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Why Did This Happen

Affiliate Marketing Forum Index » Complaint Corner
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Ladyvet



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Post Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 12:46 am
      Post subject: Why Did This Happen

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Hi Everyone,

I'm so glad that I found this forum. I just had something happen to me with a retail affiliate program and I didn't know who to go to.

I have an affiliate site that sells clothing and my top paying affiliate program recently stopped filling my visitor's orders. When I called the company, they told me they were experiencing an inventory problem. Now, this is a big well known clothing site and what they told me is really hard to believe.

I've sold over $4000 worth of clothing in a month and will never get paid for my efforts. The retail store is contacting the visitors and selling to them without me getting credit for bringing the business to them. This was such a slap in my face and I've never been told that I've violated any terms.

I went from selling $100 to $4000 a month in a short time and I think it disturbed the company some sort of way. I did a lot of search engine optimization study on my site and I'm in many search terms that the retail site wasn't present in. Could I have pissed off their webmaster? Any suggestions?

LadyVet
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AllanGardyne
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Post Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 6:05 am
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That sounds dreadful. It's a tough decision to make, but if you're not being treated fiarly, you'll probably have to dump the merchant.

Another option would be to post the merchant's name here, asking for a full explanation, and tell them you've done so. I'm sure many forum members would be keen to read the other side of the story. Sometimes a little public embarrassment suddenly makes a company mend its ways. However, if you do this, there's a risk you could be thrown out of the affiliate program. If that happened and you reported it here, at least other affiliates would be warned.

Exactly how much money are you owed?

Quote:
The retail store is contacting the visitors and selling to them without me getting credit for bringing the business to them.

How do you know this?
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Charlie



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Post Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 10:30 pm
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I think it sounds more than "dreadful". I'm all for hearing the other side of the story after they're named and shamed, but in your shoes, I'd consider this approach...

Do you expect to earn this much per month on an on-going basis from your SE efforts?

If yes, why not ask them how quickly they think they will have their stock levels back to normal. If you give them a lifeline, they may just pull themselves out of the hole.

Let's face it, if your commissions start again next month, would you be happy?

If they say that their stock levels show no sign or returning to normal, you will have more information with which to name and shame them.

Either way, look for an alternative merchant to promote from your SE efforts. Most people at your sort of level with a single merchant, play one company against another to get special deals.

If this merchant is so "short-sighted" as to miss the longterm value of having successful affiliates, I am sure you can find others who see the bigger picture.

The terms "fraud", and "no win no fee" sound quite interesting, too, if you know any lawyers.

I'd offer them a win-win way out first, though. I can't believe a company would knowingly act as stupidly as this. They will lose much more than you if you redirect your traffic.

Food for thought,
Charlie.
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Ladyvet



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Post Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 1:07 am
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Thanks for both of the replies. I can see why both of you stated what you did. Charlie, I'm going to take your approach by writing the company and asking when they will be able to get their stock at a level where I can begin receiving commissions again.

As for the question:

Quote:
The retail store is contacting the visitors and selling to them without me getting credit for bringing the business to them.

I was told that the company would contact each visitor that had purchased merchandise and that they would work directly with the purchaser.

When I asked if I would get credit, the person I spoke to told me maybe not and that she was sorry. I asked again to make sure that I understood them and all they would do is repeat that they were sorry.


LadyVet

P.S. This really broke my heart. This felt like defamation of my character to my visitors and also defamation of my website's credibility.
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AllanGardyne
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Post Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 2:10 am
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Ladyvet wrote:
I was told that the company would contact each visitor that had purchased merchandise and that they would work directly with the purchaser.

Unfortunately for affiliates, this is extremely common in the affiliate marketing industry. Most affiliate merchants pay only the first time someone you refer buys something. Next time, the customer goes directly to the vendor's site and you earn nothing.

It's uncommon for merchants to regard a customer as "yours" and to pay you commissions on follow-up sales. If you expect that sort of special treatment, you need to search for residual income affiliate programs or lifetime commission programs - the sort reviewed at LifetimeCommissions.com.
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Charlie



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Post Posted: Tue May 22, 2007 11:11 am
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AllanGardyne wrote:
Ladyvet wrote:
I was told that the company would contact each visitor that had purchased merchandise and that they would work directly with the purchaser.

Unfortunately for affiliates, this is extremely common in the affiliate marketing industry. Most affiliate merchants pay only the first time someone you refer buys something. Next time, the customer goes directly to the vendor's site and you earn nothing.

Sorry, I didn't realise you were talking about people you had already to sold to. I took it to mean they were not applying commissions to new, first time customers you referred .

You mentioned...

Quote:
I did a lot of search engine optimization study on my site and I'm in many search terms that the retail site wasn't present in.

Surely this means you will be referring a good number of new visitors on an on-going basis (as least as long as your rankings remain effective).

I'm a bit mixed up here. Is Allan right in his understanding that you are talking about customers you referred who are making repeat purchases? That wasn't how I read it.

Cheers,
Charlie.
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Ladyvet



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Post Posted: Fri May 25, 2007 6:54 am
      Post subject: Everything Worked Out Great!

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I want to thank everyone for their replies. It's an honor for a new affiliate like myself to be in the company of more experienced affiliate sellers.

I can clear up the misconception of my previous post. I used SEO to optimize my site and new visitors were making purchases and I wasn't receiving credit for their initial sales. This was devasting with all of the effort I had put into my website.

I'm new to Internet Marketing and I didn't realize how effective my website was until I started seeing how much free organic traffic I was receiving. I was elated to see the amount of sales based on the hard work I had put into my website. So naturally, I was devasted to have a problem with receiving credit for my hard work.

After writing to the affiliate program, I was informed that since it was a problem on their part, I still would receive credit for the sales on my website.

I strongly believe that the approach that Charlie recommended was responsible for my favorable outcome.

Lesson Learned:

When we have problem with an affiliate program, it's better to let them know how much we appreciate their program. Then we need to let them know what the problem is and also let them know that we honor our customers/visitors. Lets face it, without our customers' trust and our credibility, we have nothing.

I truly am devoted to my niche and it's a heartfelt niche for me. In otherwords, I let my affiliate program know that I didn't want for it to appear as if I was deceiving my visitors/customers (related to their purchases on my website) in anyway.

Guess the whole ordeal was a test of relationship building with my affiliate program. Once I removed my emotions from the problem, I was better able to address the problem diplomatically.

Thanks Charlie for your suggestions. They worked! If I can help a person approach problems with their affiliate program, I'm willing to share the format of my email that I used that resulted in a positive outcome. Let me know. I believe in helping and sharing. Thanks again Charlie for your suggestions.

LadyVet Very Happy
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Charlie



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Post Posted: Sun May 27, 2007 10:08 am
      Post subject: Re: Everything Worked Out Great!

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Ladyvet wrote:
After writing to the affiliate program, I was informed that since it was a problem on their part, I still would receive credit for the sales on my website.

Well that sounds like good news. Let's hope they deliver on their promise.

Quote:
Guess the whole ordeal was a test of relationship building with my affiliate program. Once I removed my emotions from the problem, I was better able to address the problem diplomatically.

I think it may be more a tribute to your diplomatic skills than anything else. Perhaps the best of fighters know this, when they remember.

Cheers,
Charlie.
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