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  1. #1
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    Retailmenot's clicks! Are all clicks created equal?
    If somebody lift content or code from my site, can I set an automatic click to the merchant so I can be compensated for my loss?
    If I was doing it, I'll get a deactivation notice in no time from the main networks for cookie stuffing.

    Well, Retailmenot is doing just that. Nobody seems to care and they're even winning the "Publisher of the Year" title at CJ: http://www.reuters.com/article/press...008+BW20080922

    Have a look at their website! Just hoover your mouse cursor over a coupon. You'll see "click to copy". If you do it, you'll be sent to the merchant site and you'll be cookied with no other action. Was your intend to get cookied, no? It's at least a deceptive click (I'll call it a forced click) because my intend was not to go to the merchant site.
    Now, use the classic "cut & paste" to get the code. Once again, you're cookied and sent to the merchant site. It's a forced click.

    We all understand what Retailmenot is trying to do. Nobody can approve content stealing, but if you write on your site "Click to Copy" you push the reader to do it. Does it give you the right to set a cookie? I don't think so. Is a "Cut & Paste" action the same as a physical click? I don't think so. We're far from the affiliate marketing spirit of the pioneers.

    I can't find anything specific in the main networks affiliate agreements.
    Shareasale: "direct click by the end-user" http://www.shareasale.com/agreement.cfm

    Performics: "use invisible methods to generate impressions, clicks, or transactions that are not initiated by the affirmative action of the end user"
    https://www.connectcommerce.com/secu...ment_text.html (Performics, yes, the affiliate agreement was not updated by Google.

    LinkShare: "when an end user clicks on that link he or she is redirected to the Network Advertiser's site." http://helpcenter.linkshare.com/publ...questionid=632

    CJ: "You must promote Advertisers such that You do not mislead the Visitor, and such that the Links deliver bona fide Transactions by the Visitor to Advertiser from the Link." http://www.cj.com/psa.html

    Retailmenot is quite an "innovative" publisher.
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=84711 Retailmenot's Unauthorized Posting of Exclusive Coupons
    In my opinion they are just cutting all the corners of affiliate marketing.

    I'll like to ask Brian (SAS), if he consider Retailmenot new script as bringing "value" to a merchant or if it is just cookie stuffing (for a cause).

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Zeus - I completely agree with ya and frustrated as ___ seein how they do things. Don't even know how to post without it sounding like just whining about them but it honestly isn't.

    I get certain principles stuck in my head, get pigheaded on how's the right way to do things or ethical way and what isn't and I just can't for the life of me understand why there just seems to be rules for some people and different rules for others. I'm not naive or just plain stupid that I don't understand what's goin on cos I do.

    Definitely don't like it but seems it's one of them things in life where as much as I don't like it.....it's evidently not gonna change. So, am tryin to just accept the fact that yeap.....there are certain standards, rules, whatever you'd like to call em. Some of us have em and I guess just have to try to forget that not all others think the same.

    You can say all ya wanna say and it's not gonna change how certain things just are accepted. I get that now, was naive in the beginning and thought....nope, that's just not right and it wouldn't be......but uhhhh, yeap it is.

    As to havin value.....if I think about the subject long enough I just come to the point.......what is the point tryin to have it or why bother cos it just doesn't seem to be much appreciated when ya watch how some do things. My, our, idea of value just isn't the same as those who make the rules I guess and since they make em.....that's all that counts is what their ideas are. That's the reality of it.

    So.....seein your post, all I can say is yeap I definitely agree with ya and sad to say I just try not to think about it anymore cos it will just really frustrate me and make me feel like screamin. lol Just seein a topic on this, gets me goin. lol

    I'm just tryin to concentrate anymore on what I think is value and evidently may not get me very far lol but I'm the one who has to live with it. So....what my idea of value is.....that's all that matters I guess. If it's not appreciated, so be it, but I'm not gonna change how I do things just cos value means somethin very different to others evidently.

    So...on that happy note lol Gettin outa here now and goin back to editing my site. Will probably regret posting this. lol honestly is not whinng, just I get things in my head as to what's right and what isn't and gets very frustrating when others don't agree. lol

  3. #3
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    I wanted a coupon the other day, and I clicked on the coupon to copy it, in no way was I intending to click through to a merchant. A cookie was set.

    How can retailmenot be allowed to set a cookie when a visitor just wants to copy a coupon?

    retailmenot steals some of those coupons from other sites (or they at least allow exclusive coupons to be displayed on the site), yet they are allowed to set a cookie after a visitor just wants to copy a coupon?

  4. #4
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    "I can't find anything specific in the main networks affiliate agreements."

    "I'll like to ask Brian (SAS), if he consider Retailmenot new script as bringing "value" to a merchant or if it is just cookie stuffing (for a cause)."

    He answered that before.

    There was a discussion about this with coupon craze and it's an onclick event, post #12

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ht=couponcraze

    "The action of clicking on the text to "clip" or to "cut and paste" is causing the OnClick event to launch.

    I don't think it is a network place to instruct an affiliate not to use an OnClick event for a link/image/etc... The Javascript OnClick event is a legitmate way to generate a click action... it is, afterall... on a click, by definition. It brings into question the intent of the user as well as "Why was the user attempting to Copy&Paste the code" etc... In my opinion these types of issues would need industry consensus as to what was allowed and what was discouraged, etc..."

    I have a problem with them grabbing coupons off of other sites but not with this. It's kind of like going to a site and somebody seeing a coupon thru the link and they need to click the link to activate. Somebody is intending to use the coupon by their action of copying the coupon.

  5. #5
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    The only reason someone would copy a coupon code, is to go use it at the merchant's site. RetailMeNot should be compensated when someone uses a coupon code from their site.

    Stop whining..
    Stop blaming the parasites, low return days, cookie stuffers, networks, lousy AMs, and TOOLBARS!

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    I have to agree somewhat with codemonkey. If the coupon code is unique to them and it's their exclusive coupon, they should get credit for it. If you are clicking to copy, what other reason would a consumer use it for? To me, the "click to copy" text is just an instruction to the consumer how to use the coupon. However, if they lifted it from someone else's website and using as their own coupon, that is stealing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Code Monkey
    The only reason someone would copy a coupon code, is to go use it at the merchant's site. RetailMeNot should be compensated when someone uses a coupon code from their site.
    Stop whining..
    At least we know, who are the affiliates pushing these bad practices. I'll like to be provocative. Some are going to understand why you earned too much...

    Stuffing cookies with a good reason is still stuffing cookies and should not be allowed. Period.
    Where have you seen in an affiliate agreement that a site should be compensated for listing coupon codes? Affiliates are paid only if a visitor click on a link to buy something from a merchant. To provide coupon codes is just a service to entice a visitor to click their links to buy something on a merchant site. It doesn't give you the right to force a click.

  8. #8
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    Zeus, it's not stuffing cookies. It's not like you get to that page and merely pick up cookies by visiting that page, that would be cookie stuffing. Did you read the thread I linked too? http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ht=couponcraze

    It's 14 pages talking about this subject.

    It's an onclick event.

    There is end action by the user. They are taking their mouse and copying a code, showing intent to use it.

  9. #9
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    If I choose to copy a coupon code, it DOES NOT mean that I should buy through that affiliate site.

    If an affiliate chooses to show coupon codes, the visitors still need to choose to click through to the merchant site.

    Copying a coupon code does not mean a cookie should be set on my computer.

    I chose to copy a coupon, NOT visit the merchant site. So no cookie should be set.

  10. #10
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    How can anyone defend what retailmenot is doing?

    No wonder things are so f'd up

  11. #11
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    At least we know, who are the affiliates pushing these bad practices. I'll like to be provocative. Some are going to understand why you earned too much...

    Stuffing cookies with a good reason is still stuffing cookies and should not be allowed. Period.
    #1 This is not cookie stuffing. If you believe it is, you do not understand what cookie stuffing is.

    #2 The fact that RetailMeNot is being embraced by so many merchants, and given awards by networks, should very CLEARLY tell you that what RetailMeNot is doing is 100% approved.

    YOUR opinion does not matter on this issue. The opinion of the merchants and networks is the ONLY one that matters.
    Stop blaming the parasites, low return days, cookie stuffers, networks, lousy AMs, and TOOLBARS!

  12. #12
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    dude jacked most of my best well-earned exclusive deals... doesn't acknowledge my requests to remove them... plus, imo, violates published rules. further, when merchants ask them to remove unauthorized coupons, they have posted negative notices directing their visitors to competing merchants (which is fine, except they're leveraging the former merchant's name for this traffic). scum like this hurts us all. when you hear people talk about the affiliate area being contaminated, this is just another example of it. all driven by greed without regard to the other parties (many of which are partners, this ain't just aggressive competing) involved.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julian
    How can anyone defend what retailmenot is doing?

    No wonder things are so f'd up
    I don't defend them grabbing exclusives off other people's sites or violating merchant agreements by having coupons they're not supposed to but they do that because merchants have no backbone and usually don't enforce their own rule. But with this, you're showing intent to use a coupon from that site. Hence it being called an onclick event. Read the thread I linked to a couple of times. This has all been gone thru. So you guys are ok with a site closing a sale and not getting compensated? I guess you are if you have the type of site where you don't list the coupon, when there is one, and are ok with the shopper grabbing coupons off of other sites to help close your sales? The end user is taking action by copying the code. It's end user action. It's not cookie stuffing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    dude jacked most of my best well-earned exclusive deals... doesn't acknowledge my requests to remove them... plus, imo, violates published rules. further, when merchants ask them to remove unauthorized coupons, they have posted negative notices directing their visitors to competing merchants (which is fine, except they're leveraging the former merchant's name for this traffic). scum like this hurts us all. when you hear people talk about the affiliate area being contaminated, this is just another example of it. all driven by greed without regard to the other parties (many of which are partners, this ain't just aggressive competing) involved.
    That's all bad but it's not actually what this conversation is about. Do you disagree with Brian/SAS when he said:

    "The action of clicking on the text to "clip" or to "cut and paste" is causing the OnClick event to launch.

    I don't think it is a network place to instruct an affiliate not to use an OnClick event for a link/image/etc... The Javascript OnClick event is a legitmate way to generate a click action... it is, afterall... on a click, by definition. It brings into question the intent of the user as well as "Why was the user attempting to Copy&Paste the code" etc... In my opinion these types of issues would need industry consensus as to what was allowed and what was discouraged, etc..."

    Or disagree with Sambay who's outed cookie stuffers before when he said:

    "I don't think what Coupon**** doing is cookie stuffing.

    In this case, there is a deliberate action, taken by the user, that results in a pop up to the merchant's site. And it seems like pretty sophisticated and clever system, too, as it pops up the merchant's site, only when there is a click or copy/paste action on the coupon code itself. There is no automatic pop-up to the merchant's site that sets a cookie for 'every visitor'.

    So I would be ok with networks and merchants allowing this type of cookie setting as it is a legitimate way for coupon affiliates to prevent someone coming in and just copying the code without clicking on the links. (As long as non-coupon affiliates are also allowed to employ same tactics.)"

  14. #14
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Code Monkey
    #1 This is not cookie stuffing. If you believe it is, you do not understand what cookie stuffing is.
    Well, you do have this part right. Cookie stuffing is setting tons of cookies hoping a sale will happen and you'll get credit. What this is, is either a forced click or a deceptive click.

    But hey, nice try on trying to make it sound like they're innocent here. You're clever though, taking advantage of the fact that many affiliates happen to call deceptive clicks and forced clicks as cookie stuffing because the word almost sounds like it fits. Your declaration falls on deaf ears here, like if you'd declared a rapist didn't commit murder... wrong offense you're defending their, plant.

  15. #15
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    click to copy means just that, click to copy.

    It does not mean click to visit the merchant site. It is a call to action, but only to copy.

    An onclick event yes, but it should not set a cookie

  16. #16
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Well, you do have this part right. Cookie stuffing is setting tons of cookies hoping a sale will happen and you'll get credit. What this is, is either a forced click or a deceptive click.
    Good, we can put the 'cookie stuffing' argument to bed.
    Stop blaming the parasites, low return days, cookie stuffers, networks, lousy AMs, and TOOLBARS!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Zeus, it's not stuffing cookies. It's not like you get to that page and merely pick up cookies by visiting that page, that would be cookie stuffing. Did you read the thread I linked too? http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ht=couponcraze

    It's 14 pages talking about this subject.

    It's an onclick event.

    There is end action by the user. They are taking their mouse and copying a code, showing intent to use it.
    I read this thread, not like I should but I saw it and didn't agree AT ALL with what Brian said in the post you're referencing.
    It's why I'm being very sarcastic when he talks about adding "value" to the merchant in an other thread. I don't see how this statement is adding value:
    "Both actions that Mark indicates above are caused by a user clicking. If you all would like to debate "types" of clicks I am more than willing to debate it and come up with an industry-wide definition of all kinds of different clicks and whether they should be allowed within programs"

    Because some networks are not reacting like they should, affiliates are using these despicable methods, and it's going to spread everywhere. Affiliate Marketing is becoming a cookie stuffing game.

  18. #18
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Do you disagree with Brian/SAS when he said:

    "The action of clicking on the text to "clip" or to "cut and paste" is causing the OnClick event to launch.

    I don't think it is a network place to instruct an affiliate not to use an OnClick event for a link/image/etc... The Javascript OnClick event is a legitmate way to generate a click action... it is, afterall... on a click, by definition. It brings into question the intent of the user as well as "Why was the user attempting to Copy&Paste the code" etc... In my opinion these types of issues would need industry consensus as to what was allowed and what was discouraged, etc..."
    No, I agree with Brian. Because I could see the onclick method being used for perfectly legitimate, non-deceptive triggering of an affiliate referral action. So it is a question of how it's used, which he also said. And there does need to be consensus about how NETWORKS JUDGE which are allowable or not.

    All the while, we all know that any SAS merchant can object to this method outright, without regard to how, and ban it in their terms, if they'd prefer to do so. Or, they can handle things on a case-by-case basis and boot who ever they want, for whatever they want. The merchant-affiliate relationship is consensual and Brian takes the approach that respects that, but he still does have many limits in place. Further, he has systems to help merchants police behavior that THEY stipulate is not allowed, a system that shares that information with other merchants. So he's drawing a line one place, leaving space for merchants to draw there's where they prefer, and added on systems to let them effectively make decisions in those areas. So yes, I absolutely believe this is the right approach for a network.

    At the same time, I believe merchants should boot this affiliate, and I've already spelled those reasons out here.

  19. #19
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Why do people here continue to beat a dead horse?

    The Networks AND the Merchants have deemed RetailMeNot's actions to be 100% ethical and legitimate.

    If you don't agree, STOP working with those merchants and networks..

    So simple..
    Stop blaming the parasites, low return days, cookie stuffers, networks, lousy AMs, and TOOLBARS!

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador affninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    Now, use the classic "cut & paste" to get the code. Once again, you're cookied and sent to the merchant site. It's a forced click.
    I noticed that too when I was on their site a few days ago. I felt like it was a little shady, because as soon as I released the mouse button from highlighting the code, a new window opened up to the merchant. There was no intent to clickthrough. But would an "average" customer even notice or care? I don't think so.

    Now let's assume the customer already had another tab open with the merchant's checkout screen in it. If the customer copied the code from Retailmenot, immediately closed the 2nd "forced click" window, and completed their transaction in the original tab, would retailmenot still get affiliate credit? Essentially overwriting the efforts of any previous affiliate to earn the sale?

    What I've started to do to combat this is to post any applicable coupons next to products on my sites. That way customers will already be armed with coupon in hand when they go to checkout and won't be as tempted to search for another and potentially get overwritten by a site like retailmenot.

  21. #21
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    dude jacked most of my best well-earned exclusive deals... doesn't acknowledge my requests to remove them...
    Donuts, why can't you take legal action against them for copyright infringement?

    As far as copying coupon codes...why would someone do it if they weren't planning on shopping or stealing the code? I'm on the fence w/ this one.
    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.

  22. #22
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    "Affiliate Marketing is becoming a cookie stuffing game."

    You keep calling it cookie stuffing, when it's not. I think coupon sites are doing this because they know lots of people are grabbing coupons and they're not getting compensated for it. This is happening because there are a lot of sites not posting coupons, when merchants have them. So shoppers get to checkout, see the coupon box and the affiliate didn't provide them, so the shopper goes out looking for them.

    Ways to stop this are affiliates post the coupon if you're working with a merchant that has them. Or the merchant stop using the coupon box and use coupon links.

    I don't do this myself but I don't have a problem with it and I gave examples in the other thread. The intent is really no different then somebody clicking a:

    10% off your order thru this link.

    You would be ok with that, correct? Coupon links? The shopper is clicking on that link because their intent is to get that deal, use that coupon. When a shopper copies a coupon, their intent is the same. To use that coupon. And again, they're not picking up cookies from visiting that page, there is actual end user action, copying the code, on their end. And it's not like some other sites that have done forced clicks. Where they say click to see coupon, and there is none but it still sets a cookie. You can actually see the coupon first before you copy it, before you get the cookie.

    In this case and the coupon craze case, the shopper only picks up a cookie based on their end user action with the intent to use the code.

  23. #23
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    Can those who agree with what retailmenot is doing answer this question?

    If an affiliate who has developed a informative site and gets a visitor to visit a merchant, but then that visitor decides to see if there is a better coupon out there and visits retailmenot, and sees a coupon code. They have already gone through the process of adding an item to the cart, and they just want to get a discount. Retailmenot have a coupon. A cookie is set when they click on the coupon, the coupon works, but it was an exclusive coupon that belongs to the original affiliate site, that someone had posted on retailmenot. The visitor didn't realize that it was the same coupon. So they didn't need to visit retailmenot, but they did.

    They go back and complete the sale, using the coupon they got from retailmenot.

    Should retailmenot get the affiliate commission? Or should the original affiliate, who did all the work, get the commission?

    an onclick event was called, a cookie was set. Retailmenot are compliant. Do they really deserve the credit?

  24. #24
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I don't know Julian. Both platforms are offering the shopper something they want. Information and the best price.
    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.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador affninja's Avatar
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    And in a game where only the last-click counts, you have to admit they've positioned themselves very well.

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