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Thread: Communication breakdown?

  1. #1
    Affiliate Network Rep
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    Exclamation Communication breakdown?
    Hey Guys and Girls

    I was talking with a large US affiliate last week and one thing that was mentioned sounded totally crazy to me. I wanted to know if any ABW'rs had similar experiences with networks in the US as it was so far away from how we like to get things working at buy.at.

    Hereís what he said - " that in one situation with a network where they were the biggest affiliate on a certain merchants program it was actually in both the affiliate and merchant terms that they could not speak with each other. "

    I mean come on I said this cant be true surely its so stone age and smacks of a network that is so scared of being found wanting in terms of value add that it has to keep everyone in the mix apart.

    Although I was shocked this kind of situation still existed in the present day I have to admit I was also pleased to see thatís the kind of thing we were up against with regards to the some of the big 3

    At buy.at we have meeting after meeting with our affiliates , merchants and agencies in the same room - the results that gets produced for our clients from these sessions is amazing there is so much added value for all parties and a much greater trust is built up that only comes from face to face meetings.

    The chat I had with the affiliate made me want to come here and post to see if others had similar experiences and if that made it hard for you to actually go about your business - are networks in the way as opposed to providing added value for all the money you make them?

    Mal
    Malcolm Cowley
    Advertising.com's buy.at affiliate network
    malcolm.cowley@buy.at
    buyat.com

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  2. #2
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I can think of three merchants off the top of my head that I was told I wasn't allowed to contact.

    One was represented by an OPM, and 2 by network reps.

    I went straight to the merchant when I didn't get responses from the people they pay to respond.

    Two merchants said they were unaware their reps weren't responsive, and one said they don't WANT to deal with affiliates, that's why they pay someone else to do it - and leave them alone!!!

    One OPM punished me for going over his head by cutting my commissions in half - and banning me from ever contacting him again. And threatening to kill me! (For those who know who I'm talking about)

    I don't have links for any of them anymore

  3. #3
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    The thing that struck me most about the chat I had with the affiliate was it was actually in the small print of the terms they hadn't noticed when signing up which is really crazy.

    All of the best programs we have at buy.at are as big as they are because everyone interatcs well and works together as a team , affiliate , merchant and network all adding value together.

    Billy that last one sounds like a nightmare - that person must have been dropped on their head at birth :-)

    Mal
    Malcolm Cowley
    Advertising.com's buy.at affiliate network
    malcolm.cowley@buy.at
    buyat.com

    Ticketmaster has Beta launched their affiliate program with buy.at - be one of the first to join now!

  4. #4
    Full Member Crocket's Avatar
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    OMG Billy that is horrible, but I'll bet you are promoting their competition pretty heavy now

  5. #5
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    Doesn't Performics have a rule that you can't contact merchants directly? Or have they changed it?

    I seem to remember several years back that it was in their contracts that merchants couldn't contact affiliates either, but then they changed it to where it was up to the merchants whether or not they wanted to contact affiliates directly. But contact had to be initiated by the merchant, and the affiliate couldn't initiate contact with the merchant.

  6. #6
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    Not many replies on this one so maybe the person I chatted to had an isolated incident?

    They were a really large affiliate so not sure if that made any difference to why they were being gagged in this strange way?

    Mal
    Malcolm Cowley
    Advertising.com's buy.at affiliate network
    malcolm.cowley@buy.at
    buyat.com

    Ticketmaster has Beta launched their affiliate program with buy.at - be one of the first to join now!

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I've never really been too concerned who I work with. With many merchants, I work with a network account manager. With others, I work with an OPM. With some, I work with an in-house person. With some, I have multiple contacts. I can't think that I've ever had a problem where a network or OPM restricted me from contacting someone direct, although it's seldom that I've needed to do so. When I do (usually just if I need something custom), I usually just ask my normal contact (network, OPM, whatever) who the best person would be to contact.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  8. #8
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Malcolm, that's a very strange situation and I wouldn't tolerate it unless it was at the merchant's request. But I'd be plenty wary of any merchant who didn't want any contact with their affiliates. That's like giving the network/OPM free reign to steal from them, abuse their affiliates and harm their professional reputation and business reputation.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    I never really thought about it until you asked, but around Christmas time I had a transaction that didn't track and since I had AM contact info available to me in the CJ interface, I sent a note.

    I had to send that note weekly for 3 weeks until I got a response which was that they didn't recognize it as my sale because even though my PID was in the link, it was missing a number and I should contact CJ for the missing number.

    When I did, I got a response the next day, which was "Our tech department is working with them to straighten this out, and you should have contacted ME instead." Since I didn't know ME existed, I just chalked it up to typical big network communication failures and bugged them both until I was assured it was fixed.

    I'm looking forward to the improvements some more competition will bring.

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Mal, after a zillion years in marketing, I am not surprised that you ran into this kind of situation. I am disappointed, but not surprised. While undoubtedly there are OPM's AM, merchants etc that are techy wise, there are those who may be "people skills challenged" or lacking sound busines and social savvy.

    Perhaps an example of a similar mentality would be sports, in which a person from one city seems to take on this mindless hostility toward people in other cities because they have opposing teams. It is amusing, albeit pathetic.

    Seems like the inexperience driven mentality of some keeps them from seeing that being the "only game in town" is neither a benefit, nor a necessity. Competition among many gets the word about a product, concept, service etc much faster / better than a one man band can do it.

    Thankfully it appears that the conversation you had with the affiliate is a reflection on an isolated case of OPM paranoia, but those kinds of OPM's don't last forever.

    BK wrote:

    One OPM punished me for going over his head by cutting my commissions in half - and banning me from ever contacting him again. And threatening to kill me! (For those who know who I'm talking about)

    That might be a "small" indicator that this particular OPM might not be a good fit!!

    Mal wrote:

    The thing that struck me most about the chat I had with the affiliate was it was actually in the small print of the terms they hadn't noticed when signing up which is really crazy.

    I see this reference to "small print" quite a lot. It brings up another good point. In the vast majority of the contracts, TOS, use agreements etc that I have ever reviewed, the print is usually the same font size throughout the document. It may be a very lengthy document that goes on forever and ever, but I rarely recall seeing much fine print.

    More appropriately, I believe that many times in which these references are made, it isn't that the "print" is finer, it is more often an end result caused by not thoroughly reading contracts. Who enjoys reading these things?

    They are filled with heretofores, notwithstandings, parties of the fifth part divided by the square of good versus bad, hereinafters, indemnifications, long unending single paragraphs of claimers and disclaimers, naga naga naga. It is a pain to read them thoroughly. But in reality, it is not only Imperative to good long term relations and proper understandings, but the Obligation of the parties, hereinafter known as......... (ten page legaleze hair pulling party identification verbiage not included here)

    Fine print and "I didn't take time to really read it all" often walk hand in hand and sometimes the line between them is simply sidestepping responsibility versus accepting responsibility. Either way, hopefully the conversation you reference here was the exception and not the rule.

    Alan
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

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