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  1. #1
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Disgusted w/ GAN & All Their Supporters
    It's a funny thing --- let a company come around like OneCause and everybody and their brother gets up in arms. Sure, when it touches home suddenly people scream FOUL PLAY..

    Or a state that decides to tax internet sales and merchants pull out because they can't manage bookkeeping solutions.... all those affiliates affected scream FOUL PLAY. Imagine - 10 or 20 merchants shut their doors to those affiliates living in tax/states. Horrible. In fact, they have an entire support system working on their behalf...board of directors -- etc.-- working to solve this problem and get those 10 - 20 merchants back on board somehow.

    Now lets look at GAN. Hundreds of merchants' doors are closing to select affiliates because of the AdSense issue and there has been minimal support here for those affected.

    In fact instead --



    • We've heard how a simple poll is too hard to understand. A poll that was a way for people to show support w/o giving up their identities.
    • It's been suggested that we "tone it down" so that the Mod won't run away. We wouldn't want to lose her support, etc.
    • We've been told (or I have) that some of the complaints are petty and we might be seen merely as complainers complaining.
    And the merchants?? Where have they been? Ignorance is bliss I suppose?

    Well, I'm really disappointed with what I always thought ABW folks were about. I guess it all really does come down to money and if the majority of people aren't going to lose out - why get involved.

    So it is..

    Good luck to all of you and your continued relationship w/ GAN. When (not if) other issues begin to rise, just remember, you had a chance to show your support and most (not all) of you decided not to.

    For the select few of you who have shown support -- all I can say is a big thank you. You've earned my respect and I hope if there is some issue I can go to bat on which will help you, you'll let me know.

    I'm totally disgusted and totally finished with GAN and how it has hurt so many upstanding hardworking affiliates without batting an eye. And how it is hurting its merchants for self-serving reasons.

    It's wrong - they know it - we know it - and you all know it.


    We could have used your support and your voices, but most of you elected to turn your backs.


    What a shame. All of this will set the tone for future decisions made by Google about its GAN program. By remaining silent, you have shown them they can do what they want, regardless of fairness or who it may hurt.


    Best,
    Last edited by leeann; September 12th, 2009 at 12:10 AM.
    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.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador CCBerries's Avatar
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    Leeann

    I’m a merchant, exclusive to SAS, with direct competitors on the nice detailed list of GAN merchants, with other programs, that you provided.

    In my case anything I might post would be about the competitors being on multiple networks, a situation that far too often results in affiliates loosing out on earned commission: but in that case it would derail your thread.

    As a merchant on ABW I don’t feel comfortable slamming direct competitors program(s), outing them for questionable business practices, the info on the class action lawsuits or the rest (ok.... maybe a little for not using chocolate..). It’s just not the place for that.

    That GAN has denied affiliates because they live in a house (domain) where a “questionable person” previously lived is a typical Google practice.

    But just because we don’t post something does not mean we are not paying attention and that GANs actions and practices will not effect any future dealings with them.

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you think you don't have support, you're wrong. The Announcing Google Affiliate Network payments through Google AdSense has more responses AND views than any other thread in the history of the GAN subforum.

    I think, like the NY tax situation when it came around, those of us who weren't immediately impacted were just shell shocked and were just glad it wasn't us in the crosshairs and unsure what we could do to help.

    As for my own response, I've already explained that it was a misunderstanding. I thought you were making a petty complaint about how you were represented as a high-performing affiliate on GAN when you had actually stopped promoting GAN merchants, but you were actually trying to make a valid point about how the GAN merchants were losing your traffic and sales.

    This affects all of us, even if we aren't being terminated immediately. It makes our GAN income highly vulnerable. It delays payments an extra month. It sets an awful precendence.

    Frankly, it's an incredibly stupid move on the part of Google.
    Michael Coley
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  4. #4
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Leann, I too am sorry to see that so few affiliates have posted their support, outrage, opinions, and suggestions, in the various threads on this issue.

    But, as I have said in one or two other places, WHERE ARE THE GAN MERCHANTS?

    Have they been told not to say anything? Are most still unaware of the ramifications of g's actions? Do they not care?

    Note: The "Announcing Google Affiliate Network payments through Google AdSense" thread has a ton of posts, but it includes many posts from a handful of different posters.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  5. #5
    Full Member lintlin's Avatar
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    Being a real newcomer (not just to AWB, but to the world of IM itself) I don't think I have too much useful information to share.

    But I have had a healty "respect" for google for a long time now, longer than I have been trying to earn a living with the internet. I don't like DoubleClick, I don't like Analytics, Google docs, Webmaster tools, my Adsense earnings, my AdWords spending, my GAN earnings ALL being controlled by one company.

    I don't and have never used Analytics on my sites. I use an OS self-hosted analytics program (Piwik, which is ok for my small sites). Which means I can't use their webmaster tools (a/b testing etc), I wouldn't want to give them my information about what placements works best, anyways.

    I would never use Google docs, they own ALL your material in there! Some people use G.Docs exclusively! *faint*

    No Gmail for me, either. Who knows what they do with all those mails.

    I have joined the GAN Network, unfortunately Redcats is exclusive to them. I saw someone else asking for the information for them on the GAN Merchants thread. Maybe they will go somewhere else; I would follow and be done with it.

    Google wave is going to have a big impact on us, I believe. And that's scary because it will be forever until other companies come up with something similar (and compatible), and even if they do, so much of the information will STILL be stored on Google servers, against my will. I'm a GirlGeek and really want to use this when it comes out...but certainly just for fun stuff and not for working purposes.

    Sometimes I feel paranoid because for about 2 years now I have been very concerned with Google. But when I list all this stuff it is just scary and seems justifiable to be paranoid.

    And now they are starting to flex their muscles. "We let you into AdSense and you made a mistake (in our eyes, we couldn't care less what the reason is). You are busted for all IM for good." This is the beginning, where is the end?

    I think it's time to get out of AdSense and AdWords. There are alternatives, like Leann says. Maybe it's time to make these alternatives strong.

    Best regards,
    lintlin

  6. #6
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    All of you have spoken up now and in the past on the main thread and I just can't thank you enough. You all always show true to your own convictions.

    I do not mean to make light of those who stuck out their necks and posted. It's the other 1200 that log on during the day that baffles and disappoints me.

    Under 60 votes on the poll? Like someone said, what is the message that is being sent out with that?

    I've seen regulars here, including AMs, voice their disapproval of policies before with other networks. Yet here, for the most part with a few (greatly appreciated) exceptions - they have been silent.

    And definitely --- where are the merchants????? Don't they care that Google has robbed them of sales???? Don't they care about the affiliates being tossed out who have made them money for years????

    It's just very surprising and yeah, I guess disappointing.
    Last edited by leeann; September 12th, 2009 at 02:45 AM.
    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.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Leeann, I do not think GAN has very many affiliate who support their actions in this case, but in my case I continue to work with them for now.

    I also understand how having you GAN payments tied to Adsense is a really bad idea. With Adsense it is really easy to have your account supended!! Four years ago my account was suspended for invalid clicks!! At that time I thought it was impossible to reason with them so I forgot about it. A few months back I read that you can appeal your suspension so I did and including the possible reasons for the invalid clicks and a week or so later I got my account back. This all happed before GAN stated that they were moving to Adsense payments.

    Like I said I understand you pain, but I hope you have tried to work with Adsense and Jamie to get your account active again but we all know Big G does what they want.

    Like I have said I will continue to work with GAN for now but I will be moving to other networks when possible. But as we seen in the past year most of the networks we use make bad decisions from time to time but we have to work with them if we want to be affiliate of their merchants.

    I wish you and other all other affiliate effected by this will some how get a solution.

    Kevin..........
    Last edited by kse; September 12th, 2009 at 08:53 AM. Reason: spelling
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  8. #8
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse
    Leeann, I do not think GAN has very many affiliate who support their actions in this case, but in my case I continue to work with them for now.
    I don't think anyone who has been tossed out like Sunday night garbage expects others to quit the program. But your support shown here could help GAN change their minds. We (I feel safe to saw "we") really do appreciate it. Thank you.
    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.

  9. #9
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    It is hard for me to be angry at Google since they are the only one currently giving me direct deposits (through Adsense). All the others use PayPal (charges fees, but at least I get money) or checks (which I can't cash so they just decorate my desk while I beg them to at least add PayPal).
    I didn't see you outraged about the lack of payment options in several networks (I can't remember any comments by you about that) so please forgive me for not pouring my heart and soul into this even thought at least I have made several public comments how I disagree with them not reactivating disabled accounts.

  10. #10
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdeviant
    It is hard for me to be angry at Google since they are the only one currently giving me direct deposits (through Adsense).
    You must not be in the US? I have direct deposit options with all the major networks. And I never saw you post about it, quite honestly. And no, I don't expect the entire world to agree with me. If they did, I wouldn't be posting semi-frantically about this issue -- because it wouldn't be an issue.

    But, had I seen your post, I would have been on your side. It seems crazy that they accept your business but won't arrange a reasonable method of payment. It also seems amazing that Google can figure out how to do it, but can't figure out how to not knock affiliates out of their program because they want payments going through adsense.

    And, this isn't a personal thing lost. This has a long reach. For example -- I needed to get some things fixed on my site, but because I am uncertain of how my financial situation will be w/o GAN, I couldn't do it. That means the person that works on my site, lost work. I also use a service for a lot of my content. I'm seriously thinking of discontinuing it. So, it's not just about me..ya know? The damage this will do has not even touched the surface yet.

    It hurts affiliates, merchants, web designers, logo designers --- the list goes on and on -- it hurts the industry as a whole and a lot of those associated with it -- but Google.
    Last edited by leeann; September 12th, 2009 at 11:19 AM.
    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.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Caseyfern's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound
    Leann, I too am sorry to see that so few affiliates have posted their support, outrage, opinions, and suggestions, in the various threads on this issue.

    But, as I have said in one or two other places, WHERE ARE THE GAN MERCHANTS?

    Have they been told not to say anything? Are most still unaware of the ramifications of g's actions? Do they not care?

    Note: The "Announcing Google Affiliate Network payments through Google AdSense" thread has a ton of posts, but it includes many posts from a handful of different posters.
    I have reached out to each of my GAN merchants. A disproportionate number of those merchants have an address of XXXXX @ google.com. Those have given me a party line response, exhibiting very little curiosity about the issue and counseled me to go get an Adsense account. One GAN-exclusive merchant came back with "

    Dear Valued Publisher,

    If you are no longer interested in being a publisher in Google Affiliate
    Network, reply to this email with the words "DEACTIVATE ACCOUNT" in the
    subject line. Please note that deactivation from the network will
    terminate the tracking for all advertiser relationships you may have
    through Google Affiliate Network."

    (Yes, that was from a Merchant email)

    Those whose address is NOT XXXXX @ google.com responded with surprise, asked questions, expressed concern, wanted to know more, and (a few) appeared outraged.

    I'm guessing here, but it seems that merchants with independent management have not been closely informed of their impending loss or of the magnitude of revenue reduction that will result. At this stage of the project, given that that BRIGHT red banner has been smack at the top of our home pages for weeks, and given the likelihood that those of us who cannot get signed up with Adsense have probably exhausted our appeals and resources, it should be relatively easy to develop a publisher departure list. Bash that around a bit and out pops a merchant alert report, along with annual sales and performance.

    In my opinion, this should be produced and transmitted weekly to each and every merchant with affected publishers on their roster. If someone upstream of one of your revenue-generating operations were going to cut your revenue potential by 30%, wouldn't you want to know rather early in the process? If I were a merchant and this were sprung upon me at the eleventh hour… well, let's not go there… not a pretty picture.

    However, well over 3/4 of my merchants are exclusively GAN, have a XXXXX @ google.com and respond with a shrug and a canned response. It leaves me wondering if it is the merchant providing an answer, or if it's Google itself.

    There are dozens of real humans I work with, the merchants and AMs who spend hours with me on the phone and in IM windows going over issues, talking about datafeeds and the pitfalls of pure organic SEO (guilty!) - THOSE are the contacts that I will dearly miss. The anonymous form-letter responses and blank looks - not so much.

    I've swapped to other networks wherever possible, where the merchant has a feed via PopShops. I've cut from a few merchants, explaining why via email, and will of necessity cut from the rest as we reach terminal velocity on 31 October. However, since the Adsense requirement announcement, my normal pattern of sales has dropped to about 30% of its former reliable self. This could be attributed to any number of unrelated reasons; I'm not normally a fan of conspiracy theories. (Note: traffic has continued to grow; sales on other networks have gone up.)

    I will not name merchant names. But a special gallon-jar full of gratitude to a number of merchant- and network-related individuals who've taken my advice, read the ABW threads, expressed their shock and outrage, and determination to get to the bottom of this mess (their words, paraphrased).

    And to the sole Google-employed human being who would speak to me on the phone, I am sorry to hear your hands are tied. I've been in the workforce for 41 years, in labor, in management, in senior management, and as an entrepreneur for 24 of those years. I empathize with the feeling of helplessness. Thank you for speaking to me at all. If any of my questions put you in an uncomfortable position, I apologize, and appreciate your inability to respond.

    Leann, thank you again for continuing to wave the torch of publisher advocacy. Sorry for not speaking out much sooner and much louder.

  12. #12
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    More than anything, I'm disappointed that no merchants on that network have really spoke up here. It's possible they are doing it directly.

    If they are, they're missing a wonderful PR opportunity here.
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  13. #13
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Caseyfern's got the right idea. Google is not the right party to approach about these issues; the merchants are. Going to Google is tantamount to going straight to the desk sergeant at the local police precinct to lodge a complaint against another police officer. You'll get nothing but a runaround.

    And as far as speaking up, unfortunately there are precious few merchants who have enough of a clue to even care. But Dr.Jay's for one would not only speak up, but pack up and go too (ask CJ ) if the network pisses their affiliates off. So it can't hurt to try contacting merchants with the hope that some will have the balls and the backbone to do something about it.

    Of course it also doesn't hurt, when approaching merchants about these issues, to mention the many bottom-line benefits of migrating their programs to an in-house platform.
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  14. #14
    Member jkgourmet's Avatar
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    Jangro.com had a very good post about this situation (sorry I'm unable to post links.)
    I'm an ex-accountant and this sounds just like something a beancounter would think up. And as an accountant, I can understand it, maybe even justify it from google's point of view.

    1. It saves money, time and resouces to combine all payments into one system.

    2. It gave them an easy backdoor to change from bimonthly payments to monthly payments. This also saves money, time and resources. It also has the added bonus of giving them the interest income on those funds for up to 30 additional days. That's not chump change - especially when it cost THEM nothing.

    3. GAN affiliates in other counties will applaud this change. Now they can get paid in twenty currencies, probably avoiding paying exchange fees. More money in their pockets.

    4. The year end reporting for 1099's will be accurate under the new system whereas the old system was flawed. Employers must issue a 1099 to any independent contractor who earns $600 or more. Google is the employer - whether the income is generated thru adsense or affiliate sales. With separate payment systems, someone who earned $100 thru adsense would not need to be issued a 1099. Hoever, if that same person also earned $550 from GAN, they would still fall under the reporting threshold - EXCEPT when you combine both together. By not issuing a 1099 in my example, google would be out of compliance with IRS regs. The fix is to issue 1099's to every single independent contractor who made more than $1 (a lot of time. Money and resouces for that - to say nothing of the waste of paper and cost of postage!). The only other fix is to combine the payment systems so that.you have complete year end figures to report to IRS.

    Yes, the fair thing would have been a one time amnesty to reinstate those cancelled adsense accounts. But I'm betting that there aren't enough affiliates in this unfortunate position to make google want to spend the time and resouces (read: money) to bother. Simply put, It's a bureaucrasy.

    It's not fair - but this is the result of removing competition from the system. Like it or
    not, the open market works. Sorry if i have offended anyone with the politically oriented comment.
    .
    E
    Last edited by jkgourmet; September 13th, 2009 at 04:47 AM.

  15. #15
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkgourmet
    Simply put, It's a bureaucrasy.
    And a big disservice to its merchants.
    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.

  16. #16
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    FWIW, I just sent the following email to all GAN merchants where I have $100 or more per month in commissions:
    I wanted to make sure you were aware of a situation with Google Affiliate Network that may affect some of your publishers:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=122705

    Basically, any publisher who is unable (or unwilling) to get a Google AdSense account or who gets terminated from AdSense, will be terminated from Google Affiliate Network. It's very easy to lose an AdSense account due to accusations of click fraud, and there's also a clause (apparently unenforced for now) requiring activity.

    This doesn't affect me personally, but many affiliates are impacted.

    In addition, it could cause up to a month extra delay in getting paid. GAN is already the slowest-paying major network.

    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  17. #17
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    FWIW, I just sent the following email to all GAN merchants where I have $100 or more per month in commissions:
    This is just the kind of help and support we need. Thank you Michael!
    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.

  18. #18
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    Hey Leeann ... I agree that Google needs to be terminated. We don't need anymore Nazi clones. So here is an idea for you.

    Get a Wordpress blog and a relevant domain name. Then write up all the stuff you have posted here in a coherent article or two or three about how Sergey is [EDIT].

    Go sign up for Yahoo Publisher and put their banners up on the article page, along with some NON-GAN merchant links of merchants you are affiliated with.

    Hand submit it to Yahoo & Bing ... They both hate Google. You will make some money and be doing everyone a big service ... Make a Squidoo page about this situation. Post it all on Facebook. Make a 30 second video about the problem and post it on YouTube with a link to your new blog. Your blog will be the most read blog on the net.

    KA'CHING and for a worthwhile cause to boot.
    Last edited by Merchant Consultant Team; September 13th, 2009 at 10:25 AM.

  19. #19
    Member jkgourmet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    FWIW, I just sent the following email to all GAN merchants where I have $100 or more per month in commissions:
    Michael, great letter and I'm sure that those affiliates affected appreciate the support - especially from someone with your level of success and expertise. Maybe some of the merchants will appreciate the heads up. But where's your *call to action* telling them what to do, how they can help? (though I don't really know WHAT that might be.)

  20. #20
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I'd rather leave merchants thinking "what should I do about this?" (and come up with their own ideas) rather than trying to force my opinions on them. I'd rather the actions be their ideas. (Plus, I think many of those actions are self evident: express displeasure to GAN, give affiliates options, etc.)
    Michael Coley
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  21. #21
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Leeann,

    I feel your pain and understand the reason for this post.

    It's incredibly frustrating and disheartening when an issue that affects you is brushed off by the majority because it doesn't affect *them* personally. It's the old question: "Who will be there when they come after YOU?" I ask this every time someone poo poos my rants about the persecution of smokers. (I get very little sympathy, too. LOL)

    As others have said, I think this is a merchant issue that needs to be addressed with GAN by their merchants. That no (or very few) merchants have stepped up to the plate is pathetic. Michael's letter to GAN merchants is the perfect wake up call they all need to read. Yet another feather in the Michael-Coley-is-awesome hat added. :-)

    For those who are not affected by the GAN payment fiasco, think about what will happen when an issue directly affects YOU next time? Who will be there to stand up for you when your face is smooshed in mud? Bullies need to be stopped and if everyone is too chicken shit to stand up to a bully when it's not affecting their well-being, that same bully will grow up to be a freaking monster who will potentially hurt you or someone you love at some point. I taught my girls from a very early age that if they ever saw someone being bullied, they should stand up for the person being bullied and help stop the attack. I was more concerned for their moral well-being than their physical well-being, although I also made them take self defense courses to round out that education. LOL

    I also think it's important for those who don't agree with outing a bully to bring up their concerns. No one is more transparent than I on this board. I have never been afraid to speak my mind, stand up for what I feel is right or out something I feel is morally or in any way unethical or harmful to this industry as a whole. I DO consider my peers in this business *brothers and sisters* and will fight for them as if they're family because I KNOW their plight is MY plight. Maybe not today but it could happen to any of us under any other circumstances at any time. I don't do anything to cause concern that I could be booted from a network or program but I saw the writing on the wall last year when merchants started dropping NY affs to avoid the nasty sales tax/nexus business. This is OUR war, whether or not you're on the front line today or next year.

    Leeann, you have plenty of support on this board - Maybe put together an educational site for merchants as suggested by Net4Biz. The only solution to an attack like this is to get proactive. While it takes energy, it's all you can really do other than give up, which I know you won't do.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  22. #22
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Rexanne, what a wonderful letter. You always have a way of expressing your insight into this industry and about those of us involved in it. And, in not just this post, but in numerous other posts you always express things, with a collective spirit of yourself and others, behind your words. It's very touching and I personally thank you for once again voicing your understanding and support.

    Maybe I will move to the next level of putting up a page as you and Net4Biz suggest. I just may burden you and others to take a look at it before I go public with it. I am not as knowledgeable about some things as so many here are and could definitely use a second pair of eyes when addressing something as important and damaging as what GAN is planning.

    Again, thank you.
    leeann


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  23. #23
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that, Rexanne.
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  24. #24
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Jimmy McDonald - Your Local Hard Working RemodelingGuy ( & SprinklerGuy - & GarageGuy )
    StartRemodeling.com .... MySprinklerGuy.com .... MyGarageGuy.com ....
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  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    August 17th, 2006
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    Leeann - Stop complaining and take action. Create a business Tax ID, open a new AdSense account with that information and a PO Box address, don't put AdSense on the site you own that was banned years ago, and you should be good to go.

    I'm not debating the merits of GAN's decision, I'm giving you a way to start fresh.

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