Commission Junction suckle on my account balance
A bad affiliate program is one that does everything in its power to make you feel like you've just paid a visit to an alcoholic, sausage fingered, proctologist.
In the good old days Commission Junction were quite good to me. I was doing reasonably well with them, largely on the back of their relationship with eBay. A couple of years ago, if you wanted to earn commission from eBay referrals, your only option was to go through Commission Junction.
While Commission Junction have a large number of partners, 99.9% of my revenue with them was generated via eBay. When eBay decided it was time to fly solo, and started there own publisher program, 99.9% of the money I would have made through Commission Junction was made via eBay directly instead. So, since eBay flew the Commission Junction coup, my Commission Junction earnings have been sporadic at best. Currently I'm only partnered with Musicians Friend, which generally offers high involvement, high value, products for sale. My last commission probably occurred earlier this year, and since then it's been quiet.
Last month I logged into my dashboard and noticed that my account balance had dropped from the previous month, and the month before that. Four months ago I had $47 in my account. Today I'm down to $7. Why? Here's what I found buried in the Contact Us >> Check FAQs section of the Commission Junction site.
If your account was charged a $10 fee it is because you have not generated any commissionable transactions for a six-month period. Publishers that have less than $10 in their account or a zero balance after six-months of activity automatically have their accounts deactivated. Because publishers can sign-up for a Commission Junction account for no charge, our system carries thousands of accounts that are either duplicates or never generate any activity. This makes it necessary to remove those accounts from the system so that it can work more efficiently for publishers and advertisers that are generating revenue.
So each month I'm being charged $10 for what exactly? Extra support? Help in turning around my poor performance? I'm not sure. All I do know is that I never received any correspondence from Commission Junction to tell me they were siphoning my account. Maybe it's there way of coping with the financial crisis? Whatever it is, it leaves me less than impressed.
Now, I may not be a big user of Commission Junction at the moment, but that is not to say I wont find something I want to promote in the future. With that said though, Commission Junction make it very difficult for me to want to continue on with them in the future. If I don't generate a commission this month, my account will finally reach zero, which will see my account deactivated. Surely I can do something to avoid deactivation? Lets check their FAQs some more...
How can I prevent my account from being closed for non-activity?
Commission Junction deactivates accounts for lack of performance (dormant account policy) if they have not generated any commissionable transactions for six consecutive months. To prevent your account from being deactivated, you can make a purchase from one of your advertisers to generate a commission.
So to avoid deactivation I should generate leads... from myself? Doesn't sound 100% kosher, and there's probably sub-clauses in the individual agreements you enter into with the actual advertisers that could end up seeing you booted from their programs?
Commission Junction is one of the larger affiliate programs around, which is why I guess they figure they can get away with such a dick move. For the big publishers I'm sure none of this really matters, but perhaps Commission Junction should consider that big publishers all need to start somewhere. By raising the middle finger to the minnows of today, they may be pissing off the killer whales of tomorrow.