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  1. #1
    Newbie jdonisthorpe's Avatar
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    Angry 80% Reversal Rate for Jewelrytelevision, month of September
    And they're not even done yet! They have until November 9th?
    Sent them 55,000 in sales in September, 55 transactions, I'm getting credit for 9000 in sales so far. What business operates with that kind of return rate?!!

    CJ is not taking me seriously and RCalentine's email isn't good anymore. I feel like I deserve some proof!

  2. #2
    Full Member fg20878's Avatar
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    I saw a lot of reversals from JewelryTelevision too.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    mind they don't see this post and realize they missed reversing the other 20%....
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    It's the nature of their market I guess. Lots of returns on products that perhaps looked differently online than on the body. But that one seems even higher than I'd have suspected.

    Sounds like you sold a lot for them - so you are an affiliate who will probably do well with whomever you promote.
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  5. #5
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    If they're converting for you, take what you get.

    Better to have 80% of *something* reversed than to have no reversals from another vendor because there were no sales. Some other jewelry merchants couldn't sell wool hats in Alaska.

    Same thing happens in other markets too. Most shoe merchants have reversal rates in the 20% to 30% range. I use one shoe vendor that has never reversed a single sale on me in almost two years, but I only get about 4 sales per month with them. Should I ditch the ones I get 40 to 50 sales a day for and replace their links with the no-reversal merchant? Hell no.
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  6. #6
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    jdonisthorpe,

    I feel for you. I finally gave up on them after I was losing tons of money from both reversals and a horrendous conversion rate. I don't understand how my clicks were converting so well over the early summer but suddenly went down to perhaps 1/10 of the conversion rate afterwards. I thought the slide might have to do with something technical since it started to take clicks with my CJ URL's some 5-10 seconds or more just to redirect to JTV's site.

    Definitely try to reach RCalentine or the current AM, whoever that now is. RCalentine let me know via email a few weeks ago that he was no longer the actual AM but was still working with that team for the time being. Watch your reversals carefully as they are now being done weekly, and make sure they aren't reversing ALL items to $0 in all multiple item orders (they did this month after month to me, and I had to email RCalentine constantly to get them to fix this for me, which in JTV's defense they did credit me some unfairly reversed sales after I complained).

    I had up to 70%+ in reversals and it seemed to get worse month to month, with the least damaging month being perhaps 40% of total sales amount reversed in April or May, so I'm not sure what's going on there. It's a crappy online sector I think, because it's hard to emotionally connect with a piece of jewelry if you can't hold it and see it up close and you've just spent a lot of money on just a picture of it. But you're right, I don't know how they can run a business successfully with such an obscene return rate.

    NoWires, it's easy to say that when you aren't running your affiliate business on margins with PPC. Those of us who pay for advertising, with 70% or 80% reversal rates we'd have to adjust our bids downward to account for that. In this case, once you get your bids down low enough to not lose money with JTV, you are at the point of having your ads buried and barely getting a single click over all your ads. Not a good equation for success.

    Hey, high reversal companies should be VERY upfront with that info (down to raw percentages), in my opinion. Otherwise they will simply get angry affiliates who don't continue to advertise for them. Or even better, they should stop reversing affiliate commissions due to returned merchandise (they can choose to terminate affiliates who have too high a return rate or for breaking rules or whatever else), and instead adjust their commission percentage down to an appropriate amount to keep a profit margin and not screw over their affiliates who spend money in PPC or put in a lot of work for SE placement. IMHO.

  7. #7
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Hey, high reversal companies should be VERY upfront with that info (down to raw percentages), in my opinion. Otherwise they will simply get angry affiliates who don't continue to advertise for them. Or even better, they should stop reversing affiliate commissions due to returned merchandise (they can choose to terminate affiliates who have too high a return rate or for breaking rules or whatever else), and instead adjust their commission percentage down to an appropriate amount to keep a profit margin and not screw over their affiliates who spend money in PPC or put in a lot of work for SE placement. IMHO.
    Why would a company want to be "VERY upfront" about high reversals? Companies usually want to brag about how great they are and how great their affiliates programs are and how they absolutely LOVE their affiliates. If they were upfront about the reversal stats, they might not get many affiliates.

    Reversals on affiliate commissions are fair if the customers returned the items according to their allotted time span to do so.

    I don't think it's fair to lower all affiliate commissions just to placate the PPC affiliates.
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  8. #8
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    it's easy to say that when you aren't running your affiliate business on margins with PPC
    About 80% of my traffic to Jewelry Television is PPC-derived, and it is indeed "easy to say" that it is better than nothing. The key is to bid on specific phrases. I doubt that generic terms like 'buy jewelry" "gold jewelry" "gold bracelets" or "jewelry sale" could produce a high enough conversion rate to clear a profit even with clicks at minimum bid cost.
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  9. #9
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    It's not just the PPC affiliates who are affected. Unless the ads and landing pages are way off base and untrue, most affiliates should have a similar range of return rates for a given merchant. So all of the work the non-PPC affs do to create landing pages, optimize for SEO, etc, can be a supreme waste of time and effort if they don't know what to expect.

    Yes yes, companies will never do what I suggested. It's all about them, and who cares about their affiliate partners who make them tons of money? And simple honesty and upfrontness is too often not good for business. Brutal fact of the corporate culture which we all have to grudgingly accept.

  10. #10
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    It's not just the PPC affiliates who are affected. Unless the ads and landing pages are way off base and untrue, most affiliates should have a similar range of return rates for a given merchant.
    Are you saying that you believe that most affiliates have equal website creation skills?

    I've seen affiliate sites that make a better visual presentation than others.
    Not all webmasters are equal in their ability to build sites and even some webmasters who "pwn" (gamer slang for "own," "to be on top of" etc...) in technique might not be able to infuse the "personality" into the site so that it would draw the serious customers.
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  11. #11
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Rhia7, when I posted "similar range of return rates" I meant the orders that are purchased and then later returned, not the click-through to merchant site rate or the conversion rate. I agree with you, the latter measures of success are hugely affected by the skills of the affiliate in making a sales pitch. But since all landing pages must push the visitor through to the merchant's own product pages and their policies specified on the purchase page, I don't know that return rate would have a big difference among affiliates depending on their skills. Maybe somewhat different for the affiliates who are just plain lying on their landing page, e.g. about the merchant's return policy or something like that. In those cases the merchant can and should notice the scummy practice that might lead to a higher return rate, and terminate their partnership.

    Ok, I admit I am saying that in an ideal affiliate-centric world the merchants should make things easier for us, but of course it is not an ideal affiliate-centric world. Non-PPC affiliates are still going to have to wait the same amount of time for extended sales to clear (between 40 and 70 days on CJ from initial commission showing up and knowing for sure if they'll receive that commission for JTV type merchants who auto-extend all sales), and they still have to consider their commissions and pay for rent, mortgage, etc, based on what they think they earned. They suffer as well from high and unpredictable reversal rates.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager
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    You mean we missed the last 20%. OK, jk. Seriously, jdonisthorpe, I did received your e-mail through ABW and I sent you a reply back, but I have not heard anything back, but I am still here. Please feel free to try my e-mail address again at richard.calentine@jtv.com. I do have your e-mail address and I will send you as much information as I can about the returns. Spacedog is correct. I am no longer the affiliate manager for JTV. It was only a temporary situation as we were hiring a permanant affiliate manager. I just found out today that we have now hired an affiliate manager, who will be starting in two weeks. Thanks to Spacedog's initiative, we spent about a month working on our correction file that we sent to CJ to make sure it is accuate as possible for both full and partial returns. Also, thanks to spacedog, we are running these reports every week for the same time period for the previous month so our affiliates do not have to wait until the 10th of every month to see returns. Because we do extend all transactions 30 days it is unfair for the affiliates to have to wait the 30 and then an extra 10 days to find out how many orders were returned, so now with us sending the corrections every week, the affiliates are truely only waiting 30 to 35 days to see if those orders were returned and hopefully it will help the PPC affiliates budget more effeciently. Unfortunately, I can not state our exact return rate for several reasons, but I am more than happy to give you the average return rate for companies similar to ours, which is around 30-35% for our industry. Each affiliates situation is different and unique and I am more than happy to discuss any affiliates concerns. However, what I can tell you is that return rate for September is within the average range. This offer also applies to you, fg20878. We take every affiliate comments seriously and will do everything we can to resolve the situation. As spacedog can tell you, I will respond to any e-mail inquiry (though it will take me longer than I like, I will respond). With our new affiliate manager starting in a couple of weeks, any inquiries that I receive I will answer, but I will also forward on him, so he is aware of the situation. Also, if any PPC affiliates would like some suggestions on keywords to bid on, again please feel free to contact me and I will give you some suggestions.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    I rarely get ANY reversals from Jewelry Television! Overall I like them very much.

  14. #14
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Yes, Rcalentine is correct in that he has been very responsive and as helpful as he possibly can be under my particular circumstances. I'm glad to see the changes that have been made at JTV regarding weekly reversal reporting and that my suggestions were taken very seriously.

    My main issue that has caused me to pause all my PPC campaigns for JTV recently is not so much the reversal rate, but the conversions. I use the same keywords and phrases that were very successful for me in the early summer, but they simply don't convert any more. Up to 7% conversion rates overall on my hordes of keywords for April, May, part of June have gone down to less than 1%. I've changed some of the CJ URLs to make sure I'm not using a "bad" one, but no luck. No URLs do any better for me.

    Richard, has anyone looked into the delays in CJ's redirects? I can't imagine that it is just my links that take up to 10 seconds to redirect from CJ to JTV. If I were shopping online and clicked on a link from a search engine or a banner ad, I would probably give up and hit the back button 90% of the times that it takes that long. Other CJ redirects are not nearly so slow for me.

    Thanks for staying on top of things and I hope I can again give JTV a shot, but that'll be hard to do with my past 3-4 months performance. Any thoughts on pushing JTV's execs for a no-reversal, no-extension streamlined affiliate pay structure like I mentioned before? Yeah, it'll never happen I know. I'd gladly take a big hit in commission percentage if I knew that when I see a commission show up in CJ's stats, that I can expect to be paid that amount!!

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager
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    netnow22, thank you ver much for your comments.

    Spacedog, the short answer to your first question, is unfortunately no. Our IT department has been working on a big project for the last couple of months that is supposed to launch first thing Monday morning, barring any major last minute problems. However, our team did some research and found out ways to make our website load faster without involving IT. Our homepage, where a majority of the PPC ads land, had a very heavy page weight. We made some adjustments and reduced the page weight by half which also has reduced the loaded times very every internet connection by half or close to half as well. We also found out the our website did not like IE 7.0 very much, so we made some adjustments and now it works perfectly with IE 7.0 with the same reduced load times. I have tested links since we have made these changes and the first time I clicked on the ad it took around 5-6 seconds to load and every time thereafter it took less than 4 seconds to load. So, hopefully this is an indication that the affiliaes PPC ads will load quicker from now on.

    To answer your second question, I will bring it up again to my upper management, but this time I will mention reducing the commission structure and see what they say. I am sure they are going to ask to take a look at the numbers to make sure it makes finanical sense. I do know that before I got there that JTV used to not extend any transactions and they found they were losing a lot of money, but they were still paying out the higher commission structure. I will see what happens when I mention the lower commission structure. I am not going to guarantee that it will happen, but I will do every thing that I can.

    Spacedog, thank you for the comments and your concerns. I am trying to address all of the them as quickly as I can.

  16. #16
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Richard,

    Thanks! While I doubt your management would make this kind of commission change without doing a lot of sales data analysis and discussion and so forth, think of the benefits:

    1) Much less strain on your IT department on this persistent problem of accurate reversal reporting with CJ;

    2) Far fewer complaints from affiliates and no need to sift through thousands of sales constantly because of discrepancies or errors in what seems to be the most error-prone part of the CJ-merchant communication process;

    3) No need to constantly explain and take time to analyze for affiliates the large variability in reversal rate from month to month that most of us endure;

    4) Happier affiliates who will likely stay with JTV longer and therefore make more sales. And of course you can still reserve the right to terminate affiliates whose reversal rate is consistently high, to protect JTV. And you'd put JTV in a special affiliate marketing category (think of the visibility) as possibly the only jewelry merchant that will not reverse its affiliates' commissions!

    Of course there are downsides too, but I don't want to spoil the (slight?) chance your execs might see this as a real possibility. I'm very curious how much lower you'd have to set your commission % to make this model profitable.

  17. #17
    Newbie jdonisthorpe's Avatar
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    Spacedog, I was wondering what happened to you and JTV! I hope you didn't give up on them completely. Good for you for keeping on them. It is affiliates like you that keep merchants awake and accountable.

    Conversions: JTV is a BtoC as well as BtoB, so I believe there are different types of buyers in the summer, vs the Holiday season. That is probably why the keywords that converted in the summer are not so much in October.

    I just don't like it when things don't make sense. And no matter what happens on my site, the buyers are buying from JTV. If conversion rates are 35% across the board there HAS to be an explaination why one affiliate is such a wild difference. Bad keywords and a bad site would explain low conversion rates, not high return rates.

    Richard thank you for responding, I know you are doing your best to clear everything up with affiliates!

  18. #18
    Newbie jdonisthorpe's Avatar
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    Ok, just to finish off this thread, I got a nice excel spreadsheet today from Richard Calentine, JTV's AM with all of my depressing returns with reasons for return. So dropping it, moving on.

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