ShopCodes Too Successful for Some

ShopCodes has been hit hard in the busiest shopping month of the year with some merchants not happy that I’ve actually been delivering strong sales for them.

Feel Unique, my 3rd most popular merchant on the Webgains network, are the latest merchant to pull a popular 5% Exclusive code.

This follows Flowers Direct, my 3rd most popular merchant on Affiliate Window, pulling the 10% Exclusive code that was so popular people actively searched for the code word.

If merchants can’t afford to offer codes and pay an affiliate commission then don’t offer codes. If paying out 12.5% per sale, 5% code and 7.5% commission is untenable then make it tenable from the start. Change the code to ‘5 Off 30’ spend and offer 5% commission.

The Feel Unique case though is in itself unique as not all affiliates are having Exclusive codes removed.

It appears that because ShopCodes ranks highly in the Google organic search engines, I have to go as it is “their own customers” and brand-aware customers that are utilising the code.

That is true (see below) – but that is exactly what I optimise the pages for.

ShopCodes traffic is on the up and sales for the above merchants and more is on the up. This is the first signs that if you rank well in Google then merchants are going to get shifty and start to think about why they are paying out to you.

For me, it is a simple fact. If I don’t rank well in Google then I don’t generate enough sales to make decent commission. If all merchants were to go down the above route though then I’d have to un-optimise my pages and make them spammy in Google. My pages are the way they are to improve visitor numbers and improve click-through-rates. This is obviously too much for some.

With merchants making it even harder to make commissions (ala Figleaves) no wonder affiliates have to think outside of the box and utilise methods such as ‘click-to-reveal’ to at least have the potential to earn something. A practice I don’t do, so even though people have landed on my pages, it is of their own hands that they’ve clicked through to the merchant for the reward of a 5% discount.

Feel Unique bluntly said ‘this is not negotiable’. I’m not negotiating with anybody. You’re removed from ShopCodes and the simple fact is another merchant will become my 3rd top merchant.

Keyword searches that included ‘unique’:

  • feel unique discount code
  • feel unique voucher
  • feel unique voucher code
  • feel unique code
  • feelunique voucher
  • feelunique voucher code
  • feel unique voucher codes
  • feel unique codes
  • feelunique discount code
  • feel unique discount voucher

Feel Unique potential customers wanted voucher codes and they found them on a site that plays within the rules. How much would the merchant have paid out if another site was in my place with ‘click-to-reveal’ functionality. If anything I’ve probably saved them money.

Code Sites Deliver Valued New Business

In the first week of December, content affiliates of JD Williams will be able to see how many sales and how much commission they are losing to Pay-Per-Click marketing.

JD Williams has recently relaunched on the dgmPro network and all sales that bring in new customers will be rewarded with a potential 8 commission, no matter the value of the sale. This initially tracks as 4.

If the sale is for an existing customer the affiliate receives 1%. However, considering that JD Williams pulled out of the affiliate marketing area earlier this year this is still good news, especially as they’re back before Christmas, with a clear remit to attract new users.

If the affiliate generates a new customer sale though and the customer later goes off to Google and clicks a JD Williams pay-per-click advert, then they’ll not get paid the full 8 commission but the original 4.

I can already see that I have signed up over a dozen first time customers by promoting the selection of JD Williams Incentive Codes. This is from a total of 48 sales. Not bad, one in every four of my referred customers is brand new. That’s good business. In fact considering I’m having a poor month, I’m very impressed that I’ve generated almost 50 sales for just one merchant.

See voucher codes do generate incremental new business. Just ask Alpharooms Affiliate Manager Dan Morley.

“Things actually look good in favour of voucher sites. Sales coming in, using the vouchers are mostly new customers.”

What will be interesting to see is what proportion of those sales turn into the golden nugget of 8. It may paint a general picture of how content and code sites are losing commission to pay-per-click brand bidders. We shall see.

I’d Rather Update My Blog Thanks

An email I received this week from The SkinStore Team caught me by surprise as it was only a month ago they cut all ties with voucher code sites.

Sep 15
You have have been suspended from the SkinStore affiliate programme. Please do not respond to this automated email. In the meantime we strongly advise that you temporarily remove any of this merchant’s links.

OK, quick check of stats. No recent sales. Links removed same day.

Sep 25
SkinStore have taken the decision to stop all activity with voucher code sites and will therefore not be offering any discount promotions to affiliates. For this reason, a number of voucher code sites including yourself, have been suspended from the programme.

Then 6 days ago …

Oct 20
SkinStore is pleased to provide you with a 10% storewide discount code which is valid until the 7th of November 2008. Please ask your customers to enter coupon code AFF10 at checkout.

Sorry SkinStore, I won’t ask my customers as I’ve already pulled the plug. I was strongly advised to remove your links. I could have put the content back up in the time it took me to write this post but the moment has gone. Maybe next time.

Credit Crunch Boosts Voucher Codes

“The necessity of vouchers has really increased over the last three or four months,” says Hero Grigoraki, Client Services Manager, of Webgains.

In a recent television interview at the a4uExpo Manchester roadshow, Hero discusses the role of voucher codes in marketing.

“Recently because of all the credit crunch fears and the financial downturn there’s a lot more people now looking for vouchers looking for the best prices out there.”

That’s good news for me and my ShopCodes but with the impression that it is ‘easy money’ there does seem to be a lot of new voucher code sites appearing. Hero validly points out that it’s not just a case of shotting up some codes and that maintaining such a code site is really hard work.

“It is not an easy thing. A lot of people think ‘Ooh I can hook up some codes and put them up there’. But it is a lot of work and a lot of attention to detail to make sure you are representing the merchant correctly. It actually creates lots of problems to the customer service for the merchant if it’s not accurate, so you need to be aware of it as an affiliate.”

Hero will be on a panel at the forthcoming a4uexpo (London 14-15 October) with affiliate Chris Frost, Richard Clark, Marketing Manager of the Dixons group and Martin from the agency Equator.

They will talk about voucher site implementation, how you can resolve and raise issues and showcase how they can be addressed.

“This is a very powerful tool. Merchants shouldn’t be scared of it, provided it is well planned and well executed.”

You can watch the full interview from Chris at

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