View Full Version : CJ change - charging for dormant accounts

02-26-2003, 08:59 PM
Just received an email from CJ..it contains this :

When the new Publisher Service Agreement and productive publisher program become effective on March 28, 2003, Commission Junction will begin assessing a monthly fee of USD $10 to publisher accounts that have not generated any commissions for six consecutive calendar months. The purpose of this fee is to ensure that publishers in our network are producing results. Publisher accounts that have not generated any commissions for six consecutive months and do not have a positive account balance will be closed.

thats not a good thing :( I hardly ever use CJ anymore..but I guess ill have to start, just incase.

I guess six months is a long time not to get a commission, but $10 a month? whats the point? its not like it costs them anything to have the publisher on board..

02-26-2003, 09:34 PM
This is just so they can legally take the money from people who have dorment accounts, and never intend to claim that money or have forgotten about it, I myself probably have a few cj accounts dotted about that I have no intention of using but may have a few $ in them.

02-26-2003, 09:52 PM
Just make enough money to get the check and then dump the account. Then you won't lose any money or ever have to pay anything.

02-26-2003, 09:55 PM
but then their might be a killer programme on there that I want to run after my account is closed..and I aint goin through the signup again! one lead every six months shouldnt be too hard I guess..

02-26-2003, 10:41 PM
Its a dumb idea.
I suppose cj wants to be able to tell potential merchants and advertisers that they have x amount of active affiliates.
Why they can not look at their data and determine this without such a stupid tactic is hard to understand.
If they don't want to deal with publishers that are inactive they should screen new ones more closely.
They dont seem to be instituting anything like this.
This is a bad idea it just hurts CJ's reputation with their larger affiliates. Because this type of thinking is parasitic and can lead to other ways to squeeze out extra revenue.

02-26-2003, 10:45 PM
clickxchange already do this, I had some money in a clickxchange account and when I went back they had taken it all for account maintenence, it was about $12.

I reckon alot of other places will follow suit.

02-26-2003, 11:16 PM
It makes both of these companies look less credible which should be the last thing an adnetwork or affiliate program should ever wish to do. Before signing up it kind of implies to green newbie joinees that these networks don't expect most of their affiliates to make anything and wish to ensure that the network at least makes something anyway.

Its just like default fees, the principle is the same. Also what kind of affiliate network would wish to abandon those who earn them nothing and cost them no resources to maintain? Maybe they will be important later on but if they return months later and start being active the fee will make them doubt your organization and start immediately looking for a replacement. Also green webmasters who earn nothing but show ads with an affiliate network give free branding and who would not want that? Apparently CJ doesen't like free branding is what I gather.

Its bad business simply put. Its like an anti refer a friend program that costs nothing to set up but takes away a little of a company's prestige, future earnings, and future sign ups a little at a time.

02-27-2003, 08:14 AM
I went to CJ to try to cancel my account, and could not find an option to do so. Oh well, guess they'll be charging me $10 a month. Anybody know how to cancel an account there?

02-27-2003, 09:10 AM
It just spreads bad will from CJ. The only reason why i can think that they would do that is to hussle affiliate in putting links to CJ on thier site.

02-27-2003, 10:10 AM
I have a dormant account with CJ - haven't used it in about a year. I didn't receive an email and quite honestly not sure I could recall the password/ID for it. I'm assuming they can't legally just serve me a bill 2 years down the road......er...right???

02-27-2003, 11:41 AM
Luckenbach, the account will be closed as long as it stays dormant, so you don't have to close it yourself.

02-27-2003, 12:05 PM
cyburrr - You don't have anything to worry about. If you dont have anything in your account they will just close your account. If you have $5 in there, they will take that and then close your account.

Anybody that doesn't like what CJ is going to do only has to earn 1 cent and then CJ will leave their account alone for another 6 months. That doesn't seem like a difficult task.

02-27-2003, 02:31 PM
I have invited the cj.com senior management to comment on this thread. No guarantees but they have had a presence in this Community for years.

Play nice :)


02-27-2003, 03:12 PM
Thanks for pinging me Steve_S.

Regarding the new productive publisher policy, it is designed to do several things, all of which should make things better for both advertisers and publishers.

I don't see what there is to complain about since if you aren't earning any commissions within a six-month period, you probably should not have an account in the first place. Why else are you joining CJ if not to earn commissions?

OK, why is this a good thing:
1) It's the old 80/20 rule. Advertiser will focus on publishers that are earning commissions in the network and not be distracted by the 80% that are not doing anything.

2) Reporting will be faster because there will not be unproductive publishers generating reports to see that they generated a few impressions and clicks but no commissions. Advertisers will not have to manage as many relationships and will know that they are working with productive publishers. This will make their reporting and publisher management tools much faster too.

3) Publishers will get more attention from their advertisers because there will be less "static" obscuring their efforts.

Finally, no one is getting billed for the dormant account fees. If their balance is zero, their account will just get closed. If the have a balance of between $0.01 and $24.99, they can request to have their account closed and the balance paid in full. If they do nothing, eventually the account will go down to zero (@$10/month) and get closed.

I hope this helps clear things up.


Todd Crawford
VP Sales & Bus Dev
Commission Junction

02-27-2003, 03:49 PM
Todd: You welcome :) and thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day to help our members with your post.

02-28-2003, 01:21 PM
Todd the reasoning you have makes sense in theory.
But what about large web publishers that have inactive cj accounts because they think they might need them one day?
This is in effect abandoning them which is not so wise.
If large publishers know they have to be "active" to remain in CJ they will implement a few links just to remain active. This will give you a false idea of who your potential big publishers are too.

Also if scores of small publishers who have signed up for cj and not implemented them log in months later to discover their accoutns closed might they then spread bad PR about CJ to their site's visitors? If the aim is to weed out "nonperformers" this will be what happens on some level.
It just seems a nice cheap advertising campaign for your competitors. Linkshare or Befree could not have designed a better campaign for themselves if they tried. Nothing is better for the competition than bad publicity brought on by a company itself. If 10,000 or 100,000 nonperforming webmasters are dropped from CJ just how much noise do you think they can make? The non professioals are the ones that compalin the most in message boards like this and on their own sites.

If publishers are already ranked by earnings performance why not just remove inactive publishers from this figure and make it so they can become active again without any funny fees being removed?

I would imagine it costs far more time and money to get a new publisher active or not than it takes to maintain a few stats reports for publishers that are inactive and may wish to log in sometime in the future. If the strains of low performers checking stats is too much why not implement ads of some sort to be shown to these low performers which would pay for the costs of processing their reports.

There are wiser solutions that would enable CJ to focus on its cash cow publishers better. This type of thing makes CJ's larger affiliates question the long term viability of CJ as well. Thats what is happeneing here isn't it?

02-28-2003, 01:32 PM
Most publishers register their multiple websites under one account and do not create several accounts. Those that have created multiple accounts tend to never access the unproductive ones - they usually forget they created them.

I appreciate your opinion firstmark but I am confident, based on our research on the accounts that will get deleted and our overall strategy, that this is the right way to go about it. A lot of thought and research was put into this decision - we didn't just make this decision over night. Many people were involved and a lot of data was crunched.

02-28-2003, 02:41 PM
Some respectfull thoughts in no special order:

1. I like the idea and support it.

2. I have viewed this topic on a number of Communities and I don't see any "large publishers" complaining. Perhaps I missed a post or two?

3. Inherint in this issue is the diverse cross section of "Webmasters". Respectfully, the term could use a bit of refining. :) If you can't generate $ in 6 months you don't belong in the network. I really don't see that much difference than trying to get into tribalfusion. Sure, I would love to have one of my sites in the network but I need more traffic. You can use this procedure as a goal to strive for but really, 6 months is a very very long time.

4. I wouldn't call me a large publisher by any means but my cj profile may in fact be rather typical of a lot of folks. I have 2 sites which generate sales and one site that has not generated a single sale in over 125K views and the adverts are very targeted. They all get lumped together into a single account so I can stay in the network and since I'm attempting to do this full time I have another goal to shoot for with my non productive site.

5. An email was sent on this new policy. If folks don't read their email or frequent Communities then thats their problem. However, I would suggest a "pop" with the new policy which displays as soon as a geek hit's cj.com and then logs in.

Edit: 6. This space has plenty of room for lots of players. A single network can't be all things to all people and if they try they will fail. Smart geeks (YOU) understand this so here is an example: alertra.com is a great service which I use and endorse. So I plan to join shareasale.com to earn money from the sales since they don't belong to cj.com and currently, shareasale does not require a sale to stay in the network.

Just my 2 cents worth. :angel:

03-01-2003, 03:34 AM
Originally posted by jokearound
Just received an email from CJ..it contains this :

thats not a good thing :( I hardly ever use CJ anymore..but I guess ill have to start, just incase.

I guess six months is a long time not to get a commission, but $10 a month? whats the point? its not like it costs them anything to have the publisher on board.. this really does sux, what happens if the publisher wants to use their program in the future, they'd have to resignup etc etc.. would it cost them more to retain a publisher or resignup the same publisher?

i'm speaking from both a publishers point of view as well as an employee of a merchant (vbulletin.com) who uses cj.com for their affiliate program

03-04-2003, 03:42 PM
clickXchange does have an inactive fee but it is different, and I believe better.

clickXchange will bill $2 a month for an account not logged into for over 6 months if there is any outstanding balance. So nothing will be taken out if someone logs in at least twice a year. We had a considerable time sink in dealing with all of these old accounts and needed a way to deal with them.

This has the same effect of closing out old accounts without punishing affiliates with a very slow developement time.

Craig Tammel

03-04-2003, 05:19 PM
It's not really a big deal since the most one can lose is $24.99, and you can avoid that if you stay on top of things.

I don't see the need for it, though. I've received some big (multi-thousand dollar) checks from CJ in the past; why nickel-and-dime me now, cancel my account, and create a disincentive for me to work with CJ in the future? I'm not even sure I would be able to scope out potential programs if my account was cancelled.

If they want to encourage publishers to use their site, why not encourage publishers to pay realistic commissions (i.e. > 5%)?
Why not structure their fees so that merchants don't find it cheaper to start their own program once they get big?
Why not require merchants to spell out EXACTLY what constitutes a sale/lead? I was looking at programs a couple of days ago and found that many merchants are missing specifics.

03-04-2003, 10:05 PM
Bruin I agree Clickxchange went about closing inactive accounts in a much better fashion.
With the way CJ went about it they just create multitudes of dead links from those who may generate one sale a year even if they can not every 6 months.

03-05-2003, 06:37 PM
Hi Everyone, I'm new to this dynamite forum!

I wear 3 hats. I am an affiliate - an Affiliate Manager and an AM consultant so I think I can see all sides of the game.

I think I understand the motive and I believe it's more about efficiency and helping Merchants be successful than it is about money.

I have been consulting with 4 CJ merchants to help grow their programs. All VERY different companies & all great programs. They all have around 2,000 affiliates signed up. They each have ONLY about 600 ACTIVE affiliates.

Coincidence? No, I think that because CJ is so well known and easy to join that many people who are not even serious about Internet marketing join because it's so easy. And many of them join every program in the network, even if there is no compatability with their site and then they just never get around to even adding links.

Having a large number of non-performing affiliates can hurt a merchants EPC rating, Then when you affiliates go in to evaluate a program you may look at a merchant and say "wow, they have a low EPC, I won't bother with them." Many times these are great programs, with high earnings but if they have too much dead wood it can make their ratings look bad.

So I think the $10 is making a strong statement to Merchants that CJ is trying to help them clean house. Like Todd said, it's very time consuming for Merchants and slows the network down for us all to have so many affiliates that aren't really even affiliates and don't even put up any banners.

I am an affiliate as well as an AM and consultant so I can see all sides of the game. I have joined many programs that sound good one day, then just never got around to promoting. I don't blame them for trying to make the network more dfficient. I see affiliates as very similar to an outside sales force. Merchants should offer training, support and tools to help them be successful, plus be there to motivate, listen and help set your affiliates up for success. But in the real world if you don't make sales within the 1st 3 months you are certain to be fired. So I think a little $10 warning after 6 months is justified.

However I do sympathize with new affiliates and affiliates who REALLY ARE trying and just have not made it. I am very PRO affiliate, not just on the merchants side but I think clearing out the real dead wood will help us all. Maybe with enough feedback CJ could offer an extension to affiliates who are really trying and committing to make some sales somehow. I just think all the ones that join and then never lift a finger should be out. In fact that's an even better idea. Just like a lot of other sites - if your account is inactive or dormant for X months you get a warning email and then it's closed.

(Sorry to write a book!)

Linda Buquet
Affiliate Program Optimization, Consulting & Recruiting
For High Integrity, Affiliate-Centered, Parasite-Free Merchants

03-05-2003, 07:21 PM
Linda said: "......(Sorry to write a book!)"

No problem. Keep those fingers on the keyboard as I'm confident your multi-perspective on this issue and many others will help all of us. :)

Welcome to the "Village" and good luck!

03-05-2003, 10:07 PM
What keeps running through my mind is that CJ's overhead is also our overhead. If non-productive affiliate accounts cost CJ money then CJ passes that on to the merchants, who in turn pass it on to us in the form of reduced commissions and incentives.

I was bounced from a program I joined but never 'worked'. It didn't bother me.

03-05-2003, 10:59 PM
If non performers can hurt a CJ merchants EPC just what do you imagine loads of dead links describing the company which were put up by now deactivated nonperformers will do for their brand and their future sales?
Also is it really so wise to abandon nonperformers just because they have not generated results in a 6 month time period?
People with websites have influence even if they are not good at affiliate marketing, to deactivate them and let them have lots of dead links can only be bad for public relations.

03-05-2003, 11:26 PM
Originally posted by firstmark
If non performers can hurt a CJ merchants EPC just what do you imagine loads of dead links describing the company which were put up by now deactivated nonperformers will do for their brand and their future sales?
Also is it really so wise to abandon nonperformers just because they have not generated results in a 6 month time period?
People with websites have influence even if they are not good at affiliate marketing, to deactivate them and let them have lots of dead links can only be bad for public relations.

I thinkt he links will still go throught o there site just no one will get commission or does cj collect commission on them I wonder.

03-06-2003, 10:52 AM
Thanks for the warm welcome Steve!

You know the other thing I was just thinking which firstmark alluded to is Branding. Merchants are getting a ton of free impressions and branding and clicks through sites that may not be generating any sales. So the merchants will be losing out on some benefits too. There are always pros and cons to everything I guess.

OT Steve,
I've been looking for a good online position checker and I love yours. I started a pretty popular thread on another board for people to list good web "power tools". I'll add a link to your site and get you some traffic. :typing:

Linda Buquet
Affiliate Program Optimization, Consulting & Recruiting for
High Integrity, Affiliate-Centered, Parasite-Free Merchants