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  1. #1
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    Should merchants include a list of "prohibited affiliates" in their agreements?
    As I've tried to anticipate the likelihood of "stealth" participation by unethical affiliates in a client's planned affiliate program, I'm considering the idea of including a specific list of prohibited affiliates, and requiring the affiliate to affirmatively represent that they are not an alter ego/subsidiary/ parent/agent, etc. of any of these entities, and that they do not do any business with any of these listed entities, nor with any entities engaged in practices otherwise prohibited in the agreement.

    The agreement would contain a list of prohibitions, such as the use of adware, toolbars, etc., but then in a separate paragraph I would include a list of companies (these would not be identified as "unethical" or "parasitic" -- instead, they would simply be identified as companies which are generally known to participate in some affiliate programs but which are prohibited from participating in this particular affiliate program). I'd probably also include a sentence noting that if the affiliate is aware of and considers any of the listed companies to be a "direct competitor," then the affiliate should contact the affiliate manager directly before submitting an application.

    Has anyone done this before? Does anyone have any specific thoughts on how this might be done "right," and potential problems that might arise from including such a list in an agreement?

  2. #2
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    I'm considering the idea of including a specific list of prohibited affiliates, and requiring the affiliate to affirmatively represent that they are not an alter ego/subsidiary/ parent/agent, etc. of any of these entities, and that they do not do any business with any of these listed entities, nor with any entities engaged in practices otherwise prohibited in the agreement.
    As I read this it gave me another idea. How nice it would be to have a list like that and have merchants take the pledge. A pledge that a merchant will never knowing have an affiliate that uses software to gain commissions even when his users accept it. Add your list of known toolbar, BHO, etc users to the pledge and let be there for all to see before we sign up.

    Let them pledge that if an offending affiliate was reported in their program that he would be gone instantly.

    Some would probably say the heck with you little guys and go for the "super affiliates". Fine at least we would know where they stand.


  3. #3
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    I don't see the point. If one of the "prohibited affiliates" applies, you don't accept them, and being on the list will not deter an affiliate of this ilk from applying under a new identity.

    Its not as if you can make it a crime to for the principals of a "prohibited affiliate" to apply under a new or different name, or impose some other type of fine against them, other than withholding commissions, which you could do anyway for prohibited activities in obtaining those commissions.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
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  4. #4
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    In reality, legal phrasing, etc. is only a means to establish a method to be able to sue some who tries to "game" your system.

    In our experience, we have had various "toolbars", etc. try to join our programs. On our end we dedicate engineer time to testing every toolbar we find on a monthly basis. So if one creeps in we find it, then blow their cover to the network and raise hell until they're dropped from the network (we drop them instantly).

    It's a royal pain to have to work in reverse like this. But technically, nothing will stop a parasite unless you test for it. Like Ronald Reagan said.. "Trust but Verify".

  5. #5
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    If I'm reading your idea correctly, as an affiliate, I don't care for the idea. For the first time in all the years I've had my site, I was accused of "cookie stuffing" which I don't believe I do and have never been accused of doing before. The merchant had the choice not to accept me in the program and as soon as I had the first sale, I was dumped. He should have done his job and checked out my site before he accepted me in his program. It's not hard to look at meta info.

    It comes down to a matter of opinion I suppose. Not liking a site's platform is one thing - tossing accusations such as cookie stuffing is another. If I ended up on someone's list because of a matter of opinion over design and platform, and it hurt my future opportunities to form future relationships with good companies, I'd be seeing a lawyer.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

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