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  1. #1
    Internet Cowboy
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    PacSun...the wrong way to motivate affiliates.
    Attention AMs and OPMs. This is the way NOT to motivate affiliates. (just my opinion of course)
    Dear Affiliate,

    We had a great year and lots of affiliates made some pretty good commissions but we have noticed that you haven't made any in the last 3 months.

    Last year we introduced a new commission and incentive structure that made it easier for affiliates to reach higher incentive thresholds and earn more. We have also increased the number of referrals from 1 to unlimited, so you get commissions on every order.

    To make all this possible, we have keep our affiliate base clean and expire the relationship with non-performing publishers. We see that you might perform well on other programs and maybe just didn’t have the time to promote our business. So we would like to offer you a new chance to stay in our program, promote our business and start earning commissions.

    Please start promoting our business with some of the banners or text links below. We will be revisiting your stats in 3 months to see if there were any improvements. We usually remove from the program affiliates that don't perform in a 6 month period.

    And please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.

    Please feel free to contact me with your questions or suggestions.

    Thanks for your continuous support.
    Some folks just don't get it. My gut instinct is to send them a list of apparel merchants that I have been dormant with in the past that I sold over $100K with last year. That list is rather long.
    I guess some AMs just don't understand that affiliates can only do so much and it is just impossible to please everyone, so they would rather kick you out for not selling SUNWEAR in OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, JANUARY or FEBRUARY. In the words of Steve Martin..excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusssseeeeeee meeeeeeeeeee!

    PacSun will be removed from my Sportswear Web Site by the end of the week. I don't take well to being bullied.


  2. #2
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    I guess I'll be getting one of those from them.

    50% done on my fashion site, still building pages. Thanks for the heads up. I'll know not to waste my time on this one.

  3. #3
    notary sojac Herb ΤΏΤ¬'s Avatar
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    Cool
    I just sent my own nastygram back. Even mentioned I know where the "parallel merchants" are.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Ummm Scott, they don't sell "sunwear". They sell clothes and shoes for teens. Year round clothes. Coats even for those cold months.

  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
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    CJ charges per newsletter sent. Shouldn't matter, but maybe that is why so many CJ merchants are hot to hit the kill button.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Makes me feel better to be in such company now. If Uncle Scooter having just gotten the award he's gotten gets a letter like that.....definitely makes me feel better that I got it, too.

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Reminds me to tone down the newsletter I send out to affiliates once every 3 years.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I just got one of those letters from another CJ merchant this morning. It didn't give me three months to improve. They deactivated me yesterday and wrote me today.

    I removed their links and realized I had them displayed on high traffic targeted pages including my home page. Other merchants in the same category were showing strong conversions. Sometimes these merchants are quick to drop affiliates without considering that they are the other half of the equation. Affiliates pre-sell and make referrals - merchants have to close the sale.
    ~Ernie

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager paladin's Avatar
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    I know it sounds annoying, but 1 of the things APM's are told (even though not always correct) is to remove non-performing affiliates in an effort to increase the EPC (or what ever it may be called on other networks).

    Personally I am not a big believer in this. I prefer to contact the affiliate personally to see what is heppening before removing them from the program.

  10. #10
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Three things...

    1. I got that email - 3 months ago. Guess I must have passed muster! BUT... knowing how they think, I'll never update/devote any time to their pages anymore.

    2. I got a similar one from an AM most of us know/respect - you have 90 days or you're out. I actually posted the email on their page on my website, said I hope they treat their customers better then their partners, and here's links to similar stores that actually treat people like humans.

    3. Finally, got a similar one from Lehams - you have 90 days or your out - about 2 months ago. So, as I stated, they got no more effort on my part.

    Last month they emailed new banners, I deleted the email.

    Yesterday they emailed with :

    We just wanted to send a reminder to all of our current affillates. We are restructuring our program and have a specific goal in mind. This means that many of you will receive notices that your status has been set to expire. It is nothing personal, we just have very specific program terms that we want our advertisers to adhere to. We are trying to limit the number of affilliates to a number that we can interact and correspond with. Over the holidays, we did a Year End Clearance. For this, we created a custom banner for the use of CJ Affilliates. We are disappointed to report that none of the current affilliates used this link. As we get our program under control, hopefully we will be able to have more coordinated efforts between Lehman's and our advertisers.
    This time I responded.

    We are disappointed to report that none of the current affilliates used this link.

    FYI: If you state you're dropping a bunch of affiliates in one email, then the next email is more links, most affiliates won't devote any time to it, as it may be a waste of work - something you work to add... then you have to work to delete. Just FYI
    and in this morning's mail

    Basically, we want our affilliates to earn their commissions. The problem we have now is that most of the affilliates we have dont' even respond to us at all. Because of your personal response, we respect the effort that you are putting in to your site and look forward to continuing business with you. We are going to do several campaigns this year, and hope that you are willing to help us out. Affilliates who perform well will be offered higher commission percentages.
    Seems they just threatened us in an effort to get us to say "Hello"

  11. #11
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by erninator
    I just got one of those letters from another CJ merchant this morning. It didn't give me three months to improve. They deactivated me yesterday and wrote me today.
    Dang, they are brutal. I guess the PM's motto "Actions speaks louder than words". It's their loss.

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager paladin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FairFieldGetaway-EricEwe
    Dang, they are brutal.
    That kind of action it totally unacceptable.

    I can understand an email saying "your account will be closed is 3 days"
    Under certain circumstances I can even understand something like "We found you have violated our program TOS (add specifics here, like SPAM) and have terminated your account (or will terminate in a few minutes)"

    But there is no excuse for their being more then a few minutes between the termination and the notice. I feel that a good program should have at least a week between the notice and the termination.

  13. #13
    Internet Cowboy
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    I'm not sure who they are talking about, but CJ gives affiliates 7 days notice when they are terminated...I think it is 7 days. So the termination is not effective immediately upon the merchant terminating somone.

  14. #14
    15 years and counting
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    Quote Originally Posted by paladin
    I know it sounds annoying, but 1 of the things APM's are told (even though not always correct) is to remove non-performing affiliates in an effort to increase the EPC (or what ever it may be called on other networks).

    Personally I am not a big believer in this. I prefer to contact the affiliate personally to see what is heppening before removing them from the program.
    Why even think about removing them? These kind of contacts are unproductive. They are not going to move faster after such a call.
    The subject was discussed before. A non-performing affiliate could be your next super-affiliate after an algo change in a SE.

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    That email Scooter got could have been a decent activation email too, if only they didn't mention dropping people! An opportunity wasted, seeing as you clearly read the email...
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  16. #16
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    *Grrr* Just reading this thread raised my blood pressure even though I'm (thankfully) not in this program!
    Quote Originally Posted by email That Should Scare Away Any Affiliate
    we just have very specific program terms that we want our advertisers to adhere to. We are trying to limit the number of affilliates to a number that we can interact and correspond with. Over the holidays, we did a Year End Clearance. For this, we created a custom banner for the use of CJ Affilliates. We are disappointed to report that none of the current affilliates used this link. As we get our program under control,
    And that's what *I* think this is about. It's an AM who deludes that he/she's The Boss, and is sick of the fact that the whole point of affiliate marketing is to NOT HAVE A BOSS!

    Notice how the fact that their uber-duber banner got ignored is considered a problem that they can make go away...with threats and force. If they really want a particular banner to be used, they should use a carrot. The stick method will mostly result in people hitting Expire Program, not running the banner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Kay
    Seems they just threatened us in an effort to get us to say "Hello"
    I really doubt it considering the above. They probably just looked at your stats and decided that backpedaling was the best move (assuming you've made sales for them).

    Surely s/he knows that it's not real communication if people are threatened into it, or are so angered that they're flaming?!

    Quote Originally Posted by That AM
    Basically, we want our affilliates to earn their commissions.
    Oh, I see, it's one of those IGNORANT JERKS who is just pissed because he doesn't think we "work hard enough." With the "enough" surely being more than is necessary, done just for the sake of it. It sounds like he/she wants to imagine a bunch of mindless busy-bees all slaving away for The Program, and secretly wishes it could ball-n-chain affiliates into little cubicles at the Main Office to be lorded over like slaves. Puke.

    Well too bad for him!!! A sale is worth the same commission, and the same profit for the merchant for that matter, whether it took 0 work, or 100 hours' worth. So guess what. Work is what automation does, while I play games. One of the big points of choosing THIS business was to sever the direct connection between amount of work, and amount of pay. And ANOTHER big point was to not have to put up with power-mad b*ss-types.

    Quote Originally Posted by That AM again
    The problem we have now is that most of the affilliates we have dont' even respond to us at all.
    As for the lack of "responding" to them--new-banner emails and the like are not "respondable" material. What's s/he expect people to do, write back and go "oooh" and "aaah"?!? I don't care if they hired Rembrandt's direct descendant to do the artwork--responses to that ain't gonna happen. There's just nothing to say about such emails!

    Running a program is like being a DJ: you talk into an empty room, and hope someone out there's actually got their radio on. And despite the lack of overt response, a lot of people really DO have it on. But some don't. Some emails even bounce. Them's the breaks.

    Despite what some people here say, in my experience there is no horde of people out there drooling to "communicate" with their AMs/program operators. Maybe once every 6 months or so, AN email will come to me from some newb with a simple 2-minute question! It's not exactly a way to build a big social circle!

    If he wants lots of feedback, he'd have to come to ABW, get a private forum, and then really hammer that program (to the point of being annoying to those not in it...). And if he goes to some of (or all of, if he really wants lots of people to yak with) the in-person events, some people will start to talk to him more just because they feel "closer." Some people actually like to chit-chat and all they need for an excuse to talk is to meet him/her!

    But by the looks of this thread, that AM hadn't made any real impression, until he/she went and made a BAD impression. It's likely the most "feedback" that email'll result in, other than a few flames and this thread, is the sound of people voting with their feet.

  17. #17
    notary sojac Herb ΤΏΤ¬'s Avatar
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    I see PacSun has arrived; welcome back . . .

  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager PacSun's Avatar
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    Hi,
    There seems to be some misunderstandings here and I would like to make this an open forum, discuss and learn from your opinions.

    Please let me address some of the comments above:

    But there is no excuse for their being more then a few minutes between the termination and the notice. I feel that a good program should have at least a week between the notice and the termination.
    We didn't terminate any partnership, I am sorry for this happening with another merchant.

    We are just trying to confirm who is really interested in staying in the program. As a publisher you probably know that there is an option on CJ that lets you apply for every program on the network. So, what happens is that a lot of people apply to thousands of programs but only really promote a few of them.

    I got that email - 3 months ago. Guess I must have passed muster! BUT... knowing how they think, I'll never update/devote any time to their pages anymore.
    You can't have received this email 3 months ago. The last time we did some cleaning on our affiliate base was almost 1 year ago. We only try to do some cleaning on our affiliate base once a year.

    Even though on the email I say that affiliates have not made any sales for the last 6 months, actually many of them have not sold anything for a year, or sometimes longer than that.

    CJ charges per newsletter sent.
    This is true, and only in 2006 we probably doubled the number of affiliates in our program, but only 5% of them are actively promoting our program.

    Another situation is when affiliates and merchants are just not a good match. For instance, affiliates do generate clicks, but no conversions. This ends up driving down our EPC rate, what consequently might drive new affiliates away from trying our program.

    I prefer to contact the affiliate personally to see what is happening before removing them from the program.
    That's what I am trying to do. Just figure out who is interested in our program and what we can do to help.

    I guess some AMs just don't understand that affiliates can only do so much and it is just impossible to please everyone, so they would rather kick you out for not selling SUNWEAR in OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, JANUARY or FEBRUARY.
    We are not asking you to please everyone, just trying to verify if you are interested in our program and if you plan, at some point, to start promoting our business. I don't understand why affiliates would be interested in staying in a program they don't promote. If you have no interest now, e understand, and you can always come back to our program.

    I sent this on my email:
    We see that you might perform well on other programs and maybe just didn’t have the time to promote our business. So we would like to offer you a new chance to stay in our program, promote our business and start earning commissions.
    I ask that you please take a step back and try to understand our side of things. We made great improvements on the program last year, raising commissions, increasing referral time, sending more deals, partenring with GoldenCan and DataFeedFile, etc...

    We are also proud to say that we are parasite-free. A couple years ago we did this big effort to get rid of all parasite sites. We get contacted by Ebates, Schoolpop and other affiliates all the time, and we just say NO because we don't think it's fair with all other affiliates, like you, working hard to promote our business.

    Well, please let me know if my explanation above helped understanding the situation better. And feel free to ask me any questions, I always make my email and phone number accessible.

    Warm regards,

  19. #19
    notary sojac Herb ΤΏΤ¬'s Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    I maintain that using GoldenCAN with your datafeed is good promotion. It doesn't take special banners but it attracts the search engines. And it doesn't even matter what kind of site it is on, because of that. The visitor probably doesn't even notice as they are focused on your merchandise link.

  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager PacSun's Avatar
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    I got some nasty emails about the newsletter, but the majority of the emails are very good and exactly what I was hoping to receive.

    I would be very interested to continue. I have 4 sites, not sure where it best fits in...
    I will take a look at your sites and think of some things we can do.

    I appreciate your patience. I anticipate improving my statistics in the months moving forward, as my traffic and marketing improves. From my perspective, PacSun is a key etailer in our mix.
    I was recently accepted into your program in January. Can you give me a little more time?
    Sure.

    Yes, I have a new site design coming out soon.
    Thanks for letting me know.

    will update banners and try to get some traffic flowing your way, thanks for the heads up!
    Thank you

    Still interested. But without coupons, there isn’t much incentive for my guests to shop with PacSun. I’ll keep trying.
    We don't have coupons yet, but we are working on this project. But we do have several deals and I will send you some of them.

    I've been having a "bit" of a problem with search engine placement in the last year, but I would like to remain in the Pacific Sunwear program.
    No problem, thanks for letting us know. You might want to try using the feeds from GoldenCan or DataFeedFile.

  21. #21
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by PacSun
    We are not asking you to please everyone, just trying to verify if you are interested in our program and if you plan, at some point, to start promoting our business.
    Quote Originally Posted by PacSun Email
    We will be revisiting your stats in 3 months to see if there were any improvements. We usually remove from the program affiliates that don't perform in a 6 month period.



    If CJ's fees for sending your quarterly affiliate newsletter are so high that you have to remove people from your program so you can afford to pay them well, then you might want to consider another network or lower your payout a bit to compensate.

    This email was totally negative in my eyes. Maybe I am overreacting, maybe not. It doesn't matter as I will not proceed with you.

    Best regards.


  22. #22
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I've been here long enough to know that since the merchant's name is in the title, and the merchant is here... the rest of the posts will be quoting a line from a post and picking it apart - and no one will win. And... it will just relate to this one merchant.

    Since we all get these emails, and at least ONE merchant wants an open discussion, can I suggest we start a new productive thread on how these emails should be handled - that will relate to all merchants.

    The timing is right. There's a bunch of posts regarding a new "trend" to only keep the top producing affiliates (SolutionsCatolag just axed all but their top 40 affiliates)... so maybe we need to start discussing this now.

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager PacSun's Avatar
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    Since we all get these emails, and at least ONE merchant wants an open discussion, can I suggest we start a new productive thread on how these emails should be handled - that will relate to all merchants.
    I think that's a great idea. Thanks for being understanding.

  24. #24
    notary sojac Herb ΤΏΤ¬'s Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    Mods: Affil Manager Forum or Cafe? and close this thread with notice of where it was continued?

  25. #25
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I started one thread - new trend of just keeping the top... hopefully someone else will start the "How to clevery word the email that says your a failure so it motivates you instead of alienates you" post

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