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  1. #1
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    I received an email from an affiliate manager who represents several of my merchants at CJ with updates and new links. Funny because I am in the process of replacing every one of them because they're all infested with spyware.

    I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and I replied to her. I brought the issue of spyware up to her attention. My email was friendly and not accusing. I did, however, mention that I was weeding out the bad apples and replacing them with clean merchants.

    She replied back within minutes that yes she was aware of how spyware works but she needed proof. She asked if I knew of any affiliates in her programs that used spyware or if I could direct her in the right direction where she could find out more about it. She went on to say that if any affiliates were using spyware in any of her programs they would be terminated immediately.

    I reply again. This time I get a list of all her programs and give her the links to the spyware where each one of her merchants is listed. I also include the link to ABW so she can find out more about spyware. I click send.

    A few seconds later, the email bounces back. It was blocked by the spam filter. OK... it was a different email address than she used the first time, so I tried the others. My email bounced back every time. So obviously, she wasn't interested in what I had to say, she just included me in her spam list so my emails would be blocked. Why did she even bother to reply the first time??

    It took me about 45 minutes to write that second email and fetch all the spyware links that promote her programs. ARGGGGGHHH!

    Needless to say, she can keep her scumware to collect on the sales, but she won't be making any money off of my site!

    Catwoman

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Merchant and her name please, this way everyone will know what do with that merchant
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Yep, I do believe I know exactly where she can stick her programs...

    Andy

  4. #4
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    Affiliate Manager: Lori Spencer

    Merchants: Brecks, Gardens Alive, Springhill Nursery, Gurney's, Michigan Bulbs, Henry Fields, and others I've never heard of.

    When I built that website last year, I wasn't aware of all these spyware issues that steal from affiliates. It didn't take me long to learn. Nature Hills is going to get all their traffic and sales! It took me almost a year to clean it up because I'm always willing to give the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what happens. By the end of this weekend, that site will be 100% spyware-free!

    NO MORE!

    Catwoman

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Like I said before. Y-2005 is the year to pressure the real merchants management to FIRE their theftware friendly AM's.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Good Post Catwoman!
    What are you saying exactly? Lori Spencer acted as their affiliate manager and re :directed or stole commissions ?

  7. #7
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
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    Catwoman wrote:
    quote:
    Affiliate Manager: Lori Spencer

    Merchants: Brecks, Gardens Alive, Springhill Nursery, Gurney's, Michigan Bulbs, Henry Fields, and others I've never heard of.

    Yep, it just kills me that group of merchants is so involved with scumware. As a gardener I've ordered from them all, but when I found out they were dirty I took my business elsewhere. As an affiliate I'd like to be able to promote them but they're so infested they simply don't convert.

    Nice job, Catwoman. Keep a copy of that email you sent to Lori Spencer. Maybe the next AM will "get it."

  8. #8
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    Brecks has been a top-peformer for a long time despite whatever spyware affs are in their program. In that category, nothing has done better than Brecks and when they up their payouts to 30% in the Spring (as they did last year) it really pays.

  9. #9
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
    I decide when the pigs fly!
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    Little background information on this group:
    quote:
    "Please be advised that the assets of Spring Hill Nurseries, Henry Field Seed & Nursery, Gurney Seed & Nursery, Michigan Bulb, the Garden Store, Flower of the Month and Breck's Bulb were purchased by affiliated entities of Gardens Alive, Inc. through a bankruptcy auction and sale on October 26, 2001. These assets were formally (sic) owned by Foster & Gallagher, Inc. (a/k/a mySeasons.com).

    Courtesy of: Garden Watchdog

  10. #10
    Internet Cowboy
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    It sounds to me like she has her eyes closed, her hands over he ears and is humming loudly.

    Remember how we used to do that as kids when someone was saying something that was true, but something we didn't want to hear at all!


  11. #11
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    I think you need to give her the benefit of the doubt. There have been a few affiliate managers that I know that have had emails filtered (without their knowledge) - I'm not saying that it isn't her fault but that sometimes they are really (genuinely) in the dark and don't know that your email has been filtered. Happened to me with Gardener's Supply Co (and also to Billy Kay) when my emails suddenly got filtered out when it went through fine before. I was irate and thought the worst until I got a reply weeks later with an apology from the affiliate manager saying that he didn't know about the problem till then and fixed it pretty much when he was alerted to it.

    Oscar
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  12. #12
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    You know the funny thing is when I received the first bounced email I looked right away and it was a different address. But when all the other emails also bounced less than an hour after I sent the first one, I was baffled. My guess is that all addresses are forwarded to the same one and I was added to that spam list.

    If it had been days, weeks or months later, yes I would definitely have given her the benefit of the doubt, but less than an hour?? The first one got through just fine. Her reply sounded sincere and legitimate. And then I woke up. I thought about sending her another email from another email address, but then it wouldn't have been very nice, so I didn't. Sometimes you just have to know when to shut up.

    An affiliate manager who manages so many programs and each one is listed in several spyware lists cannot be that blind or that naive about it. She knows exactly what she's doing and why she's doing it.

    Her exact words were "Yes, I am aware how spyware works. I’ve looked into it quite a bit because of good affiliates like you who bring it to my attention." Yet all her programs are still infested with all kinds of spyware. Whoever said that Brecks was a top performer, imagine if you didn't lose any sales to spyware how well you'd do!

    All I can say is that I'm very happy to have found this board last year. I got educated rather quickly on spyware and I've been on a mission ever since to get rid of them all. Some of my merchants have thrown them out of their programs, others close their eyes and never reply.

    CJ gardening merchants won't make another dime off of my site, that's a GUARANTEE!

    Catwoman

  13. #13
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    quote:
    Originally posted by oscar:
    I think you need to give her the benefit of the doubt. There have been a few affiliate managers that I know that have had emails filtered (without their knowledge) - I'm not saying that it isn't her fault but that sometimes they are really (genuinely) in the dark and don't know that your email has been filtered. Happened to me with Gardener's Supply Co (and also to Billy Kay) when my emails suddenly got filtered out when it went through fine before. I was irate and thought the worst until I got a reply weeks later with an apology from the affiliate manager saying that he didn't know about the problem till then and fixed it pretty much when he was alerted to it.

    Oscar

    I guess its possible..

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador ShoreMark's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by scohaz:
    It sounds to me like she has her eyes closed, her hands over he ears and is humming loudly.

    Yes, the "send me proof" line seems to say it all these days -- a sure indication of either cluelesness or obfuscation.

  15. #15
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    Just sites and PPC, no funny stuff. Have had individual orders over $1000.00 and a number well over $500.00 in the last few months through Brecks.

    Have never gotten sales like that from any other bulb company. They've got a good consumer brand, lots of awareness a regular catalog, and the site converts, that's all.

  16. #16
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    I started my garden site in April last year so I was a little late to cash in on the busy season. With the small amount of traffic I had, Brecks got more hits than any other CJ gardening merchants and I never converted a single sale. In fact, the only flower and plant products I've ever sold from that site were from Nature Hills. I wonder why?

    If Lori did not include me on her spam list on purpose (her email did sound sincere and legitimate, that's why I was baffled to be "spam" all of a sudden minutes later), I will sincerely apologize to her. It's not in my nature to come out like that and jump to conclusions. On the contrary, I usually tend to give the benefit of the doubt until it finally bites me HARD to wake me up. So for me to bring it up here, I had to really believe that I had been wronged. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling and that's what I did. Maybe I'm wrong... but maybe I'm not!

    I am so sick of people who refuse to see the light and have no problems stealing from others even when they are provided all the proof they need and then some, that now I can't help myself but nearly crucify them on the spot and ask questions later if I ever get around to it.

    Catwoman

  17. #17
    Crazy Cat Lady Heidi's Avatar
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    This person is well aware of the issues. She has been contacted by other affiliates over the last couple of years and from what I remember they experienced similiar results as what you did after contacting her.
    Heidi
    "Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true"

  18. #18
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    quote:
    This person is well aware of the issues. She has been contacted by other affiliates over the last couple of years and from what I remember they experienced similiar results as what you did after contacting her.


    Ahh...then that's a different story. You're probably spot on with your hunch then Catwoman.

    Oscar
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  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager PaulS's Avatar
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    I was going to say that it could be a content-related SPAM bounce (I've had many instances where normal e-mails from people get through just fine, but as soon as they include a link or such in their e-mail suddenly it's SPAM). It depends on how well the filter has been set up.

    However, if this has happened before... then I guess that's probably not the case.

    And it does seem odd that you're suddenly bouncing. But how or why would someone do that? Do they think you'd just forget about it??? It doesn't make much sense.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    Hi Catwoman,

    I've affiliated with that list of gardening merchants and had literally a handful of sales only. The final straw for me came when I got an email from a customer asking where her order was - when I checked, there was no such order on my account, she was adamant she'd ordered through my site - I can only assume the sale was stolen by some scummy device. Just dump 'em - eventually the parasites with wither through lack of a host.

  21. #21
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    quote:
    Originally posted by PaulS:
    I was going to say that it could be a content-related SPAM bounce (I've had many instances where normal e-mails from people get through just fine, but as soon as they include a link or such in their e-mail suddenly it's SPAM). It depends on how well the filter has been set up.


    That did cross my mind. Before I came here, I looked at my first email then the second to see if anything could have triggered a spam filter that wasn't present in the first one. But I couldn't see anything I added that would do that except for the links.

    It doesn't make much sense for an AM to block links in an email. All except for the one for ABW were spyware links to their respective merchant lists showing where her programs fit in.

    But I suppose it's still a possibility.

    However, after reading Heidi's post, I don't feel so bad anymore. Besides, an AM who admits that she's looked into spyware many times because it's been brought up before but STILL advertises ALL her merchants via several of them... how much "looking into it" did she really do?

    Somebody had it right I think. Either she's got her hands over her ears singing "I can't hear you!", she's really clueless and believes everything CJ and the spyware tell her, or she just doesn't give a damn about her affiliates and only cares about who brings in the most money and spyware more than likely fit in that category.

    I don't believe for one second that she's dumb or naive. Her reply was well written, and to the point. She did say that she was well aware of how spyware works but she still wanted proof.

    How much more proof can Kellie, Ben, Happypoon, Haiko and others provide before merchants/AM's and networks realize that they're stealing from us through spyware??

    I think I will start doing what others have done and go straight to the merchant to bring this up to THEIR attention. The hell with dirty AM's. Sooner or later some of them will be eating jail dust.

    Catwoman

  22. #22
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    quote:
    The final straw for me came when I got an email from a customer asking where her order was - when I checked, there was no such order on my account, she was adamant she'd ordered through my site - I can only assume the sale was stolen by some scummy device.


    Now that really sucks!

    I first posted about it being stolen by spyware, but then again, it could just as well have been a famous CJ tracking issue or the merchant just turning it off on their end.

    Catwoman

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