Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    Why do you they do this?
    One of the merchants featured on my main site, recently sent out this email:

    Hi,

    Please note that THECOMPANY is changing its policy on Key Word
    bidding: Affiliates will no longer be allowed to bid on key words used
    by THECOMPANY .

    Please refrain from bidding on any of the key words listed below:


    [LIST GOES HERE] MOST ARE VERY POOPULAR KEYWORDS


    Recently, we have found ourselves inadvertently bidding against our own
    affiliates on these key words, which drives costs up for everyone.
    Therefore, in order to keep costs low we have decided to change our
    policy.

    Should you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to
    contact me.

    Thank you,

    Heather

    I can't understand why they would want to do this. To me, they are going to lose out on more than a few piddly pennies, compared to the lost sales and leads by the affiliates who would leave b/c of this.

    I sent them a lovely letter telling them why I felt this was a bad move. They are one of three major merchants that I host on my main site. So, without any hestiation, I'll pull them off of my site, unless they fix their new policy. It'll be no sweat to me, but lost money to them.

    I'll make it up by marketing the other two merchants more, or find a fair replacemnt.


    [end rant]

  2. #2
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Central/Western NY State
    Posts
    7,741
    Exclamation
    if they are trying to block you from bidding on straight public domain words, they are just clueless.

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    12,817
    Another clueless merchant that needs a new AM.

    I wonder if this one's clueless AM will show up here and try to argue that the dead light bulbs over their heads are really shining some sort of blacklight visible only to her? The non-thinking "rationale" sounds very familiar...

    In any case I think the reason they do it is because they either have bricks in the head, and/or they want to try to duplicate what affs do without having to pay up any commissions.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    /or they want to try to duplicate what affs do without having to pay up any commissions.
    I bet this is the driving reason behind many of those changes. Gee, if they can do it, then let's block them out and do it ourselves. They unfortunately don't think about: a) their affiliates - their workforce of sellers for that particular merchant and b) how are there sales going to improve in PPC with their ad alone? I guarantee you, it'll be filled with other competitors in that same field - lose, lose both ways.

    I wonder if I should go grab her and have her join this conversation.

  5. #5
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    5,904
    Another clueless merchant that needs a new AM.
    Maybe not a new AM, but an ABW coached AM for sure. Bring her here
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    Quote Originally Posted by Noth
    Maybe not a new AM, but an ABW coached AM for sure. Bring her here
    Did you mean: "Maybe not a new AM, but NOT an ABW coached AM for sure."?

  7. #7
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    5,904
    Well, I meant what you're thinking, but I meant what I said They may not need a new AM, but they definitiely need the old one to be coached here
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    Ok, I went ahead and contacted Heather. I'd really love to see if she shows, and would love even more to get into a nice discussion behind her reasonings. Bit annoying, but necessary I think.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    748
    ARe these trademarks that she is talkin about?

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    No, although that is in effect. The main keywords she's speaking of are really popular keywords. For instance, there are all tyeps of widgets, but she insists on "banning" words and combos like: "widgets" (broad), "buy widgets", "rent widgets", etc. In my experience with PPC and these merchants, they're effectively stopping any PPC whatsoever.

    I've sent a letter, as well as asking her to take time to appear here and explain why she's doing what she's going - and what the real benefits are in doing something like that.

    Let's see if she's the kind of person that shows up and clears it all up...or not.

  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    12,817
    Let's see if she's the kind of person that shows up and clears it all up
    More accurately, will she be the kind of person that shows up...
    1) with a load of hooey spin that I'll dismantle like I did with that other nimrod about a month ago...
    or
    2) that shows up cluelessly, and ends up like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming freight train
    or
    3) The rare 1 in a billion, that actually has the sense to get rid of the bad policy that's drawing the flames?

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    You're hired to be head of the inquisition. And I'll make sure to stay way back from the flying debris..

    All I want to see is "we've listened, and decided to pull that new policy". Once that happens, then she'll be gold in my book - at least until some other rediculous thing pops up.

  13. #13
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    12,817
    You're hired to be head of the inquisition.
    Oh gee, thanks a lot

    I haven't gotten any emails from a "Heather" so I assume I'm not in this program.

    Rather than me re-arguing the same points with another clue-impaired AM so soon-here's a link to December's thread where some AM considered affiliates to be competition to her oh-so-precious inhouse PPCing...and where I said that such a mindset meant that their affiliate program was fatally flawed.
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ing+affiliates

    This thread's example is even worse than the one I linked to, since it bans regular plain-vanilla PPC bidding.

    But the root problem is the same, judging by what has been stated in this thread: A merchant that's too hung up on "protecting" its inhouse ads to realize that any affiliate ad for that company's stuff is NOT COMPETITION, rather it is allied effort!

    I think affiliates should PPC for the competition of any program that doesn't want its affs to bid (or wants to cap the bids). Show them what a "competing bid" really is.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    Thanks for the link, Leader. I have sneaking suspicion that she isnt' going to show. I wish I were wrong.

    If she doesn't take any steps to rectify the situation, all of the links will come off, and i'll post the merchant name here. This should save some time and effort for those thinking of joining later.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Sheri's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 17th, 2005
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    531
    As I spend my day J*b in a Compliance position, I thought I would chime in here.

    There are several industries where it is obvious that someone somewhere made a speech at a convention that told them all that they shouldn't allow people to bid on their terms. It is a really hot issue right now.

    Basically, unless it is actually their trademarked company name, they really have no right to tell you not to bid. Unfortunately, several niches have started to allow the practice of taking it further and allowing un-trademarked names and other terms that they find to be very competitive. So now if one agency were to say "we're not going to restrict our affiliates on those terms because you, the merchant, don't own the trademark", then the merchant would just find someone who would. Sometimes you have an agency or AM that gets their hands tied in that way.

    Also, if it is un-trademarked, they can't make an affiliate stop bidding, but they certainly can turn off that affiliate's campaigns if they don't comply. It's getting out of hand.

    My first recommendation when you are asked to restrict some terms is to send an e-mail back stating that you are more than happy to comply with any legal name restrictions, blah, blah, blah... please send me the trademark registration information so that I can see exactly what I need to restrict. This makes the merchant have to put up or shut up a little bit, or at least admit to you that they don't own the trademark on those words. It is a little easier to have the conversation with them about WHY they are restricting at that time.

    If they are just restricting because they want the business to themselves they are showing you that they don't know how to work the affiliate business to their advantage and may be someone that you don't want to work with.

    Talk to them about how if they restrict everyone and then only have their organic listing or one PPC listing of their own, all they are doing is clearing the way for their competitors to have their ads showing up for the keywords that the merchant thinks convert the best. I've even been able to get all of the affiliates to restrict a name (un-trademarked) that is a fairly generic word. Within hours I was able to show the client that they had just allowed their competitor to have ALL of the paid listings. (they just wanted to get all of the business from their ONE organic listing for their site). Even then, they STILL didn't "get it". {sigh}

    But, at least try to have the conversation it they are someone that converts really well for you.

    You might even be able to broker a deal where you are still allowed to bid, but not above them, or only to a certain level. We all know that it is not just the first paid listing that gets clicked on. Then you can just go about working your ad copy to be more compelling, or possibly make your landing pages more direct and appealing. Sometimes merchants try to be everything to everyone and make their websites confusing and with lots of chances to lose the customer. Use your knowledge to get the conversions that way.

    OK, I'm rambling. This is just a sore subject to me because I spend my day battling clients that don't get this and restrict WAY too many terms. They really frustrate me.

    Sheri

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    Good! looks like something worked, and the merchant has smartly reversed the decision:

    Hi,

    Due to affiliate feedback we are going to be much more laid back on our
    key word bidding policy. Please note that key word biddding will only
    be restricted on "The Company." All other key words are fair
    game for affiliates to use.

    I apologize for the confusion and hope that this new decision will be
    meet with your satisfaction.

    Should you have any further questions or concerns, please contact me at: "email"

    Thank you,

    Heather

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Sheri's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 17th, 2005
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    531
    That's awesome. Never mind my blah, blah, blah ranting then.

    Glad to hear that sometimes people actually listen.

    Happy Bidding!

    Sheri

  18. #18
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Central/Western NY State
    Posts
    7,741
    Lightbulb
    call it saving face

  19. #19
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    Sheri wrote: > "Basically, unless it is actually their trademarked company name, they really have no right to tell you not to bid. * * * Also, if it is un-trademarked, they can't make an affiliate stop bidding, but they certainly can turn off that affiliate's campaigns if they don't comply." (Emphasis added.) <

    The "absolute" language (at the beginning of the quoted text) is completely wrong. That last phrase appears to "undo" the earlier statements, but is confusing -- the key here is that a merchant can tell affiliates not to bid on certain terms, and can deny payment and end their relationship with affiliates who don't comply.

    When someone enters into a contract with you, they can set the terms of that contract, and they are not limited to just the principles of trademark law. In this case, a merchant may choose to say that they will only do business with and pay affiliates who do not bid on the merchant's designated keywords -- trademarks or not.

    I agree that it's short-sighted for a company to restrict affiliate bidding beyond trademarks, but it's perfectly legal if it's made a part of the contract between merchant and affiliate.

    I certainly understand the philosophy of restricting PPC bidding on non-trademark terms; if the merchant has historically had few or no competitors when bidding on a search phrase (e.g. "buy widgets" or "discount widgets") then the merchant may feel that it is unfair for their own affiliates to bid the term up. This can be especially annoying if the merchant has identified specific "limits" where PPC bidding may become unaffordable, and affiliates are over-bidding beyond the merchant's perceived limits. And of course, if the merchant is currently obtaining traffic from Google AdWords at rates that are significantly less than the affiliate percentage, then the merchant doesn't want the affiliate program to "merely" siphon off that profit without generating additional new sales.

    In the end, nearly all merchants settle in on one of these positions:
    (1) No PPC bidding; affiliates must promote on their own properties only;
    (2) PPC bidding is permitted, but with a "long list" of prohibited search phrases, often including third-party trademarks and generic terms.
    (3) PPC bidding allowed, except for a "short-list" of specific terms (merchant's domain name & trademarks).
    (4) PPC bidding allowed, without restriction.

    In my experience: merchants who choose option 4 almost always switch to option 3 after a few months; merchants who choose option 1 may allow exceptions for specific affiliate partners; merchants who choose options 2 or 3 rarely enforce these rules effectively.

    Note that there are two distinct situations: traffic sent directly to the merchant from the PPC partner, and PPC traffic which goes to the affiliate site. The latter is much harder to detect, since the referring URL (in the merchant's log file) will not show that the traffic was drawn from paid search.
    Last edited by markwelch; January 30th, 2007 at 11:59 AM.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 14th, 2006
    Posts
    2,051
    Either way, one thing I am happy about, is that the AM is responsive to affiliates. She very well could've been one of those that are "deaf" to all affiliate communications.

    Hopefully, there will be no more surprises in store later..

  21. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

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