Merchants often screw over their affiliates (see Got My Panties.com In A Bunch). Sometimes they know what they’re doing, and sometimes they just aren’t thinking clearly. Sometimes they play dumb, and sometimes they just really are dumb.
Last Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 2:31 PM (for those of you not reading this the first week of December, 2013, last Thursday was Thanksgiving, and at 2:31 I was enjoying dinner at my Mom & Dad’s house), I received a commission change notice from Cellars Wine Club:
In case you think that table is useless and doesn’t tell you anything, you’re right. A few hours later:
So I emailed Cellars, but the person who put these rules into effect wasn’t in the office. I guess he, too, was having Thanksgiving dinner with his family. But someone else did get back to me:
This is just so our new customer targeted coupon codes can’t be combined with an affiliate commission.
After another email back & forth, I was finally told three codes which would be non-commissionable (but there’s 4, 0% commission actions listed). We had none of these on our wine club review site, so it wasn’t a big deal.
There on the landing page is one of the non-commissionable coupons!
So let’s review the process:
- We refer users to Cellars Wine Club, expecting a commission on the sale
- Cellars Wine Club displays their non-commissionable promo code, which the user applies
- The user makes a purchase
- We get $0 commission
I understand not wanting to pay a commission and apply a coupon to a sale, but then don’t show the coupon to the user if the affiliate cookie is set!
Now, going into the busiest shopping season, we’ll be referring customers to a merchant, and racking up $0 commissions.
That’s how to F*#! your Affiliates: Black Friday to Cyber Monday Edition.
This problem started days ago with some emails, and quickly escalated to the point of having to write this blog post for resolution. It’s a shame affiliates have so little power, but in situations like this, we cannot be ignored.
I personally reached out to every wine club affiliate and informed them of the situation, and others spoke up as well. This is the perfect situation where a niche affiliate community would have helped; if you’re a leader in a niche, I encourage you to start one now. When (not if) a merchant makes a wrong decision, accidentally or not, you’ll want your competition to help fight for what’s right.