I do not talk about my affiliate work very often, not that I try to hide the fact that I run some affiliate websites, I just don’t think it needs to be broadcast in the same way that some of the “Super Affiliates” love to brag about how they make thousands of dollars promoting this or that service or product. One of the services I was promoting on Cloud Storage Buzz was CrashPlan. If you are not familiar with CrashPlan they offer a cloud backup service similar to Backblaze, Mozy and many other services. They have become very popular and over time I have been able to build up some Google love and traffic around the content I created about them. The pages comparing them to other services are still some of the most popular pages on Cloud Storage Buzz.
Now CrashPlan was on the Google Affiliate Network, who in April 2013 announced it was closing it doors on July 31st. Google Affiliate Network gave affiliates and advertisers three months notice to move their programs to other affiliate networks and get links changed over. Three months should have been enough time for any advertiser to find a new affiliate network and get their program started again. Unfortunately for those of us that were affiliates it has been nothing but a disaster caused by the CrashPlan affiliate team.
After the Google Affiliate Networks closure announcement I emailed the CrashPlan affiliate team on April 18th asking if they will be moving to another network. I received the following response on April 19th.
We expect to be making an announcement about our future Affiliate platforms soon. We will be sure to let you know!
The Crashplan Affiliate Team
Notice that they did not say they would be closing their affiliate program, which if they had would probably had made me angry but if they had told me that straight up I would have accepted it and moved on.
So I waited and waited. Finally on June 3rd I emailed again about any news on the new program. It took seven days before I heard back.
We don’t have an announcement quite yet, but we should very soon, possibly even this week.
Sorry for this taking so long, but we want to make sure we are making the right decisions.
Crashplan Affiliate Team
Guess what happened? Nothing that is what. The week went by and no announcement from the CrashPlan affiliate team. My next correspondence I sent on July 24th, a week before the Google Affiliate Network was set to close. At least I did not have to wait a week for an email.
We are joining Commision Junction and we should be officially up very soon.
I’ll let you know of any updates.
Crashplan Affiliate Team
The official announcement came on out July 29th, two days before Google Affiliate Network was set to close.
Given Google’s announcement that they are closing their affiliate network on July 31st, we wanted to reach out to GAN advertisers to offer our support. We understand the challenges you are now facing.
CrashPlan is committed to ensuring a seamless, successful transition for advertisers currently or previously running their affiliate programs on GAN.
We have made the decision to transition our program to Commission Junction.
We are still working with Commission Junction on our integration and cannot provide a link to our profile at this time, but we will as soon as possible. We are hoping to have our program up and running very soon.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or special needs. We appreciate your continued support of CrashPlan and Code42.
The CrashPlan Affiliate Marketing Team
Notice there is still no official word of when the program will launch just that they will be moving to CJ.
What has the CrashPlan affiliate team been doing for the last three months since it was announced that Google Affiliate Network was closing? They were obviously not setting up the new program.
In an attempt to get a date of when they might be launching I emailed the CrashPlan affiliate team in September and October both emails went unanswered! Then after a tweet by Eric Nagel we saw something from CrashPlan.
— Eric Nagel (@ericnagel) September 26, 2013
That tweet got no action on the part of the CrashPlan affiliate team except this email.
We have a new version of our site launching and expect to have CJ up and running with it. We apologize for the delays, as this had to be wrapped in to the new site launch. We expect the site to re-launch in mid-October.
We are very sorry for the many delays.
The CrashPlan Affiliate Team
Now there are a lot of questions I had about this email. One is why is the relaunch of the affiliate program tied in with a new website launch? You do not need to tie them together. They did not need a new website when they joined the Google Affiliate Network and I am sure any competent affiliate manager would know that they did not need a new website.
Anyone care to guess what happened by mid-October? That’s right absolutely NOTHING! No new CrashPlan website, no launch of the affiliate program. It has now been two and a half months since the close of Google Affiliate Network and CrashPlan still has no affiliate program, I had been sending them traffic for that entire time but after October 15th I stopped and redirected all of the outgoing clicks on Cloud Storage Buzz to a temporary landing page on the site. Essentially I have shutdown their traffic. If the US Government can close so can I.
Since the only reply I ever get from CrashPlan in a timely manner is from Twitter I decided to make a little noise. Here is one of the tweets I sent. It sparked a conversation that you can follow on Twitter if you like.
— Lee Robertson (@lgr) October 15, 2013
At this point I also sent an email to the CrashPlan affiliate team informing them that I have stopped linking to them. This is the reply I recieved the next day.
We understand your frustration and your actions. Our launch of CJ has been directly tied to the launch of our new site experience. While we won’t be launching this week, we will hope once we do launch that we can gain you back as an affiliate and a customer. We will continue to send any official updates your way in the hope that you will join us again.
We hope you can accept our apologies and hope we can work again in the future.
The CrashPlan Affiliate Team
First off, the CrashPlan affiliate team has no clue how frustrated I am unless, like me, they have not been paid for the last two and half months. Second it has become painfully obvious that they are an outsourced company and that CrashPlan really has no idea what this outsourced partner is doing.
This is also obvious since I have now been in contact with someone that actually works at Code42, the makers of CrashPlan, who seemed surprised at how badly the affiliate program has been handled.
This is not just about the affiliate program, it is also about customer service. Not only was I an affiliate I was also a CrashPlan customer. While I am a subscriber to several cloud backup services, CrashPlan was one of them and I have to wonder about a company that has an incompetent outsourced affiliate management company, that has been managing an affiliate program that does not exist! They have been getting paid to run a program but their isn’t one.
Now you might wonder why I am mad about all of this. Like I said if CrashPlan had simply said they were closing their affiliate program when Google Affiliate Network was closing I would have been angry but I would have moved on. The fact that the CrashPlan affiliate team has led me on for the last five and half months has just ticked me off. Let me give you an estimate of how many sales I have sent to Crashplan all the time hoping that their program would actually start up again.
For the first 7 months of 2013 I sent close to $50,000 in sales to CrashPlan or over $7,000/month in sales. An average of 912 clicks per month. From August until October 15th when I started redirecting CrashPlan clicks I had an average of 1170 clicks per month. At the conversion rate I was getting of over 7% for the first part of 2013 that is 205 sales that I have sent CrashPlan. Using the average order price of $106.00 that I was seeing in the first part of 2013 that is roughly $21,730.00 in sales during the time when the CrashPlan affiliate program has not been operating.
It has now been a week since I have been in touch with someone from Code42 and there has been no word on what is being done to fix this disaster created by the CrashPlan affiliate team. Hopefully CrashPlan has discovered that the company they outsourced their affiliate program too is incompetent and needs to be fired. If CrashPlan hopes to win their affiliates back to promote them they need to step up and take a more serious role in how the program is managed or find a company that actually knows what it is doing. Until then I continue to redirect my CrashPlan traffic to a landing page that offers potential CrashPlan subscribers other alternatives. It has already made me several new sales with several different programs and those are subscribers that CrashPlan will probably never get back. I am sure that CrashPlan’s competitors Backblaze, Bitcasa, Mozy, Carbonite and Zoolz appreciate the new subscribers.
For those many people I have referred to CrashPlan, I hope that the company takes your subscription and data more seriously than they have taken running their affiliate program.