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  1. #1
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    Detecting Violations of Terms and Conditions
    Hello everyone,

    I had some questions about detecting violations of our programs terms and conditions. Our program is very much in its infancy stages and I have seen some activity that is possibly violating our terms and conditions.

    We do not allow affiliates to PPC bid on our brand terms but I suspect that some affiliates are using day parting and geo targeting to keep us from seeing their ads. I am seeing an unusually high conversion rate from some of our affiliates. The conversion rate I am seeing falls right in line with what I would expect if they were bidding on branded keyword terms.

    How does everyone police these types of activities and enforce their T's & C's? I would like to keep all of our affiliates happy but also don't want to accuse them of activity I can't prove.

    Also, any input on how to approach the affiliates in question would be great as well.

    Thanks in advance everyone.

    Jeff

  2. #2
    http and a telephoto
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    Can you see the referring url in your affiliate tracking log? Use a proxy to hide your IP address and that will get you around the geotargeting, and check at odd times of the day/evening/night.

    There are some services that will watch your brand and find trademark bidders, I don't know them offhand, but I am sure someone will come post them.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
    http and a telephoto
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    I checked your site and see that you are on CJ. Do you manually approve affiliates? How clear is your TOS? There are a lot of affiliates on CJ that do not have websites in their profiles, you might want to check those and see if they are doing PPC or Email marketing and send them a note asking how they are planning to market your site.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Heather@Stacks's Avatar
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    If they are geotargeting, I can usually search with the following url, replacing the city and state (and your brand KWs) to see if ads are running in that area.
    (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&g...RAND+&gr=US-NJ)

    or just use https://adwords.google.com/select/Ad...ingPreviewTool
    you won't be able to click through on the ads in the tool, but it will show you where to go look.

  5. #5
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    We Use BrandVerity which is a service that tracks all of that for you. We have had great success at weeding out affiliates who do not comply with our T & C's.

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone for the great responses. I feel like it is CJ's responsibility to weed out these affilaites for us but at least it's nice to know others are running into some of the same things that I am and have found ways to deal with those problems. I'll be sure to check out those tools.

    Loxly, our T's & C's are pretty well defined I think (see below). I think I'll need to update those soon to make sure our terms include no direct linking to our website.

    Also I have seen referring traffic from the websites that the suspect affilates have listed in their affiliate details but it seems unlikely that their links would be converting 5 times what our normal site conversion rate is.

    Paid Search Guidelines:
    Trademark bidding is strictly prohibited on build a sign, buildasign, buildasign.com, www.buildasign.com, build-a-sign and all other variations of our trademarked Build A Sign name. See keyword link for more details.
    Affiliate may not use buildasign.com, or any derivation of, as its display URL.
    Affiliate may not use any of our protected terms in its Ad Title.

    Protected Keywords:
    build a sign, buildasign, buildasign.com, build a sign com, www.buildasign.com, build a sign.com, build-a-sign, build a sign .com, www.buildasign, build-asign, builda-sign and any variation of our trademarked term "Build A Sign"

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager kgarcia's Avatar
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    Hi Jeff,

    We use BrandVerity and we love it. After all, we have to sleep sometimes!

    While your T&Cs may seem clear cut, you will need to clone your current program terms in CJ asap and add your SEM policies directly to a new term to keep your policies in place. The Keyword link will expire on 10/1/09 and will be permanently removed from the CJ Account manager. They will remain visible to affiliates until 10/31, but as of 10/1, you won't be able to make changes to it any longer. CJ sent out a document about this change on 9/8, but if you no longer have the email, the instructions are available in the Announcements section of the Account Manager.

    If you're stuck or have no idea what I'm talking about, shoot me an email at karen/ at /gtomanagement/dot/com and I can walk you through it.

    ~Karen
    Last edited by kgarcia; September 29th, 2009 at 07:17 PM. Reason: typo! *shakes fist*
    Karen Garcia
    [URL=http://lab6media.com]Lab6 Media[/URL]
    Are you a content creator? A serial entrepreneur? New to the space or a long time player? We'd love to work with you!
    [URL=http://lab6media.com/clients/]Explore the affiliate programs we manage![/URL]

  8. #8
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by buildasign_aff
    I feel like it is CJ's responsibility to weed out these affilaites for us but at least it's nice to know others are running into some of the same things that I am and have found ways to deal with those problems.
    A. CJ does not police or screen your affiliates for you. At all.
    B. It will take you several months to update your T&C with them, so get started right away.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  9. #9
    http and a telephoto
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    Also restricting the phrase Build a Sign is going to be very difficult, and your competitors will jump all over bidding on it. It is a common phrase. "Go to this site to build a sign for your ..."
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager BlogBonnieBlog's Avatar
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    there was a good class at affiliate summit east 09 that went over this - I haven't used these tools but Grahm MacRobie and Jamie Birch both presented segments on proxies and geotargeting. if you have access to anything on the affiliate summit website i think the class was about lead fraud. I highly recommend it. I learned a lot.

  11. #11
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Jeff, all of the above and double emphasis that CJ does not police your program, you do. Brand Verity has a 14 day free trial that will not only allow you to see all affiliates bidding but will also let you see them from a dozen affiliate networks. You can also add your competitors to the searches and see who is bidding for them.

    Here is a quick proxy tool: http://proxify.com/

    I use the SEO Toolbar addon in FireFox. It will show you the PPC redirects so you can see the affiliate links when they are cloaking.

  12. #12
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    I love brandverity as well. BTW, here is an Affiliate bidding on your trademark....you may want to read the parasites forum though as you have them in your program as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  13. #13
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    Rollerblader - Thanks for the tip. When I searched through the different proxy methods found here I did not see that offender. I am signing up for the trial offer for BrandVerity now. Seems like it could be a useful service. I am updating my CJ program terms today as well as do some research on the parasite threads. I'm not entirely sure how to detect parasites but will hopefully find that out as well. Thanks for the help everyone.

  14. #14
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    Rollerblader - How do you detect parasites? You said that "you may want to read the parasites forum though as you have them in your program as well." I have been looking through multiple threads here and I found it really hard to find a concise list of parasite companies. Does this list exist or do I just have to have a gut feeling that companies I suspect as parasites and kick them out? I want to make sure we have a clean affiliate list.

  15. #15
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    Pretty much noone will tell you how they catch or bust or find them publicly since it helps others find out how you find them. Lots of people do share this information with other OPMs and AMs and it is just being on the lookout for them and knowing what to look for. I miss them sometimes in my programs and luckily other people reach out and tell me then I remove them just like I do with their programs for them, its just looking for them over time and sometimes letting other people help you as well.
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  16. #16
    http and a telephoto
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    There isn't a concise list because that list is always growing and changing. Read the listed companies in the Parasiteware thread. See what the characteristics are and then check the companies in your program for those activities.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. Thanks to your help I was able to find multiple affiliates using Brand Verity that were brand bidding on our core keyword terms using a variety of techniques to prevent being found.

    They copied our ad text precisely including header, description, and display URL, used geo targeting & day parting and used redirect links to go directly to our website. All of which were violations of our paid search terms and conditions. The use of the geo targeting and day parting not only meant that they were violating our terms and conditions but also proved to me that they were knowingly doing so to try and snipe sales from our program.

    Oddly enough it was exactly the affiliates I expected of wrongdoing because of the conversion data provided by Commission Junction but was very difficult to prove without Brand Verity. I notified CJ of the wrongdoings and hopefully they act to remove these people from their program but I fear that they only worry about their short term bottom line and not protecting the integrity of their network.

  18. #18
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    One very easy thing that affiliate managers can do.. is make themselves easy to get hold of!

    With my non-affiliate hat on, I often come across cases where affiliates are doing very bad things (malware, spam etc).. but often it is so difficult to track down affiliate managers (or even contact the victim company at all) that you just give up.

    A simple thing such as having a page about your affiliate program on your site, perhaps with a summary of what is permitted and a way that people can report abuse might work well
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  19. #19
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    Congrats Buildasign! I'm glad you were able to get this squared away. Whenever I have submitted violations to CJ they usually follow up and ask me for additional information. A screenshot of BrandVerity was more than enough to get those affiliates removed from the network.

  20. #20
    Newbie BoostSilver's Avatar
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    Hey now, BrandVerity is great, just signed up for the trial...

    Another good (and free) tool to monitor the internet for your brand is Google Alerts, I have used it to monitor several brands and it works pretty well...

    http://www.google.com/alerts

  21. #21
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Agree on Google Alerts and run them for all my brands and competitor brands. Setup for coupons too.

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