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  1. #1
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    Staying in the good graces of merchants
    Laugh if you must at the naive questions about to grace your eyes, but is it common for merchants to penalize affiliates who are performing well? I have a bargains site which was just dropped by Amazon, apparently as part of a bargain/coupon site clear-out. My site doesn't stack coupons, capitalize on price misprints, bid on banned keywords, etc. In fact, I've had a Polly Anna view that ethical businesses will be well-received by merchants, and I'm just trying to find my feet now.

    A couple of questions: 1) I hear crickets chirping when I visit the Amazon section of this forum. Has everyone here been booted from the program? It seems oddly silent.
    2) Are there other programs which are known for penalizing performance? I promote a diverse base of merchants but would like to avoid, like the plague, anyone else who will cut me off entirely when I hit their top commission tiers.
    3) Would I be crazy to contact AMs of my favorite programs and ask if I'm doing anything to jeopardize our relationship. I take these "Dear John" letters personally. lol. I want to build real relationships with merchants that I can trust, but is this just completely naive of me?

    </therapy session>
    Thanks!
    Sharon

  2. #2
    Member lschofield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WifiOrDie
    3) Would I be crazy to contact AMs of my favorite programs and ask if I'm doing anything to jeopardize our relationship. I take these "Dear John" letters personally. lol. I want to build real relationships with merchants that I can trust, but is this just completely naive of me?
    I was recently booted from a different program for non-performance. I contacted the AM to ask for a 2nd chance, as I had just gotten indexed for those products. It took awhile to get me back on, the AM was new to the position and their was a small learning curve on his part with the reactivation process.

    Anyways, during that process we were speaking rather frequently. He mentioned that several affiliates that had been performing very well were also inadvertently dropped and he was having trouble reactivating them.

    It may be worth your time to contact the AM and see if this was a mistake.
    [IMG]http://www.centsible.net/images/centsible28x196.bmp[/IMG]
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  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I've gotten some of those "advertiser expired" notices for generating very targeted traffic to their sites. The content remains without their affiliate links and showcases si I just snap in a Tumri.com Adpod and some Adsense blocks and whack the very same merchant, and their competition, with the same targeted traffic.

    You see the "trigger happy" merchants all spend like drunken sailors for PPCSE Ads and have the DEaltime, Shopping.com Super affiliate hawking their stuff via places like Tumri and Popshop.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager David Carter's Avatar
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    Sharon,

    If you can sell our products, you will get paid. You will be rewarded for over-performing. You will be appreciated! Boy I hope you can sell magazines! What am I saying, everyone can sell magazines!

    Are we a strange merchant?

    Just thought the thread could use some levity
    David Carter
    MagazinesQuick.com

  5. #5
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    Magazines, you say? And you pay for performance, David? Tell me more. I like your style. Thanks for the levity. And thanks to ecomcity and lschofield for the advice. The Amazon breakup is now water under the bridge...or at least the voices in my head tell me to repeat it until it's so. So I'm just trying to make sure that I don't repeat the same story with other affiliate programs.
    Thanks again! -Sharon

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager David Carter's Avatar
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    No problem Sharon,

    I just wanted to emphasise that there are still plenty of merchants who would love to build a strong partnership with hard working, enthusiastic, and determined affiliates. Some of the big guys seem to be losing sight of the power of the individual but if you look a little deeper you will find that there are far more merchants who have a strong desire to build a relationship than ones who take that relationship for granted. I can tell you without a doubt that our program runs on the hard work of affiliates large and small and we appreciate each and every one of our partners. I know that there are many more merchants here at ABW and on great networks such as SAS that will bend over backward to get to you the tools that you need to help increase your bottom line. I'm glad to see that you have moved on from the last bump in the road and are moving forward, please let me know if I can help.
    David Carter
    MagazinesQuick.com

  7. #7
    Internet Cowboy
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    Sharon,
    This is a crazy business. Three years ago I signed up with a SAS merchant and immediately started doing well with their program. They contacted me and were happy to see a real affiliate doing well without bidding on their trademarks or offering coupons that did not exist or something like that. They asked me to build a dedicated site for their products, which I did.

    About three months later their Affiliate Manager called me and alerted me that his company was on track to pay me more than he makes by the end of the year. He was not happy about an affiliate making more money than he does. I nicely told him that I was sorry, that maybe he should try affiliate marketing.

    Two months later, their CEO called me and announced that I was being removed from their program because I was making too many sales and costing them too much money. Again, I was NOT doing anything against their rules. I was selling their goods, driving incremental traffic.

    The reason I told you this story is to let you know that we never know what kind of craziness is going on in the mind of a merchant. Also to let you know that you should NEVER be in a position where you can't lose your top performing merchant and still be making a good living. The same can be said of networks.

    Work every day knowing that the merchant or network you are working with could be gone tomorrow and work to put yourself in a situation where you are OK with that.

    Best of Luck!
    Last edited by UncleScooter; August 7th, 2007 at 06:29 PM. Reason: I have a friend here at ABW who had a very similar experience.

  8. #8
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    their CEO called me and announced that I was being removed from their program because I was making too many sales and costing them too much money.
    Where did they find a CEO who was too stupid to realize that every sale you made was incremental profit for them? Unless of course they structured their program to operate at a loss for affiliate business, in which case they are total morons.

    I worked in an industry where we had independent sales reps as well as our own internal and external sales force. Sales managers hated it when the independents outperformed their sales people (which was quite often). I loved it because even though the independents were paid a higher commission rate we had no other expenses associated with them.

    It amazes me how so many "business people" know so little about business.

    -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

  9. #9
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    UncleScooter, I was shocked when I read that a merchant asked you to set up a dedicated site and then completely dropped you. But I guess it is slowly filtering into my head that rather than restructure a program to be fiscally sound, some of these programs would rather just cut and run. I run the numbers and make sure that our choices are sustainable...with just a 2-man show, so I'm just surprised that larger operations (or huge, in the case of Amazon) wouldn't just renegotiate terms after realizing that they goofed up their initial pay scale. Silly rabbits.

    It amazes me how so many "business people" know so little about business.
    Amen, rematt! I think that I just wasn't "getting" this before, or just in denial that people framing program policies would draft terms that only benefit the affiliate. Simple addition and multiplication...carry a one...it doesn't seem so hard. And i went to public school.
    -Sharon

  10. #10
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Big hint for the legit Super Affiliates like UncleScooter. Look for a merchant who has both a online and offline sales force mentality. If they offer indy reps 25+% or physical product resellers a 50% stocking discount... then they sure won't squawk when a 10% online affiliate generates a ton of sales.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Two months later, their CEO called me and announced that I was being removed from their program because I was making too many sales and costing them too much money.
    Quite possibly the most remarkable thing I have ever heard, and probably the most idiotic. He might as well of started a coal mine and determined that hiring miners was useless because they need benefits.

  12. #12
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    A few merchants get into affiliate marketing for exposure and SEO rankings with the hope of few sales.

    The majority know what they are doing and will be happy with as many sales as you can send provided you are not using or abusing their trademark to do it.

    With respect to Amazon, I now make about $10 a month from them which is my all-time high. They are the ultimate "low pay" program, unless you are moving their extremely high-priced items. Their payouts are low and if you sell books, usually the 3rd party items with commissions in the range of a quarter will sell. None-the-less, they can often fill a void that no other merchant can.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador newestuser's Avatar
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    I had the amazon problem too...
    Also, i've had similar problem to unclescooter.. I had great traffic to pages selling one merchants products, had some great conversatios & all with them, but was selling too much, so they cut my commission in half .

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