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  1. #1
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    PriveCo Inc President Tells Affiliates to Cheat.
    Tom, the founder and CEO of Priveco Inc recently took over the company's affiliate program temporarily (Used to be managed by Suluta/Affiliatemanager.com). He sent out a newsletter tonight with 4 points on how to be successful. Point 4 caught my eye and was somewhat disturbing. I sure hope he was kidding.

    4. Cheat - That's right, I'm telling you to take every shortcut you can. Why, because you are an affiliate, you have very little to lose. I would cheat if I could, but I've got a warehouse, 11 employees, three kids, and a building mortgage to pay. I also can't change my domain name overnight. I have to follow the rules. You do not. So use the strategy du jour to create link farms, buy forum links, pay people to write phony reviews. I don't care what you do and no one else does either. Make your money now before Google figures it all out. Then, if you get banned, try something else.

    If this guy is serious he has no business taking over the reigns of an affiliate program. For one thing, once Google catches you cheating, you're as done and you'd be better sticking a fork in yourself.

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  3. #2
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    There's also something called integrity, ethics and the right way of doing business. BTW, the other 3 points in this guys newsletter were actual good points and were serious. So I think this guy might be serious.

    If someone knows this guy and he's known as a joker, please respond here.

  4. #3
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    I received the same email. All I can say is "WOW!"

  5. #4
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    Are you kidding me? In my eyes, it doesn't matter if he was joking or not. One of his affiliates may take him very seriously, that anything goes (no rules). Totally, not acceptable.

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  7. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    I received the same email and OMG I could barely believe what I was reading. Came right to ABW to see if someone else mentioned it.

    I don't know what went down between him & AffiliateManager.com... the email sent out last week makes it sound like they left AM but I hope AM dropped their asses like a hot potato. I would terminate my contract with them if they were my client.
    Trisha Lyn Fawver

    @TrishaLyn | My Managed Merchants

  8. #6
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Wow, this is hard to think someone is giving out this advice, especially when talking about promoting their own company.

    Quote Originally Posted by bibby View Post

    pay people to write phony reviews.
    I guess he hasn't heard that the FTC is not only watching for this but cracking down on it.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

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  10. #7
    ABW Ambassador JudiMoore's Avatar
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    Looks like we all stopped by for the same reason. I think I read it three times before I finally believed what I was seeing.

  11. #8
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I terminated my affiliation with them this morning.

  12. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Hi All,

    As Bibby pointed out, AffiliateManager.com and PriveCo parted ways effective 9/30/2011. I've sent a link of this thread to Tom so that he can respond if he so chooses.

    Thanks,

    ~Mike

  13. #10
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Wow.

    Links removed. Do not want to partner with someone who thinks cheating is acceptable...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  14. #11
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bibby View Post
    4. Cheat - That's right, I'm telling you to take every shortcut you can. Why, because you are an affiliate, you have very little to lose. I would cheat if I could, but I've got a warehouse, 11 employees, three kids, and a building mortgage to pay. I also can't change my domain name overnight. I have to follow the rules. You do not. So use the strategy du jour to create link farms, buy forum links, pay people to write phony reviews. I don't care what you do and no one else does either. Make your money now before Google figures it all out. Then, if you get banned, try something else.
    I can't even begin to express how offensive I find this. This message illustrates how little Tom Nardone knows about affiliate marketing or ethics. Every affiliate in this program needs to send a message; don't just remove their links, respond to this e-mail and explain why you are dropping their program.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon


  15. #12
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    He's serious
    The integrity of an individual is measured by what he does when nobody is looking; Tom specifically told you what he would do if nobody was looking, and exactly what he would do if he got caught after somebody decided to look.

    If you've wandered through life assuming those above you don't look down on you, you're horribly mistaken.

  16. #13
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    He has a dim view of affiliates if he thinks they have "nothing to lose". Some affiliates (eg. retailmenot) have built businesses worth hundreds of millions of dollars - much bigger than his company if they're only doing $5m a year in sales (which is what he claims in that email).
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

  17. #14
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metakong View Post
    The integrity of an individual is measured by what he does when nobody is looking; Tom specifically told you what he would do if nobody was looking, and exactly what he would do if he got caught after somebody decided to look.

    If you've wandered through life assuming those above you don't look down on you, you're horribly mistaken.
    Exactly. It's important in business and as affiliate marketers/merchants/OPMs.

    I'm not saying I'm perfect but I do my best. We're all human. I have a code of ethics that I try to live by and that are consistent.
    To actually take the time and decide to cheat is a horrible approach to business and life.

  18. #15
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I got the same email too.

    Vietnam Veteran 1966-1970 USASA
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  19. #16
    ABW Ambassador
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    I couldn't believe my eyes as I read that email. This overall tone of email was very gruff and agressive. I pitty his 3 kids, 11 employees and bank manager...
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

  20. #17
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    We should risk our sites/businesses because we can & he can't? Oh, we only own "virtual property" & he has the responsibility of a warehouse, employees, kids. All we have to do is start another domain. He doesn't care what his affiliates do...like cookie stuff & steal from other affs? Nobody else cares?

    I'm beyond words.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  21. #18
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    He just responded to my email. I asked if he was serious and he responded with:
    "Pretty much! Stay tuned for more explanation in the next newsletter. " I probably won't get it since I dropped the program this morning.

  22. #19
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    Here is my honest reply.
    Hi, *this is Tom Nardone, the author of the message that everyone is speaking about. *I tried to write the newsletter from my own heart and in my own voice. *It is how I always work. *I'm not much of a bullshit artist. *I just speak my own mind and share my own experience. *I'm actually a pretty likable guy if you know me or even read my entire Emails. *There was quite a bit more to it.

    Here is what prompted this particular newsletter. *Data. *The data are clear, when we look at referring URLs through our programs, all of the top pages and affiliates are doing things to score well in google that I could never do. *They are all cheating. *You can call it SEO, but honestly is creating 100,000 gibberish pages that all link to your URL optimizing? *It is cheating. *So is using 50 twitter accounts, a million forum links, 100 blog accounts, or whatever else we are seeing. *I call it the way I see it. *There is no better word for it. *But cheating works for the largest affiliates.

    So, I covered it in my newsletter. *After all, the purpose of the newsletter is to help all affiliates do better. *I'm supposed to spread the knowledge, to analyze the data I have and share the insights.

    If you don't want to be part of PriveCo's programs, I'm fine with that. *But if you want to work with someone that will tell you the truth, I might just be your guy. *

    One final note... *Haven't the other program managers ever told you what all of the successful affiliates are doing????? *You shouldn't be angry at me because my message is so curt, you should be mad at your other APM's. *They obviously aren't giving you the entire story, because if you could see what we see, the data on who is doing best, the news is clear as day. *The best affiliates are cheating to get better google rank. *
    Last edited by bibby; October 5th, 2011 at 02:57 PM. Reason: Removed due to advertising/recruiting.

  23. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by PriveCo View Post
    *Haven't the other program managers ever told you what all of the successful affiliates are doing????? *You shouldn't be angry at me because my message is so curt, you should be mad at your other APM's. *They obviously aren't giving you the entire story, because if you could see what we see, the data on who is doing best, the news is clear as day. *The best affiliates are cheating to get better google rank. *
    Tom, thanks for telling your side of the story. There are many lesson to be learned here - here's one for you. I am a successful affiliate and I do not resort to any of the tricks/methods that you outlined in your post. I suggest that these characters are your best producers because you haven't tossed them from your program, thus letting honest affiliates do what we do - make lot's of money. My 2 cents...
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

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  25. #21
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    I'll give Tom credit for speaking the truth/spilling the beans.

    Yet, I'm still

  26. #22
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    > You shouldn't be angry at me because my message is so curt, you should be mad at your other APM's.

    Hi Tom. Welcome to ABW, good to have you here posting.

    Not all OPM's, managers or affiliates cheat.

    If you have a great active affilaites and a great OPM/manager working your program and you do not want affiliates to cheat then your OPM/manager will follow that rule and kick them all out. In the long run it is really up to you who joins and promotes your stores and wether you allow anyone to cheat, not really your OPM or manager. But, if you have an ethical OPM or manager they will not allow anyone to cheat and will part ways.

    I've been a successful OPM since 2003 with few programs long term and that is because we do not cheat anyone or allow anyone to cheat, that would include merchants and affiliates. So I am sure if you go back and really work with the ethical manager and ethical affiliates your program will bring long term success for you and you will see that no one needed to cheat.

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  28. #23
    Outsourced Program Manager TrishaLyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PriveCo View Post
    Hi, *this is Tom Nardone, the author of the message that everyone is speaking about. *I tried to write the newsletter from my own heart and in my own voice. *It is how I always work. *I'm not much of a bullshit artist. *I just speak my own mind and share my own experience. *I'm actually a pretty likable guy if you know me or even read my entire Emails. *There was quite a bit more to it.

    Here is what prompted this particular newsletter. *Data. *The data are clear, when we look at referring URLs through our programs, all of the top pages and affiliates are doing things to score well in google that I could never do. *They are all cheating. *You can call it SEO, but honestly is creating 100,000 gibberish pages that all link to your URL optimizing? *It is cheating. *So is using 50 twitter accounts, a million forum links, 100 blog accounts, or whatever else we are seeing. *I call it the way I see it. *There is no better word for it. *But cheating works for the largest affiliates.

    So, I covered it in my newsletter. *After all, the purpose of the newsletter is to help all affiliates do better. *I'm supposed to spread the knowledge, to analyze the data I have and share the insights.

    If you don't want to be part of PriveCo's programs, I'm fine with that. *But if you want to work with someone that will tell you the truth, I might just be your guy. *

    One final note... *Haven't the other program managers ever told you what all of the successful affiliates are doing????? *You shouldn't be angry at me because my message is so curt, you should be mad at your other APM's. *They obviously aren't giving you the entire story, because if you could see what we see, the data on who is doing best, the news is clear as day. *The best affiliates are cheating to get better google rank. *

    My upcoming newsletters will include more honest analysis, so stay tuned or sign up if you haven't. *Bachelorette.com is our best program but if the content isn't to your liking, try OverTheHill.com.
    That doesn't make it right nor excusable to encourage bad behavior.
    Trisha Lyn Fawver

    @TrishaLyn | My Managed Merchants

  29. #24
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    Let's look at this with having a brain in your head angle.

    We all should know Google doesn't like spamming correct? There have been merchants zapped for spamming, this is a fact. Do you think it's wise to be putting this stuff out in public when all one of your competitors has to do or an affiliate is let Google know? I'm sure you have lots of nice free organic traffic and rank nicely for lots of terms. Kind of stupid to jeopardize that right? Kind of stupid to let everybody you're ok with cheating. Now you have it in my head, maybe some sales I deliver to you won't show up where they're supposed to. Who cares right, you don't care if the sites that are delivering those sales get banned, there are always other affiliates willing to risk their business for you?

    You email is just all kinds of stupid. The posts to this point are just touching on some of them.

  30. #25
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I too give you credit for coming her but I believe in the long run cheats get caught and lose their pants. We've seen that time and time again. I believe and you'll see that here at ABW, that there is no place for cheats in affiliate (Affiliates and merchants). It's up to all of us to weed out the cheats (Who also steal from us) and clean up our act. Otherwise we won't be taken seriously as an industry. Those are my two cents.

    I choose not to be part of a program that tolerates and accepts cheating as a normal and acceptable practice in affiliate marketing. I also think it's up to us to inform industry players that once Google catches onto you, you're done, finished, erased with no chance of recovery. They will stick a FORK in you for cheating.

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