LinkShare – scam? Review

No Comments » Written on September 17th, 2013 by
Categories: Affiliate Networks

linkshareI realize the title might seem a bit as coming from a newspaper redaction, but having worked in the affiliate world for over 8 years now (on both sides, as an affiliate and as managing an affiliate program), I think I can say I am no newbie in the industry. Yet am I surprised from time to time how large affiliate programs can treat their partners as they couldn't care about you. It seems like having affiliates it's not really their business! Strange!!

Over the years, as an affiliate on my own I had my share of surprises, from different companies that were going bankrupt or simply thinking short term, screwing affiliates - and now paying the debts as not many work with them anymore. My latest surprise comes from LinkShare, a company that I thought to be trust-worthy. As I have been involved in a project development of a hotels & flights price comparison website, I had to look for hotel and flight tickets booking services that can offer us with access to their price engine. Some of the booking services are partnered with LinkShare, hence our requirement to register with LinkShare as well. Since the program went live on our website, I will not argue that there have been great reporting discrepancies, as with other operators we were delivering decent amount of traffic, but with LinkShare there always seemed to be close to no traffic accounted. It didn't ring a bell to me (shame to me) - I though maybe the prices from LinkShare advertisers were simply not competitive,

After a work of nearly 6 months for implementing some of those booking services in the comparison engine, the LinkShare sends to us the following email:

1st Email From LinkShareYour affiliate account in the LinkShare Network has been terminated pursuant to the terms
of LinkShare's Terms and Conditions. Access to your account has been suspended, and all
LinkShare links on your site will no longer function effective immediately.  If you have
any questions, please contact us at [email protected]

Best regards,
The LinkShare Team

Wow! Something must have gone wrong either from their end or from us, so I decided to contact them back to request more details, and if it was something from our end to know to fix it. I write them an email, telling I don't understand the reasoning for closing the account, I give them details about the websites their advertisers are listed on, sources of traffic (which is mostly search engine traffic), pointing out that there is no sort of arguable content on the websites and that our newsletter system meets international standards with double-opt option in and clear un-subscribe link. Given these details, I was expecting to get a clear reply from them, as I didn't want to see so much time and money wasted into implementing some of their advertisers.

The LinkShare team came back with the following reply"

2nd Email From LinkShareDear,

Under the terms of our Publisher Membership Agreement, Rakuten LinkShare has the right to terminate your participation in the Network in its sole discretion, with or without cause.  Therefore, your account will not be reinstated.

Thank you,
Rakuten LinkShare Corporation

Thank you very much for your clarification!!! Simple as that: LinkShare, in its sole discretion, may terminate your account "with or without cause". Therefore, the account will not be reinstated, because that's how they feel like and they don't have to give any explanations. In my opinion, such programs that avoid transparency are NOT to be trusted. So, is LinkShare a scam affiliate network? That is up to you to decide, but before wasting your time implementing them or any of their advertisers on your hard worked websites, make a quick search on Google for part of the first email I listed above, and you will be surprised how many partners have been left with eyes in the sun just like us, with no reason whatsoever. My advice: caution with such programs!