I was contacted by my Publisher Manager in TradeDoubler today and I was asked for my opinion about my relationship with TradeDoubler and with her. I am always glad to give feedback, so I decided to write a series of articles with my feedback for TradeDoubler, Zanox, Affili.net, TradeTracker, CommissionJunction and other affiliate networks I am working with.
I first met Sheetal Sahota (International Publisher Manager for TradeDoubler) in January 2012 and I must say that she managed to change my opinion about TradeDoubler in less than a month. She learned and understood my business model and helped me develop in the directions I wanted to grow in. She presented to me new business opportunities and new partners that fit my needs. Sheetal Sahota helped me establish new partnerships and introduced me to other colleagues of hers in TradeDoubler who were managing programs I needed to participate in. These collaborations will hopefully lead to more sales and commissions. I was also impressed by Sheetal Sahota’s response time to my emails, which is generally around a few minutes.
I have been working with TradeDoubler since January 2009. During these 3 years there were a few times when I needed help from TradeDoubler. I opened a few TradeDoubler support tickets, but some of them were never answered and others were answered in more than a week. It can be very unpleasant to lose 2 weeks’ worth of commissions because the TradeDoubler representatives just don’t care. Before I met Sheetal Sahota, the only person in TradeDoubler that really listened to my concerns was Claes Burlin (Product Development Manager in TradeDoubler) who was gentle enough to explain to me some of the features in the new TradeDoubler interface. He was also interested in users’ point of view, appreciated my feedback and understood my needs from a platform that wants to be international but often fails in this attempt. Thanks, Claes Burlin, you are doing a good job in TradeDoubler!
Even if Claes Burlin and his colleagues are working on improving TradeDoubler’s interface, there are still some major issues they need to solve. As far as I’m concerned, the biggest problem is that if I want to search for programs in a particular market, I have to register a website in that market. I can’t search for French programs if my website is registered only in Switzerland, even if we speak the same language! This bothers me very much because I have an international website and I want to find airlines regardless of their market. But let me give you another example of how complicated things can get: in order to see if Expedia has an affiliate program on TD, I have to manually register 100 websites in 100 markets. This also means that I have to add 100 tags on my homepage so as to certify 100 times that I am the owner of the website. Sounds logical, right? After having done this, I have to perform 100 searches in order to find out if Expedia has an affiliate program on TradeDoubler. If you still think this is reasonable, try Zanox: you can search all the markets with one click. If you consider this to be unpleasant, try Affili.net: you have to register and log in to 100 accounts in order to perform the 100 searches above, for every single program!
TradeDoubler has an obsolete idea about markets. It is built on a market-centred logic which makes the life of an international publisher as difficult as it can be. The “search mechanism” described above is only the beginning. After setting up 10 programs in 10 different markets, you start making some sales. The real problem with this logic is that every market/country counts as one separate account, so you receive separate payments from every market/country. This way, you can earn 100EUR in a month and receive no payment and earn 20EUR the next month and receive 2 or 3 payments. This is because your earnings are divided between the various markets you are registered in and the minimum payment amount is of (approximately) 50EUR in each market. So, you get paid only when you reach the minimum amount in a market, which is difficult for a small publisher.
Reports on TradeDoubler are minimal/quite useless. You have to perform a lot of operations (clicks, date selections, etc) in order to find the things you are interested in. Nevertheless, the new homepage is very useful. Of course, one can get frustrated when he sees on the homepage that he has earned 200EUR but he does not receive a cent that month, because of the logic described above.
Overall, I think that TradeDoubler is on the right track and that if they encourage people like Sheetal Sahota and Claes Burlin to continue doing a good job, they will be winning for sure! Also, I would suggest that TradeDoubler take a look at the interfaces of their competitor’s websites, because they lack a few basic functionalities and they have some serious work to do in order to make their reports easy to read.