Overstock.com Shorting Affiliates?

For about a year now, Overstock has been having issues with crediting the correct commission amounts owed to affiliates. They pay one commission rate on media items and another rate on other products.

It seems Overstock is having trouble getting the correct rate with the correct products. Some non-media items are being paid at the lower media item rate.

This has been brought up to Overstock and Linkshare several times, and while claims of a fix have been mentioned few times, it is still not fixed.

The problem it seems is that Overstock is daily adding new sku’s to their site, and Linkshare has trouble processing this file from Overstock often enough.

Clark Stephens, one of the Affiliate Managers at Overstock now says they are once again working on a fix and any affiliate noticing incorrect commissions should go through their reports and let them know the correct amount owed and they will take care of it.

However, what about those affiliates that don’t know about the issue, are they just out of luck? Moreover, what about affiliates with thousands of products sold for Overstock, should they have to do the time consuming task of going back through their reports for the last year to figure out if they were paid the correct amount on each item?

Shouldn’t Linkshare be all over this, as they are paid based on the amount affiliates are paid, isn’t this money out of their pockets also?

How many affiliates have no idea they aren’t being paid the correct amount and are just out of luck if they don’t send in a report to Overstock requesting correct payment?

This has been an ongoing issue, if you want to follow the history of it there is a lot of reading to do.

It was first mentioned in a post Here this past January, mentioned again in July, and in December it is still being discussed.

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.

4 Responses to Overstock.com Shorting Affiliates?

  1. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    Pretty ridiculous to let a problem go on for this long. It should have been handled the first time it was brought to Overstocks attention. I'm going thru all my sales and will have to send in all the mis-commissoned sales to get money owed. With the sheer size of their program and how long this has been a problem, who knows how much they owe their affiliates. And do they have any plans to notify their affiliates of the problem so they can go thru their sales or of fixing the problem and paying past commissions? They haven't so far.

  2. Sheryl says:

    This issue began in July 2003 when Overstock changed their commission structure to media and non-media items. Shawn Schwegman was the affiliate manager at the time. Considering the size of the Overstock affiliate program, I would venture to guess that there have been hundreds of thousands of transactions that were erroneously commissioned at 3% when they should have been commissioned at 7%.

    I hold both Linkshare and Overstock responsible for this. As to Linkshare, it does not surprise me one bit. This is just one of many examples I have personally experienced where Linkshare has not acted in accordance with their fiduciary duty to affiliates and because there are no statutes or laws that cover what we do, they know they can get away with it. In all fairness, though, all of the other networks that I work with have also not acted in accordance with their fiduciary duty in some way or another.

    I just ran a query in Synergy Analytics for the period 7/1/03-9/30/03 and one of the items listed through the Product Success Report is “Alice Dalton Brown Summer Breeze Framed Print” with a sales price of $96.99 and a commission of $2.91. I reported every instance of an incorrect commission to Overstock at the time it was reported and Overstock made a manual adjustment to my check each time so they are acting in good faith but enough is enough. Someone needs to check every single non-media SKU and get this resolved once and for all.

  3. Chris Cooper says:

    Shouldn’t there be a “somewhat simple” fix on the Overstock end? Of course, I don’t know their internal reporting, but I would think they can audit their internal sales reports with commission paid reports to find out exactly what commissions have been paid for each item to each publisher.

    If a SKU is showing commission paid at an incorrect amount, they could make the manual correction.

    To leave it to each individual affiliate to find this out and notify Overstock of the shortage is doing a dis-service to their affiliates, and damaging their reputation of running a great program.

    Surely it will take a long time to query their database and find the errors, but annoucing that adjustments have been made and the problem has been fixed going forward would be a proactive measure. I think that method would go over very well with their partners and help to mend some damaged relationships.

  4. Connie,
    I am surprised an issue like this has been going on for so long. I will discuss this with Chris Mohler of Overstock the next time I speak with him. The communication in this industry between Merchants and Affiliates needs to improve.