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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Congress is cracking down on Internet marketing companies
    I saw this on NBC News - then i started a quick search for the new article and here is one that came up!!

    Small snip
    "Legislation targets unethical, aggressive sales tactics that result in countless 'mystery charges' for consumers.

    A Senate probe focused on online marketing firms Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty."

    A Source:
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,1840838.story
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

  2. #2
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    That's good, I know Webloyalty has been talked about a lot here.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Hooray for Congress on this one, if anything serious ever comes of it.

    I was suckered in by webloyalty myself last spring. We ordered a pizza online from a business I won't name (the company's last name rhymes with "butt"), and had a "Save $xx.xx on your next order!" window pop up after we completed the order.

    I wasn't expecting to sign up for anything, and when I clicked on the popup, my browser started going a little crazy. I kept clicking through, expecting to find a coupon, and I don't actually remember what I did after they jumped me through a bunch of "hoops."

    The next month, my wife asked what the billing was on our debit card for $29 (I think) or something like that.

    It took email and a couple of phone calls, but they did cancel our membership and refund our money.

    I fired of a blistering email to pizza butt about it, too.
    Generate more fake news.

  4. #4
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    What pisses me off are the merchants that work with slime balls like Web Loyalty. They're tactics have been reported on by Consumer Reports since as early as 2005, so no merchant can claim ignorance about who they're dealing with. It's disgusting that they think so little of their customers that they're wiling to expose them to this type of fraud.

    I hope Congress publishes a complete list of Web Loyalty "partners" so that consumers can make the right choses about which merchants they want to do business with.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    yea I caught part of that tonight, too. They had Ben Edelman (think is his name but not sure) for teeny segment of it. They did name some of the merchants.

  6. #6
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    That's wonderful news. I hope the Congress take it seriously.

  7. #7
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Good news. No merchant should have the right to pass on your CC info. If you are going to sign up for anything with another company, you should have to resubmit that CC info.
    This World is Not My Home
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  8. #8
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    WEBLOYALTY, AFFINION, VERTRUE under investigation
    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,1840838.story

    The investigation...found that millions of Americans are unwittingly enrolled in membership clubs created by three online marketing companies: Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty. The companies and their partners have earned more than $1.4 billion by exploiting online shoppers through aggressive sales tactics, according to the investigation.
    Do any of your affiliate programs work with WEBLOYALTY?

    http://consumerist.com/5407374/88-bi...ebloyalty-scam

  9. #9
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    Yikes, I send a bunch of hotel reservations through a merchant that uses these guys! At least they have a way for their affiliates to opt-out of using the Webloyalty thing.

    Here's a letter I just sent to their Affiliate Manage:

    I value my relationship with IHS - we've made a decent amount of money for each other over the past 5 years or so. So I was alarmed to learn that you are working with a sleazy company that is currently under investigation by Congress for deceptive practices. This makes your affiliates look bad.

    Here are a couple of interesting articles, in case you are not aware of the Congressional investigation:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,1840838.story

    http://consumerist.com/5407374/88-bi...ebloyalty-scam

    Yes, I know I can opt-out, and I will. But I just wanted to make sure you are aware that you are tarnishing your affiliates' reputations by partnering with a company that seems to be widely considered rather slimy.


    If WL is as bad as everyone is saying, I suggest that other affiliates send similar letters to their merchants who use WL.

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager Affiliate Eagle's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this article.

    Interesting angle, its going to get very interesting in our business over the next three years as the government starts to actively address many of the issues that come up in our industry. More to come, I am sure!
    Emilio Yepez
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  11. #11
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailhub
    Yikes, I send a bunch of hotel reservations through a merchant that uses these guys! At least they have a way for their affiliates to opt-out of using the Webloyalty thing.

    Here's a letter I just sent to their Affiliate Manage:

    I value my relationship with IHS - we've made a decent amount of money for each other over the past 5 years or so. So I was alarmed to learn that you are working with a sleazy company that is currently under investigation by Congress for deceptive practices. This makes your affiliates look bad.

    Here are a couple of interesting articles, in case you are not aware of the Congressional investigation:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...,1840838.story

    http://consumerist.com/5407374/88-bi...ebloyalty-scam

    Yes, I know I can opt-out, and I will. But I just wanted to make sure you are aware that you are tarnishing your affiliates' reputations by partnering with a company that seems to be widely considered rather slimy.


    If WL is as bad as everyone is saying, I suggest that other affiliates send similar letters to their merchants who use WL.
    I've been with them for a long time, also, and refused to have them put W/L on any of my various booking accounts when they first started pushing them. I have also sent updates as W/L et.al. appeared in news articles over the last couple years. But it all has fallen on deaf ears (we may have the same mgr - JH?). I have been slowly transitioning sites to another fulfillment source. Shame, too, because they have just announced a new, enhanced booking platform that sounds rather interesting.
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  12. #12
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    Taking people's money with out their consent is theft, or at least it used to be.

    Lawmakers need to hit up thieving merchant partners on this one, and make examples out of them.

    By targeting only the scammers, another crop of scamsters will evolve to take their place, where as if unethical merchants know consequences are involved for themselves, they'll be less like to partner in scamming attempts in future.

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager bs0101's Avatar
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    Wish action had been taken on this sooner, unfortunate that some companies fed into this model. Notable that it doesn't seem like the credit card companies / processors aren't mentioned as facilitators in the congressional staff report. Don't they have web-transaction standards that need to be upheld?

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I jumped all over this (with my merchant clients blessings) by filling legal papers against several host cart companies who automatically embedded the WebLoyality type programs in the merchant clients shopping carts. Took several years to reach the Federal Courts and now Congree. All the cart companies I threatened immediately backed out of automatically enrolling companies like Holdup Suspenders in these privacacy violating scams back in 2006.

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

    Linkshare merchants were victimized by these Adwhore wanks as AM pocketed some serious "pay to play" money like they did with the BHO's.
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  15. #15
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Welcome back, Mike! Long time, no see!
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  16. #16
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Hi Mike and Charlie.

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  17. #17
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Hey Mike!!!

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  18. #18
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Welcome back Mike and
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  19. #19
    Online Marketing Consultant
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  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Hi Mike and Charlie
    Hope your health is doin better and you've been feelin better

  21. #21
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    Beachy Bill said:
    I've been with them for a long time, also, and refused to have them put W/L on any of my various booking accounts when they first started pushing them. I have also sent updates as W/L et.al. appeared in news articles over the last couple years. But it all has fallen on deaf ears (we may have the same mgr - JH?).
    Hey Bill, no actually I heard back from "DT", who to her credit responded very quickly. She explained why they [IHS] think that Webloyalty is on the up-and-up, how WL makes it clear to the consumer what's going on, etc. She said they have only had a handful of complaints and WL was very good about refunding money. She said WL now makes you enter credit card info on the WL site, which helps make it clear that it's a separate third-party deal.

    Despite all that, WL still leaves me feeling very uncomfortable and I have opted out. Shame on me for not looking into this a little more closely back when they started offering it, or I would probably have opted out from the start. I really like dealing with IHS and hope that they will know when it's time to walk away from WL to avoid tarnishing their own goodwill. It's their calculated business decision, I suppose.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    companies that donít engage in these tactics are at a disadvantage. They earn less revenue, meaning they canít be as aggressive on core pricing and on advertising. So without regulation, sites that donít engage in scamming users are forced into the practice, or out of business.
    good article on this at techcrunch
    www. techcrunch.com/2009/11/17/ptm-scams-scamville-rockefeller-senatehearing-wallofshame/

    looks like about every big travel supplier is in on it...

  23. #23
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailhub
    Hey Bill, no actually I heard back from "DT", who to her credit responded very quickly. She explained why they [IHS] think that Webloyalty is on the up-and-up, how WL makes it clear to the consumer what's going on, etc. She said they have only had a handful of complaints and WL was very good about refunding money. She said WL now makes you enter credit card info on the WL site, which helps make it clear that it's a separate third-party deal.
    At best she is being disingenuous (and I'm being very charitable), worst case she's a total moron (oops, charitable well ran dry) or living in a cave without Internet access.

    A simple Google search on Webloyalty brings up 174K hits, most of which are negative press, complaints and class action suits. A search on "Webloyalty fraud" brings up 24K COMPLAINTS and "Webloyalty scam" has similar results. To quote Dennis Green, "they are who they thought they were". Any merchant that claims ignorance is frankly lying and doesn't care about their customers or their own reputation for that matter. These are not organizations that I would do business with, as a consumer or affiliate.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    I am sad to say that I see a few of my merchants on the list. What a shame. I have not heard of any of these companies before Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty..

    Time to change out some links.


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  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    I can't wait for the BS 'apologies' soon to come...

    (As the CEO of bigstupidcompany.com, may I say that your satisfaction is important to us. Unfortunately, recently it has come to my attention that a very small percentage of our customers...blah...blah...blah)

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