For those that might not know, Digsby is a free instant messaging and social media client application.
They have just launched a new "service" whereby users install their toolbar and Digsby will collect a commission when a user buys something from a participating vendor. A portion of that commission will be donated to charity. [blog.digsby.com...]
The first problem I have with this is that it seems detrimental to companies with participating affiliate programs. My understanding is that a company will give you a commission on a sale with the assumption that you have contributed to the customer purchase in some way(e.g. you've pushed the customer to the site). Digsby is not, IMO, contributing to the sale whatsoever. They're not helping convince a customer that they should buy this product from this company. There is only the flimsy argument that the customer may be more likely to complete the sale knowing they are contributing to charity.
My second problem is won't the toolbar steal a commission owed to a publisher? If, for example, Amazon pays Digsby for a sale that a publisher initiated, hasn't the publisher been robbed?