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  1. #176
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    Great article. Think of the number of cookies overwritten, that's impressive!
    How are cookies being overwritten? I think the issue is with customers wanting to freely post coupon codes anywhere they want.

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

  2. #177
    Affiliate Manager red80's Avatar
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    This article made my blood boil.

  3. #178
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by red80
    This article made my blood boil.
    Why? Because customers are posting coupons all over the net? The issue is really whether these customers can or should be controlled.

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

  4. #179
    Affiliate Manager red80's Avatar
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    Nope, I agree with what you are saying. They need to be controlled because too much of anything is no good. In addition, the offers are never "Special" anymore because you can get them anywhere. For example, my company (and I'm sure many merchants work this way) has separate offers for emails & affiliates so that we can segment more aggressive offers to incentivize different groups of people based on buying behavior. There is a marketing strategy behind offers in order to keep the business alive and make money but still offer a nice discount. There needs to be a healthy balance with how offers are promoted.

  5. #180
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by red80
    Nope, I agree with what you are saying. They need to be controlled because too much of anything is no good. In addition, the offers are never "Special" anymore because you can get them anywhere. For example, my company (and I'm sure many merchants work this way) has separate offers for emails & affiliates so that we can segment more aggressive offers to incentivize different groups of people based on buying behavior. There is a marketing strategy behind offers in order to keep the business alive and make money but still offer a nice discount. There needs to be a healthy balance with how offers are promoted.
    The problem is how can customers be held accountable for sharing coupons. I think we're going to need to start rethinking some traditional marketing strategies to accommodate social media.

    Quote Originally Posted by purplebear
    To me, it's all about one affiliate just saying srew everybody else, other affiliates, affiliate managers and merchants....flat out stealing other affiliates coupons and somehow that's ok?? To me it's not ok and just the fact that they can do it and be written about as if they're doin something good rrrrgggh.

    Am done babblin. I really respect you, so reading your comments and you thinking it was a good article.....leaves me and am really just wondering about my thinking at this point. Maybe I am just looking at everything wrong?
    The thing is customers want these types of sites so thats why they exist. There is no way a traditional coupon site could keep up with the amount of content these customers are posting. I think I read before that RMN gets over 3,000 coupons submitted daily. I doubt they could have ever dreamed of that kind of usage. All the stepping on other affiliates toes was a side effect to them giving customers a way to share coupons.

    I'm not saying what they're doing is good. My point is that its the customers posting the deals, not them. And that article helped make this point even more clear so that's why I thought it was good. Some affiliates seem to believe these sites are stealing the coupon codes themselves with spiders or scrapers, but that is not true. It is the customers who are doing it and very likely your customers if they posted your codes.

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

  6. #181
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    Scott, those sites are responsible for the content posted, period. And if these sites are allowing coupons to be posted that aren't meant for affiliate use, the merchants should just give them all the boot and take the traffic for free.

  7. #182
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Scott, those sites are responsible for the content posted, period. And if these sites are allowing coupons to be posted that aren't meant for affiliate use, the merchants should just give them all the boot and take the traffic for free.
    The article mentioned that these sites are sending customers for free to the merchants who dropped them, so its already happening. In the end they're only going to have affiliate relationships with the merchants who allow it. But thats still not going to stop their customers from posting every coupon under the sun for every merchant there is (affiliate program or not).

    And yes they are responsible for the content posted, but they never would have grown this large without giving customers the amount of control they have. It's really a catch-22. Who do you cater to, customers or merchants? If you don't cater to customers you won't get any traffic, but if you don't cater to merchants you'll destroy your relationships.

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

  8. #183
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    "The article mentioned that these sites are sending customers for free to the merchants who dropped them, so its already happening."

    That's good. That's how all merchants should do it with sites like this. They're either going to have affiliates that work with them and follow the guidelines or those who work against them, just drop those. And sites like this are going to keep the merchants up because shoppers like shopping with those merchants. So there's not much you can do as a merchant with people posting coupons but there are things you can do such as don't partner with them and if you do currently, deactivate them.

  9. #184
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    That's good. That's how all merchants should do it with sites like this. They're either going to have affiliates that work with them and follow the guidelines or those who work against them, just drop those. And sites like this are going to keep the merchants up because shoppers like shopping with those merchants. So there's not much you can do as a merchant with people posting coupons but there are things you can do such as don't partner with them and if you do currently, deactivate them.
    That's really up to the merchant. There are some merchants who allow affiliates to post any coupon.

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

  10. #185
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    Yes, that's what I just said - "They're either going to have affiliates that work with them and follow the guidelines or those who work against them, just drop those."

    If there are merchants that allow anything to be posted, then they're within the guidelines.

    If there are merchants who have it where you're only supposed to post certain coupons and an affiliate doesn't abide by that, drop them.

    It's just like the other discussion elsewhere. Merchants are either going to have:

    A. affiliates that follow the agreement
    B. affiliates that break the agreement

    Don't pay B. If you do, don't complain on message boards because the ones who pay are the problem.

  11. #186
    Newbie HazelB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Don't pay B. If you do, don't complain on message boards because the ones who pay are the problem.

    Excellent point. Does this mean that this thread should be moved to the Unethical Merchants subforum?
    Last edited by Trust; May 17th, 2008 at 02:04 PM.

  12. #187
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I am running an trial with RetailMeNot after talking with several networks and with Bevan Clark of RMN. Merchants have the ability to subscribe to the store pages for their brands and receive updates on new coupons posted. They then can communicate with RMN and request that custom affiliate codes and expired codes be removed. I will be monitoring this over the next few months. The thread is to remain here so other merchants can see this. Affiliates that find their custom or exclusive codes should alert the merchant to have them removed. You also have the ability to subscribe to the merchant category pages and monitor coupon placement.

    It is on RetailMeNot to work in good faith between now and the Boston Summit as I will discuss this issue at my Ethics in Affiliate Marketing session.

  13. #188
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    So it's up to other affiliates and merchants to monitor their site for them. How about if you want to work with them, you monitor them since if they're in any kind of violation it would be of your rules.

  14. #189
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    That's what I am doing. I am monitoring their use of my merchants coupons. When I see placement of a custom affiliate coupon I am requesting that they remove it. On the other hand if I see an exclusive coupon that only works for the targeted affiliate it can stay as it will only commission the intended affiliate.

  15. #190
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck
    On the other hand if I see an exclusive coupon that only works for the targeted affiliate it can stay as it will only commission the intended affiliate.
    It seems in this business that if you are big enough you can get away with murder. Talking about RMN here. I posted an exclusive one time by accident and I was out of the merchant's program before I even knew what I had done. The exclusive was mixed in with my links in LinkShare Web Service and I missed it and it went up.

    Part of the reason for having an exclusive coupon is to give credit to your site and give users a reason to bookmark you. If "exclusive" is not really what it says then it seems like the term looses credibility. I don't think in this case the commission is everything.


  16. #191
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    There are very few exclusive coupons meaning they will only work for one affiliate. 99% are custom coupons that are branded for the affiliate but work for anyone. We are testing exclusive coupons and will report back their success.

    Affiliates that allow members to post coupons open up the debate. Can anyone explain how FatWallet deals with their forums where coupons are posted by members?

  17. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    That's what I am doing. I am monitoring their use of my merchants coupons. When I see placement of a custom affiliate coupon I am requesting that they remove it. On the other hand if I see an exclusive coupon that only works for the targeted affiliate it can stay as it will only commission the intended affiliate.
    Chuck, one way to read that is you pretty much announced you have an open policy as to posting coupons, some merchants have this. If that's what you now have, it just needs to be made clear. So any site can post any coupons they find, why not, what are you going to do? Send me a nice email to remove them every single time and it can go back and forth, back and forth. I just have to tell you that it wasn't me, it was a user to my site but stay on your job of taking the responsibility for running my site for me. See what I'm getting at? If you're going to allow one site to do it, it would only be fair to let all in your program do it as well. And then you don't have to monitor for anything with an open policy like that. You pretty much just gave them the green light and have to (if you want to) sign up for your own store page, monitor it, email them and ask them each time. No penalty whatsoever in posting whatever coupon they want.

  18. #193
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Seems like I'm agreeing with you a lot bumpaw but once again, I agree with everything you said. I hope the affiliate manager put you back in the program? So, are you saying that while you are an ethical affiliate the affiliate manager didn't even give you the opportunity to explain what happened before removing you from the program?

  19. #194
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Trust, not what I am saying at all. I am taking this affiliate at their word and working with them on a solution. If they are full of it and playing me I will let it be known. If they are trying to be ethical and criticized for their success then I will work with then in earnest. Its all about integrity and communication.

  20. #195
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purplebear
    So, are you saying that while you are an ethical affiliate the affiliate manager didn't even give you the opportunity to explain what happened before removing you from the program?
    They let me back in right away after pleading my case. Shoot first and ask questions later.

    I will PM you with some side details that might interest you but would be off topic.


  21. #196
    ABW Ambassador newestuser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    If they are trying to be ethical and criticized for their success then I will work with then in earnest. Its all about integrity and communication.
    Of course they are playing you, Chuck. They are putting the ownness on you for something they're suposed to be monitoring from your own terms. That's like saying, I can speed around the neighborhood or disobey all the laws, and then if I get caught by the police, i just stop, and the police let me go on my merry way. Life doesn't work that way, there are rules, and you should obey them... i don't see how you allow that in your programs.
    Integrity would be them doing the right thing from the start. Integrity would be you standing by your rules for your programs.

  22. #197
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    And what rules of my programs are you referring to? Appreciate the advice but this is my decision. I willingly came here and as Haiko often says "opened the kimono". I am giving the affiliate the benfit of the doubt and will stand by the outcome. On what basis are you making your decision?
    Last edited by Chuck Hamrick; May 19th, 2008 at 12:36 AM.

  23. #198
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    That's what I am doing. I am monitoring their use of my merchants coupons. When I see placement of a custom affiliate coupon I am requesting that they remove it. On the other hand if I see an exclusive coupon that only works for the targeted affiliate it can stay as it will only commission the intended affiliate.
    Chuck, I think what others are alluding to is that this affiliate by "allowing" merchants and others to monitor them has basically said that they are willing to play by the rules when YOU catch them breaking them. The way that it should work is that they play by the rules...PERIOD. By "allowing" interested parties to monitor them they have shifted the onus of their TOS violations back to the merchant, networks and other affiliates, you buying in to that has legitimized their tactic. From this point forward they can break the rules and when caught say, "thanks for pointing that out, we'll correct THAT situation and go forward and break more rules until you catch us again".

    Now imagine if you had the same arrangement with EVERY affiliate in your programs. Your days would be spent doing the affiliates job of policing their own sites. Frankly, fairness would dictate that you would perform this service for the rest of your affiliates also.

    You're allowing your TOS to become subjective which is a disservice to the affiliates in your programs that play by the rules.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  24. #199
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    rematt, thanks for your input and I posted here knowing this was controversial but since I reversed my earlier opinion I wanted to be forthcoming. With few acceptions I am willing to give an affiliate the benefit of the doubt. I spoke with 3 networks to get their opinions on the legitimacy of this affiliate. I also spoke to an affiliate who approached me on my opinion on RMN who was his competitor and a super affiliate. Then I set up calls with RMN to discuss his side. Taking all comments into consideration I am testing this as a subset of the coupon affiliate vertical. By getting actively involved in this I can base my final decision through the findings I get in this experiment.

    As an AM I spend considerable time policing my affiliates. Not all cases are identified in my T&C's and the networks certainly don't cover them. Before I can create a policy I have to define it. For another merchant I am going over an 8 page policy in 8 pt font. It doesn't cover most issues and will not be read by 99% of affiliates. I would rather define the policies then use that to enforce.

    To my knowledge there is no standard policy on the use of coupons. Point me to one if there is.

  25. #200
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    Chuck your post from page 3 of this thread:

    "I was cleaning up the Register.com program and found RetailMeNot has posted multple exclusive coupon codes. I am removing them from the program and will discuss this with LinkShare on our weekly call.

    Haiko I am requesting the RetailMeNot have a subforum here and we treat them as a parasite. I intend to go after them on all top networks."

    "I spoke with 3 networks to get their opinions on the legitimacy of this affiliate."

    I'm guessing the same networks that would tell you adware is ok? Of course they're going to say it's ok, they get a cut of the action. Seriously, it's like this other thread where we go on and on about badges on site to say who's an ok affiliate, groups etc. When I said it falls right to the affiliate manager, they're in charge of running the program, it starts there. And like I said, if you have rules on what coupons are allowed to be posted and which ones aren't, I don't have to follow them. Because there is no penalty for posting them. You'll just email me over and over again.

    And people wonder why these problems persist. Like I said, if you want to have an open policy, some merchants do. Just say it and that would be that.

    So do you have an open coupon policy, yes or no?

    If yes, then this isn't an issue for the merchants you represent.

    If no and sites like this are violating them, you're allowing it. And if that's the case then don't complain on message boards about it because it's not real.

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