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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    March 21st, 2006
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    Question Coupon 101?
    Coupons seem to be big in the USA. They don't get much of a look in here in Oz, so I'm a little unsure of how they work for affiliate promotion.

    To be precise, how do you obtain these "coupons" for the merchants you're promoting?
    eg. I'm an affiliate for Hostgator, and I see coupons for Hostagtor plastered all over the web. But nary a mention of coupons on the affiliate backend??

    I would have assumed that "coupons", if offered by the merchant, would be clearly identified in their backend. That doesn't seem to be the case. So where do they hide
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    A lot of merchants won't credit affiliate referrals that use 'unauthorized' coupons. Or they might even terminate affiliates that publish them.

    So that puts affiliates at a disadvantage to non-affiliate sites like blogs and forums that publish coupons copied from other places on the web.

    As an affiliate I think you have 3 choices:

    1) Quit the merchant
    2) Keep promoting the merchant (at a disadvantage)
    3) Play the same end-around game the blogs and forums are playing... forget the affiliate channel, post the coupons and let some middleman pay you (such as adsense). least desirable option IMO.

    Also, it's always worth a try to e-mail the merchant and ask for a coupon you can use. (hopefully an exclusive one)
    Last edited by simcat; July 29th, 2007 at 03:49 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Some of the major sources of coupons:

    1) Affiliate newsletters from the merchant.
    2) Customer newsletters from the merchant.
    3) Affiliate interface or network coupon feeds.
    4) Directly from the affiliate manager.
    5) From customers.
    6) From other coupon sites, forums, etc.

    I haven't found that "unauthorized coupons" is a big problem. You just have to use some common sense. First, make sure coupons really work. Non-working coupons are a much bigger problem (for the merchant, for the customer, and for you as an affiliate). Second, if the merchant places restrictions on which coupons you can list, follow their guidelines. Most merchants are really reasonable. Third, if you find exclusive coupons (FLAMINGO10) or coupons that appear to be created for customer service purposes (CS50), don't list them.

    There are enough legitimate sources for coupons out there that you don't need to break rules. If a merchant is overly restrictive, doesn't have coupons, or is unreasonable, just don't list that merchant.
    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
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    Thumbs up
    Thanks for the response guys. Has helped clear up that little mystery
    cheers,
    Steve

  5. #5
    Certified Affiliate Manager sunshiner's Avatar
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    July 12th, 2007
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    With our site, we try to keep in contact with our merchants and get either exclusives or whatever coupons they are currently running which are allowed across the board. We make it quite clear to our members that they cannot go through us and use a different coupon than what we either have listed on our site, or what is on the merchants site when they connect to them. Its always in the best interest of the merchants to make sure they maintain some contact with their affiliates to keep them abreast of current coupons, because of course, I will promote them more heavily on my site.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    5) From customers.
    How many customer supplied coupons would you guess are unauthorized? And how many merchants have unauthorized coupons available in the first place? Then there's also the matter of testing customer supplied coupons. Doing it yourself could be a full time job in itself.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    "And how many merchants have unauthorized coupons available in the first place?"

    Merchants are all different. Some say only coupons supplied by them for the affiliate program. Some say sign up for the regular newsletter that customers get and you can use those too. Some don't mind if you post credit card coupons (some do), some don't care where you get them from.

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I seldom list (or even receive) coupons sent to me by customers anymore, but when I first started the site (actually the bullet-pointed list that preceeded the site!), most were sent to me by customers (and of my links weren't even affiliate links). Now, the other sources far outweigh that source. That's why it was pretty low on my list.

    I always test coupons from any unknown or unreliable source (which often includes the merchants themselves). Invalid coupons don't do anyone any good.
    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

  9. #9
    Member mayatime's Avatar
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    Michael
    Do you advocate this?

    "6) From other coupon sites, forums, etc."

    I have a problem with this one, for many reasons. Not the least of which, is not know where the codes they list came from. But, my biggest issue, is that it feels like pilfering to me.

  10. #10
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayatime
    Michael
    Do you advocate this?

    "6) From other coupon sites, forums, etc."

    I have a problem with this one, for many reasons. Not the least of which, is not know where the codes they list came from. But, my biggest issue, is that it feels like pilfering to me.
    I interpreted Michael's answer to be similar to the information from this "Couponer's Corner" (if you look through this sub forum there will be many legitimate offers of coupons--often you need to substitute your own affiliate ID). AMs can be contacted with specific questions about the coupons offered.

    I don't see using published coupon codes [at least from this sub forum] as pilfering.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
    Twitter me

  11. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Whether I advocate pilfering from other coupon sites or not, it happens. I know that if I check other coupon sites the day after I post a new, unique coupon, many others pick it up.

    I certainly wouldn't advocate it, though. Even if you don't have ethical problems with it, you'll find a very high percentage of the coupons that other sites list don't work.
    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

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