Just saw this story on CNN:

"Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors, expects that retailers will ring up as much as 17 percent of their December sales in the last week of the month.

That translates to about $60 billion in holiday-related purchases or roughly 12.6 percent of $474.5 billion that the National Retail Federation expects consumers will spend on holiday-related shopping.

Basically the article talks about a huge post-Xmas boost due to gift card sales.

I have many questions about this...

1. Do you believe the 17% quoted above will hold true on the net, too?

2. I know there is a lot of concern about merchants not paying for gift card sales. Some of this $60,000,000,000 will be spent on the internet, and a % will certainly be via affiliates. Do affiliates typically get commissioned on sales through their links when the payment method is a store-brand gift card, or do you miss that, in addition to not getting paid on the initial gift card sale?

3. How much have non-commissionable gift card sales impacted your bottom line this year?

4. Affiliates - do you just wash your hands of gift cards? If there was a non-branded (ie "not store card") gift card solution, would this be worth your time or are the small commissions (just a buck or two per card) not worth the work? What if you were given a mechanism to drive that gift card purchase back through your affiliate links for a product purchase, and essentially "double dip?"

I look forward to your answers!