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  1. #1
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    Todd, would you please respond? Thanks in advance.

    It seems to me that because "stealing" commissions by parasites represents such a conflict of interest, CJ has a fiduciary responsibility to its publishers to disclose which of its merchants have relationships with "parasites". Otherwise, it would appear that CJ has an interest in keeping its publishers in the dark , to promote the “stealing” . Just as CJ requires its publishers to disclose whether they offer incentives, so too should it require its merchants to disclose their relationships with "parasites". Don't you agree?

  2. #2
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    I think the decision to work with certain publishers is the advertiser's choice. I do not think advertiser want to provide information on their partnerships because they consider the information confidenital or would not want their competitors to know. Publishers (you here reading this post) would also not want advertisers listing you as their publishers for all the world to see.

    There is no conspiracy to keep publishers in the dark. We are abiding by the confidentiality in our agreements with both publishers and advertisers.
    Todd Crawford
    Co-Founder, Impact Radius

    Give me a minute before I post again

  3. #3
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    I agree with you Todd,
    but one thing cj.com MUST share with the affiliates: is this merchant working with parasites or not. I must be able as a publisher to have the choice to work with this merchant or not.

    carneol

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    I agree with carneol there, I'd like to have the choice too.

    This was brought home recently when an email arrived from a lady who was adamant she'd bought through my links and wanted to know where her order was. I checked and have had no sales at all through that merchant credited to me. It's really taking the piss when we're being left to provide a service after having our commissions stolen by the scum of the earth who then disappear.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    I agree with Carneol. If CJ can't require the merchants to give us this information, then I'm not going to blindly promote CJ merchants in the future. I am not going to waste my valuable time building sites and pages for merchants only to have my visitors stolen from me by parasites. My time has a certain dollar value attached.

    Let me give you a little scenario. Let's say a merchant was paying me for my time to build pages for them as an employee or contract labor. You can be sure they would make sure no parasite from another merchant was stealing their sales from them if they were paying me big bucks to design and build pages for them. They would lose money. Well, the same works for me. I may not work directly for the merchant, but they are no longer getting my time if they can't verify they do not work with parasites. I have to pay for hosting, I have to pay for advertising as well as my own time. Well, I'm done throwing my money away so parasites can make money off of me.

    Your little confidentiality statement is a nice thing to hide under, but savvy affiliates (publishers) are just a little to smart for that one.

    It is time for change!!!
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  6. #6
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Todd,

    First thanks for posting a response to the question.

    I know this has been a topic that has come up more than once in the past. While I don't particularly expect to see such a system implemented, I'll still throw out my 2 cents.

    quote:
    I think the decision to work with certain publishers is the advertiser's choice.


    True. The converse is also true. The decision to work with certain advertisers is the publisher's choice.

    With regards to your point, CJ did implement a system in order to assist (in part) the advertiser's ability to make an informed decision regarding their partnerships with publishers. Publisher's who utilize software applications have to state this and describe for the advertiser the basics of how that application operates. This information is provided to the advertiser as part of the other information regarding publishers which assists the advertiser in making an informed decision of whether they want enter into a partnership with the publisher. I applaud CJ for implementing this system, because it was apparent that for some advertisers whether a publisher utilized a software application was an important issue for them and a factor in determining who they want to partner with (ie they didn't want publishers who utilized software apps in their publisher pool).

    For some publishers whether or not the advertiser allows publishers who utilize software applications is a factor to varying degrees in their decision making process of whether or not THEY want to enter into a partnership with an advertiser.

    It's about both advertisers and publisher being able to make the most informed decision as possible regarding the partnerships. It seems that in the end, the more informed the decision is on both parts, the more likely for a productive relationship for everyone involved.

    I can understand concerns regarding confidentiality.

    quote:
    I do not think advertiser want to provide information on their partnerships because they consider the information confidenital or would not want their competitors to know.


    True, but that statement is a bit off target. The question asked related specifically to "parasite" partnerships. Whether a merchant has a relationship with such a publisher isn't confidential information, indeed it is information available through the public domain from various sources.

    But just in case from a legal perspective. Why couldn't CJ add a line to the Merchant info that is provided to publishers which states something as simple as "Merchant allows partnerships with publishers who utilize software applications?" Then just a Yes/No. This would be just one more piece of information that publishers could use to weigh their overall decision on whether or not they want to enter into the partnership. It would also further assist in the process for Merchants and the publishers who utilize software applications. The software application publisher would know from the get go if an Advertiser allows them into their programs. Hopefully (maybe) it would save Advertisers the time of tracking them down in their programs.

    I really would like to see CJ incorporate such information in any upcoming upgrades. And it seems it would circumvent the whole confidentiality issue. CJ wouldn't be saying who the publishers are or for that matter that the Advertisers currently has any such ongoing relationships. Only that the Advertiser will allow such publishers within their program.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Todd,

    CJ and the merchants would not have to actually list the names of publishers they partner with, but they could indicate whether or not they accept "incentive," "rewards," or "software download app" publishers. There are no privacy issues revealing this information.

    Let's face it, I do not have a level playing field when I'm forced to compete with publishers who have software downloads that are bundled with other apps, which have the ability to overwrite my merchant cookies. It's an unfair advantage given to the software app publishers. I should be able to choose who I partner with within the network, to MY advantage. To conceal whether or not merchants allow this activity in their programs is placing publishers like me at a disadvantage, especially since some of the publishers use multiple accounts. It becomes a game of hide and seek trying to determine who is active in a program, and who is not.

    Anything less is siding with the software app publishers, placing me and others like me at a distinct disadvantage. We need fair and equitable treatment.

    Andy

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    quote:
    Why couldn't CJ add a line to the Merchant info that is provided to publishers which states something as simple as "Merchant allows partnerships with publishers who utilize software applications?" Then just a Yes/No.


    Excellent idea!!!
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  9. #9
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    quote:
    "Merchant allows partnerships with publishers who utilize software applications?" Then just a Yes/No.


    I disagree in part with this statement and hope that people will stay focused on the issue at hand.

    The issue of concern is if a merchant partners with affiliates that are parasitic or not and thats the way I'd rather it be implemented (if it ever was).

    As a software developer myself, I'm developing downloadable software that is affiliate marketing related but it will not be parasitic in any way shape or form. I'm seeing to many merchants and affiliates who are now simply saying they do not allow partnerships with anyone that has downloadable software.

    I'm one of the folks who is trying to pave a path of ethical marketing without infinging on the work others have done. As a result of "the association of all downloadable software being infered as parasitic" I'm already going to be faced with additional problems in getting approval from merchants going forward but am prepared to face it.

    I totally agree with Ms B's basic premise and statements saying it was a good thing CJ did for the advertisiors and would only question why the same thing would not be done for affiliates.

    Of course, I've also long stated that CJ and others want to keep the many affiliates who are unaware of the parsistic issue in the dark which would lead to "not providing the information to affiliates" which is where I still believe this will go.

    Downloadable software that undermines the work others have performed to steal sales right under their feet, is often distributed by unethical means, has crappy uninstallation procedures and is designed to interfere with a consumers shopping and surfing experience is hardly the technical innovation that networks have praised parasites to be.

    That doesn't mean that there still can't be true technical innovations implemented in the future that empowers consumers and operates in 100% completely ethical fashion.

  10. #10
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    Because merchants that work with these types of affiliates don't want to promote that they do, and the merchants are in charge. So CJ can ask, merchant will say no and that's the end of that.

  11. #11
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    I'm sure merchants would be reluctant to admit that they allow/tolerate parasites.

    Why not ask merchants who are 100% parasite-free and don't allow or tolerate affiliates to use any type of software/devices/etc. to say so and make that information available to all affiliates? Just add a line or two specifically asking about their stand on this.

    For merchants who choose not to answer, affiliates have the option to decide whether it's worth taking the risk to work with them or just ignore them. Not answering doesn't necessarily mean that they are parasite-tolerant, it might just be that they don't really know what it means.

    With something like this my guess would be that you would also need a clause about "lying" and enforce the consequences, whatever CJ's consequences might be for this: first offense, warning; second offense, suspension; third offense, they get the boot out of the Network. Or something along those lines.

    There's a much better chance of having merchants say they're parasite-free than forcing them to admit that they're not.

    Just my thoughts...

    Catwoman

  12. #12
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    Todd, thank you again for answering this message. I hope we can come to an agreement that will be a win-win for all parties. And I hope you can convince CJ how important an issue this is.

    Thank you everybody for helping clarify the thinking here. HappyPoon, I assume that your software does not "steal" from other publishers.

    I believe a parasite software application can emulate a browser in its entirety. So it can push data (its own cookies, etc.) without manipulating a browser's cookies. So the wording needs to spell out the intent rather than the method.

    How about:

    "Merchant allows partnerships with publishers who use methods to circumvent commissions that should rightfully go to other publishers?"

    I posted the above before reading Catwoman's post.

    Good idea, Catwoman.

    "Merchant asserts that it does not enter into partnerships with publishers who use methods to circumvent commissions that should rightfully go to other publishers."

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    quote:
    Because merchants that work with these types of affiliates don't want to promote that they do, and the merchants are in charge. So CJ can ask, merchant will say no and that's the end of that.
    The merchants who play fair and don't allow parasites in their programs should put pressure on CJ to MAKE the merchants who do disclose that fact.

    After all, the honest merchants are losing money because of this as well, since unknowing affiliates are in some cases promoting their competition when they might chose otherwise if they knew the full story.

    We have to remember there are a lot of honest merchants who do not tolerate parasites. They are in just as good a position to tell CJ they want full disclosure.

    Andy

  14. #14
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    The issue is more deeply rooted than a merchant being honest or not.

    CJ saw value "possibly against prosecution" in alerting merchants to the type of affiliates they are dealing with but will refuse alerting affiliates to the type of merchants. How many times do we still hear "we didn't know or were unaware" LOL.

    It's called equal rights. As Todd himself said they have to weigh the rights of publishers and advertisers equally. If thats so, then WHY are publishers NOT getting provided the same type of information regarding merchant practices?

    Why - because affiliates are likely the most un-organized group of people on the planet and networks are so used to ignoring thier requests without fear of prosecution it's commonplace for them to screw us over! Whats not funny is they do it and try to put the twist on it at the same time saying they are being fair and protecting our privacy! Give me a friging break, I didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday!

  15. #15
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    I disagree...

    I don't see any problems, or reasons for prosecution, with adding a line or two for merchants asking them if they are parasite-tolerant. They are free to answer... or not. Just don't make it a mandatory field.

    Merchants are not forced into doing anything they don't want to do or required to answer questions they don't want to answer. Merchants who are parasite-free will be most happy to answer, I'm sure. And those that don't and can't find affiliates to market their products might rethink their stand when their parasites have no sales to steal and their revenues go down.

    Affiliates have a lot more power than they think. But how many who earn a good income are willing to go all the way to help solve this problem and face the possibility of being dropped by merchants for stirring the pot?

    If parasites steal $2,000/month in affiliate's commissions but the affiliate still makes $2,000/month with this particular merchant... does it justify the affiliation with this merchant or should they be dropped? Reduce your income today to have more income tomorrow? Or swallow the loss because $2,000 is still better than nothing ?

    It's very unrealistic and unfair to ask affiliates to give up their income to protest against unethical practices. It leaves the Networks... Without affiliates, the Networks wouldn't exist.

    I'm sure CJ has lawyers, put them to good use!

    Just my thoughts...

    Catwoman

  16. #16
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    quote:
    Originally posted by happypoon:
    Why - because affiliates are likely the most un-organized group of people on the planet and networks are so used to ignoring thier requests without fear of prosecution it's commonplace for them to screw us over!
    you're not suggesting that we put up a union, are you?

    my position right now is, no, i don't think that would be helpful. but i'm open to be persuaded otherwise.

    i think it is enough that our voices are being heard.

    frankly, i have a great respect for Todd for still being around, after seeing the abuse that he and CJ had taken over the years.

    and there are times that they changed their positions and reversed their actions because of feedback from the affiliates. we can't win all the time of course but they have shown that they're willing to listen and to act if they find the suggestions reasonable and doable.

  17. #17
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    __________
    [["If parasites steal $2,000/month in affiliate's commissions but the affiliate still makes $2,000/month with this particular merchant... does it justify the affiliation with this merchant or should they be dropped? Reduce your income today to have more income tomorrow? Or swallow the loss because $2,000 is still better than nothing ?"]]
    __________

    If I find that I am making $4,000/month with one merchant but, the parasites are stealing $2,000/month and I get pay only $2,000/month, first I will try to get all may money back and if that fail, then that merchant is history from my site, I will never settle for halve of what is rightfully mine.

    To me making nothing is better than to share ½ of my earning with a crook.

    Sal.
    ...

  18. #18
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    You people never cease to amaze me . . . dump CJ - they are theives . . . period.

  19. #19
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Mr. Sal:
    If I find that I am making $4,000/month with one merchant but, the parasites are stealing $2,000/month and I get pay only $2,000/month, first I will try to get all may money back and if that fail, then that merchant is history from my site, I will never settle for halve of what is rightfully mine.

    To me making nothing is better than to share ½ of my earning with a crook.

    Sal.
    the choice is $2000 or nothing? i'll choose the $2000 anytime. imagine what you can do with $2000.

    of course, the parasites don't get off the hook either. we can continue to find ways to overcome them.

    in the meantime, we can whine.

    we can huff, we can puff, to blow the parasites down.

  20. #20
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by waytogo:
    the choice is $2000 or nothing? i'll choose the $2000 anytime. imagine what you can do with $2000.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well......

    That means that if the network send you a check for $2000 but, when you go to cash the check the bank only give you $1000 because some bank teller stole the other $1000 you still be happy because according to the way you posted, $1000 still better than nothing, right?
    ...

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
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    People, People!

    There is nothing wrong!
    It's just your imagination and all is fine and dandy!

    Now stop whining and make more pages for the scums to earn a living! They have to eat and feed their family too you know!

    So can we all just make more pages and pages for all these imaginary thiefs?

    What COC stand for? Crooks Overwriting Commission
    Don't worry tracking is Infected

    Live life to the fullest, You only get 1 chance. Enjoy it while you can... Nothing last forever!

  22. #22
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    quote:
    Originally posted by waytogo:
    the choice is $2000 or nothing? i'll choose the $2000 anytime. imagine what you can do with $2000.

    of course, the parasites don't get off the hook either. we can continue to find ways to overcome them.

    in the meantime, we can whine.

    we can huff, we can puff, to blow the parasites down.



    That was exactly my point, and I'd bet there are a lot more people who think this way than there are who would give up their income completely to fight this battle.

    It is unimaginable to ask affiliates to drop merchants who make them money, regardless of how much of that income they lose to parasites. And they shouldn't have to!

    Unfortunately, as long as people are making money they will continue to promote the program. Simple... no one really knows how much they lose to parasites, or if they lose anything at all. On the other hand, if you knew for sure you were losing thousands of dollars per month to these thieves, it might be an easier battle to fight because you would have concrete evidence and you might just be pissed off enough to tell these merchants to take a hike.

    As long as there are affiliates to promote merchants, even those that are known to be parasite-infested (I read a lot of posts here, and many people do), merchants will continue to make money. If they use parasites to begin with, they know EXACTLY what they're doing, they obviously don't give a damn who's making the commissions, and affiliates don't matter much to them other than the fact that they are making them money. Only the bottomline counts. THEIR bottomline. A few words of encouragement every now and then, a few empty promises to shut people up for a while. And the wheel starts turning again.

    It only leaves the Networks to go to battle for their affiliates. But will they? Merchants are bringing in money for the Networks. And as long as there are affiliates to promote the merchants and make money for them, the merchants will keep up the charade. Why shouldn't they? Affiliates scream and whine but they're still selling the products, right?

    Merchants are happy, Networks are happy, and affiliates are still earning enough bucks to keep going and they will never know just how much they're losing to the parasites.

    It's a catch 22...

    I still say put the CJ lawyers to work and try to word some much needed additions into the agreements to say that they are parasite free, or just leave it blank. Spell out the consequences of lying, and enforce the rules. Merchants have a choice, and affiliates have the option to do business with them, or not. Nobody's stepping on anybody's toes, and everybody's happy.

    Just my thoughts before bedtime...

    Catwoman

  23. #23
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Catwoman:
    no one really knows how much they lose to parasites, or if they lose anything at all.
    Catwoman
    that's the problem on the part of the affiliates. we don't really know how much we are losing.

    however, i am aware of those who does (though not specifically) - the merchants. when a parasite becomes an affiliate, there is a huge increase in that affiliate's income and a proportional decrease in other affiliates' income. this has been mentioned in the past.

    the merchants know that the traffic was generated by the nonparasites but the income was credited to the parasite. so now, the merchants have a choice. would they want a lot of nonparas happy, or would they want the single paras (who don't even deserve the income) happy. if i'm a merchant, i'll go with the first choice. not only are the nonparas deserving of the income, but also it is better to be promoted by a lot of websites and not by one website alone.

  24. #24
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Fair disclosure is imperative!

    Affiliates have an absolute right to know which merchants are working with parasites!!!!
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  25. #25
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    quote:
    Merchant allows partnerships with publishers who utilize software applications?" Then just a Yes/No.


    I like it, for numerous reasons.

    As for this other suggestion--"Merchant allows partnerships with publishers who use methods to circumvent commissions that should rightfully go to other publishers?"

    That's way too hostile, and off-putting to even honest merchants! Would you keep dealing with a store if, when you went in, a guard asked you: "Are you a shoplifter?"

    If the answer was "no," I'm sure you'd be insulted at the very insinuation of the possibility! And if the answer was "yes," you sure as heck wouldn't say so.

    Parasite-allowing merchants need a nonjudgemental yes/no, otherwise they'll be *forced* to lie--not only because of the business implications, but just because of how human psychology works.

    How about something more like, "Merchant allows software which enables the auto-crediting of commissions and/or cookies to the software owner"

    The statement in itself is non-judgemental and, IMO, much more likely to get an honest response than a query that comes off like it's got a chip on its shoulder and is just DARING anyone to be fool enough to say yes!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

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