Cookie “Dough”: Understanding the Publisher Payment Cycle

Dec 18, 2012
Written by Marissa M.

I will always remember the Easy Bake Oven I received during the holidays one year. As a young girl already looking up to her mom's amazing cooking skills, being able to prepare my own baked goods in my own oven was a dream come true. But, little did I know, baking was not instantaneous!

After tearing through the wrapping paper and breaking open the box, I was saddened to discover that baking is a process and stages need to be completed before the cookies are ready. The payment cycle for publishers isn't too different from the cooking/baking process: although it may seem like a simple process, it is very important to understand the details behind each stage of the payment cycle.

Last week a CJ Network member called in asking about why their pending commission was not appearing as "locked" after the 10th of the month. With the help of Client Support, we were able to look into the problem and let the customer know that the advertiser's program they had joined elected to have a custom locking cycle vs. the standard locking cycle. This is common for certain advertisers who need to more time to confirm an action get completed, like for advertisers who need to allow extra time for returns.


So, to help clarify the payment process, we're going to cover the three important payment statuses to help you understand your balance and when you will be eligible for payment:


  • New – Just earn a commission? It's going to show up here and will remain in the status of "New" until they transfer to a locked status.


  • Locked – Many of the advertisers within our network have a standard locking cycle, which means that transactions will lock after the 10th of the month. You can review an advertiser's locking cycle by looking at their detail page (click on their name anywhere within the CJ Account Manager). However, be aware that there are two exceptions to the standard locking cycle:

    • Custom Locking Cycle: Like in the example of the client who called in last week, some advertisers elect to have a custom locking cycle when they consistently need more time to review each transaction. Instead of the commissions locking after the 10th of the month, commissions will lock a certain number of days after the event date. For example, if an advertiser has a 30 day locking cycle, a commission generated on December 1 will lock on December 31. See the screenshot above for examples of a Standard Locking Cycle and Custom Locking Cycle.

    • Extended: An advertiser may choose to extend commissions if they only occasionally need more time to review transactions. Advertisers can only extend a commission for one additional pay period before it locks. So if you generated a commission in December that would have locked on January 11th, it will now be eligible to lock on February 11th.


  • Closed – Closing occurs between the 13th and 14th of the month. If a commission has closed, this means that it has gone through the "review period" and can be included in a payment. The few days between locking and closing are used as an evaluation period for both Publisher Review (to make sure there are no Network Quality investigations) and for Advertiser Balance (to make sure the advertiser has the proper funds in their account to payout their publishers).


  • Payment - Payments are sent around the 20th of the month. In order to receive payment, your closed commission balance must meet the minimum payment amount you set in your account. Once your closed commission balance reaches your minimum payment amount, you will be eligible for payment. For example, if you set your minimum payment amount to be $100, your closed commission balance must be $100 or greater in order to be eligible for payout.


To learn more about publisher payments, read "When will I get paid my earned commissions?" when logged into CJ Account Manager. While I can't promise you the same incredible joy of being six years old and eating your own freshly baked cookies, I can tell you that the satisfaction of receiving affiliate commissions will be worth the wait!