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  1. #1
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    I just reported 4 sites that that have forced clickthroughs and merchants opening in popunders (actual sites, not ads) and cj requested every merchant on every site that the affiliates were doing this with. I had already given them example links! Come on CJ!

    I'm not going through 100's of pages just to make it easier for you!

    And because of that, I doubt any action will be taken

    All coupon sites too:
    [Removed URLs]

    [This message was edited by Haiko on July 08, 2003 at 10:43 AM.]

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    EOM

    Mike & Charlie ...

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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, there are lots more coupon sites doing this than already listed.
    The consensus seems to be that it is ok to do. There had been some discussion on this issue before and those not already doing so, started doing so after the discussion.

    Myself, I don't approve - if someone goes to one of those sites, any previous affiliate cookies are overwritten, even though no one clicked on any links.

    Connie Berg
    http://www.flamingoworld.com


  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Kinda like the poor man's version of a BHO. Spam the PPCSE's and directories, blast out a few million e-mail enticements and then sit back a set your cookies.

    Mike & Charlie ...

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

  5. #5
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    I believe the general consensus was that it is the merchant's call. As long as the rules are universally applied and known to all, that has to be factored in when you decide to promote a merchant along with everything else.

    I see it both ways. The first site had a chance to close the sale and the second did SOMETHING to again bring the merchant to the prospect's attention. They got them to their own site which may have cost money and certainly cost work. They again brought the merchant to the prospect's attention so they at least did do something positive for the merchant in the way of branding. However, they also did not close the sale and the cookie they set is now up for grabs, just like it was for the first site who failed to make a sale. This is very different from the way parasites operate. They do nothing to give the merchant any added value at all. No one wants their cookies overwritten but merchants also want the most value they can get from those cookies as well. So, I guess the best thing is to know and understand the ground rules when you make your promotional sites.

    The Wolf Credo: Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack. Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between. Share your affections. Voice your feelings. Leave your mark.

  6. #6
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    In the case of other network's it isn't a huge issue.

    In the case of CJ it does matter because of public EPC metrics. Forced clicks erode a merchant's overall EPC. I also believe forced clicks violate CJ's TOS. Then again, I am sure what is and what is not a forced click can be open to interpretation.

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    Wayne

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  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by SSanf:
    I believe the general consensus was that it is the merchant's call. As long as the rules are universally applied and known to all, that has to be factored in when you decide to promote a merchant along with everything else.


    I guess it's the only way some can set a cookie. I think it's crap, but it's up to the merchant, if they want to throw away the extra bandwidth...

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Here's a link to the thread/poll:
    http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...1&m=7606079223

    From CJ's TOS:
    quote:
    You shall not cause any Transactions to be made that are not in good faith, including, but not limited to, using any device, program, robot, Iframes, hidden frames, redirects or clicking on Links that You place to the Advertiser.


    Akiva Bergstrom
    Affiliate Partner Manager
    EssentialApparel.com
    CJ/6%/120 days/Datafeed/Parasite free
    Email: akiva@essentialapparel.com
    Phone: 973.696.6200 ext 751
    > Join now! <
    SportsFanfare.com
    CJ/10%/120 days/Datafeed/Parasite free
    Email: akiva@sportsfanfare.com
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  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by SSanf:
    I see it both ways. The first site had a chance to close the sale and the second did SOMETHING to again bring the merchant to the prospect's attention. They got them to their own site which may have cost money and certainly cost work. They again brought the merchant to the prospect's attention so they at least did do something positive for the merchant in the way of branding.


    They didn't necessarily bring the merchant to the person's attention again or do anything to help with branding. Many times shoppers will go from coupon site to coupon site to see if there are any better coupons. If the next site doesn't have anything better they added no value. All they did is overwrite the cookies.
    I think cookies should only be set in every case only where a person has clicked on an actual link.
    The people doing this are screwing with the merchant's and their own EPC's.

    Connie Berg
    http://www.flamingoworld.com


  10. #10
    Schlaumeier cumbrowski's Avatar
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    Well, in my Opinion are forced clickthroughs on regular affiliate sites worse than BHO Parasites.

    I can't prove it, but my gut feeling is, that we loose more money to them.

    It's an important part of the CJ TOS to prohibit forced clickthroughs which include (in my opinion).

    - automatic affiliate link redirects to the merchants site from domains which are a misspelling of the actual merchants domain.

    - automatically opening a window (that includes pop-ups and pop-unders) to the Merchant on the Affiliates Site.

    - Opening Merchant Site(s) in a hidden Frame to set the cookies.

    Carsten

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  11. #11
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Well, when it is against the terms of service, that is a different story.

    The Wolf Credo: Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack. Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between. Share your affections. Voice your feelings. Leave your mark.

  12. #12
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    From a user perspective, I absolutely hate forced click throughs. The only place I've come across them are on merchant dedicated pages on coupoon sites. To give an example, I was looking for Dell coupons on some of the popular sites. Damn near every site loaded up Dell - by the time it was done and over with - must have had 10 Dells up and going (and none of the coupons worked, either!!).

    On the other hand, with the dreary terms of Dells program, I can sort of see why people do it. Merchants like Dell that sort of promote or at least encourage forced clickthroughs (due to crappy commissions and cookie durations) are a merchant I will never promote.

    Jim

  13. #13
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    Hey vertygo, way to go!

    We should all keep complaining until CJ and the merchants do something about this. This situation is too long lived for them not to know about all these sites.

    I conclude that CJ and the merchants are looking the other way in these instances.

    These parasite like sites are not eating at EPC so much...that's not the problem when they are trapping visitors already set to buy...ones making a last attempt of finding a possible coupon, and then are just a few clicks from buying, whether their last minute coupon hunt pans out or not.

    A visitor comes to my site and learns of a new merchant they want to do business with. They are set to buy....Then a thought comes to them about another merchant once had a coupon code available. So, in an instant they are back at Google searching for the merchant's coupon code (that doesn't exist) and clicking the first link they see (offering the non-existant coupon)... and a forced click overwrites my cookie from less than 5 minutes ago.

    Who should get credited for the sale? Certainly not some parasitic coupon site that intentionally and continually misrepresents the merchant, and clearly misleads visitors for clicks...a blatant violation.

    There's many with ya on this one vertaygo (whether they speak up or not), and the encouragement to all is to keep reporting these sites until something is done.

    Some merchants I have written to, I have expressed that I can no longer promote them until such sites are deactivated from their program.

    There's alot of talk about parasites in this forum. This is an instance that is clearly identified, and one of which there certainly is no excuse for no action being taken.

  14. #14
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    quote:
    You shall not cause any Transactions to be made that are not in good faith, including, but not limited to, using any device, program, robot, Iframes, hidden frames, redirects or clicking on Links that You place to the Advertiser.


    Ya, so WTF do they let the f'in parasites do it?

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  15. #15
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    Well...

    Since we're publically talking about URL's anyway.

    The last 3 of those are all the same person/group. Basically SE spam. (Along with in the neighborhood of 20 other "coupon" sites they run, including lots of super spammy -- domains. )

    The 1st is an old school, well respected (I think) site .. as far as I know him doing forced click through is a recent thing (I could be wrong), probably only in an attempt to compete with the spammers like smartqpon doing it. The 2nd... well......


    Until any and all software applications which interfere with the clickstream and/or automatically generate "clickthroughs" are banned, then I think it is hypocritcal to outright ban this stuff. I see it as less of a "bad thing"...

    Also those CJ terms are obviously not set in stone as they basically say you cannot click your own links, ever. And we all know that many merchants allow and even encourage this.


    --
    I don't know exactly how I feel about popping the site, this isn't a for or against that, just making comments. I think I commented my personal feelings on it in the other thread. Maybe not. Like I said, I'm a little unsure about it. I don't currently use the technique on any sites.

    Of course everytime someone brings it up on this forum, 10 more people add it to their site(s)...

    [This message was edited by Joseph Monuit on July 08, 2003 at 01:50 AM.]

  16. #16
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    "Of course everytime someone brings it up on this forum, 10 more people add it to their site(s)..."

    After mentioning it is a select few with untold number of sites doing this.

    Search for Tower Records Coupon Code in Google. The first 3 sites listed in the search results all have forced clicks (yes, of course they quickly switched their forced clicks to Tower Records through Performics now ).

    I would bet those 3 sites are owned by the same person or group...???

    Ok, so this instance does help outplace the site alittle lower in the results that baits for Tower Records and force clicks to Djangos (whoever in the hell they are).

    What a mess. Look through pages of those results. What buzzards. Forget Tower Records...no wonder they can only afford to pay out 4%.

  17. #17
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    I look at it as a bad thing for the overall industry. I know I hate popups and I feel that most consumers hate them to. All the popups from these types of sites and others do nothing but alienate their visitors. They've already ticked off developers and consumers to the point that popup blockers and cookie washers which are quickly becoming standard software to use amoung consumers. The end result has been significantly decreased commissionable sales in this industry and the trend will only continue to worsen.

    The bad news is if companies and networks are so short sighted to have allowed these practices for so long, it's no reason to think they'll become any smarter in the near future. Allowing affiliates taking pot shots with forced clickthrus is only "trickery ppc like behavior" in a pay per sale environment and doesn't belong there. It's not only unethical in my mind - it harms us all in the long term.

  18. #18
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    [replying to kelly]
    I really don't like the tattle tale tone of your messages, but... in any case...

    8 of those 10 (and including the first 6) are the same person/group.

    Pretty sure they aren't even based in North America, must less USA, so they probably shouldn't even be affiliates. (Gonna take some heat for that one. Bring it on!)

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  19. #19
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    I think you're right Mr. Poon.

    Unfortunately, like software, its just about become "stoop to their level and compete like slime, or, get the fsck out of the way"



  20. #20
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Wouldn't the simple solution to all the sleezy problems in the affiliate industry be solved by the networks banning the use of coupons or any shopper rewards in a merchants bag of "tricks for clicks"? Make them publish the incents on their merchant webpages or in their followup e-mails. In one fell swoop the AM's with a pure play adversiting mindset would have to actually concentrate on making high conversion landing pages and new creatives.

    Mike & Charlie ...

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

  21. #21
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    Yeah. That would solve everything, including bunk tracking, crashed servers, malformed affiliate links, apache exploits, AND all the parasitic activity to boot. Hell, it may end world hunger and save the baby seals too.

    Glad you thought of it, now we can all sleep easy.

    [This message was edited by Joseph Monuit on July 08, 2003 at 02:31 AM.]

  22. #22
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    "I really don't like the tattle tale tone of your messages"

    This thread started out with postings of direct links to offenders. I wouldn't do that, but I think it's pretty cool non-the-less

    I like the whole tattle tale feel of this thread. I think it has a distinctive ring in the ears of CJ, merchants, and affiliates alike.

    Yes, go ahead and ban coupons all together. It obviously won't stop these people from luring surfers looking for the non-existant things.

    These sites specialize in something of which they do very well, and that is creating the desire and quest for something that doesn't exist.

    Ban Sasquatch, but don't count on documentaries not being made testifying to its existence.

    Push the deactivation button for these affiliates, plain and simple.

  23. #23
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    “This thread started out with postings of direct links to offenders. I wouldn't do that, but I think it's pretty cool non-the-less…”

    I would not post direct links, as it is not allowed by this forum’s rules. The moderator needs to remove the direct links and site names posted here, or ABW would soon become a war zone for “reporting” your competitors …

    kelly626 :
    “A visitor comes to my site and learns of a new merchant they want to do business with. They are set to buy..”, so give the visitor a coupon and make the sale. … but no, keeping coupon codes up to date is much harder that a simple, one time, building of a page (mostly by using a datafeed…)
    If you don’t give your visitor the BEST info available, they simply won’t buy. So don’t be lazy – put up products/merchant info AND coupon/discount info on the same page and you’ll get the sale (at least this is what works for me).

    Joseph Monuit:
    What does the USA-based has to do with affiliates??? Get real - this is the Internet!
    Regarding “SE SPAM” – it depends: if you are on top then it is a good SEO. If you are not than it is SPAM…
    Needless to say that almost ALL datafeed-based sites are what you call “SE SPAM”. Amazon.com, offering their xml feed are the biggest spammers of all, right?
    All so-called “MALLS” are also pure SPAM, according to you, as they all just replicate the basic products info provided by the merchant.
    Hell, the merchants themselves are also spamming us with the same products…

    We all are in the advertising business and in order to succeed we need to do what ever we can to get our message to the customers. So, if you think that coupons are the way, do coupons. If you think that a products-based site is the way – go for it!
    To me, this is what affiliate programs are all about.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    Why pop up the merchant site without mannual involvement ?

    I do not use or like to use this technique.
    But i do not think using this technique should get devativation.

    There are other reasons other than the affiliate's sole purpose is to be unfair and set up cookie as you think.

    1. This is just the websurfing behaviour. Someone just would like to type the domain to enter the merchant site even though there is a text link or banner in front of him. esp for merchant have 2-3 letters domain name. (the visitor do not know the links are sponsor links in this case )

    2. Many surfers do know the links they click is a refer link. They do not like other people to earn a commission. They choose to type the URL in the browser to enter the merchant site.

    3. Some merchant site is very very slow to load up even the front page. The affiliate think pop up the merchant site first will save the time for their visitor who will do the click later.

    To prevent loss of referral tracking because of such surfing behavour. Therefore they think of using this technique to capture loss potential tracking.

    There would be other reasons i have not think of yet.

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  25. #25
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    EcomCity.com :
    “banning the use of coupons or any shopper rewards in a merchants bag of "tricks for clicks"?”

    Absolutely brilliant!!
    Better yet, lets ban the price comparison engines as well.
    “A visitor comes to my site and learns of a new merchant they want to do business with. They are set to buy” (kelly626) … now the visitor tries to find the lowest price for the product and DealTime / MySimon gets the sale – so lets ban them as well.

    Here is another great idea – lets also ban BizRate.com/ePinions.com and any other reviews-oriented site.
    “A visitor comes to my site and learns of a new merchant they want to do business with. They are set to buy” (kelly626) … now the visitor wants to read review about product or just get the store ratings, and you’ve probably lost the sale again – so lets ban them also.

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