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The anecdotal evidence below occurred after an already troubling plummet in CJ revenues, even though impressions and click-throughs were significantly higher, after CJ's Jan 19 system maintenance. This new data point showing up now is ill timed indeed.
One of the CJ programs we are a member of allows us to "self-buy". We received prior e-mail authorization to do so. So we placed an order for an item that has a pretty high value and therefore a sizable commission.
There was still no record of the transaction after 10 days. Several e-mails to CJ got muddy replies or no reply at all.
We contacted the program advertiser directly, and got a response saying that the transaction was now credited to our account, which it was.
However they said that CJ sometimes misses transactions. This, plus our experiences noted in the other thread, has done a fair amount of damage to our faith in CJ. This is a shame because we happen to have a lot of affection for the CJ site and affiliate program. We now have to wonder how many other commissions, high-dollar or otherwise, are missing.
So the questions are:
- Is this behavior a new unfortunate consequence of the recent CJ buyout?
- Is the vendor at fault and is simply covering their own backsides, or is CJ truly "dropping" commissions?
We are of course very worried at this time. With all the current troubles due to ad-blockers and parasiteware, this would be the straw that breaks the affiliate camel's back.
I would take a much closer look at the merchant's site and whether they have the tracking code properly implemented (on the purchase confirmation screen is where it goes, I believe).
However, there is always the possibility of intrinsic order processing problems due to computer system design flaws or other workflow oriented items.
Either way, a lost commission is a lost commission.
Personally I think affiliate commissions should be higher in some instances since we are sending them the business. In time I think companies will realize the power of popular site and pay them accordingly, everything in time.
Look forward to future comments on Affiliate marketing!
Additionally, the instant that Yahoo fired Google and posted their own algorithms I came from nowhere and went to #1 on 3 separate kw's, plus I went to above the fold on p1 on 3 or 4 others and just below the fold on two more keywords.
This site is laden with CJ links for 6 or more CJ merchants.
Point is, I should have seen a healthy and significant rise in CJ traffic. I have seen it on other sites that don't have CJ links. But not on CJ.
CJ's site has been quite squirrelly since their weekend tinkering. I spoke with a CJ rep today about this subject and he says look for more missing transactions to come in over the next 24--48 hours.
But I can't help but wonder about the coincidence of all this-- coming shortly after the ValueClick takeover. CJ has always been a great bunch of people, very responsive to my (sometimes ignorant) questions and needs. And they have always, at least up until now, been in my experience the only affiliate program that gives affiliates a fair shake. Some of the others, who we all know, suck up to their merchants and their affiliates are second class citizens.
Paranoid as I am about losing traffic to what is essentially a turnkey operation (that we must accept with childlike faith), I've never had any reason whatsoever to believe that CJ has intentionally ripped me off.
I hope this all ends well.
If you are sending increased clicks and seeing lower commissions on CJ there could be many reasons: Norton and other ad blockers and firewalls blocking CJ links, merchants who supposedly turn off tracking sometimes or have programming glitches and of course, parasites. You need to be careful who you partner with and try to determine if they are parasite free, otherwise some of your commission can be stolen by other affiliates.
Parasites are allowed in many of the networks but I think CJ attracts them.
Another thing I wonder about when I hear of commissions going down is the whole cookie issue. With all the press about spyware and privacy, I think more and more people are blocking or deleting cookies and there is more software out there that helps feed this fear and eats cookies too. Of course that would have an effect accross all networks, not just on CJ, but I think it's becoming more of an issue.
I'm very frustrated as now they have to 'estimate' how much I would have made, which they did, and now they're changing that estimate based on essentially nothing.