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  1. #1
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    Cloaking scraping affiliate, who got caught, disrespects ShareASale
    Dude in response to this

    Darkforces,

    One of my least favourite things is having to suspend/ban affiliate accounts.

    I'd be happy to review your situation if you can tell me that the following apply...

    1. You were always within ShareASale rules/TOS/etc...

    2. You were always within the rules at Google and Yahoo.

    3. You can explain exactly what it was that you were doing - and what they were doing - and why you were within the rules and why you weren't.

    4. You can explain how they guessed your affiliate ID.

    If you feel the above are true and want to discuss it with me just email me... I'll be happy to take a look at it.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No thanks since being banned I've found that the merchants I was promoting have in house programs. In fact they are heavily encouraging that we come from SAS into their in house structure as they can pay us more.

    The problem with this is CJ tried to play the banning game a year or two ago and saw a multitude of high earning BH affiliates leave their networks, since then the bans on cloaking have actually come down. It seems you guys at SASwill have learn the hard way. Most Merchants actually do not mind cloaking and redirects to their pages as long as they get sales. Its the networks that get their knickers in the twist about it because they fear google.

    Adios - plenty of other networks around and plenty of other avenues other than SAS. We don't need you! This was a just a quick message to let you know you can actually shove your network up your arse.

  2. #2
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    Moved to MOD

  3. #3
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    Brian has requested that this post be moved back to the cafe.

    "It may be better to leave up there because it does highlight a problem.
    Affiliates are out there cloaking Google and it is hurting all of us."

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Can someone give me a layman's explanation of what cloaking google is ?
    ---
    This response was masterly crafted via the fingers of Patrick Allmond who believe you should StopDoingNothing starting today.
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    Focus Consulting is where I roll | Follow @patrickallmond on Twitter
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  5. #5
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Thanks . It is cloaking what google sees. For some reason my mind was not going in that direction.
    ---
    This response was masterly crafted via the fingers of Patrick Allmond who believe you should StopDoingNothing starting today.
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    Focus Consulting is where I roll | Follow @patrickallmond on Twitter
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  7. #7
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CParsons
    No thanks since being banned I've found that the merchants I was promoting have in house programs. In fact they are heavily encouraging that we come from SAS into their in house structure as they can pay us more.
    And hopefully they'll realize that you offer no value before you manage to get them banned by Google.

    Quote Originally Posted by CParsons
    The problem with this is CJ tried to play the banning game a year or two ago and saw a multitude of high earning BH affiliates leave their networks, since then the bans on cloaking have actually come down. It seems you guys at SASwill have learn the hard way. Most Merchants actually do not mind cloaking and redirects to their pages as long as they get sales. Its the networks that get their knickers in the twist about it because they fear google.
    The problem with this is that CJ didn't go public with who you were so that other networks and merchants could avoid you like the plague. You wear the tag "black hat" like it's a badge of honor. Trust me, there is nothing honorable about being a liar and thief.

    Quote Originally Posted by CParsons
    Adios - plenty of other networks around and plenty of other avenues other than SAS. We don't need you! This was a just a quick message to let you know you can actually shove your network up your arse.
    I'm sure that they're glad to see you go. Eventually you will run out of "other avenues" that are willing to put up with dishonest tactics. What will you do then? Rob ATMs?

    Jeez, I feel dirty just replying to scum like you.

    -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

  8. #8
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Cloaking is a black hat search engine optimization (SEO) technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the users' browser. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloaking

    Been around for a decade and some SEO firms made a living off of it until Google caught up and ban them. In essence you intercept the incoming request, when its a person you show the page when its Googlebot you show a copy of a higher ranked page.

  9. #9
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, it often involves stolen content as well. So... step 1: steal content from the merchant site or other .. step 2: redirect right back to the merchant from whom the content was stolen and earn commission while the merchant just thinks that you are good at SEO.

    Most of the time from what I've seen, Google catches the tactic before we notice it but obviously not this time.

    In order to fit in and play a productive role in the greater "Internet commerce" world... we all, as the Affiliate Marketing industry, must respect the rules and regulations of the other industries around us and that support us - even if they don't directly govern us. If we don't, we are playing a very short-lived game.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Calcanis's trash speaks.

    What people can learn from this is...

    Merchants: when you run in-house programs, the more sophisticated scammers are relying on you NOT knowing what the networks have learned a long time ago. Networks don't just add value by gaining you access to a pool of affiliates or by processing payments, they also should be learning many ways to watch your back. Some things that you pay for, to be in a network, are somewhat intangible and often unseen. If not for these guys posting, Brian would have quietly prevented them from accessing your program - and by quietly, I don't mean secretly, but just normal network stuff he does that doesn't get sent to you daily as news.

    Affiliates: some of our brethern (yes, we get lumped in with them) are scumbags and we're not in a position to do much about it - we're not the cops or the judges - but when an in-house program is opened in parallel, we may gain a little margin, but the tradeoff is trashy, cheating affiliates who will often go policed to a much lesser degree.

    Cloakers and other cheaters: G isn't the only one working to rid you from our industry. Grow up and learn to market and to create long term sustainable business models and sites, all that benefit your merchants and your visitors / audience.

    Networks: affiliates are becoming more educated and we know there are ways you can add value to our merchant programs including things beyond consolidated payments and aggregated reporting. Keep up the good work policing, it matters and is becoming a bigger concern for us all - so much so that some of us now consult with merchants and warn them against parallel program pitfalls, including extending an in-house option in parallel with network options. And know that your Exclusive deals (i.e. ShareASale Exclusive Merchant status) are meaningful to us in recruiting and retention.

    Mom: thanks for warning me about people like this. I love you for raising me to respect people, inclusing those I partner with, strangers and even those I compete with.

  11. #11
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Mods, I think this thread needs a better title, "Brain - SAS" doesn't do it any justice, nor is it helpful to our members who scan titles to determine interest.

    I suggest it be changed to "Cloaking affiliate, who got caught, disrespects ShareASale"

  12. #12
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    ooohhhhh, I like it. An affiliate that probably doesn't write their own content can't even write an appropriate thread title. The funny thing is that SAS must have been making you or your BH friends some nice money previously, otherwise you wouldn't waste your time to post, right? Bye bye moolah! In the end, you get what you deserve.

    Crying here isn't going to solve your problems. As merchants eventually comprehend the poor value of BH'ers like yourself, your value to the internet will continue to decrease. A marathon is not a sprint race. All BH'ers seem to forget that longevity = more profits over the long run. Then again, I guess BH'ers aren't the smartest business people around. This is proof.

    -sfcom


  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Awesome Love the new title, it fits perfectly.

    Screw the black hat crybabies.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    It is a great title, but can we name the next one...
    Screw the black hat crybabies (kudos to HecticDMC)?

  15. #15
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    BlackHatCrybabies dot com, that has a certain ring to it. Not sure how you could monitize it, though, lol.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  16. #16
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbowcreek
    BlackHatCrybabies dot com, that has a certain ring to it. Not sure how you could monitize it, though, lol.
    Sell cloaking software on it.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

  17. #17
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    "Screw the black hat crybabies" is awesome... Hectic, you do know how to wield that keyboard like a finely honed Hattori Hanzo...

    It occurs to me that it's about time for Haiko to bestow you with a byline under your nickname (where it says "super member" now)...

    Perhaps he'll incorporate some zen or Samurai or Kill Bill movie elements into your nick byline...

    :-)

  18. #18
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Cloaking (I've always hated that term) hasn't always been abused, hasn't always relied on scraped content and hasn't always had the reputation it does today. There were (and still are) legit uses for it, but it has also been heavily abused - hence the mood in this thread.

    My personal opinion is that it's just a tool like any other, but like email and other highly abused tools, I'd rather not have affiliates using it to promote our program.

    Adios - plenty of other networks around and plenty of other avenues other than SAS. We don't need you! This was a just a quick message to let you know you can actually shove your network up your arse.
    Plenty of other affiliates too. I imagine SAS reciprocates your sentiment...
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    My personal opinion is that it's just a tool like any other
    If it was your content he was scraping you might feel differently - or else you don't understand what was being done. He was not "prettifying" his links. He was scraping other people's websites to incorporate into the side of the script that Google saw, in order to pay lower CPC for having such "relevant content". His actual site was most likely an empty parked template only used to redirect the click to the merchant. Not a tool most of us want to see gain wide acceptance. We write hard to promote products only to see our content being used by lazy scum.

  20. #20
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    If it was your content he was scraping you might feel differently - or else you don't understand what was being done. He was not "prettifying" his links. He was scraping other people's websites to incorporate into the side of the script that Google saw, in order to pay lower CPC for having such "relevant content". His actual site was most likely an empty parked template only used to redirect the click to the merchant. Not a tool most of us want to see gain wide acceptance. We write hard to promote products only to see our content being used by lazy scum.
    I wasn't defending scraping (or the affiliate in question), just making the point that cloaking in and of itself is not inherently evil. It's all the rest of the crap that so often goes with it that makes it a neighborhood not worth playing in.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  21. #21
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    Question Is this off topic...
    Maybe not.

    Warning: These are very long threads from years ago..

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Maybe they should have called this thread "Scraping Affiliate..." because a large number of us, myself included, use link cloaking on our own sites to try to conceal our affiliate links. That is entirely different than Google's definition of cloaking which is what this person was doing and there is no ethical use for those techniques. When you are showing content to Google and representing it as being your own content, that puts the actual owner of the content in a position where their own content is seen as "duplicate" and their pages dropped from SERPs. Cloaking in Google's definition is also when you try to hide a bunch of non-existant keywords on your site using the same font/ background color so that only the robots can see them. Whenever you are presenting one thing for the Search Engines and another thing to humans that is what Google considers cloaking and they will drop your pages if they think that's what you're doing. Now if your page rank and traffic suddenly disappears and you run a search for your original phrases and find them showing on a site where you can't find those original phrases anywhere, be advised that you have been scraped. This is not a harmless tool that has good uses that have been converted to unethical uses.
    Please explain the good uses?

  23. #23
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    Cloaking affiliate links (which is bad, confusing terminology) isn't at all the same thing as cloaking in terms of delivering web pages to user agents, they're two different things and it can get confusing.

    The simplest definition of what cloaking is, is detecting the IP number of the entity (user agent, either crawler or browser) requesting a page and delivering a page dependent on the IP. A legitimate use (which the search engines themselves use) is detecting geographic location and delivering the country or language specific search results (or ads, in some cases). There's no deception involved.

    For example, when people are on an IP that's identified as being from the UK, they'll get UK Google.

    Ever notice that Adsense ads running on site seem to be from your geographic location? That's because the IP of your ISP was identified so local ads were served to you.

    Deceptive cloaking delivers what's usually a junk page (with respect to content and/or even legibility) to the search engine they're cloaking for, completely different from what human users will see in a browser.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    "Screw the black hat crybabies" is awesome... Hectic, you do know how to wield that keyboard like a finely honed Hattori Hanzo...
    And it usually gets me in trouble One of my favorite things about ABW is that people here value honesty and truth over dancing around a subject. There's never a time that people shouldn't feel like they should speak their minds - within reason. I love that.
    Daniel M. Clark
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  25. #25
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Thanks, Marcia for explaining what I was getting at much better than I was doing it.

    Content delivery based on the visitor's IP is the "cloaking" I was talking about. On its own, it can be legit, it's the scrapers and dirt bags that have given it a bad name. The example you gave of Google geo targeting Adsense is a good example of legit IP delivery. Another might be a site whose navigation is not otherwise crawlable serving spiders essentially the same content people see, but with spider friendly navigation.

    2busy, what you describe where someone uses IP delivery to hide scraped content and serve it up as spider food is an example of abuse. Those ass-hats deserve whatever the engines, networks and angry webmasters can throw at them.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

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