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Corked!


Remember, it's not the merchants' fault if Platform-A / Buy.at have fouled up the continuance of affiliate links.

If you're wondering why this page exists, here's the explanation: A while ago, Buy.at was a reasonable company in the affiliate marketing business, and many companies were promoted at this site via Buy.at affiliate links. Things were going well until Buy.at got Bought.out by AOL, and then they went all corporate and tried to impose the Platform A Buy.at Contract. I'm very fussy about what I'll sign, and I have my own code of honour, and there are various things in contracts which I am very wary of. The Buy.at contract was in my opinion unreasonable, so I refused to sign it.

I suggested to the people at Buy.at that they change the contract to make it fairer to ALL affiliates, but they didn't seem to think it mattered. Well, I can tell you: It Does Matter. Affiliates can't be herded like sheep and forced into things they won't agree to. See Good and Bad in Affiliate Marketing. Anyway, with no agreement, Buy.at proved to be the weakest link in the connection between the good marketing here and the desire for good marketing at the merchants' companies. When this broke, a vast set of merchants here (whom we had taken the time and trouble to promote via dedicated pages), were left Stuck.

Quite quickly, other affiliate marketing companies took advantage of the gap in the market, and the page of merchants at Buy.at soon got picked over and the affiliate programs moved to other companies. This Abandoning of Buy.at was a continuing work in progress, and in the meantime as this site is Live it was appropriate to explain to customers what had happened, and why the links didn't go through.

If it had been the merchants' fault, like it was with More Than*, then of course the pages would have duly and appropriately embarrassed them. However, in the case of the Buy.at problem, it's not the merchants' fault! In fact, we feel a bit sorry for them, missing out because of Buy.at's fault. So, a set of pages were created which explained to the customers what had happened, pointing out whose fault it was and wasn't, and suggesting practical alternatives in the meantime.

* Note: More Than have reformed and been forgiven. Well Done to them!

It's important to understand, these pages are not Bunged Up, where the affiliate program has been lost and the pages are expected to remain bunged up unless something good happens such as a new affiliate program for the company in question (this often happens!). Indeed, in the case of Corked pages, it's more like the sort of situation where you're enjoying a bottle of wine and you decide not to finish it all off, but instead to put the cork back in and then come back later to continue enjoying it on a later occasion. In a similar way, with pages that are Corked, the intention is clearly that they are expected to be Uncorked, preferably soon!

To see a full list of corkings of Buy.at affiliate programs, see the page of Abandoning Buy.at . In most cases, just an extra paragraph was enough to explain the situation and leave the page on hold ready to be uncorked as soon as the merchant got a new affiliate program somewhere that had a fair contract!

However, some of the situations were either more complicated, or more explanation was required, or the amount of traffic was sufficiently high that it merited a special page to say about the specific corking. For example, some groups of merchants shared the same cork-status, and some were missing out on so much business that I felt it only fair to publish the truth of the situation so folks are left in no doubt about what had happened.

As time goes on, the pages will be Uncorked. Here is the current status list of those companies who merit a special page regarding their corking:

Yes! The AA corked - like a resourceful motorist with a spare tyre, The AA were not stuck for long. The fact that their previous affiliate program had gone flat did not leave them stranded.

Yes! Virgin Media corked - the communications company Virgin Media soon had an alternative routing connected up, so their page is now back in business too!

Yes! Next corked - the famous fashion store Next is now back in the shop window, the new arrangement including Next Flowers and Wine and Next Online Shopping with Affili.net

Yes! Superdrug - welcome back!

Yes! Co-operative Travel - welcome back!

Yes! Salon Skincare - welcome back!

Yes! Angels Fancy Dress - welcome back!

Yes! Butlins corked - welcome back Butlins! now with Affiliate Window. The folk always seemed to be cheerful at Butlins, and was commented here that it would be good to get the show back on the road again. For a long while it was a continuing mystery why those nice people at Profero hadn't got back to us and got this resolved! But in the end, news came in independently that Butlins had reappeared at Affiliate Window

Yes! Hillarys corked - the three blinds pages (Hillarys Blinds, Blinds Supermarket, and Web Blinds) were shut, but after some discussion they were all opened again, as easily as pulling a cord! They are now at Affili.net . Welcome Back! Also well done to those helpful people at Mediacom!

Yes! Financial Times - in the Credit Crunch, the financial news might not be good, but people are very keen to read it! So, the Financial Times should be selling even better than usual! Anyway, things have moved on and the market went through its worst point in the slump and is now back on the way up, and the FT is out of the slump thanks to DGM PRO! The lack of liquidity in the mobility of the affiliate program is now part of past history, just like 1929.

Yes! National Trust - Welcome Back! This noble charity preserving ancient architecture is now with DGM Pro.

Yes! Saga corked - this is especially poignant, as Saga have been messed about by Platform-A Buy.at in a way which just beggars belief! Welcome back, SAGA! Now with TradeDoubler.

Yes! Swiftcover Car Insurance - Welcome Back! Now with Steak Media!

Yes! Nokia corked - for a phone company, Nokia are difficult to contact. However, there is now good news as Nokia have returned to having an affiliate program, which is with TradeDoubler!

Note the different status of the following:

Yes! Woolworths - the famous UK highstreet name Woolworths, now taken over by the Shop Direct group, continues online! The affiliate program is part of the New Buy.at Portfolio.

Yes! Additions Direct - Welcome Back with the New Buy.at !!

Yes! Littlewoods Direct corked - it is especially good to have this high profile merchant LX Direct back! The Shop Direct group also includes Additions Direct , Kays Catalogue , Marshall Ward , Empire Stores , Great Universal , Choice , and the new name in online shopping, very

Yes! Premier Inn - Welcome back!

Yes! Ryman - the famous stationers. Welcome back!

Yes! Ticketmaster - Welcome back!

Yes! LV - Liverpool Victoria - Welcome back!

Yes! Aviva corked - surely with the resources of Aviva, the insurance company formerly known as Norwich Union, it would be expected that they'd be back up and running without delay? Surely the RAC can get their affiliate program rescued in a jiffy?! Yes, well they're being welcomed back now! Aviva includes Aviva Car Insurance and Aviva Home Insurance and Aviva Pet Insurance, and will include others when there is the time to put the work into building the network of pages required.

Yes! RAC - Welcome back!

Yes! Asda corked - Welcome Back to Asda! - although still pending at the time of publishing of Issue138, the page was restored on Issue139.

Yes! Shearings Holidays - Travel, originally on coaches, but later diversifying into other modes of transport. Welcome back!

Yes! Pizza Hut - Yes, this should be really yummy with a home delivery now that Issue139 is online!

Yes! Neat Ideas - yes, but what would be a really neat idea would be to get an affiliate program back on the go! Update: Neat Ideas office has now become Staples Direct, which has a live affiliate program, so this is now no longer considered corked!

Others - Yes, there are others that are corked, but often the corking consists of a discreet paragraph on the end of the page, rather than having a separate page about the corking. To see the full list, see the page of Buy.at merchants which is gradually being depleted.

Yes! = recovered and uncorked

Yes! Recovered! = recovered when Buy.at was rescued by Affiliate Window!

As time goes on, it is expected that this page will gradually be depleted of outstanding cases of "corked" status. The pages will still remain, but will be adjusted to say "they are no longer corked" etc. Also, now that Buy.at has reformed and become the New Buy.at - part of the Digital Window Group, we're getting pages Uncorked as time goes on.

If you work for one of the merchants on this list, you can help to get your company's situation resolved! We'll be keen to get the links back up and the page updated!

If you work for an affiliate marketing company, you may already know that for a year this page "corked" represented an opportunity to recruit merchants to your network along with the page entitled "the Buy.at Abandoning page". Well, don't despair! For any enterprising affiliate marketing company there is another page of great opportunity provided by the Bunged Up page which lists hundreds of merchants whose dedicated pages are here online ready to resume being good for business. Many of these have no affiliate program, so it's up to you to tempt them back into online marketing on a good long-term basis.

Let's get this in perspective: You're reading this at Zyra's website Zyra.org.uk which has over six thousand pages and over two thousand pages of merchants being promoted. The loss of Old Buy.at was a bit sad, but it represented barely a fifth of the site's total income. Yes, it's true that Old Buy.at under Platform A didn't get their act together and they failed to treat affiliates properly, and in the end we resolved that we could do without them! It was said at the time, on this page, that "in contrast it is questionable whether they can do without the good publicity provided here, the absence of which has resulted in influencing some quite high-profile merchants jumping ship and abandoning them!", and furthermore it was said "The Buy.at contract has been held up to public ridicule. We weren't the first to publish it, but as far as I know, we were the first to write a critique of it online. Let this serve as an example to other affiliate networks not to think they can push affiliates around. All this corporate litigious stuff with "catch all clauses" doesn't wash well with Freedom on the Internet, and we the affiliates will not put up with it. We'll be chucking the tea overboard and declaring our own independence from the tyranny of our oppressors". Time went by, a year in fact. However, in March 2010, chickens came home to roost they did, and old Platform A Buy.at was sold off! The new owners, Digital Window / Affiliate Window, quite quickly started repairing the damage, and so on Issue138 of Zyra's website, a considerable improvement is there to be seen. See how many of the previously "corked" merchants are now "uncorked" with a green tick next to their previous entry. Also, with it being a turning over a new leaf, there's a new page, New Buy.at


Whether it be companies or countries, we don't put up with various types of nonsense. The UK is also being abandoned. See the rats leaving the sinking ship! Squeak... Splosh! ... UK 50% tax? You have got to be joking. No? Then it is the country itself that has become a joke. I wonder if anyone will be buying it out?! ;-)