February 27, 2015
Feel like coupon sites are cutting into your margins? Frustrated that they make up most of the volume of your affiliate program? Maybe you think they don’t drive any value to your sales funnel and only “steal” the commissions from honest, content-based affiliates?
Here are three signs that your affiliate program has an issue with coupon affiliates that you need to address:
1. Affiliate Commissions are Not Segmented Based on Attribution Data
If your affiliate commissions are not segmented according to attribution data, you’ll most likely be feeling frustration that coupon affiliates earn 100% commission on a sale. Since most affiliate tracking models rely on the last-click-wins method, coupon affiliates receive 100% of commissions for sales that are considered less valuable to the merchant. One solution is to integrate an attribution data vendor into your site, study all touch-points of a customer that leads to a sale, and segment commissions based on your findings.
2. Coupon Affiliates are Not Allowed in Your Affiliate Program
Some merchants we speak with are at such a loss with coupon sites that they boot all of them from the program. When you remove coupon publishers from your program, you relinquish all control from how your brand is perceived on those sites, as well as any other potential value you could get out of the partnership. Most of the larger sites have loyal subscribers to their email and social accounts, which can help with the dissemination of deals and promotions. In addition, as long as coupon sites are joined to your program, you have financial leverage in the relationship.
3. You Do Not Use Promo Code Blocking Technology
Coupon publishers manage thousands of codes daily and it is often not in their best interest to honor requests to remove codes from the website. This will often leave merchants frustrated as a coupon code for one channel gets blasted over the internet, possibly flipping the ROI of the sale and costing the merchant money. A few of the affiliate networks have understood this frustration from merchants. They have built into their technology the capability of canceling commissions if a specific code is used. You can cancel all commissions for that code, or assign a code to only one affiliate so only they will get commission if that code is used. If another affiliate publishes a code that was intended for another publisher and attempts to get credit for the sale, the tracking technology will $0 out the commissions.
In summary, coupon sites have a ton of traffic and direct a portion of this traffic to your site. What the value of that traffic is has to be determined, based on research and data. Those insights must be used to influence the overall strategy of your affiliate program.
If you’re interested in learning more about the role of coupons in affiliate, download our free introductory slide deck.
February 26, 2015
We are happy to announce that the Schaaf-PartnerCentric is now managing the Bonanza Affiliate Program.
Bonanza is a customer-to-customer marketplace for buying and selling of SKU’d and non-SKU’d physical and digital goods. The site launched in 2008 and has become a favored marketplace of online sellers.
This affiliate program uses a 72 hour cookie (as compared to their top competitors who utilize a 24 hour cookie) and all affiliate commissions are tracked independently by Affiliate Window which means you get all the commissions you earn.
Bonanza Affiliate Program Highlights:
- Up to 15% commission on qualified products (minimum of 7% and up to 15% depending on individual Bonanza store owners and their products*)
- Data Feed (coming soon)
- 3 day cookie
- Reliable online tracking
- Promotional tools including text links, banner ads, and more
- Monthly newsletters with program updates, promotions, and contests
- Dedicated management and support
To learn more and join the Bonanza affiliate program click here.
The Bonanza affiliate program is being managed by Affiliate Program Manager, Elia Badran.
If you’re interested in determining how Schaaf-PartnerCentric might help your affiliate program, please request a consultation.
February 19, 2015
UPDATE: A class-action lawsuit was filed against Lenovo in February of 2015.
In the last couple of days, some interesting news on Lenovo, Superfish, and Komodia has surfaced.
In the Lenovo Community Forums, a user pointed out that upon their first use of their new Lenovo machine, adware ads were already being populated into Google results. While bloatware (pre-installed, generally unwanted software) is commonly added to machines at the factory, this is particularly damning – why is Lenovo pre-installing adware on its machines, and how did Superfish get that deal?
As an affiliate management agency managing compliance for 70+ affiliate programs, we are always on the lookout for suspicious activity in the space. We’ve had issues with Superfish as an affiliate in the past when they popped onto the scene. We discovered multiple cases of Superfish bundling into malware (we found them in Chrome extensions ) and have since removed them from most of our clients’ affiliate programs.
This case goes a little deeper though, thanks to some investigation by TheNextWeb. A Lenovo administrator claims this software is opt-out, and temporarily paused. But why should consumers have to opt-out of adware that is capable of man-in-the-middle attacks? This software comes with its own certificate that “allows the software to decrypt secure requests.” Worse yet, just uninstalling the app does not remove this certificate – that has to be a manual deletion. While Firefox fortunately is not vulnerable here (due to their tighter grip on certificates), other browsers are vulnerable (unless they’ve pushed updates already). That means that until these updates are released, HTTPS is completely compromised for users that have not removed all the software and certificates. I’m not going to outline it all here, but ArsTechnica did a great job collecting specific examples of the certificate tampering with the HTTPS connection to a banking website.
Deeper yet, it would appear that the malware technology used is from a company called Komodia, that specifically markets their products as ad injection. Furthermore, they advertise that their product “has anti virus capabilities and each compiled version generates a totally new version,” meaning that they are well aware it will be targeted by anti-virus software. [EDIT: looks like these guys got hit with a DDOS.]
From our management perspective, we will continue to ensure that Superfish traffic stays away from our clients’ affiliate programs. We recommend all affiliate managers take a hard look at the traffic they are receiving from Superfish. If you do not have the transparency required to fully vet their traffic, either reach out to them for additional information, or play it on the safe side and remove Superfish from your programs. If you are running your program in CPA networks, you should reach out to the CPA network to see if Superfish is driving traffic through their platform as well.
For everyone reading that is on a Lenovo machine (and everyone else, really), here’s a fantastic little sanity checker to see if this is on your machine, complete with next steps.
If you’re interested in learning more about Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s affiliate fraud prevention techniques, please request a consultation.
February 16, 2015
Brook Schaaf, co-Founder and current CEO, moves into Chairman position.
Schaaf-PartnerCentric, a leading provider of affiliate management services, today announced that current CEO and Co-Founder Brook Schaaf will become company Chairman. In his place, current COO Stephanie Harris will serve as Interim CEO. These changes will be effective as of March 9, 2015.
“I am pleased to announce this milestone in the company’s journey. Since she came on board during our first year, Stephanie has made critical contributions to our success in multiple roles and she will do the same in this one. I look forward to seeing SPC continue to flourish under her leadership,” said Schaaf.
Added Harris, “This is an exciting new chapter for Schaaf-PartnerCentric, one of many I’ve been proud to be part of throughout our history. I’m eager to step into the role of Interim CEO, and lead our talented team to new heights. We will drive this business to the next level by building on the strong foundation Brook has built, and pushing forward with the momentum this organization has achieved over the last nine years. We will continue to deliver on our core promise – enabling businesses to generate more revenue per dollar invested in affiliate marketing than any other management alternative. In 2015, we are poised to accomplish this through fresh opportunities and key initiatives. I’m looking forward to a stellar year.”
In addition to these changes, Julie Ávila, Director of Affiliate Management, was promoted to Vice President, Client Services. “I have been fortunate enough to leverage my passion for affiliate marketing throughout my career here at Schaaf-PartnerCentric and I look forward to my new role as Vice President, Client Services. I have high expectations for the future of our company and the clarity we can bring to our clients in this ever changing marketing landscape,” commented Ávila.
“Schaaf-PartnerCentric is a pioneer in the affiliate marketing industry and continues to outperform peers in providing superior services to help businesses of all sizes leverage performance-based marketing strategies to drive sales. I am highly confident in Stephanie’s abilities to lead Schaaf-PartnerCentric as Interim CEO and expect Brook will be an incredibly active and effective Chairman. I look forward to working with Stephanie, Brook, and the SPC team to further position Schaaf-PartnerCentric as the leader in affiliate management products and services,” said advisory board member Kristopher B. Jones, Founder and former CEO of eBay Enterprises Affiliate Network (formerly Pepperjam Network) and current CEO of KBJ Capital.
About Schaaf-PartnerCentric, coreOPM
Schaaf-PartnerCentric provides premium affiliate management services to retail and lead advertisers looking for top line growth, bottom line profit, or optimal technical implementation. coreOPM, a Schaaf-PartnerCentric company, provides low-cost, high-value affiliate program management for small businesses.
February 13, 2015
As a full-service agency that manages over 75 clients, we have access and insights into affiliate activity across a high volume of programs and verticals. From this data, we’ve pulled together a list of affiliates that we expect to perform well in 2015.
The list includes:
- affiliates who drive high volume traffic
- affiliates who specialize in driving incremental sales
- new-comers to the affiliate space
- affiliates who have driven impressive YoY growth within our portfolio
- Use our Top 15 list to recruit these top partners to your affiliate program to ensure high performance.
February 03, 2015
EDIT: VigLink has been working to resolve instances where merchant’s self-made links are being affiliated and is working with SPC to resolve outstanding inquiries for SPC clients. Other advertisers can message VigLink directly through firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions regarding their account.
Are you using custom bitly links to push traffic to your website via social media or other channels? Be aware that bitly may customize that link and reroute it through VigLink, an affiliate, to trigger an affiliate commission for themselves and VigLink.
Previously, when you created a custom bitly link (let’s say you create website.ly), the path would appear as such:
- User sees website.ly1234 on their social media, accompanied by YOUR blog post from your official page.
- User clicks link, which is rerouted through bitly to your landing page – http://www.website.com/product
Now, if you were to use this custom bitly link, the flow looks like this:
- User sees website.ly1234 on their social media, accompanied by YOUR blog post from your official page.
- User clicks link and bit.ly redirects traffic through their own VigLink domain
- VigLink redirects again through an affiliate network, where affiliate tracking picks up
- User rerouted to your landing page – http://www.website.com/product
This ends up with two effects:
1. All your analytics are now a mess – you will see affiliate query string parameters together with social tags.
2. You are now paying VigLink through your affiliate program, who is splitting the commission with bitly, to provide a shortened URL to your site.
If you are using these custom bit.ly URL’s, you may want to reach out to your VigLink contact and request removal from this today. You will need to be sure they remove you from this in each of your affiliate tracking networks, if you use more than one.
Additionally, you can use a different URL shortening service.
Any other thoughts or questions? Let us know – we’re here to help.
Tom Rathbone is our Senior Technical Solutions Specialist. Tom delivers our clients and partners customized technical solutions for today’s dynamic performance marketing space.
If you’re interested in determining how Schaaf-PartnerCentric might help grow your affiliate program, please request a consultation.