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  1. #1
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    Hello Everybody

    I am a new member of ABW forum and I want to thank you all for receiving me warmly in the introductory thread.

    Mates, recently a member of this forum (Thank you Deborah ) brought to our attention that we are promoting a spyware software through our site. Naturally this came as a big shock to us because we are indeed promoting Zango to our members but the "people" over at Zango told us that this is a "international chat system" which enables users to chat with multiple chat software. We thought that this is cool and one that would make our member's lives easier. But now we see all this... Jesus this is a catastrophe!!!!

    Please, I'm begging you all here, please can anybody confirm if this is something that Zango has moved on from doing? I mean are they still doing this sort of spyware actively or is it something they've stopped. Because we were on the phone with them right now and they're just brushing it off saying that it's nothing to worry about... Yeah ruining my reputation is a jolly good thing!!! I mean so many people here in these threads can't be wrong...

    Please mates, help me.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Zango delivers pop up advertising based off where the end user is currently surfing. I've never seen any kind of chat feature with Zango.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador qball0213's Avatar
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    Yes they are definately infecting users pc's and popping up ads on them from their software, chat may be something that it does as well, but, they are making some serious money from the people who download their software without knowing. Start your research here, http://www.benedelman.org/spyware/180-affiliates/ for some unbiased documentation of some of the things htey have and are currently doing.

  4. #4
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    quote:
    Originally posted by qballĀ©:
    Yes they are definately infecting users pc's and popping up ads on them from their software, chat may be something that it does as well, but, they are making some serious money from the people who download their software without knowing. Start your research here, http://www.benedelman.org/spyware/180-affiliates/ for some unbiased documentation of some of the things htey have and are currently doing.


    Qball thank you for posting this link.

    This is bloody unbelievable... How can they get away with stuff like this???

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador buy_online's Avatar
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    "This is bloody unbelievable... How can they get away with stuff like this??? "

    Because many networks and merchants choose to overlook their activities. The networks overlook it, because they bring great revenue into the networks. The merchants overlook it, because they don't know any better, thinking it is a good revenue source.

    It gets better. Imagine paying for advertising twice, for the same ad? That's the effect on the merchant that doesn't know any better.

    Glad you're here Pixellogo - welcome to ABW

    Fred

  6. #6
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    quote:
    Because many networks and merchants choose to overlook their activities.
    I would go a little further than this,
    The likes of CJ, Linkshare and Performics actually vigorously promote various parasites to their merchants and they make no mention of the thieving ways the parasites collect their ill-gotten commissions. The newer merchants/AM's that know no better tend to believe all the crap the Networks tell them and admit the parasites into their programs.

    You will also find some parasites (Ebates is one I know of) allow certain merchants to opt out of their MMM program theoreticly this prevents them overwriting other affiliates ID's and make them look as if they are now honest, but as we have recently seen with Ebates they are still stealing our commissions (and quite probably other parasites are doing something similar) this is yet another crock of crap that very conveniently happens during the best selling period of the year and the stupid Networks will probably give them yet another 60 days to get their act together (as if they haven't already).

    Once a parasite always a parasite, scumbags will never voluntarily change their ways, they need to be forced and the Networks (the present day ones) will not step up to the plate until they are forced by some new long overdue Laws.
    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

  7. #7
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    We tend to use the word "spyware" pretty freely, and I think perhaps we need to be clear about what Zango is. Basically, it's a parasite designed to generate money for its publishers, often through hijacking affiliate links and overwriting cookies.

    This is different from some other types of malware, some of which is designed for straight criminal activity such stealing passwords and other personal data.

    So, your visitor's PCs might well have applications on causing annoying popups, slowing down their machine and causing performance issues. There's strong evidence to show that affiliate commissions are being misdirected. However, it won't steal things like bank passwords.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  8. #8
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    Anything related to Zango/NCase/MetricsDirect should be considered suspect. If this scum stood on the street corner and handed me a hundred dollar bill, I'd burn it and scrub myself with disinfectant.

    Certain networks have no shame or ethics and will sell honest affiliates down the river for the scum's dollars.

    Wayne

  9. #9
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    @ MO,

    I understand exactly what you are saying but the fact that this application has been installed stealthily, has previously been identified as transmitting personal information as well as at one point passing encrypted data (which means they dont want you to see what is being transmitted and it could be anything!) You wouldn't call an app with these characteristics as spyware?

    I personally would and see zango as more than just theftware, parasiteware, adware or whatever else you would want to call due to the additional considerations noted.

  10. #10
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Well, I'm not trying to stick up for the scumbags, they're maybe not quite as evil as Satan though.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  11. #11
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    I spent most of last night going through the entire threads about 180/zango/ncase. I also want to thank you all for taking the time to explain all this to me.
    This is unbelievable. They are getting away with pure good old fashioned con jobs and funnily enough they even had one of their reps come here to explain and educate you all of the soundness and "transparency" of their business plan... If this was a brick and mortar business doing business in the physical world then the police would be on them in a minute. But the thing that really bothers me is that so many hard working people who spend endless days to make a decent buck end up being cheated. It's unbelievable.

    At least I can do something about it. By the end of today Pixellogo.com will be free of all ties to them. This has been a crash course for us on companies like 180S and a real eye-opener.

    I sincerely apologize to anyone who installed Zango because of our promotion. We were led to believe that it was an innocent useful software. If anybody needs any help with removing spyware from their units, please drop us a line from our Contact Us page and we will be more than happy to help with resources for good software.

    Thank you again everybody!

  12. #12
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    Yes, Zango is being promoted as something 'new', customer-friendly, useful even.

    It's not. The Zango code is exactly the same as the well-known nCase parasite. Just with different filenames. Woo-hoo.

  13. #13
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    Pixellogo,

    Can you take a fresh look at whatever marketing materials 180solutions gave you to get you to sign up to promote their program? Look for any material omissions, misleading statements, or failure to disclose what their programs will really do. If you see anything notable, post here.

    Or, you can forward the files/links/whatever to me ( edelman -at- law.harvard.edu ) and I will be happy to do so.

    We already have good reason to believe 180's solicitations are materially misleading (for starters, they promote their bundle by spam!), but it would be great to have that much more proof on hand.

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Push some deceptive paperwork to the FTC, to go with the stealth installs and blatant Trademark violations is a smart move Ben.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  15. #15
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    OK, I just got a new computer last weekend, finally got Windows XP and it already came with the SP2 update. Question I have, other popups are blocked, but the popups from Zango still get through. Why are there popups not blocked like the others?

  16. #16
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    Pop-up blockers (typically; certainly the SP2 one) act as part of the web browser, to prevent web pages opening popups.

    However, Zango is not a web page, it's a separate program running on the computer. A program running on your computer can do anything it likes.

  17. #17
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Nice to know you forked out some bucks for a new XP computer Wayne, only to find out some of these BHO Adwhore firms might now own it. That's right. Several of the BHO's, along with their 10 page EULA full of legalsleeze, actually get a quick claim deed on your system for the bundled browser/spyware hijacker program. Open one of the XMas musical greeting cards and you'll be like one of my clients showing off his new $3000 Sony 505 ultra light notebook at the Company Christmas party. The little 2 lb wonder had a wireless network card and was online at the feast table as it was passed around the gathering.

    Some office worker sent the boss a whimsical Greeting card while at the table. NEET -KWELL...the CEO opened it and clicked accept to view the card and laughed. Within minutes the hijacked present was throwing popups on his own Webmaster Mike designed web site and Google searches... Bet his private e-mail box was also filling up with Viagra and Porn Ads too. Took me an extra hour after the party to remove the offending programs on a system not even 1 day old.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  18. #18
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    I downloaded it on purpose to test it to see if it still worked or not. Now I know, I was hoping the SP2 update would stop their commission theft, but I guess not. There was a program on Clickbank that just started their own independent affiliate program, so I joined that and sales looked good at first. Then they dropped to almost nothing. I've found out that 180 has signed up with their independent affiliate program also. When I go to my page on my site they don't pop up, but as soon as I click on the order link and go to the merchant's site their popup comes up. I've tested it four times and got their popup all four times. I've been in contact with the merchant about this, but looks like they don't want to get rid of 180. I tried to explain to them that 180 has no traffic of their own, they just popup over top of other affiliate sites and steal their commission. I gave him the links to this forum and to Ben's site, but 180 must be making them quite a bit of money. They asked if they could meet me half way and work out something on this, but I told them there is no half way with me, if they want to support 180 I will promote other products. I delete Zango from my computer immediately after testing, have no trust in that company whatsoever.

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager Allen Nance's Avatar
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    Wayne,

    Time to out this merchant and let the rest of us give them a go.

  20. #20
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    Wayne, The main thing for the merchant to understand is that not only are 180's behaviors unethical, but the most-harmed party is the merchant. It's not as if 180 is popping up the merchant's site to cover the merchant's competitor (a controversial and dubious practice in its own right, but one that would at lesat have the potential to offer the merchant some new traffic). Covering the merchant's site with a "double" popup (or, as now occurs almost as often, an obfuscated/decoy double window that loads the merchant's affiliate link in a hidden window) just costs the merchant money -- commissions they wouldn't otherwise have had to pay.

    As you say, there's no half-way point on this issue. Either merchants understand that they're being cheated and take action to stop it, or they ignore it. It's a rare merchant who admits to understanding but nonetheless does nothing. Even if they wanted to ignore it, it's hard to endorse a program (180) that gets installed through security holes, that fails to show a license agreement and obtain a user's consent, etc. Recall my video showing 180 intsallation through security holes.

    As to targeted merchants: Yes, 180 is targeting a lot of independent programs these days. Recall that many (though my no means all or even most) LinkShare merchants ended up on 180's exclusion list, and CJ's enforcement efforts seem to be somewhat tougher than in the past (though still far from sufficient, to be sure). So independent merchants are apparently looking more and more attractive.

  21. #21
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    I'll add my two cents and say this is an issue with independent programs in general.

    Network links are not supposed to be popped on in nagivation but protection with independent links seems at best questionable. Try adding &afsrc=1 to you indie link and see if they still pop on it, if they do, document it and present it to the networks as a COC violation. If it doesn't, you should consider appending the afsrc=1 parameter to your indie links at least for this merchant. I've seen some indies whose links would not work at all with the afsrc=1 parm added to it so don't just go change them all without testing them first.

  22. #22
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    I've been on the phone a couple of times already with this merchant, and I get the impression that they don't want to get rid of 180, but I think they are going to pay the price in the long run. I've been selling this type of product since 1999 and have always done well with it. There is a new similar product coming onto the Clickbank marketplace which will pay almost double the commission. I have already switched over to this other product, and I believe a lot of the other affiliates will be switching over once they find out about this program. I've got some ideas on how to stop 180 on my own site, but won't post them here since I know they read this forum. I've been in contact with the owner of this new program several times, and he says he will not allow this to happen with his program.

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