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  1. #1
    The Beer Hunter LearnAbout's Avatar
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    Again: VOIDED Self-Referral Sale
    This topic came up at a previous thread but was limited to sporadic incidences, coincidentally (?) with the same merchant:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...+Self-Referral
    That thread didn’t end in something that would satisfy my curiosity, so I’ll bring it up again:

    This time Vitasprings reversed three consecutive sales, which happened over a six day period, with the infamous “VOIDED Self-Referral Sale” reason. The sales were small, and this is not about the $$ but about the principle behind it.

    I contacted Vitasprings, stating the three transaction details and asking for some clarification. Somebody signing off as Andy replies with the following:

    “I know you didn't place these orders by yourself, but they were placed by our company. Our computer must got some cookies that should be cleaned. Thank you.”

    That’s it? Hmm… If it would be a single order than I may swallow it, but 3 consecutive over a six day stretch? I wrote back:

    “Dear Andy,

    this is a very weak argument. The reversals were for 3 orders placed six days apart. If it's really my cookie on your computer than ALL your orders during these six days should have shown up under my account, unless of course you have only made three sales in six days thru your company? Hard to believe, isn't it?

    Please find out what really happened and reimburse me if this commission was taken from me wrongly. I know it's a peanut amount, but it's the principle behind it that is important to me.

    Thanks, Frank”


    To which he replied:

    “Hello,

    I am sorry that I can't refund the money back, because these products were really placed by our people. The customer is our whole customer, and she has known us for more than 1 year. It was not referred by your site. Thank you.

    Andy”


    So now it’s one customer who placed three (phone??) orders in a six day span, and the customer service chap’s computer happens to have my cookie on it? For six days? And only for these three orders?

    To give them the benefit of the doubt I guess I’m missing something trivial, so if there is somebody here who can enlighten me I’d much appreciate it.

    Thanks, Frank

    Btw, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it!
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  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    I've had a very similar thing happen to one of my merchants. They were visiting one of affiliate websites. Then forgot to clean their cookies and placed two phone orders in a row (they do it online through their own website, just as the above-quoted merchant obviously does), which naturally showed as affiliate sales on the affiliate account.

    If this has happened, then I see no problem with it.

    They wrote:

    “I know you didn't place these orders by yourself, but they were placed by our company. Our computer must got some cookies that should be cleaned. Thank you.”
    Sounds exactly like the situation I've described above.

    Quote Originally Posted by LearnAbout
    So now it’s one customer who placed three (phone??) orders in a six day span, and the customer service chap’s computer happens to have my cookie on it? For six days? And only for these three orders?
    Now this is where it gets interesting. It is either that this particular guy keyed-in only these 3 phone orders within the six-day span, or something is happening... I wish there was a way to find out if he has received any other phone orders during this period.

    Geno
    Last edited by Geno Prussakov; November 24th, 2006 at 05:37 AM.

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager Patrick - AMWSO's Avatar
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    I've the had the same thing happen with my merchant, Emitations. Orders that customer services department had placed online (as sample products for print media) had shown up in shareasale as an affiliate sales. These orders were later voided, much to the conern of the affiliate in question and as it goes, me too - my salary is based on affiliate sales.

    After questioning the customer rep who placed the order, it turned out that she had visited one of the affiliates sites and got cookied. Anyhow, since I asked her to delete her cookies... we haven't had this happen again since.

    cheers,
    Patrick Goodfellow
    Emitations Partner Manager
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. MSN - goodfellowpat@hotmail.com ::: www.amwso.com Get our RSS News Feed here - feeds.feedburner.com/AMWSO
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  4. #4
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    Now this is where it gets interesting. It is either that this particular guy keyed-in only these 3 phone orders within the six-day span, or something is happening... I wish there was a way to find out if he has received any other phone orders during this period.

    I don't see why this has to mean anything strange is going on. Where I work, there are a couple of computers that take the bulk of the orders. If no one at those computers can answer the phone, however, I may end up answering and taking the order.

    I typically only place a few orders each week, but I visit a lot of the affiliate sites, so I'm constantly deleting cookies. It's easy enough to imagine how I could end up accidentally accumulating a few orders under an affiliate cookie for a week or two.

    Of course, I've set my browser to delete cookies upon closing, so that's no longer an issue unless I've been visiting affiliates in that session.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Nature Boy's Avatar
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    This bring up an interesting question then. Why would a merchant go to an affiliates site and click THEIR OWN links? Wouldn't this drive down their precious EPC, because they "know" that they won't be buying anything with that click?
    Scott
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bulls#!t
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  6. #6
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nature Boy
    This bring up an interesting question then. Why would a merchant go to an affiliates site and click THEIR OWN links?
    I do this daily, Scott. How else will I know that the links work? For example, just the day before yesterday I had an affiliate import a datafeed into his site; but every time I would click the "buy now" link under my merchant's products on his site I would be redirected to the homepage of his website... If I didn't click it, how else would I know that it worked (or rather: how it worked)?

    Geno

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    I do this daily, Scott. How else will I know that the links work? For example, just the day before yesterday I had an affiliate import a datafeed into his site; but every time I would click the "buy now" link under my merchant's products on his site I would be redirected to the homepage of his website... If I didn't click it, how else would I know that it worked (or rather: how it worked)?
    Yes indeed, every day there are mails along the lines of "my links aren't working" that requires a click to check that they are working, and the weekly "sales don't track", another click, sale, void... Every request needs to be checked, just in case !

    Cheers

    Chris
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  8. #8
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    Sometimes it's not intentional - When you look at the link the sale came from, it may be a redirected affiliate link of it's own (one of those ROI tracking URLS or something like that). Other times, it's because you're not quite sure what you're clicking on, because they've used a redirect to make it look like an internal link. I usually clear my cookies after that sort of thing, but sometimes you get distracted - the phone rings, someone walks in with a pressing concern, etc.

    And of course, like Geno said, sometimes you just like to know that things are working.

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

    This happens very regularly - merchant AMs often check for working links, and forget to clean their computers cache and cookies prior to placing orders. There might be one specific person with a specific computer where this occurs, etc...

    If you have doubts about a merchant claim, let us know - we are able to match up the IP address of the sale to a computer and if their claim is correct the IP would be similar if not the exact same. Often times we can match this to the address used at the time of the signup, etc...
    Thanks,

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

  10. #10
    The Beer Hunter LearnAbout's Avatar
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    Dear All,

    thanks a lot for your input!

    I do appreciate AMs who occasionally look if my links are working properly. I did have the occasional screw-ups on my sites, and an attentive AM alerted me about these.

    What I was curious about was exactly the question Geno mentioned in his reply:
    "Now this is where it gets interesting. It is either that this particular guy keyed-in only these 3 phone orders within the six-day span, or something is happening... I wish there was a way to find out if he has received any other phone orders during this period."

    I guess it is possible that some guy at Vitasprings only keyed in three orders within a six day span, as jumbybay pointed out.

    Brian: thanks a lot for your offer, but I think this would be too much hassle for three small sales. I'll monitor if there is a trend or a more frequent occurence of this issue happening, especially at Vitasprings, and take it from there.

    Thanks again, Frank
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