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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager kmacbc's Avatar
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    BuyCostumes.comís New Affiliate Policy
    BuyCostumes.comís new affiliate policy levels playing field by suspending certain ďloyaltyĒ sites that use nefarious software

    New Berlin, WI Ė July 13, 2007

    http://www.buyseasons.com/images/pdf...f-07-13-07.pdf

  2. #2
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
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    *smooch*

  3. #3
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    Good job! Since this has been going on for years, I ask why it took this long to implement this policy?

    Also, did you bring this to CJ's attention and what did they have to say about the loyalty affiliates you've terminated?

  4. #4
    Internet Cowboy
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    Nice job BuyCostumes.com!


  5. #5
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    Hello everyone, my name is Jalem Getz and I am the CEO of BuyCostumes.com. First I wanted to thank all of you for your support over the years. Our success truly comes from our strong partnerships with affiliates. Some of you may be curious to know who was removed from our program and why you may feel it took us until now to react. While Iíd rather not name all the affiliates that were removed from our program, I can say they were larger ones and it will take up to 7 days for them to actually leave our program. In fairness they need this week to take down all the links.

    While I had heard some affiliates were raising issues about various ďloyaltyĒ affiliates for 6 months, it wasnít until more recently we were actually able to independently confirm these concerns. I must say this project took a lot of time and research; and we didnít make our decision lightly. I can also say we had active conversations with Commission Junction over the course of several weeks; they are a great partner and did every thing they could to support us in our big decision.

    I truly feel this decision will make our program the absolute best it can be; now there really is no reason to work with any other Halloween retailer (shameless plug).

    If you have any further questions feel free to contact me directly, or Kristen Grace our Affiliate Manager Ė Kristen is your advocate here, you can trust she will do everything she can to help you make this a great Halloween.

    Regards,

    Jalem

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Grumpy's Avatar
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    Good move Jalem . I can't help but wonder though why you should extend any "fairness" towards them by giving them 7 days to remove their links. They should just have been cut off at the knees immediately. After all, where was the fairness towards all other affiliates when they were carrying out their dodgy practices? By any chance, was one of them possibly a winner of the $10,000 sweepstakes last season? (sure hope not!). Nevertheless, I commend you on your actions and I'm sure this move will spur us all on to working harder and make your program an even bigger success than it has been.

  7. #7
    15 years and counting
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    Congrats, Jalem for listening to your affiliates. We know it's not an easy decision to remove these parasites from a program.
    Don't forget, CJ is not a partner, they are just a third party who took advantage of you. For years, they misinformed their merchants about these "loyalty sites".
    These parasites were stealing your own sales as well as affiliate sales with the full knowledge and the help of CJ.
    Are they deactivating these "Loyalty sites" ? No, they will continue to steal from other merchants.
    Are they going to give us back the money stolen all these years? A true partner will do it. Not CJ.
    Anyway, Kudos, Jalem. BuyCostomes rocks, no need to wait for Halloween to add more links, I've sales even in July & August.

  8. #8
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    Jalem, please describe what you define as "nefarious software." I'm confused by your comment that CJ supports your decision while at the same time allowing these affiliates to remain in their network. After all, if these affiliates are stealing commissions from other affiliates or are causing you to pay a commission when no affiliate commission has been earned, then they are violating CJ publisher rules. I don't see how this makes CJ a "great partner." It would seem to me that the opposite is true.

  9. #9
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    It's easy for merchants to keep quiet about negative issues like cheating partners, so I not only applaud your changes but I also applaud your being vocal about them as well (that stance benefits the industry overall).

    CJ has always known the deal here, and that complicity makes them lose the "great partner" label. You've taken control, good - but know if they were in control, they'd monetize your branding efforts and not think twice about the financial impact on your profits (or ours) and they'd stink up your program with every pilfering partner they could find.

  10. #10
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    It's nice to see other merchants listen to affiliates and get on the right track. However I take offense to the statement that there is now no reason to work with any other Halloween merchants. You did the right thing, but it took affiliates telling you they were going to switch to get your attention. There is room for more than one merchant in any vertical, I hope we *all* do well.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by jalem
    I truly feel this decision will make our program the absolute best it can be; now there really is no reason to work with any other Halloween retailer (shameless plug).
    I definitely applaud your decision for the sake of the industry, but there are plenty of Online Halloween retailers that have never had these loyalty affiliates in their program as opposed to:

    My translation of your statement: "hey, we stopped stealing from you recently, please drop all of our competitors now."

  12. #12
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Nice stand on the "last click" policy and zero-charge back policy.

  13. #13
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Jalem,

    I think it's great that you finally decided to act on what has been an unfair drain on legitimate affiliate commissions, but you don't get a cookie for FINALLY doing the right thing. It's sort of like me saying "I don't beat my wife ANYMORE".

    ďIt wouldnít surprise us to see other retailers adopt this policy in the future. As the largest Internet retailer of costumes and Halloween products in the world we believe in leading by example.Ē
    LEAD BY EXAMPLE! You are not an innovator here. What about the merchants that cared enough about their legitimate affiliates to never allow parasites into their programs?

    It's great that you finally saw the light, however, a little more humility is called for.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  14. #14
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    On April 10th, Kristen emailed asking for links on some of my other sites that aren't Halloween related

    I took it as a chance to get a dig in about CJ, and replied not as long as you're on the parasite-plagued network... yada yada yada

    She replied.. "I understand/thanks for your input." Thought that would end it.

    Few days later she emailed again with "I've been thinking about it. Can I go into more detail. She used to be an affiliate/she understands our concerns/etc

    She was sincere. Pro-active, etc. So I emailed back a laundry list of "concerns".

    Well... they showed they read our emails. And listen. And act!

    When a merchant does the right thing (by our standards) and takes a risk (by their standards), I make sure I give them an extra ooopmh (promotion-wise) to let them know they made the right decision.

    And hopefully, they can be more successful, and tell other merchants.

    Jalem, she specifically asked for links on my site devoted to graduation stuff - I'll see what I can add (that isn't a pirate costume!!!) LOL

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Nunez
    I definitely applaud your decision for the sake of the industry, but there are plenty of Online Halloween retailers that have never had these loyalty affiliates in their program as opposed to:

    My translation of your statement: "hey, we stopped stealing from you recently, please drop all of our competitors now."
    True and there are some other good ones out there but none really with the kind of selection/price that BuyCostumes has. That's what customers care about. I have some nice Halloween traffic and have tried as many merchants as possible and for Halloween Costumes, they have always converted the best for me. And now with this even a little better now. I also have others ones up too.

    It's great to be parasite free but customers don't know anything about that. They just want to find the costume they're looking for, have it in stock and buy it. You still have to compete as a merchant, you just can't hang your hat on being parasite free.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    I have to agree. Buycostumes has had a program that converts well and an affiliate manager that is super responsive. This announcement just makes it even better. Looking forward to a great Halloween season this year!

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador SunshineTricia's Avatar
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    This was a nice announcement to be able to use to education my members a little bit. Maybe if others outside the affiliate community see this and take any interest in it at all, it will help them to understand why they shouldn't be downloading "those things" to begin with.
    --Tricia Meyer-- I love being the exception to the rule.

    Tricia Meyer | Helping Moms Connect | Wine Club Reviews and Ratings | Hunger Games Fan

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador newestuser's Avatar
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    Thanks, but I wonder what you're planning on doing with deal.com? it used to redirect to buycostumes, but now it's a price comparison engine (non-working). Are you getting into the affiliate marketing business now too?

  19. #19
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    Some answers
    Good morning everyone and thank you for all the questions. I will do my best to answer some of them, but Kristen is generally a better resource for information Ė Iíll give it a shot:
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman
    Jalem, please describe what you define as "nefarious software." I'm confused by your comment that CJ supports your decision while at the same time allowing these affiliates to remain in their network. After all, if these affiliates are stealing commissions from other affiliates or are causing you to pay a commission when no affiliate commission has been earned, then they are violating CJ publisher rules. I don't see how this makes CJ a "great partner." It would seem to me that the opposite is true.
    The software is nefarious because it does things itís not suppose to and without warning, I believe others call it spyware, but we felt that nefarious was a more polite way to describe the software. And, I mentioned CJ was a great partner because we told them what we wanted to do (remove some big affiliates) and to their credit helped us formulate a good plan. I understand you feel people shouldnít get credit fro doing the right thing, and I suppose you are right about that.
    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    It's nice to see other merchants listen to affiliates and get on the right track. However I take offense to the statement that there is now no reason to work with any other Halloween merchants. You did the right thing, but it took affiliates telling you they were going to switch to get your attention. There is room for more than one merchant in any vertical, I hope we *all* do well.
    Loxly, Iím a big fan of Halloween Mart; you work for a good company run by good people. However, I think you need to relax a bit: I was joking when I said there wasnít really a reason for affiliates to work with other Halloween merchants. Despite what others might think BuyCostumes.com actually helps other retailers succeed. Donít you remember my seminar in your home town last year where I gave a presentation to 200 other Halloween retailers about succeeding online? But I am sorry if you took my joke out of context.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Nunez
    I definitely applaud your decision for the sake of the industry, but there are plenty of Online Halloween retailers that have never had these loyalty affiliates in their program as opposed to:

    My translation of your statement: "hey, we stopped stealing from you recently, please drop all of our competitors now."
    Dear Michael; Nice try but I caught youÖ You represent YumDrop.com which is owned by the folks over at FrightCatalog.com which is currently a CJ merchant and to the best of my knowledge is still in a few publishers that we just removed. Isnít there a saying about throwing stones when you live in a glass house? Perhaps your merchant will eventually follow our lead. I think the real realization here is Iíve been in the industry way too long if I know all this stuff, perhaps I should get out more (now, for clarification that was my attempt at a joke).

    Rematt:
    Your right, we should be a little more humble. Please understand that some Halloween merchants seem to copy our every move. I know it frustrates Kristen to see the work she does all year getting ripped-off by competitors. But you are right; we did the right thing, and we shouldnít get a pat on the back for doing the right thing, we should just do it.
    Quote Originally Posted by newestuser
    Thanks, but I wonder what you're planning on doing with deal.com? it used to redirect to buycostumes, but now it's a price comparison engine (non-working). Are you getting into the affiliate marketing business now too?
    Deal.com is a site that we may be relaunching in the future. It is not a competing site, and to my knowledge it never pointed to BuyCostumes.com.

    I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, or whatís left of it.

    Jalem

  20. #20
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    The software is nefarious because it does things itís not suppose to and without warning, I believe others call it spyware, but we felt that nefarious was a more polite way to describe the software.
    This issue isn't about being "polite." I asked how you define "nefarious software" and I think you are beating around the bush. Specifically, what is this software doing that has caused you to terminate the affiliate using such software? What I'm trying to get at is why it is simply OK with CJ that you've terminated these affiliates while CJ allows them to remain in the CJ network. What is the reason you gave the affiliate for the termination?

    I understand you feel people shouldnít get credit fro doing the right thing, and I suppose you are right about that.
    Huh? Where did that come from? In my first reply on this thread, I commended you for your action.

    I'm trying to determine specifically what behavior you are prohibiting that CJ doesn't have a problem with since CJ isn't terminating those affiliates.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman
    I'm trying to determine specifically what behavior you are prohibiting that CJ doesn't have a problem with since CJ isn't terminating those affiliates.
    Snowman:
    I understand your question now, we dropped any affiliate that uses software tools which can circumvent another affiliatesí commission.
    Here is ONE example of how we came to remove a specific affiliate:
    1) a prospective customer that has this ďnefarious softwareĒ on their computer clicks on a banner on your website to BuyCostumes.com
    2) When they are transferred to BuyCostumes.com your PID is recorded and no pops ups are shown from the violating Company. All is good, but:
    3) Rather than making a purchase at that moment the prospective customer closes their browser and turns off their computer.
    4) 119 days later the prospective customer remembers they wanted a costume and goes to Google, searches for ďcostumesĒ and sees the organic listing for BuyCostumes.com. They click on the link and make a purchase that day.

    The way our program is SUPPOSE to work is you get the commission because you were the last ďaffiliate clickĒ. Our tests showed in this case customers who had the software would now be prompted to sign into their rewards account (since they clicked on an organic listing) and if they do so your PID would be replaced by the ďrewardsĒ merchant.

    There were a few companies using software that acted in different ways, Kristen had to spend countless hours testing, placing orders, clicking merchants, finding and installing the rewards software, etc. The bottom line is this; most retailers do not know about this software because it is not advertised and it is very difficult to test, and in many cases it works just fine, not interrupting the commissions of other affiliates. However, we have decided to unilaterally remove affiliates who use this very specific software as to give our remaining affiliateís piece of mind that they will get each and every commission they earn.




    Regards,

    Jalem

  22. #22
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    It's good you kicked them out.

    "Our tests showed in this case customers who had the software would now be prompted to sign into their rewards account (since they clicked on an organic listing) and if they do so your PID would be replaced by the ďrewardsĒ merchant."

    And they were also doing that on your own natural serps, direct type ins, PPC? So not only the interference with other affiliates but also any free traffic you were getting and any paid advertising you might have been doing. Newletters too usually. Wonder if you saw that too?

  23. #23
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    Just as I commented about in my Post #8. Not only is this software overwriting affiliate links, it is causing you to pay commissions where none are due and CJ is complicit since they are also earning a commission where none is due and earning a higher commission since that large thieving affiliate may be earning a higher than standard commission.

    Jalem, I really fail to see how CJ is a great partner. You were allowing them to steal from you just as you were allowing those affiliates to steal from other affiliates. This is a clear violation of the CJ Code of Conduct.

    Please help the affiliate community by naming the software.

  24. #24
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    An other typical case of the stockholm syndrome where the victim (buycostumes) is falling in love with the abuser (CJ).
    I'm starting to wonder about your need to brag about CJ.
    What have they done to protect their affiliates from these thieves?
    Are you going to give us back the lost commissions during all these years?
    It's what you should do.

  25. #25
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    Amazingly enough, BuyCostumes.com is the only costume merchant mentioned in this thread that does not have an affiliate bidding on their domain name.
    This is an important factor to be considered since many people still type the merchant's domain name into a Google search to return to their site. If I sent that customer there yesterday and they return today only to have another affiliate's cookie set who is doing nothing but poaching their domain name, then the merchant/affiliate manager is enabling similar activity to that of a parasitic software application. The end result is exactly the same.

    I have to say at this point if I were considering a product campaign for one of the costume merchants in this thread, BuyCostumes would likely win. That's hard to say because I have some friends in here, but it is the fact.


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