Dozens of big-name retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Target are disassociating themselves from discount retail marketplace Jet, according to The Wall Street Journal. The retailers discovered that Jet linked to their sites without permission, with the newly debuted e-Commerce site promising its own members cash back for making purchases after clicking the links. Other retailers that are taking action include Gap, Macy’s, The Home Depot and Walgreens.
A WSJ comparison of Jet on July 1 and August 4 revealed that more than 100 brands owned by approximately 70 different retailers have had their links removed, with most withdrawals occurring in the week after the marketplace’s July 21 launch.
Jet offers members discounts on products from various brands. The annual $50 subscription fee for each member is the company’s only source of profits, with lower prices serving as the site’s main selling point.
The affiliate section of the web site, “Jet Anywhere,” still includes more than 640 retailers such as Nike, 1-800 Flowers and Levi’s, and enables site members to earn JetCash on items they purchase from these brands. In allowing Jet to feature their links, the retailers can gain traffic for their own web site and also use the JetCash to drive referral traffic back to the marketplace.
Jet Anywhere accounts for 15% of the gross value of merchandise purchased on the site since its launch. Jet counts the value of merchandise purchased on other retailers’ sites via its affiliate links as if it were merchandise sold on its own site.
Many brands that had links removed from the web site were reportedly unaware that they were listed on the site to begin with, according to the WSJ. In an interview with the WSJ, Liza Landsman, Chief Customer Officer at Jet, indicated that some of the merchants requesting removal because they viewed Jet as a competitor.
Landsman indicated that Jet automatically enrolled hundreds of sites with the help of traffic monetization service VigLink Inc. Oliver Roup, CEO of VigLink, said many advertisers instruct VigLink to send them traffic without asking to approve each individual affiliate, but it will remove any if instructed.