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  1. #1
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    Question Is there a change in attitude on this forum?
    It appears now that many members are complacent about merchants and or their OPM's affiliation with parasites.

    Is now an accepted practice that a merchant accepting ebates, upromise to join their program is no big deal?

    I remember when doing so was frowned upon, what changed?

    In another thread a merchant using a well known OPM who openly promotes the fact that the merchant is using ebates and it doesn't matter there are good conversions.

    I was under the belief that my commisions would be comprimised if I joined a program like that.

    I have been staying away from those merchants, am I wrong?


    Dan

  2. #2
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    Thread you started last year about it:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...150#post730150

    This part was something:

    "I also saw a video of the affiliate summit, where in Ebates sat on a panel with a person from CJ moderating and joked about ABW'ers complaining about ebates Hijacking commissions. Ebates didn't look like the black sheep of the family at the summit."

    Now we're all going to be working together for a better tomorrow.

    As far as what merchants to stay away from, which to work with, that's up to you.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Maybe some people just don't believe in guilt by association.
    Daniel M. Clark
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Dan,

    The overall feeling of most here (at last those who contribute insights) is still the same. However, the subject has been endlessly discussed here for many years, so those who are so opposed to it have already voiced their thoughts many times. I don't think there is a complacency about it, but we can only hash it over so many times before other topics become the next flavor of the week.
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HecticDMC
    Maybe some people just don't believe in guilt by association.
    So there is no longer an issue that there is commission losses?

    Please explain, are you saying it doesn't matter anymore.

    What about SAS's stand against this activity is it all hog wash?

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HecticDMC
    Maybe some people just don't believe in guilt by association.

    That's true Dan. Guilt by action is the determining factor. If it were not, there'd be a lot of people out of work!
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Thread you started last year about it:.
    That's why I'm asking, was there a change since then?

  8. #8
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    It's pretty much the same.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Dan, I'm not saying that parasitic behavior no longer exists or no longer matters. I don't defend eBates or any of the others. What I don't believe in, is lambasting someone for their relationship with a company that decides to subscribe to eBates. How far should it go? If I were close personal friends with Brook (I'm not, I've never met him), would that mean that I was tainted somehow?

    And does Moosejaw's decision mean that they are not worthy of having an affiliate program or someone to manage it? Again, I'm not defending eBates, but there is some debate over whether or not they are behaving unethically - depending on how one defines the term. Brook has said that he has tried to convince them to drop eBates - yet you still make him out to be the bad guy (I won't repeat the atrocious insults you hurled in the other thread about him).

    If you want to have a zero-tolerance policy toward anyone and anything connected to eBates, Upromise or any of the others, that's fine... but you can't demand everyone else in the industry to fall in lock-step with that.
    Daniel M. Clark
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HecticDMC
    What I don't believe in, is lambasting someone for their relationship with a company that decides to subscribe to eBates.
    I was being easy on him.

    So you think everyone should sweep the facts under the rug.

    You want me to shut up, but it's ok for Brook to brag and throw it in our respective faces.

    We certainly disagree on that point.


    And does Moosejaw's decision mean that they are not worthy of having an affiliate program or someone to manage it?
    Any manager worth his salt would demand MJ drop ebates before accepting the assignment.

    If you go to the Summit ask OPM's a general question along those lines.

    He must be making a bundle on not only MJ but he also represents Stack & Stacks. So he found two worthy clients!

    Again, I'm not defending eBates, but there is some debate over whether or not they are behaving unethically - depending on how one defines the term.
    A debate over ebates, not all show us all how they are clean?

    Dan

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    That was the last time you're going to take my words out of context and twist them around. I'm done with you.

    I'm going to be at Summit and I'll be happy to take a little informal poll - and I'll tell you right now what the results will be. Some people will say they refuse to work with eBates-related merchants and make good on that position. Some people will say they refuse, but really do. Some people will say that eBates is unethical, some won't. There will not be a clear majority opinion on any of these questions, and do you know how I know this?

    Because after all these years, eBates is STILL IN BUSINESS. If the overwhelming majority of merchants and affiliates took the zero-tolerance stance that you do, eBates would have been history a long time ago.

    So, right or wrong, you're apparently in the minority as far as industry opinion.

    I'm done with you now. I can't stand that I'm actually starting to sound like I'm defending parasites because of you. Respond if you like, I'm done.
    Daniel M. Clark
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  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Dan, there are many here that strongly oppose the bad players in this industry, it's just that some because of their formed relationships with those that work with the bad players often do not want to get involved and prefer to stay away or not comment openly to opposing them on their view or ideas.

    Is that not a polite politically correct way of saying what the truth really is?

    I can really tell you what I think and how I feel about the issue, but I might get banned.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Jorge, your comments prompted me to want to clarify something

    I don't think anyone should remain silent about the bad players, far from it. I think they should all be exposed and shown to be what they are. What I have a problem with is people acting unprofessional about the whole thing. I don't believe that calling an OPM soulless is appropriate, for example. That's what gets my back up. It makes us all look bad when members start taking personal shots at people over this stuff.
    Daniel M. Clark
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  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HecticDMC
    Because after all these years, eBates is STILL IN BUSINESS. If the overwhelming majority of merchants and affiliates took the zero-tolerance stance that you do, eBates would have been history a long time ago
    Yes, but they are still in business because some people with leadership in the industry have kepted them there I think to benefit their pockets not because they don't know right from wrong otherwise the bad players would have been history a long time ago.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge - JRami
    Yes, but they are still in business because some people with leadership in the industry have kepted them there I think to benefit their pockets not because they don't know right from wrong otherwise the bad players would have been history a long time ago.
    People like the major networks. They are being pimped out to merchants as a way to get instant lift to their affiliate programs. Until THAT changes they won't go away.
    Deborah Carney
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  16. #16
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    I don't think any affiliates "like" working with merchants who have parasites, but the parasites aren't going away. Probably 90% of the largest merchants work with parasites. If you have a business model (like PPC) where you can pick and choose merchants, it's feasible to work with the small subset of clean merchants. For the rest of it, we just have to suck it up and consider it a cost of doing business. Estimates vary widely, from 5% to 50% of sales "stolen" depending on the merchant and the affiliate's traffic, but I think it's reasonable to assume it's under 20% for most merchants. I would rather have 80% of 100% than 100% of 10%.

    IMHO, the networks have done a considerably better job of getting rid of the pure parasites. The ones that remain have a value proposition for the consumer, wide customer bases, and follow network rules to stand down on a direct affiliate link. They still nullify the cookie duration by intercepting the consumer when they return to a merchant, and I don't think networks should allow that, but that's a fight I doubt we're going to win.

    As for me, placement on my site is based at least partially on performance. A heavily parasite-infested merchant will not perform as well, so they'll receive lower placement. But from my experience, there are numerous other factors that affect performance and those factors (especially combined) can have a far bigger impact. I think it's a mistake to focus entirely on one factor.
    Michael Coley
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  17. #17
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    My way of "speaking up" on this issue is to quietly and gradually switch all of my affiliate links over to Share-a-Sale.
    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

  18. #18
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    eBates Lives Because
    No one has stepped up to the plate and sued them for 'unlawful' conversion. Nor to my knowledge has anyone filed a REAL criminal complaint against them.

    They have been sued for other stuff but it all comes down to it's more profitable to be black hat than honest and they make more than it costs them
    to change. Plus, to win in court, you have to have REAL data.

    What always got my goat about this parasite stuff was it was okay for couponers and ebate rebate guys to offer incentives, but it was not okay to offer incentives to get people to read the advertisements for the merchants who partner up with the eBate types if these guys were paying you per click for the traffic. But hey send us all the free traffic you want. We will pretend to pay you, if we miss a cookie we should have poached.

    Brook is partnered up with eBates, because if he did not do so he would be much poorer than he already is and he might have to get a REAL job.
    He just doesn't have the ethical cojones of Andy to do the right thing.

    But now that you know WHO ebates is affiliated with, it's in your court.
    You can choose to play with them or not. I choose not to.

  19. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    And people like some OPMs too.

    Let's not confuse people on this as I think Dan was refering merchants and their OPMs that work with the bad palyers.

    We already know the major networks have mostly to blame for not stopping this a long time ago but OPMs were supposed to be defenders of affiliates and to tell merchants what the networks were not telling them cause affiliates had no voice.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Druid
    No one has stepped up to the plate and sued them for 'unlawful' conversion. Nor to my knowledge has anyone filed a REAL criminal complaint against them.
    There's a law? What law is in place that criminalizes eBates' business model? I'm not being sarcastic here, I honestly do not know if there actually is a law and would like someone to explain this further, because as far as I'm aware, there isn't one.
    Daniel M. Clark
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  21. #21
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    No we are all pro parasites now.. The more the better

    I actually don't join any unless they have 10 parasites

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Druid
    No one has stepped up to the plate and sued them for 'unlawful' conversion.
    I'd say http://www.cjclassaction.com/ falls under that.

    I know my views here are pretty controversial, but the reason why advertisers continue to work with software affiliates who pop offers or rebate reminders when visiting a website (and not just redirecting the traffic blindly - that's not a value proposition, but just theft), also known as parasites, is that many of the parasites still provide value to the programs. Basically, performance from a parasite that does not feature the advertiser on their website in special ways (e.g. email, featured promotions, special sales, coupon deals) in my experience has been extremely minimal, but when these sites feature a program, the sales come in like crazy. It's hard for advertisers to ignore that.

    As for affiliates, if you do not approve of a program associating with a parasite, don't promote it. Being someone who's been on both ends of the spectrum, affiliate and advertiser, I'd have to agree with Michael Coley when he said
    For the rest of it, we just have to suck it up and consider it a cost of doing business. (snip) I would rather have 80% of 100% than 100% of 10%.
    I think it might be a good thing that the talk of parasites has subsided a bit here - It was getting to be overpowering of other discussions here, and was a bit of a hit to the reputation, coming off as ABW being a community of complainers. There comes a point where there are other, more effective channels to address an issue (publisher boards of networks, talks with network heads at conferences, lawsuit in the case of CJclassaction.com), and the energy in the forum should be put back into helping affiliates and merchants succeed.

    Creating a better relationship between affiliates and merchants here would also be more beneficial to tackling the parasite issue. Rather than attack a new program manager when they show up here (for being affiliated with parasites), welcome them to the community, create a good rapport, and then work WITH the program manager to address the issue. Don't work against the advertiser. Is an advertiser really going to listen to a bunch of pissed off affiliates doing nothing but bashing their management.

  23. #23
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    Is there a change in attitude on this forum? Yes
    More and more people are coming here spreading information like it's acceptable to work with parasites as long as you're making money. They were even able to convince some members. It started after the first summits.
    Or let's join the PMA, a few good affiliates can make a difference.
    I saw a few good affiliates at the CoC meeting in 2002, I've not seen a difference.
    Working with merchants infested with parasites is accepting to sponsor them and to make them thrive. You're just sending the wrong message to the affiliate community.
    Some networks like Shareasale, Avantlink... some OPMs, some merchants have made the effort to stay clean to help ABW affiliates and now a few at ABW are saying it's OK to work with THIEVES. Are we still asking these networks, OPMs, merchants to stay clean? or should they do what's best for them as long as they are making money?
    I know I can make a difference by not working with crooks.

  24. #24
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    "There comes a point where there are other, more effective channels to address an issue (publisher boards of networks, talks with network heads at conferences,"

    C'mon now. Do you have any examples of talking to a network head that has resulted in anything as far as that?

    "I know my views here are pretty controversial, but the reason why advertisers continue to work with software affiliates who pop offers or rebate reminders when visiting a website (and not just redirecting the traffic blindly - that's not a value proposition, but just theft), also known as parasites, is that many of the parasites still provide value to the programs."

    As far as that, you're leaving out all the negatives. Let's say I'm Best Buy. I had someone to my site, sign up for a newletter. Best Buy sends them a newsletter with deals and promotions. That person sees a deal they like, clicks on it, goes to Best Buy. What's the need for anything to pop up? I'm talking about for Best Buy, I understand it helps the affiliate manager's numbers but I'm talking about the merchants.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    We do a lot of eBay affiliate business. The other day I heard about a parasite that rebates a small portion of eBay commissions. My first reaction was emotional. I've thought quite a bit about it since then and have come to accept that eBates type programs are competitors rather than thiefs. Yes, there's a small chance that they'll steal my cookie, but there's also a chance that I'll "steal" theirs. That's the way this business works.

    In another thread I recently likened eBates type sites to WallMart driving small local shops out of business. Looking back I think that was a little over-exaggerated. Percentage-wise, WallMart probably owns a lot larger portion of the market than parasites do the Intermarket. It's a good thing that it's difficult for the everyday affiliate to develop an eBates type site. Otherwise parasites would be prolific and even we as "ethical" affiliates would probably be in the parasite business.



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