Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 38
  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    March 2nd, 2007
    Posts
    1,470
    Are SaS merchants mostly Affiliates too?
    Let me admit that I am new to working within SaS network as an Affiliate. While I covered some issues encountered with SaS here http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=92314, I think this new concern of mine is better covered with its own new thread.

    SaS seems to have bunch of small / tiny merchants who are mostly either drop shippers or perhaps ebay power sellers harnessing affiliate channel. A lot of these no name merchants also seem to have virtually ZERO 7 Day and 30 Day EPCs and several with last sale over 6 months to a year ago. Of course, SaS also has some great merchants while the majority seems to be small time merchants. A small merchant by itself is of no concern except that a number of these merchants also appear to be AFFILIATES likely competing with you directly.

    And each merchant (perhaps an affiliate in disguise) in the network has access to sensitive information about their affiliates including referral URLs / sites and other such valuable information (converting search terms in case of DTM). Not sure about others but I do not feel comfortable other AFFILIATES (merchants disguised as affiliates) learning a whole lot about you as the same information may be used by the merchant (affiliate in disguise) to compete against you.

    Is there a way to know merchants disguised as affiliates in SaS?. If not, does any one know if SaS has any policy against merchants misusing an affiliate confidential information?

    The above issue is not just only SaS related but I do see many small merchants in SaS (perhaps disguises as affiliates) in SaS than other major networks like CJ.

    Any ideas, thoughts and you think my concerns are TOTALLY misplaced.

    Appreciate hearing your take on this and how you navigate through this

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    4,053
    For online marketing, a huge amount is based on drop-shipping so I don't consider that a problem unless there's something less than legitimate or suspicious (or leaky) about a site.

    Personally, I think the minimum carrying charge should be raised on merchants (whoever they are) with no generated affiliate sales over a given length of time. Some of those old dust bunnies need to be swept away.

    ----

    On second thought, once there are no sales generated for a year, maybe they should have to re-enroll again and pay the entrance fee to get started again from scratch. A lot of them got grandfathered in real cheap, so the minimum is a small tax write-off for them, but not worth the waste of affiliates' time who dont know better. And they certainly add nothing to the credibility of an otherwise excellent network.

    For all we know, all that waste matter still lying around may be costing Sharesale some good clients who would make everyone money.

    Have a look at this one

    http://www.shareasale.com/a-viewmerc...merchantID=886

    3% low funds, last transaction over 2 years ago. And no site at all at the URL.
    Last edited by webworker; July 25th, 2007 at 11:13 PM.

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Posts
    17,328
    A merchant is just a poser unless they fax in to SAS a occupational business license and Federal Tax ID#. This is required by every distributor for every product sold at wholesale to legit resellers.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  4. #4
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,833
    Another thought, if you're concerned about a given merchant, or their lack of sales, don't join and they'll never see any of that sensitive information.

    I know your concern has some validity for many reasons, but the truth of the matter is, it's only by joining every program indiscriminately that an affiliate would ever face the potential issues you describe. That's going to lead to problems regardless of the checks and balances the network has in place.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    March 2nd, 2007
    Posts
    1,470
    Quote Originally Posted by webworker

    Have a look at this one

    http://www.shareasale.com/a-viewmerc...merchantID=886

    3% low funds, last transaction over 2 years ago. And no site at all at the URL.

    Great example and there are many similar to this one ..

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    March 2nd, 2007
    Posts
    1,470
    Quote Originally Posted by Eathan
    I know your concern has some validity for many reasons, but the truth of the matter is, it's only by joining every program indiscriminately that an affiliate would ever face the potential issues you describe
    I agree with you that an affiliate cannot be indiscriminate. For example, we avoid any merchant anything closely related to gambling, drugs, yada yada like a plague and focus mostly on family friendly merchants. However, you cannot know if a merchant is a competing affiliate stealing your information.

    Given SaS has so many small merchants (who are also potentially competing affiliates themselves), SAS should do some policing on merchants too. Or just do its own NETWORK monitoring and deny the merchant any sensitive data including last referral site (last referral IP may be fine but anything above is questionable)


    Given the lax in SaS, I feel tempted like dumping $25 a month and becoming a merchant

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    If you're worried about the security of your marketing data, i think it's misguided to pin that on SAS only as a negative. For instance, there's been posts here concerning how CJ itself is a large super affiliate. If there are merchants at SAS who are affiliates in disguise, they'd scare me less than a network who is an affiliate - a network has access to a lot more data and could manipulate tracking if they were rotten crooked.

    So I think your complaint's validity for me lies more in the size issue - and yes, many at SAS are small / tiny and aren't worth a second look, or a first look for that matter. But SAS does provide tools to search through merchants and you can easily avoid the teeny ones altogether.

    And to assert that sas merchants are mostly affiliates is wrong. There are over 2,000 merchants in SAS. So do you believe that more than 1,000 of them are affiliates in disguise, there posting as merchants, to poach your marketing data?

  8. #8
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    17,708
    As has been pointed out, you get to chose who you join, and if you are not comfortable once you join a merchant, you can leave and they no longer see your websites. The merchants don't have access to as much private data as you may think, and once you leave their program your data is gone.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  9. #9
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    ShareASale also has individual settings for the personal data you choose to share with merchants, like street address and email and more - and let's you pick merchant by merchant as to which ones you share that info with.

  10. #10
    Member DoradoVista's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 5th, 2007
    Posts
    54
    It sounds like you have an agenda with regard to Merchants stealing this info. Is there a real situation here or just hypothetical?

    Hypothetically I'm my own worst enemy since I have all the data you mention and more. In reality I have the best position to counter anything a merchant might do to attack my sites. Also, sites that have a poor history cashflow and sales wise are not likely my real competetion are they?
    Gold Prospector just Prospecting Sales! :coolsmile

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Affiliateville, USA
    Posts
    7,927
    I agree with Donuts, your statement that "Are SaS merchants mostly Affiliates too?" makes it sound like the majority, when if fact it would not be the case.

    I notice a theme in your posts here at ABW regarding this, so am I to assume you have found dozens of these types of merchants at SAS? Or is it just a handful that you know for sure are also affiliates?

    I think you need to realize in any business you run the risk of others stealing your ideas and/or copying your methods. The suggestion to be very selective in who you work with is very true. Once you have done this a while you learn to be very selective and you learn who to trust. For example, many affilaites here will quickly sign up for a program if managed by certain OPM's as they already know they can trust their programs, sight unseen.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  12. #12
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    1,833
    Quote Originally Posted by redtagdeals
    I agree with you that an affiliate cannot be indiscriminate. For example, we avoid any merchant anything closely related to gambling, drugs, yada yada like a plague and focus mostly on family friendly merchants. However, you cannot know if a merchant is a competing affiliate stealing your information.

    Given SaS has so many small merchants (who are also potentially competing affiliates themselves), SAS should do some policing on merchants too. Or just do its own NETWORK monitoring and deny the merchant any sensitive data including last referral site (last referral IP may be fine but anything above is questionable)


    Given the lax in SaS, I feel tempted like dumping $25 a month and becoming a merchant
    I guess I wasn't all that clear.

    Merchants cannot see anything about you unless you join their program and you can see all the info about the merchant (sales, EPC, conversion) before you sign up, so don't have much risk of a no-name, no-sales merchant seeing your info unless YOU join their crumby little program without checking their data first.

    You're welcome to become a merchant, but without sales the only affiliates you'll see are the ones who click join on every program indiscriminately, and the info you'll get from those affiliates won't be worth the $25 IMO...
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    5,208
    This type of thing isn't limited to ShareaSale. What about Pepperjam (affiliates) who manage many major merchant programs on other networks? What about CJ now buying up MeziMedia? Those are issues I am more concerned with than smaller merchants also being affiliates at SAS.

  14. #14
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    mentally, i pronounce them pep-your-jam and messy media. but don't fret oh pink long-legged one, Todd said they're smarter than us and we needn't worry.

  15. #15
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    17,708
    rofl @donuts.... perfect.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  16. #16
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    Have a look at this one

    http://www.shareasale.com/a-viewmer...?merchantID=886

    3% low funds, last transaction over 2 years ago. And no site at all at the URL.
    OK - i clicked thru to

    http://www.1bargainworld.com/

    The ONLY link on the page is their privacy policy

    Let's ALL join and get them excited

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    March 2nd, 2007
    Posts
    1,470
    The issue I raised is not SaS only as was mentioned in my original post. Other networks have similar issues as was pointed out by others already. However, problem of affiliates posing as merchants is more of an issue in SaS than others. If you combine that with -

    a) $25/month to be a merchant (very low I think)
    b) SaS passing the last click referral information

    SaS can differentiate more by addressing the issues that other networks have and one thing it can do is address this also. I think SaS can replace last click referral information by doing its own NETWORK quality on affiliates (and perhaps merchants too) and should not divulge that information to merchants

    Hope this helps. Yes, I shall be more discriminate on who we join and are currently canning some "suspicious" merchants.

  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager TFAW.com's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Milwaukie, OR
    Posts
    165
    I do agree with redtagdeals' point about old/dead merchants and merchant/affiliate posers. I think that merchants with no sales/traffic should be removed, deactivated, or somehow marked more clearly after some amount of time.

    However, I have a slightly different perspective on the referrer issue. While I definitely see the potential for abuse, merchants have legitimate reasons for looking at referrer data.

    I'm a merchant who looks at all of my referrer information. I examine our traffic looking for people who are violating our program terms, hijacking commissions from other affiliates or from us directly, or doing things that cause damage our program or our brand. The referrer information is crucial to this process, and without it would be much more difficult or impossible to find with things like:

    - quickly catching those guys who put us in several autosurf programs and sent thousands of worthless clicks

    - spiders and robots that hit your affiliate links hundreds or thousands of times, but then never follow the redirect through to our site so we never even knew the traffic existed even though it was affecting our stats.

    - that affiliate who's making lots of sales, but doing it in a way that's not allowed by our program terms.

    - that affiliate whose hotmail address is broken in SAS and I need to talk to them for whatever reason.

    - a new BHO affiliate that was previously undetected by SAS

    While it may be possible for the network to detect SOME issues like this in an automated way, it often takes a combination of referrers, analysis of merchant server logs, and an intimate knowledge of merchant program policies to determine if something should be allowed or not. Shareasale would need to be a much larger company to have any hope of keeping track of every combination of merchants' rules and policies, how each one applies to the traffic, and actually analyzing the traffic based on all of those rules. I can't speak for Brian, but that doesn't seem to be a direction SAS would be interested in pursuing.

    So in summary, I understand the legitimate desire for some affiliates to keep their referrers a secret for competitive reasons. There are also affiliates who unfortunately need to hide their referrers for ... other ... reasons. Because of these few who break the rules, merchants really do need access to referrer data in order to keep their programs clean.

    That's my $.02. Thanks,

    Dale
    Dale LaFountain, CIO, <a style="color:#c23015; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline;" href="http://www.tfaw.com/">Things From Another World</a> - More Comics. More Toys. More Stuff. More FUN!
    14% base comm / up to 21.5% w/perf incent / 90 return days / parasite free / HUGE datafeed / <a style="color:#c23015; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline;" href="http://www.tfaw.com/Help/Affiliate-Information___168?qt=abw">[b]Join[/b]</a>

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    March 2nd, 2007
    Posts
    1,470
    Dale, excellent points on why a merchant needs the last referrer data. If this can be done by a network effectively, then merchants do not need this data. And a merchant can police bidding and other merchant specific issues by monitoring themselves with tools on their end

  20. #20
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,657
    redtagdeals,

    We do a lot of monitoring ourselves, surely - but all of the monitoring for over 2,000 merchants isn't that feasible.

    An over-generalized statement from me would be that merchants are looking to partner with quality affiliates the same way that affiliates want to partner with quality merchants. ShareASale strives to give as much information to both parties so that they can both make those choices. You may not believe me but one of our largest challenges right now is in providing info to merchants about affiliates who continually try to get around the rules set forth by individual program TOS, as well as ShareASale TOS. Perhaps this is a little bit of the "bad apples" ruining it for the rest of the affiliates, but right now it is critical to provide that info to merchants.

    General advice: Read, understand, and comply with all TOS... generate traffic and actions (sales, etc...) for your merchant partners, and create revenue streams for them that they would not be able to have tapped themselves. Generating value for them turns into value for yourself in the form of commissions as well as loyal customer bases for your own sites.

    I do realize the concerns that you have raised and they are certainly valid concerns... we try to also protect affiliates from merchants who break the rules as well, generating things like EPC, reversal rates, last commissionable sale, online/offline history, etc.... Many merchants want us to get rid of this information especially when it does not make them look good, but we are just as interested in making sure that affiliates have a fair shot as we are in protecting merchants from bad affiliates.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  21. #21
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    Dale - 2 cents? That was a full dollar! (and excellent)

    This thread has wondered past the "are they posing" and has touched on many areas

    I think SAS gives us all the tools we need to intelligently decide which merchants to partner with

    1. The merchant's website
    Go there and look! You can spot a looser in less then a minute. Click around the site. It's 15 minutes of your time - but time well spent

    2. The merchant's EPC
    The 3 month EPC (do they make money?) and the current EPC (did something good or bad just happen recently that will affect your bottom line?

    3. Reversal Rates of Merchant
    Self Explanatory

    4. The Vitals
    Cookies, commissions, tiers, anything we're not allowed to do (TM bidding, etc). Are they acceptable to you? Are they above average? Below average?

    5. The Merchant's Own Affiliate Sales Pitch
    While this is easier for experienced affiliates, you can definately get a sense of what the merchant is about by reading how they phrase certain things. Do they sound happy. Too "cubicled". Is thier whole pitch filled with just negative stuff.

    6. The Contact This Merchant Link
    ALWAYS use it! I do! See if they're "home". Does anyone respond? How long to respond. Is the response a real answer - or double speak.

    7. Link Previews
    You can know in advance if they have the type of links you need

    Assuming someone did the above, why they would sign up with the merchant who hasn't made an affiliate sale in 2 years is beyond me - but - should SAS drop them??????

    No.

    The same way we hate when a merchant drops us, 2 days before we're ready to lauch a site devoted entirely to them - how do we know this merchant isn't going to be the best money-maker for us in 2 days???

    The same way WE have to learn affiliate marketing, merchants have to also - and we all learn at different speeds.

    Again, no one forces us to join a merchant. And choosing a merchant isn't rocket science!

    My 5 cents
    Last edited by Billy Kay; July 26th, 2007 at 11:36 PM. Reason: (added #7)

  22. #22
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,657
    redtagdeals,

    I would also be interested in hearing from you who you found that you considered to be "Merchants who were really affiliates", etc... We do host a lot of merchant programs, some better than others of course, but your statement seems to suggest that most of our merchants are not really merchants which is something that I would generally disagree with.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  23. #23
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Posts
    17,328
    Quote Originally Posted by webworker
    For online marketing, a huge amount is based on drop-shipping so I don't consider that a problem unless there's something less than legitimate or suspicious (or leaky) about a site.

    Personally, I think the minimum carrying charge should be raised on merchants (whoever they are) with no generated affiliate sales over a given length of time. Some of those old dust bunnies need to be swept away.

    ----

    On second thought, once there are no sales generated for a year, maybe they should have to re-enroll again and pay the entrance fee to get started again from scratch. A lot of them got grandfathered in real cheap, so the minimum is a small tax write-off for them, but not worth the waste of affiliates' time who dont know better. And they certainly add nothing to the credibility of an otherwise excellent network.

    For all we know, all that waste matter still lying around may be costing Sharesale some good clients who would make everyone money.

    Have a look at this one

    http://www.shareasale.com/a-viewmerc...merchantID=886

    3% low funds, last transaction over 2 years ago. And no site at all at the URL.
    Without any creatives suitable for anything but a curbside Lemonade stand they can't even begin to generate sales. One look at this and my guess is a thin affiliate poser...
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  24. #24
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Location
    Colorado / Florida
    Posts
    4,411
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Kay
    Dale - 2 cents? That was a full dollar! (and excellent)

    This thread has wondered past the "are they posing" and has touched on many areas

    I think SAS gives us all the tools we need to intelligently decide which merchants to partner with

    1. The merchant's website
    Go there and look! You can spot a looser in less then a minute. Click around the site. It's 15 minutes of your time - but time well spent

    2. The merchant's EPC
    The 3 month EPC (do they make money?) and the current EPC (did something good or bad just happen recently that will affect your bottom line?

    3. Reversal Rates of Merchant
    Self Explanatory

    4. The Vitals
    Cookies, commissions, tiers, anything we're not allowed to do (TM bidding, etc). Are they acceptable to you? Are they above average? Below average?

    5. The Merchant's Own Affiliate Sales Pitch
    While this is easier for experienced affiliates, you can definately get a sense of what the merchant is about by reading how they phrase certain things. Do they sound happy. Too "cubicled". Is thier whole pitch filled with just negative stuff.

    6. The Contact This Merchant Link
    ALWAYS use it! I do! See if they're "home". Does anyone respond? How long to respond. Is the response a real answer - or double speak.

    Assuming someone did the above, why they would sign up with the merchant who hasn't made an affiliate sale in 2 years is beyond me - but - should SAS drop them??????

    No.

    The same way we hate when a merchant drops us, 2 days before we're ready to lauch a site devoted entirely to them - how do we know this merchant isn't going to be the best money-maker for us in 2 days???

    The same way WE have to learn affiliate marketing, merchants have to also - and we all learn at different speeds.

    Again, no one forces us to join a merchant. And choosing a merchant isn't rocket science! My 5 cents
    BillyK,

    Great advice and objective two way eyesight. As my wife is getting into aff marketing with a sports site, and my sons are deep into putting sites together for niche verticles that interest them, I passed this along to them. Thank you for a positive, calm look at reality.

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

  25. #25
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    @Dale

    Were'nt you at think tank? Every time we suggested a "definate failsafe cure" for all those merchant concerns you listed (glad I'm not a merchant!!), there were 10 responses on how "bad affiliates" would get around the suggested fix. Bad apples will always exist - and they'll always find a new way to be bad

    I think - little by little - networks are trying to get rid of affs who you remove, then they rejoin with a different name...

    or the ones who show you a nice website, but really make their money with toolbars, etc...

    Linkshare tried the verification process - you had to prove you're a real business to get paid

    Networks either publically or privately work with Kellie

    Some networks only pay on sales that originate from your REGISTERED sites

    And we have ABW to publically out the bad guys

    And if you venture into the CPA forums, there's always a post that goes like this: "Why you no pay myself? I no scammer!" To me, that says those networks at least aren't paying the really obvious bad apples anymore.

    Is it all enough? No. But it goes in the right direction.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Merchants on SaS - Like it?
    By TrishaLyn in forum ShareASale - SAS
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: November 11th, 2008, 08:52 AM
  2. Merchants - Advice for new merchants on SAS?
    By pinkyandcompany in forum ShareASale - SAS
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: May 16th, 2005, 12:09 AM
  3. Replies: 3
    Last Post: April 27th, 2005, 01:36 PM
  4. CJ merchants scewing other CJ merchants affiliates as well as their own
    By Chief_Beef in forum Commission Junction - CJ
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: February 25th, 2004, 05:06 PM
  5. New Merchants at SaS
    By KIMarketing in forum ShareASale - SAS
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: December 19th, 2003, 10:02 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •