Friday, January 24, 2014

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HotelsCombined Affiliate Program Review – Yay or Ney?

HotelsCombined Affiliate Program Review

At first I don’t want to publish anything about the company since this is how I make money from my other blog. I don’t want to share the idea since there’s only limited bloggers who take advantage of it but for the sake of letting everyone now what they do, if you should avoid it or not, and as a function and purpose of our Bloggers Tech blog, then here we go!

Please note that I’ve been their affiliate since the first year I’ve started my blog and I’ve started blogging, and that is since 2011  - and I started blogging for the sake of practicing my English writing skills. I’ve been their affiliate for more than a year and then suddenly they cut me off for the reason I don’t understand.


EARNINGS

When I joined the program, there are two (2) ways that I could earn from them and they are:


PAY PER 1000 VISITS

When I started being their affiliate, they also pay me per 1000 visits that I have going to their site. I think it was $5 per 1000 visits. But then they stop, so yes you won’t going to have and enjoy this. I didn’t earned much from this since way back then I’m not known at all, I only have around less than a thousand visits in a month and it will be a miracle if I even reach 500 in a month. But hey, I was a total noob but earning.


PAY PER LEAD

Now this is where you make money (this time), it will depend on the hotel and the room they (your visitors) booked. It says on their affiliate program that you (or most of their affiliates) may earn $0.50 to $2.00 which is partially true, but I earned less than that since most of the people book on my own private label is from the Philippines. So how much I earn? Just around $0.20 and my earnings were just crawling per cent in a month.



Make sure you read the part emphasized above, that's the part July sent me, so "maybe" they've "suspended" me because my visitors clicks on the "book now" button and doesn't book at all? Come on! That's not my fault. Maybe they're just curious.


So to summarize on how much I’ve earned and how long? It’s crawling, it's not as much as how much you'll earn with Google AdSense but better to have crawling earnings than none. It’s a passive income.


PRIVATE LABEL

This is one of the things that I really liked about the program. I could have my own branding of it but then I’ve heard that they’re changing links to get a free traffic from you, which means you won’t going to have any share of the earnings anymore. I’m not sure if this is true though .

Anyway, on the first month their staff even helped me in customizing the whitelabel of their site. From colors, arrangements, etc. I was happy. Really happy since after the first year I have an increasing numbers of visitors already because I was recognized by blog awarding bodies in the country and there are quite a number of foreigners find my posts helpful too.

So you really don’t need a technical knowledge on this, you can ask for their help in having a custom design but best if you have the knowledge so you know what’s going on.

But then, I’ve tried to put a Google Analytics tracking to track my traffic on that side, but they don’t allow that. I guess they don’t want me to know something. Lol.


AFFILIATE SUPPORT

Yeah, it first (as stated above) I have no problem but then suddenly they emailed me and said I’m being deactivated. I asked her why, it’s unclear for me because it’s not reasonable, and she did not reply anymore.

I tried a lot to get the attention, and decided to remove the link to the private label because I can’t see my traffic (because I can’t log in anymore) and anyone could still book a room on my link. So how would I know if they’ll still counting and assure that I’ll be paid when I couldn't log in my account anymore?

Then this “JULY” girl replied to me:





Then months later I asked if there’s any other way to get back again, someone else said “you stop sending traffic… ” but here's the email I got. 



I removed my url (hotels.exoticphilippines.info) because it's all still live even though I'm suspended and the July girl told me I could remove it if I want, but she didn't told me that I could still recover from it if I just  continue even though I wont be seeing my earnings (because I won't be able to log in anymore, can't see the status, so I totally assume I don't have the chance anymore to continue, right?). 

So I’m like, “OH MY GOD!.. You should’ve told me that at the first place! You should've stopped me from removing my link to my whitelabel...”

Then we exchange emails and she seems to layout that “it’s my fault that I send them a lot of visitors that doesn’t book”, which totally sucks as an affiliate being treated like that when you’re sending them traffic and helping them earn and make money. And hey, it's not my fault that they don't want to book, I don't have a control over my website visitors and duh, I'm not even getting paid anymore per 1000 visits - because they've removed it.

So I’ll leave that to you, if their affiliate support sucks or you love it. But I tell you I don’t like it at all.


PAYOUT

I did receive my $100 payout (the minimum payout) after more than a year of blogging and reviewing hotels, but better to have that than nothing right? 

Before they kind off “banned” me, I have around $54 already and few more months I could’ve get a payout. But they don’t want me anymore, so yeah. Goodbye $54 – my 8 months of blogging, posting hotel lists and reviews - since that's forfeited already.


Their payout is after a month that you’ve earned the minimum payout (for PayPal and check). So if you’ve earned $100 on (let’s say) last week of the month, you won’t get the payout on the next month, it will be on the month after that. So yes, it may take longer than a month.


HotelsCombined Affiliate Program – Yay or Ney?

I am not alone on this, there are a lot of affiliates of HotelsCombined that finds it a scam. I think they’re really NOT a scam, they just have a POOR affiliate support and treat their support like TRASH. They don’t give any worth to their affiliate, that’s why they give poor support. If they hire someone else, I think they’ll do better if they only have someone that don’t disrespect their affiliates. Well, I hope their company head are not like their employee.

They've actually left a comment on this blog post, I'm not sure if it's really from the same Ray on the above screenshot because the email is different - not a Hotelscombined email. But here's what he have to say:



I did not approve it to the comments below since it deserves a spot here (they deserve their side), they're pretty nice here too. LOL. 


Anyway, my advice to Hotelscombined? Don't IMMEDIATELY disallow your affiliates to login to their accounts, because immediately they'll assume that they're banned - just like me - and got no more chance to continue being your affiliate. Even though you sent an email, it's important for us to see the progress, the traffic, where have we done wrong, or at least the increase of our earnings. Second, inform your affiliate that once they stop sending traffic, you might remove them from being your affiliate. And lastly, hire someone who choose better words in talking to your affiliates and especially to your customers.



Another one from the Hotelscombined is Yury, he said that there are thousands of sites using their affiliate program and doesn't find "it sucks". Well, let me share you some of your affiliates:



There are also bloggers who posted about your affiliate program, like Kevin Leland's review.

Basing on the comment from Ray, they seem want to resolve the problem with my account. I do too, but I totally got tired of trying to contact them, getting their attention to see if it can be resolved and emails have been exchanged. To be honest, I already have my private label's reputation build up back then, I do get at least 1 booking per day before they suspended me, and that's good enough for me. I've written a lot of hotel reviews and lists of hotels to boost my earnings, but hey they don't mind it all and just let me wait until I publish this post.

I won't and don't deny that HotelsCombined's affiliate program CAN BE good and can be a great way for anyone can make money online, if they could only give more value, better process and better good communication to their affiliates they could be the top affiliate program in travel niche. Having your own private label hotel booking site, own brand, and they help you design the private label plus it's a good way to have a passive income as a travel blogger - it could be a good deal but not these days.


So as of now, I would say it’s a NEY. Want me to rate it? I say, I can only rate the HotelsCombined affiliate program 2 out of 5 stars. Why? They treat their affiliates like trash, their earnings are slow, they ban you with unreasonable things, and earnings are low.

I wouldn’t suggest this type of business for anyone, I’ve read a lot in different forums and people even contact me to help them plan and optimize their site that is an affiliate of HotelsCombined. It’s not ideal for a long term affiliate program, the earning is low and slow and you might have to spend a lot from your pocket to earn more than $100 in a month.

I hope this is helpful for everyone, and for the current affiliates, just be careful. Read again their agreement.
For the fellow victims, let me hear you out, let people hear your side and leave a comment below and share with us how it happened and if you were able to at least earn and withdraw once.


Updated: January 29, 2014 - Added the email screenshots and details to provide proof that I (am) was an affiliate.

About the Author


Gay Aida Dumaguing

is a 27 years old Filipina from the Cebu, Philippines. A graduate of B.S. Information Technology from a well-known University, now a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Expert who serves businesses, entrepreneurs and bloggers from around the globe. She's also the blogger of Exotic Philippines, a blog that promotes the Philippine tourism.


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