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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Target listing "stores only" products in Datafeed
    Okay, I've had lots of problems with Target's datafeed in the past as seen here:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=82064

    But this new problem takes the cake. I just realized Target is including "stores only" products in their feed! These products cannot be bought online and are a total waste of my traffic. I've been sending them hundreds of customers over the past few days and have only been earning minimal commissions. This is one of the most dishonest things a merchant can do and I'm infuriated by the waste of money and traffic they're causing me.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  2. #2
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Werd. That is a pretty low down and dirty thing for them to do.
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Yeah, and I am finding more out of stock products again.

  4. #4
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    For a LONG time they've had many products that have "Also in stores" in red right near each of the products. All over the site for one department in particular - bright red, can't miss it.

  5. #5
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    That's not realy unreasonable though, it's just smart marketing.

    "Only in stores" though, that is chiseling free traffic from affiliates. If we take the time to promote them, they should take the time to only provide commissionable links.

    I would wonder if this may be against Linkshare TOS. It certainly should be.
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  6. #6
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    I understand the complaint -- a merchant should not lure affiliates with commission promises and then redirect customers to purchase methods that evade commissions. And certainly an AFFILIATE datafeed should not include items "available in-store only."

    Or is that right? Should an affiliate datafeed be limited to items available for mail-order only? Should an affiliate thus be encouraged to present consumers with only a "partial inventory" for the merchant, because affiliates are only compensated for a limited subset of sales transactions which they drive? No, actually, the opposite is true: affiliates should be rewarded for "capturing" customers who are searching online, and sending those customers into the local store.

    The issue here is that Target (and Wal-Mart, and Joann Fabrics, and nearly every other "brick-and-mortar" retailer) has chosen NOT to compensate affiliates for transactions they may send to retail stores. Wasn't it just last year that even Amazon.com enticed customers to buy books at Borders bookstores (at list price, no less), also non-commissionable? (In fairness to Target and Wal-Mart, there are many thousands of products which they only offer online).

    We all know the simplest solution: couponing. Not a fat 20% or 10% off coupon, just a small consumer discount (even 1%) in order to facilitate tracking from "online to offline" so that affiliates can be compensated. And affiliates might not earn the "online" commission rate -- perhaps only 1% or 2% commission, and probably only on the immediate transaction (probably not subsequent retail-store purchases by the same consumer, who is already tracked [by credit card number] over time at most retail chains).

    In fairness, couponing is a nightmare for retailers, and presents unique opportunities for fraud (imagine every retail clerk at Wal-Mart signing up their spouse as an affiliate and giving their customers coupons in order to earn commissions). And traditional advertising agencies (the ones that create those cute Target TV commercials and print advertising, etc.) are horrified at any suggestion that there should be "accountability" to track which marketing activities generate what proportion of retail sales.

    Also, some retailers pay a "high" commission rate to affiliates for online sales in part because they know that there will be "offline sales" triggered by the same affiliates.

    My own experience has been that online conversion rates for "brick and mortar" retailers are too low to justify including them in my marketing efforts; I concentrate instead on "online-only" retailers, or those whose online operations are separately branded from retail-store operations.

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    At they very least, they should use the Availability Flag to identify which products are only available offline. Some affiliates may still want to promote those products (although i suspect it's not many).
    Michael Coley
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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    At they very least, they should use the Availability Flag to identify which products are only available offline. Some affiliates may still want to promote those products (although i suspect it's not many).
    I agree. There is no way to identify these items as there is no flag.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager SpinLife1's Avatar
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    Coming from a company like Target, this does not surprise me at all.

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