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  1. #1
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Big Brands, CPA Networks and Contextual Adware
    Most of the traditional networks have become more active in not allowing contextual adware displays in their network over the last couple of years. While you can still find it, the accounts are usually terminated in due course.

    Many also tend to think of CPA Network offers as being along the lines of pure lead generation with offers like diet pills, 'free' gift cards, mortage quotes, etc. However, there are major retail brands promoting through CPA Networks as well. These can be the same merchants found on the traditional networks. Several CPA Networks are also actively seeking to attract major traditional advertisers to their networks.

    CPA Networks typically allow affiliates/publishers to promote via contextual adware if it is allowed by the advertiser.

    Most merchants will not pay out commissions on two different networks, so regardless of the policy and enforcement level on a traditional network if the behavior is happening via a CPA Network, the end results are the same: tracking overwrites (between affiliates and networks) and/or traffic diversion.

    I'll be posting a list of retail/big brand merchants I've found displaying through any of the various contextual adware out there along with the CPA Network(s) connected with the display.

    Anything I post I've seen within the last couple of months. I won't post anything beyond that.

    The format will be:

    Merchant CPA Network Contextual Network

    CPA Network1/CPA Network2 means mutliple CPA Networks were involved in the ad stream. Network1 would be the network of the affiliate using contextual adware. Network 2 would be the network the advertiser is partnered with.

    Contextual Network1/Contextual Network2 means mutlipe Contextual networks were involved in the ad stream (they syndicate out their ad inventory between each other). Network 1 would be the network initially called by the adware application, Network 2 would be the network the affiliate is running their campaigns.

    Merchants may or may not be aware their ads are displaying through the contextual adware. The pop-ups may have happened on the merchant's own site, competitor's site, or any other web site out there. Any site is fair game for a display..just depends on what the affiliate using adware is targeting. These results do NOT include merchant's buying adware inventory directly themselves...only those ads involving affiliates and CPA Networks.

    These are a few I found recently going through a handful of testing logs:

    Vista Print DirectAgents Favorit-Network
    OmahaSteaks MaxBounty AdOnNetwork
    OmahaSteaks MarketLeverage MediaTraffic
    PersonalCreations MaxBounty/PersonalCreations Inhouse AdOnNetwork
    BloomsToday HydraNetwork AdOnNetwork
    Bidz GetAds DirectCPV

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, Kellie! Several of those (VistaPrint, OmahaSteaks and Bidz) have been using CPA Networks for years.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Right Michael. None of those I posted was particularly surprising to me. I debated about whether to include those direct marketing merchants (like VistaPrints and OmahaSteaks) that are very active on CPA Networks or not. I finally decided to include them as there are always so many new folks to business who may not realize what other folks who've been around longer understand. They see the merchants on CJ or LS and don't realize what other networks and methods the merchants are being promoted.

    Right now there is a big push of presenting CPV promotion through adware as a "legitimate" traffic source. New adware networks are forming, CPA networks are giving a nod of the head to it by sponsoring webinars on how to use it, having forums related to it, etc.

    So I decided a bit of education and understanding from another perspective is probably not a bad thing.

  4. #4
    http and a telephoto
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    More education is never a bad thing. Thank you Kellie.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Now if somebody has affiliate links on their website.... let's say a recipe site has an ingredient list and links the words "18 Ounce T-Bone Steak" to Omaha Steaks or whatever other vendor... what is the difference between this and running contextual ads that overwrite any previously existing cookie for that vendor?
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  6. #6
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Now if somebody has affiliate links on their website.... let's say a recipe site has an ingredient list and links the words "18 Ounce T-Bone Steak" to Omaha Steaks or whatever other vendor... what is the difference between this and running contextual ads that overwrite any previously existing cookie for that vendor?
    1.Forced click vs. physical click
    2. Didn't use someone else's web property to trigger the click
    3. There was some degree of promotion going on with the recipe site, not just popping the merchant's site
    4. If I was running the contextual ads, you wouldn't have gotten the credit for the "18 Ounce T-Bone Steak" click...I would have gotten it.

  7. #7
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    1) If the site visitor clicks on the contextual link, how is this a forced click?
    2) "Someone else's web property" in terms of if the owner of the website is running the contextual ads as a publisher? Which leads to 3) who is to say if or what level of "promotion" is going on if the ad has been placed on the site for the purpose of generating income from targetted (targetted by virtue of the ad being 'contextual') traffic.
    4) Of course the ad network is getting credit/payment for leads or sales generated. Where is the difference between this and other middleman networks such as CJ, Linkshare, et. al?
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  8. #8
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I'm talking about contextual adware, not contextual links like AdSense, Chikita, etc.

    1) If the end user clicks on the link it's not a forced click. But if there is a link to click with contextual adware, then the link was placed on someone else's web site without the permission or knowledge of the ad placement. I put a text link on your recipe site.

    There are some who feel that it is perfectly ok & legitimate to put banner ads and/or text links on someone else's web site. I don't think it is ok alter web sites that don't belong to me.

    2) No, someone else's site as in the owner is NOT running the ads. Someone who just buying ad inventory through a contextual adware network is the "someone else."

    3) There is an argument to be made that just targeting a URL to display an ad is a form of promotion. That is, diverting traffic from a competitors site to the merchant in the display is a type of promotion that some merchants actually want affiliates doing for them.

    Overall, my opinion is that this type of "marketing" is not good for advertising as a whole or for consumers as it impedes upon "fair competition".

    4) The ad network is getting credit on a cost per view (CPV) basis. Sure sometimes the ad network may aslo act to some degree as an affiliate themselves (as was the case back in the early days of Zango). By and large, most don't to any degree though. They take the couple of cents for each ad display, regardless of the efficiency or effectiveness of the ad campaign. Even the contextual adware networks admit the conversions are low with this type of traffic, hence the extremely low price of the traffic.

    So one difference between Zango, MediaTraffic, etc and CJ/LS/etc is that it is not performance based marketing at all. Nor is CJ/LS/etc dependent on getting consumers to install software to deliver the ads for advertisers.

    I loved a quote from a webinar I listened to the other day on how to effectively run CPV/PPV ad campaigns....after a lengthy disclaimer about how the software was not spyware but adware (that good!), he called it "interruption marketing" since it "interrupted" what the end user was doing at the time the ad is displayed. So your ads have to be different. Gotta love marketing that annoys the end user.

  9. #9
    15 years and counting
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    Thanks for sharing your information, Kellie. I didn't know they were working with CPA Networks and involved with adware. I quit working with them years ago for not converting. They are still trying to get me back, wasting everybody, time and money.

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