Upromise has recently shared some great news with the affiliate industry. They’ve decided to terminate their RewardU toolbar and no longer support RewardU Online Search rewarding.
Here’s what they shared on their site:
“The increase challenge to remain compatible with various browsers and operating systems impacted our decision to stop supporting the toolbar. Upromise members can still earn cash back from all of our online shopping partners when you start your shopping at Upromise.com.”
Here’s what this means:
- All the brands who couldn’t work with Upromise because their affiliate program was run through a network that did not allow toolbars will now be able to.
- Before their toolbar, Upromise was a top affiliate partner for many brands. Now that they’ve bid adieu to their toolbar, brands that allow loyalty sites into their program will likely welcome Upromise with open arms.
- For certain brands, adding Upromise to an affiliate program will give them access and introduction to an entirely new and different customer base.
- A new customer base will likely mean an increase in new customers and incremental revenue for brands through their affiliate channel.
So, why is Upromise’s decision so significant?
Upromise is a behemoth loyalty affiliate with over 15 million members, 850+ online shopping partners and a program that has helped people earn over $900 million for college. Before they added their RewardU toolbar, many brands were able to partner with Upromise and generate impressive incremental revenue by doing so.
After they rolled-out their RewardU toolbar, however, a large number of brands determined that they were unable to work with Upromise. While the RewardU toolbar benefited users by allowing them to shop popular brands and automatically generate college savings on eligible purchases, many brands became skeptical of the toolbar’s value in driving incremental sales.
Since their inception, toolbars have been very controversial. For the uninitiated, here’s how they work.
- When a company creates a browser extension toolbar, they enable their members to shop directly through it instead of going to their site first in order to earn rewards when they make purchases from certain brands. In Upromise’s case, their members can earn cash back for college savings.Essentially, when users downloaded Upromise’s RewardU toolbar, the RewardU drop-down would appear as soon as the shopper landed on the merchant’s site. This led to concerns that their toolbar could be overwriting other affiliates’ cookies and other marketing channels as Upromise received credit for the sale if the merchant used last click attribution.
- Another reason why toolbars are contentious is because most of what is taking place with the toolbar is occurring behind the scenes, so consumers have no idea that they are generating a click for an affiliate. With Upromise, all their customers knew is that they were earning cash back for college.
- What’s more is that many industry experts believed that toolbars, such as Upromise’s, offered little to no incremental traffic or revenue to an advertiser since the RewardU dropdown would appear once the shopper landing on the merchant’s site. With some merchants, Upromise updated the process and required the user to click on the toolbar in order for the RewardU dropdown to appear. This improved the process, but many advertisers still chose to not partner with Upromise due to continued concerns with the toolbar.
As you might imagine, this toolbar situation is quite controversial. So much so that some affiliate networks simply chose to block affiliates who use toolbars—especially toolbars that make it so a shopper is constantly signed-in to the affiliate’s site.
Now that they’ve decided to terminate their RewardU toolbar, the affiliate industry is looking forward to the new partnership opportunities that will likely arise – especially with networks and advertisers’ who have a “no software” policy.
Questions? Please reach out to our team for more information.