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  1. #1
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    Morpheus admits it may be taking away affiliate commissions from 3rd parties in its own documentation. Of course, you actually have to dig around quite a lot and really UNDERSTAND what they are saying, but all the information is there.

    A PLEA: Before replying to this post, please take the time to read through Document A: Introduction to the Morpheus Shopping Community and Document B: Morpheus Shopping Community Options VERY carefully. I will be referencing the two documents in this post, and if you haven't read and understood them you're not going to appreciate what Morpheus is actually saying!

    Document A states: "MSC was introduced during the installation process of the Morpheus application on April 10, 2002. Members of Morpheus are informed of the shopping community and its license agreement during the download process of the Morpheus application."

    It then goes on to state that "To fully activate an individual rewards account, members must register on the "My Account" page. Members who activate their personal account will be eligible to receive accrued cash rewards generated by their purchasing activity at our participating merchants. Those members of the Morpheus Community who DO NOT register at the "My Account" page will automatically forego their claim to their accrued rewards and have their portion of the accrued rewards donated anonymously to charity."

    The "activate" terminology here is misleading to some extent. But taking the whole paragraph into consideration, they are saying "The MSC application works for ALL Morpheus users who downloaded the software after April 10, 2002. If you register, you get some rewards - if not, they will go to charity." In other words, there is no scenario in which the MSC application is not active, so long as the user continues to have it installed on their machine.

    Ok, so now we're clear that all recent Morpheus users have this MSC application. What does it do?

    From Document A: "Cash rewards and incentives are available when qualified purchases are made through our retail partners."

    In other words, Morpheus is working with certain retail partners and giving (some underfined) amounts of cash to users/to charity when they make purchases from those partners.

    Things suddenly get VERY interesting when you dig deeper into Document A and cross-reference with Document B.

    Document A states: "The Morpheus Shopping Community does not collect or store information about the web pages you view, such as the data you enter in online forms and search fields."

    And Document B states: "The sailboat icon will begin blinking red when you have navigated to a participating merchant by way of another website's advertisement. In order to support the service you used to navigate to this merchant, we encourage you to continue with any intended purchases."

    "The sailboat icon will begin blinking green when you have arrived at the website of a participating merchant by way of a MSC link, and any cash rewards available through purchases you have made will be secured."


    In other words, they don't track non-merchant URLs but they DO track when you visit merchants (either from their MSC portal site or FROM A THIRD PARTY) since otherwise they couldn't offer the cash reward.

    A) That contradicts the Privacy Statement in Document A.
    B) This shows clearly that Morpheus are fully aware of their potential to take commissions out of the pockets of those who rightfully should receive them: "In order to support the service you used to navigate to this merchant, we encourage you to continue with any intended purchases." Here, "the service" could mean a search engine, an affiliate site or any other non-Morpheus-based way of getting to that merchant.

    They later go on to explain how to secure the cash reward by right-clicking on the alert and choosing "Community Cash".

    Although they do not state it, I'm 99% certain that by choosing "Community Cash", users cause Morpheus to over-ride the affiliate/search engine link with its own affiliate-ID link to generate a commission and hence share some cash back with the community (can anyone with Morpheus installed confirm that what happens in a Red Sailboat->Community Cash click scenario is a forced page reload of the merchant site's page, via an affiliate link?)

    In conclusion, I find it fascinating that Morpheus themselves spell out exactly how their application can be used to divert traffic and commissions from 3rd parties.

    Thoughts/opinions welcome (but only if you took the time to read Documents A and B, please!)

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Thanks Edwin for pointing out the finer details of this carefully crafted document should it be challenged in a court of law. Truly a work in progress of the art of deception. Even smooths over the obvious defect ..how much Morpheus/Buyersport opt-in members earn for supporting their merchant partners. Everything is left to chance with all the grace of a mezmorizing snake charmer.

    WebMaster Mike

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Thanks for the post Edwin. You are saying things I've been saying, only much more clearly. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] A couple of points. If you dig even a bit deeper you will find that the charity they reference is owned by the same people who own Wurld Media. That would be here.

    quote:
    In other words, there is no scenario in which the MSC application is not active, so long as the user continues to have it installed on their machine.



    This is now currently true with the for those who have downloaded the "fixed" of Morpheus 2.0 that came out last week. This would be the version without the slider and only the tray icon. On this version, the shopping community preferences are defaulted to "show rewards." Now on all the 2.0 versions that were downloaded from August until last week which are still out there being used, your statement is not quite accurate. The slider is still active and functioning on those versions. However, the default shopping preferences on installation were for both the sailboat icon and slider not to show, and the user had to change their preferences. They could choose from one or both methods to be active. If they left the settings at the default, then nothing happened. I did check this and even verified by checking my cookies to make sure it wasn't being changed in the background regardless of the slider and icon being turned off. Also, on the current version now available for download, even though the default is for the shopping function to be own, the user can go into preferences and turn if off. I have verified that if you do this, and visit a participating merchant, buyersport cookie is not placed on the users computer.

    What I find very interesting along these lines is that if as the consumer you turn your icons on, either version which are floating around out there, and you see either the green sailboat or green slider, which by their statements mean you are earning rewards (and as the consumer as reasonable assumption would be that I'm the one earning the rewards), unless I've dug down deep into buyersport's site (which if I downloaded for the P2P software, I probably don't even know exists let alone the URL) their charity is earning the reward, not me. I think that constitues fraud towards the end user.

    quote:
    In other words, they don't track non-merchant URLs but they DO track when you visit merchants (either from their MSC portal site or FROM A THIRD PARTY) since otherwise they couldn't offer the cash reward.



    Yes this is very true. In fact it recognizes different URL's quite efficiently. Here's some more of what actually happens that they don't say. With the current version where only the sailboat is involved, here's what you now have to do to earn rewards. The sailboat will start blinking red if you arrive at a participating site through any means other than the buyersport link. It's the end user's cue that they could be earning rewards but aren't. You then have to right click the icon and a menu will appear and one of the choices is to "earn rewards." Now if you are on any other site besides a participating merchant's site, the software recognizes that and if you right click the icon the "earn rewards" link is not even in the menu. So my question that I've posted a few times already is that if Morpheus really has no intention possibly infringing on other affiliate's business, why not make the shopping software remain dorminat as it is for all other sites if the URL contain affiliate tags such as qksrv, linksynergy, etc? This is techically an easy thing to do I would think since other software already do this, such as ad blocking software which blocks these tags from showing on web pages.

    quote:
    "In order to support the service you used to navigate to this merchant, we encourage you to continue with any intended purchases." Here, "the service" could mean a search engine, an affiliate site or any other non-Morpheus-based way of getting to that merchant.



    Partially correct here. Ok, the sailboat is blinking red and you click the "earn rewards." What happens next is dependent upon how you originally arrived at the merchants site. If you got there through any other means than an affiliate link, then it will spawn a new window directly to the merchant's site placing with their cookies being placed on the end users computer. If they got their through an affiliate link other than their own, it will spawn a new window with a page having the statement about: In order to support the service you used to navigate to this merchant, we encourage you to continue with any intended purchases. If you are concerned about earning your rewards then click here (a link to buyersport site) and to continue your purchase. Or something similiar to that. Which just strenghtens your point more that they are very aware of the URL's involved in the navigation process. If the person clicks the link provided and then clicks the merchant's link on the buyersport site, then the original affiliate's cookie is overwritten with the buyersport cookie.

    quote:
    Although they do not state it, I'm 99% certain that by choosing "Community Cash", users cause Morpheus to over-ride the affiliate/search engine link with its own affiliate-ID link to generate a commission and hence share some cash back with the community (can anyone with Morpheus installed confirm that what happens in a Red Sailboat->Community Cash click scenario is a forced page reload of the merchant site's page, via an affiliate link?)



    Nothing is overwritten just by virtue of the sailboat blinking red. The end user has to take further steps. Also from my own testing, page reloads never happen. New windows are spawned and the orginal browser from containing the first contact with the merchant's site remains opened in the background. Also I have not been able to show an affiliate link or URL being overwritten (like they did in the past: pre-preview Morpheus version). What I have seen is cookies being overwritten.

    All of this indicates to me that there were a whole bunch of lawyers involved in the development of the 2.0 version and they were intentionally addressing the specific complaints against the older version that did indeed overwrite links and the originating affiliate's landing page with their own. It appears they were setting themselves up for the fight so they could say to merchants "we don't overwrite links and the end user is making the choice to come through us. Look at what all they have to do. With everything the end user has to do if they do happen to start at another affiliate's site, the incidence of us "unintentionally" getting another affiliate's commission in negliable. And even if it happens, we had value to offer over the other affiliate's site (the rebate) and they made the conscious decision to choose us." Now those quotes are my own, I've never seen a reference to Morpheus were they said that, it's just my own deductions and take on the situation. But that line of reasoning does seem to be being effective with some merchants and others.

    But you are right Edwin, if you dig deep enough and go far enough back, you can find all kinds of stuff these companies (and not just Wurld Media) have published on their sites or in press releases which just amazes me. In their attempts CYA over one issue they've been hit with, they wind up admitting to something else not so cool. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] You got to love it.

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  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Has anuyone disected Limewire P2P shopping network. They blatently inferred they are actively swapping affiliate ID#s to "meet payroll and pad members accounts. BS they're padding the founders pockets and trying to fly under the radar.

    I can't wait for the big P2P Kiddie Porn arrests that will take place in the beginning of October. This alone will wake up some more media attention especially if they start asking obvious questions about who funds these networks to provide FREE child porn and theft of copyright music and video files. Morpheus lawyers slid in references ( obviously the Lexy Foundation) into the case files of the MusicCity/Moepheus class action law suit in progress..saying they had legit background functions for their network unlike their competitors. Oh I love to see the thieves squirm and pay out legal fees.

    WebMaster Mike

  5. #5
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    From the Limewire site:

    quote:
    In order to finance continued development and innovations at LimeWire, we are launching an online shopping mall where participating merchants donate a percentage of sales generated by LimeWire users. Upon installation of LimeWire Basic, we will be including both links to the LimeWire Marketplace as well as a service that allows online retailers to know when they are supporting the LimeWire cause. For more details on how the program works, click here to read our FAQs.
    We ask that you patronize the participating retailers (http://shop.limewire.com). Your generous support allows us to continue to produce the software which you have come to value.



    From their FAQ page:

    quote:
    Help support LimeWire development and innovation when you shop online at the LimeWire Marketplace (http://shop.limewire.com). By purchasing from participating LimeWire Marketplace retailers, LimeWire earns a small referral fee for qualifying purchases. Here's how it works...

    First go to http://shop.limewire.com and remember to start every
    online shopping experience at shop.limewire.com. Click on links to
    more than 100 stores including Barnes & Noble, Amazon and J.Crew.
    Purchase items priced exactly the same as if you shopped directly at the retailer.


    Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions...
    (1) Do I pay more for purchases made through LimeWire?

    Absolutely not! There are no extra fees when you shop at the LimeWire
    Marketplace. Prices are set by the individual stores and are the same
    whether you make your purchase through the LimeWire Marketplace or
    directly from store Web sites. You'll have access to sale prices,
    promotions and deals just like any online shopper at these sites.

    (2) Do I need to do anything special to ensure that my purchases support LimeWire?

    It is preferable that you start your online shopping at the LimeWire
    Marketplace to ensure support of LimeWire. However, in the event that
    you forget to shop through the LimeWire Marketplace, LimeShop still allows proper tracking of your support.

    (3) What is LimeShop?

    LimeShop is an application that has the ability to notify users when they are supporting the LimeWire cause. It also enables participating retailers to realize when a supporting transaction is generated by a LimeWire user.

    (4) How do I use LimeShop?

    Once you have downloaded LimeWire Basic, LimeShop installs. Then, just shop normally, by going directly to your favorite stores (like "www.barnesandnoble.com"). If you're visiting a store from the LimeWire Marketplace, LimeShop will make sure you support the LimeWire cause.

    (5) Does LimeShop respect my privacy?

    Absolutely. LimeWire and LimeShop respect your privacy and do not
    collect any personally identifiable information without your consent.
    No personal data on your shopping or browsing leaves your computer.

    (6) Where can I download LimeShop?

    LimeShop is included in the installation of LimeWire 'Basic'

    (7) What are the minimum system requirements for the Shopping Window?

    LimeShop is compatible with Windows™ 95, 98, 2000, ME, NT4, and XP, as
    well as Internet Explorer 4.0 (or greater) and AOL 5.0 and 6.0.
    Downloading LimeShop takes approximately 20 seconds on a 56K speed
    modem.

    (8) How do I disable LimeShop?

    Whenever the LimeShop offer appears, you will see an "Edit Settings"
    link. If you click that link, a new window will open which allows you
    to turn off LimeShop. Click "Disable LimeShop" to turn off your
    Shopping Window. You can re-enable LimeShop by right-clicking on any
    Web page, then selecting "LimeShop". Then, follow the link to enable
    LimeShop.

    (9) How do I uninstall LimeShop?

    Go to Start ->>> Settings ->>> Control Panel. Double click "Add/Remove
    Programs". Click "LimeShop", then remove.



    I haven't d/l it to see. I would like to be certain first that all the stuff is detected by and can be removed by Adaware. If someone knows this, let me know. It looks like what they've bundled with it has changed with it release. It seems at one point Top Moxie came with. It may be that it is now a Top Moxie program set for their affiliate links. Not sure about that though, since I haven't found anything on the LimeWire site to indicate who programmed this shopping utility.

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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I have LimeWire installed. I'm not sure how it works, but I get the feeling you have to go to the LimeShop screen and click on the links from there to give them credit.

    To test, I activated LimeWire, went to the LimeShop screen and minimized it. Then I opened IE, went to my site, found a few Amazon links, and clicked on them. I didn't see any change. I added items to my cart, and went all the way to the final check out screen with no changes. My Amazon associate ID was still showing.

    So, unless I've missed something completely, I didn't find LimeWire to be parasitic. If I'm wrong, please let me know as I'd be very interested to learn what I've missed.

    Andy

  7. #7
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    Well, this line makes me nervous:

    quote:
    However, in the event that
    you forget to shop through the LimeWire Marketplace, LimeShop still allows proper tracking of your support.

  8. #8
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    bucksworth, yep that line made me nervous also.

    Andy what version of LimeWire are you running? This info related to 2.6, the newest version.

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  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    BLFH it looks like the original Morpheus set of adware ingredients all within a BHO. TopMoxie plus who knows what spyware with a open backdoor for updating the merchant database and keyword trigger files. I think I saw some postings on it at www.cexx.org where the real hackers and anit-spyware guys hang out. Lavasoft's Adaware labels it a parasite. They might have speedily covered their ID# swapping tracks while Morpheus took the frontal attack.

    I just read their smug viewpoint in the NY Times article which showed they were actively hijacking traffic. I'll let you get under the covers after your sure your can un-install the beast.

    WebMaster Mike

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Ok just downloaded the Limewire 2.6.3 version and started the install process to see what would come up as opt outs during install. After scrolling through the long @ss EULA, it looks like it is Cydoor to handle the ads displayed on their interface and TopMoxie is who does the shopping thing. So I'd have to say parastic. I canceled the install once I saw that. Unless TopMoxie has changed how they operate recently.

    Andy, apparently there may be some settings in your preferences where you can disable the shopping thing from coming up. From #8 of the FAQ

    quote:
    Whenever the LimeShop offer appears, you will see an "Edit Settings"
    link. If you click that link, a new window will open which allows you
    to turn off LimeShop. Click "Disable LimeShop" to turn off your
    Shopping Window. You can re-enable LimeShop by right-clicking on any
    Web page, then selecting "LimeShop". Then, follow the link to enable
    LimeShop.



    You may be disabled. Or with Amazon's recent crackdown, they may have booted them out unless the traffic orginated from the limewire website.

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