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  1. #1
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    Good riddance to a merchant...
    I just got bumped from a program that fit my site well (products they offer) - sales were non-existent, clicks were ok. I should've figured it was a no-go after a test sale only showed up after I complained for 3 wks. Excuses about system, timing etc...

    Does anyone find it tough to let go of loyalty to merchants? For me, they are hand selected, and incorporated into my chock-full-of-content, high traffic website (yes, yes, I draw more traffic than sales! but it's part of a bigger business stragey, so I can live with it).

    Throwing the question out there: at what point do you terminate a non-performing merchant?

    When I questioned this bump, I received an email saying they needed to purge non-performing affiliates who were bringing their published stats down. I'm not going to name the merchant (not sure about forum rules), but to me that seems like skewing the numbers. After all, I sent traffic to them... with no sales.. shouldn't that also be tracked so other affiliates can make decisions based on real numbers..?

    Maybe this is a trend I wasn't aware of - merchants do a periodic purge to clean the stats & make their performance look better... but as an affiliate, should I be doing the same..??

  2. #2
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    If you don't name the merchant, then your post is useless. People name merchants all the time. Who is it?

    How can you be "loyal" to a merchant that doesn't convert at all? That doesn't make sense.

  3. #3
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    Good point re: naming merchant, just tend to be overly cautious about naming names anywhere!... it's Couture Candy, LA-type fashion apparel.

    Concerning loyalty.. all merchants on my site are selected for products that fit well, but I'm not sure at what point I should admit defeat!

    Obviously, performing merchants are given the best profiling - non-performing ones tend to be used as filler... but are still profiled nicely.. which I now think may be a mistake.

  4. #4
    http and a telephoto
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    There is a forum here where you can specifically report test purchase success and failure, just as a reminder to everyone.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    Good point re: naming merchant, just tend to be overly cautious about naming names anywhere!... it's Couture Candy, LA-type fashion apparel.

    Concerning loyalty.. all merchants on my site are selected for products that fit well, but I'm not sure at what point I should admit defeat!

    Obviously, performing merchants are given the best profiling - non-performing ones tend to be used as filler... but are still profiled nicely.. which I now think may be a mistake.
    None of your efforts to showcase the products of this ( or similar incentive loving merchants) will ever lead to successfully monitizing your promo content. The simple reliable test is Google merchant name + coupon. http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...+Candy+coupons Look over the results and see it isn't your efforts at fault.

    Couture Candy allows & invites incentive point of sale poachers to overwrite your referral link cookies. Amazing the mental midget running this program did not look over what creatives, and your related content, that was driving targeted traffic to their ecatalog/site. Kneejerk reaction was to drop you for sending shoppers for their fashion apparel niche that got whacked by the affiliate incentive poachers.

    If you really do create exclusive and unique content related to this, or other competing merchants, then you should be able to get a higher commission rate, protected return day cookie, and a 100% bullet proof reporting link... plus a natural SERP/PR link pop tool. None of the above is possible if the merchant isn't willing to invest $30 a month to cover you, and all others like you, from todays affiliate playing field tilted in favor of incentive marketers.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the very helpful comments... mental midget indeed.. my site's natural search results are surprisingly high for some very common fashion terms (ironically those same ones that google adwords wouldn't allow due to "poor quality of landing page".. sometimes wonder why I keep going!).

    My recent goal was to start working more closely with performing merchants, perhaps it's time to review all merchants, and start paring down...

    You mention higher commission, etc .. while I can't fight the inventive marketers, is it accepted practice to try to negotiate preferred terms for a quality-content site..? I've been invited to enough private programs to know merchants like the profiling..

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    My recent goal was to start working more closely with performing merchants, perhaps it's time to review all merchants, and start paring down...
    And that's exactly what Couture Candy did to you but you slammed them in your title.

  8. #8
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    .. but at what point do you give up on a merchant (and yes, good point, they gave up on me first!).

    My site actually does perform (not retiring yet, but reasonable results), and I still work hard to try to convert the remaining merchants. It wasn't my intention to slam the store in this post - the issue I had was being bumped to bring up the published numbers.. my site's experience should be included in that...

    Perhaps my view of this business is a little naive. I built a site using the added-value approach (pick a topic, write articles, recommend products). And I'm still trying to learn from my own stats, as well as posts here. I've taken on the role of "sales rep" by promoting a merchant's catalogue, but have no choice but to trust the reporting system.

  9. #9
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    teezone

    I think instead of "loyalty" you should say "frustration"

    We all have merchants that - in theory - should be a perfect match, yet they either don't convert, or convert badly.

    I had one that in my mind should have been my best - nada - so I dumped them

    A year later they convinced me to try again - a lot of work - nada - I dumped them again

    Finaly, both a network rep and the merchant worked with me to add them a 3rd time. That was about a year ago. All my work resulted in about $20 a month in commissions.

    So as I update my site, I remove them once more.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for that, Billy Kay ... very helpful!

    My Saturday-evening rant has now turned into a (positive) Sunday-afternoon reality check... I've already short-listed a couple of the non-performers.

    I read this forum regularly & once in a while need some advice myself. It always seems within a few posts, I'm back on course, so thank you VERY much... hopefully I can offer the same help one day.


  11. #11
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    None of your efforts to showcase the products of this ( or similar incentive loving merchants) will ever lead to successfully monitizing your promo content. The simple reliable test is Google merchant name + coupon. http://www.google.com/search?source...e+Candy+coupons Look over the results and see it isn't your efforts at fault.
    Suddenly a lot of my lack of conversions make sense. Not for this merchant but others.

    The sad thing is that I have some merchants that don't give deals or coupons, and yet liars pretend to have their coupons just to stuff a cookie and beat the honest affiliate.

  12. #12
    http and a telephoto
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    A certain cj affiliate is bidding on all my merchants with "coupon" and they are not in any of the programs. And the link goes to their home page of course, not to the merchants they are bidding on. It could be they are broad matching on the word "coupon" but it is very VERY annoying to see this happening.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  13. #13
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I'd appreciate an affiliate with TeeZone's attitude and 1099 sales rep outlook. As a merchant AM I'd assist him in building out some unique content product promo pages right down to personalized images and eyecandy creatives. If his showcase efforts would prove to be attractive, Brand worthy and a honest representation of my merchant's products.... I go one step beyond any other AM in this industry. I protect his work on my behalf by placing HTML coded shopping cart forms to allow him to directly link his customers to the merchant's final checkout process.

    None of his targeted shoppers will ever see a "place coupon code here" box and He'd have true merchant status for all SE Bot's trolling his promo pages. Natural SERP listings are almost automatic. Any PPC efforts cannot hawk registered trademarks and must land on his own pages. Guarantee his conversion ratio will average the same as the merchants own site with 100% sales reporting. I'll train & tutor any merchant how to duplicate this Mike & Charlie exclusive if they are willing to seek out worthy content, pre-sell, traffic originating valued added affiliates. This small elite group will produce sales forever, and sales reporting can even be interfaced to SAS ,CJ, Performics or Linkshare inside 30 seconds.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the vote of confidence! My site uses basic sales concepts - my role is to help/guide readers to find what they're looking for. Hopefully they buy right then & there. It's why I get peeved with errors in landing pages. One of my affililiates changes product links on a dime - one day they work, the next day, you're back to the front of the store. I don't mind it as much since I've seen it happen on the big fashion sites. Including Vogue

    Plus.. I spend hours & hours on fresh content, sometimes wondering if it's worth it. Then I see this post & think one day the site may get the special (and protected) treatment you mentioned..

    Ecomcity, if you ever have a need for fashion profiling, I'm your girl!

  15. #15
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    Thanks for the vote of confidence! My site uses basic sales concepts - my role is to help/guide readers to find what they're looking for. Hopefully they buy right then & there. It's why I get peeved with errors in landing pages. One of my affililiates changes product links on a dime - one day they work, the next day, you're back to the front of the store. I don't mind it as much since I've seen it happen on the big fashion sites. Including Vogue

    Plus.. I spend hours & hours on fresh content, sometimes wondering if it's worth it. Then I see this post & think one day the site may get the special (and protected) treatment you mentioned..

    Ecomcity, if you ever have a need for fashion profiling, I'm your girl!
    Teezone I can see the frustration in trying to push and develop landing pages for the ever changing fashion industry. Trendy fashions are just that... trendy and oh so subject to a fickle following. I can help as outlined above for only the more stable part of the fashion industry... accessories.

    Fashion profiling something like suspenders.com/thin-suspenders.htm should be fun if 8 more choices in colors, gold/silver shining models were added to some cutsie patterns. NO t-shirt ever worn can't be used with a skinny suspender for a quick wardrobe make-over. Cost $15. Landing page the same ten years from now and some pertinent photos can be made by the affiliate fro promotions.

    Does this brand new merchant promo site have a PR and buying traffic after 3 weeks from birth date?? Now any smart affiliate with a true merchant partner can do the same thing.
    Last edited by Trust; February 18th, 2008 at 11:18 PM.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    None of his targeted shoppers will ever see a "place coupon code here" box and He'd have true merchant status for all SE Bot's trolling his promo pages. Natural SERP listings are almost automatic. Any PPC efforts cannot hawk registered trademarks and must land on his own pages. Guarantee his conversion ratio will average the same as the merchants own site with 100% sales reporting. I'll train & tutor any merchant how to duplicate this Mike & Charlie exclusive if they are willing to seek out worthy content, pre-sell, traffic originating valued added affiliates. This small elite group will produce sales forever, and sales reporting can even be interfaced to SAS ,CJ, Performics or Linkshare inside 30 seconds.
    AMEN!

  17. #17
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_C
    AMEN!
    Careful there Mr_C. I'm not allowed a fan club or groupies. My efforts to build some sites to sell a good merchants products are usually labeled butt fugly failures. Too visual and verbose in this age of simple mass generated templates. Well I'm too tough to offend and if a site like healthpro02.com can get launched and outsell the parent merchant's site inside of 3 weeks time I just might be on to something. What Google sandbox? Now it's redo the satellite site's main thrust to sell air testing kits.

    Raise the test kit price and make the NanoO2 air purifiers the main thrust of the new sites navigation rather then push seeding home air test kit call backs. Heck raise the air purifier price at the satellite site and redo the main site for better SEO letting it offer a lower price via search. Use Google Analytics to test pricing changes impact on the conversion ratio stat on two sites at the same time. Get pricing feedback daily from those who really count... the buyers.

    Next test free freight offers verses the past years of pushing $30 off coupon campaigns on a cart that eliminates the coupon red flag. Do you see the flexability to work with an affiliate willing to build out a satellite sales site to compliment and expand the merchant's ecatalog. Next step is for merchant to drive some PPCSE keyword traffic to the sub site's pages (coded with affiliate cookied link) in exchange for some anchor text cross links for PR pop. The satellite HealthProO2 site links to the air purifiers at NanoO2 can be made with affiliate tracking embedded if part of the negotiations. Or just sell both air kits and purifers through the satellite site's merchant furnished shopping cart.

    To the SE's the affiliate's satellite site has a shopping cart -seperate content & therefore deserves the more trustworthy rank of a merchant. Affiliate can drive traffic to their site by any means and be assured the sales get recorded as each sale generates a email summary to the affiliate.
    Last edited by Trust; February 18th, 2008 at 11:17 PM.
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  18. #18
    web dev with whiskers tn-morgen's Avatar
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    Mr ecomcity - I checked your site & have trouble with some petsmart photos not showing up on IE. Just letting you know. Nice site, not my style, but nice.

  19. #19
    A Real *and* Darn Cool Member! lstolze's Avatar
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    I want to jump on Mike's bandwagon!

    teezone, I can't really add too much here. There are times when I know I should drop, but wait, to never be rewarded. Then there have been other merchants that did really well for me, then the clicks continue but the commissions stop. I wait, and eventually they reappear. I think you just need to gauge and decide for yourself. It seems to me that if a merchant doesn't perform beyond tons of clicks in like 3 months, you should kick them to the curb.
    ~Lisa - Brilliant Mastermind, or Nut? You decide!

  20. #20
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    Answering your initial question:

    at what point do you terminate a non-performing merchant?

    Many affiliates dump a merchant if there are no sales after 100 clicks to the merchant. Others wait until 300 clicks. You decide, and you set the rules.

    It all depends on the product and how targetted the clicks are.

    For instance, if the product is high dollar, not purchased regularly online, (like diamond jewelry) then you may wish to set the clicks rule at a higher amount --

    But, if the product is lower priced, the merchant has a good EPC, etc. then you may wish to lower the click rule. If they don't convert in 100 - 150 clicks, then either your visitors are not targetted and are only "looking",
    or there is a problem with your pre-sell, or the merchant just isn't a good fit, even if you think it is.

    Just think -- if you were Paying for the clicks, how many would you Pay for before you dumped the merchant? In essence, you are Paying for the clicks, even if it is organic traffic. You are paying with your time -- the time it took you to develop the website, the web page, etc.

    Above all, don't sell yourself short. This is business.

  21. #21
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettnthar


    Just think -- if you were Paying for the clicks, how many would you Pay for before you dumped the merchant? In essence, you are Paying for the clicks, even if it is organic traffic. You are paying with your time -- the time it took you to develop the website, the web page, etc.
    Good point - Also, you're paying for those clicks in that you could have been sending them to a merchant with similar or the same products that does convert.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


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