for the ones who are just starting...and plain old BYE for the crooks!

  7. #7
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>From my point of view - the affiliates come first.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    LOL! Is that why you haven't paid your affiliates in a year and a half while you continue to brag about how much money you have coming in every month?

    Fred - I remember reading posts from many people who complained you unjustly removed them from your Net-4-Biz program. I personally remember complaining about not getting paid. You told me if I complained once more, you would delete my account and then you wouldn't owe me a cent. I have to say it is sweet irony watching CJ dump your ass. I, for one, am ecstatic to see CJ give you a taste of your own medicine.

    How does it taste, Freddie?

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    See what these internet companies haven't figured out yet, it's all about customer service. If CJ would've done what the people on the CJU forums wanted, then abestweb would've "probably" not become what it is, everyone would've been happy. Places like Sears know what it's all about, they take care of the customers complaint that day to his or her satisfaction, so then you got no one complaining, and the 95% of the other customers who don't complain never hear anything bad. Sure it costs them a little, but not as much as 50% or more of their customers complaining about the same things.
    Then the super affiliates could be taking the majority of the commissions, we would complain on the boards, CJ would make us feel better and slide us something to make up for it, and the rest of the world would never know about it. Thanks god these people never learned anything about customer service, hehe.

  9. #9
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Please remember that most of what Fred posts is his version of conversations or his opinion. My comment that I would like CJ to have 1000 advertisers and 1000 publishers is being taken out of context - I was trying (repeat trying) to make a point. It seems my point has not been made.

    Finally, I will not respond to Fred's post. Where would I even start? Please don't tell me that any of you actually read the entire post. We all (including Fred) have more important things to do.

  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <IMG src=http://www.abestweb.com/ubb/icons/icon38.gif>

    I probably got 80-90% of it in my skim...of course I had better things to do but I wasn't ready to bother doing them yet.

    Although I wanted to sit some more when I saw this thread so maybe that makes reading it indeed the "best thing" I could have done with the time! It was either that or reread stuff I had already seen...

  11. #11
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ToddCrawford, CJ.com:

    Finally, I will not respond to Fred's post. Where would I even start? Please don't tell me that any of you actually read the entire post. We all (including Fred) have more important things to do.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'd be happy if you start with identifying the cheating merchants who remove their codes (either by design or "accident.") in a systematic and methodical approach.

    When I do a listing of all merchants, and sort by 7 day EPC, I look for 0.00. I then compare on the left and right. I've seen merchants with $$$ to $$$$$ on the right, and $3-80 on the left (3 month EPC) but 0.00 for 7 day epc. Now if you are doing $$$$$ on CJ, a non-zero 3 month EPC, and have a zero 7 day EPC, there is a problem.

    You could easily write a script to do just what I explained above 2 times a week. You print out the list in the morning and those merchants that "fit the profile" get a complete site check and overhaul by yourself or a few of the more knowledgeable CJ tech team.

    As a "trusted third party" I don't see this as a request, as much as I do a CJ duty and responsibility to the affiliates.

  12. #12
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    Well this whole thread is pretty scary for me. I am a brand new website owner whose basic concept is in affiliateship. Considering I have no personal product to sell. So you might say I have most all of my eggs in one basket. I certainly hope CJ is legit and on the up and up. If not I am out a business. Anyway, I hope someone can ease my anxieties over this as I really have no more money in the till for advertisement to be able to drive traffic to my site. Enough said.

  13. #13
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Spirit,

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I certainly hope CJ is legit and on the up and up. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    They absolutely are!

    Just so you know, there are many ad networks ...
    see the list!

    Never put all your eggs in one basket ... unless you want to be a basket case [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Haiko

  14. #14
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    Spirit, I know how you feel. It's a bit scary to me as well. I'm not a new website owner. I've been developing sites since 1996 for other people but just recently made a decision not to take on clients for a while and concentrate on an affiliate income. It took me this long to decide if it was truly viable (ABW is what convinced me).

    Haiko is right - there are *many* networks, as well as some excellent private affiliate progams out there. I know the consolidated payments CJ offers are attractive, esp to someone starting out, but you'd do well to have a mix.

    What's the worst-case scenario? We'll say the entire affiliate marketing business model goes belly-up. No more merchants working with individual affiliates; only with D'uper affiliates. Maybe the field gets overly-saturated. Whatever. I've given it a lot of thought after reading some of the posts on ABW. What would I do? Well, one thing is I would use those same websites and team up with drop-shippers selling the same/similar product. Then I would approach local businesses to see if they were interested in drop-shipping thru my websites. The list goes on. Just be adaptable and as Haiko said - not all your eggs in one basket. There are plenty of baskets out there.

    HTH

  15. #15
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Spirit,

    Welcomer to ABW. Cool site you have there, i'm also involved in the psychic world some what...

    On your computer section, you need our full page creatives there. I want to invite you to join our program. You may go here:
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/sectors/Affiliate/index.asp

    Then go here and pick up our weekly full page wonders:
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/email/affiliate/promo.asp

    If you need any help, any time, feel free to drop me a line.

    Have a great day !!

  16. #16
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    Andy, is that the link for the in-house program application?

  17. #17
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Nope, still running with BF. I will announce as soon as we have the other live and bug free. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

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