I have been having issues with our second tier program at SaS. Some of the symptoms have been cleaned up, but I think there may still be an underlying issue fundamental to how the system works...?

Most of you don't run two tier programs, but for those who do, take a look at the relationships and see if they all make sense.

I posted the first issue some time ago, but the thread was removed (not by Brian, to his credit), so you may not be aware it was ever an issue. The thread was removed so as not to raise a panic and avoid alerting those who might try to exploit the system, as well as to give SaS a chance to fix the problem (which they've done). I hope posting it now, after it has been fixed is okay.

The problem was simple, I referred one of my affiliates to another program I thought they would do well with. Actually, I referred them to an article I wrote about the merchant and they joined the other program through my affiliate link used in the article. When they next referred a sale to MY program, my affiliate account was credited with second tier commissions.

Simply stated, referring the affiliate to the new program reset their second tier relationship within my program and potentially other programs they were already associated with. I don't know if this also over-wrote pre-existing second tier relationships or not.

Again, to my knowledge this has been fixed (at least the relationship has been removed), but I've not received an explanation of how it happened, or how it was fixed. I also don't know if the affiliate is still in my second tier on the other program. Hopefully it's all sorted out, but I imagine cleaning up past second tier shifts, etc would've been near impossible.

After this I started paying more attention to who was signed up under whom. The next issue came when I found an affiliate who had referred themselves to our program. Some glitch allowed the same affiliate ID to show up as both affiliate and referring affiliate. They are a well respected member of ABW, and I don't believe they would've tried to make this happen, so I believe it was a bug that they likely weren't even aware of. This also, I believe, has been fixed, but again I don't know what caused it, so couldn't say with 100% certainty.

Yesterday I was again looking over our second tier relationships and found an affiliate who was referred by another affiliate with a later join date than the affiliate they referred. In my opinion an affiliate should not be able to retroactively refer one of my existing affiliates and get paid 2nd tier commissions for it.

In trying to see if this was common I stumbled upon another alarming fact; most of our referred affiliates have been referred by affiliates who are not in, nor have they ever been in, our program.

At that point I turned off our second tier. Possibly a rash decision, but I just couldn't trust the system after what I was seeing.

A second tier program should allow my existing affiliates to earn commissions by promoting my program to other affiliates not already associated with us. I want to pay my affiliates for recruiting new affiliates. From the problems I have run into though, I believe SaS has the second relationship working on a more network-wide basis, or doesn't have clear enough distinction between network-wide and individual program relationships.

Can anyone shed some light on what it is designed to do and what you're seeing within your own accounts so I can figure out if I've made the right decision to pull the plug on our second tier?

I hope the moderators will let this thread remain. Some of it may be alarming, but I've tried to keep it even keeled. Also understand that as a merchant it has been extremely difficult to sort through what is happening in my own account without some feedback from others who may or may not be affected, aware, etc. There's not enough transparency in what the system thinks it's supposed to be doing, nor enough feedback from SaS on the issues I've reported, so I could sorely use some feedback from my peers.

Many thanks all!