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CJ and 180solutions
chrisnrae

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 9:10 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

CJ released a revised code of conduct [cju.cj.com] at the end of July, but I just now noticed it and didn't see any mention of it. Wonder if this has anything to do with the recent 180solutions [theregister.co.uk] hoopla or their claim of innocence [theregister.co.uk]. Now the question is if CJ will actually enforce this "new" code of conduct. Linkshare hasn't as of yet. Anyway, some interesting reads for those who may have missed it.

 

iblaine

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 9:52 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

At least the verbage on the code of conduct is now easier to understand for us non-lawyers. Try this link for the news - the one at cju.cj.com doesn't seem to work.

[cj.com ]

chrisnrae

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 12:02 am on Aug 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Oops, sorry bout that. Thanks iblaine. Yea, I actually thought I understood it - main question though is if they'll will really enforce it ;).

skibum

WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 2:56 am on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Since the networks get paid whether the sales are hijacked, or cookies are stuffed when the consumer does not initiate a click, how much motivation do they have to really enforce things like this?

Until merchants wake up and affiliates stop promoting networks and/or merchants that look the other way, what incentives do the networks have to cut off what is probably a huge revenue stream?

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 3:03 am on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Until merchants wake up and affiliates stop promoting networks and/or merchants that look the other way, what incentives do the networks have to cut off what is probably a huge revenue stream?

Why would merchants care? It's not PPC.

Labyrinth

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 5:39 am on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why would merchants care? It's not PPC.

Because they are paying commissions on bookmark traffic, type-in traffic, SE traffic, traffic from their own advertising campaigns, etc.

The parasites have a glorious knack for turning non-commissionable traffic into huge commissions.

Michael Anthony



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 10:30 am on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Please please don't get started on this here. I quit a UK aff forum because it turned into an anti-spyware obsessed crusade.

I really like webmasterworld as it hasn't gone the same sorry route - let's keep it that way please people.

buckworks

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 10:38 am on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Michael, take your head out of the sand. For many of us, what spyware does to our livelihoods is a significant business problem. Both the technical and the ethical issues are worthy of much discussion.

Labyrinth

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 2:30 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I quit a UK aff forum because it turned into an anti-spyware obsessed crusade.

Have you noticed that it's the UK affiliates who have been most successful in getting their networks to drop the parasites? They've accomplished what US affiliates have NOT.

Michael, take your head out of the sand.

He keeps sand in there, too?

skibum

WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 4:21 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why would merchants care? It's not PPC.

If you owned a regular retail store would you be just a little ticked off if you found out the company that sold you the cash register was working with another partner and electronically siphoning off a 5-50% sales commission on some percentage of the sales that you would have gotten anyway when they had done nothing to generate the business and you already paid them for the cash register?

Philosopher

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 4:50 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Excellent analogy Skibum!

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 5:44 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Because they are paying commissions on bookmark traffic, type-in traffic, SE traffic, traffic from their own advertising campaigns, etc.

But they're getting sales and paying a commission for those sales which is what they want.

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 5:47 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you owned a regular retail store would you be just a little ticked off if you found out the company that sold you the cash register was working with another partner and electronically siphoning off a 5-50% sales commission on some percentage of the sales that you would have gotten anyway when they had done nothing to generate the business and you already paid them for the cash register?

If I'd agreed to the terms indicated in the sale of the cash register, I would have nothing to complain about.

Philosopher

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 6:47 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

If I'd agreed to the terms indicated in the sale of the cash register, I would have nothing to complain about.

Come on. The merchants have affiliate programs set up so that affs can REFER traffic to them. That is completely different than an aff. hijacking traffic that was already heading to them such as what 180 does.

If I type in www.merchant.com 180 solutions should not hijack that and insert their aff. code simply because they can. I was not referred by them, therefore they should not get credit, and they certainly should not get credit if I was referred to a merchant by a different aff. all together.

Labyrinth

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 7:32 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

HughMungus, you're operating under the gross misconception that parasites are completely upfront about their practices and that merchants agree to these practices -- that's simply not the case.

Just talk to some of the parasite-free merchants and they'll tell you about having to hunt down and deactivate the same parasites time and time again (because the parasites sign up for their programs under different names every time they get deactivated).

Or talk to Brian at SAS about 180's attempts to sign up at SAS under various names.

RichD

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 8:18 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm a member of a UK affiliate forum, don't know if its the same one Michael Anthony got sick of, but by working together it has had a very positive affect on spyware in the UK.

All the major UK networks have now publicly stated they won't work with adware/spyware companies, with the exception of TradeDoubler who have an Adware Addendum which I think has more holes in it that the old CJ code of conduct. Due to this UK affiliates have been switching links from TradeDoubler to other networks.

I guess I can't link to, or quote, the post but CJ suspended 180 Solutions from the UK network in May 2004 after they contravened the Code of Conduct and have, in the last week, suspended Claria and WhenU for the same reason.

They specifically mention the UK and European network, so I assume the above compaies are still allowed to work with CJ's US merchants - even though there is only one Code of Conduct. Maybe they are just responding to the unified front from UK affiliates that has been created by the UK forum.

HughMungus: Lets say you run an affiliate program for your site and also run tv adverts promoting your site. A user sees your advert and types your url into their browser. The spyware on the users PC detects the url and forces the user thru the spyware company's affilite link. The user buys something and you have to pay the spyware company for the sale. Does that sound fair?

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 9:10 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I thought we were talking about cookie hijacking (from a site where a user has clicked an affiliate links), not merchants having to pay an affiliate for what is not really a referral.

buckworks

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 9:12 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's all part of the same ugly picture ...

Philosopher

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 9:16 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

HughMungus, we are talking about both. What many of the spyware progs do including 180 is hijack both DIRECT requests and AFF. referals and attach their own aff. id to the requests through hidden windows, redirects, etc.

The merchant ends up paying commissions on all sales made through an "infected" computer regardless of whether the user of that computer went directly to the merchant site or through a separate affiliate referal.

The affiliates end up getting their commissions stolen becase the spyware program overwrites the original cookie from the "true" referring affiliate with that of the spyware programs owner.

The only person that wins in this situation is the person/group that runs the spyware program. 180 solutions is simply one (of many) that happens to have gotten some attention as of late.

skibum

WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 11:06 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I thought we were talking about cookie hijacking (from a site where a user has clicked an affiliate links), not merchants having to pay an affiliate for what is not really a referral.

That changed pretty quickly.:)

Because they are paying commissions on bookmark traffic, type-in traffic, SE traffic, traffic from their own advertising campaigns, etc.


But they're getting sales and paying a commission for those sales which is what they want.

Regardless of which scenario, a cookie is being forced and either the merchant is being robbed

Because they are paying commissions on bookmark traffic, type-in traffic, SE traffic, traffic from their own advertising campaigns, etc.

or the affiliate who sent the referral is not getting the payment for generating the sale.

If ya go up to the CFO level and sometimes even just the Internet marketing director level in some companies, they may very well see it as just a line item where they are generating sales at a fixed percentage and happy to get it until they understand they are being fleeced. Some large performance based search companies thrive on this.

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 11:39 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

The affiliates end up getting their commissions stolen becase the spyware program overwrites the original cookie from the "true" referring affiliate with that of the spyware programs owner.

I know. This is the part I was talking about that merchants probably don't care about.

As to the other part of this topic, I wonder if the cost of paying commissions, even false referrals, is built into their CODB... They might not like it but they probably don't like paying taxes, either. :D

sean

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 11:52 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

merchants probably don't care

Sure they do, if the parasites are not adding additional revenue, and the affiliates start switching to cleaner merchants with higher conversion rates.

chrisnrae

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 2:38 am on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

"cookie hijacking"

Another version of this issue is cookie stuffing. Where a user visits a page and a cookie is given to them without their knowledge and without their permission - without even having to a click a link.

Stealing sales from other affiliates is no different. It's wrong, regardless of how it happens.

Michael - trust me, this was not posted to start a scumware, stuffing, etc string of topics. I don't visit too many other forums because it is the ONLY thing they talk about. But, that isn't the case here. Seems we can discuss this topic occasionally and then get back to business.

Also agree with sean. The merchants do eventually get affected. If I have a 5% conversion rate with one merchant who partners with scumware or looks the other way to cookie stuffing, hijacking - what basically amounts to theft and another merchant says, hey, we're clean - I'll try them out. My conversions are likely to be higher and therefore the sales I was referring to the previous merchant end up with the new one.

That said, I don't think scumware takes quite the percentage some would like to lead people to believe. I think the issues with Norton affect way more affiliates than those of scumware.

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 5:36 am on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sure they do, if the parasites are not adding additional revenue, and the affiliates start switching to cleaner merchants with higher conversion rates.

But if they are adding the same amount of revenue, such as if someone hijacks an affiliate link on my site, the merchant will not care. That's my only point. My other one is that perhaps people should be addressing these concerns to their legislators in order to make these types of things illegal (just as PPC click fraud now is).

sean

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 1:23 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hugh, re-read the last part of my sentence. C'mon, I try to keep my posts small enough for easy digestion. :-)

i.e. what if all the top affiliates switch their links to indie merchants and there are no links left to hijack?

note: I am only talking about true parasites, not the types of adware that can generate significant incremental revenue

Labyrinth

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 2:55 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

But if they are adding the same amount of revenue, such as if someone hijacks an affiliate link on my site, the merchant will not care.

Actually, there ARE merchants who care -- because they believe its an unethical practice and they won't tolerate unethical practices by their affiliates.

Granted, they're a rare breed, but they are there.

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 9:15 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

sean, I'm afraid I don't understand your point.

PatrickDeese

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 9:26 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

> sean, I'm afraid I don't understand your point.

I would take it to mean that if an affiliate program becomes unprofitable for a website, they'll switch to another company (one that perhaps has safeguards against hijackware).

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 9:28 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ah. True.

danieljean

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 2853 posted 11:24 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, there isn't much sense just talking about it, especially as there are enough people here that agree this is unethical and they don't like it.

There seems to be agreement that 180solutions and the rest would best be blocked off by the network- just as SAS has been given as an example. As chrisnrae said in the original post, the question is now whether CJ will enforce its code of conduct. He also mentions that Linkshare is not enforcing its code of conduct.

My questions are this:
-Who is watching the networks to report on failures to keep their word?
-What are people prepared to do if the networks don't act?

A few people mentionned the situation in the UK... animated discussions on forums alone won't change the situation- can anyone relate what people did to get their desired outcome? This could be a more fruitful discussion than debating the ethics or venting about the problem.

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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