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  1. #1
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    What affiliates do to annoy merchants & aff managers
    Someone suggested this be addressed from this thread:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=79787

    Merchants, affiliate managers, OPMs ...

    What do affiliates (publishers) do that pisses you off, annoys you and what do you generally consider bad practices that you'd like to tell us about?

    This is your chance to vent about us for a change! LOL

    Hopefully, we'll all learn to be better partners by knowing what's considered particularly obnoxious behavior and bad practices on all sides.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  2. #2
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Okay, I'll bite. There are a few things that annoy me.

    If you run a mall/directory site, don't just copy the text off a merchant's homepage to create your listing. All you're likely to do is get us all penalized for duplicate content.

    Actually, much worse than that are the dirt bags who try to cheat lead programs. They sit behind a dozen proxy servers submitting bogus lead information. The lead is real, or was when when they filled out an online form...for some other program...six months before... They don't, however, want anything to do with anything online, ever again, because you're the 100th program they've been submitted to in the last few months and their phone won't stop ringing.

    When the lead buyers start complaining about a dead lead, and it actually means the person they called for is deceased, you know it's time to close an affiliate account... Yes, this happens, and yes, I randomly called a dozen leads myself before terminating the account.

    What I really hate about those affiliates is that not only are they trying to steal from the program, but they're also tormenting these poor people and making sure they never trust another online service or merchant.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  3. #3
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eathan
    Okay, I'll bite. There are a few things that annoy me.

    If you run a mall/directory site, don't just copy the text off a merchant's homepage to create your listing. All you're likely to do is get us all penalized for duplicate content.
    Good to know, Eathan. Thanks!

    Merchants, we won't feel bad ... go ahead and let us know what we do that drives you crazy or what we could do to improve as partners.

    We vented, now it's you turn.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  4. #4
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Wow.. all the AM and OPM are on a break cos for the other thread, I am seeing over 370 postings.

    Here are mine.
    Stalker affiliate - This guy would call me till I can recognize his voice. Not to be harsh but his site looks like something from 1993. I gave him free consultation on how to reorganize that page cos slapping a Wyndham logo and an image on a blank page will not entice a person to visit or click through. Can't seem to grasp the idea that it's not 1995 any more.

    He would talk and talk and even sigh a few times cos I think he just woke up and/or somebody just ran over his dog. Can't understand the fact that "I got to go" = I am GOING TO PUT THE PHONE DOWN ON YOU very soon. Maybe he is lonely or what my stalker buddy needs to get a life and not be in affiliate marketing if he can't understand that you need some site appeal and traffic to make $$.

    Cookie Cutter sites - We are not in the 1993 any more. Don't have the mentality of "If I build it, people will come" (which happened in 1990's).

    Banner or text farms - I have seen sites with 1000 animated banners on a single page with no space in between. Ohh, people are still working with selling pixels to companies.

    Questionable practices/fraud - Affiliates that are involved with questionable things and we spend time hours trying to isolate the problem plus reversing things out. Why can't we play nice?
    Last edited by FairFieldGetaway-EricEwe; March 1st, 2007 at 10:18 PM.

  5. #5
    Internet Cowboy
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    Great thread Rexanne and whoever suggested it. I wish we could have a way where AMs could post anonymously and not worry about alienating others or themselves.

  6. #6
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    I wish we could have a way where AMs could post anonymously and not worry about alienating others or themselves.
    Yep, trying to get that to happen with this thread. I think it would be really good for affiliates to hear (see) what we do that's stoopid and annoying, plus what doesn't work and maybe what does.

    EricEwe, thanks for your input and good advice. :-)
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    I am working on a post for this one. Thanks for asking Rex.
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  8. #8
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    I'm sure I annoy my program managers, just in general.

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  9. #9
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    This is a great idea for a thread, but I'd like to see it taken a step further.

    A lot of the responses are going to be directed toward unethical affiliates who are guilty of fraud. I would guess that most of us who are trying to make an honest living in affiliate marketing, aren't going to fit into the category of doing unethical stuff that annoys the merchants/managers, which is just going to get them dropped anyway.

    How about including some examples of the positive things affiliates do that are really appreciated? It could give us some ideas of how to improve our relationship with merchants and improve our sites. In addition to "I wish affiliates would NOT ..." add "I wish more affiliates WOULD ..."

  10. #10
    A fact that always astonishes me is the number of affiliates who place a highly-targeted affiliate banner in a dead part of their site (e.g underneath the footer!), and then complain because the click-through-rate is lower than the Google Adsense ads they have in the top-middle above the fold.

    I usually politely ask them if, hypothetically speaking, they were to be selling the best product in a store, would they like it to be displayed in the dark corner at the back, or the shop window?

    This seems very obvious but it's surprising how many affiliates don't seem to be able to grasp it.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador
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    Great idea Rexanne, I will subscribe to this thread and take notes
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador
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    I'm sure I seriously annoy some AMs by showing them my site/pages and asking them how I can better promote their products, or improve. An answer like "anything" doesn't hack it, BTW. Any idea why questions like that would annoy them, or why they won't (or can't) answer?

    (BTW, KRISTIN not only actually looked - and actually commented on the graphics, color choice and design - but also gave pertinent information and suggestions. Needless to say, she's on the #1 list.)

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador
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    I already know how I can improve things and make more sales but finding the time is another thing. I have to first build and develop the sites and then the second phase will begin (promotion) and that is when I plan to make the merchants & myself much more money. It's still good to be open to ideas and hear what they want as well...
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  14. #14
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    Great thread, Rexanne.
    Hopefully, we'll all learn to be better partners by knowing what's considered particularly obnoxious behavior and bad practices on all sides.
    I have an affiliate program for one of my sites and I'm getting all kind of requests.
    I can tell the average knowlegde of new affiliates is decreasing year after year. Only a few are professionals with great sites and marketing strategies, but for the bulk of affiliates, it's going down. A few years ago, 5 affiliates out of 100 were making money, I've the feeling it's getting closer to 1%.
    Too many advertisements with get rich quick plans or make 1 million after reading my ebook have pushed the wrong crowd to affiliate marketing.
    AMs and OPMs, I don't envy you. I've to watch my back all the time, I'm scared to accept cheaters in my program and it's sad to decline so many sites.
    Lately, I got requests by some affiliates to help them to stuff cookies as it was the way to be successful. Many affiliates are not interested by promoting a merchant and closing sales, but by finding a way to make money from a merchant.
    I hope many AMs and OPMs will chime in to tell us what they expect.

  15. #15
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    OK ...here's my take as a OPM since 1998. Every single merchant I designed a lead type site for, and then launched a affiliate program for, ended up closing down their programs for the same 2 reasons..... #1 reason: 99% of the affiliate sent leads were bogus or worthless verses natural search or Adwords traffic. 2nd reason: Affiliates copied the sites and actually opened competing sites with competitor offers, run through 2nd tier networks or as an indy. Others just scraped the content for MFA pages as PPCSE click traps with a small banner or text link for the merchant on a keyword stuffed spam page. I then had to teach these merchant clients how to live & prosper WITHOUT affiliate traffic.

    Second gripe comes from running the only product merchant program that averages 1 affiliate sale per 20 clicks, since 1998, in this industry. Only requirement is the BHO and Norton Ad blocking protected coded affiliate links have to be generated from the affiliate's own pages. Only 14 ABWers ever felt they'd meet the physical click requirement since the inception of ABW. The only affiliate who dropped the program, after screaming here in cahoots with Webmaster Mike & Charlie bashers, griped about having to wait 1 week for verification/legitimacy check of his on-demand commission check amount. He died 2 months later.

    Of the remaining 13 only one has bothered to add new banners and product line introductions to their original creative link effort. All bury the links on low traffic pages (even at Christmas and Father's Day) and as a group don't average more then 60 clicks per month. The best one has their own impression/click tracking script on their buried promotion page, and usually waits till the commission amt reaches $75. They were amazed I knew about their click monitor script as they asked about how many clicks they generated for the last $80+ check request. I responded they sent from 2-4 clicks per day and asked them to check their own stats. Sure enough 92 clicks to generate $80+ check ... just like always. As a positive I added their average order size doubled over the prior years figure as a result of adding some more expensive product lines to their links.

    General rant therefore is a high conversion niche merchant, selling only Patented/Registered Trademark products, cannot attract legit physical click affiliates without offering spam food like coupons and data feeds. The program never generated any fraudulent clicks. Few here are attracted to having to play on a level playing field, and the larger honest one's respect their efforts to poach this merchant's sales will be obviously transparent.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    I get frustrated when Affiliates don't communicate their needs. Unfortunately so many programs are on autopilot and so many Affiliates are used to not ever getting even a response, let alone a constructive one, that they've been conditioned not to even bother. I wish Affiliates would tell me what they want so I could give it to them (or at least make an effort to do so), rather than just pulling their links and going elsewhere.

  17. #17
    OPM Queen Kristin Kinsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    I'm sure I seriously annoy some AMs by showing them my site/pages and asking them how I can better promote their products, or improve. An answer like "anything" doesn't hack it, BTW. Any idea why questions like that would annoy them, or why they won't (or can't) answer?

    (BTW, KRISTIN not only actually looked - and actually commented on the graphics, color choice and design - but also gave pertinent information and suggestions. Needless to say, she's on the #1 list.)
    Thank you Webworker. Anytime! It was an absolute pleasure talking with you last night.

    I really do love hearing from affiliates and wish I would hear from more. One thing that kind of bugs me, not really annoys, is when affiliates do not respond to emails or read newsletters ..... OOOOOOOOOOOOO wait, before the flaming starts!!

    I COMPLETELY understand that affiliates get tons of them all the time, and I definately not EXPECT anyone to read my newsletters or my personal emails, but it would be nice. Wishful thinking I guess.

    I recently did a little test, for one of my clients I sent out a newsletter with the title saying there was a special surprize in it. If you got down to the bottom, I told the affiliate that if they hit reply to that email and sent it back to me, I would give them a cash prize. I got one response. Perhaps it is just that particular program, who knows ...

    Like I said it doesn't really annoy me, maybe hurts my feelings a little ... lol, (I take a lot of things waaaaay too personally, but that's just cause I care), and like I said, I understand that affiliates are extremely busy. Just at times I wish personal emails were returned more often.

    BUT let me stress I understand the business.

    Don't hurt me too bad ... lol
    KK

  18. #18
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I wish Affiliates would tell me what they want so I could give it to them (or at least make an effort to do so), rather than just pulling their links and going elsewhere.
    Mike... and any AM that can answer...

    I get those "We noticed you're not converting worth sheet - is there anything we can do to help" emails.

    Assuming I've done everything I could think of to convert, what should my response be?

    The few times I replied with "No idea - you tell me what's missing", I've received the most useless replies, that I just deleted the response.

    I'm making this example up - but the AM replies go something like this: Make believe it was Target... I looked at your website, and I feel that you should add target's pet dishes to your pet section.

    I want to reply "hey! I have Target on all my websites. I've sent you 5 zillion clicks with no sales, and you're saying it's because I don't have pet bowls on one of my sites????"

    Drives me crazy!!!!!!!!

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    On topic
    Okie Dokie,

    This thread reminds me of the thread I posted a week and a half ago about “what your mate or BF / GF does that drives you crazy” because in a truly good relationship, affiliates and merchants / AM's / OPM's ARE business mates. Each of us is an important part of the relationship and each of us bring something to the table. Perhaps another thread can be started in the future in which we all say what each does that we appreciate, but as the topic of this thread is what affiliates do, I’ll stay on topic.

    Problems arise when one or the other, OR both develop “Vision Problems.” By vision, I mean the ability, maturity and desire to see an issue through the eyes of your business partners / potential business partners. When any of us see only the “me” side of an issue, we can’t resolve a problem to the benefit of “all” because “me” is the focal point. I have noticed this in many (not all) affiliates. I have also noticed it in many (not all) merchants, am’s, opm’s.

    It doesn’t drive me crazy. It simply reminds me that all too many people fail to understand that if they expect others to see an issue through their eyes, they also need to see the issue through the eyes of their business partners (mates).

    The courtesy of communication. From a merchant point of view I am confounded by the lack of communication from many (not all) affiliates. I am in the business to build my business through forming strategic partnerships with marketers. Yet from the get-go, there is all too often an absence of two way communication. A new affiliate signs up for my affiliate program.

    In good faith, I take the time to conscientiously review his/her site(s), email him/her to welcome them, ask questions I may have about their site, where they see the fit, bring our data feed to their attention, banners, contact information, share details about where we are seeing good results, our top sellers, etc etc. I ask that they confirm that they have received my e-mail. I also invite them to let me know if there is anything we can do to assist them, questions they may have, or suggestions that they feel would improve our program. Maybe 5% (if that) extend the courtesy of a basic reply to even confirm receipt.

    I have had a number of new affiliate sign ups in which the web site they listed on the SaS app was not a fit. Rather than rejecting the app, I email the affiliate to ask how they see the site as a fit, or whether there are perhaps other sites they intend to use that were not offered on the sign up etc etc. I receive no reply.

    I understand that we are ALL busy. I respect that. I am never too busy to review a new affiliate’s site(s) or share information that may benefit my new partner, pay the fee SaS requires for FTP data feed access by the requesting affiliate etc. I would like affiliates to do the same. Even if it is a brief message confirming that they received my message.

    Being a windy type guy, I could probably offer an e-book on this thread, but I look forward to seeing what others have to say, and I invite all merchants, opm’s and am’s to offer observations here that can be used to promote constructive benefit to all.

    Alan
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  20. #20
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristin Collier
    I recently did a little test, for one of my clients I sent out a newsletter with the title saying there was a special surprize in it. If you got down to the bottom, I told the affiliate that if they hit reply to that email and sent it back to me, I would give them a cash prize. I got one response. Perhaps it is just that particular program, who knows ...
    I can hear the email searches going on right now. Listen.....hear it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristin Collier
    I really do love hearing from affiliates and wish I would hear from more. One thing that kind of bugs me, not really annoys, is when affiliates do not respond to emails or read newsletters ..... OOOOOOOOOOOOO wait, before the flaming starts!!....Don't hurt me too bad ... lol
    I for one will not throw any flames at anything said in this thread and encourage others to do the same. I think this thread has lots of potential for us all to learn something.

    BTW, can you give me a text snippet from the aforementioned email? LOL


  21. #21
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    The courtesy of communication. From a merchant point of view I am confounded by the lack of communication from many (not all) affiliates. I am in the business to build my business through forming strategic partnerships with marketers. Yet from the get-go, there is all too often an absence of two way communication.
    Alan, except for the AMs on ABW, and the ones I make a lot of money for that aren't on ABW, none ever respond to emails. It's sooooooooo frustrating.

    Using the same Target/Pet Bowl made-up example... I applied last week because they have personalized pet bowls

    Got the generic automated denied email from linkshare:

    We regret to inform you that xxx has chosen not to accept
    you into their affiliate program at this time. The reason for this
    decision may be as follows:

    * inability to access Web site
    * Web site not yet live
    * traffic levels too low
    * inappropriate material on site

    I actually reponed (politely) with "Are you sure? Your personalized dog bowls are an ideal match for my personalized dog bowl site?"

    Next day I get an autoresponder "Congrats/you're approved" email - which means the AM DID get my email, but chose not to repond.

    There are no text links that say "personalized dog bowls" - but there is products links for all 500 versions (each dog name is a seperate product link)

    I make a page for "Personalized Fido Pet Bowl" and email the AM with - "I can't make a seperate page for every dog name, is it possible to get ONE link that goes to ALL the personalized pet bowls?"

    No response. And I don't expect to get one.

    Frustrating.

    And who looses? Everyone.

  22. #22
    15 years and counting
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    I'm one of these affiliates who don't interact with affiliate managers. Not because I don't like them but because I can't. I'm working with many programs and I don't have time to discuss. I'm reading emails and newsletters and will use the information if I need it. Even a cash prize will not push me to contact an AM or a merchant.

    I've an outstanding relationship with my merchants, they love me. I made some of them filthy rich and with some we don't exchange more than 10 words each month. I understand what they need, they know what I want. That's the perfect relationship. I'm not telling my merchants what they should do and I don't need them on my back.

    Just to give you an example, for months one of my new merchants asked me to add links to one of my sites where I didn't promote him. I said no everytime. 6 calls or emails each month at least. I was ready to drop him. (I've not enough traffic on this site)
    He had the feeling, the site will be a great fit for his products. As I've sales everyday for his products, I did listen to him. He offered me to jump my commission from 15% to 25%. It tooks me 5 minutes to add the links. The deal is nice for me not for him, the new links are not generating any new business. Now, I don't feel good, I'm not sure the guy is making a profit on my sales. (And I'm for a big chunk of all his sales) I know my business (and my traffic) better than him.

  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager
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    I would like to say that it's those who do not read the monthly newsletter with the new offerings, however, for those who DO read it, I get such a wonderful influx of great communication, so its like seeing who is really paying attention to our program.

    HATE Banner Farms! LOL
    LOVE strategic banners and text links used to advertise relevant content, no matter who's program it is.

  24. #24
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Billy - I feel your pain!! Sounds like someone didn't take the minimal time it would have been to see the match on your doggie site.

    Zeus, I appreciate your take. Sounds like you have some great relationships with your merchants. Bravo! None of us want anyone on our backs, that goes both ways. But in order for a merchant, am, opm to know "how" to best deal with a particular affiliate, there has to be a communication, and that too goes both ways. It's good that the affiliate knows what s/he wants, but unless a merchant, am or opm communicates with the affiliate s/he has no way to know what that is. There is no blanket answer that fits all affiliates, so communication is important.

    In my particular case, once I know where a particular affiliate is coming from, no problem. But in order to know HOW to best work with affiiates, I like to make contact to see where we are and how to best work with them. I'd like to see more affiliates return the effort in order to arrive at that answer.

    Great thread going here gang!!

    Alan
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  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    A lot of complaints so far seem to be about communication. Here's my take:

    I for one understand if affiliates don't get in touch with me. They are too busy, they've got other things to worry about, etc... Like Zues said, sometimes you just want the information.

    However, I feel frustration when I don't hear anything from inactive affiliates. I understand people often sign up for more merchant programs then they can handle, but once you get around to placing banners and links for my program and it doesn't work for you, I would think an affiliate would at least drop me a quick email asking for advice. We're not like target over here, our program sells 2 products, but we know how to make it work. If something isn't working for you, I'd expect a quick email, it just seems so easy and has such potential to improve your earnings.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

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