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TheFind: Look for Upfront Merchant Badge

 
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  #1  
Old
15 years and counting
Join Date: January 18th, 2005
Posts: 6,121
TheFind: Look for Upfront Merchant Badge

Watch your merchant homepage!
I was wondering about this: "TheFind’s Merchant Program Offers Merchants Boost in Quality Traffic". Something I found on this Press Release dated May 11, 2011:
Major Upgrade to TheFind?s Merchant Program Offers Merchants Boost in Quality Traffic
It's always good to learn how an affiliate can drive more traffic to a merchant. "TheFind launched Upfront 2.0, a free merchant program that promises to improve shopper trust, significantly increasing the shopper’s likelihood of clicking through and buying from that merchant."
Still interesting "Participation in Upfront 2.0 is free of charge and requires merchants to place the “Upfront Merchant” badge on their homepage, which signifies their high level of customer trust and commitment."

How can an affiliate ask a merchant to place a badge, a button, banner... an affiliate link on a merchant frontpage?
Is TheFind still an affiliate? I scanned the PR Web article. The word AFFILIATE don't appear anywhere. Yes, TheFind is an affiliate and even a "Super Affiliate" Oct 2010
TheFind Becomes Super-Social-Affiliate | ReveNews
They even have an Affiliate Network:
"TheFind.com, a comparison shopping site, has 25 million visitors each month." Sept 2010
Affiliate Marketing - TheFind.com and Shopatron Form an Affiliate Network - Internet Retailer

Is there a reason why an affiliate don't want to say he's an affiliate? I can see them as a finalist in the LinkShare Advertiser's Choice award and Best Mobile Strategy.
After searching for merchants using TheFind badge, I found this post from Geno Prussakov:
"Possibly the Worst Affiliate Traffic Leak Ever" June 8, 2011
http://www.amnavigator.com/blog/2011...fic-leak-ever/
Geno is too nice, it's a leak for a clueless merchant but an unethical behavior for an affiliate.
  #2  
Old
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Join Date: June 24th, 2005
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I have been running into TheFind's UpFront seal on simply too many merchants to count.

To me, their seal is no different than a toolbar. It's designed to take a visitor to TheFind where TheFind's affiliate cookie is set.

What merchants are clueless about, or simply do not care, is TheFind serves up their competitors right along with the merchant's products...

Clueless Merchant. Unethical Affiliate.
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Last edited by Convergence; June 9th, 2011 at 09:07 AM.
  #3  
Old
Affiliate Manager
Join Date: March 30th, 2009
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 33
Thanks Zeus, it's interesting to hear what other affiliates think about the upfront program since we did receive notice about the program and an invitation to register. I understand your point of view regarding their program and will certainly consider that if we consider registering.

As food for thought, I would ask what you can offer merchants and the consumers using your site that may provide a similar sense of trust or confidence that would give merchants a reason to consider different options?
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  #4  
Old
15 years and counting
Join Date: January 18th, 2005
Posts: 6,121
I'm not an expert but I've seen these trust badges before:
Verisign.com, Thawte.com, BBBOnline.org, Trustbuild.com, Trust-Guard.com, StartCom.org, Geotrust.com
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  #5  
Old
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It also give TheFind backlinks.
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  #6  
Old
Affiliate Manager
Join Date: March 30th, 2009
Location: Spokane, WA
Posts: 33
I'm familiar with those badges as well, although most of them don't mean anything to the majority of consumers. I'm not referring to any type of 'trust badge' the merchant would display on their site, I'm curious if or what you do to draw additional attention on your site to those merchants you know are reliable.

I'm not asking your to divulge any specific details only consider this. If you find one of the merchants you currently work with displaying the upfront badge on their site, before simply stepping away from their program, what do you do on your site that you can present to the merchant and support your objection to the "leak" they've created. Do you do anything special for merchants you've had personal experience with? Do you have a link for consumers to report to you if they've had a bad experience with a merchant?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to invalidate your claim that it is unethical behavior or justify their program. However; from a merchant perspective if we had the badge on our site and you contact me stating it's a leak, it's unethical, or stealing traffic and sales from other affiliates I would certainly let you plead your case. Yet, if I looked at their stats in our program and find there was an increase in traffic and conversion it would have to be a really strong case to convince me to remove the badge and step back from that program.

Although we're not participating in the upfront program I did get an email newsletter from them this morning with a case study of their upfront 2.0 program. After roughly 4 weeks since the launch of upfront 2.0 they claim over 2000 merchants have signed up for the program.
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  #7  
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The "other" left wing
Join Date: January 18th, 2005
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This might be a little bit cheesy, and certainly is more than just a little bit slick.

But "unethical"? That's a stretch.
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Last edited by davidh; June 9th, 2011 at 07:08 PM.
  #8  
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style="margin:20px; margin-top:5px; ">
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B View Post
It also give TheFind backlinks.
I hadn't noticed that. All the "badges" I've encountered were javascript...

???
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  #9  
Old
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style="margin:20px; margin-top:5px; ">
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt.P View Post
I'm not asking your to divulge any specific details only consider this. If you find one of the merchants you currently work with displaying the upfront badge on their site, before simply stepping away from their program, what do you do on your site that you can present to the merchant and support your objection to the "leak" they've created. Do you do anything special for merchants you've had personal experience with? Do you have a link for consumers to report to you if they've had a bad experience with a merchant?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to invalidate your claim that it is unethical behavior or justify their program. However; from a merchant perspective if we had the badge on our site and you contact me stating it's a leak, it's unethical, or stealing traffic and sales from other affiliates I would certainly let you plead your case. Yet, if I looked at their stats in our program and find there was an increase in traffic and conversion it would have to be a really strong case to convince me to remove the badge and step back from that program.

Although we're not participating in the upfront program I did get an email newsletter from them this morning with a case study of their upfront 2.0 program. After roughly 4 weeks since the launch of upfront 2.0 they claim over 2000 merchants have signed up for the program.
Funny how the other side views the same thing. We would evaluate whether or not you were worth the resources to continue a relationship. If not, good-bye. If yes, we would contact you, share with you our feelings about your leak, how they effect us and other affiliates. Then we would LET YOU plead YOUR case. You would either tell us to drop dead, or you would remove the badge.

We would not be the only affiliate bringing it to your attention over time. Eventually it's discussed on the forum and life goes on.

Simple as that, really...
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Everything you are doing is bad. I want you to know this.
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  #10  
Old
ABW Ambassador
Join Date: December 11th, 2005
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Tonight I think I'll create "affninja seal of approval" badges and pitch them to my advertisers.
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  #11  
Old
Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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style="margin:20px; margin-top:5px; ">
Quote:
I hadn't noticed that. All the "badges" I've encountered were javascript...

???
Not to derail but Google has been able to parse and follow JS for quite some time. They continue to work on that ability for things like Flash and AJAX...more complex coding.
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  #12  
Old
Fighting the good fight...
Join Date: June 24th, 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B View Post
Not to derail but Google has been able to parse and follow JS for quite some time.
<scratch head>Did not know that. Wow 3 years...</scratch head>
__________________
Merchants - please switch from CJ and LinkShare to another network. Neither are affiliate friendly.
Merchants - want our recommendation for an OPM? - send a PM
Everything you are doing is bad. I want you to know this.

Last edited by Convergence; June 9th, 2011 at 08:57 PM.
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  #13  
Old
The Seal of Aproval
Join Date: November 19th, 2006
Location: The Windy City
Posts: 4,137
I give TheFind kudos for ingenuity and chutzpah. Merchants that participate get a slap for stupidity. Talk about conflict of interest. Finally merchants have found a way to shitcan their affiliate programs, piss off the FTC and lose all credibility with their customers in one fell swoop. Feakin' ingenious.

This is a con. And not a very good one. Anyone that looks into the relationship between TheFind and merchant sporting their badge will realize that TheFind gets paid for endorsing the merchant. The FTC loves crap like this, it gives their interns something to do.

-rematt
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  #14  
Old
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Join Date: February 3rd, 2008
Posts: 3,955
From the merchant's perspective, in my recent experience, traffic from our 'TheFind' account has literally exploded with targeted traffic that's beginning to produce results. That has happened just within the past two months, and not any too soon as Google traffic has fallen off dramatically due to recent algo changes which isolates marketing efforts more to paid search than SERPs. In fact, TheFind traffic is outpacing our historical Google traffic by nearly two to one and current Google traffic by around 500%.

Merchants must continually adjust and pursue the marketing methods that produce the most profitable results, particularly in a hostile marketplace. Unfortunately, that sometimes rules out affiliate marketing, or necessitates mixing methods. I don't see anything wrong with merchants exploring various methods as long as the merchant suppresses leaky links on affiliate referrals. In fact, just as an affiliate shouldn't put all their eggs in one merchant [basket], a merchant would be foolish to put all it's marketing eggs in one basket.

The UpFront gadget displays only at the very bottom of our home page. Our referrals are normally very productcenric and visitors seldom visit the home page. Other than clicking UpFront to get contact information, the link is not often used.
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  #15  
Old
15 years and counting
Join Date: January 18th, 2005
Posts: 6,121
If TheFind has been able to convince 2000 merchants to add their badge (direct link) to their site these last 4 weeks, I'm not astonished their traffic is soaring. Merchants are considered as authority for a shopping site.
I'll have no problem if TheFind was monetizing their traffic with an other channel than Affiliate Marketing. But their traffic is coming mainly from networks datafeeds with their affiliate links embedded. LS, CJ, GAN... I've even seen Shareasale links.

style="margin:20px; margin-top:5px; ">
Quote:
Other than clicking UpFront to get contact information, the link is not often used.
The leak on their homepage, even if it results in overwriting other affiliates cookies is one thing. I'm much more concerned by the SEO advantage

When they sell their badge program, they are not upfront. They don't disclose their affiliate status. (I can't see any FTC disclaimer on their site, either. Tks rematt)
If they want to be an affiliate, they have to respect the ethic of affiliate marketing or do we have to ask our merchants to give us a direct link from their home page to improve our SEO.
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  #16  
Old
Newbie
Join Date: June 10th, 2011
Posts: 1
Clarification from TheFind

The code and instructions we supply to merchants for the UpFront badge will – on click – display a simple javascript pop-up (which keeps the shopper squarely within the merchant’s site). The purpose of the pop-up is to deliver to shoppers some basic store information, i.e. shipping and payment options, contact number, address, a link to follow the merchant on Twitter and Facebook, etc. For an example, I encourage you and your readers to go to http://www.poshtots.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and actually click on the UpFront badge.

Our goal as a site is to facilitate shoppers finding products and the merchants who sell them, particularly hard to find items. As such, we actually give away 60% or more of our monthly click volume and send traffic to more than 150,000 stores every month, most of it for free. We are interested in great shopping experiences, and our consumer interactions suggest that the information enclosed in our UpFront pop-up helps shoppers make informed decisions about quality merchants. Most of the sites enrolled in the UpFront program have no affiliate relationships and are simply the beneficiaries of our traffic largesse. In case you are interested, our business model works because shoppers come to trust our site and return to search for the more in-demand items we do monetize.

Happy to address this topic (and any other you like) further on these pages or elsewhere.

-Usher Lieberman
Director of Communications
TheFind Inc.

Last edited by 2busy; June 10th, 2011 at 09:46 PM. Reason: unlinked URL
  #17  
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Join Date: September 23rd, 2011
Location: Idaho
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style="margin:20px; margin-top:5px; ">
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boom or Bust View Post
From the merchant's perspective, in my recent experience, traffic from our 'TheFind' account has literally exploded with targeted traffic that's beginning to produce results. That has happened just within the past two months, and not any too soon as Google traffic has fallen off dramatically due to recent algo changes which isolates marketing efforts more to paid search than SERPs. In fact, TheFind traffic is outpacing our historical Google traffic by nearly two to one and current Google traffic by around 500%.
I don't mean this offensively in any way, shape or form, but the fact that your Google traffic has fallen off the face of the SERP earth since the release of the Panda update has nothing to do with them isolating efforts to paid search. I have plenty of eCommerce websites where my traffic has actually increased since the recent changes to Google. Google is focusing more heavily on on-page optimization and filtering out useless information. If you have product descriptions, articles, or any other writing on your site that was copied straight over from the manufacturers site then you can kiss your google traffic bye-bye. Most people believe that Google is penalizing eCommerce stores with the recent updates. The reason it may seem that way is because no one is writing unique content anymore.

Obviously, this is one small piece of the puzzle to getting good rankings in the SERP's, but it is very important, and without it, you will fall in the rankings.
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  #18  
Old
Affiliate Manager
Join Date: January 6th, 2011
Posts: 19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boom or Bust View Post

Merchants must continually adjust and pursue the marketing methods that produce the most profitable results, particularly in a hostile marketplace. Unfortunately, that sometimes rules out affiliate marketing, or necessitates mixing methods. I don't see anything wrong with merchants exploring various methods as long as the merchant suppresses leaky links on affiliate referrals. In fact, just as an affiliate shouldn't put all their eggs in one merchant [basket], a merchant would be foolish to put all it's marketing eggs in one basket.
I just signed up for the badge. In our case we *used* to get a LOT of traffic and sales from The Find via Commission Junction. We know they are an affiliate. I hate putting the cheesy badge on our home page but willing to see if traffic picks up. I wrote to their CJ contact to ask how we can build more traffic to our site (Their customer base matches ours really well.) Is this 2.0 badge a scam? Are you saying I won't see any benefit from it at all?

So I guess I fall into the "stupid merchant" category here - what are leaky links on affiliate referrals? How can I suppress them?
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  #19  
Old
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mida68 View Post
I just signed up for the badge. In our case we *used* to get a LOT of traffic and sales from The Find via Commission Junction. We know they are an affiliate. I hate putting the cheesy badge on our home page but willing to see if traffic picks up. I wrote to their CJ contact to ask how we can build more traffic to our site (Their customer base matches ours really well.) Is this 2.0 badge a scam? Are you saying I won't see any benefit from it at all?

So I guess I fall into the "stupid merchant" category here - what are leaky links on affiliate referrals? How can I suppress them?
We have to look long and hard at a merchant if we see another affiliate's 'badge'/link on the merchant's website. Really don't like sending traffic to a merchant with the risk the traffic we're sending will end up elsewhere.

Other leaks include:
  • PPC ads that show when the affiliate cookie is set
  • Page of links/"resources" - just cheesy as well
  • Coupon box at checkout. Yes. All you're doing is inviting the traffic a non-coupon affiliate sent you to go find a coupon affiliate to steal the sale.
__________________
Merchants - please switch from CJ and LinkShare to another network. Neither are affiliate friendly.
Merchants - want our recommendation for an OPM? - send a PM
Everything you are doing is bad. I want you to know this.
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  #20  
Old
Affiliate Manager
Join Date: January 6th, 2011
Posts: 19
Thank you for the insight. I'm learning a lot how we can be better merchants. I don't know if I can make all the adjustments - we rely heavily on coupons but do take affiliates into consideration. We offer multiple ways to get a 10% code on our site (sign up for our email list), right off the home page, that are all affiliate-approved to use and will not have any impact on the affiliate cookie. I hate the "badge" and put it really low on the page with no graphic. No resources/links pages, I agree, that's old-school.

Thanks for the advice!
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