Linkshare calls this an enhancement?

For a long time affiliates have had issues with outdated promotions and expired coupons in Linkshare. Many merchant links in Linkshare have expiration dates listed, but are a year or more past that date. Many don’t have expiration dates listed but when tested, they are no longer valid. So Linkshare recently announced a new feature:

CREATIVE START AND END DATE FEATURE
To help you manage Merchant links and give you greater insight into special campaigns and promotions, LinkShare has implemented a start and end date for all Merchant creative including text, banner, and individual links.

Unfortunately, all they did is add a generic start and end date to every link in Linkshare like this:
Valid between 27-Feb-2007 – 01-Mar-2012

Now even obviously expired promotions and coupons in Linkshare, those with past expiration dates already listed show this:
Valid between 27-Feb-2007 – 01-Mar-2012

How is this an enhancement? How would this possibly help affiliates? It makes no sense to me. The only thing that would be helpful is if merchants were forced to put in correct expiration dates on every link and were forced to remove expired promotions. Linkshare putting a generic expiration date all the same on each link in Linkshare is just plain idiotic if you ask me.

About Connie Berg

Connie Berg is the Founder of FlamingoWorld.com and iShopDaily.com. Founded in 1998, FlamingoWorld.com offers discounts and coupons from online retailers, while iShopDaily.com focuses on price comparison and product search. ForMeToCoupon.com is a new venture which offers an automated, customized affiliate coupon feed which consolidates coupons and deals across all major affiliate networks in a standard format. You can find Connie on Twitter @connieberg.

9 Responses to Linkshare calls this an enhancement?

  1. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    Yep, straight up mess. What I was talking about in this thread:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=86465

    And the example I gave was:

    Gardener's Supply Company – Save 10% on orders of $75 or more!
    (10% off $75 – expires 52705)Valid between 27-Feb-2007 – 01-Mar-2012

    They are putting valid dates on expired links. Expired links in the creative being one of my biggest pet peeves. Now putting valid dates on them. Makes no sense.

  2. Mike Allen says:

    And the expiration date time zone is a big issue too. It's not any U.S. time zone but GMT time and that's 5 hours ahead of Eastern and 8 hours ahead of Pacific time. Not good.

    Plus, as I understand things, an expired link no longer goes to the landing page specified for that link but defaults to the home page or default page. So, for example, if an Overstock.com coupon link (link is required since no coupon code is provided) is scheduled to expire on a specific date then it will deactivate 6 hours and 59 minutes ahead of the usual 10:59 PM MST expiration time stated at Overstock.com.

    I guess the only workaround for Overstock.com would be to manually adjust the expiration date with LinkShare to correspond to the real time but that would be confusing because it would look like the link expires a day later unless someone thought about the time zone implications — that's even hard to write. 🙂

    I like clear-cut expiration dates but they need to be clean and in U.S. time zones if it's for a U.S. merchant.

  3. How do you spell comic relief? C-H-I-S-S.

    Check this out.

    Jeff

  4. Amen! But at least there is a tool now merchants can use to set the expiration date of a link in advance.

    I have never seen the Linkshare interface from the Merchant side. Did they have the ability to enter an expiration date before the change, but the date was not visible to affiliates? If they didn't, some improvement should come out of this over the coming weeks and months.

    It's hilarious how even the most brand protective merchants tend to forget to notify you about exiting promotions sometimes. Upper management of advertiser are concerned about reports of affiliate sites promoting expired coupons and customer complains that come with it (if the coupon is not being honored). That happens on a higher level.

    They believe that the fault is on the side of the affiliate … "Don't they check if a promotion is still valid?". They have no idea that this is a two way thing. Affiliates are no fortune tellers. I bet connie is by now something that comes close to that, because of years of experience with those issues.

    It's an educational issue. Some program managers are still not aware of the existence of a problem here and why. About a year ago did I have a great discussion with some other affiliates and merchants as well. The result of this was an article about promotions and coupons for your affiliate marketing channel.

    It is directed to affiliate managers and account reps at networks. You might find it to be useful as well. The Article.

    Cheers!

  5. James Dorans says:

    Actually no this is the first time we have had the ability to add start and end dates to creatives.

    I have had almost 3 years experience with dealing with the Linkshare back end for merchants. Before I would just put the coupon offers on my email to my affiliates with start and end dates. I am correcting now for the past so I hope that my affiliates do not get weird dates as of 27-Feb-2007 – 01-Mar-2012

  6. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    "There's a lot of natural search benefit to the merchant…"

    Just so you know, on the whole that doesn't fly with affiliates. So you're going to be hearing a lot more about that when it starts to come out or you can just check out past Link Connector threads.

  7. Panicstricken says:

    What's wrong, Jonathan? Only place you can find customers to refer using search? Revel all you want in the fact you don't need to actually dress for success to make a buck or two, "affiliates", but your 15 minutes of fame seems to be just about up.

    Battle stations affiliates! All while CJ, LS, Performics et al buddy up with Kris Jones and the few others that understand the game: business. Put a tie on or go back to pumping gas.

  8. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    lol, that made absolutely no sense. Sounds like somebody with "job" stress and who for some reason is worried about posting under their usual name. Not too hard to figure out.

    Affiliates aren't here to help the merchants in the SERPS. If you want that, you pay for it. You can read how it turns out:

    <a href="http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=68106&highlight=link+connector&quot; rel="nofollow"&gt <a href="http://;http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=68106&highlight=link+connector” target=”_blank”>;http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=68106&highlight=link+connector

    "Put a tie on or go back to pumping gas."

    Lounge gear 🙂

  9. glinted says:

    I have just read of how LS have made expired links now have an expired date of 2012, all I can say is this is absolutely ridiculous. I won't be updating any LS merchants links like I was planning and I'm just glad I had not got around to it now. WHAT A MESS!

    The only merchants links I will be now updating is the ones who inform me they have completely cleaned up all their old links and now have a new set of links available.

    I urge all other affiliates to do the same and make sure the merchants clean up their old links before going to the trouble of adding links that on the surface say they are active but are really several years old and expired years ago. The worse thing you can do to your visitors and your website is to offer them a great promotion but for them to only find it does not exist anymore. Although LS's idea to enforce an expiry date is the right and very overdue one, the way they have just made all expired links with 2012 is nearly as bad as what CJ done to us with the whole LMI disaster. Obviously they also never consulted their affiliates about this and someone at LS has absolutely no idea of how affiliate marketing works in the real world. Sometimes I just don't understand where these companies get these idiots who make these incredibly stupid decisions from?