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  1. #1
    Full Member heisje's Avatar
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    is CJ letting the affiliate community down?

    well, it seems they have become very insensitive to affiliate issues.

    - while LinkShare has taken some important first steps to curb thiefware, and BeFree are paying lip service, CJ is ignoring the matter in a very provocative way

    - while affiliate sales and commissions are showing a healthy increase at LinkShare, Amazon and Performics, CJ conversions and commissions are gradually deteriorating due to the unreserved co-operation with the thiefware setups.

    CJ is not responding. CJ is not participating in forum discussions. CJ is ignoring the affiliate community on which they built their current strength. CJ is causing millions in commissions to be lost.

    this is no good.
    this is very bad.


    but what is even worse is the fact that we are doing precious little informing merchants about the detrimental effect of thiefware on their operations and income:

    - affiliates seeing commissions declining due to theft shall re-direct traffic to merchants and networks that do not co-operate with thiefware operators

    - merchants are paying commissions to thiefware operators for sales originating from free traffic from search engines and from normal bookmarks of their sites

    - CJ is not advising their merchants on the detrimental effects of thiefeware because CJ too make commissions on this free traffic while they should not - an unholy underground silent alliance with the thieves

    very disturbing, while we are still discussing this among ourselves, at our leisure - like if time is on our side, while we are daily losing money to the thieves . . .

    it is now time to wake up, is it not?

  2. #2
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    Cj in my opinion is no worse nor any better than the others.

    Cj obviously can teach their merchants betters such as FAQ for merchants. Example how to credit an affiliate for a partial reversal, etc.


    I don't see Linkshare and befree informing their merchants about parasites feeding off their PPC as well as regular traffic either.

    And as far as CJ participating on this board. Why should they? They are a little angered by the New York times, etc. So perhaps once the new stands have been met, they'll return to the board.

    I suggest you phone a few Linkshare merchants. You'll be surprised on who seems to be the leader of the pack over there, and it's not Linkshare direct. I talked to domestications, and was shocked on who she was going to talk to about "my concerns on parasites." It wasn't Steve or upper management of LS. It was another merchant, who actually uses parasites.

    I haven't talked to Befree. But the merchants at CJ seemed to think the same I do, the ad networks aren't there to protect them either.

    "Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open." Thomas Dewar

  3. #3
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    heisje,

    I am sorry you feel that we are ignoring the publisher concerns, not responding in forums or educating our clients but from my perspective we are doing those things.

    Commission Junction is working with all the players in our industry (solution providers, software companies, publishers and advertisers) to resolve the issues related to parasite/adware technologies.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  4. #4
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    CJ is working hard to keep their cut from the commissions that are generated by what should be free traffic to the merchants.

    CJ is participating in theft. Who do you think you are kidding.

    CJ doesn't mind a little of our blood either. CJ wants those tool bars in a very big way. They don't care about ethics. And, they are just praying that somehow it will all be legal if they can just twist the facts enough.

    They just want the money that they are no way entitled to.

    Let the purchaser decide that they want a kick back on the commissions and tell them they can say who the rest of the commission goes to? Hey, what a business model that is. Let's go sell it to Wal-Mart, what say? If it can't be done in a brick and mortar store, it shouldn't be legal in an on line store.

    Everyone knows this is right. But, what the heck. As long as the gravy goes to CJ, ethics be damned.

    This must be stopped in a court of law. No merchant with half a brain should work with these programs.


    The Wolf Credo: Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack. Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between. Share your affections. Voice your feelings. Leave your mark.

    [This message was edited by SSanf on October 19, 2002 at 06:09 PM.]

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador cusimano's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by SSanf:
    And, they are just praying that somehow it will all be legal if they can just twist the facts enough.




    Let's assume for a moment that a court decides that the activities of adware/scumware etc. were judged to be legal. Just because the activity may be deemed legal and therefore okay to do in the eyes of the law, it does not all of a sudden make it a wise business model for publishers (affiliates) or for merchants. At such time, any adware/scumware that is dependent upon 3rd party publishers maintaining websites with links to the merchant will soon thereafter discover those publishers dropping the participating merchants en masse as there will be no economic incentive to continue the publisher-advertiser relationship.

    Also, a merchant or network (not necessarily CJ) that decides to take a wait-and-see-approach until the practice is legally challenged is also an unwise business decision for merchants and networks because in the meantime serious damage is being caused to the trust relationship between publishers and merchants/networks.

    I wrote the following in another message thread. I'm repeating it here because I think it also applies to this discussion:

    quote:
    There is a simple economic equation at play that some merchants and 3rd party companies are not paying close attention to: if running an affiliate based website is not an economically viable venture for a webmaster, the webmaster will simply close their site. If a sufficient number of webmasters stop promoting a particular merchant because it is no longer financially viable to continue then eventually it is going to have an impact upon the merchant -- and at such time the software technology [i.e. adware/scumware] is going to fail from the merchant's perspective, not to mention an alienation of the merchant's former affiliate base.



    Yours truly,
    Cusimano.Com Corporation

    David Cusimano

    amazon.pl XML - amazon XML for the rest of us - no need to know XML

  6. #6
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    One might hope. But, it will take a while for some to wise up and new people will never know why they couldn't make a go of it.

    Additionally a shrinking pool of merchants to choose from cuts into our ability to do well, too.

    The Wolf Credo: Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack. Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between. Share your affections. Voice your feelings. Leave your mark.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by ToddCrawford, CJ.com:
    heisje,

    I am sorry you feel that we are ignoring the publisher concerns, not responding in forums or educating our clients but from my perspective we are doing those things.

    Commission Junction is working with all the players in our industry (solution providers, software companies, publishers and advertisers) to resolve the issues related to parasite/adware technologies.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction


    Todd,

    Thanks for coming on here today and responding. It takes a lot of nerve lately to do such a thing here and I commend you. Your responding, even if just a little bit of information, does show you are not ignoring us.

    Is it possible to hear a little more about what specifically is being done by CJ or is that something you can share?

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
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    Money Talks !!!

  9. #9
    Full Member heisje's Avatar
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    this time last year CJ promoted itself as the champion of the affiliate publishers vs the preferential treatment that merchants seemed to enjoy at other networks (ex. LinkShare, BeFree) up to then.

    and that was not mere promotion. among others, you could find on average the best terms at the CJ network (information, commissions, return days, response, protection of interest, etc).

    this stance benefited CJ substantially. it resulted in turnover expansion and goodwill. to the point that the other networks, especially LinkShare, felt they were being left behind and had to do something towards the same direction.

    regrettably CJ does not follow today the same route of sound business that itself pointed at last year.

    - it is not long-term sound business to cheat your partners, be it affiliates or merchants

    - it is not long-term sound business to lie

    - it is not long-term sound business to hope that your business associates shall not find out

    - it is not long-term sound business to respond like if your audience is comprised of idiots (that is actually pathetic . . . )

    "You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time."
    Abraham Lincoln


    therefore CJ should be well advised to do something *spectacular* soon on the matter of predatory advertising - commencing with the termination of any kind of affiliation with those predators who "overwrite" affiliate links by substituting their own affiliate links.

    not only must they do something on-the-double, it must also be drastic and total - in order to mend the damage they have caused to their reputation and interests as well as to the interests of their merchants and affiliates.

    their competitors are taking great advantage of CJ's current dishonesty and blindness.

    LinkShare in particular has initiated important agreement modifications to bar predators from their netrwork, a good first step towards combating this scourge. LinkShare's CEO has personally followed discussions in ABW and responded with honesty and clarity on what LinkShare is doing now and planning to do in the future about this matter.

    even BeFree, not a known champion of affiliates' interests, has announced its specific plans for a total ban of predators from their network.


    and what is CJ doing currently?
    it keeps a conspiratorial silence, hoping people shall not notice their dishonesty and hypocrisy.

    it is a pity to see them sink so low . . . .

    [This message was edited by heisje on October 20, 2002 at 10:28 AM.]

  10. #10
    Full Member heisje's Avatar
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    a similar, equally useful discussion is developing at iAfma, at:

    http://iafma.org/gm/forums/showthrea...=1834#post1834

    you may possibly want to study the proposals for action re: CJ put forward by iAfma members in that forum.

  11. #11
    Full Member heisje's Avatar
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    efforts are under way to arrange industry meetings to resolve the thiefware problem.

    this is good news, but I would not be surprised if a meeting among representatives of networks, merchants and affiliates turned out as a meeting of two wolves and a lamb deliberating on what to have for lunch.

    and if the meeting is only among network and affiliates, what do you think the conclusion is going to be?

    ---------
    - the network has an illegal indirect vested interest in keeping the parasites alive as they take a cut on the sales originating from the merchant's own traffic resulting from:

    - brand awareness
    - search engines
    - banner advertising
    - bookmarks

    ----------

    let us not be naive, our main goal should be to make money talk:

    we must alert the *merchants* to the fact that they are paying commissions (a lot of money) on sales originating from their own efforts and not for any added value (performance).
    they, in turn, have the power and means to demand from the networks to stop this madness.

    our main effort must be directed toward the *merchants* if we want to see any effective changes soon. this does not preclude a parallel effort towards the networks - which by itself should not be expected to have any meaningful results.

  12. #12
    Full Member heisje's Avatar
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  13. #13
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    CJ has the analytical capability to identify
    individual affiliates who are being ripped off
    by parasites. The Data is available. However, CJ
    does not apparently have the motivation.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador
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    quote:
    we must alert the *merchants* to the fact that they


    This has been identified as a strong priority in a number of discussions on the issues.

    How many of your own merchants have you discussed this with so far? Whatever the number is, talk to more! And more! And more!

    An astonishing number of merchants have no clue about what's been going on (for sure the networks haven't been telling them!), and we need to help them analyze more deeply where an impressive parasite's results are REALLY coming from!

    Elisabeth ARchambault

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Todd,

    I had posted this previously, but did not get a response. Thought I would try again.

    Is it possible to hear a little more about what specifically is being done by CJ or is that something you can share?

  16. #16
    Member mrmerchant's Avatar
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    heisje... you should be applauded. You're completely on target and *this* is productive discussion. I spoke, last Thursday, with one of the largest names in men's formalwear (VP, E-Comm). Do you think that his affiliate network provider told him what I did about all of this? Nope. Do you think that his network *claims* to have told him everything there is to know? YES. How do I know this? An executive at the network told me directly that they did - in writing - notify the merchants of what is going on... specifically as it relates to them spending $'s on sales referrals that are not sales referrals at all - aside from the over-writing of affiliate links.

  17. #17
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Todd-

    I have asked this question several times, but have yet to receive a response from CJ. Could you please answer this question, and I'll promise to leave you alone for like, two weeks. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]


    If a merchant chooses KEEP=NO, and then Buyersport joins their affiliate program, and gets multiple commissions from a surfer without the surfer clicking through Buyersport's web site each time, is Buyersport in compliance with CJ?

    Obviously, the merchant does not want to pay repeat commissions on that surfer, but that was occurring.

    I'm just truly confused on this issue, as it seems you are overwriting the merchant's express wishes.

    I Will FOCUS On My Goal

  18. #18
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Randex:
    CJ has the analytical capability to identify
    individual affiliates who are being ripped off
    by parasites. The Data is available. However, CJ
    does not apparently have the motivation.

    This is not entirely true. We have the capability but generating the information is an extremely difficult process involving database queries measured in days. You make it seem like we have a light switch that we could flip however the issue is very complex. Another fact that needs to be straightened out is how involved is CJ with respect to these publishers? The answer is almost not at all. According to some calculations that I did last week anywhere from 0.1% to 3.0 percent of total publisher commissions per month are derived from this type of activity. Hope this helps answer some questions. The summit is next month - any announcements will likely be done around that time.
    ==
    Blaine

    Business Intelligence Analyst
    Commission Junction - The Largest Pay-For-Performance Ad Network
    http://www.cj.com

  19. #19
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    When will the networks mature into ethical long terms businesses??? We know that in Internet time 6 years is more like 40 years working at this high pitch pace.

    Currently the network stance is we don't care which approved affiliate makes the sale as long as we get our cut....but beware any merchant, or someone we allow to pose as a merchant, who won't pay our network fees. And please don't bring those irate consumers into this if their systems get destroyed by competing BHO applications or they don't receive their rewards.

    WebMaster Mike

  20. #20
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    CJ is a business, and will ultimately do whatever helps its business, regardless of how it impacts us as affiliates. To do otherwise would not be good business. If we as affiliates are worth something to them, they will make moves in our favor. If we are worth less to them than the parasites, they will move in the parasites' favor. Grumble as you might, that's the way the game works.

    The only way we can protect ourselves is to 1) make sure we are worth more to the networks than the parasites are. I know most of us believe that is true, but what proof do we have? Business is run on hard facts and figures, not emotions (an emotionally-run business is one that is doomed to failure). We need to have our facts in order - not how much the parasites are screwing us, but what we do for CJ and the others that they really can't do without. If the networks were to restructure their business model tomorrow to completely favor the parasites and leave us in the cold, would that really hurt them? Can you prove that it would? Proving that is really our task. And 2) we need to show a unified front. There is power in numbers. After the events of the past week, I am really concerned about our ability to do this. Our community has proven to be frightfully devisive, and if we want these businesses to work in our favor, we need to show them we are a force to be reckoned with. We need to stop seeing differences and start gathering around the areas where we have a common meeting ground. And we need to do this without tearing each other apart like we have been.

    If you are upset by any of this post, I suggest that you take hold of your emotions and direct them into action instead of spinning around aimlessly. The future of our own businesses depends on our level-headedness.

    J

  21. #21
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    @ mac/Blaine
    quote:
    Another fact that needs to be straightened out is how involved is CJ with respect to these publishers? The answer is almost not at all. According to some calculations that I did last week anywhere from 0.1% to 3.0 percent of total publisher commissions per month are derived from this type of activity.
    As far as I am conserned you have just stated what CJ's position is towards affiliates. "stuff you we are still making money"
    As to how you can take the time and effort required to work out your (bullcrappy I suspect) figures 0f 0.1% and 3.0 percent yet on the other hand not be capable/not want to of telling how much an affiliate has lost is beyond me. Your post speaks volumes.

    Travel safe
    Gordon
    YouTrek

  22. #22
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Blaine,

    quote:
    According to some calculations that I did last week anywhere from 0.1% to 3.0 percent of total publisher commissions per month are derived from this type of activity


    I'd really love to know what equation, much less data you used to arrive at your extrapolation, since the parasites have a zero referrer. I know the technology, so I can't even begin to see where in the world you could even make any such percentage statement.

    Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli



    [This message was edited by Haiko on October 23, 2002 at 02:06 PM.]

  23. #23
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Blaine don't use Bill Gross's suggestions on how to calculate this impact stat. Use my theory.

    Deduct all the commissions earned by any of your top 20 affiliates who are Incent/reward or shopping club BHO parasites. Then run the stats on the remaining 200,000 affiliates to see what percent of the total network commissions payable they're allowed to earn.

    Your logic, symantics and ethics are screwed if the figures don't show that the remaining non-parasitic affiliates didn't earn at least 97% of the total CJ payout this month. Maybe I mis-read you and you said the parasites & BHO dupers earned 97-99.4% of this months commissions. That jives with my MTD stats at CJ which are about 94% less in October 2002 than in Oct. 2001. At least the few winners at BeFree and LS have shown a few sales.

    WebMaster Mike

  24. #24
    Full Member heisje's Avatar
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    it is very encouraging to note a unanimity of opinion, such that has evolved in this forum.

    it has been established beyond doubt that the best course of action is to alert CJ merchants on the detrimental effects of predatory activities to their bottom line - as well as to let them know of the conflicting interests of CJ, and the undeserved commissions CJ makes on merchants own efforts.

    I am certain that a majority of CJ merchants are not aware of the problem. I am equally certain that a majority of CJ merchants shall be very unhappy with CJ when they realise what has been going on for some time now - and that the news did not come directly from CJ but from their affiliates. and all the trust shall evaporate.

    CJ must realise that it is only a matter of time before they get an explosion into their face.

    if they are wise they will realise that this is a time bomb in their foundations threatening everything they have built up to now, including their relations with their *investors*.

    if they are wise they will realise that it is not worth the risk. what has happened has happened, and this can go no further.

    if CJ are wise (and, believe me, I have many reservations on this) they will make a *spectacular* U-turn on this matter and clean up totally their act - kicking out every single parasite and closing all the loopholes for any future recurrence of this madness.

    such a move would not only bring back the equilibrium and legitimacy of transactions in the market, but would also create substantial goodwill for CJ.

    if I were their C.E.O., I would proceed likewise.

    but since I am not *their* C.E.O., I shall prepare this weekend an informative and revealing letter of complaint which I am going to email to all 270 CJ merchants my site is affiliated with explaining in which way they are paying commissions which they should not pay - including links to New York Times articles on this subject, links to other articles on this subject, links to the new LinkShare agreement which bars predatory activities, links to fora like this where the feeling of their affiliates are aired (in a most definite manner).

    if anyone of you, dear Friends, would like to assist me in compiling this letter by posting in this forum I would feel most obliged. if anybody would like to have a copy of the final draft for similar mailing please let me know by sending me an email message.

    I feel that this development is a great pity. CJ has been for me the network of choice and I have always felt at home at CJ. their network offers on average a better business environment than any of the other networks - higher commissions, longer return days, excellent interface, detailed metrics, timely aggregate payment of commissions, and much more. their repeated tracking problems have been a black spot, but even on this one could hope for an improvement.

    however, their indirect conspiracy with the predators and their provocative insistence that all is well has shocked me profoundly, as well as all their affiliates. CJ has let us down in a bad, bad way.

  25. #25
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    CJ is working with the networks, publishers, advertisers and software vendors to resolve this issue. There are conference calls going on now and a meeting is scheduled for Nov. 7 in NY. I think you are all going to have to wait until after (probably a few weeks later) the November 7 meeting before this begins to get resolved with policies and procedures for dealing with the various publisher business models and technologies.

    Until that time, Commission Junction (Blaine, David, me, et al) is not going to post at ABW regarding this issue. We are not trying to duck the issue but I feel that it is not helping and nothing can really be done until things get finalized after the Nov. 7 meeting.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

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