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In the past I used Commission Junction without any results. After tens of thousands of impressions that resulted in hundreds of clicks, I got $0 in revenue, so I finally dropped all CJ links.
A few days ago I decided to try again. I guess I figure if I keep beating my head on the same wall, eventually the wall will develop a soft spot and I will break through. Besides, some of the advertisers at CJ do have some attractive products.
But so far, after hundreds of impressions and dozens of clicks, I still have $0 in revenue over there. I'm already discouraged and it hasn't even been a week.
I think I'm going to just give up on CJ and when I do, I can just imagine them singing the dolphin song from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
"So Long and Thanks for All the Clicks!"
Assuming that a merchant has a 2% conversion rate, then you'd expect to see an average of 1 sale for every 50 clicks. But that's an average, and you might have 100 or 250 clicks go by without a sale, and then 20 clicks might generate 2 sales.
I don't like CJ (for several reasons) and since last fall I won't do business with any merchant who uses CJ or LS, but the CJ system does seem to work more or less the way it's supposed to, and many webmasters get paid every month, on time. Note that some merchants may have delayed reporting, where a transaction isn't posted immediately, but generally they should post within a day or two.
There are situations where merchants do sometimes set up a program that doesn't work properly because the tracking isn't properly implemented or was "broken" by a subsequent site update, or because the merchant has some kind of internal problem.
Many folks will initiate a "test transaction" and post the results on a forum (try searching for 'merchantname test transaction'). I've done so many times, reporting many transactions that tracked and more than a few that did not properly track. In most cases, these are "real" transactions where you actually order the product or service and evaluate the company's fulfillment -- if you do this, then you can honestly "endorse" a merchant by mentioning on your site that you've bought from the company and your item(s) arrived in good condition, in NN days, etc.
Dozens of clicks? That's not enough to judge a program on.
When I tried it earlier in the year I had FAR more than 250 clicks and my revenue was still $0. If that's my fault, it really doesn't matter to me. The bottom line is that CJ didn't work out for me. Regardless, I see these success stories and it makes me feel like somehow it has to work. But my recent trial has been equally disappointing. So I guess CJ and my website are just not a good match.
They have tiered commission qualifications where your commission may be in a pending status. They don't pay commission immediately because there is a chance that the customer will return the product.
CJ is not involved in some big conspiracy to withhold commission.
If there is anything underhanded going on, I would suspect CJ the least.
But that sort of program has other more likely points of failure. Nummber one obviously is that the publisher's website might not attract the sort of traffic that will follow through with a purchase.
But another problem is that it's based on cookies. That means the visitor has to accept the cookie, retain the cookie, then return within the time limit and make the purchase.
For whatever reason, it doesn't work well with my site.
the publisher's website might not attract the sort of traffic that will follow through with a purchase
This is not CJ's problem.
it's based on cookies
Again, if you're counting on income from CJ's program you should have systems in place to check for cookies.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's such a thing as the perfect affiliate program but it's all too easy to blame the provider for inadequate income.
Diversifying affiliate programs should help to ease the issues with any one program.
There are plenty of people making good money at CJ and other networks.
I have done very well with other affiliate programs, but never with CJ. I don't know why, but their stuff just doesn't seem to convert as well for me compared to the other networks or independent programs. And even in programs where I'd make some CJ sales, then I'd often get unusually high return rates.