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  1. #1
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    I'm preparing an article about 180solutions software, including reporting of the ways 180 software interacts with affiliate codes. I'm in good shape on the facts -- have done extensie research with my packet sniffer, and I'll include my usual level of detail. (See benedelman.org/spyware for some other things I've been doing.)

    I'm looking for a few specific things at present to round out the article:

    1) I've read lots of casual messages, and heard lots of casual comments from merchants, as to favorable statements made by affiliate network staff (LinkShare and Commission Junction) about 180. If any affiliates or, best of all, merchants have received such statements, perhaps you can pass them along to me. Statements of oral discussions are fine; forwarded emails are obviously that much better. Please indicate any confidentiality requirements (or lack thereof!) of anything you send.

    2) Merchants and networks that have removed 180. Merchants, if you've removed 180 from your program, I'd be interested to hear when and why (what information you obtained, how, to make the decision). Again, please be clear about confidentiality requirements (if any).

    3) 180 using multiple names. I've tracked down a large number of identities used by 180 -- multiple affiliate codes, redirect servers, etc. If anyone else has been working on this and would like to send details for cross-checking with what I've been doing, that'd be great.

    All correspondence to me, edelman@law.harvard.edu , or post on this thread, as you prefer.

    Meanwhile, I'm also developing a methodology to better help targeted merchants find and remove any spyware targeting their sites. Lots of merchants are presently targeted by 180 -- and in general don't even know it, or don't understand what's happening. Plus there are of course lots of other parasites. Interested merchants, please feel free to get in touch.

    Ben Edelman
    edelman@law.harvard.edu
    benedelman.org

  2. #2
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    Hello Ben,

    Did you catch the Linkshare thread?

    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...89&m=524104785

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Hi Ben,

    Good to see you around here.

    You might want to talk with Brian at ShareASale. He's the only Network that I can think of offhand who had dropped 180. He's also told them here publicly to quit trying to get back into his Network.

    I'd be interested in discussing Point 3 with you and your findings. That isn't exactly what I have found with my testing of 180 software (n-case and Zango). I also use a sniffer along with several other methods. I do have multiple ID's for them but I wouldn't call it a large number. The servers I'm seeing for 180 seems fairly limited also. I have however seen MANY other affiliates operating through the 180 software under multiple identities and affiliate ID's and at times using quite elaborate redirect means and auto cookie setting in conjunction with the 180 software. But these folks aren't 180 themselves but rather a mulitude (and seemingly growing number) of separate individuals paying 180 to have their affiliate stuff run through 180.

  4. #4
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    So glad to see you here and taking an interest.
    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!

  5. #5
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    Well, 180solutions was found to have been
    overwriting cookies on Clickbank by popping up
    the exact same site using their hoplink, with
    the affiliate id 'dfw180'. Clickbank evidently
    put a stop to this, but with more testing I
    found more popups on my computer and now the
    affiliate id 'relevant' was being used. I have
    no proof that this was 180solutions, but using
    Clickbanks vendor profile link, they were from
    the exact same location.

    https://secure.clickbank.net/cgi/cus...gi?nick=dfw180

    https://secure.clickbank.net/cgi/cus...?nick=relevant

    I also confirmed with
    one of the merchants I was using that he had
    been seeing sales from 'dfw180', and after it
    was found out what 180 was doing, that these
    sales stopped and then he started seeing sales
    from 'relevant'. So I believe that is a case
    where they were using multiple id's. Their
    Zango program seems to have stopped working on
    my computer now for some reason, it keeps
    shutting down so I can no longer test it.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the kind words above. The FTC comments were indeed an interesting project. Recall: WhenU Violates Own Privacy Policy (rewritten, reformatted version of the core ofm y FTC comments).

    quote:
    I'd be interested in discussing Point 3 with you and your findings. That isn't exactly what I have found with my testing of 180 software (n-case and Zango). I also use a sniffer along with several other methods. I do have multiple ID's for them but I wouldn't call it a large number. The servers I'm seeing for 180 seems fairly limited also. I have however seen MANY other affiliates operating through the 180 software under multiple identities and affiliate ID's and at times using quite elaborate redirect means and auto cookie setting in conjunction with the 180 software.


    Sorry, I should have been more clear about this. I completely agree with your assessment of what is happening: Some of the affiliate IDs are 180 itself, some are the advertisers with which 180 chooses to do business. In some instances my network monitoring and other methods allow me to distinguish between the two; in others, not. But the core fact is: 180 software uses many different affiliate codes -- whether for 180 or for its advertisers matters little to affected merchants (e.g. those seeking to exclude all 180 IDs from their programs).

    By my current count, 180 (and its advertiser partners) have a total of 10 LinkShare affiliate codes, and 27 Commission Junction codes. Stay tuned for more.

  7. #7
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    All,

    I have removed 3 postings in this thread and will remove any others that involve bickering, off topic or irrelevant information to maintain the integrity of the subject matter and respect to it's initiator.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Ben

    We have dropped, removed, blocked 180 from 9 different merchants (with more to come). Be more than happy to discuss in more detail.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  9. #9
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    We wanted to mention a few things with regards to this discussion. As always we are here to answer any questions anyone in this community might have about MetricsDirect and 180solutions. Feel free to post in my 180 Q&A thread if you wish ask me a direct question about our business.

    We appreciate the scrutiny that this community applies to many of the online affiliate publishers. We are proud to be a member of good standing with many hundreds of affiliate marketing networks. As such, we have always complied with their codes of conduct. As the industry has evolved and matured so have our relationships with the largest networks and affiliate advertisers. Those networks including Linkshare are all incredibly smart and sophisticated about their businesses and technology. Those same networks have done an incredible amount of research into our business and fully understand how we work. Those networks do a tremendous job in evaluating affiliate referrals and deciding who best deserves an affiliate commission. We respect their decisions on that issue and have no complaints when they decide to award a commission to another affiliate publisher if and when it is appropriate.

    We also respect an advertiser’s ability to choose what advertising vehicles work best for them. If an ad network does not want to work with us, then we respect that decision. We regret bothering any network that does not want to work us and fully admit that at times we have asked more then once to join. However, there was no intention to deceive anyone with our ad group’s name change to MetricsDirect. We announced our name changes back in April and there is plenty of information on the 180solutions website and MetricsDirect website tying 180 and MetricsDirect together.

    Our business is based on the premise of empowering consumers to make choices and alternatives through highly-tailored advertising. Giving users alternatives and options is inherently pro-consumer and pro-competition. The idea that users do not have the right to hear or see commercial alternatives is simply anti-consumer. Businesses that are pro-consumer understand that the best offer wins and are not afraid of a little competition. If an alternative presented by our software is a better offer, then the user will respond, if not then they will ignore it.

  10. #10
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    Consumers don't like popup advertising. If you need i can post some articles where it's about 75% not knowing how it got on their computer, don't like it and uninstall it. I think there is a reason it's bundled because most people would not go to your site and download it. I'm sure advertisers are loving it but you're missing the biggest part of the equation, the end user/consumer. There is a reason pop up blockers are very popular. I guess the courts will have to decide about the trademark and copyright infringement issues.

    http://www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/artpre...ticle_id=28241

    "We now believe that consumers in general do not like the idea," eDiets CEO David Humble said in a statement."

    That's from a former merchant utilizing your product.

  11. #11
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Ben,

    I would be happy to speak with you on this issue from a network perspective if you need one. We operate a smallish adware-free network, but even if we did allow adware, 180 would not be one of them due to things that I have seen and business practices in the past. Despite my polite and business-like conversations with them about that - they continue to sign up under multiple aliases.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    quote:
    Despite my polite and business-like conversations with them about that - they continue to sign up under multiple aliases.
    Isn't it nice that LinkShare sees nothing wrong with this? Isn't that what all of us want in an ethical, upfront, honest, partner? Someone who can't take "no" for an answer? Why abide by the rules? Just sign up under another name, and hope you don't get caught. Everyone does it, right?

    The networks are going to have to be run through the "Super Duty" cycle to get rid of the parasite stench...

    Andy

  13. #13
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Zeus:
    quote:
    180help - Special Liaison
    From time to time, we review and terminate relationships with advertisers who do things they shouldn’t be doing.


    Are you really thinking we're so dumb?


    Oh, they probably *do* occasionally terminate advertisers.

    "The devil is in the details," as the old cliche goes...

    The rest of the story is most likely that they would be terminating advertisers who try to defraud 180 Solutions! THAT'S the "thing they shouldn't be doing" that even 180 wouldn't tolerate...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  14. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    quote:
    From time to time, we review and terminate relationships with advertisers who do things they shouldn’t be doing.


    Any chance you could just terminate yourselves then? From all the networks?

    How can you sit there and spout such utter crap, when even LinkShare have said you're not in compliance at present time. Granted CJ would rather choke to death than admit such a thing but one out of two is good enough for me, along with my own data.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  15. #15
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Serious Rant Alert



    quote:
    [Quote Removed]


    Mike PLEASE stop these kinds of posts! As I already posted in this thread, if you can't back up such statements with facts it is BEST not to post such things at all!!!! That kind of bullshit statement as FACT without ANY type of backing up of the claim is EXACTLY why I asked Haiko to edit your other post in this thread.

    It is not helpful at all and in fact it is HARMFUL!!! First is that while you may feel that no one is going to come after your ass with a lawsuit, it certainly doesn't mean that Haiko and the board won't get threatened with one. And while you personally may or may not give a flying leap about that, it is not good for this community. Second is that type of crap completely and totally discredits the entire thread by those being sent here to understand the issues (people who don't normally come to ABW and know the members and their posting styles). I can not tell you how MANY times I've had to try and explain away the types of posts you just made to people I'm trying to work with that will yield positive changes. Or how many times I've referred someone to a thread that seemed to be staying on track with good factual information only to have it go astray like this one and have them blow me off because they completely disregard the whole thread based on what they saw with a few posts along the lines of this terrorist stuff. IT IS NOT F'ING HELPFUL!!!!!!!!!!! It's not amusing and it's not funny and it's not witty and it's not anything but harmful in the long run!

    <~~~~~ End message to Mike

    Now I love you guys all to death (Mike included) but in case you haven't noticed yet, I'm one pissed off camper right now.

    I'm am SO completely frustrated!!!! Haiko posted:

    quote:
    and will remove any others that involve bickering, off topic or irrelevant information to maintain the integrity of the subject matter and respect to it's initiator.

    and then I came back and posted saying I had requested Haiko to do so (and thank-you Haiko for responding so quickly).

    Now go back and look at the posts which were made FOLLOWING Haiko's post. Did anyone even bother to read what he posted??? It sure as hell doesn't look like it to me.

    Over and over again I have tried to be diplomatic requesting members to use some restraint in their postings and to keep their postings factually based and on topic. I've asked publicly and privately of members as situations arise. And you know what? I don't think people have done it ONCE!

    I completely understand how many feel about these issues. The intensity of the feelings, how deep those feelings go, the anger they feel, ...the passion. Do you think I would be spending as much of my own time as I do trying to make changes for the better that will good for all affiliates if I didn't feel the same way?? Do you think I would be putting myself potentially in the crosshairs of some folks if I didn't? And I certainly didn't incorporate myself just for the fun of it and to give myself more work with filling out a boatload of extra taxforms to Uncle Sam.

    I feel and think many of the same things I see people posting. But do you see me posting some of the type of things I've been seeing?? NO!

    And I'm not saying everyone should always just post all nicey nicey and not put the heat on when there definitely needs to be heat being turned up. I'm asking that people people to THINK a bit about what will yield the most positive results when they post!!! A knee jerk inflammatory post which contains NO factual information of the wrong doing and is basically just name calling or something that is FACTUALLY based and can nail their asses to the wall with exactly what is going on??

    And I am not interested in hearing one damn thing about "Free Speech." That is not the issue or the point! The point is do you WANT some of this shit to go away or not??? If you DO then there ARE going to be times that a certain amount of restraint HAS to happen with posts.



    And Ms. B flouces off the boards in a rather pissed off mood because she is sick and tired of not only having to fight the bastards but try to counteract the damage that is done by many posts of the people who care about these issues the most and are making me have to do 10 x the work on it than I should have to. And for making me sound like Wayne P with this post.

    [Edited out Mike's Quote]

  16. #16
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    [Thread integrity restored]

    I left Ms. B's post so that you all can read it before you post in this thread. BTW - I hope you all know that I absolutely despise editing or deleting posts but I said I would do it in this thread and will continue to.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  17. #17
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    > help targeted merchants find and remove any spyware targeting their sites.

    Yes, please include me on that list.

    As an On-Site Tech Support person for a few years prior to affiliate marketing, I know how many times I went homes and businesses and they hated pop-ups or did not understand how it got there, all they wanted was to get rid of it. After a while It got out of hand and just hated going over and fixing the same old problem on the same computer. Sure money as tech support is good, but frustration sets in with these companies pop-ups all the time.

    I know first hand as 100% of the time everyone just wanted rid of it and do not care what the pop-up or ad is about, specially when children are in front of it and mom is calling me to wonder why her kid is going to these sites unaware that it was not the child going directly but rather kids downloading hotbar and other toolbars. I would not want my daughter getting this either.

    I understand how these companies using these tactics work and have now seeing this from a merchants point of view and how other affiliates and other merchants use them. Perhaps they might not even be aware of this, which is highly unlikely, but I always give everyone the benefit first.

    I have seen so many pop-ups from when-u and gator lately from affiliates its ridiculous. What am I supposed to do as a merchant. For one, I want as many affiliates as possible to join, that is every merchants goal, but some affiliates don't care either or maybe not aware. Should I say forget it and let everyone in even without checking first. Merchants need to check affiliates sites too and make them aware of what is going on on their sites too so that we can stop these companies. I have never received a letter or anything from any of my merchants asking me about my sites or whether I have any pop-ups etc. (you know I don't) but has anyone ever check and thanked me for not allowing these companies 180, when-u, or gator in.

    I just went to a site called (( goaddy.com ( PLEASE NO ONE CLICK THIS AS YOU WILL get dangerous pop-ups and download from gator and whenU. I have prompt enabled, so it asks before downloads, etc.) as I clicked I received so many pop-ups of when-u and gator.

    You get trafficmp dot com, Traffic Market Place dot com with and ad for Colorado Technical University Online, goaddy dot com leads to alvarocollazo dot com then pop-up for dealhlper dot com download pop-up for Time Synchronize, also a pop-up for ah-ha dot com promoting a billion searches, then another from adsdk dot com pop-up for 1000 free smileys, then another for Time clock from gator dot com. then searchfst dot com, poker-wholesale dot com. I probably would have received hundreds if I did not know what to hit to shut them down quick, as many consumers just do not know and just keep on trying,

    As an affiliate marketer and merchant I am very opposed to such tactics by these companies. I do not want these people stealing my any commission, and as a merchant I do not want these people on my affiliates sites or mine stealing or doing overrides or drive-bys, etc.

    Perhaps one way is to do as I have been already doing, if you are a merchant please check your affiliates, whether they are new are old affiliates, look at their sites and see what if any pop-ups are happening.

    Every new affiliate that joins us I check their site and if I get pop-ups I make them aware of what they have on their site. Not a personal attack from me but so that everyone is aware, somewhere it has to stop.

    I expect my affiliates to check on me to see if I deal with any of these companies, well then merchants should expect the same from affiliates, its the only way to check each other.

    I can blame the networks too for allowing such things to happen, but if you really think about it, the networks are basically the middle man, it has to stop with the merchant and with the affiliate too.

    Many merchants have their own in-house affiliate program as we do, but if there where no such network or middle man then who do we blame, you can't blame anyone but a direct connection between the affiliate and the merchant.

    If networks such as shareasale can do it, and stop merchants from promoting spyware, so can others. Shareasale can't keep track of what affiliates do on their sites so when an affiliate signs up and enters a site not listed within shareasale to the merchant then the merchants need to let the affiliates to verify and make affiliates aware too.

  18. #18
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    I'm surprised at your godaddy.com findings Jorge, I have most of my sites there and I cannot remember ever getting a popup whilst going there. Have any other of you guys had these popups?
    One day parasites and their ilk will be made illegal, I bet a few Lawyers will be pissed off when the day comes.
    Mr. Spitzer is fetching it nearer

    YouTrek

  19. #19
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    Gordon,

    You need to read his post again. He said he
    meant to type in godaddy.com and typed in
    goaddy.com by mistake. This is where he got all
    the popups from.

    Wayne

  20. #20
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    oh I see thanks Wayne its a good job someone can read better than I can I completely missed that.
    One day parasites and their ilk will be made illegal, I bet a few Lawyers will be pissed off when the day comes.
    Mr. Spitzer is fetching it nearer

    YouTrek

  21. #21
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    The perp at that popup hell hole is.,...


    Registrant:
    Alvaro Collazo (GOADDY-COM-DOM)
    Manuel Oribe 2028
    Tarariras, Colonia 70000
    R.O.U.
    +1.7029778198
    mail@alvarocollazo.com

    Domain Name: GOADDY.COM

    Administrative Contact:
    Alvaro Collazo mail@alvarocollazo.com
    Manuel Oribe 2028
    Tarariras, Colonia 70000
    R.O.U.
    +1.7029778198

    Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
    Alvaro Collazo mail@alvarocollazo.com
    Manuel Oribe 2028
    Tarariras, Colonia 70000
    R.O.U.
    +1.7029778198

    Record last updated on 26-Apr-2004.
    Record expires on 14-Apr-2005.
    Record created on 14-Apr-2004.

    Domain servers in listed order:

    Name Server: ns1.dr-parkingservices.com
    Name Server: ns2.dr-parkingservices.com

    Whereever that country code R.O.U. points I hope they have a way to make money other then spreading HHO parasites.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  22. #22
    Full Member markschok's Avatar
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    Uruguay, republic of

    A quick google just out of interest and...

    "Senor Alvaro Collazo is a busy man"

    http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/deci...2002-0108.html
    http://www.demys.net/news/2003/07/30_air_france.htm
    http://expategghead.blogspot.com/200...d_archive.html
    http://www.arb-forum.com/domains/decisions/248954.htm

    typo squating galore. No mention of the goaddy one being contested though

    Now back to the thread

  23. #23
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    Folks,

    I have finished the article described in my first thread about.

    The Effect of 180solutions on Affiliate Commissions and Merchants
    http://www.benedelman.org/spyware/180-affiliates

    Article includes HTTP logs (made with my network monitor / "packet sniffer") showing 180's use of IFRAMEs for hidden affiliate code replacement. I've also included listings of more than 300 targeted merchants. Finally, I've cited scores of ABW posts as to others reporting similar problems, merchants taking action, etc.

    I particularly look forward to feedback from ABW readers.


    Ben Edelman

  24. #24
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Nothing beats telling it like it is.


  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador
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    Very informative and nicely done.

    I do wish more was covered on the angle of spyware the negative effect on consumers and how the networks continue participation with firms not only redirecting massive amounts of transactions but that prey on millions of unsuspecting consumers slowing down their PCs and internet connections while doing their dasterdly deeds.

    The link to the installation methods is nice but easily loses it's meaning in the overall scope of the article.

    I personally feel this battle will be ultimately won by showing negative effect on consumers. Affiliates have been documenting proof of foul play to networks for several years now to no avail. I would like to think your article will result in a change of network policies but past experience makes me think that won't be the case!

    Thanks very much for your time and efforts in exposing the continued acceptance of foul play on consumers, affiliates and merchants by networks on behalf of spyware companies!

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