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  1. #1
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Contextual Adware (PPV) Activity Discussion
    Lachlan email sent.

    I hope we'll hear a response from PJN as well. I know Steven Denton, now at the helm of PJN, is aware of this type of affiliate behavior in general. Hopefully the correct network stance will be taken.

  2. #2
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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.
    That might actually need it's own thread. I have a Hayneedle merchant at PJ that was converting great, the Christmas Tree one and then just kind of stopped. And it probably has absolutely nothing to do with this thread, probably some other type of problem.

  3. #3
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    Could be other causes for the low conversions. But at least 3 PJN affiliates are targeting the Christmas Tree site with contextual adware and that certainly doesn't help the conversions.

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    Right but probably has nothing to do with his problem or mine. From reading, it seems he was never getting conversions. I was and then it kind of stopped. Lot of other possibilities out there.

    Also, I'm sure they just didn't start the PPV stuff in the last week or 2, when I first started noticing the problem. Or do you know what dates those 3 started? Also, I don't believe most people even have this on their computer for it to be the kind of affect you can actually notice.

    Checking my own site, I noticed some out stocks. I noticed the add to cart didn't function correctly all the time, I had to refresh it sometimes to get it in there. Could be all kinds of other reasons.

    "I'm sending 300+ clicks a day, and many days seeing no sales at all"

    For sake of argument, let's assume 10% off your site visitors have some sort of adware (that's probably being generous.) That means 270+ clicks are going thru clean and you're not getting sales. So has to be another reason.
    Last edited by Trust; December 1st, 2010 at 12:04 AM.

  5. #5
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    Right but probably has nothing to do with his problem or mine. From reading, it seems he was never getting conversions. I was and then it kind of stopped. Lot of other possibilities out there..
    I can't just blow this stuff off as some other problem. When you see the attacks on your own site -- multiple attacks -- you realize quickly that it is the problem. Besides, if Networks were doing their jobs, it wouldn't even be in the equation.
    Last edited by leeann; December 1st, 2010 at 12:55 AM.
    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.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    I can't just blow this stuff off as some other problem. When you see the attacks on your own site -- multiple attacks -- you realize quickly that it is the problem. Besides, if Networks were doing their jobs, it wouldn't even be in the equation.
    ? What are you talking about? Did you read my last post? People have to have this stuff on their computer to affect you. Also, I want to point out one the merchants mentioned above in the first post, I'm doing perfectly fine with. That's why I thought it should have it's own thread. Merchants have tracking issues or other problems sometimes. I want to know the real reason, not just scream parasite.

    Just take my example:

    "For sake of argument, let's assume 10% off your site visitors have some sort of adware (that's probably being generous.) That means 270+ clicks are going thru clean and you're not getting sales. So has to be another reason."

    Why isn't that clean traffic converting? Because there might be a real problem.

    I'm also curious as to what you think, Kellie, Ben, with what we're talking about right now, PPV and the merchants in question. Give me a ballpark of what percentage of computers you think are infected that would have an affect in what we're talking about. I'm thinking single digits and probably low single digits.
    Last edited by Trust; December 1st, 2010 at 01:09 AM.

  7. #7
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Obviously I don't know the answer, but I know my own computer was infected w/Linksador and I didn't even catch it until last week. My friends download crap all the time. We may understand adware (or for me-- kinda understand...) but kids on parent's computers, people who don't care about adware..etc.. I believe it adds up to more than 10% of people surfing the net. Sometimes all you have to do is open an email and you are infected and don't know it. Sorry Trust, I don't usually disagree w/ you but I do this time. Not to be insulting, but I think if you said this 3 years ago, I might agree, but not these days.
    Last edited by leeann; December 1st, 2010 at 01:39 AM.
    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.

  8. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    "I'm sending 300+ clicks a day, and many days seeing no sales at all"

    For sake of argument, let's assume 10% off your site visitors have some sort of adware (that's probably being generous.) That means 270+ clicks are going thru clean and you're not getting sales. So has to be another reason.
    I've been doing some detailed comparisons between similar merchants in a few different niches, including some Hayneedle stores, and what I have seen is that with a very similar competitor that has about the same number of similar stores, comparing the same products, Hayneedle stores price the same products at an average of 20% higher. Visitors comparing prices have no reason to buy from Hayneedle. Hayneedle's commission rates are also consistently lower.

    Higher prices, less conversions, adware, and lower commissions. Lots of reasons to stay away from them.
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  9. #9
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    While this is yet again a thread being derailed discussing whether or not adware is really a problem or just ignored (seems to happen increasingly frequently whenever I try to share information here) I'll answer a couple of points brought up.

    I'm also curious as to what you think, Kellie, Ben, with what we're talking about right now, PPV and the merchants in question. Give me a ballpark of what percentage of computers you think are infected that would have an affect in what we're talking about. I'm thinking single digits and probably low single digits.
    A recent report (September 2010) by Symantec reports that 55% of US users have experienced viruses/malware. Globally, the number was slightly lower at 51%.

    When DirectCPV first launched, John Chow did a case study (page is now gone from his site but is still available through Google cache). He was running only one campaign and reported:

    In only a few hours, the campaign was capped and I had received 37,269 unique views to my landing page.
    DirectCPV had just launched and certainly had a smaller installation base (directly and through syndication of their ad inventory) than more established contextual adware companies like LeadImpact, MediaTraffic and TrafficVance. And it was a RON campaign (not targeted). Yet they were still able to deliver that amount of traffic in that time frame which reflects the extent of their ad distribution capabilities in their early stages.

    DirectCPV reports 115 employees. MediaTraffic reports 51-200. Even if those numbers are inflated, a company doesn't support that number employees without being able to sell the ad inventory (very cheap ad inventory at that) and being able to display those ads (they don't get paid unless they show the site -- PPV).

    Nor are some of these companies paying out amounts from $.75 to over $2.00 per install unless they are being able to average more than that in profits while installed on the end users computer. Keep in mind that you can buy PPV traffic as little as .01/view. It's very cheap traffic compared to other types of promotion.

    I would be interested is seeing something to back up the claim of lower single digits.

    Also, I'm sure they just didn't start the PPV stuff in the last week or 2, when I first started noticing the problem. Or do you know what dates those 3 started?
    What I have personally observed myself consistently over the years is that there is seasonal contextual adware targeting of seasonal merchants. For example, during holidays like Valentines and Mothers Day I see an increase in contextual adware activity for flower merchants (usually the same flower merchants year in and year out). During October, I saw increased activity for costume merchants. I began looking at those merchants during September very little activity at all. Beginning around the second week in October, I saw increased activity. In November, it dropped off again. For a market that is based on contextual targeting, I'm not sure why you would be so sure that there aren't seasonal peaks.

    Also, I don't believe most people even have this on their computer for it to be the kind of affect you can actually notice.
    There have been instances where I have worked closely with affiliates where it was able to be determined a dramatic drop in conversions was indeed tied directly to an adware campaign. As soon as the offending account was removed from the equation, conversions returned to normal levels.

    Of course, there have been times I've seen affiliates claim parasites were the cause of a non-performing site and I strongly doubted it was the cause based on the information provided, like attributing it to an application that no longer existed.

    But I also strongly disagree that it can be dismissed out-of-hand as well as a noncontributing factor.

    I would strongly suggest that you do start a second thread. I'm not sure why you haven't done so. Like most things in life, there may well be multiple contributing factors. But this thread wasn't supposed to really be about one specific merchant.

  10. #10
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    "While this is yet again a thread being derailed discussing whether or not adware is really a problem or just ignored (seems to happen increasingly frequently whenever I try to share information here) I'll answer a couple of points brought up."

    You should have told the guy when he first brought it up to start a new thread. It seems you didn't even try to ask him any questions at all (unless it was private) and just went straight to parasites. Didn't touch on the stuff I brought up or AffiliateHound, which is probably closer to the real reason. Out of stocks, cart problems, their prices being more than their competitors. Those are all real reasons a merchant might have low conversions. It's like none of the more reasonable ones were considered. Let's just scream parasite again.

    And then you're posting numbers that really don't mean much to me and then stuff from companies that have a financial interest in this. Products or services that deal with it.

    "A recent report (September 2010) by Symantec reports that 55% of US users have experienced viruses/malware."

    Right, I've experienced it. Just not currently, my computer is clean. If I went to a random 100 houses in my neighborhood, how many would have the specific adware that would affect conversions for the merchant this guy is having a problem with? We both know there are different things out there being included in those numbers, most of them having nothing to do with affecting somebody's affiliates sales.

    "But I also strongly disagree that it can be dismissed out-of-hand as well as a noncontributing factor."

    I haven't. It's like any parasite out there. I don't like it, it's stupid for merchants to have them, it's a factor. But not a factor that would shut down conversions because it would have to be on everybody's computer for that to be a case. It's a problem but an overhyped one. This kind of things leads to some people like waytogo literally believing that are affiliates out there affected 100% by this stuff and that's nonsense. The reality is I've had a coupon site for over 8 years now. Have the smallest, cleanest mom and pops to the biggest, most infested merchants. I still get great conversions for many of those merchants. I know some would like to believe and have others believe that you can't do anything with those merchants, but that's been a continuing lie all these years. And some of these that keep spurring that on are competing merchants, competing networks, somebody that a product to sell to deal with it.

    And to use an example, just because I talked about this merchant yesterday, Buy.com. I was converting at over 20% with them, prior to all those leaks they added in 2006. Infested like hell. Big installation base. Still had great conversions. It's a factor, not a shut down factor.

    So with my specific case. I was getting great conversions. Then magically in the last week, 100% of my site visitors had the PPV on their computer that would affect my conversions? Nonsense. I'm trying to find out the real reason to what's happening.

    And from reading it seems it's the LoudMo Contextual Ad Assistant that's the adware with this stuff? So the percentage I want to know is how many have that specific adware on their computer.

    We'll just disagree on this one. You can think and have Lachlan thinking it's more this PPV stuff, I'm thinking it's probably more what I posted about and what Affiliatehould touched on. There are a vast number of reasons that would contribute to low conversions.
    Last edited by Trust; December 1st, 2010 at 04:02 PM.

  11. #11
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    nm...pointless
    Last edited by Kellie aka Ms. B; December 1st, 2010 at 05:46 PM.

  12. #12
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    Harassed? Oh brother. It's called discussion. I probably agree with you 95%+ of the time, sometimes we disagree. Don't take it so personally. My simple point was this person is having conversion problems with a merchant. And it probably has nothing to do with this. If you believe it does, so be it. We'll just agree to disagree on this one.

    As far as the other thing you referenced. I only asked you why didn't you help them out like you used too. There was a thread with people talking about Ebates, misinformation and I saw you reading it, thought you would handle it. I come back a few days later and you didn't, I found that odd. You were usually the first too, that's how I and many others learned back in the day. And that info, is on your site as well, it's not secret.

    Like I said, I think these are 2 different issues. If Lachlan wants the thread split, I'll split it and we can try to find the real reasons for his conversion problems.
    Last edited by Trust; December 1st, 2010 at 05:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    "Trust, If you are an affiliate marketer it is in your best interests to support this movement, not pointlessly throw dirt at people who are trying to keep the industry honest and make it a better place for everyone"

    You probably should do a little more reading. I've actually had a visit to my home getting threatened by an investigator hired by one of these companies for speaking out against this stuff and another incident I never mentioned here. And I'm sure Kellie has had a heap more. I've been talking about this issue for 8+ years now, so I know a little something about it. You're missing the whole message of my post.

    There are lots of factors that will contribute to low conversions. This PPV stuff is indeed one of them. So are the higher prices Affiliatehound mentioned. So are the out of stocks and cart issues I mentioned here. But the PPV stuff, while being one factor is not a shut down factor. That's it. If you want to think this is the reason you're having an issues and just stop there, ok. But I'm also having an issue with one of those Hayneedle merchants and hopefully I can find out the real reason.
    Last edited by Trust; December 1st, 2010 at 06:03 PM.

  14. #14
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    "However, I did get the feeling you were downplaying the Adware/parasite argument and looking to other factors? Was I wrong about that?"

    I think sometimes people go there first without examining other potential problems. We've had people over the years complain (as an example) My earnings are down 90% and then people would come in screaming parasite. I came in and asked questions. How is your traffic? My Google traffic is down 90%. Well there you go, that's the reason. That kind of thing.

    With this, I don't think it has the kind of reach to shut it down. Kellie even said it had a small installation base - "DirectCPV had just launched and certainly had a smaller installation base"

    "And then the final straw, video recorded evidence of Adware showing a cookie being stuffed by a Pepperjam affiliate buying PPV traffic. "

    And there are probably videos from back in the day of Buy.com getting stuffed left and right and I still converted at over 20%. Like I said, I have coupon site for over 8 years now with merchants infested to the gill, big installation bases and I still converted fine. Obviously if they were parasite free, the conversions would be even better. But I've never see a shut down parasite out there because they would have to be on every computer for that to happen. I doubt all your site visitors have Loudmo on their computer. And some of the merchants mentioned in post 1 made by Kellie, one of them I'm doing great with, the other pretty decent. So with what you're experiencing who knows.

    You haven't even specifically mentioned the merchant. Is it hayneedle period or more one of their specific merchants, there's lots of them, I lost count. Over the years it's always been advised people do this (and I understand why some don't want to) because there are probably other affiliates here with the same merchant and you can compare notes. What if there are other affiliates here with the same merchant but they're converting fine? Now what? Just your site visitors have Loudmo and their site visitors don't? That wouldn't make sense. Maybe you ask and everybody is having issues. Then there is a real problem. So I ask questions because I like to try to find real answers.
    Last edited by Trust; December 1st, 2010 at 06:42 PM.

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    John didn't mention the exact, you didn't either, I mentioned Christmas Trees Galore. Now that you did. I was actually happy I found a Christmas tree merchant that was converting. I was over 10% conversions, it was my best one. Then it just stopped in the last week.

    So that's why I think it has nothing to do with this. For it to be this, then all my site visitors and yours have this adware? That would be ridiculous. And I base that on history.

  16. #16
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    "why can't you just be supportive?"

    Again, I like real answers and I'm not going to play around with silliness. If you guys want to go into waytogo territory and think 100% of your sales are affected by parasites, you can go on that trip yourselves. It really is ridiculous if you're thinking all your site visitors have Loudmo on their computers.

  17. #17
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    And I don't think anybody has said that they believe every site visitor has a parasite, I certainly never did, I said my PJN Hayneedle merchant was under-performing
    I haven't seen anyone say that either. It's certainly not what you indicated to me in your email.

    I never said I thought it could be the only reason for lower conversions either. What I said was:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B View Post
    Could be other causes for the low conversions. But at least 3 PJN affiliates are targeting the Christmas Tree site with contextual adware and that certainly doesn't help the conversions.
    I also never said what contextual adware network I was seeing things on with regard to PJN affiliates. There's about 6 of them that can possibly show up on one particular system I test on. I never said it was Loudmo (I wouldn't have said Loudmo anyway....that's the name of the PPI not the PPV).

    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.
    Your network is barely on the radar in overall prevalence. And thank-you for what you do to keep traffic to your merchants legitimate.

  18. #18
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    "A recent report (September 2010) by Symantec reports that 55% of US users have experienced viruses/malware. Globally, the number was slightly lower at 51%."

    Not to belabor a point but I had something written down but forgot to post it (just cleaning up my text document). Something I was thinking about and reading a thread from 2002, that Leader touched upon also -

    "Third, most of these scumwares has been instealled to closed 250 million computers. What are the odss that your users are coming from clean ones?

    Leader's response
    High, since UNinstall is also something people do..."

    scumware/thiefware/parasiteware - Cost to you? - ABestWeb Affiliate Marketing Forum

    Goes back to the first quote about how many people have experienced malware/viruses. If we did a poll here alone, probably close to 100% have experienced it, I have many times. And I got rid of it. Uninstall. We bring up installation numbers all day long but never uninstall numbers. I'm going to take a guess and say it's probably pretty high as well since one of the first things people try to do when they get something they don't want on their computer, is get rid of it.

  19. #19
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    "A recent report (September 2010) by Symantec reports that 55% of US users have experienced viruses/malware."

    I think half the people don't know they have Malware on their computer. They are happy getting free smileys for their myspace profile even if it comes with a toolbar which they have no idea how it operates.

  20. #20
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    How about this then Malware worldwide grows 15 percent in September | Security - CNET News Not quite as recent, but from last year. Disclaimer: Also from a security company who may proft...but then that's who would have the data.

    US 58.25%

    The study found that in the U.S., Trojans and Adware were the two most pernicious types of malware


    The company based its results on data taken from users who scanned their PCs with the free Panda ActiveScan online tool. The results for September were gathered from August 28 to September 28 and compared with the results from July 28 to August 27.
    That jives pretty much with the numbers from Symentac. Here it was data from scans performed during a fixed period of time; computers which were or were not infected during a one month period.

  21. #21
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    "The company based its results on data taken from users who scanned their PCs with the free Panda ActiveScan online tool"

    Right. And when do people go and use free online scanners? You know the only time I've used them in the past? When I've picked up something and trying to get rid of it. Past threads on that. Whenever somebody here has picked up something, one of the first things people recommend is try those free online scanners out. So I would expect a pretty high percentage.

    But I'm most interested in what percentage of people coming to our sites have something on their computer that would actually affect our sales. I understand that's pretty much impossible to come up with.

    Since you mentioned Panda ActiveScan and just for kicks, I was running the free online scanner out to see what it would pick up, because I know my computer is clean. It found 4 threats. Tracking cookies. Those aren't threats, those are just tracking cookies. I wonder if those are being counted in the numbers as well.

    Even in that thread I linked too, back when we talked about Morpheus all day long, something that actually had a pretty big installation, I think. From Dynamoo:

    "Maybe 1% of my visitors have the Morpheus BHO installed.. BUT in the organisation I work for I'd guess that around 10% have Gator.. it's difficult to be accurate, but Gator in particular seems to have significant market penetration."

    I had Gator before, I removed it.
    Last edited by Trust; December 3rd, 2010 at 09:20 PM.

  22. #22
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    Did you even READ it? Seriouisly..did you?

    It said MALWARE...not threats..not cookies. Then there was a nice little pie chart breaking down all the things they called MALWARE. Tracking cookies wasn't one of those. I haven't seen a reputable security company classify cookies as malware in....god don't know when. They are called what Panada called them for you...tracking cookies.

    How about this. I'll make you happy and things easy for you. I'll even get it out to all the major security companies. They'll be relieved and overjoyed, especially the researchers.

    Hello world...malware is a myth. How do we know this? The latest most sophisticated detection measures have been utilized to assess whether or not malware is really infecting computers or not. Everyone can rest easier now because it's been PROVEN to be a complete and total non-issue!!!

    How do we know this for a certain fact? What high tech methodology was employed to arrive at this startling, yet comforting, conclusion?

    Trust's computer is clean! The most recent references he has for any malware is from more than 8 years ago. And those are applications that have been out of existance for years! It may seem a bit egocentric, but that doesn't matter at all. What is important is that there is no malware. There is no one making money from malware and adware. Life is good. Kumbaya.

    (Thread has already been thoroughly trashed, so I'm just in it for the entertainment value now. )

  23. #23
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    No need to get all upset all the time. I didn't say malware was a myth anywhere. You didn't even touch the point about uninstalls. And that was a very valid point I brought up with those stats. People generally scan when they think they've picked up something. Obviously, that's going to affect the stats. And the reality, if you go back and read that thread, I had the same experience as Leader and Mousejockey etc. I've had merchants with adware in the program, had stats on it. They came here, got educated, got clean, didn't really notice much of a difference. See that 1% infestation of Morpheus. Reason why I brought that up. If something like that, which you very well know had a big installation base is running in single digits, how much do you think something with, what you said, a small installation base is going to have?

    I'm sure they're on lots of computers, they make lots of money. My only point is this. I don't think there's an adware out there that has the kind of reach where you could actually notice it in your stats. You can disagree, that's fine. Like I said, we can just agree to disagree on this one.

    Side note, this guy got banned for whatever reason, so he's not even here anymore to participate.
    Last edited by Trust; December 3rd, 2010 at 10:06 PM.

  24. #24
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Trust what about the PPV that is popping on Google results and the visitors are not even making it to your site in the first place. There is no way they can count that stuff.

  25. #25
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    There's always been stuff popping on top of Google results. If it's not one adware, it's another. Networks aren't going to do anything about it. My belief is and from what I've seen is when people get this, they try to get rid of it. I don't anybody who knowingly wants this type of stuff or likes it. We could do a poll here and ask how many people have adware on their computer. I doubt anybody does and if there are some, low single digits. Adware and all kinds of crap have been around since pretty much the beginning. You fight it the best you can and keep truckin.

    "There is no way they can count that stuff."

    Right but what you can do, what I mentioned, poll. Or go find a forum where non-affiliate type people are, start a poll there. Or do what i do, whenever I visit somebody else's house, I do the ole, I like to see how my site looks on your computer, deal. I click links and see what happens. Not seeing it. Even here at ABW, we used to have, Help my computer has adware, help me get it off threads all the time. Some threads from myself. When's the last time you saw one of those threads? Technology is getting better. I see green and red marks on the serps now from programs on my computer. You can simply go to YouTube and watch a step by step video on how to remove just about anything. People who have been in this business for awhile now are getting smarter. The current and upcoming generations, people raised with computers/internet in the home and school are getting more savvy and most like clean computers.
    Last edited by Trust; December 4th, 2010 at 12:49 AM.

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