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BEWARE: Wix.com Affiliate Program Scammed $30,000/year in Affiliate Comissions

Discussion in 'Affiliate Programs' started by ht125, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. #1
    Im here to tell the story behind my frustrated relation with Wix.com and its Affiliate Program and
    how they scammed me $30,000/year in affiliate comissions

    Forgive my poor english if not 100% correct, since is not my 1st language
    Long time ago in 2002, I started a sitebuilder service based on a flash website builder script that allowed users to create a free flash website under their own domain name or a subdoman under my brand flashbuilder.net
    I still remember it when launched 14 years ago, it was my very first online project, it looked like this: https://web.archive.org/web/20020922013630/http://flashbuilder.net/
    With the time, it became in some way a serious project, collecting more than 200K free users under its name, it was a pleasure to manage it for years, however since Im not a coder or programmer, after some years it started to become deprecated, the script was never updated so its functionality started to lose interest compared to new services provided by other players.
    Once in 2009 I found another service offering a new flash sitebulder and I thought it would be great if we can join forces based on my member´s base and their technology, I thought that would be a great to relaunch it with some new features, and because having more than 200,000 registered members surely it would be a great start point.
    That new service was Wix.com, which started (if Im not wrong) in 2006 as a flash sitebuilder, later it switched to HTML as now. So I contacted them telling I was interested to join with them and their services since we had the exact same interested users: people using the old flash sitebuilders to create their first online presence.
    With a members database still growing at my own service reaching 250,000 and counting, they were more than interested in the proposal

    I started talking with Ilan Shriki on 2009 asking him if Wix.com would be interested in join some type of deal to provide my 250K members with a better service based on their technology, my intention was to join forces with this new player, but they had a more ambitious plans which certainly reached years later. Wix is now a big player in the hosting/sitebuilder service, one of the top 5 I guess, and they give a great service all over the world
    At that moment, Ilan was in charge of the marketing dept at wix and he couldnt offer me other than an affiliate agreement. In fact, there was no public affiliate program at wix at that time, it was like they just invite some players to join them privately, and I accept the offer from them.
    Actually, I knew that I need to move because my service was getting old and deprecated, so I took the offer and start working with Wix and Ilan.

    On Sept 2009 I started to promote their service to my own members, asking them to move to Wix.com if they find their services useful, lots of people moved that way, generating more than 20,000 new members at wix in a few months under my affiliate agreement.
    Ilan gave me 2 options when joining them on 2009:
    1- get $80 per member that upgrades to a premium account at any time in the future, or
    2- get a rev share of 45% on every payment for life for each user that upgrades at any moment refered by me
    Because I perfectly knew that my members were the exactly what Wix was looking for, I opted for option 2 thinking that this will bring me some stable income for years for each upgraded member instead of the one time fee of $80. And this worked like a clock for 6 years.
    During this long period, Wix paid me like a clock a 45% revenue share for each premium member I sent them, no matter when they upgraded. I was happy with the deal, and also Wix, for sure.
    Almost 1900 members became premium members since then, and believe or not, they are still converting month by month by these days in 2016. During these years, Wix paid me like a clock as I said, an average of $2500/$3000 monthly for these premium members, it was not a fixed amount, it was the 45% share of what they collect from them month by month.
    Ilan changed his position at wix at some time, and replaced with Moran Lokits who was in charge of the affiliate program for some time too, was a great experience with Moran too, as it was with Ilan since the begining. Some time later Moran was replaced by Michal Cherry and she was in charge of the affiliate program and my account for the last 2 years,all was great with Michal too, as it was with the previous staff, but one day something happened……..

    One day, in middle of last year (2015), I received an email from Wix telling me that they will be changing their affiliate terms so they will be stopping any payment related to previous agreements by august 2015.
    I thought, what are these people saying? will stop paying our previous agreement ? No way !!
    Where is Ilan ???? or Moran ??? and Michal??? Well, I started to discuss with them showing that there was no chance to cancel something that has been in place for years just because they decided to stop paying when the rights to those premium members were before these changes. I completely agree that they are perfectly fine to change the terms at any moment, in the same way I can stop promoting them at any moment if I want, but this cannot modify previous rights over those members refered and upgraded previous to these changes, so finally they agreed I was right so they decided to continue paying a fixed fee for an extra year.
    Yes, they keep paying but instead of paying the 45% rev share for each previous members as they did for 6 years for each of the 1900 members, they just paid $80 for each new premium member that upgraded after Aug 2015. I got less than 50% of what I should for that year because they just decided to pay that way

    I thought, there is no way I would accept this, but at that moment I had no other income other than theirs so I kept quiet. Certainly, that was some type “tip” from Wix just to show like the good boys, and nothing near a fair deal since thay paid less than 50% what I used to receive under our original 45% revenue share model which was in place since 2009
    So finally, they extra year ended last July 2016, and a new staff was in charge the affiliate program, Mrs Yael Bassani
    At his point I started to talk with Yael trying to let her understand my point of view, how they stopped paying me my comissions even they were collected years ago under the previous agreement, she was in some point helpful but the answer was always the same: I cannot find any written agreement with you which stats that you should be paid a lifetime comission on your refered premium users. So I said….
    Well, you cannot find any paper because there are no papers, my dear !!! This is Internet !!!!
    You agree with the terms by clicking “I agree”, there is not much now or 6 years ago. Its a matter of confidence most of the time.
    But keep calm, just ask Ilan Shriki or Moran Lokits how they paid me these last 6 years and they will explain you easily. Is not difficult for sure.
    I guess Yael got lost in the office because she never found either Ilan or Moran (even they are still working at wix) to ask them about our agreement, and she never took their own records to check what they paid me for 6 years in a row !!!!! Looks Yael cannot even access their own paypal account either to check it, what a surprise !

    So, to make her life a bit easier, I shared her my own stats and records, including paypal payments and their own affiliate console stats so she can see what was paid and how.
    Im also sharing these stats here for all of you, there is nothing to hide!

    [​IMG]

    After a few weeks discussing this with her and also with Jonathan Junowicz they offered me a deal, it was something like this:

    Hey, in view of the efforts you made during all these years promoting our service at Wix.com, we want to compensate you with this:Wix.com
    We will pay you $200 for each premium member you bring to us from now on, and also give you a compensation of $10,000 for the previous members that were cancelled by the changes in the terms of services.

    When I read that I couldnt believe it !!!!
    They are offering me $10K to compensate what?????
    I will be losing $30,000 every year and they want me to accept $10K? For what? To keep me calm and my mouth closed? Nooooo way !!
    You can keep your 10K was my reply, there is no way I would accept again a tip, we had a commercial agreement, proven with every payment you made me in the last 6 years, that can be also validated by your own staff (Ilan Shriki & Moran Lokits), no matter if you cannot find a written and signed paper, the agreement was there and payments are enough proof.

    Obviously, there is no need to say I rejected their offer, right?

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    So more or less, thats what happened here with Wix and their affiliate staff last days, they decided to stop paying me my earnings after working with them for years, they are currently keeping near 23,000 free members that were refered by me that are potential premium members in the near future, which may be generating me an extra income based on the 45% rev share deal that was in place added to the current 1900 premium clients that are paying Wix month by month currently.
    I may agree that new members that upgrades after the terms changes may fail in the new model, however those members that originally upgraded prior to these changes (about 1900) are definitely under the previous agreement. Period.
    And thats not just my opinion, Wix current Terms of Service clearly states this on point 18.2
    However, looks they cannot even agree with their own terms, even these are written

    [​IMG]
    SEMrush
    Wix also argued that they have technical problems to pay for those members in the previous agreement, can you believe that? They had no problem to track them for 6 years, and now they cannot? Come on !!!!
    Well, thats the story behind my affiliate deal with Wix.com
    By now, Wix is earning money with my refered members, my effort for the last 7 years, and keeping all for them, Simple as that. How do you call that?

    Hope this helps others to think prior to join them, is really frustrating to see how a single person is being scammed by a nasdaq listed company valued billions

    Fortunately, stats and payments were well documented, so if you have been scammed by Wix.com like me under their affiliate program, dont hesitate to contact me, we can work together to revert this situation or demand a fair compensation in the court.

    See you soon at https://www.facebook.com/wixaffiliateprogram/
     
    ht125, Nov 16, 2016 IP
    SEMrush
  2. ericastone

    ericastone Member

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    #2
    gosh, i hope this is not true... sounds like a great deal...
     
    ericastone, Nov 21, 2016 IP
  3. IG2010

    IG2010 Well-Known Member

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    #3
    Why haven't you just used some of the cash to update your own program to something close to what Wix offers, I mean, pretty sure you could have spared a few thousands dollars and thereafter hire some freelancer to update it when needed?

    It's sad what is happening, but it happens when you deal with those big companies and as you can see, thousands of people keep falling into their system wich at the end is a bit stupid as they will pay more than if they hired someone to make them a website and update it from time to time.

    Good luck with this, I am fully behind you
     
    IG2010, Nov 21, 2016 IP
  4. matt_62

    matt_62 Notable Member

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    #4
    that sucks hard bro. My advice. Seek professional legal advice from someone that you can meet in person. This is a FORTUNE!!! $10k compensation to lose $300k automated over 10 years, that is worth fighting for.

    You need to stop sending new members to wix. Here is some ideas:

    1. A wordpress multi-user site is cost effective, but takes time to set it up. It *can* be profitable. Actually alot of functionality if you really get into the nitty gritty. I know users can have a free, subdomains, your ads on every page (top or bottom), and clients pay small fee for ad removal, but I *think* you can also charge for upgrade to own domain name.
    TO my knowledge, Clients cannot design own site... but can use any of the themes you install. SO you can install 1000+ themes, and clients can only use those.
    This may be something you can look into providing, you may have a few interested people.
    This site, once setup, should need only weekly maintenance. Its "cheap" to start this, and cheap to keep it running. Will run on shared hosting. Can be setup in under a week. You could run this as an entry level option, in addition to other options.

    2. There are some REALLY good website builders that are for "hosting" companies to use. You may be able to use one of these effectively. You may need a managed VPS from a good provider.
    Trendytools is a reasonably good wix replacement. This is not hands free. This requires more work to setup. You may need:
    - whmcs license (easy)
    - trendy tools license (easy)
    - an account for selling domain names (hard to find good account with great pricing)
    - fully managed and support vps / dedi (expensive)
    - alot of time to spend on providing support, and or creating tutorials to assist clients.

    Clients get confused as they have a login for the billing section (whmcs), a login for the backend section (cpanel), and they need to login to the back end to launch the site builder.
    So you may have to provide alot of initial support, as well as some good guides.
    but in total, you should be able to provide a BETTER service then wix. But it is not 100% automated, and you will have high running costs.
    You can in cpanel hide icons and features that your clients will most likely not need, by providing less features can actually make the entire process better for them.
    You were earning only 45% of what wix was... you could possibly provide a better service then wix, be slightly cheaper then wix, and still earn more money.
    I am not saying this is perfect solution. But it is something to consider. Find a host that offers trendy, signup, see if this is something that you can sell, or that your clients can use, and then if you are interested, form a business plan to see if this idea can work for you.

    3. Like IG2010 said, A automated, yet cost effective solution can be created by a freelancer. I had one developed for me, and it was built using an api for an existing script (amember) to handle the membership side, this way I did not have to pay to develop the membership system. If you develop your own membership system then you have ongoing security issues as this do need updating. And my custom webbuilding app integrates with the membership script. Mine cost in the region of $5k. But it is hands free, people can signup for free or paid, and I do not have to do any work. I am not saying that "amember" is good, but if developing your own sitebuilder you do want to use a membership system that is cost effective long term to update, where paid updates are going to be available, and do not pay for your own membership system to be developed as you may have long term running costs paying freelances to update it for you.

    So if you are considering this option, be sure to ask, what API and what membership system they use, and what will that software cost, cost for future updates to the script, etc.

    PM me if you want to know more about developing your own, I can show you what I have, and that will give you better ideas on what to ask for, watch out for, and so on.
     
    matt_62, Dec 3, 2016 IP
  5. dcristo

    dcristo Illustrious Member

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    #5
    Always seems to be the case. Once a startup gets really popular, they feel like they no longer need affiliates.
     
    dcristo, Dec 3, 2016 IP
    matt_62 likes this.