Ripping someone off for their hard work and intellectual property is a very grave sin. I was a victim of Mike Quoc, of Knoji (formerly Factoidz.com) and many others were scammed by him as well. Here at Bangari, I want to expose scammers. This was left as a comment on a post seeking reviews of Hotels Combined. It was so well done, I made a post of it.
Here is a review, (that I did not do) that in excellent detail, explains how Hotels Combined uses ‘teaser revenue’ to drum up leads, that their fine print makes it so they don’t pay for them!
By ‘Wasted Effort’ -Real ID will be forthcoming….
I was a Hotels Combined Affiliate since May and wanted to give an honest Hotels Combined Affiliate Program Review. I have been a travel agent for many years and did a tremendous amount of research on them and found that lots of people on forums were calling it the “Hotels Combined Scam”. In fact, I didn’t find many positive reviews at all other than generic ones that were similar to what I thought at first when joining – which was: “This is great! I made it to my first threshold and got paid with no problem. I think I’m going to like the pay per lead aspect of this program.”
Needless to say I was super excited to be a part of the Hotels Combined Affiliates Team. Unfortunately, this was not the long term positive outcome I had hoped for.
Let me explain. I have a highly targeted niche hotel site and sent Hotels Combined extremely targeted leads. It was a new site and it took about 70 days for it to rise to #2 on Google. Finally I was just beginning to reap the benefits of the organic traffic I had targeted. My mistake was that I had “assumed” by signing on as an Affiliate with Hotels Combined that the revenue earned would be at the very least just a few cents when no bookings occurred and the more bookings your leads generated – the more pay per lead I would earn. It is a “Pay per Lead” program, right? What a bummer that this is not the way they work even though their marketing strategy allows for you to think it. My bad.
My misconception: When a certain amount of time goes by that your leads don’t generate a booking they set your earnings to $0 per lead. The unethical part of it is they do this just before you reach your threshold so you end up not getting paid for all the time spent generating those leads. My experience was that just before I reached my 2nd threshold for payment they stopped paying me for the leads due to “not enough bookings”. Another frustration is the stats page shows you no booking conversion percentage to keep track of. So there is nothing prompting you if in fact your booking conversion is low. They gave no warning with the exception of an email stating that my pay per lead earnings are now being set to $0 due to the leads not booking hotel stays. “Wait a minute”, I thought. Wasn’t this supposed to be a “Pay per Lead” type of affiliate program?? I mean, that was what drew me and so many others to the program, right? Man, did I feel duped.
Trust me, I understand that conversion is important because I’ve worked as a travel agent for the past 10 years. I would have even understood them allowing me to at least reach my threshold and then cutting it off due to no sales but $20 shy of reaching my threshold? After months of working to target every single hotel on my website to generate leads for the Hotels Combined Affiliate Program?? Boy, I could kick myself. Read the fine print, my friends.
My Hotels Combined Affiliate Review is pretty simple. If you are looking for a long term Pay per Lead relationship with the Affiliate Program Hotels Combined has to offer, they are not the ones to go with unless you truly have thousands of targeted visitors because we all know travel sales is a numbers game. You have to actually have the numbers in order to get the bookings and at the end of the day Hotels Combined only wants to pay you for leads IF those leads turn into actual bookings. So, disappointingly, this is not the Pay per Lead program so many think it is and that they advertise for you to “think” you are signing up with.
My advice to the Hotels Combined Affiliate Program? I sincerely understand your need for conversion but Pay per Lead is Pay per Lead and Pay for Bookings is simply… Pay for Bookings. You know deep down that people like myself are drawn to your Affiliate Program thinking it’s Pay per Lead, no matter the fine print. Otherwise, you would show booking conversion stats so your partners would know from the beginning that is truly what you are willing to pay them for. Suggestion: You should change your fine print to big print so that suckers like me would read: “The Hotels Combined Affiliate Program will only pay you for leads up until a certain point. If your leads do not turn into bookings then you will not be able to cash out. We do thank you for your efforts in bringing those leads to us, though.”
Lastly: “Kudos to a GREAT strategy on that fine print, though.” Although unethical, the affiliates that are scammed into it can actually advertise for the company for a few months. When they realize they will not get paid for every lead brought to the table the affiliates will naturally quit. What happens to all those leads, leads that may even come back to book within that 365 cookie? Well, you guessed it. A percentage of those leads will definitely come back because they now know Hotels Combined exists yet Hotels Combined won’t have to pay for the advertising because the affiliate that created that lead/booking is gone. I give them an A+ for their marketing efforts.
So there you have it: My review of the Hotels Combined Affiliate Program
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