Got My In A Bunch

I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

There’s not much worse than screwing an affiliate out of a bonus he/she earned. If you’re going to do this, don’t get caught red handed. Not like did.

I mentioned’s contest in the Feb-1 both sides of the tracks podcast, “Jason Retires, Contests & Buffalo“. Their bonus was quite simple:

We are so confident you’ll make a sale that we’ll pay you $50 if you put one of our new banners on your website and do not make a sale by February 28th!

So I placed the banner, and emailed the program manager on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 4:44 PM. On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 4:59 PM, Lila (the program manager) got back to me. Checking the server access logs, there were 3 IP’s that accessed this page on that day: myself, my server, and (Lila at - - [25/Jan/2010:16:52:55 -0500] "GET /panties-com-m910.php HTTP/1.1" 200 14201 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20091221 Firefox/3.5.7 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)"

Today I was thinking to myself that I didn’t make a sale (what a shame) and I need to contact her for my $50 bonus. So I logged into ShareASale, checked my stats (just to be sure) and imagine my surprise when I saw I made a sale! Yeah! A $48 sale means $7.20 for me!

What was strange, however, was the sale occurred at 02/28/2010 06:09:55 PM – just hours before the bonus period was ending. So again I turned to my trusty server access logs and found the following: - - [28/Feb/2010:18:05:41 -0500] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 24842 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100202 Firefox/3.5.8 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)" - - [28/Feb/2010:18:06:01 -0500] "GET /panties-com-m910.php HTTP/1.1" 200 11364 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100202 Firefox/3.5.8 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)" - - [28/Feb/2010:18:06:39 -0500] "GET /go/merchant.php?nMerchantID=910 HTTP/1.1" 200 955 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100202 Firefox/3.5.8 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)" - Back at ya!Lila went right to my homepage, clicked on the merchant page, clicked on the link to set the cookie, and bought something nice for herself. She felt that it was cheaper for her to pay a $7.20 commission rather than a $50 bonus. But she failed to realize the implications of me tracking this down.

What a shallow thing to do. If you don’t want to pay a bonus, don’t put it out there. Instead, I feel tricked to have placed your banner on my site, and will make sure I spread the word how you ripped me off.

Anyone else participate in the February bonus program? Did you get your bonus, or did you end up making a sale on the last day, too?

  • Finch
    Posted March 2, 2010 10:57 am 0Likes


    It’s a ridiculous claim for them to make though. What if your website has virtually no traffic? I’m assuming you have to be approved to run the program?

  • Ken Savage
    Posted March 2, 2010 11:00 am 0Likes

    I’m certainly not going to use them anymore. If they’re screwing people out of $50 right from the get-go then what will they do when I send them $50,000 in sales.

  • Eric Nagel
    Posted March 2, 2010 11:02 am 0Likes

    @Finch – yes, they had to approve the website & placement. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen merchants do this to get more exposure.

    @Ken – right on! What else are they doing to hurt their affiliates’ bottom line?

  • Mark Welch
    Posted March 2, 2010 1:43 pm 0Likes

    This is a great catch, and you’ve done a great service to the web-publishing community by sharing this information here and on

  • Brian Littleton
    Posted March 2, 2010 2:14 pm 0Likes

    Eric – sorry this happened and we’ll investigate from our end to see if there is anything that can be done to right the wrong, etc…

  • PandaMarketer
    Posted March 2, 2010 5:00 pm 0Likes

    That’s sad. They thought they could pull one over on you (and others) but they failed. You are their kryptonite. Scream this at the top of your tweets, and i’ll RT.

  • Eric Nagel
    Posted March 2, 2010 7:04 pm 0Likes

    There’s more conversation going on at ABestWeb, (Dirty), including 2 more affiliates who lost their bonuses due to last minute sales.

    Lila also posted an “explanation” of what happened, but nobody’s buying it

  • Trisha Lyn Fawver
    Posted March 2, 2010 7:39 pm 0Likes

    That is definitely a terrible explanation. There’s no reason to make test purchases, even if you DO click through the affiliate’s link to make sure it’s redirecting to the page you want it to land on.

  • Todd Farmer
    Posted March 2, 2010 8:05 pm 0Likes

    Wow, that is such a shameless, scammy way to get affiliates to promote a merchant! How short-sighted, and…. dirty. (gross!)

    Great case study on how to screw your brand in the affiliate space, eh?

    Good catch, Mr. Programmer.

  • James Seligman
    Posted March 2, 2010 8:13 pm 0Likes

    I read her “response”, I can’t believe what she is saying: “We also made a series of test transactions at the end of the month to test tracking.”

    Who in the right mind does something like that, during a contest no less. So is this something that they do every month (testing links) or it just so happens it was this past month? What BS!

  • Jim Kukral
    Posted March 2, 2010 8:14 pm 0Likes

    When will the rookies learn. This is the last industry in the world where you should think you could get away without paying or trickery with commissions. What a shame that now there program is in ruins. Or was it ever even anything?

  • Kellie Stevens
    Posted March 2, 2010 9:22 pm 0Likes

    You hear so much about affiliate fraud, this is a reminder that fraud isn’t limited to just affiliates. If it breaks the contractural agreement or is intentionally misleading, it’s fraud in my book.

    While I wait for all the facts to be given (hopefully more will be forthcoming from SAS), I have to say it isn’t looking too good for the merchant at this point. I have to agree the explanation isn’t holding a lot of water for me at the moment. Test transactions should never been done on an affiliate’s site unless the specific affiliate is having a potential tracking issue. And if it was testing, it shouldn’t have tracked the way it did. Why would not clearing the cache make a difference? It wouldn’t. If they were testing off their own link, they would have been the last cookie in anyway.

    The promotion itself had diaster written all over it. Terrible promotion from the get go IMO. Now it’s a train wreck.

    Trust is hard one and easily lost.

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  • Ron Bechdolt
    Posted March 3, 2010 11:12 pm 0Likes

    Nice job of exposing this Eric. Frankly I can’t believe this kind of thing happens in this day and age, but evidently it does.

  • Mike
    Posted March 19, 2010 8:06 am 0Likes

    Woo, bad news. It seems to be one of the worst things a company can do these days is wrong do someone over the internet. When it goes viral you are pretty much screwed. I guess she never really understand what she was doing and how easily it could be exposed. I hope something was done to restore some faith and honor the original agreement for all’s sack?

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