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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Not full credit for a Coupon Site Referral?
    Not sure if this topic was discussed here or not.

    Today I came across a merchant (name withheld for confidentiality) who wanted to offer lower commissions for coupon site referrals. The merchant's argument was the referral came because there is a "Promo Code" box on merchant sites' checkout page. The person used the language of first referral and last referral and in this case last referral not getting full commission.

    The whole thing sounded too weird to me as it is perhaps the first time I came across this non-industry standard logic.

    I offered the merchant to remove the promo code box prompt with special URLs. The merchant came back and said that is technically feasible!. Yet the merchant believes he can come up with a technology to have first referrer and last referrer and integrate that with network tracking.

    Couponers - what would you do in such a scenario and how do you educate the merchant ..!

  2. #2
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    Anyone willing to comment on merchants with an attitude that they can offer lower commissions to coupon sites for whatever reason. And how to deal with and educate them other than parting ways.

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I probably just wouldn't work with a merchant like that. If I felt they were receptive to learning, I might try to educate them (or more likely point them to places where they can get educated), but I've found that the only merchants who can be educated are the ones who want to be educated.
    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

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    For me, this is one hint that a merchant is trying to recognize relative value. So for me, it means I'd be more likely to look for further signs of that being true and carried throughout their other channels, in which case, I'd give them stronger consideration than most others as a prospective partner.

    However, I've seen this before, and often they'll have UPromise or eBates in there (and are paying them top dollar and also paying slotting fees beyond that) and their stance on couponers-earn-less is more a whim than a comprehensive understanding of channel value, in which case I run for the exits.

  5. #5
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    I'll agree with Donuts again. As I discussed in another thread recently, the simple truth is that many coupon sites don't don't actually bring new customers to a merchant's site. This doesn't mean that they don't provide value -- in fact, they often "recapture" a customer who has left the merchant's site in search of a coupon.

    Coupon sites thus present a "different value" to the merchant, and some merchants (including Amazon) have chosen to only offer a reduced commission rate to such sites.

    As Donuts notes, a policy like this demonstrates the merchant's understanding of the "relative value" offered by different types of affiliates, which might be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the merchant's ethics and resources.

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    One more note here... don't mean to open an argument on the value of couponers, but like everything else, painting with too broad of a brush (myself included), often covers up the truth of things. Not all coupon sites are the same. After wishing for coupons to go away for years (they're a leak to my product ppc), I finally accepted reality and decided to join the couponers - I built a coupon site. As someone who seeks to be valued by my partners, I have been looking for ways to bring new customers, not just help close sales that are likely imminent. So I've begun experimenting with new techniques, mainly promotional ones involving who and when I bring them to my site. These techniques are directly involved with coupons, but are not the typically thought-of routine. I've filled my coupon site out with sufficient merchants to have the landscape in place (site structure, seo and ppc appeal regarding landing page scoring) to now intertwine my new experimental techniques. I've selected 3 merchants from SAS to try things out on. The base profits on my coupon site are high, and I am now moving to leverage that backdrop into volume, from atypical traffic sources, on a per merchant per new-technique basis.

    Apart from my own operations, I think about people like Connie (and others) who have large and loyal mailing lists and how that kind of thing is also not just common couponing, but can be a real value-add promotional affiliate relationship.

    And if a merchant I was doing this for, doing additional atypical reaching for new incremental sales, told me I get less because I'm a coupon site, I'd certainly stop aiming for incremental sales and go back to just dropping the usual available coupon on them, to align my efforts more closely with the value they arbitrarily assigned to me... and being a curmudgeon, I might also just depart asap with no further discussion.

    So consider this a friendly reminder that just looking at a site's basic look / theme / apparent purpose does not tell the whole story of any affiliate operation, what is happening overall needs to be considered more closely. If you don't take the time to learn to recognize the difference, your loss. Gaining incremental sales is your goal, so give that some thought before you categorize everyone. You need to know the promotional techniques being used by your mid to high volume affiliates - they're fairly obvious if you know your job's tools and take the time to use them.

    If you claim to be a manager, then do exactly that.

  7. #7
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    Very nicely put out, Donuts.

    I agree with most of the views expressed here by everyone here.

    Though I don't run a newsletter, most of the traffic originates from repeat visitors or PPC on general coupon terms (not merchant terms) and a little from SEO.

    Most merchants have not only raved about the sales/leads we generate, but often dole out exclusive coupons or other special incentives.

    It struck me odd that one merchant (one out of a few thousand) had a different view and we decided to part ways until the merchant changes the stance and values our traffic on par. What struck me odd with this merchant also is that apparently their affiliate program is losing a lot of money, though they sell high-margin products with low or no inventory (kind of a drop shipper with a few hundred suppliers, I think). Besides the money losing affiliate program they operate, it is promoted here on ABW for recruiting affiliates. I don't know what to make of all this except that this merchant's credibility is shot in my book.

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