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  1. #1
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    Question Affiliates working with parasitic merchants
    I saw a question posted a few days ago trying to understand why an affiliate would work with a merchant they clearly know has Ebates/Upromise in their program.

    The response I read was they convert well so I don't make all the commisions I should have, but I still make money.

    It's appears that some people talk out of both sides of their mouth.

    Parasites are bad, but I deal with them anyway.

    My question is this if you are dealing with such a merchant how much do you think you're losing?

    I saw a report wherein CJ publicly stated that 5% of their revenue came from adware a few years ago.

    I also heard a number of 40%.

    If your losing 5-40% why do you still work with those merchants?

    I also saw a video of the affiliate summit, where in Ebates sat on a panel with a person from CJ moderating and joked about ABW'ers complaining about ebates Hijacking commissions. Ebates didn't look like the black sheep of the family at the summit.

    What's going on here?

  2. #2
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    Some of your questions were answered in that thread.

    "The response I read was they convert well so I don't make all the commisions I should have, but I still make money."

    Because people shop at those merchants. Most of them that have parasites are big brands. They got big somehow. People shop there.

    "If your losing 5-40% why do you still work with those merchants?"

    As far as parasites, I would guess 10% or less. Andy posted an article about interference awhile back and it was in that range.

    "I also saw a video of the affiliate summit, where in Ebates sat on a panel with a person from CJ moderating and joked about ABW'ers complaining about ebates Hijacking commissions. Ebates didn't look like the black sheep of the family at the summit."

    They've been featured on their home page before. In general networks like adware because it turns a merchant's free traffic and traffic they already pay for into commissionable traffic, that's the game. So merchants are stupid to have them in their program. Also keep in mind you have merchants and you have someone they have running the affiliate program. Turning a merchant's free traffic into commissionable traffic might make that affiliate manager look like a super star and causes all kinds of problems. I think if most merchants actually knew what was going on, they would fire their affiliate manager or whoever is running the program. Lots of times affiliate marketing is just part of the overall marketing program and they don't have anyone dedicated to it.

  3. #3
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    If you focus your efforts on how much you are losing rather than how much you are making, you'll never be successful in this business.

    Most affiliate marketers earn the bulk of their income from name brands. Most of the name brands affiliate with Ebates and their ilk.

  4. #4
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    Worse than being an affiliate working with parasites-friendly merchants, you have affiliates making money from their affiliation with Ebates/Upromise. Yes, both, have affiliate programs, and OPMs managing them.
    CJ, and other networks are making money from stealing from their own affiliates. CJ promote eBates all the way. Their first radio show was about promoting these thieves, eBates is still a success story at CJ. LinkShare do the same with uPromise or ShopatHome.
    They are all stealing from us, making plenty of money and none of them are in jail. They must have good reasons to laugh. (for now!)

  5. #5
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    So do you mean that you can't make as least the same or more income working only with merchants that have no parasites?

    Dan

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan367
    So do you mean that you can't make as least the same or more income working only with merchants that have no parasites?

    Dan
    Yes, that is what I mean.

  7. #7
    Crazy Cat Lady Heidi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan367
    So do you mean that you can't make as least the same or more income working only with merchants that have no parasites?
    Some people do - but it really would depend on the topic of your sites. Some areas are not really well covered by merchants that have no parasites or the merchants are very mom & pop and don't convert very well.
    Heidi
    "Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true"

  8. #8
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Ebates/Upromise is at every industry event to promote themselves. I personally offered to work with Ebates here to clean up their reputation if they specifically stated in their privacy policy that they no longer use download software and had their CEO sign it. That was a year ago and I have seen Paul from Ebates many times since then.

    Paul from Ebates stated in the CJ/Affiliate Summit session that they make marginal revenue from the download. I and every affiliate/AM in that session thought the same thing, why use it then? I think we know why!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Paul from Ebates stated in the CJ/Affiliate Summit session that they make marginal revenue from the download. I and every affiliate/AM in that session thought the same thing, why use it then? I think we know why!
    Yep. UPromise claims the same thing. None of the "Big Brand" BHO guys say they make their money through the software and every time a program that is supposed to be clean gets outed for having a BHO in there, the line is the same, "They hardly made any sales at all."
    So maybe BHOs are totally ineffective and all this is just hype...but I don't think so.
    Dan, to your question, many affiliates work with programs with parasites in them. I can't say that I don't, but I can say that early on in this business I gave other affiliates a ration of sh*t for working with them. The bottom line is that you pretty much have to work with them if you are to maintain a presence of big merchants in your marketing efforts.
    All that said, you can use very effective methods, such as PPC to promote clean merchants and make good returns. Running PPC on merchants with every parasite in the world in their program has never worked for me. Is this pure coincedence? No way. I have tried and tried and tried again to work with some programs in the PPC arena. I know my efforts were good, clicks targeted landing on the correct product pages etc. etc. etc. and the ROI was just not there. So if you are using purchased media in your efforts, parasites can have a much more profound effect.


  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador newestuser's Avatar
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    They're not gonna say that they make $ from that downlod, just like people here don't say which merchants are best performing for them.

    I hate those parasites, but cj & others love them.. they make money for 'em. It's the merchants that need to wake up and do something about them, since they're the ones losing money (well, and us clean affiliates too).

    I still work with stores that have those parasites in their program, and I also work with merchants that are leaks too with their own affiliate links... I don't love it, but I keep my loyal users happy, and I make money, so I do it.

  11. #11
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I also saw a video of the affiliate summit, where in Ebates sat on a panel with a person from CJ moderating and joked about ABW'ers complaining about ebates Hijacking commissions. Ebates didn't look like the black sheep of the family at the summit.
    Yeah I watched that video the other day. The first 5 minutes are so was very interesting from more than one perspective.

    My favorite part was Paul saying how downloads have fallen out of favor with end users.

    But CJ did a pretty good strategic job of bringing it up at the very beginning in a very direct way. The responses from the merchants on the panel were interesting as well.

  12. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    So let's form a group of affiliates and affiliate managers against parasites. Are affiliates ready to commit to not using merchants that work with parasites if merchants are committed to not have parasites in their programs. There is no comprehensive list we can start on.

  13. #13
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    "Are affiliates ready to commit to not using merchants that work with parasites if merchants are committed to not have parasites in their programs."

    Sounds ala merchant boycott, done before. Merchants should commit not to work with parasites, not for affiliates but for themselves. Affiliates get screwed over a little bit but merchants are doing themselves an even bigger favor in not working with them. Merchants are getting the big screw. So as a merchant you should commit not to work with parasites because it's the smart thing to do.

    Over the years some merchants post as if it's some kind of hardship to boot the parasites or it's hurting their bottom line or they're doing affiliates a favor** by doing it. You're just smartening up when you do that.

    ** and obviously it helps affiliates if you boot them.

    "Are affiliates ready to commit to not using merchants that work with parasites"

    I'm not committed to wrecking my business by removing merchants that people like to shop at and I make money with.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    To add to that idea a ABW seal of some design signifying that you're committed to being 100% parasite free as an affiliate, OPM, AM or merchant.

    Oh, add Networks to that, (short list)

    Within the avatar area or signature

    On edit, I forgot, we had that a few years ago.
    What happened to that?




    .
    Last edited by PetsWarehouse.com; August 19th, 2007 at 11:17 PM.
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  15. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    It wasn't enforceable! No way to prove it hence it was no longer fostered.

    I for one an am advocate for not working with parasites but can not guarantee that I keep everyone out. Many use multiple identities and are hard to track. I do my best and welcome affiliates letting me know if I am found on any of the sites.

  16. #16
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    The ABW seal was a good idea. While it is impossible to prevent 'bad' affiliates from sneaking into your program, perhaps the goal would be to state that the merchant adheres to a specific set of standards, much like what you see with the ISO standards. Within the standards are steps the merchant actively takes to oversee the program. Maybe an occasional baddie slips in, but you know that the neighborhood is protected, that the merchant is trying to level the playing field. The seal does not reward perfection - it rewards the active seeking of that perfection.


    If I had a choice of working with two different merchants in the same niche, I would certainly take the one sporting the ABW seal over the other, because the implicit message is that that merchant is to be trusted over an unknown entity.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    It wasn't enforceable! No way to prove it hence it was no longer fostered.

    I for one an am advocate for not working with parasites but can not guarantee that I keep everyone out. Many use multiple identities and are hard to track. I do my best and welcome affiliates letting me know if I am found on any of the sites.
    Chuck, nothing is perfect, but it sure is a step in the right direction.

    A list and the seal may be a step in the right direction,
    we're all remiss if we do nothing.

    .
    Bob Pets Warehouse
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  18. #18
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    One of the problems with it was what is considered a parasite, some old threads on it. Some merchants got the seal but had an affiliate considered a parasite by a lot of other affiliates. And then having to monitor it for compliance etc.

    Found the thread, you could have Upromise in your program and still get the seal while many affiliates consider them a parasite, one of the problems with it:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...highlight=seal

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