No One Wants Affiliates Like This

A support request earlier this month started out amiably enough, with an affiliate asking "I was wondering how long it take for me to see payments to my paypal for my sales? I know I have made sales already, I was in person watching the book getting purchased."

Of course I was concerned, since payments on referrals of $7 Secrets are paid immediately and directly to the affiliate's PayPal account, so I asked the affiliate (let's call him "Jeff") to tell me who made the purchase and I'd look into it.

Turns out the customer in question never made a purchase so I double-checked my logs and found that nearly a third of the uses of his link were of him testing the link; the only clicks on the order link were actually made by him. (I matched his IP address from that of the support request.)

I thought I was done with this ticket, but Jeff came back nearly a week later to ask

"I've had I know of 43 unique views to my website without one sale by what you tell me. Am I doing something wrong? I have 12 ads running everyday and I dont know how to keep track of whos looking and if I really do get paid for this if I make sales. Can you tell me how many hits to my page and what Im doing worng?"

I remembered our previous conversation and asked Jeff how he knew how many views he was receiving, since when I researched earlier I found that he was using a bare (uncloaked) affiliate link that provided no tracking capabilities. I suggested (since he asked) that what he was doing wrong was two-fold: he was not tracking his page views and clicks and he was advertising on sites that I have found to provide poor-quality traffic.

I based this on my review of the referrers of the traffic Jeff was sending me. Craigslist was one, several other classifieds sites made up most of the rest, and there were some webmail click-thrus, too. None of these offer stats on page views (to my knowledge) and in looking at the ads I saw he was using a bare affiliate link. I explained that safelists, classifieds, and traffic exchanges have not produced buyers for $7 Secrets, from what I can tell from the last two years of data.

Also, since Jeff repeated a phrase—"my website," "my page"—that I often hear from newbies, I explained that 7dollarsecrets.com is my site. Many newbies mistakenly believe that they've purchased some sort of an interest in my site, when all they've purchased is a PDF report. (This mistake leads them to believe I owe them a certain level of support to maintain their site, too.)

Well, I was astonished at the response I received:

"I know its your website im not disputing that. And I have 12 other ads running if you can read. All of them have tracking software and it tells me how many people looked at my ad and how many clicked through to YOUR page. I have decided that trying to work with you as an affiliate is a waste of time. Since your so petty to point out that is YOUR site then keep it and od it yourself! I have other online businesses that are bringing in a real nice income and I advertised yours to add another stream of income but like most it's a piece of shit that owns the site and points that out. Good luck with your $7.00, mine is $39.95 per month if you really want to get some real money coming in there sport. With all the advertising I have done for this I should have made a ton of sales. Its amazing how the other sites have gotten quite a few sales running ads from the same sources. Now how do u explain that?"

Since the diatribe speaks for itself, I won't comment on it other than to point out again that he asked me what he was doing wrong. I made some suggestions and he blew up. The conversation went back and forth a few more times, ending with Jeff threatening to "give you and your website all the exposure you could ask for in my next article"—I assume negative exposure.

No one wants affiliates like this. I don't, and I told Jeff so. I think I'll make it my policy to immediately cease conversation with abusive folks like Jeff and let them vent someplace else. Or maybe I'll just refer all affiliate questions to the forum and the abusive ones will be out there for everyone to see.