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  1. #1
    Member MyDayRegistry's Avatar
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    What are Parasites?
    Like I said in my introduction, I promised to research previous posts before posting a newb question. Well I did a search and read as many threads that had any relevance at all to parasites and all I could find was how much people hate them.

    Iím sure I could find all this information on goggle, but I figured an affiliate would better be able to explain this. Plus Iím sure there are other newbs who could benefit from the thread. Doing my best to contribute and suck it all up lol.

    So what are parasites?

    Why do affiliates hate them?

    How or why would someone benefit from them?

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    That's it, start with the easy ones why don't ya. OK, in a nut shell a parasite is an affiliate that uses software or other means to steal the legitimate clicks of other affiliates.

    So what makes them bad? Well for the affiliate it's pretty obvious. One example would be that I send customer "A" to your site and a software affiliate (read parasite) pops up and replaces my cookie with theirs. Now I did all of the heavy lifting. I provided a review or some other relevant content that drove that customer to your site, however someone else is going to earn the commission.

    The more subtle way that merchants lose is actually 2 fold. First you'll lose the affiliates that will drive new business to your site. If I can't make money on your products because of parasites or really any thing else that keeps my conversions low, I'm going to replace your program with one that does convert.

    The other way that merchants lose is through their own marketing efforts and through organic search. Let's just suppose that a new prospect searches for your company name or product on Google. They see your ad or your natural search ranking and are directed to your site. Well here's the point where a parasite may rob you. If the new customer has a parasite's software loaded on their system (sometimes without their knowledge) then the parasite can set their cookie and cause you to pay them a commission where no commission was earned. This could really end up costing your organization a considerable amount of money. It also skews your numbers and makes it difficult to measure the effectiveness of your other marketing efforts.

    For a more detailed overview you should take a look at the ParasiteWare . You'll find a lot more information and ways to help keep your program free of parasites.

    I hope this helps.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager buyjewelry's Avatar
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    Does the parasite affiliate need to have joined the merchant's program?

    I have noticed that SAS advertises as being parasite free - if it has to do with a software on the end-users computer, how do they prevent this?

  4. #4
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buyjewelry
    Does the parasite affiliate need to have joined the merchant's program?
    Yes. And there are some merchants that welcome parasites in to their programs.

    Quote Originally Posted by buyjewelry
    I have noticed that SAS advertises as being parasite free - if it has to do with a software on the end-users computer, how do they prevent this?
    They don't allow parasites to join the network so as long as you are promoting SaS programs you can feel relatively comfortable that the programs you join will be parasite free. I say relatively because occasionally a parasite will sneak through. Once SaS is aware of them they are history.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    They don't allow parasites to join the network so as long as you are promoting SaS programs you can feel relatively comfortable that the programs you join will be parasite free. I say relatively because occasionally a parasite will sneak through. Once SaS is aware of them they are history.
    This is partially correct. Shareasale doesn't allow parasite affiliates, however you can feel safe only if the merchant is Shareasale *exclusive*. If the merchant is on multiple networks, including CPA networks, or running "advertising" through CPA networks, there can be parasite affiliates in *those* networks that overwrite the Shareasale affiliate cookie. To my knowledge, the only parasite-resistant networks are Shareasale and Avantlink.

    The best way to weed out parasitic affiliates if your program is on the other networks is to identify those affiliates that have specified they use software as a traffic method. However, one very large software affiliate does NOT have that listed in their profile at CJ (not sure of the other networks, I don't manage programs on those networks). So you need to do due diligence to be sure that your affiliates are not using software, toolbars or other methods to overwrite cookies, or to cookie stuff.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    Member MyDayRegistry's Avatar
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    Sounds like i'm going to have to spend some serious time researching these kinds of affiliates. It is very reassuring to know that we are launching our program with SaS first and from the above reply they work very hard to keep their programs parasite free.

    Thank you all for your extremely fast and informative replies.

  7. #7
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    This is partially correct. Shareasale doesn't allow parasite affiliates, however you can feel safe only if the merchant is Shareasale *exclusive*.
    This is also only partially correct. Some parasites will still target the merchant, but set the software to trigger ads for other merchants instead.

    At the end of the day, I don't believe any network can claim to be 100% parasite free, and no program can claim to be 100% unaffected by parasites. Shareasale and Avantlink do a better job than most networks, but the problem still exists.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Thanks MyDayRegistry for asking the question. I have also been wondering about this. Being new to the affiliate world I have a lot to learn.

    It's confusing to me that there is a 'Type of member' checkbox for Parasite in the member profile settings on ABW. This labels a parasite as a valid member type which seems to contradict the general attitude toward parasites here. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
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    "This labels a parasite as a valid member type which seems to contradict the general attitude toward parasites here."

    No, that's there just for (can't think of the right word) I wouldn't consider them valid or accepted.

  10. #10
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eathan
    This is also only partially correct. Some parasites will still target the merchant, but set the software to trigger ads for other merchants instead.
    That can happen of course, but the affiliates are not IN the Shareasale network, so aren't under the control of the merchant or network. Also, wasn't this tested in court and was proven to be illegal? Parasites now tend to use software that may not be "illegal" (as pointed out in another thread), but is still parasitic and unethical.

    There are also the affiliates that poach trademarks against the TOS of the merchants, which some people consider to be more parasitic than the software affiliates.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  11. #11
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Parasites are not just affiliates. A short and sweet definition could be or is:

    Any entity that overwrites or replaces a legitimately placed cookie, or steals a commission (not including reversals) from another affiliate or charges the merchant for invalid traffic (traffic that the refferer did not send on their own legitimately). Merchants can also consider some affiliates parasites if the affiliate is sending a ton of fraudulent leads or sales.

    Affiliates can be parasitic with software.

    ISPs will higher or develop their own programs to redirect users to merchant pages when they mistype in a merchants name which is a great value added service for the end user most of the time, however some get greedy and join affiliate programs and when the redirect takes place they set a cookie with no click or the user knowing a cookie has been set.

    Merchants can be parasitic if they set up their own online shop where they put up their own affiliate links. You send them cookied traffic validly to their site, they redirect the traffic to other programs and reset the cookie using their own ID taking your cookies and potential future sales. Now this is similar to a leak, ( a banner or link leading an end user off of the merchants site) accept in the case of leaks, there doesn't have to be any cookie overwriting so your sale is secured until the user comes back, or a parasite or security software cleans out or overwrites your cookie. Some merchants will have a redirect to a different version of their site where cookies are not valid when the user returns.

    Some people will also consider security sweeping software parasitic because it cleans cookies off the computer completely.

    There are a ton of other ways all entities can be parasitic, however I need to pack stuff and you get the idea from the people who posted before.

    Hope this helps.

    On a side note, there used to be a dictionary in the newbie section, that would be a good place to start for definitions.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  12. #12
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Sorry about the major misspellings and grammar issues. My contacts were out when I wrote that and I hadn't had any coffee yet lol

    i.e. accept instead of except.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  13. #13
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Go to http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=89073
    This is a post by Donuts that explains the whole matter thoroughly.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

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