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  1. #1
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Rhea's Avatar
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    Black Forest Decor lowers commission and lies about it
    I received an email from the affiliate manager of BFD a month or so ago telling me that the "temporary" 10% commission rate would be lowered to 5% in October. "That's nonsense," I wrote back, ,"The BFD commission rate has always been 10% and unless you continue to pay me 10% I'm going to start pulling your links." She never replied.

    So this week when I received yet another reminder of the change I wrote to her again, reiterating what I had previously stated, that her contention that 5% was the normal BFD commission rate was a lie. I told her that if I didn't have a reply from her this time I would start pulling my links *and* I'd make public what I knew about their program.

    Someone at SAS can corroborate this. I've been an affiliate of BFD for a couple of years, I believe since they began their program, and their commission rate was always 10%. I don't like my commission being halved arbitrarily but I really, really despise being lied to about it.

    It's so cute when they pull this crap right before the holiday season.

    BFD is owned by Newport Antiques which also owns Lone Star Western Decor.

  2. #2
    Full Member Travelin Man's Avatar
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    It's too bad this merchant won't work with you since you've been with them for so long. I'd bet they made some good money from your referrals. I hope you can replace them quickly.

    BFD isn't one of my more than 100 SAS merchants and because of their shenanigans won't ever be. Shoot, for most merchants, a 5% commission isn't worth my time. Thanks for outing them!

    Best wishes,
    Travelin' Man

    "If you don't know where you are going, any road will lead you there." -- unknown

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
    Rhea's Avatar
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    Thanks for checking the dates, Simcat. I don't know where they got that AM from but she ain't too bright if she thinks she can pull the wool over our eyes. It's too bad because they have some nice products, and yes, I've made them a few bucks over the years.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    Good work simcat.

    Rhea have you pulled all your links? Mine are gone. I didn't heavily promote them, except in a few narrow niches. But the few I did have, went after the first notice.

    I don't know why some affiliate managers think that we are a stupid bunch. I'm in a rotten mood right now so I shouldn't get started about this type of stuff.

    Thanks for posting and keeping all of us up to date.

  6. #6
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Rhea's Avatar
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    Not yet, Aunt Lily. It's on the schedule for tomorrow. I really hate that I have to put any effort whatsoever into this. If enough of us drop our links maybe the merchant will hire a competent affiliate manager.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    Is it possible that by cutting affiliate commissions the AM could be getting a bigger piece of the pie through a percentage agreement for sales made through the affiliate channel?

    It might be a good idea to contact the owner him/herself about this issue. Didn't he post here about a problem at one time?

  8. #8
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    They have always been listed at 10% or I wouldn't have signed up in the first place. Now it's changed to 5%. No big thing, I haven't done anything with them yet.

    I've quit them, that's the only self-respecting response possible. Staying is just co-signing their BS.

  9. #9
    Full Member Crocket's Avatar
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    Odd that their other site "Lone Star Western Decor" is still at 10%. I guess it is just a matter of time before its reduced too.

  10. #10
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    In response to Rhea's original post in this thread, yes, HER commission had always been 10% because she was among the early joiners of the Black Forest Decor affiliate program. Later joiners of our affiliate program received only a 5% commission until their performance level qualified for the 10% commission plan.

    The notice that was sent out was a reminder that the 10% Commission Promo that started in August 2006 was ending, not that her commission specifically would be getting cut. The notice stated that the promotional commissions would be returning to their original 5% level prior to the promotion. The notice did fail to mention that affiliates who were receiving higher commissions prior to the promotion, because of either longevity or high performance in our program, would continue at the original levels.

    I did respond to the only email I received from Rhea and did not receive a reply in return. I feel it is unfortunate that there was no response other than pulling our links from her site, but that was her choice.

    Cherie Speer
    Affiliate Manager
    Black Forest Decor

  11. #11
    Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Almost FOUR MONTHS for the AM to respond that this was all a misunderstanding?

    Where has she been and what does she expect, that Rhea, Aunt Lily, and maybe hundreds (or thousands) of others will now put their links back in?

  12. #12
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    I was unaware of this discussion thread until today and felt it should be addressed. I don't expect links to be put back up by anyone. All communication with Rhea has been through direct email contact.

    Cherie

  13. #13
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Cherie, drop me an e-mail when you get a chance. I can't reach you at the one I got from you at the summit. Thanks.

  14. #14
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    Hey, Geno! Great to hear from you. You should receive an email shortly.
    Thanks!

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Cherie,

    I think Rhea and others thought you might respond here as you had been active here at ABW in September. That could be part of the misunderstanding.

    As with many new programs and many new affiliate managers, they sometimes don't realize the impact they can have here at this very active forum and it really can make or break a program sometimes. My suggestion is to come here often, hopefully communicate regularly, but if not communicating, do use the search button and search for key words, like your merchant name, just to be sure there are not people needing help or who have concerns.

    I saw you at Summit but did not get a chance to meet in person. Hopefully in Miami.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  16. #16
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    Hey, thanks for the clarification. I want to spend more time on the forums and improve at being an affiliate manager. I'm sure I've got a long way to go, but folks in the know tell me I haven't done everything wrong.... so maybe there's hope!

  17. #17
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Anyone who was a BFD affiliate who was informed at the time of signup that the 10% commission was temporary, raise your hand.

    (Deafening silence ensues.)

    OKCher, can you provide proof that the 10% commission was presented to affiliates as a temporary benefit to those who signed up early? A copy of an email perhaps or the signup page for BFD? If you can't then I have to ask where you got the idea that the 10% commission was temporary. Did someone at BFD tell you that and you accepted it as fact?

    BTW, your only communications with me were the emails that went out, I assume, to all BFD affiliates announcing the change in commission structure. You NEVER replied to either of the two personal emails I wrote you objecting to the change in commission rate. You ignored them entirely.

  18. #18
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Rhea, I think what she was trying to say is that your commission level wasn't ever going to go down, but the email notice failed to make that clear.

    "The notice did fail to mention that affiliates who were receiving higher commissions prior to the promotion, because of either longevity or high performance in our program, would continue at the original levels."

    Cherie, my advice, always double and triple check affiliate announcements before they go out. Miscommunications are costly. It sounds like this one cost you at least one long time affiliate, plus some bad PR.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  19. #19
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Wrong, Eathan. My commission level did go down to five percent. OKCher's comment only further confuses the issue. At this point I have no idea what she's trying to say, that's why I asked her for clarification.

  20. #20
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    Rhea,
    Here's the pre-promotion notice that went out to all Share A Sale Affiliates in our program:
    ___________
    60-Day Promotion!
    10% COMMISSION for ALL SALES!
    Begins August 9, 2006
    Ends October 9, 2006
    No monthly minimum to reach, no tiers for 60 days!
    All Black Forest Decor Affiliates Participate!
    Add more links now!

    Benefits:
    - Work with a sales leader in its industry
    - Free Product Catalog Datafeed
    - Banner Ads & Text Links
    - Full-time Affiliate Manager
    Pick up product links now!
    Terms & Conditions:
    The customer must complete an online purchase within our shopping cart. Affiliates may not outbid Black Forest Decor for selected keywords. Commissions will be paid only on completed purchases.

    After Promotional Period has expired, commissions will be:
    5% Commission on sales up to $1,000 per month
    10% Commission on sales over $1,000 per month
    Questions? Email us at: affiliates@blackforestdecor.com
    _________

    I am not able to locate the email trail because I only store three months of back emails. I try to be very responsive to our affiliates and am sorry you feel unheard and mistreated. I do not expect you to have a change of heart, nor to ever desire to work with us again, since you have expressed yourself so clearly.

  21. #21
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea
    Wrong, Eathan. My commission level did go down to five percent. OKCher's comment only further confuses the issue. At this point I have no idea what she's trying to say, that's why I asked her for clarification.
    Confusing to me as well. That does seem to go counter to what was said. Sorry for sticking my nose in...
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  22. #22
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    OKCher, explain how you can write this:
    The notice did fail to mention that affiliates who were receiving higher commissions prior to the promotion, because of either longevity or high performance in our program, would continue at the original levels.
    And yet my commission was cut to 5% after the so-called promotional period.

    Either someone made a mistake last year when my commission was cut to 5 percent or someone is making a mistake now by attempting to pretend that it was all a big misunderstanding but not offering to correct it. If this was just an honest mistake then I would think you'd be eager to make me whole in this matter.

  23. #23
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Giftware, like apparel, is a 50% markup product category for all resellers. Encouraging value-add resellers in the giftware industry is never done with a 10% commission spiff.... always 50+%. So the message to your affiliates is they're worth only a 5% fee fro driving online sales which are always more profitable then offline sales.

    Interesting.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  24. #24
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Cool
    I got this from BFD a long time ago, via SAS interface:

    A message from one of your merchants: Black Forest Decor

    We at Black Forest Decor would like to thank you for joining our affiliate program. We have temporarily increased our commission rate to 15%. The rate is effective until 9/1/03.

    Please feel free to link to any of our product pages. You may also use photos and logos off our site to link to our website.

    We look forward to working with you and your company.

    Thanks again!

    Jason (
    www.blackforestdecor.com)

    ==============================
    so higher rates aren't a stranger there, anyway.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador
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    Can't Get Approved
    Cherie--

    I believe you're the one that approached me at Affiliate Summit about your program (can't be sure without pulling out my business card collection). However, I signed up for your program upon returning and my status is still "Pending". You might want to look at the current applications and approve those that meet your requirements.

    If you're unsure which application mine is, please PM me. Thanks.

    BTW, not sure how much I'll promote your program after reading your business practices above, but I'd like to at least be approved so I can look into your program.

    Michael

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