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  1. #1
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    We have been doing "pseudo affiliate" research on CJ and others for the past few years. We are investigating whether or not the companies that do business on CJ (and others) are being honest when they accept/reject the leads which are sent to them. Our past research can be viewed at the following link:

    http://www.imccal.com/marketing_affi...hant_fraud.htm

    Last year we found out that on average merchants were approving only 28% of the leads we sent them. But bear in mind, 100% of the leads we sent them were valid.

    This year we repeated the study. In deference to some comments made last year, we decided to inform CJ of our results, in the belief that CJ would like to know that their merchants were acting in a dishonest manner. No sonner did we inform CJ of our study, then CJ booted us off their network and refused to pay us the money we had accumulated.

    Hence the law suit. We will keep you posted.

    PS - while we were investigating the honesty (or lack of it) by CJ merchants, we found out that CJ was violating their own privacy rules and also violating state and federal laws with regard to the use of confidential information in financial services. We informed CJ of their abuse of privacy laws, however, we have not heard back from them as to whether or not they repaired this grevious error. Stay tuned on this one.

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Small wonder why I have never pushed "lead" merchants on any network. I have had nothing but problems with them just making up their minds which leads will make it thru the gauntlet and get paid. So many were just spamm list generators and selling off privacy info. I have eBay and Lending Tree and American express. They all seem legit as high profile merchants.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    quote:
    More than 20 different merchants were involved in this study, including 1-800-Flowers, Countrywide Credit, Coryl Rudl, etc. More than 50% of the tests were done in the mortgage industry, and it is these results which are reproduced below.

    What about the non mortgage industry results?

    ----
    -J
    When you're down It's a long way up
    When you're up It's a long way down

  4. #4
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    When did you file the lawsuit?


    I can forgive the technical glitches (ie server down) when CJ and others are doing their best to fix them.

    But not the intentional stuff, when merchants can and do reverse transactions according to their whims and caprices.


    Do it right and you're doing us all a favor. Honest merchants can also benefit from this.

    Just don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

  5. #5
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    quote:
    What about the non mortgage industry results?


    This was asked about the last results as well, and never replied to. The way his study is worded, if you just gave it a brief look, you would think 800-Flowers was included in the 28% stat.

    Not a well written study nor seemingly done in a scientific manner and does not take into a wide range of issues - but that was all dragged up before. The mortgage industry is not like selling a $5 watch, not everyone accepts everyone and not always for the same reason.

    Also is there a reason none of your sites work? Or have cool messages like this one:
    http://www.occondos.com/ ?

    Something is just not right.

    Chet

  6. #6
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    Thanks Chet. I thought this sounded familiar...

  7. #7
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    Gee, how in the world do you test multiple mortgage companines? Multiple people?

    It would seem that if a lawsuit was filed (which I have doubts and question the motives here) that it would be a tough situation to prove.

    I would anticipate that the companies would come with some excuse orbiting around the idea that the leads were invalid because they were tests and they somehow could detect they were tests.

    While technically not true, do you expect to convince a juge or jury?

  8. #8
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    quote:
    I would anticipate that the companies would come with some excuse orbiting around the idea that the leads were invalid because they were tests and they somehow could detect they were tests.

    invalid transactions?
    probably yes when it comes to paying the commissions,
    but no when it comes to proving misdeeds.

    if you're putting real people in the applications and every information is correct, and the application is subsequently approved because of the validity of those information, then the transaction is valid as far as determining whether a transaction did happen or not.

    I think this is the very reason why some affiliate programs ban their affiliates from buying themselves using their link - because only the affiliate can prove misdeeds. and if the affiliates attempt to do that and cry foul, they're violating the merchant TOS. wise guys these merchants, eh?


    for now, i'd like to hear more from these alleged lawsuit-filers and see what comes out.
    they may be bluffing, or their motives may be suspect, but this is interesting stuff.

  9. #9
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    Here are the answers to some of your questions...

    The law suit was filed on May 2, 2003. It is scheduled to go to trial in July. I will keep you posted.

    The 28% results refers to the mortgage industry only. We did have results from 1-800 flowers and the other companies mentioned but they were based on too few trials to justifiably publish the results.

    The applications from the clients were screened so that they met the criteria listed on the websites. For example, if Ameriquest doesn't accept applications from North Carolina or Georgia, we didn't send them any applications from North Carolina or Georgia. In this way each company got the types of applications they were looking for.

    Obviously such research is not without its problems. For example, we may send an application to a company and they may have already received an application from that person from a separate source, so they disallow that application because it is a "duplicate". Our research in the financials services area indicates that approximately 10% to 15% of the people who complete applications do so at multiple sites, so it is theoretically possible that an additional 10% to 15% of the applications were rejected for legitimate reasons. However, for this to happen, the company receiving our application must have also received the duplicate application, which is unlikely.

  10. #10
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    imccal.com

    These people have like 10 people a day to their main page (check the tracker bottom right - if they don't remove it after this post)

    Nevermind that. Their website design is so primitive (and they want to teach you too ).

    These people are in with:

    affiliateforce.com
    casinoaffiliateforce.com
    affiliateforce2003.com
    etc.

    They want you to take some cruises with them to teach you a few things about the business.

    globaltravel.com is in with them and helps out by taking your money for these trips.

    iafma.org is with them to help you realize that CJ merchants are ripping you off, and that their own partners will treat you right.

    Sure, I know that there are CJ merchants that aren't the most ethical people to partner with...Does that mean I then book a cruise so I can learn how to promote casino merchants?

    Good luck on the lawsuit.

    [ Removed hyperlinks to "BS" companies / orgs ]

    [This message was edited by Haiko on May 04, 2003 at 09:24 PM.]

  11. #11
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    In reply to Kelly626 -

    Your anger is misdirected. We have no formal ties with any of the casino affiliate programs nor with the affiliate force people nor the global travel people, except to say that I did speak at the affiliate force 2002 and affiliate force 2003 cruises, and will speak at the 2004 cruise if I am invited.

    As far as the website is concerned, almost all of our business is by personal referral and we don't use the web to recruit new clients nor do we submit to search engines for our own website.

    Our intention is not to solicit you for a cruise, although obviously you could use one. We simply wanted to share our experience with CJ with other people in the affiliate marketing arena in the hopes that this might help someone who was wondering where their profits were going.

  12. #12
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    I'm not in the least bit angry at you guys...merely amusement.

    The forum allows this blatant spam on your part for the enjoyment and amusement of its readers.

    Why not just set up a forum here for your program...rather than just give us a chuckle about your lawsuit?

  13. #13
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    kelly626, you are very misinformed - their website imccal.com got a whopping 180 people to it last month. Clearly this and their design show the level of professional involved.

    Of course they do not need a professional website, or people actually visiting their website, or any of the websites they are involved with - they only deal with online commerce - what does that have to do with websites?

    And I am sure their owning of http://www.pickyourlenders.com would no way influence any reportings or have anything to do with this study. As they clearly state in their "scientific" study, they own a mortgage leads company... oops my bad. They don't mention that anywhere. *COUGH*

    To quote their very popular Occondos site -
    quote:
    hax0rs lab @ Brazil .. haxlab@mail.com - For more info about this: www.hl9517.kit.net/haxors.htm .. cya


    Chet

  14. #14
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    quote:
    PS - while we were investigating the honesty (or lack of it) by CJ merchants, we found out that CJ was violating their own privacy rules and also violating state and federal laws with regard to the use of confidential information in financial services. We informed CJ of their abuse of privacy laws, however, we have not heard back from them as to whether or not they repaired this grevious error. Stay tuned on this one.



    DrJ,

    I think you brought this up during the cruise- regarding the sharing of customer data among certain 3rd parties ???

    What ruling/law were you referencing??

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Get a free two-week trial use code ABWEB at RevTrends.com

  15. #15
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    quote:
    pickyourlenders.com
    If you're getting ripped off so much . . . and you only had, what was it, 180 visitors last month . . . can you explain the following . . .
    quote:
    Some of our affiliates earn $15,000 a month and more.


    Brian
    aka Cyclone

    Get while the getting's good

  16. #16
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Gee ... I've noticed a "shoot-load" of anti CJ crapola from the iafma members and booze-cruise participants ... I wonder why?

    How much did Herby owe them [CJ] again? I think it was over 10K!
    Lauren's ticket was paid for by Kowabunga ... what is that about?
    ... and now this?

    All I say is HMMMM!

    ============
    kelly626,

    BINGO!

    Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli


  17. #17
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    quote:
    Originally posted by DrJ:
    The law suit was filed on May 2, 2003. It is scheduled to go to trial in July. I will keep you posted.

    Where did you file the lawsuit? And who are the lawyers representing you?

    While you have mentioned the research leading to the lawsuit, you have not touched on the mechanics of the lawsuit itself.

    What exactly are you trying to prove, what specific evidence do you have, and what outcome would you like to come out of this lawsuit if you win?

  18. #18
    I like traffic lights
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    Be aware that iCAfma.org (mentioned above) is holding a casino affiliate meeting in Toronto.

    On the agenda:

    " Predatory Advertising: A Major Threat to Affiliates?

    Ask anyone what the latest hot topic in affiliate marketing is and the answer will most likely be "predatory advertising". The prevalent use of "scumware" or "adware" by operators and/or fellow affiliates is now a major problem and certainly rocking the affiliate marketing boat. In fact, there are some that predict it will cause the demise of the revenue sharing business model as we know it.

    Technological progress or outright theft? Innovative advertising techniques or unethical behavior? This panel will look into the can of worms and attempt to sort out the good from the bad in a marketing practice that is fast becoming a major threat to affiliates."

    Who do they have running this workshop?

    Glenn Fishback, Senior Director of Sales, Gator Corporation.

    Needless to say, many affiliates cancelled their plans when this was revealed.

    Jimmy James Inc. fan club membership # 3312

  19. #19
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    quote:
    I've noticed a "shoot-load" of anti CJ crapola from the iafma members and booze-cruise participants ... I wonder why?
    I can attest to hi-test . . .
    quote:
    Who do they have running this workshop?

    Glenn Fishback, Senior Director of Sales, Gator Corporation.

    Needless to say, many affiliates cancelled their plans when this was revealed.
    That woulda been a perfect op to drown the rats~!

    Brian
    aka Cyclone

    Get while the getting's good

  20. #20
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong ... I blast them for hours on the phone at least once a week ... but I see a specific pattern here and that is what I don't like. Truth will out, horsehockey is made!

    Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli


  21. #21
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    FYI - the original research was initiated a few years ago. We were working for a mortgage company that belonged to CJ and they couldn't understand how some of their competitors could advertise such comparatively high payouts. We adopted the pseudo affiliate research study to investigate, because the charge back stats on CJ did not make sense in relationship to the merchants advertised fees. We found out that the reason these companies could offer such high payouts was that they didn't payout. We found that while there was a high positive correlation between CJ's charge back stats and our own figures, CJ greatly understated the real figures. We reported the results to the mortgage company and, with the names changed, published the findings on our website.

    This year in January - February we repeated the study. We did it this year because we planned to start our own affiliate program and we wanted to see whether or not it would be advantageous to use the CJ network or develop our own. If this under-reporting of valid leads problem had been resolved since our previous research, we planned to use the CJ network because it was more convenient. If the problem persisted or was worse, we would develop our own network.

    Thus, contrary to some erroneous speculations, our goal in publishing this research was not

    .....To get people to join affiliate force (which isn't a bad thing to do, by the way)
    .....To get people to become affiliates in the casino business
    ·....To get more business for the cruise industry, or
    ·....To promote our own affiliate program (which didn't exist at the time)

    Rather than spending your time commenting on our website, our traffic, and other superfluous material, I would think that someone interested in affiliate marketing would be more concerned with the implications of this research for affiliates. Instead you are lost in ad hominen attacks and diversions of questionable benefit.

    Here are some issues you should be concerned with

    .....If CJ is violating privacy laws, are you as an affiliate liable for any actions against CJ and/or the merchants who participate in this violation.
    .....If CJ merchants are under-reporting valid leads in these studies, how can you (as an affiliate) check to be sure they are not doing this to you?
    .....Why would CJ be so reluctant to examine verifiable data that shows that their merchants are under-reporting valid leads?

    Just to clarify a few more issues raised on this board....

    .....The leads for the "pseudo affiliate" research described here had nothing to do with our imccal website and nothing to do with the affiliate programs we managed. This data was separately purchased from reliable sources and then re-analyzed in a parser prior to being sent out.
    ..... The specific legislation I referred to can be viewed at

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/...safeguards.htm

    The specific violations which CJ committed were to allow us, as an affiliate, to be able to access personal information about the person who applied for the loan, without the person themselves or the mortgage companies being aware of this form of access.

    I trust that this additional information is useful to you.

  22. #22
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    quote:


    The pseudo affiliate method is a technique borrowed from the medical field where "pseudo patients" are used to test the quality of services. Basically it is a variant of the "secret shopper" technique. We adapted this technique to evaluate affiliate programs. Over the course of nearly 2 years, more than 300 tests were made by submitting valid applications to affiliate programs and then determining whether or not the affiliate program registered the application or purchase and whether or not they paid the agreed upon commission, and how quickly they paid. More than 20 different merchants were involved in this study, including 1-800-Flowers, Countrywide Credit, Coryl Rudl, etc. More than 50% of the tests were done in the mortgage industry, and it is these results which are reproduced below.


    Based on your own above explanation of what you did...i am not suprised at all that they kicked you out....justified in my book as well.

    Thanks,

    -Brian Littleton
    -Owner/Operator Shareasale.com
    brian@shareasale.com

  23. #23
    Schlaumeier cumbrowski's Avatar
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    Brian is right.

    I think, that the research method used was incorrect for affiliate marketing and I am not surprised, that they were kicked by CJ.

    The procedure used was the "pseudo patients" method.

    Well, I believe, that you can not adopt this method to the Affiliate Marketing Business.

    The method is used for clinical studies and NOT for business studies. The dynamics of the two are very different.

    A correct study (in my opinion) would be to find volunteers who are really looking for a loan and to send them to the lender through an affiliate link. It should be stated in the agreement, that the research results will be made public and that the revenue (commission) generated will be used to cover the cost for the study. Financial Statements MUST be made available to prove, that the procedure was done for SCIENTIFIC purposes only.

    That's something I would read more closely.

    We run a per Lead Program, so I can provide some more insights into that.

    Per-Lead-Programs have a hard time, when it comes to fraud, false leads, pay-to-read-emails and sign-up to get money affiliates.

    Fraud protection is essential for those kind of affiliate programs. You pay a lot of money for non existing "leads", if you don't do so.

    Here are some of the Pattern, that raise the Flag for Merchants with lead programs.
    (there are more, but those cover the majority of them).

    - Multiple Leads from the same IP
    (excluding distorsion by proxy servers)
    - Lead Similarities
    (such as similar Email Address, Name, Address etc.)
    - Click to Lead Ratio
    (unusual conversion ratio, which is far beyond the average)

    I am pretty sure, that imccal.com's technique raised some flags.

    Just my 2 cents

    Carsten

    If you can't move things, try harder!

  24. #24
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    That didn't hit me at first, that means adding up the numbers, the study comitted fraud to the tune of $1933.

    Or did you return the commissions paid? Following your own timeline of when you notified CJ, I highly doubt that. They should counter sue you for fraud.

    Chet

  25. #25
    Full Member styleforfree's Avatar
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    Haiko,
    you hit the nail on the head. And how many days after the cruise came home did this lawsuit result? Don't think it was long enough to sober up though

    With my best,

    Liz
    http://Styleforfree.com

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