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Affiliates Forum

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >     
Affiliate Program paid me $91,000 less than I should have earned
What options do I have? What would you recommend?
ThatAdamGuy




msg:555653
 8:14 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just learned that Acme Corporation*, whose affiliate program I've partipated in for a long time, has paid me 'x' dollars per sale... but paid others 'y' cents per click.

I do know when I signed up for Acme's affiliate program, I had the option of:
1) Getting paid by sale
2) Getting paid either by new trial member or by click (I don't recall exactly what they had in place at the time)

But now, clear as day, on their site they list 'x' dollars per sale OR 'y' cents per click (as long as click-to-sale ratio is within their Terms), with the choice up to each Webmaster signing up.

Well, my clicks have converted FAR better than their Terms' stated minimums, and -- noting that I've earned $91,000 less during my partnership than had I been paid by click -- I'm pretty upset!

I've just written Acme Corporation a friendly but concerned note about this situation, and have asked them to call me on Monday. They've generally been responsive with me in the past when I've asked questions or given suggestions, so I do expect that they'll call.

My questions to you:

1) What should I ask for? It's a no-brainer (and I'm sure they'd not flinch) for me to be moved to a paid-by-click account. But I'm thinking they should pay me a tidy sum for at least part of the difference between what I could have earned and what I did.

One compromise I'm thinking of is asking for a lump payment of $45,000 up front as a LOAN... to be paid back in clicks, with my signed guarantee that I'll send that many clicks in, say, three years.

I've also thought about asking for just a $20,000 flat back payment instead with no strings attached. Or perhaps a combo of the loan/flat payment.

On the flip side, though, they could certainly argue that I made the choice to be paid per sale, and that it's not their fault that I've come out behind on the deal. They may further note that I could have switched over to the paid-per-click plan at any time (though it's only noted on the affiliate SIGNUP page, so I wouldn't have really had a chance to notice it if it wasn't there when I signed up!)

2) Do I have any LEGAL recourse on this issue? I know that folks can't give hard-and-fast legal advice, but... if Acme Corp isn't willing to budge at all, do you feel that I wouldn't be wasting my time in consulting a lawyer about this?

Do note that I've never sued anyone in my entire life. And I generally believe in Personal Responsibility. But in this case, I've sent a ton of traffic and earned literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for Acme, and I feel like I've been taken advantage of. :¦

Also note that while certainly not Acme's largest or most profitable affiliate by any means, I am currently earning them at least $10,000 per month in revenues, so it would seem savvy for them to garner some goodwill with me. Plus this is a competitive field, in that there are a GREAT many other businesses in the same space as Acme, often times repeatedly vying for my affiliate partnership.

So anyway, what are your thoughts on all of this?

*For obvious reasons, I'm not stating the real name of this company here or in sticky mail!

 

Chris_R




msg:555654
 8:22 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

though, they could certainly argue that I made the choice to be paid per sale, and that it's not their fault that I've come out behind on the deal. They may further note that I could have switched over to the paid-per-click plan at any time (though it's only noted on the affiliate SIGNUP page, so I wouldn't have really had a chance to notice it if it wasn't there when I signed up!)

Of course that is what they will argue. This is no different than signing up for a cell phone plan - you COULD have done better under a different plan many times, but you still pay what you signed up for.

Tons of sponsors give people a choice - you chose unwisely.

dcheney




msg:555655
 8:25 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Let me get this straight. 1) You entered in a contract to be paid one way. 2) Now you've decided you made a bad choice. 3) You want to be paid as if you'd signed a different contract.

hmm, I can't imagine any possible legal recourse for (2) - unless you sue yourself.

Chris_R




msg:555656
 8:40 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

And I didn't mean to sound so much like an a**, and I know I'd be upset too, but more at myself than anything else.

I have a feeling I know who you are talking about - but am not sure. If I am right - make sure you are doing the math right - they pay UP TO 85 cents PER CLICK - with a sliding scale per UNIQUE click. No one gets that much - you'd have to be god to convert that high.

Of course - I am probably guessing wrong, but just double check - as usually you should make LESS per click than per sale.

takagi




msg:555657
 8:41 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is it the first time since you signed up to become an affiliate, that this company provides you with the details? Could you have known earlier that a switch would be better for you? If not, then you can only hope for some compensation.

deejay




msg:555658
 8:42 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ya know, one of my co-workers (A) just found out that another co-worker (B) who does the exact same job as him makes TWICE as much money.

Why? Simple. A accepted a particular remuneration rate when he took the job, while B asked for twice as much.. and got it.

A is now livid and is going to the boss to renegotiate his contract (it's due anyways), and will be aiming to get himself on a level salary footing with B. He will probably get this.

But he hasn't a show in you-know-where of getting that new salary level backdated to his hiring two years ago.

He was happy with the deal when he signed up. End of story.

Heck, if we all got to live on hindsight, I've got a claim at a rather large lottery win last week.. because you know I really SHOULD have selected those other numbers.

ThatAdamGuy




msg:555659
 9:40 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm getting responses I expected, to be sure ;-)

Someone mentioned cell phone plans. That's not really a good analogy, IMHO. When you're locked into a one year contract with a cell phone company, they've got the upperhand. You can't leave. You can't negotiate.

But when that year is up and the power balance is more even, you can bet the cell phone company is more apt to offer (perhaps even proactively offer) sweeter deals to you, especially if you're a good customer.

And speaking of phone service... I forget whether it was AT&T or MCI that even used to run commercials announcing how they'd look at consumers' calling patterns to save them money. And as much as I personally hate MCI, they did indeed once let me know that I could pay less per minute by switching plans (and they were right!).

In this case, I'm bringing and I have brought a ton of money to this company. They don't NEED me, but they'd be worse off if I shifted my links to a competitor. And since they've worked with me in the past to improve my conversions and have essentially established a relationship with me, I frankly would have expected them to have been direct and honest, telling me, "Hey, Adam, we now have a program that pays 'y' cents per click... I think it'd be better for you. How 'bout we move you over to that, and you move our links to the top of more of your pages in return?" Win-win.

Frankly, I doubt I'd have a legal case at all here. Kinda clutching at straws with that. But from an ethical / moral standpoint... I think this is more than me just making a bad choice (and that's assuming that I even had the same choice when I signed up!). I think there's been a bit of a breach of trust here.

And Chris... you're right... it's UP TO 'y' cents per click. But my clicks have converted EXTREMELY well, and even if I only got .5y, I'd still be considerably ahead of where I am right now. Let's just say I've made about 25% of what I would have had I been paid 'y' cents per click.

I'll continue to check back here for more comments, and I'll let you know how stuff goes on Monday :)

Chris_R




msg:555660
 10:40 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

When you're locked into a one year contract with a cell phone company, they've got the upperhand. You can't leave. You can't negotiate.

Not True - at least not with AT&T wireless - you can change your plan at any time - up or down - as long as you stay a year.

Just so anyone that wants to change their plan knows - I am pretty sure most do this. I KNOW AT&T does.

Shak




msg:555661
 10:45 am on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Man can make himself convinced something is right, if he keeps on repeating it over and over :)

Learn from your mistake and move on is the best I can offer.

Shak

Essex_boy




msg:555662
 5:39 pm on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thatadamguy, rollover and forget it.

You made the choices and should have monitered this situ more closely.

So it cost you $91,000 money you have never had.

With hindsight, id set up an auction site called ebay.

You get my drift

woop01




msg:555663
 6:56 pm on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Another example of somebody trying to pass responsibility for their decisions onto somebody else...

Morgan




msg:555664
 7:37 pm on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm not understanding the math here at all, if your clicks are converting extremely well into sales, then you should be getting paid more with the plan you chose.

If you had gobs of garbage traffic that didn't convert to sales, then you'd choose by click to be paid.

Has nothing to do with the fundamental question here, but are you sure you're doing the math right?

For example, if a company paid 10 cents per click and on average 1 in 100 visitors bought, you'd see a per sale commission in the neighborhood of one dollar. If your visitors converted better, like 1 in 50 buying, you'd effectively make 20 cents per click overall by staying in the commissioned plan. If you had garbage traffic and lots of it, that converted at 1 in 200, you'd want to choose pay per click.

I'm just confused. Either their affiliate program is very abnormal, or the math is wrong.

jomaxx




msg:555665
 12:32 am on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with Morgan, that if your clicks are converting that well then you should be making much more this way. Very likely Chris_R is correct and the click numbers you're seeing do not truly correspond to what you would be getting paid for.

On the other hand, if you really are generating such a high volume of sales, and if, as seems likely, you have competing merchants you could switch to instead, then the company should be willing to negotiate a much-improved deal to keep you happy. I wouldn't count on getting any money retroactively, though.

PFOnline




msg:555666
 2:20 am on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I want to know what affiliate program can make you $91,000!

I'm usually happy when I make $10 bucks a day with my current affiliate program, lol.

ThatAdamGuy




msg:555667
 2:33 am on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Don't despair. Some of the affiliate programs I've joined haven't even made me one penny, even after sending them 5000 clicks (you can bet I pulled the plug at that point!)

I do have a considerable amount of content and community at my site (well, adding new stuff every day :), and that helps. I also started my site about 5 years ago, so I've had time to gain links, traffic, etc.

mivox




msg:555668
 2:33 am on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

On the flip side, though, they could certainly argue that I made the choice to be paid per sale, and that it's not their fault that I've come out behind on the deal.

Yup. Exactly. You haven't got a legal leg to stand on that I can imagine.

If you choose a "limited" warranty on a merchandise purchase, the item breaks, and you realize the repairs would have been covered under the "deluxe" warranty you didn't buy, you can't very well sue the company demanding they pay for repairs that weren't covered under the warranty you chose...

"But if I'd KNOWN the Deluxe warranty covered Widgetizer Flywheel repairs (and I'd suspected my flywheel was going to go out), that's the warranty I WOULD have bought! It's your fault for not telling my the flywheel might break some day!"

Smiley




msg:555669
 4:06 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Small mistakes cost big in this game - everyone has made them. Most affiliates are so busy they forget to check for leaks, is not so much fun ;)

IMO learn and move on - check your other programs for other problems - use the heads up to your advantage.

Receptional




msg:555670
 4:21 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

One compromise I'm thinking of is asking for a lump payment of $45,000 up front as a LOAN... to be paid back in clicks, with my signed guarantee that I'll send that many clicks in, say, three years.

Whatever you choose - don't choose THAT compromise. It won't be a compromise, it would be a complication.

Also - before moving over to the new model that will be netting you an extra $20K per annum, just check who's figures they'll be using to define "click". You may find their logging system more stringent than you thought.

Receptional




msg:555671
 4:22 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

So - Monday came already... were they nice about it?

Essex_boy




msg:555672
 7:07 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Were they nice about it?

I bet they are stil laughing!

div01




msg:555673
 8:53 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Start off by asking a lawyer if you even have a legal leg to stand on.

ThatAdamGuy




msg:555674
 9:22 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, I think one of the previous posters hit it on the head: I just spoke with a rep on the phone and learned that the 'y' cents per click payout is contingent upon an insanely (I'd argue, basically impossibly) high conversion: 1 sale for every 2 clickthrus. I'm fielding about 1 sale for every 15 clickthrus, and at that rate, I'd make only 1/10th 'y'... about half what I'm making on the sales commission plan.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find the per-click-payout list on my own (it's buried on a different entrance page).

So at this point, I'm both relieved and bummed... more bummed than anything else. Relieved that I didn't lose out on a ton of extra cash, and bummed that I'm not going to get that ton of extra cash in the future.

And for those who snicker and say, hey, there's no such thing as a free lunch... remember that there's a history of many of us folks during the dot.com craze getting something for nothing.

I have fond memories of the days when SocialNet.com paid me $1 per totally-free signup, whereupon I went and got gobs of traffic to my SocialNet.com links from then-GoTo.com for just pennies each. I was earning about $7,000 a month just from this program alone.

Ah, how times have changed. How the lucky have been humbled ;-)

Anyway, this all has been a good albeit painful learning experience. To those who offered helpful and thoughtful advice, thank you. To those who were a bit more on the spiteful side, may you learn to not gloat quite so much :)

Chris_R




msg:555675
 9:48 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

As soon as you mentioned the specifics - I was 99% sure who the sponsor was - here is the chart:

<2 85 cents
<3 50 cents
<4 35 cents
<5 30 cents
<6 23 cents
<7 17 cents
<8 13 cents
<9 11 cents
<10 10 cents
<12 9 cents
<18 7.5 cents
<30 5.0 cents
<50 3.5cents
50+ 2 cents

When I said "No one gets that much - you'd have to be god to convert that high." - I wasn't overstating things.

If it makes you feel any better - I "lost" $65,997 using your method :)

No one does better with them on per click. I can almost bet money on that - they have to pay less per click to make it worth while with cheaters and everything.

peewhy




msg:555676
 9:51 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

why not renegotiate from a position of strength?

ThatAdamGuy




msg:555677
 10:12 pm on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Peewhy, well, in this case, I don't have much to negotiate on.

I've not been lied to. One can argue that their click scale is crazy, but that's not an argument in my favor.

They're paying out more than a quarter of a million dollars per month. Despite bringing them quite a bit of traffic and sales, I'm not even 1 percent of that.

So unfortunately, I think it's back to reality for me.

peewhy




msg:555678
 4:57 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I suppose it has been a bit of a rude awakening, if not a learning curve ;)

The real beauty with this forum is, due to the input from members afer a bit of a helterskelter your headline has someone changed:)

Careful you don't end up owing the affilate program money - LOL

markus007




msg:555679
 6:34 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Your forgetting that every women that signs up for free counts as 5 free signups.

ThatAdamGuy




msg:555680
 6:48 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Got a few thousand single female friends? :D I'm all ears, er, eyes, oh heck, you know what I mean!

peewhy




msg:555681
 7:37 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just out of interest, do you get a list of all your signs ups?

ThatAdamGuy




msg:555682
 7:47 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

This particular affiliate program offers some breakdown, but for obvious reasons, no personally identifying information on the people who sign up.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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