If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me arguing with the website builder Wix this week.
It is kind of a stretch to call it an argument as it was completely one sided. I was complaining and Wix were trying their best to appear like a professional company on a public forum; despite the fact they are not.
I talk about what happened in the video below.
I would like to explain what happened in more detail as I do not feel there are enough people highlighting how poorly companies are treating affiliates.
Why I am Pissed Off
I recently highlighted how Sky Betting just closed down their affiliate program without any warning.
I have also spoken about how companies change their affiliate program without letting affiliates know and how big of a problem dead affiliate links can be.
If you read those articles, the story of what happened with Wix may not surprise you.
I logged into my Wix affiliate account the other day and noticed that my username and password were not being recognised and that my email address was apparently not registered in thir system.
A quick look back at my confirmation email on Gmail confirmed that all my details were correct. The fact they still had an affiliate login page suggested that either my account was deleted or they had changed their affiliate software.
This pissed me off for a number of reasons.
Firstly, because I was not advised of any change.
Secondly, as I have linked to Wix many times in articles and paid another writer a few hundred dollars to do a review of Wix in order to drive traffic to their affiliate program.
Despite me spending time and money on promoting Wix, I was never going to have anything to show for it if I did not have an account.
The Customer Support Runaround
Getting someone at Wix to resolve this was impossible. They only provide support via a ticket system and with no account to my name, I would have to sign up with a totally new account just to speak to someone.
Instead, I turned to Twitter.
Twitter is a good platform to grab the attention of a company who has screwed you over as they realise that negative comments look bad for them.
The downside to using social media is that a company will go on the public relations offensive and declare to the world that they will do anything and everything to fix the problem. Unfortunately, behind the scenes they are less than enthuastic.
When I posted a tweet saying how poor Wix’s support was, they quickly responded that they want to help and encouaged me to message their WixHelp Twitter account. This was the start of Wix sending me round in circles.
I messaged the WixHelp Twitter account as requested and explained the problem.
Despite saying that I could not login, they told me to do a password recovery. I then told them to actually read my message and they passed my ticket onto another team.
I then received this reply:
Thank you for your patience.
It seems that you have signed up for the affiliate program in 2014, however we have changed the platform we are working with.
If you wish to sign up to the affiliate program you will need to sign up again for the new platform.
- Click here for general information about the program.
- Click here to sign up for the program
Once you are signed us you will be able to reach the Support offed to affiliates at https://marketing.wixanswers.com
Feel free to contact us again if you need any further assistance.
Have a good day.
Ginger- Wix Team
I now had confirmation that Wix had completely changed their affiliate program structure. This means that for years I was sending traffic to Wix and getting nothing in return.
Understandably, I was unhappy about the situation and queried this further.
I got the following reply:
My name is Yael, and Im affiliate manager at wix.
2 years ago we close our old affiliate program, and open a new one.
All affiliates received email for that, and invention to join our new affiliate program,
We also agreed to pay extra year for the activity from the old program.
I check in the old system, and I dont see you had any activity, from your account kevinmuldoon.com
If you want to take part in the new affiliate program you can sign in through this link: https://www.wix.com/about/affiliates
Also, if you have any issue regarding the affiliate program, you can contact us directly in the affiliate support: marketing.wixanswers.com
I signed up as an affiliate for Wix in October 2014 so it is not a surprise that there is not any activity showing in the old account. I may only have linked to them once by the time their affiliate program closed down and by the time my Wix review was actually indexed and ranked, the program could have been closed.
I checked my Gmail again and saw no email from Wix about them closing the old programme down.
I queried this further and asked for more information. Their response was short and to the point:
As I mention the old affiliate program is close, so I cant provide you any access.
Please contact me in the affiliate support marketing.wixanswers.com
That was a nice way of saying that they aren’t going to help me.
During these emails I was also corresponding to Wix via Twitter. After Yael advised that they would not help me, I pointed out to the support team on Twitter that they are not helping. Their only suggestion was to open another ticket. I explained that I did not want to have explain my problem to someone else for the fifth time and asked why it was always on me to chase for help and why no one could take responsiblity of this issue and help me.
I advised that the affiliate team were not helping and the WixHelp Twitter account responded that “This is the best we can offer at the moment.”.
Why Wix are Scumbags
Wix said that they did send all affiliates notice that they were changing their affiliate program. I never received that email, but it is possible that either the email was not sent from their server or it was not delivered to Gmail.
There is also a chance that their email went straight to the spam folder in Gmail. Unfortunately, if the announcement of their affiliate program was two years ago, I am unable to check whether that is the case as the spam folder is emptied regularly.
Still, I think Wix are scumbags.
They are scumbags for two reasons.
Firstly, because they continued to accept the traffic I sent them.
If an affiliate program closes or changes the way it tracks links, the correct thing to do is to make sure the original tracking URL goes to a 404 error page. This helps the affiliate realise that they need to change their links.
They did not do that. To this day my Wix affiliate URL from 2014 sends traffic to the Wix home page and everything appears to act correctly.
From the point of view of Wix, they want to ensure that traffic still flows to their website, but by continually redirecting traffic from the old affiliate URL tracking structure they are essentially stealing traffic and money from those affiliates who were not made aware of the change.
If they were accepting traffic, how difficult would have it been for them to check their traffic stats and note which affiliates were still sending traffic to the old tracking URLs?
Without any data to check, it is impossible to know how much I have lost. Perhaps only $100, perhaps I have lost thousands. There is no way to know because Wix closed my account.
The second reason Wix are scumbags is because they are doing nothing about this.
Wix have knowingly accepted traffic from thousands of affiliates and not compensated them for it. I have advised them of this problem and they have done nothing to resolve the issue. Their only suggestion was to sign up again or open another ticket.
After explaining the problem multiple times, it became apparent that no one at Wix wants to resolve the issue. Every single person, whether it be on Twitter or in the ticket support system, was telling you to ask someone else. No one took responsibility.
It is quite telling that when I asked to speak to someone directly via email or via the telephone, I was told that there was nothing they could do.
Therein lies the problem with Wix.
On the surface, they need to keep up appearances and ensure that they are portrayed as a good ethical company on social media. In reality, no one wanted to do anything to address what they did.
How Can Wix Reolve This Situation?
I am sure other website owners and affiliates can appreciate how frustrating it is to be actively sending traffic to a website to find out that you will not be compensated for it.
In my opinion, Wix have acted in an unethical way by not making the older affiliate tracking URLs go to a 404 page. I have no doubt that they will stand behind some random legal document that states that it is the responbility of the affiliate to check this themselves, but that does not change the fact that they have acted poorly.
To summarise, I am someone who was contacted by Wix to join their affiliate program a few years ago. I then signed up to promote them and paid a writer to write a review of Wix in order to help drive traffic to their service. I then linked to Wix randomly in other articles.
Due to them restruturing their affiliate setup, I have sent targeted traffic to them for years without any compensation. I may not have generated many commissions, I may have generated thousands of dollars. The issue of much I have lost is irrelevant at this point as there is no way for me to prove either way.
All Wix had to do was apologise for the inconvenience I experienced, migrate my data to the new affiliate system, and give me some token gesture for the problem they called.
This could have been as much as putting commissions into a new affiliate account in lieu of any potential earnings lost, or it could have been as little as someone from their company picking up the phone and calling me and apologising. Apologising for agreeing to their invitation to join their affiliate program and spending time and money promoting them.
A small gesture that showed they were sincerely sorry for this mess would have gone a long way. All I got was a series of support staff who spent all the energy trying to pass the problem onto someone else. Ultimately, after getting passed around from team to team, I faced the reality that they could not care less about the issue.
It is unfortunate that this incident ended up being another tale of how a big company screwed affiliates. It is a stark reminder of how little rights affiliates have and how easy companies can disregard their concerns.
If any of you out there are considering promoting Wix, my advice is to be wary of doing business with them. I appreciate you that many of you have websites that tie in well with Wix’s website building service, but you should always be cautious of any company that treats affiliates this badly.
Thanks for reading.