In February 2010, I was contacted by Charlotte VIVIEN – Partnerships Manager in PublicIdees, who asked me if I was interested in promoting a certain low cost airline on LowCostRoutes. I accepted, I subscribed to the affiliate program and set the airline up on my website, along with a few with other airlines that I found on PublicIdees. Then everything went well until I needed customer support!
PublicIdees is a French affiliate platform that operates in a few markets. However, the platform does not treat the markets as separate entities, and this is a big advantage for an international publisher who uses PublicIdees. You can search all markets at once or you can select only the ones that you are interested in. What’s more, you will receive all your commissions in a single user account, regardless of the markets of the programs you’re subscribed to, unlike it happens with Affili.net and TradeDoubler.
What is missing from the PublicIdees interface is a fast way to check your account balance. At the top of each page, you can see today’s income, which I don’t think is relevant for anybody. Most users want to see the account balance very fast, but on PublicIdees they can do so only by performing a search.
Furthermore, if you participate in more than one affiliate program, you will have difficulties seeing your last transactions. Transactions are grouped by program, so you will have to check every affiliate program separately.
On PublicIdees, the affiliate programs do not have their own page, with the program description, details and links. You can see all the details about a program directly in the search results. This can generate confusion because it’s not intuitive for users to apply to a program or to get the program links.
The PublicIdees deep linking functionality is very easy to use, unlike the functionalities offered by most other platforms. PublicIdees had a unique form for all affiliate programs, which is easy and fast to use. It is obviously limited to the programs that allow deep linking, but it works well for them.
The payment/billing system is more complex compared to other platforms. PublicIdees requires users to send invoices by email and to wait 30 days in order to be paid. This is inconvenient because if all the affiliate platforms worked this way one would waste a lot of time sending invoices to all of them. Also, the 30-day waiting time is amongst the longest in the industry, given that commissions are already approved at the time when you issue the invoice.
The minimum payment amount of 100EUR is the highest I’ve ever seen. Other affiliate platforms require you to earn at least 30 to 75EUR in order to be paid. PublicIdees probably has a lot of affiliates who generate income and never get paid. But this is not a nice approach!
The PublicIdees customer support is missing. I emailed them repeatedly, on several different occasions, but I rarely received an answer. Maybe they do reply to emails written in French (I’ve never tried to send them one), but they seem to ignore emails in English as a general rule. There is no contact phone number on the PublicIdees website, which is very uncommon for a serious website that manages your money. In order to call them, I used a phone number I found in an email signature (I consider myself fortunate because I received at least one reply) – (+33) 01 47 57 68 98 (PublicIdees/Accounting). I had a hard time making a call in English and the solution to my problem that the PublicIdees staff suggested was to… close my account! It may sound strange, but it’s true!
As I couldn’t find a link to close my account from the website (almost no-one offers that option, so it’s ok) I sent them an email asking for my account to be closed. Luckily enough, my email arrived to Charlotte VIVIEN – the person I first met in PublicIdees – who managed to solve my problem the best way possible.
From my point of view, PublicIdees may be a good affiliate platform, as long as you don’t need their support. Because if you do… I wish you all the luck in the world. You will need it! I will try to avoid working with them and if I have no other choice, I will email Charlotte VIVIEN – the only person in PublicIdees willing to help – with the hope that she will help me again.
Update from Charlotte VIVIEN:
- In fact, we’ve got lots of contact emails and the emails doesn’t always get to the right person at the first time. Since we’re mainly working together on travel, the address voyage[at]public-idees.com should be the main contact for you to use. This is the email of the French ‘travel’ affiliate team.
- We improved our deeplink tool in order to allow more campaigns to be activated. We managed to enable some specific tracking that we couldn’t use till now and almost all travel campaigns (tour ops, airlines and agencies) are now available in our deeplinking tool.
- Concerning invoicing, there is an email: invoice[at]public-idees.com which is dedicated for sending out invoicing. The fast and easy way to get paid is to check the invoicing section of your account every month and to send an invoice (or the document from the platform – signed) to this email as soon as it’s available.