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Put another way, CJ doesn't care if your visitors buy from you or from the scumware advertiser. You lose the commission, but so what? They still get paid.
Last summer, the CEO of Commission Junction literally said that his company had no way of preventing this from happening. Needless to say, this was very disappointing to the many webmasters who are advertising CJ affiliates.
Jeff Pullen, the president of Commission Junction, a company that helps link affiliates with Web sites, said that he was not inclined to cut off companies that divert commissions if the customer has agreed to the diversion. "The tactics that they use, maybe they're on the edge," he said. "Maybe, personally, I don't find them particularly attractive. But if they aren't illegal, it's hard for me to point to my public service agreement and say, `I have a reason to kick you off my network.' "
....NY Times, 9/27/2002
At this time (Oct, 2003), CJ, LinkShare and two other affiliate companies are drafting a Code of Conduct, so that the affiliate industry can police itself.
Here are some general articles on the topic of adware, CJ and the current state of the industry:
if they aren't illegal, it's hard for me to point to my public service agreement and say, `I have a reason to kick you off my network.'
Yes, rather a disappointing response! Mind you, I can't think what they can actually do about it? If the *****s ID(s) are disabled they would surely only setup more.
I have recently setup a CJ affiliation (my affiliations have been generally direct up to now).
During the current month, the conversion has been 1 sale per 100 visitors to the site, with an average value of $13 commission.
I'm sure that conversion should be slightly higher than this, but the site is the 1st cut, so I'm happy that I do not appear to be suffering :)
Or am I being rash in my judgments?
CJ's job is to collect 1/3 of the transaction.
CJ is smart to sell out to Value Click. CJ's operators are one step ahead of the wolf IMHO. Can't wait to see Value Click get in there and kick butt. I'll bet heads are gonna roll.
I was worried about BeFree falling apart when Value Click acquired them but that didn't happen and at this point BeFree has leaped ahead as my most preferred affiliate network. .
I would love for the Networks to take a stand and boot out parasites but I don't really think it's their responsibility. The only reason I say that is if the Networks start policing the Affiliates, they are taking on legal responsibility as well. And as fast as things change, how can they possibly take on that legal (and financial) liability.
I do think it is the Merchant's responsibility. Each Merchant should write their TOS so that the sale goes to the "click" and nothing else.
We also can't leave it up to the Affiliates either, because too many are making up their own rules about what is fair and good.
It is the Merchant.
The Code of Conduct endorsed by CJ, Performics and BeFree now forbids some of the worst parasitic practices, such as using downloaded software to directly overwrite other people's affiliate links, and there have indeed been cases where affiliates using such tactics were kicked out of the network.
However, other tactics unfair to affiliates are still tolerated, either because there are still holes in the C of C or because enforcement is inconsistent and feeble. Using popups to set cookies even though the visitor clicked no link is one example.
In terms of affiliates like you and me losing sales, though, I think a bigger problem this year is the proliferation of ad-blocking software that erases cookies or renders many network affiliate links non-functional.
One of the most depressing things I ever saw was a video of how CJ links on one of my pages would behave for someone with a certain ad-blocking software installed. Click a CJ link and the software would deliver a blank page instead of letting the person go through to the merchant.
Millions of people have that particular software installed ... sigh ....