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Old 03-25-2003, 09:37 AM   #1
Timo
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Default Q2 Amazon - must opt in for classic?

Hi Folks,

Just checked Amazon and it seems that the default commish rate is now the tiered rate, and you must opt in to the classic commission structure After clicking on the april 20th link it stated that I was signed up for the tiered plan for Q2 when I did not in Q1, and will never do for a variety of reasons.

I noticed some other problems (telling me to opt in to tiered for Q1 lol)

Now if this is the case (other please confirm ) it will be interesting what happens to those who do NOT opt in to the classic and do not run easylinks. If amazon has 900,000 affiliates I bet there are a huge portion who dont check stats often. I wouldnt be surprised if amazon builds in a penalty by lowering commish for those not running easylinks while still part of the tiered rate when they do their monthly crawl.

I looked for an update to the operating agreement and it seems to still be the old one.
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Old 03-25-2003, 02:59 PM   #2
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Which page to you go to in order to view the fee structure for you Amazon affiliate account? What is the "April 20th" link that you mentioned?

From the Amazon FAQ. This seems to be the opposite to what you were saying.

Quote:
If you do not elect to participate in the tiered compensation structure by January 20, 2003 you will automatically default to the Classic compensation structure.
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Old 03-25-2003, 04:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Which page to you go to in order to view the fee structure for you Amazon affiliate account
It's your stats page.
===

Now I use tiered structure for Q1.

I have not choosed this, also I've write e-mail to amazon about this problem, cause I don't run this new campaign, I haven't signed up any forms or filled any documents about it.

They say:
"We do not offer the
option to change from the tiered structure to the classic structure
for Q1 2003 now that the deadline has passed.
However, as we are nearing the end of Q1 2003 the new compensation structures for Q2 2003 will be announced very soon. You will then have the ability to make your selection for that quarter.
"
===

I hope I will have right to shoose classic structure for next Q2.
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Old 03-25-2003, 05:19 PM   #4
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I just got an email from amazon saying they had pulled the page due to some errors
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:13 PM   #5
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Errors? lol! I've spotted dozens of typos, misspellings and inaccuracies in their affiliate documentation and announcements. They could use a good proofreader, IMHO.

I wonder what they have up their sleeves for Q2. Based on how the commission structure went downhill from Q4 of last year to Q1 of this year I have to say I'm not looking forward to the next incarnation of the Amazon affiliate program. I'll give them this though, they're very clever at figuring out ways to squeeze another buck from their affiliates. I just wish there was a good alternative to their program.

Just say 'no' to tiers! I really think that staying with Classic is one way we affiliates can send Amazon the message that we won't tolerate any old thing they dream up.
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:27 PM   #6
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Sorry, our reports won't be out until 5:00 PM February 29th, 2003!!

I'm still waiting for those reports!!
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:26 PM   #7
Timo
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Nothing up their sleeves except a small surprise:

"..note that we’ve reduced the non-media requirement by approximately 20% per tier.."

Quote:
Dear Associate,

We’re writing to thank you for your efforts this quarter, and to give you a preliminary view of the Associates compensation structure for Q2 2003.

We have decided to keep the same basic pricing structure for Q2 2003. Starting April 1, 2003 you will be given the choice to opt in to either the “Classic” structure or the “Tiered” structure as outlined below:

“Classic” structure includes the same referral fee rates that were in place in Q3 2002.

5% of the sale of Amazon retail items
5% of the sale of products sold by ToysRUs.com, BabiesRUs.com, and Imaginarium.com
2.5% of the sale of all other Marketplace products sold by third parties
15% for qualifying book links
“Tiered” structure that compensates you for the number (and type) of items sold through your links, and for putting an "Easy Link" on your homepage.

You will earn between 4.5% and 8% of the sale of Amazon retail items. See the table below for details.
15% for qualifying book links
5% of the sale of products sold by ToysRUs.com, BabiesRUs.com, and Imaginarium.com
2.5% of the sale of all other Marketplace products sold by third parties
You agree to add an Easy Link to your homepage(s) (note that we’ve added a text version of Easy Links)
You agree to sell a minimum number of non-media items. See the table below for details (note that we’ve reduced the non-media requirement by approximately 20% per tier)
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Old 03-25-2003, 11:06 PM   #8
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I think I sold enough non-media this quarter to have done okay with the tiered program, but that darn Easy Link requirement on the home page really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm an affiliate of Amazon...not a slave to the whims of their marketing staff.

I'll have to check out the text version of the Easy Link. However since they instituted the "Pick Up in Store" option which denies affiliates their commission, I've taken down my Toys 'R Us links, which means I wouldn't sell enough non-media next quarter. If they start paying on "Pick Up in Store" purchases I'll put the links back up and consider signing up for the tiered structure.

Thanks for the heads-up, Timo. (My affiliate ID starts with a letter toward the end of the alphabet so I'm always among the last to get these emails!)
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Old 03-26-2003, 04:27 PM   #9
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Rhea amazons program as it is already is way too complicated without the easy link requirement and non media sales requirement to get higher commissions.

They have things you get 2.5% of the sale, landing pages to thwart 15% commissions on books, and other noncommissionable links on their pages like for auctions.
Amazon is sneaky. You would think instead of the branding easy link banner requirement they would institute things like two tier commissions to allow webmasters to get something for referring other webmasters to use amazon.
Also the way the international amazon programs are integrated is funny.

Lots of amazon affiliates might link to Amazon UK to get a few more UK sales if the UK program paid in US currency or combined the earnings with US earnings. Instead this revenue potential is just ignored by Amazon.

The one thing that makes the changes Amazon can come up with for their
affiliate program interesting is all of the complaints and comments that their own affiliates spew forth on their own message board. I mean never in my life have I seen such negativity about an affilaite program spoken by the very people who are using the program on the merchants site itself.
Its very funny.
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Old 03-26-2003, 07:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
I think I sold enough non-media this quarter to have done okay with the tiered program, but that darn Easy Link requirement on the home page really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm an affiliate of Amazon...not a slave to the whims of their marketing staff.
I couldnt have said it better.

If AZ wants to convince me to to put their easy links on my front pages:

1) They must pay $$$$, not some percentage of sale increase. I have advertisers who spend good money, and I would never dream of putting in CPA advertising in to dilute impact.

2) AZ must guarantee easylink content.

3) No more of these drop off and pick ups without paying us commish

4) Do something with the marketplace. Used books are the bane of my existence. 75% increase in shipped items QTD over last quarter, and only 23% increase in revenue. These penny and nickel commissions are insulting.

Since I know most of the above will never happen.....
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Old 03-26-2003, 08:23 PM   #11
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I can't figure out if Amazon has been sneaky or if they've been incompetent or some combination of the two. Could the change in commission structure in Q4 have been a tactic to get us to pump up the volume before they hit us with a major reality check in Q1?

Was all that planned ahead of time? It's hard to imagine that it wasn't. The announcement email for the Q4 commission structure was *so* vaguely worded. We were all so excited we didn't bother to ask for specifics. We won't be taken in so easily again.

So let's say you're an affiliate who busted their butt to put up hundreds of Amazon links in Q4. It's not likely you'll take them down in Q1 and replace them with a competitor's links. And how interesting that the "Pick Up In Store" option was introduced in Q1 after so many of us had made a concerted effort to add non-media items to our sites.

I don't like the constant reinvention of the Associates program commission structure. It makes me deeply suspicious of what they might do next. I no longer spend time and energy working their program when I can spend it working AllPosters or CJ.

Amazon's discussion board is an amazing place. I think they're very clever letting us rant and rave on the premises rather than having us run around to dozens of webmaster and affiliate boards. Also, we're kind of like an enormous focus group for them.
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Old 03-26-2003, 09:09 PM   #12
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Some of us also got this in the E-mail, those of us in the top .01% did. It just didn't say how many items we have to sell. Guessing 3,000.

*****

Bonus #1--As an added incentive, if you are able to sell items, we will increase your referral fees by 2% for qualifying items

Bonus #2--As an additional added incentive, if you are able to sell items, we will increase your referral fees by an additional 2% for qualifying items
* You agree to add an Easy Link to your homepage(s) (note that weíve added a text version of Easy Links)
* You agree to sell a minimum number of non-media items. See the table below for details (note that weíve reduced the non-media requirement by approximately 20% per tier)

****
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Old 03-27-2003, 07:15 AM   #13
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Rhea,

I don't think Amazon planned this, I think their strategic planners are inept.

Having worked for quite a few major product marketing corporations that rely on sales forces (off-line mind you ), I can tell you that if they did what AZ has done over the past year, the sales people would have all quit.

I did I havent touched AZ product links in almost a year except to pull what I could replace. Sounds like you have too.

Amazons Goals are quite clear.

Try and pay the affiliate as little as possible for qualified traffic.

Get as much free advertising as possible.

Push as many people to AWS as possible so they can control content, reduce the amount of non purchasing traffic, create reliance, and eventually drop rates.

Become a flea market to compete with ebay.
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Old 03-27-2003, 09:07 AM   #14
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Sometimes I'm amazed at the reactions to Amazon. Let's take a step back here to remembe something many of you seem to have forgotten. Amazon is NOT in business to run an affiliate program they're in business to SELL stuff.

Pretty simple really when you think about it. Amazon is going to do whatever they can to sell more at less cost. If they did anything else their corporate officers would be facing fines, lawsuits and possibly jail time. They're a business and as a publicly held business they are required to run the business in the best way they can to make money. If you don't like companies making money then buy your books and cds from some sort of non-profit group.

The Amazon associates program is in place to:
1) drive sales and
2) do it cheaply.

If Amazon could get more sales more cheaply through another advertising mechanism they'd do so. I'm not sure where we get this whole sense of entitlement when it comes to affiliate programs. Amazon is under no obligation to pay you anything from sales you send to them. You're also under no obligation to send them traffic. If you want to get paid for the traffic you send them you can do so if you're willing to follow their rules. If you're not willing to follow their rules send the traffic somewhere else or send it to them for free.

Is Amazon being diabolical or inept in their planning? I don't think so. I think they're experimenting with the program parameters to find what works the best. In Q4 02 they tried a tiered structure to see if it'd drive more sales. In Q1 03 they added the easy link and non-media requirements to see if it'd drive more sales and more non-media sales. In Q2 they're further refining that structure. They added pick up in store because their customers want it. They're not paying on pick up in store likely because their margins are razor thin on such purchases. I'm sure that the people who came up with pick up in store didn't do so to try to hurt affiliates. They're just trying to help Amazon make more money for less cost.
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Old 03-27-2003, 11:14 AM   #15
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Perhaps it shouldn't matter to Amazon's affiliates what their agenda is, although it's difficult not to speculate about it. Assuming that their affiliate program is a meaningful source of income to them then one would think they would put considerable effort into making it not only profitable for the affiliates, but comfortable as well.

Threads on the Amazon associate discussion board indicate there is a great deal of discomfort and confusion on any number of issues. When an associate program generates that much confusion among its members it indicates that something is very wrong. I think Timo's probably right...the folks who are running that program simply don't know what the heck they're doing...as evidenced by the consistency with which their communications to the affiliates are inaccurate, incomplete, and untimely, and contain numerous errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, non-existent dates, broken images, inconsistent terminology, and missing data fields.

I'm sure Timo and I aren't the only associates who pulled Amazon links down in Q1. There's a good bit of discussion on the board about alternative affiliate programs to Amazon. If Amazon continues to reinvent its affiliate program quarterly, and continues to create mass confusion with its sloppily worded communications, then more affiliates will walk away.

Amazon can do whatever they like, it's their business. But I reserve the right to P&M about it anyway.

Last edited by Rhea; 03-27-2003 at 11:15 AM.
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