Why Do I Have So Many Problems With Commission Junction Affiliates?

It must be something with me because I don’t see all that many other people complaining about these things, although I bet they are and I’m just missing them. Once again I’m having an issue with a Commission Junction affiliate that won’t pay me and another affiliate that’s dropping me; sigh…

The one that won’t pay me is called NothingButSoftware, which of course means they’re all about technology. I purchased a LCD projector from them for one of my local organizations, a non-profit, and I should have gotten a very nice commission from them. Instead I’ve gotten nothing. I’ve sent them 5 emails, 3 regular emails and 2 through CJ, but I’ve not heard a thing.

Here’s the other side of this, though. CJ states that the best they can do is contact their affiliates and ask them to respond to their publishers. That’s the response I’ve gotten every single time from them. That and their standard “if we haven’t heard from you in 3 days we’re going to assume the problem has been taken care of.”

What the hey? You know, I’ve had this love/hate thing with CJ. Some of the affiliates they’re hooked up with have been wonderful. I would easily recommend 123inkjets because they usually pay you within hours. I had that one issue with GoDaddy but once they learned about it they took care of me. Once I had an issue with FootballFanatics, a sports apparel company, but once I provided them proof they paid me (well, eventually anyway). But some others, like these NothingButSoftware people and 101Phones (which still shows me as an affiliate even though I yanked them over a year ago) are horrible. I did have a problem with Finish Line as well but that was through Google Affiliate Network.

I can’t be the only one who believes that if a company signs an organization to help push their products that they should establish some standards for how they’re supposed to work with you. I get the impression that each advertiser is running things their own way and CJ is just the puppet intermediary. That’s a shame, and they probably wouldn’t like the association, but I keep getting cheated by their publishers and it’s not fair. And if it’s happening to me consistently then it’s happening to others as well.

I did say I have another affiliate dropping me, right? This time it’s a company called Organize.com, and they’re dropping me because I live in New York, and our state has decided that these companies are supposed to be tracking any commissions I might have and paying taxes on anything I make. And Organize.com has decided I’m not worth it; okay, all New York publishers aren’t worth it.

I have to admit that years ago I didn’t like any of this, and now I’m siding with the companies against the state. Sure, states need money, but what gives them the right to pretty much take money out of my pocket, money that I’d be spending in the state and paying taxes on the stuff I purchase, to try to get funds that, for the most part, I’m not really earning anyway? I can imagine the trouble it must be for some of these web companies to try to track all these different state rules; I’m not mad at them for this. At least they didn’t drop me because supposedly I wasn’t making them sales like Brookstone did. And get this; even PokerStars hasn’t dropped me, although I pretty much can’t do anything with them for now since I can’t advertise to an American audience and thus it pretty much kills what I can do with them.

Affiliate marketing isn’t supposed to be this difficult. You make a sale, you get paid, you move on. This type of thing keeps coming up, not having affiliates pay you, and then it destroys the confidence we have in the process. It’s no wonder we’re always writing and worrying about scams.

Except this isn’t a scam; it’s just bad business practices.

47 thoughts on “Why Do I Have So Many Problems With Commission Junction Affiliates?”

  1. Hello, I’m starting a new blog. I was hoping to set up some affiliated marketing. I see now (thanks to your blog) that their are some companies i should avoid. Thank you, I’ll be in touch.
    Also, my very little understanding of this has lead me to believe that one cannot purchase something affiliated with their own site, and benefit from it. Is this not always true then? i.e.. can’t click on your own adds…

    1. Jasmine, welcome. You can’t click on your Google ads or anything like that. However, any affiliate program you participate in where you sell products allows you to buy those products yourself. So you can buy a product, maybe get a discount using a discount code, and still make a couple of dollars on the side as well. Actually, for many programs the best way to sell is to be a consumer of that product because you find that if you like it your words just sound more authentic.

  2. I wish more people would speak up about it, Dennis; it’s a major shame. When I wrote about Finish Line & then did some research, I read other people saying they had problems getting paid as well; didn’t see any of the rest of them getting kicked out for it, though. I like CJ because of their template, which I’ve yet to find anyone else using, but it’s fairly easy to recreate.

  3. Hmm, yet one more reason to shy away from affiliate marketing. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if it’s your bag, then you are absolutely right to be fighting for these businesses to shape up their practices, Mitch! You’re doing them a huge favor and selling their products and marketing for them. The least they can do is pay your percentage. I wonder if there are any other ways than CJ’s obviously-ineffective customer service to help?


    1. Delena, after hearing from a few people yesterday on Twitter I decided to do some extra research on CJ and it’s not good at all. There’s even a class action lawsuit against them. They’re admittedly weak on both helping people get paid and in holding their affiliates accountable for bad behavior. It may be time to rethink part of my association with them.

  4. It didn’t happen with me recently until last 2 weeks. Two of the affiliate programs in CJ were locked and I was not paid. In Clickbank a customer got refund after 3 months. I am not sure what is going on, but at least for the first one, I have made my sales. I made a mistake to increase the minimum payment.

    1. Carl, it’s irritating as all get out. These are legitimate sales and yet these companies come up with reasons not to pay you; it’s a shame.

      1. Yeah, this is a bit crazy as I am sure that CJ have already took the money for those sales already. It doesn’t matter that they cancel contract with the supplier.

  5. That is terrible that you have had bad experiences with affiliate marketing 🙁 Personally I have had good experiences with Amazon and Click Bank, but like stated, its not for everyone.

    1. Casi, Amazon has a “hate” relationship with New York as well, and I’ve never made a single sale with Clickbank either. I thought the one book I advertise there on the left would have at least generated a couple of sales, as I purchased it myself, but nope.

  6. I dropped all my Commission Junction affiliate programs off my websites a while back. I just knew there was a lot of dishonesty going on (sometimes you can feel it). And I did some researching and lots of other people felt the same way. Sigh, I need to write more ebooks. In the meantime, it’s adsense, a touch of ebay and a touch of amazon for me. 🙂 Nice and simple.

    1. Tanja, I’m going to cut way back on what I’m advertising from them and only stick with the companies that I can trust, that I know have paid me. We’ll see how that goes.

  7. See now yesterday I wrote about how I liked Commission Junction…but then again I only use them for a few of their advertisers, like VistaPrint, Angie’s List and some health related stuff…..

    I was a bit teed off when they took $20.00 out of my commissions ($10.00 per month) for not having any sales for a few months. But come to find out it’s in that 8,000 word agreement you agree to. Since I joined a year or so ago, who remembered? NOT ME!

    I had $69 and some odd change left after they took the $20…I had my account set to pop a check out at $100.00…I went right in and changed it to $50.00 and got my money the next day. Now I start over….

    Guess it depends on the advertiser, but there should be some common rules here!

    1. Carolee, they’re kind of sneaky like that. I get around it by buying my printer replacement cartridges through one of the affiliates, since it seems they need replacing at least every 3 to 4 months. And that commission is always up within a few hours; that’s a great affiliate program.

  8. Dumped CJ many months ago as I kinda got tired of changing my affiliate links and banners every 3 months or thereabout :-(. The whole charging for maintaining an inactive account is pretty ridiculous to me as well. Pretty stressful I must say.

    1. You make an interesting point Chuks. One of the reasons I stopped adding products to every post at the beginning of the year was because I noticed how so many of them disappeared or went bad from older posts. Definitely a challenge to keep up with, so I didn’t even try.

      1. No problem Dennis. You know I go back and occasionally optimize some of my older posts so I can link to them, and that’s when I started noticing it.

  9. Mitch, I reckon your experiencing more problems with CJ compared to others because you’re a lot more diligent than the rest are. They’re probably having issues but just aren’t aware of it.

    1. Sire, that could be true, but I’m getting close to the point where I’m thinking about pulling almost everything except the affiliates I know will pay.

      1. I don’t make all that much from them but when I do it’s usually over the $100 mark so I’ll let em tag along for a little while longer.

      2. Same here, but I’m going to be more circumspect in what I add from this point on.

  10. Haven’t you tried Pepperjam? I think they are a good affiliate network too. I still love Amazon but I wish they’ll increase the commission rate.

    1. Raymund, I have to admit I haven’t tried Pepperjam yet, but I might have to give them a quick look one of these days.

  11. Mitch,
    I am sorry to hear about this. The experience I have had with affiliate marketing has only been good. I would be upset though if I didn’t get paid what I was owed. I only deal with 2 companies right now but am currently looking into others. I know now not to deal with this affiliate at all. Thank you for sharing and I hope they pay you soon 🙂

    1. Thanks Lynda; I have a feeling I’m not going to get paid and CJ could care less, and that’s very disappointing.

  12. There seems to be no limit to what can be bought or sold on the Internet. One big part of that is the affiliate marketing industry. Commission Junction is one of the oldest and most successful affiliate marketing programs. But as with any program, it has its pros and cons that you want to become aware of prior to becoming a member.

    1. Exactly Jenny. However, it’s hard finding those pros sometimes with this thing. At least I’ve found a couple.

  13. Hi Mitch,

    I just popped over here from Vernessa’s Survey results. I had no idea you were this heavily vested in affiliate marketing. Now we have have more stuff to chat about during our games 😉

    I’ve always been lured by the promise – but two things kept me out of the money; lack of skills in marketing, and a highly unfocused blog.

    Anyway, CJ just seems like a sycophant for the vendors. I’m Just Sayin…



    1. Mitch, I was more heavily invested until the beginning of this year. I’ve cut way back and only pull out my affiliate stuff when it seems somewhat pertinent. At least on this site; on other sites I definitely have it going, even if it’s not generating much in sales. As for CJ… I’ve written enough about this this year, not much positive I’m afraid.

  14. I am relieved as hell to read this website! I just joined CJ about 2 weeks ago and I’m sick of it already. I had a couple of people click on an advertisers link to buy something from them through me and the commission never shows up! I called CJ and they are JERKS and morons! They kept telling me it was the customer’s computer and that they can’t control it. The customer is a friend of mine and since she does affiliates on her blog, she’s completely aware of using third party cookies and how this works. It’s not her, it’s not my end and it’s not the advertisers end. What’s left? THEM. But obviously I’m not going to get any commissions if they never show up. I’m so irritated. I spent hours putting those damn codes in and for nothing really. They wouldn’t help me and now I’m seeing info and opinions like this all over the web. Sigh. Anyone ever use Linkshare? That’s my other option.

    1. Lisa, I’m also using Linkshare, although I’ll have to admit that it’s only recently I’ve been using them more since Barnes & Noble moved from the Google Affiliate Network to Linkshare. I’ve never made a single sale there but this past month it says I had 106 clicks. Thing is I won’t know if they’re any better until I actually make a sale.

  15. True, but who knows, maybe they’ll be picking up some of the business from CJs if this keeps up. I also have the option to use ShareSales. I think that’s what it’s called. This company is a little smaller than CJs but I hear the customer service is MUCH better. Really ticks me off I spend 2 weeks putting up all those codes too but the affiliate I’m using also uses Linkshare and Sharesales so I only have to change the coding this way. Mitch check this out about CJs also. A friend of mine was researching them last night and found even worse complaints! http://www.affpinions.com/cjcom-commission-junction/

    1. Lisa, I think you mean Share-a-Sale, as I have an account with them as well, but to date have only used one of their affiliates, that being Imagekind for pictures, and they say I’ve never made a sale either.

  16. Mitch I have another question for you. I’m completely new to all of this affiliate stuff so I really appreciate your helping me out. Is it possible to join more than one publisher at a time? I know obviously you can’t use the same affiliate more than once in different publishers but what about if you join an additional publisher to use affiliates that aren’t available on the other ones?

    1. Lisa, you can join as many of them as you want to and put them all on the same page if you wish to as well. The only affiliate that’s sometimes goofy about things is Adsense, but no one else cares. And believe it or not, there are a couple of companies that are with more than one affiliate, and there are no rules there either that say you can’t sign up with that company more than once.

  17. Seriously? That’s so great Mitch thanks. I thought there were rules about this stuff forbidding that kind of thing. But I was looking to also join Amazon’s affiliate. I saw a couple of remarks on this page about them but I’m not really sure what the whole NY thing refers to. Is Click Bank the publisher Amazon uses? You are a huge help! I’m so glad I found your site.

    1. No problem Lisa. Clickbank and Amazon are two totally different entities. Amazon’s been having a beef with many states that have passed laws saying they’re supposed to collect taxes on all sales by affiliates in their states and pay the state. Their way around it is to drop the people living in those states, NY, California and North Carolina are states I know about already; there could be more, but you’d have to research that to see if your state’s on the list.

  18. I see. I would think then that if I applied with Amazon and my state was on that list they wouldn’t accept me? In a way I find that admirable actually. Too bad it has to be that way but I like their way of thinking. We don’t have a sales tax here in NH so I’m wondering if that would apply to me.

  19. Hi everyone, I am trying to delete my CJ account. I want to leave that company and I can’t find anywhere on there to do it. Do you know how I would do this? I don’t see any spot for deleting my account at all. HELP! LOL I can’t stand this company, they’re horrible.

  20. Never mind I called them. Mitch I do have questions on how to use the linking codes on Linkshare when you have time.

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