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  1. #1
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    The Register is running an interesting article on 180Solutions-Ncase-Zango. OK as affiliates, we already know a lot of this stuff, but it's interesting to see it reported in the general technology press.

    Affiliate Marketing is worth $200 million a year, eh?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07...k_controversy/
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Brian Littletold told <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I guess Brian wasn't verbose

    $200 Million? NO way much more than that!

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> 80Solutions says it has retained one of the top US independent audit firms <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Notice how they always keep the firm quiet?
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador CDC's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Notice how they always keep the firm quiet? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think it's Dewey Cheatum & Howe.

    CDC
    I can't complain but sometimes I still do...

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Ah ...Morly U. Cheatum -attorney at law- will surely put his finger on the problem source.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  5. #5
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Also check out this article if you haven't already seen it...

    http://www.benedelman.org/spyware/180-affiliates/
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  6. #6
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>$200 Million? NO way much more than that!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    There were a few statements in that article that were a bit on the light side regarding accuracy.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Notice how they always keep the firm quiet? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    But some of us saw that PR before they removed the firm's name. Will be interesting to see if who actually does the audit is the company that was published initially or someone else.

  7. #7
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    The Register isn't always 100% accurate and is often pretty biaised.. but at least they seem to be biaised in the *right* way on this one.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  8. #8
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    I thought the article was OK. But as Ms. B says, the article didn't make much of an effort to get to the bottom of the factual questions.

    Does 180 do what I claimed, or doesn't it? The reporter could have tried to contact other researchers, industry experts, merchants, affiliate networks, etc. for their assessment of my findings. Talking to SAS was a good step in that direction, but Register readers might have been interested in somewhat more detail.

  9. #9
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    I just spoke with Corey (not sure of spelling) at 180Solutions. I asked him when they were going to hire an auditing firm. His reply was "next week or so".

    I asked him if the charges are true and if they were not- as he replied... as to why they changed their name and agreed to cease certain practices. He did not answer.

    I then asked him about the research of Benjamin Edelman. I asked him why he thought this person would make this up. He replied that Benjamin was incorrect in his conclusions.

    He offered no reason as to why Benjamin Edelman had gone to such great effort to prove his conclusions or what vested interest he had in doing so.

    I also mentioned that Tech Depot/Office Depot were not on the latest suspected hijack list of merchants, suggesting that their order tracking software made those hijacks less desirable.

    I reason this is because of the internal tracking and the likelihood of a b2b complaint to the link source affiliate. Obviously those sales are not as lucrative as the 'consumers purchase' from the general public.

    Basically, he denied all wrong doing and that was why they were hiring an audit firm.

    I believe that not only is this activity occurring (not necessarily from 1800Solutions)-

    It is rampant to the point where the concern is not commissions at risk- but instead the security of an individual's data using an affiliate’s site.

    I recommend everyone do a full Trojan scan with TDS3 software (do a full system scan).
    It will pick up stuff that Ad-aware, (et. all) will not detect. The software is available for free evaluation at http://tds.diamondcs.com.au.

    It is one thing to steal commissions- Trojan key stroke logging is another. Although 180Solutions denied sending Trojans, I reminded them that their company appeared at the least guilty by association

    So, here is the bottom line. It appears that these are multiple ongoing criminal enterprises, co-conspirators to wire fraud and most likely involved in other illegal activates.

    Violations of HIPPA or other privacy laws will allow us to bring suit in civil court as well as requesting criminal actions be levied against the conspirators.

    If one willfully interferes with the commerce and productivity of others on the Internet, they are cyber terrorists and should be apprehended and incarcerated.

    "either you are with us are against us"- G. Bush

    JeffJ.

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>"either you are with us are against us"- G. Bush <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Now don't go poisoning your post.

    You may be correct on your main points but since I don't agree with 100% of your statements, I guess I'm against you. Sad.

    Wayne

  11. #11
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    I also mentioned that Tech Depot/Office Depot were not on the latest suspected hijack list of merchants, suggesting that their order tracking software made those hijacks less desirable.

    Unfortunately, that's not the right inference to draw from the absence of officedepot.com on the list I posted. My list isn't absolutely comprehensive -- and I apologize if the article or my comments here have suggested otherwise. When 180 or its advertisers hide their affiliate links behind too many levels of redirects, or especially behind tricky redirects/frames/iframes/JavaScript/etc., my testing methods often fail to detect or notice the affiliate links. That's what happened here: After two levels of frames and redirects, the 180 advertiser used encoded JavaScript to invoke the LinkShare tracking link to officedepot.com. I was able to see that when I did manual testing, after reading your comment above. But my automated processing system couldn't detect what was going on.


    So, I've just added one more entry to the posted list of targeted merchants -- and also one more entry to my internal list of distinct affiliate IDs used to target LinkShare merchants.

  12. #12
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    So if I understand, Office Depot is being targeted? I talked to their online marketing represenatives who are convinced that Linkshare has fixed this.

    Also, when you said this-

    "also one more entry to my internal list of distinct affiliate IDs used to target LinkShare merchants."

    Is this ID referred to- the affiliate which ultimately is recieving the benifit of these redirects and cookie overwrites?

  13. #13
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    It is funny to see affiliate marketing described as a "fascinating world." No one I know seems to find my work fascinating.

  14. #14
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    So if I understand, Office Depot is being targeted? I talked to their online marketing represenatives who are convinced that Linkshare has fixed this.

    Officedepot.com is one of the merchants on 180's newly-expanded whitelist. Recall the July 14 entry in my Responses section: "On July 14, I observed that 180 has modified the config.aspx file on its web server to specifically exclude 71 domains, including cooking.com, dell.com, ftd.com, sharperimage.com, register.com, walmart.com, and numerous others."

    So Office Depot is not currently targeted by 180. Incidentally plenty of other LinkShare merchants are still targeted, though. Perhaps Haiko will open a thread in the LinkShare forum to discuss this matter, in which case I will post some new videos and packet logs there (time permitting, etc.).


    "also one more entry to my internal list of distinct affiliate IDs used to target LinkShare merchants." Is this ID referred to- the affiliate which ultimately is recieving the benifit of these redirects and cookie overwrites?

    Exactly. Sorry for any ambiguity.

  15. #15
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  16. #16
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> There were a few statements in that article that were a bit on the light side regarding accuracy. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes, there were. Unfortunately, I feel the need to post the following wherever this article is being discussed...we did not claim to have the "biggest" affiliate network.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  17. #17
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    I may be wrong , but I don't think they claimed you did. Some guy by the name of Brian 'Littletold' might have told then that though.

  18. #18
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    !80 Replied:

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> In your story Pop-up goes the commission, you name N-case as an "Active X program which automatically installed itself onto desktops through online ads..." 180solutions has never caused its software to download automatically or without user consent. 180solutions' software, N-case and Zango included, is opt-in only. The only time 180solutions' software has ever been downloaded unknowingly was when a third party affiliate exploited holes in Internet Explorer and installed the 180Search Assistant without user consent and without 180solutions knowledge or consent. The number of computer affected by this were minimal. This company was in direct breach of contract with 180solutions and is currently being sued by 180solutions for its illegal practices.

    Edelman has accused 180solutions of being in violation of Commission Junction and Linkshare policies. 180solutions is actually in total compliance with the regulations of these networks and would be removed from the networks if it was not following policy. 180solutions constantly monitors its practices and changes are ongoing for us to remain in compliance with these networks.

    Edelman's research also suggests that 180solutions tags "hidden windows" that are used to re-direct commissions and displays 180solutions-tagged pop-ups that cover competitors sites. There are a couple issues to be addressed here. First, the hidden windows are empty windows, with no tagging whatsoever that the user does not see. These windows work as a check for the 180solutions server, preventing it from displaying a Web site (or ad) when a commission is about to be sent to another affiliate. This is in place to ensure that commissions are not sent to the wrong party.

    Secondly, when a 180solutions window is presented to a user, the top of the window is labeled to make sure the user knows where the offer is coming from. For example, if you have Zango installed on your computer and you are searching Google for Las Vegas hotels, and your search returns a listing of hotels, a window might pop up displaying the Web site for Mandalay Bay, (this is only an example) at the top of this window you would see: "Brought to you by the Zango Search Assistant" to inform you of where the offer is coming from.

    This window would also not completely cover the Google page, it would simply be shown on top, so you could view both at the same time. 180solutions is not tagging windows to overpower a competitor's site, the labeling is there so the user knows who is responsible for the Web site displayed.

    Edelman also reports 180solutions overwriting cookies. 180solutions does not overwrite or manipulate cookies. The occurrence of double pop up windows, which led Edelman to believe that we were overwriting cookies, is a brand protection mechanism for customers who want it. Some affiliate networks do not agree with this method, and 180 makes sure to disable this part of its software on networks where it is not allowed or wanted.

    The most important point to be realized is that Edelman does not have access to see where the commissions go or who they are paid to, that information is not public. Edelman has himself admitted that he has not and cannot see where the commissions are paid. His research is missing vital facts. His report overall is based on assumptions that lack information to be complete and correct.

    Additionally, 180solutions does not display pop-up ads. 180solutions' software shows users a limited number of targeted Web sites based on searches and Web surfing behaviors.

    180solutions absolutely denies and gives no validity to the allegations posed by Edelman's report.

    Ashley Wolfe
    Barokas Public Relations 180 Solutions
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/30/180solutions_letter/
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  19. #19
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    180Solutions answers popup charges from the Register
    article The Register

    Quote:
    The only time 180solutions' software has ever been downloaded unknowingly was when a third party affiliate exploited holes in Internet Explorer and installed the 180Search Assistant without user consent and without 180solutions knowledge or consent. The number of computer affected by this were minimal. This company was in direct breach of contract with 180solutions and is currently being sued by 180solutions for its illegal practices.


    Company involved was Aztec Marketing (i-lookup.com, and probably a whole can of worms)

    Pete

    Pete

  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Ashley Wolfe - Edelman does not have access to see where the commissions go or who they are paid to, that information is not public. Edelman has himself admitted that he has not and cannot see where the commissions are paid. His research is missing vital facts. His report overall is based on assumptions that lack information to be complete and correct.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    What kind of idiot is that Ashley Wolfe, Edelman doen't know either who is cashing the check. 180solutions does overwrite or manipulate links resulting in lost commission for the affiliate and it's the most important point.

  21. #21
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>In your story Pop-up goes the commission, you name N-case as an "Active X program which automatically installed itself onto desktops through online ads..." 180solutions has never caused its software to download automatically or without user consent. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Implies that 180 has not been engaged in the ActiveX arena with distribution. However.....

    http://www.cdt.org/privacy/spyware/2...0solutions.pdf

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>As a result of discussions with the CDT and within our company, we earlier this year insituted a number of changes in our agreements and practices:
    .
    .
    .
    Additionally, based on user feedback, we have stopped the practice of using ActiveX advertisements and have focused on alternative methods to promote our distirbutors and our software. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



    Oh wait.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Ashley Wolfe
    Barokas Public Relations 180 Solutions <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


  22. #22
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    once a liar always a liar.
    One day parasites and their ilk will be made illegal, I bet a few Lawyers will be pissed off when the day comes.
    Mr. Spitzer is fetching it nearer

    YouTrek

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
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    Hey guys! Steve McQuin is looking for the "Fall Guy".

    Pretty soon they gonna say the dog did it, the cat did it, but never they did anything wrong! lol...

    And those poor affiliate (if there is such other affiliates) that got suckered on using their method is going to be the "Fall Guy!".

    Politics in every corner!

    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!

  24. #24
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Yep Nova. Is it too hard to figure out where the finger will be pointed when that audit comes out?

  25. #25
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    Let's hope Ben takes advantage of The Reg's right-of-reply policy. :^)

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