My Art.com sales have dropped substantially since they switched to LinkShare. I'm one of the old affiliates who got grandfathered in at the 20-25% commission rate, but I can't imagine why anyone would sign on at the much lower new affiliates' rate.
AllPosters.com still has a commission rate that starts at 20%. (Unfortunately, AllPosters has fuzzier thumbnails than Art.com does.)
Yes, Art.com switched to Linkshare program on November 2002. They reduced the commissions to 10% and offered a 10 day return policy.
In the 3 months I was with them, they had extremely high cancellations. The customers cancelled half the items ordered. So my actual commissions were like 5% of the sales. Anyone else experience high cancellations with them? These high cancellations looked very questionable.
Then one day they decided to cancell all my sales going back 3 months to the start of my agreement with them. I had over $7000 of sales sent to them. Linkshare shows that they owe commissions for Nov and Dec but it looks like Art.com won't pay.
It looks like Art.com has changed back all the previously cancelled orders. They re-instated the 37 orders I had with them. It's possible the emails I sent to Linkshare in regards to investigating this had something to do with it. Still no reply from Art.com for initially cancelling all the orders but I'll give them the benefit of doubt and wait to see if they pay.
I'm a direct competitor to art.com, but I must say I like their selection. Clearly they are the market leader, and they had seemingly a gazillion affiliate Web sites working for them. I can't understand why, especially with their gross margins, they are cutting their affiliate payouts so much. Plus, their recent site changes seem to make the site less functional.
I admired the strength of their affiliate network, but it seems they are shooting themselves in the foot.
Actually my sales have been going up with art.com. For as many people that click over to them, the sales # is low, but over the past few months since they did the redesign they have been going up. Todate this month is on track to be my best month *knock on wood*. I have seen some chargebacks but most have been from sales of 4-7 posters at once.
I'm a newbie to the affiliate world, but I want to share my experience so far and see what you guys think. I started out with AllPosters and found that they were not making any sales at all. After a month I switched to Art.com and since then I've had a few sales, so I'm sticking with it for now.
I think the difference is the cookie.
My question is this: how important do you think the 10-day cookie is? Does it make enough difference to make it worth the low commission? My suspicion is that it matters a lot, and that it is indeed worth it.
BTW, I've been poking around in the posters affiliate world, and I found a couple of interesting alternatives to Art.com.
PostersFast has a 20% commission and a 60 day cookie, but they only have music and movie posters. Still, it's a great deal if these are your topics.
Postershop has a 10% commission and an immortal cookie (!), but although they have a complete set of categories, their selection is not nearly as good as Art.com, at least, not in my categories.
Hope this may be useful. Seems to me the cookies are of major importance.
Art.com left alot of good affiliates hanging when they went with Linksnare. I myself have tens of thousands of static HTML pages w/ Art.com links from old in house program.
The funny part is everything tracks through old affiliate interface. Click throughs, and sales too..... The only thing that doesn't track is my Commissions on those sales that are still tracking fine.
They refuse to answer email from me.
So until I get around to changing all the thousands of links over to LS or just getting rid of the fart.com links alltogether I guess they will still sell posters and prints w/o paying me a commission on sales that still track fine through old program.
LS does not offer effective flexible linking to all items which is lame. This effectively blows any datafeed possibilities and makes it hard to fix existing links to specific products from old program.
So I think fart.com stinks.
I used to work for a now-defunct dotcom, and we had a relatively large affiliate program through Be Free. I know it's not the conventional wisdom, but our experience showed that affiliates who sacrificed commission % for longer cookie times ultimately lost out significantly in the end. Most customers made their purchase within the first 24 hours, and after that it dropped off drastically. Assuming the service provider delivers quality service to you and your customers, I would focus your efforts on the commission rate, and as long as the cookie time is reasonable (3-7 days) you will be fine.
But what about the case where it's a choice between higher % and no cookie or lower % and a short cookie? I think you need a cookie of some kind.
Even if a cookie does get set, there are several circumstances in which it can get deleted;
1) if the computer crashes
2) If the user visits too many sites, then its a matter of fifo (first in, first out), the earliest cookie gets overwritten.
3) The user installs a programs which deletes cookies
4) The user has cookies disabled
5) The user visits the same site through someone else's link
and as cubsrule4 says, most users will either buy in a reasonable period or won't. Cookies that last for months, don't seem to make sense really. Does someone have different experiences? Any instances of benefiting from a six month old campaign or something on those lines?