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Warning about Direct Track - Direct Response

Discussion in 'General Affiliate Marketing Forum' started by joem56, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. joem56

    joem56 New Member

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    I am currently working with Direct Track, as our affiliate tracking system.
    I would like to warn you all of that system. It is a system full of bugs, that cause as alot of damage during the year we are using it.
    There isn't an option of changing passwords on the system even to the Administrator, and there are alot of missing features that were changed recently.
    I complaint to them a few times and haven't receive any proper response.
    I feel hocked since our program grow alot, and it is very dificult to change the system at that point.
    That's why it is very important for me to warn you all before you also get hocked by them.
    I wish someone had warned me.

    JoeM
     
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  3. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hi JoeM,

    Welcome to 5 Star. Sorry to hear about your problems.

    From my experience DirectTrack is a VERY robust, fully featured program. It's so flexible you can make it do just about whatever you want to - which is a problem in that it adds complexity. I think almost every time I have heard complaints from merchants, it has turned out that the system did what they wanted it to - they just had it set up wrong.

    Now that Digital River has bought them, I would think support and features would get better, not worse. Let me see if I can get someone from DT over to address your concerns.
     
  4. DirectTrack

    DirectTrack New Member

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    Thanks for contacting me Linda.

    Joe, I'm not sure who you are? We work with a lot of Joe's. I do see that you are posting this exact message across several message boards as your first post. I have to question who you are?

    For the public's reference here...we had notified ALL clients weeks back that we needed to hide affiliate passwords for security purposes. Part of the reason was due to compliance issues with transitioning to the standards of our new public company. We clearly outlined that if an affiliate needs to retrieve their passwords, they would need to use a forgot password link to receive it via email. In addition, next week we have an option being released for our clients to generate a temporary password for their affiliates which will then require the affiliate to generate a new password.

    Joe, which other features have gone missing recently?

    Most people in the industry know me and know our company. We are honest, don't hide from any problems that come up, and certainly do not try and 'hock' or mislead anyone. Joe and anyone else here are free to contact me directly anytime.

    On a side note, we are growing a ton and have big things planned that will benefit all the Networks and Indie programs that we power.

    Mark Romanelli
    DirectTrack Manager
     
  5. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hi Mark,

    Thanks so much for coming over to weigh in on this thread. I know how hard DirectTrack works to support their customers. I suspect based on the post that there could be a language barrier or some soft of misunderstanding.
     
  6. Slojozen

    Slojozen Affiliate affiliate

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    Directtrack causes problems for me as an affiliate too. On one of my partership programs, it won't email me when there's a sale, nor even give me the statistics of the sales. It pretends it didn't happen in the statistics.
     
  7. Rob_TID

    Rob_TID Affiliate affiliate

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    Post specifics or they (or anyone else) won''t be able to help you.

    One of the things that really bugs me about the affiliate industry is when people start criticising others, but won't back it up.
     
  8. DirectTrack

    DirectTrack New Member

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    Slojozen, depending on the settings of the Merchant or Network you are working with, they may not have it configured to send you an email when a sale occurs, and they can choose what sales details they want to provide you. Have you taken this up with the Network or Merchant? Have them contact me if they don't know how to help you directly.

    Thanks
    Mark
     
  9. joem56

    joem56 New Member

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    Direct Track problems

    Thanks Lydia for your help.

    Hello Mark,
    My name is Yoel and, I am the Online Marketing manager in Babylon.com.
    Since we started working with you, the number of bugs on your system are huge. Our Affiliate manager is waisting most of his time writing tickets that get almost always an anoying autoreplay. Please check all our tickets and our correspondings with Mike.
    I am receiving almost everyday complaints from our affiliates about the system, like statistics not showing, server falls, not able to login, etc...

    The change of passwords is a must feature for us, not only for managing our affiliate program, but also for our Tracking marketing activities. I can't even explain you how unconfturble the system had become since all your policy changes.

    I feel very much that your account manager (that by the way left the company) sold us something that has nothing to do with the system today.

    As I mentioned we are checking now the option of moving from that system, but the process is so complex, and expensive, that it puts me in a really bad situation since I am the one who chossed Direct Track.

    Your answear about the privacy issue sounds a very formal answear, but we bought this feature first when we decided to get Direct Track and now we can't use it.

    I will also would like to mention another new "Policy change" that happened in the past, offcourse after we sign up with your company. We closed the deal with your company that includes an "Cutting Checks option" ( I even have this document signed) that was one criteria that made us choose Direct Track.
    After we signed the contract and Implemented the system, Direct Track renounce themself from this, saying again that there is a "Policy change". Saying that things change and Direct Track will not be able to send checks to affiliates.

    I invite you to check this case internal in your company.

    Mark, I don't have nothing against you personally or even your company. Please don't roll it back to me, I am just a frustrated client, that wish someone had warned me before.

    Thanks,

    Yoel
     
  10. DirectTrack

    DirectTrack New Member

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    Yoel

    All companies have policy changes on occassion. Unfortunatly for us, people hate change. We were acquired by a public company and were required to make changes quickly. We did not sell you with the intention of changing things to make your life difficult.

    I'm not sure what you mean by my response to the privacy issue being formal? We do not have a hidden agenda. This was necessary for us to do. We are not trying to make our clients life more difficult by doing this.

    Dropping the check cutting program was a disappointment to me as well. However there was too much liability for us and not enough clients using it. Needless to say there are hundreds of check cutting companies out there that actually charge less than what we were. We had also added an alternative to pay affiliates via Direct Deposit. I believe PartnerCentric actually has a partner that can cut checks for you at a very reasonable rate.

    I understand that not every client is always going to be happy. But I really hate to see someone going out of their way to try and ruin our reputation when they never even approached me personally about their issues. I email our clients weekly with updates and everyone has my number and email address. I've also checked your support tickets and see that our team has provided you adequate responses to your questions or problems.

    I'm sorry you are unhappy. Feel free to contact me in the future if you feel there are addtional problems. Outside of your disappointment with the affiliate passwords being hidden (which I commented on earlier), I don't see any other issues in your account that you are experiencing. If I'm wrong please detail the issue and email it to me.

    Best,
    Mark
     
  11. watchdogam_tech

    watchdogam_tech Affiliate affiliate

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    We've been managing multiple programs through DirectTrack (DT) and have been very pleased overall with their system. It is robust and well thought out. Biggest challenge is just trying to learn all it can do. Mark, just an FYI, I will be contacting you about how we can "convince" you to add support for passing dynamic landing page URLs as part of your affiliate link format. CJ does it, Linkshare doesn't. But, there are so many innovative things that can be done with this feature enabled.

    I agree with Linda, I have found DT to be fully functioned and have rarely come across capabilities that it has not been able perform. We've has some issues with the broadcast email functions and periodically some times where a particular merchant's DT site is unavailable, but this is rare. And no more/less idiosyncrasies as any other aff net.

    Also, when we sign each merchant on with DT, we had a DT account rep that personally walked us through the configuration and trained us on the key features of the DT system.

    I think the biggest challenge is that more affiliates need to be open to looking into the program. Many adopt the philosophy of only signing on with affiliates in the big three networks. But, there are some top-notch programs in these indeed networks that deserve to be recognized.
     
  12. Rob_TID

    Rob_TID Affiliate affiliate

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    Why?

    Criticising affiliates for not being open enough is all well and good, but when a new "affiliate network" comes on the market using DT and their only unique selling proposition is that affiliates "need to be more open" then I am afraid it's already in trouble.
     
  13. watchdogam_tech

    watchdogam_tech Affiliate affiliate

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    Rob, thanks for the follow-up. After reviewing my comment, I probably should have chosen more precise words. As we recruit affiliates for DT merchants, sometimes we come across affiliates that are simply not interested in joining yet another network interface. Trust me, there is no criticism on my part as I understand the overhead of managing multiple affiliate networks. I meant to imply that this is a DT (and indie program in general) hurdle. And, that we hope affiliates will find DT a viable and lucrative network to participate.
     
  14. Rob_TID

    Rob_TID Affiliate affiliate

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    There are certain things that hurt DT.

    Certain DT networks not paying affiliates.

    Certain DT networks rejecting legitimate applications. (One even rejected me because i have been "black flagged" for fraud and email spamming - what a load of rubbish - I don't even have a list yet!)

    Networks piggybacking on each others offers (seems to happen a lot with DT networks).

    When I have a problem with another DT network, it reflects badly on DT in general.

    The software is not the problem. The weak link is the people who are leasing the software. This is a growing perception problem among affiliates. Go over to wickedfire.com and mention DT and see what the response is (it will be overwhelmingly negative).

    There are some great networks that use DT too (cpaempire is pretty good for example, xy7 is getting an ok rep too), but on the whole I try to avoid new DT networks until they gain a good reputation.

    It's just a personal bias, but I am not the only one.
     
  15. DirectTrack

    DirectTrack New Member

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    Thanks Watchdog. We are considering this functionality for our 2007 projects. We've got a lot of cool innovations on the way as well.

    Rob,

    Do you have any suggestions on how we can remedy this opinion in the affiliate community? I know that the vast majority of the Networks we support are honest, trustworthy, and committed to running a reputable network. I do agree that with any new network, regardless of what technology supports them, you need to step lightly with them and start slow until they gain your trust.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Mark
     
  16. Rob_TID

    Rob_TID Affiliate affiliate

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    Hi Direct Track,

    Suggestions?

    Well firstly I would suggest vetting companies that want to lease your software. Where is their intial cashflow going to come from? There was a particular DT network that started and then had trouble paying their affiliates. Cash flow WILL be necessary when you start a network. Perhaps you can at least make sure they have a viable plan to pay their affiliates before you agree to lease them the software. That particular incident hurt you a lot IMHO.

    Fraud training would help too. Some of your networks simply don't have a clue what they are doing. Train someone in what to look for, what is legitimate fraud and what is ok. When "John Smith" applies for an affiliate account and you find another John Smith that is flagged for fraud, common sense dictates that John Smith is a very common name and they may indeed not be the same person.

    Discouage new networks from simply logging into other networks and presenting the offers as their own (while skimming some profit). This just looks amateur, unless I am completely mistaking what they are doing. Tell them to get on the phone and sell their program to merchants.

    As I said, the quality f the software isn't really the issue.

    Anyway, I hope you took this in a constructive manner as that is how I intended it.

    Cheers,
    Rob
     
  17. DirectTrack

    DirectTrack New Member

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    Thanks Rob. Very helpful indeed. A couple clients actually suggested the fraud training as well. We've done this in the past but not in a while. Looks like a good thing to bring back.

    The cash flow suggstion may be difficult. We typically advise our new clients that they should get prepayments whenever possible from advertisers to avoid a cash flow problem, but outside of that it is difficult to know their exact cash position. Ideally we would handle payments as an option for clients, but we haven't figured out a fair method to do so since there can be disputes over lead quality from advertisers and affiliates. Plus dealing with payments is a messy and labor intensive practice.

    Point well taken though...thanks again.

    Mark Romanelli
     
  18. asr_guy

    asr_guy Affiliate affiliate

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    DirectTrack is used by hundreds of affiliate networks out there and is quite well respected. If you have a problem with them it's better to take it up directly with them instead of public flaming, which generally doesn't get you very far.

    In my dealings with Mark and the gang at DT they've been quite responsive.

    Regards,
    Peter
     
  19. AffiliateGuild

    AffiliateGuild Affiliate affiliate

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    Hi Peter! Nice to see you in the forums again! Hope you hang out her more often :p
     
  20. Rob_TID

    Rob_TID Affiliate affiliate

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    Um, maybe you should look at who was responding on this thread then.
     
  21. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Rob, Mark came because I asked him to and alerted him to this thread. Otherwise I'm sure he doesn't have time to hang out in forums much. ;)

    I think Peter was saying you can get further sometimes going direct to the source because most networks don't read forums and therefore would not be able to make changes or correct things if they didn't know what the concerns were.

    I also agree that Mark and DT have been very responsive to any changes I'm aware of, that have been suggested that made sense.
     

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