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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager Julia_Shoeboxed's Avatar
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    Angry Scammers!
    Do you think I'm stupid? WHY ARE YOU SIGNING UP WITH A PARKED PAGE??? When I ask you why, REPLY!

    How are you getting clicks on my banners when you don't have any?!?
    What, you don't have an answer?!

    Listen up, I will not tolerate fraud... it doesn't take a whole lot to find the inconsistencies in most cases. So if (a) you aren't engaged in fraud - please explain yourself and (b) if you are, then STAY AWAY FROM MY PROGRAM!

  2. #2
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Julia,

    I know you're comfortable in the "Becoming a Merchant" forum... but these kinds of posts will get more readers/responses in the Midnight Cafe

    or as we call it...

    the VENTING forum

  3. #3
    Speechless OTProf's Avatar
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    I would guess these are PPC affiliates. Do you not allow PPC in your program?? (disclaimer: I am not a member of your program!)

  4. #4
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Wow. We're going to have to change the name of the industry to adversarial marketing. Julia, did you know that there are affiliates that never supply their real sites to merchants and AMs? They don't provide this information because they don't trust that the merchant or AM won't use the information that can be gleaned from their sites to compete against them.

    There are a couple of threads (one current) about AMs that are also affiliates and if you've been following things around here lately a couple of networks that also run affiliate programs.

    It is unfortunate that there is so little trust in this industry, but think about it, you immediately assumed (perhaps rightfully) that you were being scammed.

    I will repeat what I said recently in another post. When it comes to transparency, affiliates are at the bottom of the food chain. But we can all rest assured that tracking was not affected.

    -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
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OTProf
    I would guess these are PPC affiliates. Do you not allow PPC in your program?? (disclaimer: I am not a member of your program!)
    I was also going to suggest email marketers.

  6. #6

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    Could be signing up with a parked paged as they are working on the domain and/or site?

    Could be they have advertising placed on other sites (of their own)?

    I certainly know a program never to sign up for if the AM is going to be that pissy that quickly.

    If the affiliate is getting you sales, and those sales are valid then I don't see much of the problem unless one suspects they are doing it by bending the rules.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nakedgamer
    If the affiliate is getting you sales, and those sales are valid then I don't see much of the problem unless one suspects they are doing it by bending the rules.
    I just replied to a post over in the parasite forum about landing pages:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=102528

    My site was scraped, the result ended up in google natural SERP - the link description was from MY site, but the actual link redirected to a merchant I'm not even affiliated with (via the scraper's affiliate cookie, of course). I was able to capture the SAS affiliate ID and reported the infraction. This isn't PPC, it's downright theft & violation of my site copyright policy & terms of use.

    A parked domain can very easily hide this kind of strategy. I'm happy to see a pissy AM... cos I'm pretty pissy myself.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    My ebook-length 2c...

    How are you getting clicks on my banners when you don't have any?!?
    What, you don't have an answer?!

    Listen up, I will not tolerate fraud... it doesn't take a whole lot to find the inconsistencies in most cases. So if (a) you aren't engaged in fraud - please explain yourself
    First, just for the record, I'm not in this program.

    Before I go any further, let me say I'm glad to see that you're not insta-nuking your affiliates (or at least, I hope you aren't).

    I'm sure that a few of these no-site, no links people actually ARE scammers. But here are some non-fraud scenarios I've run into, either as an affiliate or a merchant.

    Clicks when there aren't any banners up:

    As an affiliate, if I see a banner or text link in the interface, and it isn't clear what page it's going to go to, I often put the destination URL into another browser window and check it before installing the code on my site(s). If I write a pitch for a specific item, I don't want to find out by surprise that the links are all aiming at the front page.

    I also check out links that supposedly go to specific products or categories--sometimes merchants get rid of products, and don't bother to expire the corresponding dead links.

    The above activity only generates a hit or 2 *per link*, though. Maybe 3 or 4 if I'm tired and forget which ones I've already checked. So I'd figure on a few hits being legit. But if someone's banging in the hits in a big way with no site...that's worthy of further investigation. It may be legit, or not. Or it may depend on your program's specific Terms.

    Parked pages:

    Many affiliates signed up for networks a long time ago, with their first site. People's first site usually sucks. So when they get some skill up, many people dump that first attempt and let the domain expire. Unfortunately, they don't usually bother to take that dead domain out of the network interface, nor do they bother to enter the new domain!

    Dead email addresses:

    Making the problem worse, the same people who don't bother to enter new sites often don't enter their new email address either!! So attempts to contact them result in bounces. Usually the only way to find where their traffic is coming from is to keep watching the report where it says where the last hit came from...then you can go through the whois for the rest, IF they didn't go for private reg.

    IF it's a NEW (to the network, not just to me) affiliate, then I'm a lot more leery of parked pages and dead emails--new affs couldn't have forgotten what was registered with the network since they just signed up! But often there isn't (or I don't know of) a way to see just what they're up to until they actually show some activity. A lot of times, they never do. Maybe they simply get the idea of becoming a pro affiliate, and sign up for some programs, but never follow through by actually *doing* anything.

    While all of this sounds really problematic, it's not really a big deal. Another trait of that subset is that they often don't make any sales. It'll keep your blood pressure lower if you don't worry about the ones who aren't sending sales, or at least, who aren't sending a significant amount of hits.

    Verifying the legitimacy of sales:

    Merchant-side, as soon as a sale does happen, I look carefully (I also look at nonaffiliate sales carefully--I like knowing where buyers came from). It may be harder to do with a high-volume site, but for my program, it's still not a big deal to follow a customer's IP through my raw log files and see all the specifics of the sale. "Find in this page" (or its equivalent) is a great tool for finding a particular IP out of an ocean of hits.

    Real, RAW log files are best for this from what I've seen...programs (that I know of) which promise to make it "easy" *and* give enough data to track a specific buyer through the site cost an arm and a leg. And, it can't get any easier than pulling up the big log file, using "find in this page" to get to the visitor in question (by IP), and then looking at the referrer, anyway! (Of course, it only works if your site records the IP of the buyers at some point in the process.)

    I haven't found any fraudulent affiliate sales, although I have noticed that people do go away from one aff site, and come back to buy through other aff sites soon afterwards--A LOT. But when I examine these sites, they're legit, and my ads are visible on the referring page (as seen in my logs...SAS may or may not pick up the exact URL). So it just shows that some people are better at sales than others.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager kgarcia's Avatar
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    As a long time AM, I can definitely hear where Julia is coming from. It can become frustrating when you have to process a lot of apps and many are parked pages with bad or no contact data in whois or the network. It compounds the frustration when the rejection letter is responded to with either 1) a nonsensical "why you hate my website" email that has so many grammar mistakes that you can barely understand it or 2) an angry email from a great affiliate who is pissed that you didn't accept them.

    Rematt, I totally understand where you're coming from and the reason that many of the really great affiliates hide their information, but one suggestion I'd like to make to folks is to make a simple landing page. I've come across these from several of the wonderful PPC affs I've worked with and they are so helpful in preventing misunderstandings and bad feelings all around. In the same vein, if it's a new site and it's incomplete, drop me a note.

    Ultimately, my goal is to run a clean program with great affiliates but without basic info, I can't tell your app from the constant barrage of fake apps, so the more information you can provide me increases the likelihood of approval which is what we both want.
    Karen Garcia
    [URL=http://lab6media.com]Lab6 Media[/URL]
    Are you a content creator? A serial entrepreneur? New to the space or a long time player? We'd love to work with you!
    [URL=http://lab6media.com/clients/]Explore the affiliate programs we manage![/URL]

  10. #10
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Looking for real legit affiliates, who actually have published content domains getting meaningful traffic, is a real AM problem. Finding sleazebag affiliates who know how to make a 1x1 pixel iFRAME (stuffed with keywords) that automatically sets the merchant's cookie when FRAMING the merchant's site is simple. Getting that same affiliate to write a few meaningful paragraph of pre-sell spin + link is a major problem. When the affiliate network game favors those who can set the most cookies on shoppers systems closest to the e-cash register you can expect to get thousands of duplicate one liners from the thin couponers.

    AM's accepting anyone who can breath and set a cookie are a dime a dozen too. Outsiders landing on thin cookie setting affiliate pages would think this industry employs only short bus graduate retards.

    It will be a cold day in hell before you read at ABW where some AM found the Balls and power to publically praise and offer up a cash reward to an affiliate making a great sales promo page. They won't even up the commission rate for affiliates who actualy make good sales pages for their merchants products.

    Merchants aren't let off the creative effort hook either. 90% of all product merchant sites out there suck for content. Most have just a picture, price and short description of ALL their products. Most have Leaders attitude... If your not buying something immediately then stop breathing my webshop's air.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    This is very similar to Rolet's vent a few days ago, "NO WARNINGS!"
    It's awesome to see fellow AMs cracking down on the affiliates who take sales away from the honest, deserving affiliates.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity

    It will be a cold day in hell before you read at ABW where some AM found the Balls and power to publically praise and offer up a cash reward to an affiliate making a great sales promo page. They won't even up the commission rate for affiliates who actualy make good sales pages for their merchants products.
    I know it's cold in Ohio and not sure how cold it is "down there" but http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=78864
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    Looks like Greg brought it.

  14. #14
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    All scam vs. non-scam and valid reasons for affiliates applying with parked pages aside, I generally decline the apps, and here are some reasons why (and some of this also applies to pages that just say "We're a professional affiliate marketing company, but you can't see our sites."):

    1. There's not enough information in the app to make an informed decision.

    2. Getting more info from the applicant can be a time consuming and tedious process, with most never replying to requests for more information.

    3. Like in any other business relationship, I like to have some idea of who I'm working with. If somebody rings up and says "I'd like to send you business, how's that sound?" My reply is still something like: "...and your name was?"

    4. The reason I review applications manually is so I can get a feel for how the affiliate markets, and perhaps how they intend to market our products and use our brand.

    5. There are enough bad affiliates out there to require all the due diligence I can manage. Affiliates who don't respect that aspect of the business, and go out of their way to make the due diligence process even more difficult are, IMO starting the relationship off on the wrong foot.

    I may miss a great affiliate somewhere along the way, but I know I also avoid many of the headaches that take time away from other aspects of the business.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  15. #15
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    It will be a cold day in hell before you read at ABW where some AM found the Balls and power to publically praise and offer up a cash reward to an affiliate making a great sales promo page. They won't even up the commission rate for affiliates who actualy make good sales pages for their merchants products.
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=101710


    Geno

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