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  1. #1
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    I downloaded the e-bates program the other day to see what was happening. I thought I would just see popups and redirects but I have found every time I click on a merchants link that is using e-bates the page comes up in the e-bates frame.
    As far as I can understand this gives us absolutely no chance of making a sale. Is anybody else finding this or is it just the dowmload I got?

    Travel safe
    Gordon
    YouTrek

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Gordon,

    This has been confirmed by many fellow members, the networks are aware of the blatant misrepresentation on eBates behalf and we must wait and see what they do about it. Maybe CJ will give them another award [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


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  3. #3
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    The way I see this Haiko it is impossible for a customer to choose to buy from our site. As I understand it, I might be wrong, I am no computer bofin as you know [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    But once the page opens in the e-bates frame it is their commission. Am I correct in thinking this?

    This to my mind is outright theft, no ifs or buts (apart from the butts at e-bates)

    Travel safe
    Gordon
    YouTrek

  4. #4
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Gordon,

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The way I see this Haiko it is impossible for a customer to choose to buy from our site. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yes, eBates has removed our right and capability to compete!

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli
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  5. #5
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    Thanks Haiko, I thought that was correct

    Travel safe
    Gordon
    YouTrek

  6. #6
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    Are there any class action lawsuits in the works? That is theft. If anybody came into my house and stole 10 bucks they better be wearing bulletproof underwear, yet if its done over the net there is nothing done.. CJ giving them an award at CJU is disgusting in my honest opinion.

  7. #7
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Moved to eBates Forum

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador CrazyGuy's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Gordon:
    The way I see this Haiko it is impossible for a customer to choose to buy from our site.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Gordon the current "customer choice" defence being deployed appears to be that customers "chose" to have the MMM software installed when they joined and they "chose" to get "discounts" when they were available.

    Having made those "choices" the customer is given no more "choices" on a visit by visit basis.

    Of course, we know these "choices" are in fact the acceptance of scantly-explained or hidden defaults rather than actual opt-in.

    Are you Crazy?

  9. #9
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    Wait a second, if someone goes to an incentive marketer's Web site and knowingly downloads an application from that incentive marketer, isn't that opt-in?

    I'm all for not having applications wrongly take from my affiliate links, however I get concerned when everyone starts requesting a big brother state that doesn't include my freedom to use my own computer as I see fit.

  10. #10
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Neil Pinehurst:
    Wait a second, if someone goes to an incentive marketer's Web site and knowingly downloads an application from that incentive marketer, isn't that opt-in?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    At ten cents a download, I'm suture I could get into a great legal battle informing end users as to what they actually downloaded!


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I'm all for not having applications wrongly take from my affiliate links, however I get concerned when everyone starts requesting a big brother state that doesn't include my freedom to use my own computer as I see fit.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Freedom also included freedom of choice and competition, that is the american way ... If I want to offer a 20% rebate on 123injets sales to eBates downloaders how can I? Please explain that!

    I believe in the right to compete, eBates does not allow that because they think their end user who downloaded the California screensaver (targeted towards the 14yearolds (can they legally accept the EULA ? (I think not!)) or others and that they paid $0.10 for is cognizant.

    To quote Popdawg ... GAME ON!

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


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    [This message was edited by Haiko on November 30, 2002 at 10:31 PM.]

  11. #11
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <~~~~~~~~~ putting on my hip waders so I don't get muck all over me.

    Ebates bundles their software also with cheap @ss freebie downloads. If you want to free screensaver, then you have to agree for it to be installed on your computer. Opt-in my arse.

    Consumer wants and choices do not make all things in life ok to do. As a consumer, if I don't want to pay for something at a store, I'm taking a chance of being arrested as for shoplifting. The laws and rules of our society (and no not a quasi-communist society) take precedence over the wants of the consumer. I'll reference my statement with information I obtained from the States Attorney General's Office in regards to these software apps and the lame "consumer choice" agruement. Should we ask Napster if what the consumer wanted carried more weight than the parties who felt they were being infringed upon?

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  12. #12
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    If I want to use file transfer utilities to peddle in porn (40% of the file transfer business by the way), it may not be a morally sound activity. But it may not be illegal either.

    Do you want a society that takes pictures of your license plate when you are going a couple miles over the speed limit or rolling through a stop sign. And what if the camera taking the pictures was not obviously placed but rather hidden.

    I just don't like giving out too much power to monitor without checks and balances.

  13. #13
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I just don't like giving out too much power to monitor without checks and balances. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    All the more reason to be concerned about parasites of one sort or another ...

  14. #14
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> If I want to use file transfer utilities to peddle in porn (40% of the file transfer business by the way), it may not be a morally sound activity. But it may not be illegal either.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It is when it's kiddie porn! And when you see a crack down on porn file swapping, it has to do with the distribution of porn related to minors.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Do you want a society that takes pictures of your license plate when you are going a couple miles over the speed limit or rolling through a stop sign. And what if the camera taking the pictures was not obviously placed but rather hidden.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If you going over the speed limit and roll through a stop sign, then you have broken the law and are a risk for receiving a fine. The deterence in illegal acts (hopefully anyway) is the threat to the punishment when caught. If you are caught by whatever means, you still broke the law. And yes, they do use the cameras where I am for traffic violations in some areas. And I have gotten tickets for both offenses. But the old fashioned way. The cop was hiding behind cars parked on the side of the road. An act is not legal just because you didn't get caught.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  15. #15
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> just don't like giving out too much power to monitor without checks and balances. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    ROTFLMAO! How about being subject to truth by an unpaid board ... are the parasites willing to be checked and balanced by that? I see otherwise!

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


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  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>eBates does not allow that because they think their end user who downloaded the California screensaver (targeted towards the 14yearolds (can they legally accept the EULA ? (I think not!)) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    I want to comment on the issue of children and Internet use. Young children have no business being on the Internet unsupervised, this is my personal opinion.

    The Internet is not a "Tame" environment and parents must set strict limits which should include direct parental monitoring. (not passive software monitoring systems either)

    When my children are online I monitor them. My wife and make the time to do it. All the time and everytime.

    The Internet is not T.V. (which is bad enough) and it is not an appropriate place for an unsupervised child.


    regards,
    Wayne

    ---Remembering the days of Lynx and Pine and when finger was actually a useful Unix command.

  17. #17
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The Internet is not .... an appropriate place for an unsupervised child.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Or un-educated adult in the case of parasties!

    "My customer" my @SS!

    If they get a someone to download eBates or WhenU does not qualify as carte blanche for affiliate theft! PERIOD!

    How long do these boofs think they can overwrite our links at a CPA of $0.10? I am sooooo on this also!

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli
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  18. #18
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I'm all for not having applications wrongly take from my affiliate links, however I get concerned when everyone starts requesting a big brother state that doesn't include my freedom to use my own computer as I see fit. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Right on Neil. I think consumer's have the right to install what they want on their machines as long as they legally obtained the software or they are granted a right to use the software. From there it is a question of whether the use of this software is "legal".

    For example I can use Windows because I own a licensed copy. However, if I shell to DOS and start a denial of service attack I am doing something illegal. Obviously Microsoft cannot be held accountable for my packet flooding.

    Who is technically liable for commission hijacking if the end user actively wants and uses the software? I don't see affiliates sueing end users and I don't think end users really care. The user wants what is best for them.

    Can the distributors of this software be held liable? Possibly, but I am not convinced this would happen. It would be an interesting case in court no doubt.


    From a CRM aspect I can understand why client-side applications want to overwrite any link- it decreases their labor load and makes their customers happy.

    However, the overall impact of link-overwriting is negative because it can potentially create more CRM issues for other incentive based sites or reward mechanisms. i.e. two sites collide and customer isn't sure who gets the credit.

    I think at the very least it is best to have some sort of manual mechanism in place- so the user is aware they are getting a reward. In short I feel appending or overwriting links in transit causes more harm than good. Not just for affiliates and networks, but for other incentive sites that deploy these types of software solutions.

    From a pragmatic perspective many client side applications will not want change their operations if they are going to come outon the bottom of a "link duel".

    On that note I feel it is imperative that standards are clear, come out in unison from major networks (since they are leaders) and that these standards are evenly and fairly enforced so that no one gains an advantage from link appending or interception.

    regards,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
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  19. #19
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If they get a someone to download eBates or WhenU does not qualify as carte blanche for affiliate theft! PERIOD! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I did not say that it qualified anyone for anything only that children need supervision at all times when online.

    There are for more dangerous threats to end users then parasitic software namely viruses, trojans, DOS attacks, worms, etc, etc. In terms of impact parasitic software does little if anything to harm end users. That is why most are oblivious to the issue and it will probably remain that way.


    -wayne

  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> In terms of impact parasitic software does little if anything to harm end users. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I would disagree with this. As a Mac user I had no direct experience with parasites from the user's point of view, until a couple of nights ago when a friend asked for help. He was nearly frantic with frustration about some of the ads appearing in his browser ... I surfed a bit and among other things I experienced Gator popups for the first time ... not fun at all.

    It took over an hour to get things cleaned up and I'm not sure that the crud is completely gone ... found a couple of things that even AdAware missed ...

    Little if anything to harm end users?? C'mon, Wayne, get real.

  21. #21
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    Here's the bottom line of how I feel about this issue - sure, a user is free to download whatever software they want. It is wrong, however, to sneak software onto their computers without the user's agreement or through fine-print agreements that they are likely to miss. In addition, I have the right to keep certain users off of my site if I so desire. I support my site through affiliate marketing (the advertising market is very bad right now, so I don't have many other options). People who use programs like eBates' MMM are not welcome on the boutique pages of my site and should not be able to use any software that overwrites my own affiliate links while they are on my site. Period. If they want to shop using MMM or another, similar program, they can go elsewhere. I won't miss 'em.

    Of course we can't stop people from downloading what they want from the net. But we damn well should be able to keep them from messing with the links on our own sites! This is an unfair business practice - the same as if I were to go into someone else's store, grab a customer who was about to buy something and sell them the exact same thing - at a discount or not - while they are still in the other person's store. The only transactions that should happen on my site are those that will pay me for my hard work. Transactions that will result in commissions for somebody else should happen elsewhere. Not on my site. This is what I'm ultimately looking to see happen.

    I really don't care if these so-called parasites exist or not - I just want the option to keep their transactions off my site.

    J

  22. #22
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Little if anything to harm end users?? C'mon, Wayne, get real. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I wasn't referring to system performance but economic impact- sorry for not being clear. Any poorly written application can cause system problems. For that matter many well-written programs can cause system distress.

    With software there will always be problems of some sort. No matter what it is, or how well it is written. I personally have not seen any loss of system integrity with the applications I have tested, but I am sure it happens.

    If we are discussing economic impact it is going to be really hard for affiliates to prove economic harm.

    Playing Devil's Advocate again- imagine affiliates explaining to a judge and jury that applications are stealing commissions and thieving from a site...

    When asked to show the economic impact of parasitic software affiliates will be unable to give any real numbers or percentages that can be keyed to client-side applications. Basically because this type of interception leaves no proof.

    For that matter affiliates have no data whatsoever to show that Application X definetely intercepted their site's links and took their commissions from their visitor base.

    Of course they could document one of their own transactions, all variables, etc. Not to mention the variables are diverse and many including merchant P3P policies, cookie settings, browser security settings, 3rd party applications installed on a PC, etc.
    Even then the dollar amounts would be hardly enough to consider going to small claims court...and yet again it could be argued that tester's accepted the EULA.

    While many like to blame their stalled or dwindling revenue streams on client-side applications it would be impossible to soley attribute it to parasitic software. At this point it would be impossible to show any concrete damages. The evidence would all be circumstantial and inferential.


    This is not "baffelgab". Courts will want hard proof and dollar amounts. Yes affiliates can prove that client-side applications intercept and append unto affiliate links. But can affiliates prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that affiliate sales were impacted? It is possible, but unlikely.

    Affiliates, if they are serious about tackling the issue legally, need to be able to provide documented damages.

    I am looking for thought-out counter arguments to this issue.


    regards,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
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  23. #23
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Wayne Porter- AffTrack:
    For that matter affiliates have no data whatsoever to show that Application X definetely intercepted their site's links and took their commissions from their visitor base.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    For the course of action I want to see, I don't need to show financial damages. I just want an injunction to stop the practive of overwriting of affiliates codes by the ebates (and like) software.


    And for that, YES we do have ample proof. It only takes a cookie monitor and a video camera. You only need to show it happens ONE TIME. That's all. We don't have to worry about every possible case, because if it happens just once, then that is theft. It is shown their software CAN be used to commit theft and therefore they should be enjoined from distributing it and all copies should be recalled until it can be demonstrated that it does not.

    Compare to Napster... Yes, napster could have been used for totally legit. purposes. But the entertainment people only had to demonstrate one use of it to copy/send illegal copies of copyrighted works. That's all the court needed to shut them down.

    This is the same situation.

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  24. #24
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Who is technically liable for commission hijacking if the end user actively wants and uses the software? I don't see affiliates sueing end users and I don't think end users really care. The user wants what is best for them.

    Can the distributors of this software be held liable? Possibly, but I am not convinced this would happen. It would be an interesting case in court no doubt.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The software app company in liable! My source for that statement: a 3 hour phone conversation with the State Attorney General's Office CyberCrime divisiion. I specifically brought up the end user wants the reward, don't they have a say argruement. Their opinion was definitely not! If a criminal act is involved this supercedes all else. And they stated several times during the course of the conversation, that it appeared to be "theft pure and simple." Could the end user be held accountable also as an accessory to felony theft? Technically, possibly so, but I don't see that happening as the end user is an unwitting factor in all of this. Could the networks because they had knowledge of the fact and continued to allow the apps to operate through them. Possibly depending on how aggressive a prosecutor may be and what political advantages he sees in such a case. And yes we did discuss the potential political benefits to a the prosecutor who made the first splash with such a case.

    An interesting point that was brought up by them that I hadn't even considered was they were very interested in exactly what point the apps switched the affiliate ID's and how. Did it occur just out there in cyberspace or were any files altered on the end users computer. At the time of my conversation (unfortunately) I couldn't answer that question for them. Now I could. And they do operate by altering the cookie on the end users computer. They stated that if something on the end users computer was changed, then a new hacking law in this state (at least) may very well apply also.

    This is all criminal actions of course, not civil actions. If criminal indictments were ever brought by any agency, then the case for civil action would be stronger.

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  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    What is happening here is the parasites are taking advantage of consumers. And they know they're doing it. They discolose everything they are legally required to in their TOS, but it is done in a way that most who download the application won't ever fully understand.

    Line after line of legalese and endless paragraphs of disclosures in small print aren't going to be read or understood by the majority of the people who download them. And the software companies that bundle this cr@p together know this and take advantage of it.

    What will end up happening is the Government will get involved and start regulating the Internet. A few scumbags will make this step necessary. But they won't care, because they'll just go on to something else. They've already made their money.

    The argument that the end user has opted in to participate in this "rebate, discount, coupon, shopping program" or whatever you want to call it is lame. The majority of end users don't realize what they're doing when they download things from the Internet. If they did, we wouldn't have the virus problem we have today. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to open an E-mail attachment that is labeled "Brittany nude.jpg"?

    Especially when it comes from your Grandmother! Yet these same people download programs left and right without understanding what they're getting.

    People don't know and don't understand what they're signing on for, and don't realize the pop ups and frames aren't being served by the site they're visiting.

    They're being taken advantage of, it's being done intentionally, and eventually the Government will step in to "protect" the people who obviously need to be protected.

    It's a shame. It will make the Internet a more difficult place to do business in the future.

    Andy [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img]

    AFFILIATE MARKETING STANDARD: The site upon which the initial action to buy occurs is the site the commission is paid to. Period.

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