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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Pursuant to a posting by BLFH that stated:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The definition of "clean." There HAS NEVER been a consensus within the affiliate community as a whole as to the definition of clean. Indeed, it has been and continues to be the sticking point. Nor has there been true enforcement of what was put out there by some indvidual parties as to "clean." Those who have are far and few between. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Let's see if we can get a consensus! What are your qualifiers?
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  2. #2
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    Unfortunately there are few if ANY impartial bystanders. Haiko, are you primarily an affiliate or an affiliate representative?

    What do you consider a clean program? To me it would seem that any program that plays within the ESTABLISHED NETWORK RULES should be considered clean. As affiliates, if we don't like those rules does that give us the right to deem them unfair? We can work to change the rules, but to ostracize and villify others who are actually operating within the established rules seems a bit holier-than-thou.

  3. #3
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    The rules really mean nothing if they are motivated by profit.

  4. #4
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    The rules mean everything if we, as affiliates, make the CHOICE to operate within their network? Yes or No?

  5. #5
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Haiko.

    Thank you for the thread. IMO, this has the opportunity to be a thread of great resource considering many things happening within the industry at the moment (including but not limited to the COC being revisted, recent events with the FTC, pending legislation at both the State and Federal level).

    I would like to request that there might be some degree of moderation to the thread in the hopes of keeping it on topic and more factually based than just emotional posts?

    I for one would like to be able to reference the thread to certain parties who might not be traditional visitors to ABW.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    -- Post removed. We're talking about parasites - not page design. - Akiva --

    Sorry, but it wasn't specified..
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

  7. #7
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>What are your qualifiers?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I see nothing is the posts so far that address that!!! Unless I should take Abu Gabby's first post to mean that he feels LS's current Addendum is how he qualifies "clean."

    [Edited to add]

    Going to go make some of my own money now and will check back later to see if the threads progresses into something constructive. Sure hope it does!

  8. #8
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Abu,

    No longer an active Affiliate except two niche domains promoting amazon that I haven't changed in a year so I'd assume I'm more of an affiliate advocate.

    I think the major problem is the "Established Network Rules" that a program or affiliate should adhere to weren't and aren't properly a) defined nor b) policed, in effect making them moot.

    I've heard that there was going to be another "revision" to the CoC but once again, it will be their [the networks] CYAing themselves and really nothing along the lines of "teeth" in the agreement because they, just as many merchants, can't afford not to do business with "certain" affiliates.

    While there are good intentions, there are even fewer actions, that's because of the massive amounts of money involved, that's understood, but as you've seen [the other thread] when an affiliate's traffic is redirected or cookies overwritten, then they lose, not the merchant or the technology based affiliate, that in my opinion is nothing short of theft and allowing such is wrong, period!

    Yes, some technology based affiliates have tried to and continue to work at "being clean" but I'm afraid that the bad PR of being associated with them is a stink that will not go away, even with the the strongest cleanser.

    I've seen and know that some of these technology based affiliates do have certain logic sets now built in within their programs to "mask" the redirects or overwrites or make it so random that it would take some real time to duplicate it.

    So What and whom are clean? I've gotta answer that on a one by one basis, and almost on a day by day basis.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  9. #9
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BLFH (Ms. B):
    I would like to request that there might be some degree of moderation to the thread in the hopes of keeping it on topic and more factually based than just emotional posts?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Shall do.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  10. #10
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Clean is a no wriggle room TOS statement that says... No sales tracking cookie can be set without a physically conscious action being taken by the referred shopper. No commissions will be paid on those affiliate sales not initiated by a physical click....period.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  11. #11
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    A "clean" program pays affiliates for ALL commissions resulting from a buyer's clicking on their links to the merchant. This is simply what the merchant agrees to do in their operating agreement with the affiliate.

    A "clean" program excludes all affiliates that use circumventing methods or have a history of using these methods.

    A "clean" program excludes affiliates even when they assure that, although they use or have used circumventing methods, they will not use them within the context of this program.

    A "clean" program looks beyond the assurances of networks with a history of coddling affiliates that use methods of circumventing the rules to decide on the suitability of an affiliate.

    A "clean program" makes a strong statement of zero tolerance of all dishonest business practices despite their benefit to the program.

    Wayne

  12. #12
    Action Jackson - King of the World
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by EcomCity.com:
    Clean is a no wriggle room TOS statement that says... No sales tracking cookie can be set without a physically conscious action being taken by the referred shopper. No commissions will be paid on those affiliate sales not initiated by a physical click....period. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think Mike is right on here regarding the physical click. No physical click means no payout IMO.

    The other thing I think about often is that when the visitor is on my website they belong to me. I know there is a lot of talk about who owns the visitors during a website visit so maybe this is something we need to comment on. What do you guys think?

  13. #13
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I know there is a lot of talk about who owns the visitors during a website visit so maybe this is something we need to comment on. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    As I said, a "clean" program pays affiliates for ALL commissions resulting from a buyer's clicking on their links to the merchant.

    Though it strays from the subject of this thread I'll add this. While scumware providers claim their agreement with the computer user allows them to hijack, overwrite or do anything they want, it remains that the merchant has made an agreement with YOU that they will pay YOU all commissions that result from clicks on YOUR links. Anything less is a violation of that agreement. A well-targeted class action lawsuit based on the above premise might help clean up the industry. That is why it behooves a program to be "clean" voluntarily.

    Wayne

  14. #14
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    Consider this scenario...a user gets an email from you on Monday, clicks and visits my site but doesn't buy. On Tuesday, the same user visits another affiliate site, click and visits my site and buys something. Who gets the sale?

  15. #15
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    The second affiliate. As it should be.

    Has nothing to do with being "clean," the subject of this thread. Don't confuse the issue.

    Wayne

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Consider this scenario...a user gets an email from you on Monday, clicks and visits my site but doesn't buy. On Tuesday, the same user visits another affiliate site, click and visits my site and buys something. Who gets the sale?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The affiliate that the user visit and click on that affiliate links get the sale.
    If that user spend time to find you and couldn't find your own site and found it from that affiliates site that affiliate deserve the commission. that IMO is clean transaction!


    That scenerio has nothing do with someone overwriting cookies while that user are in that affiliate sites or in the merchants site.

    What COC stand for? Crooks Overwriting Commission
    Don't worry tracking is Infected

    Live life to the fullest, You only get 1 chance. Enjoy it while you can... Nothing last forever!

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    The second affiliate should get the sale, but in both scenarios, someone clicked a link. Both sites enticed the user to click a link and visit your site, ebates and other parasites just suck up commissions from affiliates traffic, from your traffic, or traffic from other merchants.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador
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    What about this scenario:

    A user goes to your site, clicks a product link taking them to the merchant's site. There is a 30 day cookie from that click. 24 days later that person goes directly to the merchant site via direct url type in and they happen to have an application on their computer that pops up a 20% off coupon. The merchant agreed to let that affiliate's application pop that advertising over their own site. They click it and make a purchase. Who should get the commission. And this application is one the user knowingly downloads and wants.

  19. #19
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The merchant agreed to let that affiliate pop that advertising over their own site. They click it and make a purchase. Who should get the commission. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Not a practice of a "clean" merchant. The popping affiliate and the merchant are conspiring to steal the commission rightfully belonging to the referring affiliate.

    Definitely not "clean."

    Trust, something most people ignore: any agreement involving an application provider and an end user has NO bearing on the agreement between the merchant and the affiliate. The merchant is free to pay anything they want to Ebates, WhenU, Gator, 180 or any other scumware outfit but they are legally liable by their agreement to pay the referring affiliate whose link caused the sale. When they are forced by a court to make double payments, they will clean themselves.

    Wayne

  20. #20
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    I've thought a bit about this thread and I'm sure I'll have much more to say but it seems the easiest way to define clean is to define what is "not clean" and the easiest way to do that is to identify what is disgustingly filthy.

    What is disgustingly filthy?

    The current network rules and lack of practices and enforcement that have allowed the collateral damage to be caused to a point where the ftc, other legal entities, large corporations who can further restrict our business processing and even states are getting involved due to consumer backlash.

    Software markets dedicated to blocking popups, adware blocking on images and links from being shown/processed, as well as parasite and theftware detection and elimination programs are thriving due to the lack of actions by networks.

    Even more alarming but understandable are statements from merchants who have placed their trust in networks to provide a clean and ethical based enviroment such as:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>To me it would seem that any program that plays within the ESTABLISHED NETWORK RULES should be considered clean. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I can only laugh....

    I have spent many a hour here trying to warn merchants of what "in compliance really meant" and how the networks finacnial incentive to work with and allow theftware applications to openly operate in an area where finacial based transactions occur was not in anyones best interest except the networks.

    The only way to "come clean" is "for the networks" to recognize the problems currently in existance and deal with them to avoid further damage.

    1) Theftware IMO is the number one issue.

    These programs regardless if a consumer agreed to them or not are considered as "Spyware". Add in unshady tactics such drive by downloads, bundled installs, difficulty in unistalling, reloading upon removal, diasabling of detection software along with repeated polls showing over 70% of infected users never had a clue the program was installed.

    Next lets add in the "majority non parasitic affiliates" who have been having their work undermined and forced to try and compete with an application that at best violates the spirit of unfair trade practices and effectively nullifes the non parasitic affiliates abilities to compete when theftware is involved in the process, causes income diversion and payment of commissions by merchants from "their own traffic" and it doesn't seem to far fetched to think that "the real opportunities that could be reached with affiliate marketing are being severly limited as many corporations who would otherwise become involved in affiliate marketing will not touch the current "cleanliness model" supported by networks with 100 foot pole.

    None of this IMO constitutes that the network policies and enforcement are clean by any means - it suggests they are far from it.

    2) Popups - Consumers have spoken and they clearly hate popups. While I never expect networks to address this, it's been clearly shown that a large number of sites are using popups, iframes and other techniques to auto set cookies. Setting of a cookie "via any method other than a physical click by the consumer" needs to be banned and punishable by network termination.

    I'll reserve other comments for now but the above two items are the filthiest components IMO negatively effecting this industry.

  21. #21
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    Poon do you consider the example i put forth as parasitic? Because the example doesn't fall into:

    "Add in unshady tactics such drive by downloads, bundled installs, difficulty in unistalling, reloading upon removal, diasabling of detection software along with repeated polls showing over 70% of infected users never had a clue the program was installed."

    Doesn't auto set, user knowingly downloads application and clicks a link. No auto-setting of cookies.

    Those polls are referring to Gator, WhenU, and the 180 type of applications. The ones that are right now actively popping advertising over our sites and have no problem doing so.

  22. #22
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I'm going to jump in real quick. Since I was referencing the definition of "clean" with regards to software applications in the quote for this thread starter, my comments will be directly towards that. A software application is "clean" if......

    The way I am now approaching is this issue is by assessing certain behaviors of the applications. Whether or not they do or do not engage in specfic behaviors define if they are clean or not. This is in contrast to whatever merchanism they may utilize to perform behavior. IOW, I don't particularly care 'how' they are or are not doing something, just whether it is or is not happening.

    The points I bring up here are stricly my own opinion on the issue and I fully realize that there will be many who strongly disagree with my criteria. I also realize that in 'reality' some of the criteria will probably never happen (that is truly be used in a practical sense to define acceptable behavior). Regardless, I have thought long and hard on this one over an extended time, and it's probably pretty much where I will remain on the issue.

    This is not a complete list of criteria by me. Just getting the ball rolling on my public statement. I'll have more to post later, I'm just seriously multi tasking today.

    I do hope to see some AM/Merchant's weigh in on this on since I'm am very aware via private communications with several that they do not necessarily agree with the current COC/Addendum now in place.

    Finally, the criteria I bring up isn't meant to necessarily reflect what should be in any Networks COC/Addendum/TOS or even a Merchant's. The current envirnoment regarding the operations of advertising software applications have now reached above that level to the public policy arena and will be set at that level to some degree. So some of what I will be posting is probably directed more at that level. And IMO, that it has reached that level is in a large part due to Networks/Merchants/Advertising Industry's failure to self regulate in an effective manner.

    All those disclaimers and comments being said, my first set of points towards a definition:

    A software application shall not:

    • Infringe upon other online entities ability to engage in fair trade. Such infringement may include but is not limited to:
    a) Use of other web site’s trademarks, content, URL’s, or source code to target and trigger the application into action without prior explicit consent and/or financial compensation to the other web site.
    b) Automatically overwriting revenue tracking information of another online business.
    c) Interference in any way with an ongoing clickstream of another online business who may potentially gain financial compensation for that clickstream whether “action” is taken by the end user or not.
    • Record or transmit web usage information of their end users (whether such information is personally identifiable to the end user or not) that can be compiled or assimilated in such a manner that the aggregated web usage information may reflect or impart knowledge to the software application company information regarding other online business entities business plans, strategies, demographics, performance metrics, web site performance, etc which other online business entities may deem proprietary information.
    • Misleading or false information in their advertisements to elicit a click by the end user.
    • Revenue tracking cookies shall not be automatically set by the software application but shall require a physical click by the end user while adhering to the point above.
    • Software applications shall in no way block access to an Advertisers site requiring action by the end user through the software to gain such access. If an end user desires to access the Advertiser’s site without use of the software application, they should be able to without interference. The fact that the software application may be “on” does not constitute that the end user is necessarily desirous of navigating to the Advertiser’s site via the software application.

    A software application shall:

    • Provide to their partners accurate information as to the origins and mechanisms the software application utilizes to deliver traffic to their partners.
    • Provide standard uninstall methods based on the Operating System for which the software application is designed to operate under.
    • Respect and honor the wishes of those Advertisers who have indicated they do not wish partner with the software application.

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Sam Bay's Avatar
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    Short and sweet is clean.
    SomethingStore.com - Surprise and Delight!

  24. #24
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    BLFH do you think the example i gave is parasitic. And if so, do you think legally or realistically anything can be done about it? I'm not sure.

    I do feel merchants or affiliates have strong cases on applications such as the Gator, WhenU/Savenow, 180 type. They are triggered by keywords or urls.

    Maybe we should have a discussion on the actual differences between all the models because in fact there are differences and i don't see the point of lumping everything into the same pile and talking about them like they are all the same. I can see somebody new coming to this forum and getting completely confused on who does what and where.

  25. #25
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>BLFH do you think the example i gave is parasitic. And if so, do you think legally or realistically anything can be done about it? I'm not sure. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Trust, it would depend on some other behaviors the application was or wasn't doing for me to say whether your example was parasitic or not.

    My stance on this is that the applications will need to be adhering to *all* points I will be making in my definition. If they don't, then they are not clean (which may not be exactly the same as parasitic). Some I haven't posted yet.

    I will say that there are ways I can think of how an application could operate and the situation you outlined I would not consider parasitic. OTOH, the current ways I am seeing applications behave under the situation you outlined, I do consider parasitic. For me there are other factors to consider aside from the specifics you oultined in your example.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>And if so, do you think legally or realistically anything can be done about it? I'm not sure. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If by legally you mean will any upcoming legislation that is being drafted regarding the spyware/adware issues cover your example, I would think not. I don't see the laws being that specific. Realistically? Possibly. But again depending on some other behavior factors the application may or may not be doing in relation to your example.

    Things are in a very fluid state regarding these issues right now. It is the time for the community to state their case and back it up with good justification for the way they feel things should be.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Maybe we should have a discussion on the actual differences between all the models <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think probably so, but not necessarily in this thread. I don't think what we want is a separate set of standards for each type of application. As I said in my first post, it is the behaviors that need to be outlined, not how they are doing them. And that seems to be the approach that is going to be taken by the FTC as well as what appears to be happening with the legislation being drafted. I do agree some (maybe many)are possibly not clear on how some of the different applications are operating. And it is helpful to understand that.

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