Commission Junction has long been held up as a leader in affiliate marketing and provides affiliate incomes to many thousands of businesses on the web.
However, the new terms of CJ are rather limiting to affiliate marketers.
Based on the contract with each affiliate marketer, CJ has the right to close an account if it does not make any income for them within a set period of time. That in itself is not unusual for a company like Commission Junction, however, the time frame itself is what is limiting:
“You are receiving this email because your Commission Junction publisher account has not generated any valid commissions during the last five months.”
This means if you are looking to monetize your website with Commission junction and haven’t had any particular success with the brands and products available on CJ – your account will be shut down.
Furthermore, CJ can charge / will charge your account until its balance reaches zero. This makes it even harder for affiliate marketers to retain the hard-earned money they deserve to receive a check for.
Please see this email we received:
You are receiving this email because your Commission Junction publisher account has not generated any valid commissions during the last five months. Commission Junction is committed to maintaining a dynamic and productive network. Consequently, per the Publisher Service Agreement, we regularly deactivate accounts that are not actively earning commissions and do not have a sufficient balance amount. Your account has been deemed inactive and is scheduled to begin the dormancy process in the next 30 days. What that means is that beginning 30 days from now, your account will begin accruing a monthly dormant account fee against any balance that currently exists in the account.
Once the account has reached a zero balance, the account will be deactivated. This fee only applies to dormant accounts that currently show a balance; if your account currently has a zero balance, no fees will be assessed and your account will be deactivated immediately following the next 30 days of inactivity. Please note that once your account is deactivated, you will not track or earn commissions and your advertiser relationships will expire if you do not reactivate the account within the first 90 days of dormancy.
If you no longer wish to keep this account active, simply disregard this email and your account will be deactivated in 30 days through the normal process described above. If you wish to continue using this account, here’s what you can do to get your account into active status:
- Generate a commission before your account is deactivated. Deactivation will occur 30 days after the account balance has reached a zero balance, or 30 days from this notice if you currently have a zero balance.
- If you are unable to generate a commission within the next 30 days, your account will enter the dormancy state. If this occurs, but you still wish to use the account, simply log in to your account within 180 days from the day of deactivation and follow the prompts for reactivation. This will reactivate the account with no consequences other than a loss of tracking between deactivation and reactivation and the loss of any advertiser relationships if the account has been in the dormancy state for longer than 90 days.
- If you are unable to reactivate your account online, you can call Commission Junction Client Support and request that your account be reactivated. You can contact us at 1-800-761-1072. We are available from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm Pacific time, Monday through Friday, excluding company holidays. Client Support can only reactivate accounts once they are dormant; Client Support cannot prevent an account from going dormant. If you do not wish for your account to go dormant, the only way to prevent the status change is to earn a commission within the next 30 days.
We hope that in the next 30 days you can begin to start earning commissions and avoid deactivation. If you’d like some information on strategies and tips for doing so, please log in to the CJ Account Manager and visit the Support Center for helpful resources.
Not Truly Inactive: Still Get An Account Closure Notice
Notably, our CJ links were not “inactive” but were in fact generating a number impressions. But we haven’t had any converting into sales, yet.
To recap, within 150 days of activating your account with CJ, you are expected to make a commission. If your account does make a commission but fails to follow up with another 5 months later, you receive a deactivation notice like this. Perhaps this should be at the top of their registration page: “If you won’t make us a commission within 5 months, we close your account.”
True, we have been unsuccessful in monetizing sites with a few of the programs available on CJ’s advertiser “marketplace”, but that shouldn’t result in a closure of accounts; the cost of keeping a minor account entry in a database is not significant enough in terms of cost to validate this bold restriction and the associated penalties.
- Generating Clicks and Impressions is Considered Inactivity by CJ.com if No Commissions Occur
- 5 Months Time Frame to Generate a Commission Before Account Closure Notice
- When Your Account Lapses, You Can Reactivate – But Tracking Will Be Reset
We believe the existence of such a clause may have more to do with CJ trying to make more profitable affiliate marketers, by stirring them up with a closure notice like above.
If you are considering a CJ affiliate account, we advise establishing strong traffic to your website first and developing a strong plan for helping users navigate your site to CJ advertisements and offers.
If you sign up while your site is still growing, being indexed and optimized, then you may face a similar closure notice.
Is 5 months enough time for a website to begin generating income?
If getting indexed in Google in itself can take a few months, isn’t it reasonable to have much more time for a website to develop?
What do you think?