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  1. #1
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Contextual Adware (PPV) Activity On PepperJamNetwork
    I asked in the PJN forum if they allowed contextual adware marketing. I haven't gotten an answer, but now see that no one from PJN has posted since the summer, so maybe they don't come over here anymore.

    Whether they allow it or not, I've seen an increase in the amount of contextual adware traffic connect to PJN affiliate links. Some of the affiliates I'm seeing connected with PepperJam are affiliates who were terminated from other retail networks years ago.

    As we move into the busiest shopping season, this activity can only be expected to increase, especially if it is being allowed (either willingly or through lack of compliance).

    So I'll be posting some merchants I've seen being targeted by PJN with affiliate forced clicks. In some instances, there are multiple affiliates targeting the merchant. In some instances, hidden forced clicks are being used, which we now know the DOJ considers a felony (wire fraud). All merchants I list I've seen affiliates targeting within the last 3 months.

    Affiliates promoting these merchants (either on PJN or another network) should be aware of this activity.

    Any merchants who would like specific information about the affiliates can contact me through this forum, IM (on my profile here), or email afp at affiliatefairplay.com

    QualitySmith.com
    Hayneedle.com
    eSaleRugs.com
    101inks.com
    Crutchfield.com
    Shop.NHL.com
    Swarovski.com
    Baseballexpress.com

    I'll update this list as I come across them during testing.

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    PepperJam was invited back but showed no interested other than an introduction post. Since they are now a GSI Media Company and Kris Jones being gone not sure who the spokes person for the company is any more. I also wonder if the adware tolerance is a legacy from PJN and a continuation with GSI? Or have they largely ignored it?

    Can anyone give more insight into GSI from the past?

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I also wonder if the adware tolerance is a legacy from PJN and a continuation with GSI? Or have they largely ignored it?
    Could be both. I know the PJN of the past said it was up to the merchants because of the transparency of their network. Or something along those lines. There have also been adware issues in the past with GSI...like way back.

    All I know is it's happening. When I get 3 or 4 different affiliate accounts doing forced clicks on just 2 clicks of a merchant's site...that's just ridiculous. Especially now when hidden forced clicks can equal wire fraud.

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Even if you're not a PJN affiliate, this is an issue if you work with multi-network merchants where one of those networks happen to be PJN. When the PPV PJN affiliate forces a click, it'll reset the cookie that determines which network gets credit for the sale.

    This is one reason (and actually not even the biggest reason) why I don't like working with multi-network merchants.
    Michael Coley
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  5. #5
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Hi Lachlan and welcome to ABW, although I wish your first post here was under better circumstances.

    I got your email and will look into the specific site for you. I'll let you know what I find.

  6. #6
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan MacKinven View Post
    Kellie,
    Thanks for posting this. I have been scratching my head for a few weeks due to a very low converting program in PJN. I have 2 other merchants in the same niche with Shareasale that both convert very well. I would love to PM you for more details on the specific merchant, but it seems I need to make another 249 posts after this one before I can PM. Perhaps you could email me if you have time, lachlan dot mackinven at gmail.
    Many thanks
    Lachlan
    PS: The merchant I am dealing with is on your list.
    :Low converting you say. I followed Hayneedle to PJN and did real well with them for a long time. This year it's hardly worth fooling with as my conversion rate has plummeted to .3%. Hay needle opened up quite a few of their sites to GAN, but I have no clue what the exact cause is. I'm on the verge of letting that one go.
    Last edited by John Powell; November 30th, 2010 at 07:28 PM. Reason: spelling


  7. #7
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I see Maura from PJN is viewing this thread.

    I hope they will respond & everyone can work towards truly beneficial partnerships between merchants and affiliates. In the long run, all benefit including the network.

  8. #8
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I checked in on this and found that the specific Hayneedle store I am promoting is not part of GAN as yet.
    Hmmm..yes the particular merchant is a part of GAN. Unless it's on a limited basis. I'll send you something else.

    Although, with the contextual adware stuff, moving from PJN to GAN wouldn't help in that regard. The PJN affiliate would still be the last click in and would get credit for the sale, even if your links were with GAN.

  9. #9
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    echo'ing Kellie's findings
    Just to weigh in here: My Automatic Spyware Advertising Tester has been recording Pepperjam incidents for more than a year now, and I'm well into the triple digits of observations of spyware/adware activity. Each of the observations has a full packet log (all network traffic and redirects) plus a screen-capture video -- so much data that it's actually a bit overwhelming to go through it all. But certainly there's a problem here; any merchant tha tassumed Pepperjam was taking care of this issue for them, perfectly, would be disappointed & mistaken.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    So is PepperJam the only big network that has Contextual Adware activity??
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  11. #11
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    Despite what peoples opinions are on this particular subject, I really appreciate Kellie reporting her findings and sharing it with the affiliate community. I like to be informed about all things that can affect my business. Many things are posted here at ABW that I agree with and disagree with but I'm always apprecitative for all the information shared.

  12. #12
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msladybug View Post
    Despite what peoples opinions are on this particular subject, I really appreciate Kellie reporting her findings and sharing it with the affiliate community. I like to be informed about all things that can affect my business. Many things are posted here at ABW that I agree with and disagree with but I'm always apprecitative for all the information shared.
    I agree 100%. It takes a lot of time and effort to do what Kellie does and then to communicate it in a way most people can understand is also a challenge. I think she does a great job of it and appreciate the information she offers to me and this community.
    Last edited by leeann; December 1st, 2010 at 05:05 PM.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  13. #13
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    I don't think this issue is over hyped one bit. Based on the PPV activity we've seen (and eliminated) in our network this past year, it scares me to think how prolific this is on larger networks.

  14. #14
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    Serious question. Do you guys actually think PJ will take any action on the videos you have? And on this matter? This reminds me of all the years and videos and sending them to the networks. It was a joke because they profit from this. Has this been sent over to the FTC yet? This:

    "In some instances, hidden forced clicks are being used, which we now know the DOJ considers a felony (wire fraud). All merchants I list I've seen affiliates targeting within the last 3 months."

    If that's all true, pretty serious stuff. Should get to the people who will actually do something about it.
    Last edited by Trust; December 1st, 2010 at 09:26 PM.

  15. #15
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Do you guys actually think PJ will take any action on the videos you have? And on this matter? This reminds me of all the years and videos and sending them to the networks. It was a joke because they profit from this.
    Well, it's the merchants and PJN that could do something about it. Maybe that's why I bothered to even list the merchants.

    I remember will all the formal complaints I filed with networks over the years and some of the ludicrous responses I've gotten. However, that does not deter me from continuing to try. Because ever so often I am surprised. Or the timing is right and I get a more favorable response. So I keep plugging along with it because when the response is favorable (and that has happened) then it's worth it for me. It's better for the everyone, even the network in the long run.

    Has this been sent over to the FTC yet?
    The FTC wouldn't be the regulatory agency with authority except for one of the contextual adware applications. I also wouldn't comment publicly on such things for what should be obvious reasons.

    If that's all true, pretty serious stuff. Should get to the people who will actually do something about it.
    It's true. 2 affiliates have already had charges filed against them for it. One person has pled guilty for selling a cookie stuffing script and is awaiting sentencing. My perference would be for the network to deal with it and there not be law enforcement involved.

  16. #16
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    "Well, it's the merchants and PJN that could do something about it. Maybe that's why I bothered to even list the merchants."

    I've just never recalled GSI merchants being parasite free. One of the ones you mentioned ShopNHL is a GSI merchant and PJ is a GSI company. Would be nice but I would be shocked if they did something with this.

    "It's true. 2 affiliates have already had charges filed against them for it. One person has pled guilty for selling a cookie stuffing script and is awaiting sentencing. My perference would be for the network to deal with it and there not be law enforcement involved. "

    Again, would be nice. But the only time I've seen action from a network with stuff like this is after a lawsuit (like the one against CJ) or them feeling something was coming down from the FTC or something. It's like they go there kicking and screaming and trying to drag things out as long as possible. I'm more a fan of charges, lawsuits, threats of prison terms and such because that's when people take notice. Like the thread we had recently with the ebay cookie stuffing. That perked some people up.

    I have a feeling how this one will go.

  17. #17
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B View Post
    So I started this thread as a PSA to the community and to maybe be able to facilitate some change. Even if PJN doesn't address the issue (although I still hope PJN does the right thing), then others in the affiliate marketing equation would have been better informed.
    Kellie, thanks for the heads up. Many of us find the information you provide invaluable and would like to see it continue. I also don't really care about the amount of the theft, as someone else stated, it's significant enough to make it worthwhile to the thief which means it worth us at least keeping an eye on.

    -rematt
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  18. #18
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I just wanted to update this thread to say that I had, what I considered, a constructive conversation with PJN regarding the contextual adware traffic I've seen. At this time, I am optimistic that positive changes will be observed in this area going forward.

  19. #19
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Awesome news, Kellie! It's in the best interest of the industry as a whole to work on identifying, outing and dumping CPV/PPV activities from networks..

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B View Post
    I just wanted to update this thread to say that I had, what I considered, a constructive conversation with PJN regarding the contextual adware traffic I've seen. At this time, I am optimistic that positive changes will be observed in this area going forward.
    Positive change through education. That's what we like to hear
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  21. #21
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    Cool, PJ is now CPV/PPV free.

  22. #22
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B View Post
    I just wanted to update this thread to say that I had, what I considered, a constructive conversation with PJN regarding the contextual adware traffic I've seen. At this time, I am optimistic that positive changes will be observed in this area going forward.
    Awesome news! Thanks for continuing to fight the good fight.

    At times, it must seem a lot like playing Whac-A-Mole, but I know that if people like you weren't out there whacking them, they would be MUCH more prevalent and pervasive than they are now.
    Michael Coley
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