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Merchant Charging More Through Affiliate Link

Cendant Hotels

     
10:54 pm on Mar 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Cendant Hotels (Ramada, Super 8, Days Inn and other budget hotel brands) displays higher daily room rates when accessing their site through an affiliate link (Linkshare) than by going directly to their site other than through an affiliate link.

I find this behavior deplorable and have removed all of their links from my site. Linkshare is aware of this and claims to be addressing it with Cendant but the fact that Linkshare allows it at all is unacceptable. Linkshare claims that it does not violate their rules.

Would you promote a company that you knew was charging your site visitors more simply so you could earn a commission?

There are enough shady practices that some affiliates are engaging in. We certainly don't need merchants who contribute to unethical practices.

8:44 am on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Have you tried getting a direct account of your own with Cendant?
8:56 am on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Cendant also owns Lodging.com, which you might want to look into. My affiliate partnership with Lodging is my top income producer, along with Google Adsense (makes a nice footer on all the thousands of hotel pages I created... ;)

I'm not sure how things work their way down the line, but Cendant does not control rates for all the hotels. Most of the hotels are individually owned and only carry a Cendant flag (Super 8, etc.). And *ANY* hotel can get a contract to offer reservations thru Lodging.com (I know - I work at a hotel in my "day job" and we have a contract with Lodging.com. Its an independent hotel with NO flag.)

7:41 pm on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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How would one go about contacting Cendant directly? I have tried for months to discuss this issue with Cendant but they provide no contact info. for affiliates other than cendantaffiliates@linkshare.com.

As to lodging.com, it appears that they engage in the same rate disparity shenanigans to which I refer in my original post; however, they use a different model in doing so.

I just accessed lodging.com through an affiliate link and obtained a $209 rate for a particular hotel for a particular date. Then I accessed lodging.com directly and obtained the same nightly rate; however, accessing it directly offered a 4% rebate option to the customer that was not offered through the affiliate link.

Anyone wish to comment on the ethics of this issue and how you would respond if a customer of yours accused you of charging more so that you could earn a commission?

8:00 pm on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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just my .02 but it seems like there is no problem with the hotel charging different customers different prices.. walk into any hotel where you are greeted by a smiling face wrapped with a towel and they will give you a high price.. then when you head for the door, suddenly they have a better price for you.. its how business is done in most of the world..

same with the net.. they can offer 4% discount to customers who contact them directly since they dont have to pay you.. personally, i wouldnt choose to promote something like this but i dont see any ethical problem.. just not smart business..

and for the customers who complain.. tell them you are in business to make a *gasp* profit.. :)

anyways, good luck.. now i know not to do my hotel shopping through affiliate links hehe :)

-adam