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  1. #1
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    Suspicious PPC Activity
    Not too long ago I got an email from from Buy.com via Linkshare that I was in violation of buy.com's PPC policy on trademark bidding. Interesting since I don't do any PPC bidding. I wrote back saying there must be a mistake and please check. I came across the email again today and thought I would investigate. After all, who searches www. buy .com I thought?

    The email stated it was on bing and yahoo so I went on these and did a search for www. buy .com (without the extra space). I saw a few ads on the right from some very popular affiliates (but not mine) so I thought why was I getting the email and not these very popular affiliates.

    So I decided to click on 2 different ones to see where they took me as it seemed odd one of them was bidding as I don't even think buy.com is on their site. What do you know both PPC ads that looked like they were from different affiliates took me to the same landing page on the same website cashsavingexperts.com. It basically asks you to download some toolbar.

    When I go to the homepage of cashsavingexperts.com, I'm redirected to another landing page but this times its on shopathome.com/.

    Now, I'm still very new to AM and what not, but this seems a little suspicious to me. Can someone else confirm this is happening?

    Also, I checked Google and there weren't any ads. Just on Bing and Yahoo.

    Also2, I took screen shots of both bing and yahoo showing this as I imagine if there's a bunch of clicks on their ads they will probably remove them. I don't have video recording capabilities.. maybe someone who does can?
    Last edited by gcarson; January 27th, 2011 at 06:14 PM.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    You can try using Camtasia to record it.

    I believe it is free to use to record your screen shots.

    So when you sent buy.com an email, what did they say?

  3. #3
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    Hi,

    It has come to my attention your ads are showing up on Microsoft under the term ‘www. buy. com’. Buy. com does not allow trademark bidding, can you please remove the bid as soon as possible and place Buy. com on a negative bid?

    I appreciate your help with this and can answer any questions you may have.
    Thank you
    Sent from Betsy Ballentine. I received about a dozen of these for each term / search engine in the past week.
    Last edited by gcarson; January 27th, 2011 at 07:08 PM.

  4. #4
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladidah View Post
    You can try using Camtasia to record it.

    I believe it is free to use to record your screen shots
    Thank you. I recorded it clicking on two different ads.

  5. #5
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    They are ultimately redirecting to a MindSpark toolbar right now instead of ShopAtHome. It was an EWA Private Network affiliate (why am I not surprised???) for MindSpark. SAH has an affiliate program as well, so no dobut that was an affiliate link as well.

    IMO, it should be reported to Bing since they are fraudulent ads. Neither of the 2 ads I saw went to the display URL. Lordy forbid Bing would catch such blantant issues.

  6. #6
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    I ended up contacting Bing. After about an hour of trying to explain to them what was going on, they removed the ad. They were astonished such an ad was approved.

    After doing another search today, I see its popping up for another merchant's trademark on bing. Same few sites being shown in the display URL (mine among a few other affiliates). Any suggestions on how to stop this? Perhaps contact the larger affiliate and let them (and their larger resources and pockets) deal with it?

  7. #7
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    The ads are right back there for buy.com (see attached screen shot). The landing page domain is now coupondazzle.com instead of cashsavingexperts.com. All the ads go to coupondazzle.com promoting the Coupon Alert toolbar, execpt the bottom ad. All the ads are basically the same aside from the display URL.

    Seriously, Bing should be able to catch this kind of stuff easily. If only from the fact that the display URL does not match the destination URL. For them to be able to come back into Bing so quickly under another domain is just ridiculous.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Kellie aka Ms. B; February 3rd, 2011 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Forgot the attachment

  8. #8
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Oh and today it's a NeverBlue affiliate link to CouponAlert. Again, why am I not surprised?

    Seems they have a few other "coupon" domains that they've either used in the past or are waiting to use in the future.

  9. #9
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    Yeah, I also got an email regarding this another merchant. Pretty much if you search 'any large merchant' + coupon you see those ads.

    I spoke with Microsoft ad center for almost 2 hours with 2 different people. I don't think they figured out what I was even talking about. Then, I get a call from them asking if I paid someone to do this as the person was switching redirects from his site to the URL being shown. So I was getting free clicks along with other stores. After speaking to this person twice for almost another hour, he said they would take care of it.

    If you notice, these are not on Google as the display URL must match the landing page URL. Microsoft made some jibberish excuse why they allow it. It made no sense.

    Then, he pretty much told me I needed to trademark my site so I could file a trademark infringement. I explained to him that's not what I need to do. They need to remove the account.

    I know who the account is (They pretty much confirmed it after I said the name). I guess I could just have my lawyer shoot off a letter but I'm trying to avoid the cost.

    Microsoft said it would take a few days to resolve. We'll see. But now that I see that ad up again, they are getting another call.

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    For Pete's sake...if I can track down the click stream from the ads, surely MSN can??

    As far as being redirected to the true sites in the display URL..hmm..maybe MSN should see where it goes coming from somewhere besides an MSN IP addy. Surely MSN can do that?

    Maybe if you give MSN a list of domains owned by these guys, it will help them out. If you want the list I have, let me know and I'll PM you.

    Still the Ad URL seems to be the same domain regardless of the fact that the landing URL's have changes, so MSN really shouldn't be having such a problem with it.

  11. #11
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    I checked the IP of the landing pages. If you look, there are handful of sites on that IP. Track down the one with contact info and you're about 99% certain its the same owner. I said the name to MSN and they pretty much confirmed it was the account without fully saying it.

    Just got off the phone asking why an ad that was removed (the buy.com) last Friday is back up. He said it was escalated to some tier blah blah blah. The person handling it isn't in for a few more hours.

    We will see what happens. MSN actually told me since my name isn't trademarked that anyone can use it as a display URL. I LOL'd at him.

  12. #12
    Full Member gcarson's Avatar
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    I just clicked on some of the ads and now they are going to the site being displayed.

  13. #13
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    They're still going to coupondazzle for me. The power of the php script.

    Yes, it's pretty easy to what company is behind it. From that site:

    By leveraging the traffic from the world's most popular web sites, we have the ability to send massive amounts of traffic to your business.
    ROFLMAO..well yeah..they are doing that..just not in the way most advertisers probably think they mean.

    There's absolutely NO reason/excuse for AdCenter to be handling this the way they are. It's a total fail from their compliance department. Maybe they should spend more time beefing up the AdCenter compliance and less time copying gibberish search terms from Google. Just sayin'.

  14. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Looks like buy/./com brought the hammer down on coupondazzle.com and/or MSN/Bing.

    Only one person, other than the merchant, who is TMB - and it goes to a parked page for a little arbitrage...
    Last edited by Convergence; February 9th, 2011 at 11:18 AM.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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