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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    SAS Merchant Has Toolbar with "Cookie Cleaner"
    Was seeking a karoake aff merchant as one I joined a week ago in another network was unceremoniously discontinued. Googled and found "Sound Choice" with an aff program on SAS. Doing the due diligence thingie, I found they offered a toolbar & checked the page as there was a humongous brouhaha thread on ABW about SAS & their proposed toolbar policy.

    One of the bullet items under What does the Sound Choice toolbar let me do?:

    • Includes a cookie cleaner, a history cleaner, and a cache cleaner

    OMG...a freakin' cookie cleaner? SAS allows this?

    Sound Choice Toolbar :: Sound Choice Karaoke
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoyUnltd View Post
    Was seeking a karoake aff merchant as one I joined a week ago in another network was unceremoniously discontinued. Googled and found "Sound Choice" with an aff program on SAS. Doing the due diligence thingie, I found they offered a toolbar & checked the page as there was a humongous brouhaha thread on ABW about SAS & their proposed toolbar policy.

    One of the bullet items under What does the Sound Choice toolbar let me do?:

    • Includes a cookie cleaner, a history cleaner, and a cache cleaner

    OMG...a freakin' cookie cleaner? SAS allows this?

    Sound Choice Toolbar :: Sound Choice Karaoke
    Don't think SAS ever considered a MERCHANT having a toolbar that was unscrupulous. You should report this to Brian...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Sent SAS/Brian a message.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz


  4. #4
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    Good catch Renée, thanks for letting us know and for contacting Brian.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    That is some merchant site. I like the MySpace banner. No webring??

  6. #6
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    It's done through Conduit. I've complained about it already last year. It cannot be removed. It can be removed from the default installation, but it cannot be removed as an option to be turned on. They would have to ditch Conduit and go with a completely different toolbar.
    Last edited by bobby131313; May 24th, 2011 at 10:06 AM.

  7. #7
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    Just downloaded it, they have it set to be on the bar with each default installation. It needs to be turned off now.
    Last edited by bobby131313; May 24th, 2011 at 10:10 AM.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    That must be some sort a mistake. Honest merchant would not do this. :-)

  9. #9
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Thanks JoyUnltd for the email and pointing it out.

    I took a look at the toolbar, there really isn't much that ShareASale can do in this situation... the toolbar being promoted doesn't have any crossover to the affiliate/merchant/sales process it is just one of the standard Conduit toolbars that are out there.

    The clearing of cookies is an action that any user can take place at anytime if that is important to their own privacy.

    If anyone is uncomfortable with promoting a merchant that has one of these available, it is certainly an option to stop promoting them... however this is a much different issue than affiliates utilizing adware/software to redirect users... very very different.
    Thanks,

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

  10. #10
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    If anyone is uncomfortable with promoting a merchant that has one of these available, it is certainly an option to stop promoting them...
    And affiliates should stop promoting them if they are encouraging affiliate traffic to clear their cookies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    however this is a much different issue than affiliates utilizing adware/software to redirect users... very very different.
    Yep, it is very very different. One is an affiliate toolbar that encourages users to overwrite another affiliate's cookie - the other is a merchant toolbar that encourages the erasure of an affiliate's cookie.

    Both are part of the user's browsing experience and is being done so with the user's permission.

    I get it...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  11. #11
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Convergence,

    I disagree with you here... I am sensing sarcasm so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong there.

    A consumer, taking a deliberate and multi-step process to clear out their browsing history is a completely different thing than an affiliate using a toolbar which very automatically (and often without the knowledge of the consumer) overwrites a cookie with their OWN cookie in an attempt to make money.

    I just don't think there is any comparison to them at all.
    Thanks,

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

  12. #12
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    It will take less than 90 seconds to change the toolbar so that the button is not on the bar by default. One of their affiliates just needs to email them and let them know that.

  13. #13
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    Convergence,

    I disagree with you here... I am sensing sarcasm so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong there.

    A consumer, taking a deliberate and multi-step process to clear out their browsing history is a completely different thing than an affiliate using a toolbar which very automatically (and often without the knowledge of the consumer) overwrites a cookie with their OWN cookie in an attempt to make money.

    I just don't think there is any comparison to them at all.
    Sarcasm intended. I'll admit it - I'm still sore from your flip-flopping of allowing toolbars. Your network, your super affiliate.

    Yes, they are different - I acknowledged that. The similarity that exists is an affiliate has the greatest opportunity to get screwed by yet another toolbar allowed by a merchant.

    There are plenty of ethical merchants; merchants who do understand the importance of their affiliates that affiliate's can choose to promote. Affiliate's just need to do their share of due diligence before jumping into bed with a merchant...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  14. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby131313 View Post
    It's done through Conduit. I've complained about it already last year. It cannot be removed. It can be removed from the default installation, but it cannot be removed as an option to be turned on. They would have to ditch Conduit and go with a completely different toolbar.
    Quote Originally Posted by bobby131313 View Post
    It will take less than 90 seconds to change the toolbar so that the button is not on the bar by default. One of their affiliates just needs to email them and let them know that.
    Did anyone listen?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  15. #15
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    Nope.

    As I said, it can be removed from the toolbar by the toolbar owner. However it can still be added back by the end user. It's not a very obvious operation to add it back though.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    ... the toolbar being promoted doesn't have any crossover to the affiliate/merchant/sales process it is just one of the standard Conduit toolbars that are out there.
    Brian, thank you for your response. My concern was that in the list of bulleted items about the toolbar's features, the merchant chose to iinclude:
    • Includes a cookie cleaner, a history cleaner, and a cache cleaner

    This is a "prompt" for the user, actions to take that your average (read: most) users don't even think about, know or understand. However, as you say, affiliates have the choice to not promote such merchants.

    In your email to me, you stated:
    There are a lot of toolbars that are out there that are nothing more than glorified bookmarks really, and this is something more along those lines.
    Since you find this toolbar to be innocuous, does this mean that affiliates can use the Conduit toolbar & not have it vetted first by SAS?
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

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  18. #17
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I guess I ought to make one and put it on my sites too.

    Got to keep up with the competition.
    Last edited by BurgerBoy; June 1st, 2011 at 08:00 AM.

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  19. #18
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Groupon also has toolbars at Conduit.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
    ABW Forum Rules - Advertise At ABW

  20. #19
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    Groupon also has toolbars at Conduit.
    I'm not so sure that's true. They built an app that can be added to Conduit toolbars, but I don't think they have a toolbar.

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  22. #20
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I saw it at Conduit but maybe it was an app and not a toolbar.

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  23. #21
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I took another look and its an app.

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  24. #22
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Sarcasm intended. I'll admit it - I'm still sore from your flip-flopping of allowing toolbars. Your network, your super affiliate.

    Yes, they are different - I acknowledged that. The similarity that exists is an affiliate has the greatest opportunity to get screwed by yet another toolbar allowed by a merchant.

    There are plenty of ethical merchants; merchants who do understand the importance of their affiliates that affiliate's can choose to promote. Affiliate's just need to do their share of due diligence before jumping into bed with a merchant...
    Convergence,

    I don't know what you are referring to with regards to flip-flopping. We simply attempted to have a discussion about all of the important points... I thought it was time to have everyone discuss the issues involved - and what was really important (protecting affiliate traffic). It was an open discussion, with all opinions welcome and carefully considered. Unfortunately, that discussion didn't turn out to have any real positive outcome but I think it ended up far from being a flip-flop. We believe very strongly in our level of protection for affiliates... a level that has been consistent for 10+ years.


    Quote Originally Posted by JoyUnltd View Post
    Brian, thank you for your response. My concern was that in the list of bulleted items about the toolbar's features, the merchant chose to iinclude:
    • Includes a cookie cleaner, a history cleaner, and a cache cleaner

    This is a "prompt" for the user, actions to take that your average (read: most) users don't even think about, know or understand. However, as you say, affiliates have the choice to not promote such merchants.

    Since you find this toolbar to be innocuous, does this mean that affiliates can use the Conduit toolbar & not have it vetted first by SAS?
    JoyUnltd,

    I was trying to help you with regards to a very specific decision on whether or not to promote the Merchant. You asked me a question about the Merchant's toolbar they were offering, and I tried to give you an opinion on how harmful it might be. Personally, I do not believe that their offering of a Conduit toolbar will have any noticeable effect on conversion. That is my opinion. Obviously, the end decision is in your hands and you should definitely follow your own gut on this one.

    In the future, I think it more appropriate to have email discussions remain on email. When any member of ABW sends me an email, I think it is important that I consider those communications to be private and not post them in any of my responses ... I definitely would appreciate the same consideration. Otherwise, it makes it very difficult for me to help you with specific issues that you are asking about - if those answers are then used as general answers for a larger topic.



    Bottom line: This Merchant having a toolbar, while possibly misguided, has a far less effect on an Affiliate than an Affiliate having a toolbar which promotes multiple Merchants. In this situation, it is very easy to resolve for each individual Affiliate - as they can simply opt out.

    Affiliates aren't able to opt-out of an Affiliate using a toolbar because in order to do so they would have to opt-out of every single Merchant program that was being promoted in the toolbar.

    This is a very important distinction in my opinion.
    Thanks,

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

  25. #23
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    Convergence,

    I don't know what you are referring to with regards to flip-flopping. We simply attempted to have a discussion about all of the important points... I thought it was time to have everyone discuss the issues involved - and what was really important (protecting affiliate traffic). It was an open discussion, with all opinions welcome and carefully considered. Unfortunately, that discussion didn't turn out to have any real positive outcome but I think it ended up far from being a flip-flop. We believe very strongly in our level of protection for affiliates... a level that has been consistent for 10+ years.
    Attempted. No real positive outcome.

    Exactly. Once was a no toolbar policy. Then an affiliate was caught with a toolbar during that no toolbar policy.

    Flip = no toolbars. Flop = An affiliate is allowed by SAS to have a toolbar.

    No policy for affiliate's to review.
    http://www.abestweb.com/forums/1007096-post355.html

    I personally want to trust SAS but toolbar related incidences keep rearing their head and I feel they are being sugar-coated and/or side-stepped.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Sidestep lyrics
    Fellow Texans, I am proudly standing here to humbly see.
    I assure you, and I mean it- Now, who says I don't speak out as plain as day?
    And, fellow Texans, I'm for progress and the flag- long may it fly.
    I'm a poor boy, come to greatness. So, it follows that I cannot tell a lie.

    Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don't-
    I've come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,
    cut a little swathe and lead the people on.

    Now my good friends, it behooves me to be solemn and declare,
    I'm for goodness and for profit and for living clean and saying daily prayer.
    And now, my good friends, you can sleep nights, I'll continue to stand tall.
    You can trust me, for I promise, I shall keep a watchful eye upon ya'll...

    Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don't-
    I've come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,
    cut a little swathe and lead the people on.
    Want to trust, SAS - really I do...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  26. #24
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale View Post
    In the future, I think it more appropriate to have email discussions remain on email. When any member of ABW sends me an email, I think it is important that I consider those communications to be private and not post them in any of my responses ... I definitely would appreciate the same consideration. Otherwise, it makes it very difficult for me to help you with specific issues that you are asking about - if those answers are then used as general answers for a larger topic.

    { snip }

    Affiliates aren't able to opt-out of an Affiliate using a toolbar because in order to do so they would have to opt-out of every single Merchant program that was being promoted in the toolbar.
    My deep apologies for my faux pas. I treated your email as a network communication when it wasn't, but that's no excuse.

    You answered my other question nonetheless & I appreciate that. At any rate, all the rest is a matter for another thread & certainly not specific to SAS.
    Last edited by JoyUnltd; June 1st, 2011 at 08:24 PM.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  27. #25
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I think Brian gave a clear response on this merchant. You have a choice, to not work with the merchant and to not work with the network. If you stand on a no toolbar policy regardless of flavors of toolbars then stand on that principle and take your business elsewhere.

    IMHO I feel that networks like Shareasale and AvantLink are as ethical as possible. This is not an all or nothing industry and changes happen. We used to have Haiko and Kellie vet merchants but that doesn't happen any more.

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