Commission Disfunction and FraudClick : A Peppered Rant

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OK, I dont know exactly where Im going with the title (tried to come up with a good one for Valueclick but really couldnt.)

For those of you whove been following SEJ (Search Engine Journal), Im sure you’ve seen my post on ValueClick and my experience with them as an advertiser. The story still gets me because every time I talk to a potential client about generating leads, 90% of the time, the client has had bad experience and I blame companies such as Valueclick for this conception of the industry. In no way am I saying they are the only ones to blame, but they are part of the problem. Am I the only advertiser who had this bad experience with them? Probably not. You can probably figure that out for yourself just by looking at a class action lawsuit against ValueClick for unethical way(s) of generating leads.

A new story just broke out by Pepperjam’s CEO, Kris Jones, regarding Commission Junction and Pepperjam business relationship. I cant get into the details of this story because it is long, but you can read the full story here.

My point, for this post, is this. Ive never understood a company who places monetary value over good, ethical business relationships. Of course, it all comes down to money, thats why we are in business right? I believe me, and Im sure most of you will agree, good/ethical ways of doing business will take you further in the long run.

If Valueclick would have acted differently with my company, I could have given them thousands of dollars in business, and if I decided not to stay with them but they would have acted the way they should have towards the situation, I would have given the company a good name, a good reputation. Thats what new clients go by, right?

Same with Pepperjam, they have given Commission Junction a lot of business over the years and now acting what seems to be un-fairly as described by Kris Jones in his latest post recapping the story.

As he says in this blog post, and I do feel this way, we dont blog to give companies a bad name (well, if they really p*ss us off, I guess) but as bloggers, at least many of us, we have a duty and responsibility to share these stories with our community to know what goes behind the scenes, and we would love to hear everyones experience with these companies so we all could learn from them.

Pablo Palatnik
Pablo Palatnik is the author of the blog PalatnikFactor, focusing on all things Online Marketing and Search Engine Optimization specialist for Fortune3, a shopping cart... Read Full Bio
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  • Vlad

    I think they might just shooting themselves in the foot. As some one said elsewhere, it will come down to good old ROI. As long as affiliate marketers stick by PJ side and advertisers realize good ROI the PJ will come out a winner.

  • Mark Welch

    Pablo, I think it’s important to realize that we’ve only seen one side of this “story.” CJ hasn’t replied (and probably won’t, publicly), and no OPM or merchant has verified these claims.

    Perhaps more important, PJ has deleted all “non-supportive” replies to its own blog posting — it won’t tolerate criticism nor even questions. Earlier, PJ actually shut down its forum on because it was unwilling to respond to any criticisms (even mild ones).

    I am inclined to believe that CJ did contact its merchants and tell them that they must choose between CJ and PJ. Perhaps they have some good reasons; perhaps not. It’s probably legal.

    I despise both companies (I think they are unethical and incompetent, for reasons I’ve posted many times elsewhere), but I do believe that it’s important to be fair.

    What I find most amusing is that I believe that the most logical outcome of an “us or them” choice will be increased research by merchants and a prompt change to a different affiliate network (neither CJ nor PJ).

  • Jacques Snyman 4 SEO

    Unfortunately in our modern day and age it seems that cash is king and that ethics and long term sustainability fly out the window in the quest for immediate gratification / cash.

    To make others aware of unethical business practise is to prevent them from feeding greedy, selfish entities by sending cash their way.

    Informed customers / consumers are able to informed decisions, so sharing lessons learnt is definitely a great way to identify unscrupulous operators.