View Poll Results: Popping up a merchant page under your sales page?

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  • I do it and have no problem with it!

    6 12.50%
  • I do it but will stop doing it

    0 0%
  • I don't do it but will start to

    1 2.08%
  • I don't do it and will not.

    36 75.00%
  • what's a popunder?

    5 10.42%
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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    While I know a few affiliates do this, I truly see this type of activity as parasitic against your fellow affiliates. When you pop the merchant under you are possibly overwriting a fellow affiliates cookie. While some may think it's fair to send the end user to where ever they want, including the merchant I don't think it is. What's your views?

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


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  2. #2
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    Can you please explain this further. I am not sure I understand what you mean. I don't use popunders or popups, but I would like to know exactly what it is that you mean

    www.cjshoppingnetwork.com

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Many affiliates just have sights strickly designed to set merchant cookies. No effort is made to pre-sell shoppers and they are part of the "tricks for Clicks" and SE spamming sub culture of affiliates.

    Mike & Charlie ...

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

  4. #4
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Not to say exactly how to do this nonsense for those who may think it's a good idea and want to do it, but basically a pop up or under is automatically generated which in a couple of different ways will set a cookie for the merchant just as if the visitor had actually clicked on a link and gone to the merchant's site.

    However, the visitor did not click a link. There was no action taken by visitor or interest in a particular linking on the affs site. If the visitor already had a cookie in place from another aff, then it would be overwritten.

    I see this as more than just potentially stealing from another aff though. I also see it as fraud. I think every network and even independent programs have a clause in their TOS regarding the use of artifical clicks. This is an artifical click. The issue isn't the use of a pop, but rather using the pop as a means of setting a cookie.

    This type of activity also scews network/merchant wide metrics even more than they already are. In that sense, it also impacts all affs as they have any less reliable information to utilize when attempting to evaluate potential merchant partnerships.

    Finally, these types of activities weaken our position as a cohesive group when dealing with the parasite and merchant/network issues. The folks who are doing this are only looking at their immediate ability to gain a few extra $$ now. Long-term it gives the networks and merchants something to throw back at us as a whole. Why should they listen to us regarding ethical and fair practices in this business when affs are utilizing shady practices themselves?

    Affs who are doing these types of things are doing the whole affiliate community a huge injustice with their own lazy, get a quick buck mentality and they should be ashamed of themselves.

    Personally, I hope that merchant's and networks start dropping folks right and left they find utilizing such practice.

    Don't forget affiliate marketing is a CPA model. If you can't handle the cost per acquisition model, then find another line of business. If you don't understand what CPA means, then you better start educating yourself about the industry you are in.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    IMO any form of cookie setting other than an actual "click" by a visitor, is of parasitic nature. To protect the long-term viability of affiliate marketing, merchants should enforce a strict policy against such practices.

    Akiva Bergstrom
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  6. #6
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    THANKS BLFH, I appreciate your position, hope it could be the same for all the affiliates lurking at ABW.

    It's not the big that eat the small... it's the fast that eat the slow. Jennings & Haughton

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well put BLFH. Raising the bar for entry into the affiliate arena and verifying true value add should be a goal for the networks. How can networks verify clicks when folks and BHO's can just script them and skew the stats.

    Mike & Charlie ...

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

  8. #8
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    There's also a risk of getting either the offending site or the main merchant site banned or penalised by the search engines as it can appear to be a mirror site. There is likely to be a boost to the offending sites ratings however, at least for a time, as they are effectively using the optimisation of the merchant site. For example, search for mondera jewelry in Google. No1 (as you would expect) is mondera.com, but look at No8 - they've effectively got to number 8 out of over 49000 without even designing a page!

  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I have a differing view. Even though I don't do it (because it's against the Ts & Cs everywhere I look!), I do not think the practice is parasitic--at least not in the sense of an interloping, eBates-like app. In fact, it would be more than a bit hard to convince me that it's parasitic at all.

    This is because, logically:

    If the prior site (the one worrying about his/her cookie being overwritten) did a proper job of selling, the customer would have already bought from them, and therefore their webmasters wouldn't have to worry about what the next site does.

    All the action is happening on the affiliate site--no interloping apps!

    The practice does not interfere with the next site's ability to make a sale--if the customer isn't persuaded by the mere presence of the merchant's site, the site that *does* persuade them still gets the credit. (Another aspect of "no interloping")

    About the only time I could say there's a parasitic nature is if the customer ordinarily would NOT have clicked anything, and then gone right over to the merchant site by typing their URL in the browser. In instances like that, where THE AFFILIATE'S SITE is what made the person decide to type that name into the browser later, then h*ll yeah--SET THAT COOKIE AND LET THE MERCHANT PAY since it's THE AFF'S SITE that made the customer decide to shop at that merchant in the first place!

    I think trying to limit things like this is just "crab in a bucket" behavior. It's not a threat to those who can convince their customers to buy. If the pitch on the site with the popper is lame, the customer will just end up picking up another aff's cookie anyway as they continue their search. That's a far cry from having a software "hack" the code in AFTER the customer has decided to buy through a DIFFERENT aff site.

    The only REAL objection I can think of to the practice is that it would mess with the network-wide conversion stats something awful.

    ~Revenue is King

  10. #10
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    OK, I can see both sides of this question so for me it comes down to it being the merchant's call on this one.

    It, as Leader stated, is not at all the same as parasites who overwrite your cookie after you sell them and send the customer to the merchant site.

    The first site did not sale the customer so the cookie is up for grabs. But, you didn't sale them, either. So, if the merchant says you can't set the cookie as the last site to tell the customer about the merchant site, you can't. If the merchant says you were last to tell them about us so set the cookie, you do get paid.

    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.

  11. #11
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    That's assuming someone clicks on a link - on the examples I've seen it has been a simple redirect via an affiliate link directly to the merchant site without a page being displayed. Now I agree that this is probably not as harmful to affiliates as some techniques, but it sure looks like a problem for the merchant...

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Look at all those couponers spamming google to their sites. #8 is basically a complete re-direct cookie setting schemer as his lame site is nothing more than a shopping directory. Would be nice to see someone like Mondera clamp down on the "incent" crew who love to target trademark keywords. Hey folks ...all those specials are in plain site on Modera's pages.... your oh so special on your claim for value add status. Notice the thousands of posts here by the couponers sharing insights......LOL. They'd eat their young for top SE positions before getting devoured by ebates -iWon -Upromise -WhenU and Gator.

    Mike & Charlie ...

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

  13. #13
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    No, not assuming someone clicks on a link.

    Look, if I were a merchant and had someone who could get high search engine rankings, I would love it and be willing to pay for it if they poped my site right in the searcher's face. For one search, I would have twice the chance of closing a sale. If the search was relevant, the prospect would look around the affiliates site and I might close the sale. If not, my site is also of interest in that search and so the prospect would no doubt look around my site, too, if they had not already purchased. Hey, a second shot at selling before they go away. Sounds good to me.

    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.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    Well I had posted a poll about this awhile back, here http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...&m=5286090862, I think it's parasitic myself, if it were allowed, all you need is top listing in the se's, you wouldn't even have to make a site targeted to theat program, I could probably put a different merchant page as a popunder on each page of my content site and be a rich man. And, it could interfere with the next site Leader, since they might see what they are looking for and not even go to the next site. And, do you think someone who can't get someone to click on thier link deserves the sale?

    [This message was edited by qballĀ© on May 18, 2003 at 02:32 PM.]

  15. #15
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Leader I agree in general. I don't think it is necessarily parsitic in the sense that is used here most often. But the practice can steal the commission from another affiliate in certain circumstances.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> If the prior site (the one worrying about his/her cookie being overwritten) did a proper job of selling, the customer would have already bought from them, and therefore their webmasters wouldn't have to worry about what the next site does.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is where I have a bit of a differing opinion. The reality is that shoppers will do some looking around prior to the buy. Granted this can vary depending on the product being bought. This is the whole point of having cookie lengths. It seems, and I maybe wrong here, that what you are saying is that if the aff can't make the sell with the first click through then they dont deserve the sell. Basically it should all just be session cookies.

    I have seen some aff sites that use this method in very sneaky ways. I've seen merchant's pops being set just from trying to navigate an affs site. In those types of situations cookies could be over written and the aff with the cookie now had nothing to do with influencing the sale. The visitor was just trying to get around a site and may not have even been on the site related to a purchase they were considering. In fact the pop windows are so dang small you can't even see what site it is.

    But I do agree, it's not parasitic in the sense of feeding off of someone else's work. It's just plain stealing and not honoring TOS's.


    Useful and Mike,

    The whole automatic redirect from SE listings is a different issue than what Haiko is talking about here.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    I think two issues are being overlooked here:

    1. Merchants provide "links" with the understanding that you are going to place a link on your site so that a visitor can "click" the link. Such as merchants do not authorize affiliates to "spam" search engines or send out spam emails, auto-forwarded or pop-up loaded traffic is tantamount to spam, as the visitor has not "chosen" to go there. So technically, unless you get permission from a merchant, this can be considered a form of spamming.

    2. Merchants may end up paying for sales that they shouldn't pay commissions on and that removes the fairness of affiliate marketing and will force merchants to lower commission rates since they are paying commissions on some otherwise non-commissionable sales.

    The bottom line is that a CPA model means preselling the customer and offering a merchant another channel of sales - much like salespeople in B&M businesses do. Commissions are a reward for an effort - and just because there are ways to capitalize on vulnerabilites in technology - which the parasites seem to have no problem with - doesn't mean that it is just. Cookies are a means to track a pre-sold sale, NOT a means to displace money from either affiliates or merchants into others hands.

    Akiva Bergstrom
    Affiliate Partner Manager
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  17. #17
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Well we are talking two different scenerios. I am talking about a site that IS accesible and relevant to the search giving the merchant a second chance at the sale. This way, the customer would feel they HAD looked around. And, I think the affiliate did something to earn the commission. That is why it has to be the merchant's call and they need to watch what sites are doing.

    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.

  18. #18
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    I agree Akiva. Merchants should remind Affiliates more often what Affiliate Marketing WAS all about. We have seen a shift lately and nobody seems to control what's going on anymore.

    It's not the big that eat the small... it's the fast that eat the slow. Jennings & Haughton

  19. #19
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    To clarify, I wasn't assuming any user-initiated clicks on the sites that have the merchant's site popping up/under.

    Also a comment on Ssanf's remark, "if the merchant says you can't set the cookie as the last site to tell the customer about the merchant site, you can't."

    I do what's in the Terms, and the Terms say it's not allowed to auto-pop the merchant's site so I refrain from it.

    QBall--"And, it could interfere with the next site Leader, since they might see what they are looking for and not even go to the next site."

    I find *that* to be perfectly legitimate competition, not "interference" with the next site. The site that convinces the person to stop looking and start buying DESERVES the commission! That's a far cry from parasitic butting in with an app when the customer has decided to buy from someone *else*.

    As for popping the merchant on a content site to set cookies, that strikes me as indeed parasitic since those viewers aren't coming for the purpose of buying anything, and the site isn't doing a thing to convince them to do so, yet they'd be getting cookied anyway.

    However, I wouldn't make any retirement plans on it since when the people *do* decide to buy something, they'll probably go to an SE and have their cookie overwritten by another affiliate's anyway. There will be those that go direct, but whether that would end up paying more on a content site than a standard CPM deal would once all the dud (non)clicks are figured for isn't something I'd bank on.

    ~Revenue is King

  20. #20
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> 1. Merchants provide "links" with the understanding that you are going to place a link on your site so that a visitor can "click" the link. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think that of course is what most are thinking but I do not believe all agree. Some merchants may be perfectly OK with pop-ups. In fact, I have seen merchants who make the code for the pop-up for you.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> ...pop-up loaded traffic is tantamount to spam, as the visitor has not "chosen" to go there. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well, some very reputable sites believe seeing the ads is the price of admission. They don't run for free. You can't even read the news without pop-ups. I don't want all that spam on TV either.


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> unless you get permission from a merchant, <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Always a good idea.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Merchants may end up paying for sales that they shouldn't pay commissions on <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    They probably factor it in as part of the cost of doing business.

    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.

  21. #21
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Leader that was a general remark, not directed at anything you said specfically.

    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.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Leader,

    I agree with you that this doesn't come close to what the parasites are doing which is why I said "parasitic nature", meaning that clear lines start getting blurred which eventually leads to someone actually interloping and swiping out one PID for another PID.

    It's the principle of the matter that is the issue. And you are totally correct. Sometimes a pop-up loaded site will increase sales, but that is why merchants should make the decision.

    ------

    SSanf,

    The issue is not pop-ups, the issue is having a click recorded via a pop-up window without any action by the user. Pop-ups are a great advertising vehicle (though annoying) and I'm not saying not to display ads via popups. What I am saying is that it is up to the merchant to decide whether or not they want their sites being displayed automatically in a pop-up window. (Unsolicited by the user.)

    Akiva Bergstrom
    Affiliate Partner Manager
    <TABLE BORDER=0 cellspacing=2 width=500><TR><TD> <FONT SIZE=1>EssentialApparel.com
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  23. #23
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Well, sort of sounds like a concensus, a rare thing, hereabouts.

    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.

  24. #24
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Not enough options in the poll.

    How about, "I will consider doing it if that is a part of the merchant's business plan and all affiliates know it is an option available to them."

    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.

  25. #25
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Ssanf--I didn't really think that was directed at me, but I wanted to clarify it for those reading (or skimming as the case may be).

    Akiva--I can see your points, too, although I think that in some cases it could work out well.

    I don't think it's bad "in principle" (ie, morally bad as some others' early posts in this thread suggest) on a sales site, but it's not necessarily preferable for all products or situations.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> merchants should make the decision. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It wouldn't be the first time I saw some merchants encouraging something, and others expressly forbidding it! (PPCSE bidding, for instance, being one area where I've seen a wide variance of merchant opinion.)

    I would like that to be a merchant-level decision, though, as opposed to a network-level Term like it is now. I'm *sure* some merchants would say "Yes", especially if given the ability to approve it on a site-by-site basis. That way they could weed out no-value-add "cookie-engines" while allowing targeted sites additional privileges.

    ~Revenue is King

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