Let me start by saying this: I admire AJ Madison’s customer support, aggressive pricing, and marketing methods. What follows in this post stems from an unfortunate affiliate experience that serves as a vivid illustration of the affiliate communication channel breakdown. While it may in no way be characteristic of the overall brand, it must be brought to light.
On November 23 I clicked an affiliate’s link to place my order for a fairly expensive item (at the 3% commission that AJ Madison was paying affiliates then, the commission should’ve exceeded $75):
I was informed that no commission got credited to the affiliate account, and, in fact, no sale registered:
I checked my computer to ensure that the cookie is in place (and, of course, it was after me clicking the affiliate link for at least two times before placing my order), and on November 25 I emailed AJ Madison’s affiliate program manager (Jonathan) about the problem:
The below order was placed via a CJ affiliate link, but the commission was never credited. Could you please let me know what happened?
I also encouraged the affiliate to follow up with the merchant.
Giving the affiliate program manager the benefit of the doubt (after all, 11/25 was followed by a long Thanksgiving weekend), I reminded them of the problem on November 30 writing:
I would highly appreciate you responding to my below message, and letting me know why the $75+ commission was never credited to the affiliate account.
To this date, after being contacted by email (my messages) and via the Commission Junction’s internal messaging system (by the affiliate) — total of 5 efforts within 20 calendar days — the reply from AJ Madison’s “dedicated program managers” (see below) is yet to be received.
As I was observing all of the above happening, I was happy to see Melanie Seery’s post on the importance of timely manager responses to affiliate support needs, and Logan Thompson’s post where among the 10 most annoying things about the affiliate marketing industry he listed “affiliate managers who don’t listen”. The problem of communication in affiliate marketing is huge. Between the attention deficit on affiliate network level and unanswered/ignored affiliate messages to merchants, everyone who is involved (affiliates, advertisers, networks, OPMs) is loosing real money. A recent survey attributed as much as “$338.5 billion in lost business to flawed customer service efforts” [source], and the fact that we don’t have such date for the affiliate marketing industry, does not mean it isn’t happening the same way in affiliate marketing. Day in and day out disappointed affiliates just pull merchants’ links, and terminate relationships with unresponsive networks and advertisers.
So, what is the maximum acceptable period of time affiliates are willing to wait for a reply to their message?
- 79% of affiliates want to get a reply within 3 business days
- 21% are willing to wait for as long as 7 business days
If you haven’t yet voted on this poll, please do.
It is clearly unacceptable to wait for a team of “dedicated program managers” to remain silent on a problem for over 20 calendar (or 12 business) days.