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What Happened to the Affiliate Program of Shop Direct, Littlewoods, Great Universal, Kays, etc ?!
Now if you're looking at this page trying to locate the Littlewoods Catalogue, Great Universal, Ben Sherman, Marshall Ward, the Kays Catalogue, Additions Direct, and other famous names within the Shop Direct Group, please visit those pages, as this is a page of history about things that happened during the unfortunate period of March 2009 to March 2010 during which we were unable to promote those places! When you look at the rest of this page you may notice that it isn't exactly the official site of Shop Direct, Littlewoods Catalogue, Great Universal, Ben Sherman, Marshall Ward, Kays, etc! However there is a story behind this which is worth reading. The fact is, you're reading this at an affiliate website which was very good for business for a long time, and is likely to be good for business again!
Everything went well for years, as Zyra's website is connected together in an interesting way, and the good business generated was well appreciated by Littlewoods Shop Direct Group and by customers who found the shopping catalogues could easily be reached. Everything was going well, that is, until old Buy.at decided to impose a new contract. Please bear in mind, this was not the original Buy.at that was the problem. It was only after Buy.at was taken over by AOL that the problem started.
In my opinion, the imposition of the Platform A contract was out-of-character for Buy.at , as they had previously been a quite reasonable company. However, since those reasonable days they'd been bought out by AOL, and that may hint at a problem, and I believe that a relationship can only work if there is trust, and by now I was starting to have suspicions about the whole thing.
I refused to sign the contract. I am like that. I don't sign things which I don't agree to. It's not a matter of what's legal, it's a matter of having some personal integrity and honour.
Sadly Platform A Buy.at did not take this well, and rather than sorting out a reasonable contract which everyone could sign, they sent me a formal 14-day notice of expulsion.
The problem then was, of course, who's going to tell the merchants? Who's going to tell these great merchants, famous shopping catalogues, multi-million pound companies, that the marketing company had kicked off one of their best affiliates because they wouldn't sign the ridiculous contract?!
In the end I told the merchants myself, at least all of those whom I could get in touch with. They were, almost all of them, very understanding. Some were horrified that Buy.at could make such a mess of things, especially considering the many years of good business and ongoing prosperity.
I think that a most commendable job was done by the representatives of Littlewoods Shop Direct, who urged Buy.at to come to a reasonable agreement, but it was all in vain, and Buy.at did not agree. Or, as another affiliate put it "Buy.at have negotiated in bad faith".
I hasten to add, none of this problem can be blamed on Littlewoods Shop Direct Group; they have been exceptionally helpful and accommodating. So if you're wondering about Shop Direct, remember: It's not their fault!
I, as a successful affiliate, was then missing out on several tens of thousands of pounds per year of affiliate income (as (at the time) Buy.at represented about a fifth of the site's income). However the loss of sales on the part of the merchants must have been an order of magnitude or so higher, I would have thought. It was altogether very sad, and most regrettable. However, it was certainly better than dishonourably signing up to a contract which I didn't agree to and which hadn't been mutually resolved properly at the time.
I like Littlewoods Shop Direct and I feel I get on well with the people there, and I would very much like to promote them again at this website. In my opinion, Buy.at were (at the time) getting in the way of good business. I recommended that Littlewoods Shop Direct Group should have affiliate programs at several different networks, preferably low-fuss networks which are affiliate-friendly. This allows the free market to function better, and it's also likely to attract more affiliates. This page, like other corked pages, have an important feature: Pages that have been Corked can be UNcorked, and the idea is that they will be uncorked when there is an amicable route for good business to continue!
GOOD NEWS 2010: The bad old days of Platform A Buy.at are over! Buy.at has been bought out by Digital Window (the company that's also Affiliate Window). Shortly after this positive takeover, the agreement issue was resolved and a week or two after that, after clearing what seemed to be a few landmines that had apparently been placed by AOL, we were back on the affiliate programs of these famous companies of the Shop Direct Group, and back being good for business! This is a cause for celebration!
For more good news, see Littlewoods Catalogue, Great Universal, Ben Sherman, Marshall Ward, the Kays Catalogue, Additions Direct, and other famous names within the Shop Direct Group, plus the Shopping Catalogues set of shopping catalogues at Zyra's site, and Littlewoods Direct at Stamp Demon