Although we get on well with LinkShare now, this wasn't always so. Here's what happened:
In the beginning, Zyra's website joined various affiliate marketing networks, including Commission Junction, DGM2 (UK Affiliates), LinkShare, TradeDoubler, Affiliate Future, and Affiliate Window, as well as PlugInGo, Affinity Arc, and BeFree.
The dedicated pages with LinkShare were on here and the links were doing well alongside other affiliate marketing companies.
Things seemed ok for a while and the page used to say "If you are are interested in making money from advertising on a website, LinkShare may be worth learning about". But after a while things started to go wrong.
The main problem was the CONTRACT. Now although most affiliate marketing companies have a contract, they are usually reasonable and are to help to avoid the worst excesses of affiliate marketing gone wrong. In contrast, LinkShare's contract was a very lengthy and verbose litigious tract, and with each year some of the versions has some clauses which I considered were an infringement upon personal liberty.
For example, gambling is legal in most of the world, but was forbidden in the old LinkShare contract. Free speech is important, and there were worrying clauses restricting this. Also, some of the clauses seemed to have geopolitical overtones, even naming particular countries. There were some clauses that seemed unfairly one-sided.
It's important to realise that I consider that telling the truth is important, and it's not right to sign something which goes against personal belief.
I pointed this out at the time and asked the people at LinkShare to get a friendlier contract. After all, most affiliate marketing companies survive perfectly well with a sensible contract.
This was a long time ago, and back then the people at LinkShare didn't respond favourably. It may be that the people on the helpdesk didn't consider the matter important enough to refer it to the management.
As no update occurred I started to phase out Linkshare promotions but continued promoting Commission Junction merchants, together with many others at many other companies. Affiliate Window, Tradedoubler, Affiliate Future, Buy.at, ClickBank, and many others. It was much easier creating dedicated pages for companies whose affiliate marketing arrangements were not in question. Take a look at some dedicated page linked from the Shopping Portal and the Famous Names. Meanwhile, Linkshare affiliate programs dwindled at this site.
I always held on to the hope that LinkShare would reform and would produce a sensible reasonable contract which I could honestly sign up to. But sadly, for a long while, no such contract was forthcoming. In early 2005, Linkshare produced a new contract which was terrible. I refused to sign it. It forbade gambling, various kinds of political allegiances, and other things which are considered a right of the individual. I pointed this out to Linkshare, but nothing much happened. So after that I closed down all the Linkshare links at the site. I said at the time: "No more will Linkshare be promoted here. At least, not unless they make some drastic improvements to their policy on freedom and personal liberty!"
I felt a bit sad for the merchants, as their pages were having to be bunged up until some new arrangements could be made. Also, I considered it was very sad for LinkShare, as, while their merchants' pages languished here, pages for other companies' merchants did very well and continued being improved. During the previous period, I had been paid tens of thousands of dollars* in commission by CJ and tens of thousands of pounds by UK Affiliates. Compare this with the few tens on dollars on the few remaining LinkShare programs. Yet, hypothetically, had LinkShare reformed their contract I would have been happy to expand the portfolio of merchants I was promoting there and the profit there would have very likely been similar to that at CJ! I run an international website which helps to sell millions of dollars worth of stuff, mainly in the USA and the UK but everywhere else in the world as well. I am paid on a commission basis, so as you may guess the sales have some proportional value to the commission. Commission made at this site is in excess of a dollar per unique hit* on the front page. This is made possible by the fact that there are thousands of pages within the site. It was my feeling at the time that LinkShare had failed to understand this and that may be why they'd not heeded by candid comments about their awful contract.
So, what was wrong with Linkshare?
Initially there was the problem of the lack of a proper central accounting balance, but that has been sorted out now. Well done!
The main problem was the things expected to be signed up to in the contract. Plus things merchants insisted on. Some of the things were really none of their business! To draw an analogy, it's a bit like you entering a building and there's a sign up that says "no smoking". Fair enough, so you extinguish your cigarette before going in. The people who own the building have a reasonable right to expect you to not smoke in their building. But supposing instead the sign told you that you must sign a pledge to give up smoking and never smoke or drink alcohol again, you might reasonably refuse to sign up to that. The building owner has no right meddling in your business telling you how you can run your life after you have left their building! This is an example of attempting to legislate beyond the scope of their jurisdiction. The old LinkShare contract had many clauses which were of a similar notion.
* Update: In 2008, when diplomatic relations were resumed with LinkShare, Zyra's website was making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and was bringing in over two dollars per unique hit to the front page.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: In late 2007 and early 2008, there were some changes at LinkShare, and diplomatic negotiations began, to resolve disagreements that had been in the past, and to get into a position where an acceptable agreement could be agreed by both sides. It may be that LinkShare appointed people who were more able to negotiate, or that LinkShare became more flexible. Other aspects to the improved diplomacy may have included LinkShare establishing a UK office, and House of Fraser may have been influential to some extent. It has always been the stance at Zyra's website that relationships are not beyond redemption. Look at what happened with Yahoo, where there was a shocking situation, yet it was mostly repaired and some good PR restored. With LinkShare, there came a point where I was asked to explain what I thought was wrong with the contract, so I replied with an annotated critique of it. This is perhaps a key feature of discussion, to be able to explain your point of view and to listed to the other side's perspective. After some discussion and understanding on both sides, an improved agreement was reached.
So, now LinkShare is restored at this site! As well as being more profitable, this also much better aesthetically, to have an understanding rather than a standoff. Various wars in the world could be avoided if there was more discussion and willingness to have some flexibility on both sides, in contrast to the zero tolerance and various opposing fundamentalisms fighting it out.
So, we're now back with LinkShare! How about that?! This also means the page about LinkShare at this site is updated: See LinkShare page. Also, numerous old pages on which comment was passed on LinkShare have been updated. The renewed good agreement means that many new pages are to be created, promoting merchants whose affiliate programs are with LinkShare. This is looking like it's going to be good for business.
One of LinkShare's mottos was "Get Your Share". Well, now we have an amicable agreement, LinkShare will hopefully be moving towards getting a better share of the amount of affiliate business at this website!
Welcome Back, LinkShare!