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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I know it's come up quite a bit in the past that 247malls is stealing commissions, but it doesn't seem like anything's been done about it. I just checked their site and it's still popping each merchant site in a new window. It's basically another form of cookie stuffing that must be extremely annoying to the shopper visiting that site. I'm just wondering why nothing's been done about this. They're still supporting a great deal of big ticket Linkshare merchants and they're still stuffing cookies. How can they continue to do this??

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  2. #2
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    Whether or not a pop-up is a violation of TOS is fairly up to each persons own judgement as is the fact that it might be annoying to a visitor as you state. As these items are more subjective, most merchants do not disallow pop-ups and many have their own pop-ups throughout their site (not all of course).

    As to cookie stealing, that is probably pushing it from what you say they are doing. Pop-ups are not cookie stealing, but an acceptable form of advertising that has been made "ugly" by those who might be considered to "overuse" this method...Again, this is subjective and does not make all pop-ups "evil".

    To further eleborate on the pop-up issue and to minimize its potential impact is that fact that the growing majority of users have pop-up blockers anyhow and as they are free by every company under the sun and now part of Windows XP's service pack 2 and all new PC's now shipping with it. The bottom line is that pop-ups are being rendered almost completely ineffective by advertisers, good or bad, across the board, which is why the impact is minimal even if a merchant did take a stance against it in their TOS. Pop-ups are not necessarily cookie stuffing and are far from definitive whne it comes to being taboo in merchants TOS's.

    Why don't you take this issue directly to the merchant involved, or find out if it is a violation of their TOS and then do so? Honestly, "outing" any fellow affiliate for this is groundless and only creates a further distrust amonst affiliates here and market wide.

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    That particular behavior IS a Network COC violation for CJ under their newest COC. I verified with Todd after it came out for clarification. CJ stance is that they are notifying individual affiliates if it is occurring and allowing them to rectify the behavior. So it would depend if it is happening with CJ merchants to be a clear cut TOS violation. If CJ Merchants are involved, then you can file a complaint through the AAQ interface. Todd has posted here more than once that their new forced click policy will be enforced.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I just feel that affiliates shouldn't be using sites like this as an example. From a merchant, affiliate and consumer point of view, it's a little underhanded. Even though there are popup blockers, some still do load the page into memory before it's blocked which will still set the cookie. My point is that even though something does make you an extra buck or two, it's not always good to do it. This sort of manipulation really offers nothing to anybody but the affiliate. Affiliates should be thinking about the consumers and start offering consumer based features that keep them happy and returning.

    This sort of behavior just gives us affiliates a bad name. The fact that this continues to go on month after month by the same offenders goes to show that affiliates aren't controlled as well as they should be.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  5. #5
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    Popups themselves are not the issue.

    The issue at hand is the "forced click" if a cookie is set which will overwrite another affiliate cookie and generate commissions for the "forced clicker" even if the shopper decides leave the "forced clicks" site to return directly to a merchant's site after having been referred by a different affiliate.

    [B and Snib got their posts in before me, thus the redundant comments.]

  6. #6
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    AH i think i understand what you mean

    so when you go to the site.. and click on DELL on the LEFt.. not only does it take the surfer to the DELL page in their site with all dell offers and coupons but it POPS up a window which is Dell site on top.. basically loading the cookie up.. so even if they decide not to use 247malls.com site and click through any of their links on their internal dell page.. and they go elsewhere they still have been cookied..

    what a smart idea.. I dont think this is wrong at all.. shucks we need every way we can to make it in this biz..

    Now i can see it being wrong if the person clicked on their HOMEPAGE link and suddenly tons of popus loadsed for all the merchants they were promoting came up..

    but the fact the consumer/surfer has stayed on the page and clicked on a sub link like DELL.. means you have won them over enough to stay on the site and browse.. that makes them your customer.. and also they are having an interest in an area in your site.. so.. i think its ok... sorry if that annoys anyone.. and matter of FACT.. my popup blocker stopped their popups before they came up. so i had to allow to even see that they had popups..

    The whole challenge as an AFFILIATE is to get them to click on the link.. if that link is on a dell sub page or wether its the MENU link it dont matter.. as long as the popups dont come up when they enter the homepage i dont see a problem.....

    In fact.. i will say this.. if the guy picked 247 site over mine in the engines.. He has the right to have first shot at the customer...


    I used to work in car sales and it was always a fight to get the next person who walked in the lot..

    in the end i saw it like this.. if the person see both of us standing their and they walk up to me.. i have first shot.. if they walk up to my co-worker he has fair shot.. something has won them over...

    ppc ad? maybe

    title page description? maybe

    whoever lands in my site.. is mine intill they leave.... so in regards to mr 247malls i have no beef with the brother in fact i wish him all the success he can get..

    It tough to make a living in this biz.. and all you need is other affiliate winging and complaining..

    like get on with it..

    have a beer thats my 2 cents

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well said my Canadian neighbor. One problem is it's a total violation of the new CoC banning any and all forms of forced cookie setting clicks.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  8. #8
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    I'm a little confused. How is that a forced clicked if the end user clicked? I'm reading the COC and it says:

    "Non End-User Initiated Events. Publishers may not use invisible methods to generate non End-User initiated impressions, clicks, or transactions. All click ("Click") events must be initiated by an affirmative End-User action."

    I think in the past people posted they were loading up cookies invisibly without a click or loading up the merchants site without a click, but going to the site the only windows i see popping are after an end user click. Unless they're loading something up invisibly or without a click? But opening the merchant site in a new window after an end user click is not forcing cookies. That's target="_blank" right? I see that option when you go to get links, you can check a box where they put that in for you.

  9. #9
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Trusty,

    Todd clarified here http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...7507#136107507 and it was the same thing he told me via phone. That whole thread was about the practice described by Snib in this thread.

    It is a non End User click because the end user is clicking on a menu link to navigate within the affiliate's site, not on the actual link that calls the affiliate tracking code. The COC is saying invisible method, that is the method to generate a click, impression or transaction not necessarily the end result (ie visible browser or not to the Merchant).

    I can't give an example URL for 247Malls because of the way their site is coded. But I just navigated to the "Office Ink and Toner" page which lists all their ink merchants. From that page I clicked graphic for "Coupons and Deals" for 123inkjets. I want to see what coupons/specials this merchant has. I'm taken to a page on 247Malls that lists all the coupon codes for 123inkjets. It is this Merchant specific page that that generates a forced click by serving a visable pop up to the merchant's site invoking tracking. I never clicked on an affiliate link, so the method is invisible even though the pop to the merchant was visable.

    It's not the same thing as the target=blank coding provided with CJ links in their interface.

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Just wanted to add that CJ said very emphatically that the new forced click policy was going to be enforced. The new COC came out in the first half of August. It's now October. 247malls is a site that should be on CJ's radar for many other behaviors. Yet forced clicks on their site for at least one CJ merchant is happening. Where is the enforcement?

  11. #11
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Where is the enforcement?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    first, the issue goes into and out of committee. then to the legal department. like LS, the channels are serially many and possibly slow. (my opine)

    _____
    Mongo only a pawn in the game of life. --Blazing Saddles

  12. #12
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> The whole challenge as an AFFILIATE is to get them to click on the link.. if that link is on a dell sub page or wether its the MENU link it dont matter.. as long as the popups dont come up when they enter the homepage i dont see a problem..... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    "when they enter from the homepage", sure. This is not fundamentally any different than a direct "click here for Dell" link. BUT.....these popups load from the internal page, not from the nav link on the home page. When somebody arrives at one of these internal pages through an SE listing, the cookie is dropped. If you referred that shopper to Dell, set your cookie, and the shopper did a little "look around at a few more" and decided to "screw this, I'll just go right back to Dell" after arriving at the poppin' fresh cookies page, then YOU lose a commission that BELONGS TO YOU as a result of YOUR REFERRAL.

  13. #13
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    If a user clicks a link that has a merchants name in it then why is it wrong to open the site in a new window?

    I could understand your concern if you click on a WOMENS APPAREL link and get a MACY'S popup...but if you click on a MACY'S link, the affiliate has the right to serve that page however they like.

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    247Malls is a netorious SE spammer and devised way to force cookie stuffing from those spammy links and trademark violations. They also drive traffic to set forced cookies via 180Solutions and jump on trademarks with the 3rd world PPCSE's.

    This cookie stuffer makes his money via forced clicks from his SE landing pages popping a cookie on the visitor the moment they arrive. In the past the set multiple cookies from competing merchants to cover the most likely palce the guy/gal might shop.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  15. #15
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> if you click on a MACY'S link <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Is that Macy's link which is clicked on coded to go to another page on the affiliate's site or to Macy's?

    If it is coded to go to another page on the affiliate's site, and *that* pages automatically opens the Merchant's site in a new browser window or not and that Merchant is with CJ, BF, or PFX then the affiliate is in violation of the COC. If it happens with a LS Merchant, I am less clear on the interpretation of the Return Benefit Day Policy (as Macy's is a LS Merchant).

    In whatever case, it is still a forced click because the end user did not physically click on the link which lead to the Merchant. That's what a forced click is...a click generated by any other means then a physical click by the end user.

  16. #16
    Full Member dak142's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> It is a non End User click because the end user is clicking on a menu link to navigate within the affiliate's site, not on the actual link that calls the affiliate tracking code. The COC is saying invisible method, that is the method to generate a click, impression or transaction not necessarily the end result (ie visible browser or not to the Merchant).
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Just a thought, but what if the link in question went directly to the merchant as it should with the proper tracking in place. Then produced a pop under of the 247malls page the click came from. That would mean the only "invisible" page opening would be one from their own site.... Would that be legal?

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    This is a deceptive practice. Popping up the merchant's site automagically and setting a cookie when the link indicates it's going to another page on the affiliate site is not being honest.

    Unless the link text says "Click here to go to (merchant's) site", there is trickery involved.

    I do wonder why 247 has been allowed to continue with this practice, there's certainly been enough red flags in the past to warrant CJ compliance taking a look at them.

    Andy

  18. #18
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    The point here is that pop-ups are not to be confused with forced clicks in and of themselves.

    There is a fine line between what one person consider acceptable and another does, this does not necessarily make it wrong. I am not condone underhanded behavior but I also want to be clear that just because you don't like pop-ups or pop-unders does not make them any violation of TOS, or COC.

  19. #19
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Survey Man you are correct that pops (ups or unders) are not violations in and of themselves. It's what is contained in the pops which is important.

    With what Snib described and is happening on 247Malls site, it is a violation of the COC for CJ, BF and PFX under their revised COC which came out in August. It is a forced click. I am a bit more unclear with LS's Return Day Benefit Policy, if this behavior is allowed or not with the wording of the policy.

    Now if 247malls was serving up an ad for the Merchant in those pops that the end user still had to physically click on to invoke the affiliate tracking and go to the Merchants site, then there would be no COC violation under CJ, BF or PFX.

    The fact is (no matter if folks do condone or not this particular behavior) it is a violation of CJ, BF and PFX's COC since the beginning of August. I know for at least CJ there was a link in to the new COC under Announcements when you logged into the CJ Account Manager.

  20. #20
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    February of 2004 I asked Sarah at Linkshare specifically about this.

    I said:

    "Go to this page on this site and click on any of the merchant names. You will be taken to a page where they list the deals, if any. Let the page set for a second and make sure that your pop up blocker is turned off (if you have one). After a couple seconds a new window straight to the merchant site will pop up without any interaction from you and of course a cookie will be set."

    Sarah's reply:

    "As described the action would be violative of our membership agreement, and we will take action if, based on our investigation, we confirm that any LinkShare Merchants are
    affected by this."


    So unless LinkShare changed their policy on this, it is not allowed.
    ~Michelle
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    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

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