Faced with the threat of a mass publisher backlash, performance marketing network, zanox, has taken the decision to backtrack on amendments it recently made to its terms of service.

Germany’s army of performance marketing publishers have been up in arms over changes zanox made to the small print of its network where six months notice were required when opting to change network to use the same merchant.

Were a publisher not to comply with the performance marketing network’s new rules, then they would be slapped with a hefty fine. For a medium-sized affiliate earning €3,000 a month, zanox felt €18,000 was a just punishment for this type of infringement.

PerformanceIN understands that these changes originally came about as the result of advice from the legal team at zanox, who may have been looking at ways to lock publishers into some kind of exclusivity arrangement.

Since then, a decision was made to revert back to the older terms of service that didn’t involve publishers being fined for switching their allegiance.

Communication from Stefanie Lüdecke, zanox CSO

Just released to PerformanceIN, a statement from zanox’s chief strategy officer below on changes to the terms & conditions.

Stefanie Lüdecke, zanox CSO, said: “New publisher T&Cs will not be introduced – together with our publishers we will discuss and find a mutual solution.”

Dear zanox clients and partners,

Following the negative feedback we have received from the introduction of our new T&Cs this week, we would like to apologise to all our clients and partners for the uncertainty and concern caused. We have listened carefully to all of you and this letter is to advise that the new T&Cs will no longer be implemented.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain our initial motivation for the new wording in the T&Cs.

Our intention was to improve the publisher agreement by making it more clear, coherent and transparent for everyone and based on the feedback we have received, we seem to have achieved this. However, the “anti-circumvention” clause 2.5 has caused a lot of concern. The clause is something which exists in many of our private publisher agreements and our legal advisers assumed it would make sense to have this apply across the entire network.

We now realise this was a mistake and we did not adequately take your interests as a publisher into account. The extensive feedback on the new T&Cs and our ongoing direct discussions have clearly shown that clause 2.5 strongly interferes with the general business processes of our publishers. This is not and has never been our intention and we apologise for this.

The zanox board have therefore decided NOT to implement the latest version of the publisher T&Cs.

In the coming days we will contact relevant partners to discuss a more appropriate e “anti-circumvention” provision and will try to find an equitable solution.

What does this mean for you?

There is no need to agree or to object to the new T&Cs. The previous publisher T&Cs and zanox marketplace T&Cs apply.

I would like to invite all interested parties to actively participate in the discussion and to share your feedback, ideas and opinions with me at the following addresses (CSO@zanox.com) and zanox (service@zanox.com).

Kind regards,

Stefanie Lüdecke

zanox CSO

Industry feedback on U-turn

Benno Schwede from Savoo.de, was pleased to hear about the network’s backtrack on their T&Cs. “This U-turn is a very sensible decision. It’s important that publishers can have a choice as to who and how they work with brands.”

He added, “Preferences on service levels, commercials and technology are fundamental to keeping the industry successful and competitive”.

While questioning why zanox even behaved in this manner, affiliate.labs founder and managing director, Daniel Woyteczek also believes that the network was very much in the minority when implementing such practices.

“In today’s competitive performance-marketing-landscape big networks try to protect their market-share by implementing crazy terms and conditions,” Woyteczek said.

“Instead of gaining competitive advantage by developing top notch features or creating outstanding customer services, they use these antique methods.”

“Affilinet changed their AGB most recently as well, but no signs of publisher fines. And as far as I know no other network fines their partners.”