Rolling Codes Required for Seamless Service

85% of merchants that have an affiliate promotional code expiring on or before 30th September have not announced a replacement code for October.

Some merchants are particularly good at running several discount code promotions at the same time. There are some that do overlapping promotions with different end dates. For a discount code site like mine that means that merchant is always featured.

For those 39 merchants that have a code expiring on the last day of the month, why haven’t you already announced next months promotional code? Devoted to Sport and Historic Newspapers have already sent out details of their 10% discount code starting 1st October.

By leaving it until your existing code has already expired, you run the risk of losing your placement on key promotional pages. I’ve had lots of visitors on my site searching for Debenhams codes but that was sadly during the two week window that there wasn’t any code to promote.

After this weekend I’ll be doing mild or no updates to my Shop Codes site for two weeks. I’m taking my laptop with me on my Hong Kong holiday but only to deal with emergencies and I’ve had plenty of them this September.

This week I have pro-actively emailed over 20 merchants and affiliate managers for extensions to my existing Exclusive codes. That has proved very successful with 17 already extending the code either by one month, to the end of the year and some are now even valid well into 2008.

So merchants, if you’re saving sending out your promotional emails and codes until October. Just send it now and I can continue to promote you. You can always send another in a weeks time.

Personally I’d like to see merchants providing rolling codes so that I can provide a seamless service. i.e. at the start of the month announce a code that lasts four weeks and then mid-month, provide another code that lasts four weeks.

Some merchants are providing the mid-month codes as I can testify with this busy week. However, they’re sticking to the non-imaginative expiry date of 30th/31st of the month.

My thanks go to those 17 merchants. These are the ones I’ll be pushing on my Shop Codes home page, while I take a break and shoppers will be searching for discounts.

12% drop in available discount codes

I know of at least 25 merchants that are currently not offering discount codes whilst they did last month. This included a dozen merchants that offered an exclusive code to me. I’ve emailed and got positive responses from 4 of those but I haven’t taken the time out to contact all 12.

I’ve looked at my top 20 performing merchants to see whether a lack of codes generally or lack of Exclusive codes will make an impact on my profits. The answer is a clear YES.

  • 35% of the top 20 merchants have kindly provided an exclusive voucher code.
  • 20% of merchants offer a discount voucher to new customers, which all affiliates can promote.
  • 20% of the merchants have not offered a code recently or do not have a code facility.
  • 15% of the merchants have discount codes available to all affiliates.
  • 10% of the merchants currently have no code but have had one just expired.

In October 2006, I wrote “Exclusive Discount Codes Wanted” on Affiliates4u. I had 22 Exclusive codes at the time. Today, it’s that number plus another 100.

Exclusive codes are a staple diet of Shop Codes and they’re often the only merchants who you’ll see on my most visited page.

As I reported in my last post, September is going to be a strong month for Shop Codes as I’ve got a 400% increase in traffic. I’m happy for merchants to take advantage of that uplift.

This post is not a plug for more exclusive codes though. I just want to see more merchant codes made available to all affiliates. Only four days ago I had at least 60 more on my site to promote.

Every little helps

Tesco are 125th in my chart of top merchant earnings this August. So for me, having no Tesco codes on Shop Codes, is not really an issue financially, following the announcement we can’t publish them. Though I may need to explain to close friends why I’ve not included them.

As running a code site is my number one project today, I am concerned about the policies introduced from this and other major High Street brands from May 2007 about ‘code’ sites publishing codes. If Mothercare and Tesco have issues with codes, then other merchants are certainly following their concerns. Two are below.

I engage with merchants every other week about Exclusive codes and I discuss the issues …

– My exclusive code was used but not via your site
– You’re only delivering existing customers

I can disprove the latter with my clickthrough analytics, easily. In fact Webgains statistics also include referrer history.

Whilst code issues occur, I also agree to have a substantially reduced commission, so my visitors can have the discount instead. Where is that mentioned in all the anti-affiliate blog posts (1) (2) being posted this week?

There’s lots to address with promotional codes and it’s good to have an open debate so we can be clear on the official and unofficial rules that we should work to.

My site isn’t going away and the 13p commission made from Tesco this month is appreciated. Maybe. After all. Every little helps.

Discount code merchants. Do you want to stand out?

Merchants with discount codes expiring 31st August may be missing a trick. A quick glance at my Shop Codes site shows 42 merchants codes are expiring on the last day of the month but only one the day before.

Don’t you know if you’re more creative with your expiry dates you’ll receive more exposure? Many code sites, including my own promote highest the codes that are expiring soon. These are often popular as customers love to bag a bargain before it disappears.

My statistics show that I sometimes generate more sales for a merchant where the code is about to expire. The reasoning is simple, those merchants are promoted above the fold on the home page and across the site. I typically will put a merchant in this slot up to three days before the promotion is to end.

So, if you want say free three days promotion over-and-above what you’re getting already then just stop making your code expire the last day of the month.

My newer site Voucher Diary will concentrate on expiring codes so it will pay even more to stand out and not have a code expire on the same day as 40 other merchants do. I’m not currently updating that site much but as it’s returning on page one on Google SERPs I’m under pressure to start populating it quickly.

The dates below list the number of merchants with codes expiring on that date.

  • 14/08 (2)
  • 15/08 (5)
  • 16/08 (1)
  • 17/08 (1)
  • 19/08 (1)
  • 20/08 (3)
  • 21/08 (1)
  • 22/08 (1)
  • 23/08 (1)
  • 24/08 (1)
  • 25/08 (1)
  • 28/08 (1)
  • 29/08 (3)
  • 30/08 (1)
  • 31/08 (42)

Now, who wants to have their code expire 27th August instead?

Please note that I wouldn’t want you to take this to the extreme and do what Waterstone’s do and that is have a code that is valid from 2pm for only 24 hours. I don’t work to those time frames yet.

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