XY7.com Conference Call Clears UpTop Affiliate Challenge Misunderstanding

  • Comments: 6
  • Written on: July 30th, 2008

XY7.com LogoA number of companies sponsored Top Affiliate Challenge and most of them came away satisfied with their return on investment.  However, there was one notable exception.

Those of you who read Paul’s blog Uberaffiliate already are aware that Kevin De Vincenzi from XY7.com (a TAC sponsor) posted a comment about his dissatisfaction with the show.

From Kevin’s comment:

We seriously considered withdrawing and publicly denouncing the show on day 2 but figured lets see what happened and it only got worse….I have emailed the shows producer for an explanation as to some of the happening I got first hand from my affiliate manager I sent there and also some contestants as of yet no response…

When we saw the comment the show was winding down and we were a little concerned by it.  For some reason I never received the email that Kevin sent, so on the 15th I started emailing him to discuss the show.  We were finally able to catch up tonight at 9:30 in the evening and here is what was said.

The Call Begins

This was actually the first time I had ever spoken directly with Kevin.  I had always worked with Randall, one of his employees, before.  I never had the need to escalate anything to Kevin’s attention, so we were faceless names to each other.

The call was pretty charged at first.  Kim and I were on the line with Kevin and his partner.  Coming into the call I believed that XY7 was upset because the team they sponsored did poorly on the show under the direction of John Chow.  I expected Kevin to be upset about the day that John had his contestants walk in on camera wearing Pepperjam shirts instead of XY7.com team shirts.

I was shocked when Kevin told me what he was actually upset about.  Kevin was told by Randall that I:

  • Instructed the contestants to use any means necessary to earn money – even if that meant violating the terms of an offer.
  • Was actively encouraging devious behavior to put dollars in my pocket.
  • Was accepting kickbacks from networks to influence the outcome of the show.
  • Was Representing the contestants on the XY7.com team as direct employees or agents of XY7.com

I was floored.  Now I understood why he was upset.  If any of that was true I would have been just as upset as he was!

The truth is that nothing like that ever happened on the show.  In fact, the day before we started filming we sat all of the gurus and affiliates down and made it crystal clear that no one was to violate any local, state or federal laws, and that they were to always comply with the terms of a network’s offer.  Everyone on that set was clear on those rules, and they did not change at any time during the production.

Communication Broke Down

Kevin’s information was gathered from his on-site affiliate manager, Randall.  Throughout the course of the show Randall expressed to me how impressed he was with the show and that he would like to audition for Season 2 himself as a contestant.  Evidently he was taking a very different story back to Kevin.

According to Kevin, Randall told him that the show was active chaos.  Randall reported that I was personally telling him that anything goes with the contestants.  Randall used a specific instance to illustrate his point to Kevin.

During the show, Big Jason Henderson incentivised an XY7.com offer that despite an effort to get an override form the advertiser, clearly did not accept incentivised traffic.  I personally told Big Jason not to run the incentivised offer.

Jason ran the offer anyway and generated about $600 in leads.  The end result was that the client did not pay XY7.com for the bad leads.  Further, the advertiser terminated their offer with XY7 as of the end of this month.

While all of this was going on, Randall was telling me that the client was going to pay the leads.  We all agreed that it was wrong for Jason to do run the offer, but it worked out in the end (or so I thought) so the emphasis was on not letting it happen again.  Jason was warned again and told me he failed to understand what it meant to incentivise an offer.  I was assured it would not happen again.

So I was talking to the man who I believe is withholding a payout unjustly, and Kevin thought he was talking to a swindler who cost him an offer on his network.  Anyone feel the tension yet?

The Resolution

After I realized what had happened as a result of Jason’s promotion, and after Kevin realized that the producers of the show never sought to send garbage leads through his network things got a little lighter.

We both thanked each other for the explanations and the focus of the call quickly shifted toward how we could work together in an affiliate-network relationship in the future.  I also offered XY7 a DEEPLY discounted rate for a TAC 2009 sponsorship.

The call that started as two pissed off guys ready to go at it ended with two business people ready to move down the road together again as partners in the future.

The Moral of the Story

We have made no secret that there are things we could have done better on TAC.  We also have made no secret out of the fact that there will be a season 2 and it will be heavily retooled.

It is vitally important to keep the lines of communication open at all levels – especially in a project as complex as Top Affiliate Challenge.  Kevin now has my cell phone number and I have an open invitation to speak with him whenever there is a need.

Sometimes a 9:30 PM phone call can make all the difference in the world.  I’ll be running some things with XY7.com in the near future.  Kevin, get a credit card offer and I will knock it out of the park for you 🙂

  1. Wes Wyatt said on July 30th, 2008 at 12:58 am

    I was present for many of the back room discussions during the Top Affiliate Challenge (TAC) and will back up everything Thor states here – as being the truth so far as anything I heard.

    MANY times during the show – situations that would have benefited the persons that JV’d TAC were avoided if they appeared to be below board. Again – I witnessed this with my own eyes.

    Am I friends with Thor – yes and proud to state it. Would I lie to support the project or his friendship – no and I’m proud to say he wouldn’t ask me to.

  2. James Wilcox said on July 30th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Jason should have heeded your first warning and understood what incentive offers are. That being said, I think you handled the situation professionally and I’m glad you were able to work things out.

  3. Thor Schrock said on July 30th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    @James

    Thanks. This is a weird industry. There are thieves, brilliant minds, and entrepreneurs all swirling around together. Its important to know who you are dealing with and sometimes you just have to talk to a person to figure that out.

  4. Collin - Feed Flare said on August 4th, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Sorry Thor I never seen this post sooner, what Randall said was going on never happened once, as I was on the xy7 team. I know for a fact at one point I recall you firmly saying not to break any affiliate company’s terms that all that money would be removed from the earnings.

  5. WayneDog said on August 6th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    “We also have made no secret out of the fact that there will be a season 2″… Wow, it’s as if you don’t realize how bad the first one actually was. I am all for learning from mistakes and trying again but that show was downright horrible and no one I know (contestants as well as affiliates) took is seriously after they saw how much of a joke it was. Sometimes it is better for forget a bad experience and just move on, this would probably be one of those time.

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