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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Full Video of Ethics in Affiliate Marketing session in Boston 2008
    Ethical Issues in Affiliate Marketing

    There are two sides to all issues and we will entertain audience questions for a panel of industry leaders.




    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  2. #2
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Haiko

    Can you provide an embedded link to this. We'll blog this in the UK as a lot of companies here do business in the US and would like to know more.

    A very informative video. Hope you've got the bandwidth. You'll get a lot of viewers.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I should be asking this question here or not, if not I'm sorry and could it please be moved to the appropriate spot.

    Want to thank you very much first for making this available for those of us who weren't able to attend. I'm listening to this but am getting confused by some of what's being said and thought maybe those of you who attended might be able to help me understand

    Guess I have to fess up that I have tried to learn about all the parasite stuff and get to the point where I think I understand it, then make the mistake of either reading a discussion or in this case listening to it....then get confused.

    At a point in this discussion they were talking about (won't badmouth the person since this was a discussion) but they start with the letter e.

    Am not sure if I'm understanding what was said or not. They were talking about organic search results and if I understood it correctly...e was admitting (after what Chuck had been saying) that yes, it was possible that they could overwrite the cookie for that affiliate in that case.

    Is what they are saying that any affiliate (I suppose good or bad could rank in search results, organically I guess on any page? wouldn't matter how high or low the search results were?) e admitted that it could possibly be done. What is it that they are admitting to? e admitted to it but didn't seem to act as tho there was anything wrong with it (altho if e admitted to it, I'd assume it was bad or why whould he have to admit to it)

    Guess my thinking is naive on this but if a person is making a search, sees a bunch of search results on a page it's logical to assume they'll click on one of the results and visit that site. If e is admitting to something I'm assuming it involves that visitor somehow not visiting the site that the visitor intended to vist? Ummmm regardless how that's being done, isn't that wrong if e interferes with that? This is confusing me since after e admitted to doing this....seemed as tho the attitude was ok? Nothing was said about that bein bad.

    Also, found Connie's answer about networks seeming to just care about the search affiliates and not caring about the coupon ones interesting. I was wondering since I assume those of you who participated in this event would also know the answer. Are these search affiliates who are acting eithically or not ethically? If that's all those networks care about, what's the point of having any other affiliates in their network?

    Admit also....I guess I seem to get a thick headed response to some things in my head. If I think something's wrong it's wrong and no matter how many people debate it if it's wrong or not, it's still gonna be wrong. I honestly am serious in asking this. The way I look at all this parasite, posting other affiliates coupons on their sites, etc.. all the stuff that I think any rational minded person would think is wrong. (that's where I have the problem I guess ) cos this stuff that I think is wrong just seems obvious to me that it's wrong.

    So.....are you guys (everybody in the affiliate world I guess who's opinions matter) are you genuinely discussing what is right and wrong or are those of you who are the good guys thinking one way and others who might not be considered good guys just trying to justify what you're doin as bein ok. I'm honestly not trying to sound as if I'm on any high horse or anything. Just seems all this what is wrong and what is right talk is confusing me. I don't know if I've just got a thick head and not budging on what is wrong and what isn't.....I don't know exactly what Haiko was saying but I think he was saying the same thing I'm thinking. Everybody knows what's right and what's wrong....don't they?? Or are you honestly saying that people don't?? My thickhead can not for the life of me understand why it's being discussed....unless you are saying that not everybody does know the difference between right and wrong.

    Gotta get back to editing my site but I thought this was something important I should listen to. I'm just not really understanding it or I guess what the purpose of it was. Does it just boil down to the fact that everybody knows the difference between right and wrong and those doing well from the wrong just aren't gonna change cos nobody's making them?

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you could reference the time within the video, it might make it easier for someone to find the interchange you are talking about.

    One of the biggest things I came away from in this session was the realization that ethics are defined and controlled at the network level. It's almost impossible to govern ethics at a higher level, because that's the highest level that has influence and control over merchants and affiliates.

    Every network, merchant, and affiliate draws the lines for ethics slightly different. In theory, a merchant should pick a network whose ethical restrictions most closely line up with their own. In practice, many other factors go into the decision, so merchants often pick a less ethical network and have to enforce additional requirements themselves (or more often, just relax their standards).
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  5. #5
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplebear
    ...unless you are saying that not everybody does know the difference between right and wrong.
    Actually YES that is exactly the crux of problem here. What I call black and white, some say is not only grey but over a million shades of grey ... so because they can get away with it, they will continue. I said it's very simple to see where the lines should be drawn, and instead of stopping or fixing it some decide to change the nomenclature of and within the industry and think that will fix things or worse add another layer where they can further obfuscate matters or worse tracking.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  6. #6
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Hey John,

    Thanks for watching
    Last edited by Haiko de Poel, Jr.; October 17th, 2008 at 10:14 AM.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  7. #7
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    One of the biggest things I came away from in this session was the realization that ethics are defined and controlled at the network level.

    ...

    In theory, a merchant should pick a network whose ethical restrictions most closely line up with their own.
    I agree 1000%
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  8. #8
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    I was very happy to view the video this AM. I had to catch my flight back and wasn't able to make it to that session. Thanks for posting it Haiko. Thanks also to the panel members who made themselves available for the discussion.

    I would like to post a concern that I have as a small affiliate. I feel that the playing field will never be totally even due to the fact that many affiliates operate outside of the USA boundries and therefore are not subject to the same risks and penalties that USA based affiliates are. So, I guess what I am saying is that even if there were USA laws in place to prevent some of the "gray area" or even black hat tactics, what is to keep the international affiliates from playing badly when the only risk for them is losing their account? Then they just sign up for programs on auto-approve again under a different account. In some of those countries a dollar commission can go quite far. The reward for them is great and the risk is small.

    Please note that I don't believe all international affiliates are bad. They are just not subject to playing the game by the same rules we are under in the USA. Some choose to, some don't. Just like some USA based ones don't, but at least their actions are punishable by law in some cases.

    -sfcom


  9. #9
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    sfcom,

    It's up to the network or merchant (if the network won't act) to impose the ethics and standards, if the network your working with won't then ask the merchant to act, if neither respond, make your voice heard then go to a merchant or network that strives to ensure a symbiotic relationship, where your rights are protected and a level playing field or transparency aren't catch phrases, they are realities.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Since I've never installed or tested an ebates type app I'm unclear on the definition of redirecting in that context. Paul says their software doesn't redirect on affiliate sites/links which suggests that it does redirect on merchant sites[?] Is redirection the point at which a cookie is overwritten, or is it a popup of an ebates page, or...?



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  11. #11
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.


    Ethical Issues in Affiliate Marketing

    There are two sides to all issues and we will entertain audience questions for a panel of industry leaders.
    Haiko, I have a question about that link.

    Yesterday when you opened this thread, I clicked on that link and was not able to see the video, but I thought that it was just because the link was new, and that it would get fix later. (The NY video link on the other thread did the same also.)

    Now that I see people talking about the video, I just clicked on that link again in order to see the video, but I can't see anything, it says "This video is pending approval" on the middle of the video box.

    So my question is: If those videos can only be seing by some people, or by anyone that click on that link?

    If only some people are allowed to see the video, that's ok, because I haven't registered anywhere else.

    But, if anyone can see those videos without any precondition, then I guess my browser must be acting up.

    This is what I see after I click on the link for the video:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    You can click the black play button (in the center of the screen), the pending approval thing is some affiliate summit thing.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  13. #13
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    You can click the black play button (in the center of the screen), the pending approval thing is some affiliate summit thing.
    Thank you very much, Haiko!

    I learned something new today.

    Now I can see it!

  14. #14
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Ed Byerly] Paul says their software doesn't redirect on affiliate sites/links

    Right that's what he said, hasn't overwritten a properly coded affiliate link since 2001.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Byerly
    which suggests that it does redirect on merchant sites[?]
    Correct. If an end user visits aff site and clicks aff link to site, no overwrite, but if end user returns to merchant site via direct type in or PPC link (not coded correctly) then they would overwrite the cookie with theirs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Byerly
    Is redirection the point at which a cookie is overwritten, or is it a popup of an ebates page, or...?
    I'm not 100% sure what the system does now, it used to refresh (as it has to generate the semblance of click to write (or if applicable - overwrite any previous) cookie, concurrently they used to have a slider that said they [the end user] would now be earning cash back on the sale. There was also a time when they popped a completely different window that set their own in-house proprietary cookie and tracking since there was such a great discrepancy in network tracking and lost sales - this way they reconciled with the networks and said where is my 40% of sales that are missing?

    I apologize in advance to eBates and Paul for not knowing the exact current process.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  15. #15
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Halfway through the session video and my head's spinning but wow - every person in Internet marketing should see and hear this. :-)
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  16. #16
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    every person in Internet marketing should see and hear this.
    i concur. if you take this seriously, if affiliate marketing is a business for you, this is an absolute must see.

  17. #17
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Just a tip.

    If anyone have problem watching the video the first time, because the video and the audio sometimes don't run at the same pace, let it play on the background and when it ends, just play it again.

    The video is 80 minutes long, and when I saw it the first time today, even tho I am on DSL, I was not able to see the video runing in pace with the audio, I guess at 1 pm I probably was having a bad internet connection or something else. (But I did saw the whole video like that)

    Since I left that page open in the background, a couple of hours later when I was about to close everything down, I decided to see the video again, so I just press the play button again...

    Well... it was better the second time around, not only because now I was able to see and hear the video in sync, but because I also was able to understand more clear who said what, who ask what, and what was the exact reply to those questions.

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

    Now, about what I would like to comment about the content of the video, I better reserve that for later, because right now I am not ready yet, but I would like to admit that it all still comes down to the same three old things:

    The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!
    White Hat . Black Hat . Grey Hat ..

  18. #18
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I'm not hosting the video, that's why there might be some issues with playback ... first time I saw it I thought they fudged up the encoding
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Michael said: "If you could reference the time within the video, it might make it easier for someone to find the interchange you are talking about."

    I'm listening to it again to try to understand all that's being said. Agree with what you and others said that it appears everybody seems to think it's controlled or should be controlled at the network level. (don't disagree that's what's being said, just not sure I think I agree that's how it should be.) Gonna continue listening to all that's been said.

    Anyway, what I was referring to started to be talked about at 36:13 and ended at around 38:09. At that point Brian started talking about Visa as an example.

    I don't quite understand what the example was for a hypothetical question that could be happening and if I understood it correctly, the person I mentioned agreed that in that case it could happen. Is what's being said that any affiliate that is appearing in search results organically could have that visitor looking at that result diverted by that e person?? It seemed that whatever that situation was....that was acceptable?

    I guess from what I'm listening to I'm still having a problem with what some people are saying. To my thinking at least there isn't gray. It's very easy in my mind that there's an ethical way to be doing things that is right and then there's the wrong way which is not ethical. That's my problem I guess and can't get pass that. If it's just a question of making money and doing whatever you have to do to make money a person is gonna know it's wrong but in their mind say it's ok. If that's what they think, fine but be honest about it. Saying that there's gray to me is just kinda justifying that the bad behavior is ok. Gonna keep listening to it but I think I'm just thickheaded and have something already set in my head and just am not able to get past that so it's confusing me.

    Just could somebody please explain what that one part was referring to. Also, I've seen a few times this discussed and even tried to find out about it. Nobody's ever suggested to me that I should be doing it but it was discussed here. What exactly is the afsr (something like that) and am I supposed to be using it. There again it confuses me since if those doing the gray stuff are not doing anything wrong, then why would I need to do something to protect myself from what they're not doing wrong?

  20. #20
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplebear
    What exactly is the afsr (something like that) and am I supposed to be using it. There again it confuses me since if those doing the gray stuff are not doing anything wrong, then why would I need to do something to protect myself from what they're not doing wrong?
    It's like in Exodus when they put blood on the door way so the angel of death would pass buy. Supposedly if you put afsrc=1 on the end of your affiliate links the sharpies will not overwrite your cookie. A kind of passover. I use it most of the time just in case.


  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Here's a good discription of the afsrc variable...

    http://www.jangro.com/a/2005/07/28/a...ns-unofficial/



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  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Powell
    It's like in Exodus when they put blood on the door way so the angel of death would pass buy.
    Love the analogy!
    Last edited by Ed Byerly; October 17th, 2008 at 06:07 PM.



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  23. #23
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Powell
    It's like in Exodus when they put blood on the door way so the angel of death would pass buy. Supposedly if you put afsrc=1 on the end of your affiliate links the sharpies will not overwrite your cookie. A kind of passover.
    LOL John - beautiful!
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  24. #24
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplebear

    Anyway, what I was referring to started to be talked about at 36:13 and ended at around 38:09. At that point Brian started talking about Visa as an example.

    I don't quite understand what the example was for a hypothetical question that could be happening and if I understood it correctly, the person I mentioned agreed that in that case it could happen. Is what's being said that any affiliate that is appearing in search results organically could have that visitor looking at that result diverted by that e person?? It seemed that whatever that situation was....that was acceptable?



    Just could somebody please explain what that one part was referring to. Also, I've seen a few times this discussed and even tried to find out about it. Nobody's ever suggested to me that I should be doing it but it was discussed here. What exactly is the afsr (something like that) and am I supposed to be using it. There again it confuses me since if those doing the gray stuff are not doing anything wrong, then why would I need to do something to protect myself from what they're not doing wrong?
    PB, Brian's analogy was a good one even though it was twisted to misrepresent the issue.

    Basically, the way I heard it, Brian meant:

    If Visa had the ability (or desire) to offer cash back to their customers and they did so with "software" that tracked at the point of payment (theoretically overriding any and all previously set cookie) would that be "an acceptable practice?" and would this be OK with everyone on the panel. It makes huge sense. Of course it's not OK. It's outright theft of affiliate commission and gives Visa a totally unfair advantage, whether Visa is being altruistic or not.

    Leaving the "choice" to the consumer who they want to get commission for a sale is asinine. The consumer shouldn't be put in the middle of the argument. This is an ethics issue straight forward. Someone here has a sig line that says: "Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should."

    In my mind, if a consumer wants to get their cash back from any cash back affiliate, they need to be clicking directly from that aff's site. Overriding any cookies is just wrong, no matter how you slice it or pretty it up.

    I have no problem with cash back affiliates. Many have a valid and honest business model. I'm sure many consumers are thrilled to get cash back on purchases, however, I strongly believe that the click needs to come from that cash back affiliate's site and not allowed to eat up anyone else's cookies.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  25. #25
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    knock, knock
    who's there?
    afsrc=1
    afsrc=1 who?
    my bho ate your cookie. and if you say it did, i might sue you.

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