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  1. #1
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Reversal rates
    I finally (!) signed up on SAS as an affiliate. In looking through potential merchant programs to join, I haven't seen any reversal rates to speak of so far. Most of the merchants have "N/A New" listed in the reversal rate category; even several who have been active for years. The others (a minority) have "0.00%", and I have not yet seen any with a non-zero number in there. Granted, I've only looked in some of the merchant categories so far. But as reversals are a VERY touchy subject with me as they should be with all affiliates, I am not super confident that the reversal information listed is accurate and whether I should trust it.

    I read Brian's post in this thread about the danger of skewed results from reversals for merchants without a lot of sales, but ones that were active starting in 2004 or 2005 (there are many) that are still listed as "N/A New"? If anyone would like to comment on their experiences with the accuracy of this stat, I'd appreciate it. And SAS folks, if you could also shed some light on this? Thanks.

    As I write this, I'm still looking for any merchant at all with something other than N/A New or 0.00%. In two historically reversal-heavy categories in my experience (jewelry and web hosting), all SAS merchants seem to be reversal-free. Hmm, doesn't seem plausible.

    Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I still promote CJ and LS more than I promote SAS (but this is changing).

    The items I've sold with SAS went through the "locked stage" -- I remember waiting through the possible reversal times but the deals went through

    My opinion is that reversals are more likely with certain products; I think it is the product that would influence the potential for reversal and not necessarily the network the merchant uses as a third party.
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  3. #3
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Rhia7, I agree with you that reversals vary depending on the type of product. But I'm more concerned with SAS's accurate reporting of the reversal rates so that I can have an objective view of my risks in spending on ads with a PPC campaign.

    You bring up a good point with the "locked stage". On CJ my most reversal-laden partners almost always extend sales for 30 days which makes for even more suspense on how bad reversals were in the prior month. Do SAS merchants usually extend sales from paying out until a period of time has elapsed, if so for how long, and where in the merchant description is this listed? I haven't seen it in any of the stats or merchant pages for those I've joined so far.

  4. #4
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    You bring up a good point with the "locked stage". On CJ my most reversal-laden partners almost always extend sales for 30 days which makes for even more suspense on how bad reversals were in the prior month. Do SAS merchants usually extend sales from paying out until a period of time has elapsed, if so for how long, and where in the merchant description is this listed? I haven't seen it in any of the stats or merchant pages for those I've joined so far.
    The "reversal potential" is a 30 day (or)deal and everything will be spelled out in the area that indicates the sales but not the merchant description or the merchant stats (as far as I know). Take a look at:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ht=locked+date

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ht=locked+date
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  5. #5
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Sorry to bump this. I was hoping to get some input specifically from a SAS rep about reversal rates and why they seem to be an inaccurate and underutilized stat. Rhia7, thanks for your input too. On the plus side, I'm very happy so far with my performance with SAS merchants!!

    Another question: are new commissions reported in the SAS activity areas in real-time and continuously, or are they (similar to CJ) pretty much just reported each hour at the top of the hour?

  6. #6
    Member Chocolate_Chicken's Avatar
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    It varies from merchant to merchant.

    I've seen some SAS merchants reverse sales as fast as I can send them. Also have a few who have never reversed so much as one sale over the course of a few years, while some of their competitors on other networks have steady reversal rates of anywhere from 10% to 30%.

  7. #7
    Member Chocolate_Chicken's Avatar
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    Another question: are new commissions reported in the SAS activity areas in real-time and continuously, or are they (similar to CJ) pretty much just reported each hour at the top of the hour?
    Reported in real time, but there are a handful of merchants whose commissions are not credited to the affiliate's account until the sale has cleared their exchange/refund return period.

  8. #8
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    No one from SAS wants to touch this one? I promise, this is the last time I'll, uh, artificially bump this thread. I'm just trying to figure out why SAS even uses a "Reversal Rates" stat category if only a couple merchants seem to have anything recorded there. It's a great stat for affiliates to have as a reference, and when I recently joined I was very excited to see that SAS has this stat as opposed to CJ's lack of it. However, it does not seem to be used. While I understand that new merchants need to be protected from skewed data if their volume of sales is low, after a certain period of time (say, 6 months active) doesn't it make sense that affiliates should be presented with the full story of a merchant's reversals so they can decide how risky that merchant may be?

    I'm trying to voice this in such a way as to be a suggestion and not so much a criticism. If the reversal rate stat is going to be left essentially unused, then I'd suggest removing it entirely. In about, just eyeballing it, 95%+ of the merchants, it's just "N/A New". I think it'd make more sense if the stat isn't removed and instead utilized accurately. If the worry is for the merchant's appearance, perhaps the stat could be broken down into categories for reversals (i.e. fraudulent transactions as opposed to customers returning the product for a refund). And as I said, 6 months active seems like plenty of time to get a non-skewed (or at least, less likely to be skewed) result with enough statistical data for an unbiased representation.

    Affiliates can be badly financially hit by reversals as much as merchants are. Only, merchants have the advantage of knowing their own trends of return rates, and we affiliates don't have that information. However, we can weigh our risks if we have a ballpark idea of how much we might lose to reversals. And it's not enough to just research what the industry average is for the merchant's sector; some have much higher or lower than average reversal rates, and some are just plain crooked and should be exposed as such. I doubt SAS wants to keep a partnership with a merchant like the latter case anyway.

    That being said, so far as a new affiliate my impression of SAS is very good. Brian, et al, keep up the good work!

  9. #9
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Spacedog,

    We can't please everyone here... merchants don't want them published because they feel that they are skewed "Up" due to things like CC fraud, and other reasons...

    Affiliates want the info as it is imporant for their decisions...

    We try to make as much info available as possible, while offering the merchants what they need as well. I'll take a look at this, but i'm not sure there is anything we can do to keep everyone happy on this one.

    (By the way, there is a thread and an online spreadsheet where you can make requests to the ShareASale team on improvements, things to fix, etc... it is in the "Sticky" section at the top)
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  10. #10
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    In our industry there is a great deal of fraud.
    Sales are auto-approved at SAS
    So I will need to reverse leads where fraud is found.
    So our rate will skewed "Up" and make us look BAD.
    BAD is "not a good thing".

  11. #11
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Thanks, Brian, for your response. I'll post this in shortened form in the things to fix thread. After looking at the stats a bit more it seems that for merchants beyond about 2 years active, it appears most reversal rates do show in your stats. Now if that could only be brought down to 6 months or so.

    Merchant Consultant Team brings up a good point. For industries with a lot of fraud, why not wait on crediting commissions to affiliates until transactions can be verified to not be CC fraud, etc? I'm sure it does not take too long to figure out when purchases have been fraudulently made, or at least it shouldn't. It would seem in the best interest of the merchant to check the validity of sales before shipping out the product (or providing the service) rather than have to constantly deal with the aftereffects of fraud. An ounce of prevention... etc. I know, there are too many sales to do this by hand, but I understand that many companies have systems that detect and flag transactions that fall into a category of "likely to be fraud". I'd be happy to have my commissions lag behind for a few days so that most of them can be determined to be valid before the commission shows up in my stats box. And as I mentioned before, reversal stats could be split into two categories: product returns and fraud. The merchant could have a small disclaimer mentioning it's a high fraud industry, or even mentioning that it's a high return industry in those cases.

    Yeah, yeah... in an ideal world cars would be flying by now and GW Bush would be permanently tucked away in a rubber room so he can't do any more damage to the USA.

  12. #12
    Full Member clyderose's Avatar
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    The reversal rate is wierd on SAS, i have had reversal rated going upto 30% and staying high for quite a while escpecially when sales are low.

    If i reverse a sale during peak sale periods its a very low figure. But i reverse sales when they need to be reversed!
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  13. #13
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Speaking as an affiliate, I would NOT want my commissions to lag behind! In fact one of the things I like about SAS is that there's usually no delay at all!

    If a merchant's reversing a lot for any reason, I want to know about it, not have it swept under the rug. I don't want a constant nagging feeling that 90% of my sales aren't showing up.

  14. #14
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Spacedog,

    Are you beginning to see that no matter how we set this one up, it isn't going to make everyone happy.

    Seriously speaking, it is a tough one for us because there are so many valid points of view - Leader, Clyde, Merchant Consulting Team, etc... they all make good points....
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  15. #15
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Ugh, yes this is definitely a prickly one, Brian. But 2 years? By that time a company could be regularly screwing their affiliates. Ah well, some balance has to be found. Thanks for being here to regularly check up on us and for your candor.

  16. #16
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    It actually isn't a time thing... it is based on a reasonable volume level where the rate isn't susceptibal to being skewed by an early reversal....
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  17. #17
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Ok, that makes sense. How about a lower volume level, then? Strictly on an eyeball basis, it seems it work out to 1.5 to 2 years for most merchants as it stands right now.

    On that point, do reversals get subtracted from the commission pool of all affiliates so as to be accurately reflected in 7- and 30- day EPC stats? I've never gotten a straight answer out of CJ about that for some reason, and my gut feeling is that over there they don't subtract them (again of course, to protect merchants in the very merchant-centric network that CJ has proven to be).

    Edit: Maybe reversal rate can fairly be calculated over a long period of time, say 6 months, rather than 30 days or whatever you're using now, so it's less skewed since there's more data. Now that I've just looked more carefully (hadn't even thought of it before), one of my partner merchants still lists N/A New but when I "view trend" it's showing some actual reversal rate data in there. Other partners that are N/A New are just a flatline 0.0.

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