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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    As if we didn't know, but I figured I'd post the link since it shows that this is being covered in the media.

    Full Article
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  2. #2
    Full Member dak142's Avatar
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    It's such a shame....

    I hope to see someone deserving for the 4th quarter get it.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador cditty's Avatar
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    I'm hoping they find someone deserving for the 3rd quarter. As someone else said, there are laws involved in holding contests. They should continue down the list until they find a clean affiliate.

    I am happy that they did what they did, but I think that was only meant to appease us until next quarter.

    Chris
    Recycled Talent - Architects of custom scripts and snippets, perfectly written to suit any need. We stay on top of the latest technology so you don't have to.
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  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    While donating the $15,000 to the American Cancer Society is a good act and a brilliant PR move, it still doesn't relieve Linkshare's obligation to award the prize to an affiliate. In effect, they've taken $15,000 that belongs to some honest affiliate somewhere and given it to charity. That's not much different than what the cookie stuffers are doing.

    More than anything, I think this points out just how lousy of a job Linkshare's compliance team is doing. They had a very small number of affiliates to look at. It should have been very simple to determine if their was fraudulent activity going on. They missed it.

    While it's somewhat embarrassing that Kellie also missed it, there are several extenuating factors: 1) Linkshare had access to extra information that Kellie didn't and this information should have been a blatent red flag, 2) Edealsetc.com was stuffing only part of the time, and 3) EdealsEtc.com appears to do quite a bit of legitimate business as well, so it's easy to assume the best when nothing obvious comes up.

    Linkshare needs to drastically improve their compliance checking. They have extra information on their end that they should be using to provide leads to their complaince team. They should be regularly checking affiliates who have large jumps in clicks and/or sales. Then they should ACT on what they find.

    Linkshare should also follow through on their commitment to award the $15,000 prize to the affiliate who is the true winner. If the winner wants to give the prize to charity, that's fine. But it's not Linkshare's decision to make.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    Affiliates not getting paid by Linkshare? What's new.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Haiko...thanks for sharing the article. Glad to see Linkshare is getting some folks outside of ABW reading about this and hope it puts the heat on Linkshare to work harder to fix the problem.

    Michael...Excellent Post!!!! I agree with everything you said. My father was diagnosed with stomach cancer this week and as much as I believe people should donate to the American Cancer Society, I think LS did wrong in doing it this way. As I posted elsewhere, the contest should not be changed in mid stream. The next affiliate should have gotten it. LS should change the rules for the next quarters receipent, not the current one. This shows poor business practices on their part and further puts a shadow over their real commitment to us, the real money makers for them. This was a Public Relations move to save face, plain and simple!
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  7. #7
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> This was a Public Relations move to save face <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Save face by promoting an incentive award and then not awarding it to anybody who qualified for it?

  8. #8
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Haiko- Thanks for the link, nice article.

    Coley- Nice post.

    Linkshare- Good intentions, and I hope you are able to smooth out your compliance testing. I think that the difficulty you are having, however, is proof beyond doubt that the networks need to clean house, once and for all, just drill down from the top and boot these guys out of your systems. The award itself gives affiliates information that we do not normally have access to: a network is pointing out a specific site and saying, "This guy is making thousands of dollars in commissions every month." So, affiliates can look at the site and see the injustice of it all if the site is not using acceptable marketing ethics.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  9. #9
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    7-days & MichaelColey, yep yep yep.

    What is more amazing, edealsetc.com is still in the linkshare program. Here is a site which purposefully cheated to win a contest, but now that they were caught - hey, no hard feelings, keep using our network because you are above the law, while we cannot give you the award - wink wink wink here is some bonus publicity - lets make sure we don't lose you, because you are the kind of affiliate we want to keep at Linkshare. You know, the cheating type.

    I can't help but now re-read linkshares promotions, with their whole excited to see what affiliates think of crap... It is now almost as if Steven is pushing affiliates to think of new ways of cheating. "Can't wait to see what ways you can figure to cheat merchants and other affiliates - and we won't be able to catch you! Keep up the good cheating!"

    I think this whole event speaks volumes to what a "small minded" company linkshare is, and how little they care about their mass of affiliates they are always bragging about. Any other company, a real company, run like a real company, edealsetc.com would be gone and steven would be following them out the door. But since non-cheating affiliates don't count, both are staying.

    I had always thought linkshare was a real company, guess not, in essence it seems to be a one man show. Or as a whole, linkshare really just doesn't care about smaller affiliates.

    Chet

  10. #10
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    Link Share cheats affiliates out of money. They have been doing this for some time. Do affiliates have any rights with them? I have had first hand experience where I buy 5 items and then my company gets credited for 4. When you call and dispute they say they have to investigate and no one ever gets back to you.

  11. #11
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    Now we know how far Linkshare will go to get us paid or solve a problem. They try twice, and if that doesn't work they quit.

  12. #12
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I've given this alot thought before posting my opinion ...

    Don was a GREAT man and God knows it's a good cause but I'm bloody pissed at the course of events here, and rest his soul, I think Don would be also!

    The award was designed to reward the best affiliate marketers and it screams 'fix the industry' because 'honest and ethical' tactics had to be screened for with the candidates.

    Both the 'candidates' and 'winers' utilize their unethical tactics not only on Linkshare, but on ALL the networks so even though it appears that it's Linkshare who has the 'black eye' it, in actuality, is the honest affiliates and merchants who are really affected by all of this.

    Todd posted in another thread that CJ was 'aware' of the activities of these affiliates but yet they still are active??? CJ is aware but still allows them to abuse the honest affiliates? WTF is that? LS, it looks like, had no idea of the activities ... so which is worse? Well they are both bad respectively but I'd have to say knowing and not doing anything about it is definitely worse. Now EdealsEtc is still a Linkshare affiliate, so they [Linkshare] are just doing what the others [CJ] does, slap the offender on the hand and look away.

    The industry is F'ed, plain and simple! The fiduciary responsibility owed to the honest affiliates is gone and the networks aren't 'trusted third parties' anymore! As a result, more and more *True* merchants are responding by moving their programs in house to protect the honest affiliates as well as protecting their own generic traffic that is intercepted by some of these "super affiliates" ... the networks allow this because they get a cut of the action.

    The award should go to an honest affiliate and I don't care how many affiliates Linkshare has to cull to find one, they have to do it! Don would have wanted it done that way!

    Find and reward a worthy affiliate ... and you'll find the cure, not to 'cancer', but to affiliate marketing's cancer.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by 7-days:
    Haiko...thanks for sharing the article. Glad to see Linkshare is getting some folks outside of ABW reading about this and hope it puts the heat on Linkshare to work harder to fix the problem.

    Michael...Excellent Post!!!! I agree with everything you said. My father was diagnosed with stomach cancer this week and as much as I believe people should donate to the American Cancer Society, I think LS did wrong in doing it this way. As I posted elsewhere, the contest should not be changed in mid stream. The next affiliate should have gotten it. LS should change the rules for the next quarters receipent, not the current one. This shows poor business practices on their part and further puts a shadow over their real commitment to us, the real money makers for them. This was a Public Relations move to save face, plain and simple! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Ron, I'm sorry to hear about your father, I wish him the best.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Haiko:
    Todd posted in another thread that CJ was 'aware' of the activities of these affiliates but yet they still are active??? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Last time I looked Edealsetc.com is still active on LS and CJ, not to mention ABW!!!

  15. #15
    Internet Cowboy
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> As of now, EdealsEtc.com is still a member of the LinkShare network. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This makes Linkshare as bad or maybe even worse that CJ. This guy was in pure violation, busted cold with no doubt, and he is still there.

    This is really the sad part. It all goes back to money indeed. Linkshare can care less if this guy is out of compliance. He is making them money, CJ is the same way.

    We get these network people on here from LS and CJ saying that they are working on testing and implimenting new testing procedures, meanwhile the offenders are running rampant.

    The ONLY way that this will stop is if the networks kick these people out immediately...ZERO TOLERANCE. But both of them have said they issue warnings and give the perp a chance to clean up their act. This is a Bullsh*t procedure that is geared ONLY toward the network not losing money.

    I agree Haiko, this industry is indeed F'ed and it is the networks who started it that have F'ed it due to their greed and stupidity, mostly greed.

    As this happens, SAS gets larger and larger and larger! I wonder if they will be next to join the likes of CJ and LS or if they will stay clean and eventually drive CJ and LS out. I would like to see that.


  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    I cannot believe LS has done nothing with these affiliates and they are still on the network.

    I think it is a shame that a company as old, pioneer and as big as LS has not taken a stronger stance on this and removed these affiliates, or is it that pressure from other merchants that are doing good with these affiliates and don't want LS to get rid of them, of course.

    As I said before in another post just like Haiko says here, there is no way that LS could not have given this award to the next person on the list, even if you have to go through 100 affiliates to find the honest one. It can be done.

    There is no way that third party networks cannot tell when they all of a sudden start seeing certain affiliates increasing their commissions and not verify their site and see what tricks they are doing and stop them in their tracks.

    I am sure many, many Affiliate Managers verify all the time and if one AM can go through hundreds of affiliates looking for the honest ones why can third party networks not be able to the same when they have "Teams", is it just that profits are better and looking the other way is the norm.

    As many Affiliate Managers do, I am sure, not many of them are promoting or advice their companies to go with LS or others that do not seem to care. As a consultant, how can I offer advice to merchants calling as to why they should not work with LS. I have not seen any improvements and continue to see BIG mistakes over and over.

    In a previous AM position, I was told many times that we should go with LS or CJ because we were promised millions of affiliates, I refused as to there were current problems at that time with LS, the only one I suggested as an alternative was CJ and that was with an IF.

    I am glad I stood my ground and probably what landed me where I am today, but seeing that things have not improved or gotten worse, perhaps my superiors at the time, believe me now.

    I know many honest merchants are on LS and Chris - WSO is what keeps us their supporting these merchants, but the only ones I can honestly work with and support from now on is those under Chris.

    As of today, as an affiliate it leaves me no choice but to remove links that are not managed under Chris, Linda, Andy or other OPMs here and as a consultant no choice than to completely recommend other alternatives.

    LS, I would be glad to to work with you one day and merchants that call but when? The ball is in your court.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    Well, at least I got my first quote as an 'affiliate marketer' in that article.

    Really though, I agree that it is amazing what this entire fiasco says about our industry.

    I can honestly say that I want to make the 'big bucks' without stealing commisions. It's a personal thing for me. I actually said to a couple of friends lately that I don't mind a bit when I see an 'honest' affiliate ahead of me in the SERPS. This just tells me that I have something to learn about SEO (and heaven knows I have A LOT to learn).

    I have thrown data feeds at the search engines and will openly admit that one but every sale I have ever got on any of my sites has been by a visitor intentionally, and knowingly, CLICKING A LINK to the merchant.

    My sites have lost a ton of traffic and also a lot of sales (even more than the traffic justifies) since November of last year. If that's because you beat me out on the SERPS fairly, and are getting the sales, Congratulations! If it's because someone is stealing commisions or 'tricking' the search engines, I agree with Haiko, I hope they toss them all out until they find someone working hard to make a buck. Heck, maybe there will only be three or four folks left to compete for the top spots
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

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  18. #18
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I hope they toss them all out until they find someone working hard to make a buck. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I have thrown data feeds at the search engines and will openly admit that one <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Careful what you wish for!!!

    IMO The ideal is to HONESTLY make megabucks--but without that "working hard" part.

    Properly done sites should be like well-oiled machines, that operate in an above-board fashion and make money without needing an undue amount of energy to accomplish it. I believe that the honest way doesn't have to be the hardest way, even though it may seem harder at the beginning.

    Being a crook, that's what would be harder. To be handed a $15000 check and then have it be taken back, now THAT would be hard!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Leader said ...

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Properly done sites should be like well-oiled machines, that operate in an above-board fashion and make money without needing an undue amount of energy to accomplish it. I believe that the honest way doesn't have to be the hardest way, even though it may seem harder at the beginning. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well put and I couldn't agree more. As for what that eventually looks like, well ...


  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Being a crook, that's what would be harder. To be handed a $15000 check and then have it be taken back, now THAT would be hard!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That is what seperates the crooks apart. For most average folk, the shame would be the worst part.

  21. #21
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    I'd love to have well oiled site that make money without much work.

    Not that case for me. I work really hard on my sites to get the sales, unless I have missed something here.

  22. #22
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I don't get "The networks keep these crooks because they make them money"

    Edeals has the same exact coupons as every other affiliate - the only difference between their site and a million others is the color scheme.

    So if someone was searching for "Free stuff at Overstock" and edeals was gone, doesn't it stand to resason that another affiliate would get the sale and the network would still get their money??

    I can't picture anyone having an Overstock coupon on their site if they're not an affiliate???

    So why keep these affiliates in the network?

  23. #23
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    Billy,
    Its all about auto-setting of commisionable cookies. In that case both the Network and the affiliate get paid on commissions they, normally should not get. Especially a Network like Linkshare likes this more than ever.....
    Merchants are paying Linkshare a fee on every sale, so to Linkshare the more cookies set the better And as long the merchant doesnt know this Linkshare is pulling in $$$$$$.
    2% of 50 Billion in estimated E-commerce sales.

    Mr. Messer earlier this year said this:
    I am wildly impressed by some of the new ways our partners are adding value while selling the goods of our LinkShare merchants. I hope to share with you all some additional (non confidential) intelligence on what others are doing to drive their revenue up so quickly, but right now the leader for the titanium award is not someone whom you would have expected. In fact, its a really interesting site that does some amazing value add (new to me).
    Sound he knows whats going on, and likes it...
    Companies like 180 Solutions still have drive by downloads of N-Case, and nothing gets done.

    Peter

  24. #24
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Mokum

    Oh!! That's a horse of a different color! That's more than "unethical" - that's criminal!

    In that case all we need is ONE merchant to sue a cookie stuffing affiliate and that should nip it in the bud!

    And one merchant to sue a network of course.

    Actually, if a BUNCH of deep-pocket merchants start suing networks to recoup losses, bet the problem goes away rather quickly.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    It is time for merchants to step forward and speak out against what LS is doing. I've received over a dozen emails from LS merchants lately who are very unhappy with all this. The problem is they don't want to stir up bad press for their company by joining our postings here at ABW. I understand that, but hope they all read Andy Newlin's posts from Sierra Trading Post. It shows how an honest, caring affiliate manager can come forward, present a case and let us affiliates provide constructive criticism and suggestions. If more AM's would do what Andy is doing, it would really put the pressure on LS and show us they are truly concerned.

    I think we all need to take initiative ourselves and every time we get a New Merchant email from LS, we contact that merchant and direct them to the various posts here about the way LS is poorly handling all this. These new merchants have put out a lot of money to join the LS program and I'm sure they will be very concerned over LS’s business tactics (or allowed affiliate tactics) while they wait for their first sales to come in.

    What does everyone else think about this approach? I don’t mean to stir up trouble, but from the measly responses we have been getting from LS about all this it is showing just how little they care about it and us. We need to be proactive and get merchants involved early in their relationship with LS and us. Agreed?
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

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