Commission Junction Crashed My Rollercoaster, Sort Of

CJ Screen Sunday

The above screenshot was what I saw Sunday afternoon (1-13) around 5 pm after logging in to check my stats at Commission Junction. The balance may seem like nothing or it may seem like a lot to you depending on where you are in your internet marketing ventures. It seemed like a lot to me because it was about $550 more than I had expected to find there.

Had there been $5,000 there I would have thought immediately it was a mistake, but because this past week had given me 3 straight days of earning less than $4 each day, I thought maybe it was an adjustment to stats from the beginning of last week.

Of course, I was thrilled to think earnings had gone up more than $500 in one day, but as I checked deeper into the stats to see where exactly the money came from, I couldn’t find anything. That’s not all that unusual though. Many times the total in my CJ account will go up $50 to $100 several hours before more specific data becomes available.

I certainly though I had easily blown past the goal to earn more than $1,000 last week, but then I checked stats again around 8 pm that same evening and this is what I found:

CJ Screen Capture Monday Evening

I was actually a little less than that (around $800) because I didn’t get a screen capture until the next evening. The reason I even took a screen capture was because this has happened before and I wanted to have a record of it this time.

All things considered, it’s not something to suffer and die over, but dang CJ, this sure puts an affiliate on a roller-coaster ride we don’t need to be on. It’s hard enough to earn commissions without thinking you’ve made a big score for 3 hours (just enough time to have mentally spent the money), only to have your hopes dashed because of a mistake.

I have no idea what causes this, but it would be nice if this didn’t happen again.

Has anyone else seen this kind of oddity from CJ?


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13 Responses to “Commission Junction Crashed My Rollercoaster, Sort Of”

  1. That’s a shame, I bet it can be a killer to motivation, but it sounds like you got over it already and still value what you’ve accomplished which is good. I’ve never had this happen yet. Best of luck!

  2. I haven’t had that problem since I only signed up for CJ a few weeks ago and haven’t actively promoted any of the sites I’ve put it on. However, I’ve noticed that it’s very glitchy. Sometimes I can’t log in, sometimes I can log in, but when I try to get a link it kicks me out again. Several days in a row I had the exact same number of impressions… Which is possible, but unlikely.

  3. Bummer! I’ve been there before in different ways.

    I’ve had campaigns where I logged in and saw hundreds of dollars in commissions! WAHOO. Then I login to my adwords or whatever and find I’ve lost money. Hahaha. Doh.

  4. I think Alan asked if your Cj balance went down after a few hours, and not if you have spent more than you earned. Alan it’s not odd…it’s a process that establishes your income….i don’t know more. I read about it on a blog but I don’t remember now. I will search for it and give you a link.

  5. Nino,

    “Alan it’s not odd…it’s a process that establishes your income”

    I’m not sure I follow you here? It looks like CJ made a mistake in reporting more than $500 that not actually in my account.

  6. Man i don’t find that blog. I read somewhere, that a blogger earned a sum of money but after CJ did something(I don’t remember the exact name of the action, but I remember that the action was fair) his balance dropped. I will try to find the blog and the post and I will post the link if I do.

  7. I’ve not had this happen in as large a way as you ($500 fluctuation) – but I have had it happen. Since they go through a third party for verification and tracking (the vendors) I find anything can be ‘revised’ – and you’re right, usually you see a commission amount and the data from whence it came appears later.

    But with ebay it’s even worse, because your commission depends on an auction. An auction where there could be a problem with the listing or the auction winner paying, or merchandise that’s returned. Case and point – my sister in law bought an x-box 360 for xmas. Guy had 8 years on ebay and 100% feedback in the hundreds. He disappeared and never delivered. She got her money back from Paypal 30 days later. If referred by an affiliate that auction would have paid prob $10-15 commission at first, only to be reversed (and charged back to) the affiliate.

    Isn’t eBay motors commission capped at $500? I’m not sure. Maybe someone followed your link, didn’t buy your product, and ended up putting a bid on and winning a car auction or something huge in price, but then either the auction was pulled or they couldn’t pay.

  8. I have had commissions reversed by eBay, but they are minimal compared to what I earn. We’ve even had people ask for their money back on our own products, but that’s the nature of the game.

    I think eBay motors charges a flat $50 fee to advertise your car for auction of which an affiliate would get 50% of that or $25 for a sale.

  9. I highly recommend that you don’t base campaign decisions or high hopes on the summary balance. There are just too many moving parts. For an accurate picture of where you stand, check the Balance Detail that is presented on the Run Reports tab.

    The summary balance is a sum of all pending commissions (new, extended, and locked) and the current balance (starting balance, payments, fees, and commissions). The Balance Detail shows you the current balance for each of those elements and allows you to easily drilldown on any one of them.

    Pending commissions are especially prone to fluctuation because this data depends entirely on the merchant. Some batch in results occasionally, some extend all new commissions right before the payout process starts, some make major corrections.

    The good news with CJ is that 60 days is the maximum that a transaction can be new or extended. After that it locks no matter what. Plus CJ offers merchants with the option to lock at a shorter increments, which helps publishers dramatically.

    Full disclosure – I’m a Product Manager at CJ. Not biased though, just the facts.

  10. Thanks for the insight Bob, it’s just kind of unusual to see that much of a fluctuation though.

  11. Sometimes this happen with CJ when they are moving your earnings to the extended part or to put your earnings in the “payment” process. With CJ system it takes time to be deducted from your total.

  12. I used to be a top 10 producer with CJ when they first started….

    This happend quite a few times. They always had a “vaild” explanation.

    I visited the offices after a huge discrepency and found out the escrow account for advertisers was $100.

    At CJU there was plenty of talk about affiliate fraud but no mention of vendor fraud.

    Haven’t been with CJ since….

    They are good if you are just starting out but when you get into the 6 figures you’ll want to work out custom deals.

  13. Yes I don’t promote ANY CJ stuff because there are way too many “moving parts”.

    How does one know if a campaign is in the black until after all those moving parts finally stop?

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