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I typically do about 500-2000 sale transactions a month with cj.. but about 6 months ago I've decided to get one of my merchants to start giving me a report from their backend... and recently with another different merchant to send me a report from their backend as well... low and behold I have found that month in month out with different merchants there could me missed sales from 7% up to 30% in any given month...
so if I do $50000 worth of cj revenue with 7% that's at least $3500 lost or worst 30% is at $15000 lost revenue...
if you do a significant volumn with cj do you get your merchants to send you a separate report.. you just don't know how much of the transactions are not being tracked at all... whether intentional or unintentional.. I believe the merchants will pay cj anyways for all those transactions.. ...whether you get paid or not...
Then lately, I watch the account and see sales and commissions and register. I see them once and then when I check again, they are gone. Every once in while my numbers are cut in half with sales and commissions just disappearing. I know some are filtered out as not valid or going through but these are drops from the area where the money is supposed to be paid and due to me. Once it hits that area, it doesn't seem like it should go away.
Then I'm puzzled when I get a personal email from a merchant raving about my traffic numbers, I'm one of there best affiliates, blah blah and asking how they can me help be even better. And it's from some program that I get a few bucks a month from, almost nothing. Huh? I'm just a suspicious person sometimes that things actually work as they should.
30% is certainly a high percentage of sales! What do the merchants have to say about it? Do you bring it up with them or get any explanation from anyone about what happens to those transactions that are missing?
The only issue I've ever had sort of like that was when Overstock would screw up there data passback to LinkShare and code watches and other non-media items as media and I was only getting paid 3% on what should have been 7% sales. At least OSTK would pay out the correct % if you sent them back a sheet with all the non-media items paid out as media to review and correct.
skibum, that's a good question, I haven't asked the merchant what happens to those that cj didn't track for us.
FYI... looks like cj just invoice all merchants.. merchants/advertisers don't really know that the affiliates are not being credited for it.[/added]
The merchants can, of course reverse transations. IN some markets like shoes it is not uncommon to see 30%+ reversal rates.
The last problem I had is that changed all their links, about 5,000 of them and gave me three weeks notice to redo all my coded links. But they wouldn't give me the new code. The ability to get new links disappeared from my console. My data catalogs disappeared from my FTP account. No one would answer my emails with anything but the same impossible instructions to update the links "urgently". So the date passed and my links supposedly aren't tracking any longer because I was never able to change them. Two days after that, I get another sweet email asking me how I'm doing, is there anything they can do for me. Bunch of robotic idiots I guess. I've about had it.
CJ is well aware of a certain margin of error in their reporting system. Pixel calls have at least a margin of error of 10%. Take that, then the various systems that have to have the same information in order for it to correlate....
I'm going to throw out an intelligent guess that upwards of 25% margin of error is allowed (and well known) by CJ themselves.
Was also told that there are other "issues" that affect tracking that CJ is aware, but do nothing to rectify.
So anytime a CJ representative tells you otherwise, they are either ignorant or lying through their teeth.
This is why I stopped using CJ 2 years ago.
Got tired of the lies, false tracking and other issues that seemed to arise with CJ. I went ahead and outsourced to China and now I bring in and sell my own products rather than promote someone else's. In a roundabout way I still work with CJ, but only because I help someone else with their site.
I'm a firm believer in the old adage: "If you want something done right, do it yourself".
In my opinion, there is no reason for any major online retailer to NOT have an in-house affiliate program. Companies like CJ and others do absolutely nothing of value for the publisher. They charge the merchants buckoo bucks and when there is an issue, they usually side with the merchant (regardless if the merchant is at fault...because after all, the merchant makes them a profit, NOT the affiliate).
If the merchants would just invest in a few good coders, for what they probably pay to CJ for one month of service, they could have a really good inhouse affiliate program.
Of course, CJ will claim that they are also on the side of the affiliate and if the merchant doesn't pay, CJ will go to bat for you.....but it's all fluff.
Cut out the middle men in affiliate marketing.
I personally know several CJ Performers and they all tell me the same story regarding the tracking....
"It just seems "off" a bit."
I would also like to say that I think the affiliate marketers of today (and the future) should ban together and unionize to some point. This way when you feel that there might be tracking issues....or anything else for that matter, you will have the strength of the organization behind you. Might even make for negotiations of higher commissions for the affiliates.
edit: A question to you CJ Performers: Does your account manager do anything of value for you....besides suggesting new affiliate programs to join?
[edited by: BaseballGuy at 12:27 am (utc) on May 1, 2009]