Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26
  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,279
    What's your reaction to a merchant with an "exclusivity clause" (i.e., you can't promote any other merchants with the same/similar products)?

    I was about to sign-up for a merchant that was recommended by someone I respect and trust, but the merchant has such a clause and I discovered that it certainly rubs me the wrong way. It's purely reactionary ("nobody gets that much control over MY site") and I'm wondering how others react.

    I'm interested in both the affiliate and merchant perspective...

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    12,817
    PPBBBBTTTTTT!!! [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] [img]tongue.gif[/img] <IMG src=http://www.abestweb.com/ubb/icons/icon13.gif> <IMG src=http://www.abestweb.com/ubb/icons/icon13.gif>

    No way, out of the question, forget it.

    Personally I *prefer* to only show one merchant per category per a site, but if they tried to MAKE me, that'd be a whole different story! There are a few occasions where I want to showcase more than one merchant--but mainly it's the principle of the thing. Like you said: it's CONTROL. Nobody's getting that kind of control over my site, either.

  3. #3
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    279
    Personally I don't like that clause, BUT... if the merchant converts, and/or and if I can't find other merchants who carry the same type of products, then I'll go for it.

    [ 08-15-2002: Message edited by: AT ]

  4. #4
    Guest
    It's okay only if the merchant accepts to have ONLY my site as an affiliate.

    You can phrase that in a better way than a sleepless, tired to death man can, but you get the idea.

    - BluesX

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    1,285
    No. No. No.

    And, did I say... "No!"
    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Seriously though, if it were me, I would probably say no... Exclusivity clauses are rarely a good thing, especially when you are the one being excluded...

    [ 08-15-2002: Message edited by: Shawn-Overstock.com ]

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    1,285
    OK, no was my first reaction.

    However, now that I stopped to engage brain, sometimes there are circumstances that warrent it. If someone is not willing to budge and the potential outweighs the downside, then it might be OK. I would make sure a short-term "out" is in the contract. You don't want to be limited to exclusivity and be stuck with that relationship if things don't work out.

    Just my 2 cents...

  7. #7
    Newbie
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    32
    I ignore them. Apparently most of the aproving AM's do as well.

  8. #8
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    5,482
    Nebufil

    That approach is fine until the merchant decides not to cut your 5000 dollar check and reverses your sales or leads. Your court case won't hold water.

  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Posts
    17,328
    Very bad idea to even red flag your affiliate program as having exclusive rights to your vertical market on my Cybermall site. It reeks of a clause to eliminate paying an affiliate who might add a competitor to the mix. Only palce for it is if you as a merchant up your commission and pay a slotting fee for exclusive page exposure.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,279
    Well, this particular merchant doesn't stand a chance of getting on my site because two of my best performers "dabble" in his specialty (and I promote them as such in a couple of places)... which would violate the contract and I'm sure as heck not dropping two proven performers for the unknown.

    But I did wonder if there would ever be a case when this would be sensible or if I was being overly sensitive. I am very clear about who controls my site, but don't want to be pig-headed about it... at least not to my own detriment. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Leader, I generally showcase several merchants (like for a widget page, this merchant has the best green ones, this merchant has the best blue ones), but the only time I showcase two dead-on competing ones is when I'm testing. I have a mediocre converter I wanted to test this new one against. Not gonna happen.

    And you're absolutely right, there is something about being told You Can't.

    lol @BluesX -- good response and I just may use it at some point.

    Shawn, thanks for the merchant's perspective... if only they all had your sense. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Nebufil, I've gotta go with Heyder and Mike on this one -- violating the contract is just too good of a reason for them not to pay.

    All, thanks for the reality check -- it is appreciated. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    637
    I agree with most, but I disagree on one point. Use common sense. If they are the only merchant with that product line, who cares? Just say yes. But if it's a competitive field and you have lots to choose from,... then I say, "don't let the door hit you on the way out.." (ie, send them packing.)

    If you do say yes, you should try to add a time period in there. I've done it in many contracts. You'll give them exclusivity for 1 year, or 6 months, or whatever you think works for you. Don't be afraid to print out the contract/agreement, and mark the heck out of it with what you want, or don't want, and then fax it back to them. Negotiate. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  12. #12
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    399
    Couldn't see supporting a company that's anti-competition. In the short term it's bad for the consumer, in the long term it's bad for the company. And you're in between the two bad fors.

  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Bangkok
    Posts
    11,273
    Hi All

    On a generic site I would not ask for or require exclusivity .

    However on "pages" where an affiliate has asked to use content and imagery (not product images) from the Mondera site (i.e. Our Learning Center) then I would require that such content was only used to promote Mondera Products, which I think is fair as I'm providing text, images and so forth for a page....

    But other than that no, we never need or ask for exclusive rights.. and have no right to in my book... unless, I guess I was paying a flat cash fee to "book" a site or page maybe.

    Cheers

    Chris

    [ 08-16-2002: Message edited by: Mondera ]

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,279
    >>If they are the only merchant with that product line, who cares?<<

    I do. Call it uncommon sense, there are some TOS contracts that are not satisfactory to me.

    >>However on "pages" where an affiliate has asked to use content and imagery (not product images) from the Mondera site (i.e. Our Learning Center) <<

    Very good point, Chris. And the first reasonable claim to exclusivity that I've seen.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,402
    There are certain circumstances where I would consider it. For example, if there is some type of previous relationship between you and the merchant, and they would make it worth your while to be exlusive. I have a few exlusive deals (not in a contract, but a verbal/written exchange) between certain merchants. Just as an example (and this is only an example). Andy at Tiger doesn't accept affiliates who don't have TLD's. He sends them to me for hosting, and in exchange I only carry Tiger products on my sites. If it is a win/win for both, I would consider it. I'm also working on something with another merchant to carry only their products in a new on-line store I'm putting together...

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador affiliatemakeover's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    821
    Everyone is right on.

    Exclusivity is simply a half-ass attempt by a company to take away the competition, in most cases.

    Any company that would ask you to do this is bound to be a failure (special circumstances excepted). Facing your competitors and beating them because you're better is what tells me you are a good company and are proud of your product.

    I say never sign anything like that. If you really have to, only sign it if they let you have a 30 day out clause, and make sure they don't have anything in there about "you can't use one of our competitors on your site for XXX days after you break with us".

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    739
    Just to add another Merchant view to the mix- let me tell you why most of our contracts are exclusive

    1. As Mondera mentioned, we havea good amount of content available to affiliates. I can't justify paying for this content (we do pay quite a bit) and then having it placed on a page where a competitor is the product being pushed. Effectively, we would be paying to promote a competitor's products in that scenario.

    2. I have one of the largest, most experienced teams of Account Managers working with me. They are able to do extensive work with many affiliates such as helping put together hundreds of targeted ppc terms for a site or getting hotel reviews written that work better with a specific site, or running web position reports monthly for some sites. Tehy also help with the big picture on many sites- we've assisted with design advice, database programming, xml set up and countless other aspects of building and maintaining a site. Again, for the large amount of effort and money that goes into this, I don't want to have that affiliate turn around and use 300 keywords we developed for the competition.

    On the flip side, it's my responsability to make sure that our product is worth it- this is a two way street. If we have an exclusive contract, I need to make sure that we are delivering to the affiliates.

    As an affiliate, read those contracts. In our case, we have many exclusive affiliates who have other sites that use a competitor. In the travel business, most have many sites, so this is not a problem if that site is not under contract.

    Also, remember that most contract are negotiable. Some business models do not lend themselves to exclusivity. We're aware of that as are most other companies. Make your argument- as someone who has also worked as an affiliate, it seems that dismising a company for an exclusivity clause could well lose you business as well.

    Have a great weekend all!

    (For the record, the way I handled them when I was an affiliate was to sign up some free site to the exclusive contract- If it looked like it would be a worthwhile company to work with, I would purchase a domain and set up the site based on that merchant.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador affiliatemakeover's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    821
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>1. I can't justify paying for this content (we do pay quite a bit) and then having it placed on a page where a competitor is the product being pushed. Effectively, we would be paying to promote a competitor's products in that scenario.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I can buy that. Especially since you mentioned elsewhere how much you proactively do to help your affiliates.

    I would be exclusive for that kind of communcation and help. Sounds like you will be very successful, if you aren't already. Good to hear.

    The only thing I would be weary on is an out-clause. Somebody once sent me a contract that said if I decide not to use their service anymore, I would have to wait 12 months to use another competitor of his. Insanity I say!

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    739
    I would consider the #1 seller of hotel rooms online pretty successful - and we have gotten here by knowing that our revenue was coming through affiliates from day 1. (ok, I wasn't here day 1- but we do still have the original programmers here who were).

    Thanks for your kind words. If you are ever in the market for a travel affiliation- please give me a call!

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    817
    Make exclusivity work for you not against you.


    If you are a big enough publisher you may ne able to negotiate a slotting or performance fee in exchange for exclusivity.

    For example, "I will make you the exclusive widget advertisor for my site but you will have to guarantee a certain level of performance or you will have to pay to get other advertisor's out of this inventory."


    This is where categorical EPC analysis is very handy. Especially if you can put forth a 3-month number EPC bottom threshold to show what this cateogory is "worth" to you.

    Exclusivity is a big step and not one to be taken lightly. If you are giving it you need to get something extra in return. If the merchant is unwilling to give some extra for a featured or exclusive slot then you have little leverage or you are better of staying away from it.

    Exclusivity can sometimes put more money in your pocket if you engage it proactively. Especially since the merchant gains a double-win. They are not only getting the sales, but putting a choke-hold on their competition.

    best,
    Wayne

  21. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    678
    I think there are definitely situations that warrent exclusivity and when exclusivity can be more then beneficial to each party involved. I haven't done any of them with affiliates up to this point and don't plan to, but I can see several situations where this would work out great.

    It would usually work out like someone here said if you have a past relationship. I don't think I would enter a contract like that with an unproven partner. But if you work with them and have a great relationship, payment is on time etc, then this can be looked at. Exclusivity contracts are used quite a bit in other industries, but each one is entered into cautiously.

    Like someone said it would have to be a win-win agreement. There would have to be a reason that you as an affiliate would want to promote just this one merchant. Maybe they will pay you more? Higher commissions, tiered bonuses, promotion of your company to thier customers or any number of ways that would increase the level of the partnership.

    I think exclusivity deals are bad where one party is "forced" into exclusivity instead of both parties excited about it. If you or I aren't happy about it, then why do it?

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    637
    I'm going to just take the other side for a moment here.. the reference to content is right on. If I, as a merchant were to spend a lot of time to help you with verbage, interactive links, "inside" information, etc, I'd want an exclusivity clause. I don't want you to take my work and use it to make money for someone else.

    Now, back to being an affiliate...

    If someone wants that exclusivity clause, then they have to provide something to you in addition to what everyone else is doing, to earn the exclusivity clause. If they offer just the same, then their is no benefit. But on the other hand, there are people who do have trade secrets and experience that pays off. Gaining that insight could be worth accepting the exclusivity clause.

    I'm just saying, don't immediately say no, until you have thoroughly looked over the offer. I agree, it does limit competition, but it also protects companies assets.

    Yes, they rub me the wrong way, but it's possible they really do have something to protect, and if that is the case, then that's something valuable. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] (to you and them)

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    637
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Cedric:
    [QB]>>If they are the only merchant with that product line, who cares?<<

    I do. Call it uncommon sense, there are some TOS contracts that are not satisfactory to me.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Then lets separate the issues... moral and practical. If your issue is moral, one of principle, then that's fine. You do that is in your heart. I agree.

    But now to the practical... In your original post you stated:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    What's your reaction to a merchant with an "exclusivity clause" (i.e., you can't promote any other merchants with the same/similar products)?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So I reponsded, "if they are the only one with the items... who cares?"

    Some companies are just anal when it comes to things. They feel they have to control the world. I consider it a character and business flaw. But okay, that's their problem.

    So, if that merchant is the only one with that product, then how does an exclusivity clause hurt you? It can't. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] They are just being silly, and you know that, and so what? If the widget is one you like and can promote and they are the only ones with that widget, then their exclusivity clause is meaningless, cause you couldn't promote those other widgets cause they don't exist. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    See my point now? If it's just their anal business practices, but you can make a buck off their product, then make the sale.

    (1 caveat: don't go for the term longer than you are compfortable with.)

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,279
    >>They are just being silly, and you know that, and so what? If the widget is one you like and can promote and they are the only ones with that widget, then their exclusivity clause is meaningless,<<

    It would be meaningless for them to have it, but it would NOT be meaningless for me to agree to it... and that's one of the funny things about contracts -- you think a clause is meaningless right up until the point that it bites you in the @$$.

    There are lots of places to make a buck. No sense making them with people who require something you're unsure about giving.

    I understand your point, AffJus, I just don't agree with the follow-up.

    I do think, after spending time with this thread, that there ARE valid cases for exclusivity -- but only when, as Jamie said, both parties are excited about it.

  25. #25
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    12,817
    Well, when the merchant's c*ntent is being used, I also make a mini-exception for the pages the merchant's c*ntent is on. The only one I used articles from [with advance permission of course!!!] made sure to say that permission was only granted if they were the only merchant on the page. And it stands to reason that a merchant wouldn't want their c*ntent used along with a competitor's ads! (The benefit to me was an insta-update to the c*ntent site...and they get quite a bit of exposure since I rejiggered the article a bit with SEO in mind so people actually *see* it, and their banners and text links are on the pages...)

    But that's not like a site-wide exclusivity clause...it would take a substantial slotting fee for me to consider that.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Coupon exclusivity - when and where, if at all?
    By DandyMats in forum ShareASale - SAS
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: June 23rd, 2010, 01:59 AM
  2. Merchant Exclusivity
    By alnino1 in forum Rakuten LinkShare - LS
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: May 27th, 2004, 02:53 PM
  3. Exclusivity Clauses
    By Andy Rodriguez in forum Starting an Affiliate Program & Merchant Q&A
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: February 5th, 2002, 04:24 PM
  4. Exclusivity Clauses
    By Andy Rodriguez in forum Other Affiliate Networks
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: February 5th, 2002, 04:24 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •