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  1. #1
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    quote:
    FROM: http://www.abestweb.com/Newsletter/3.htm

    I think we need to show BeFree and Gator that we DO have a voice and we will not put up with the unethical pilferage of our traffic or commissions!
    Is Gator now doing what WhenU does?

    WhenU was (or still is) taking over the referral credits from other affiliate members whenever WhenU encountered another affiliate link to an affiliate program that WhenU was an affiliate of too. Is Gator now doing the same thing with BeFree affiliate members (taking their affiliate referral credits)?

    ThiefWare.com

    [This message was edited by Curt on August 26, 2002 at 06:09 AM.]

  2. #2
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    quote:
    Is Gator now doing what WhenU does?

    Not that I can tell.

    I recently installed gator to draw my own conclusions about that company and I see no indication that they're using those tactics to hijacking affiliate links.

    Any of my affiliate links remain referencing my own affiliate code when I land on the merchant.

  3. #3
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    Haiko's message sorta indicates that Gator is doing what WhenU did to affiliates when his page says “...unethical pilferage of our traffic or commissions!” hence my question. Perhaps Haiko can elaborate what he was actually trying to get across on that page. It's not real clear to me what is being said.

    ThiefWare.com

  4. #4
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    quote:
    It's not real clear to me what is being said.


    Yeah, that seems to be a bit of a problem. This has the makings of a witch hunt.

    I hope anybody who's inclined to act on opinions expressed here does a little of their own research first.

  5. #5
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    I believe the WhenU tactic was to replace cookies on a persons computer with their own and even use programs that would secretly be installed on a person's computer that would automatically use their affiliate link when a person visited certain merchants, even if that user had just erased all of their cookies.

    I can't believe a reputable company such as Gator would do a thing like this [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]. I would never download any Gator product on my computer. They disguise their spyware as a program that could be useful. If you download their program you are doing a great disservice to the thousands of honest webmasters that are trying to make money the ethical way.

  6. #6
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    No, Gator is not copying WhenU tactics but they are pilfering our traffic or commissions with their popups. In July they had 19,609,000 uniques (#15th) where do you think those uniques come from? They are all pop-up on affiliate sites.

    Flower, It is not a witch hunt it is a plea to ask Gator from poping up on affiliate sites.

    Haiko

    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli

  7. #7
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    Thanks Haiko [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    That puts it into perspective. I can agree that if ads are being displayed over affiliates based on affiliate URLs or keywords, the ads redirect traffic away from affiliates which amounts to a similar end result that causes a loss of commissions.

    ThiefWare.com

  8. #8
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    Hi everybody,

    I was looking at the websponsors site yesterday and saw that one of their "case studies" is about how much they helped Gator. Do you feel the same way about websponsors as you do about BF?

    The reason I ask is that I was wondering if I should think about signing back up for websponsors after reading some positive things about them at ABW. I dropped out last year, but I can't remember why. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img]

    Thanks;
    Ed

  9. #9
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    Gator somehow (through software bundles, unauthorized downloads, or some other way) secretly installs itself on your computer, and becomes a major headache to delete all of their files, since it writes code directly into your system registry. Whether illegal or not, its very sneaky, annoying, and was unwelcome and unwanted.

    The only reason I discovered it myself was when my firewall software alerted me that a program on my computer was attempting to access the internet. On investigation, I found out it was Gator software that had somehow installed itself on my computer, and I never did download it voluntarily. I have no idea what information it was attempting to transmit, and I'm afraid to find out. I had to download special software (AdAware I believe) to delete the Gator files, since it was beyond the ability of simple uninstalls to remove their software.

    All this for something I never agreed to download. If it weren't for my firewall, I never would have know it was there. Then, even knowing it was there, it took time and effort to find special software that would remove it from my computer.

    Does this sound ethical to you? I've never had this happen with any other piece of software I wanted to remove, nor have I ever found any other software on my computer that I didn't specifically install, and I've been working with PCs since 1982. Things that make you go HMMMM....Extrememly scummy...

  10. #10
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    The driveby hidden installs suit Gators schemes, since very few savvy affiliates would promote a company that cherry picks their traffic and causes conversion ratios for Gator Merchants to plummet. The real bad part is Gator charging concerned merchants, wanting to keep their competitors Ads from pooping up on their domains and SE listings, upto 50,000.00 as a pseudo extortion or protection fee. Kind of like the mafia of the internet. I presume a protection racket is still illegal and warrants some RICO investigation.

    WebMaster Mike

  11. #11
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    quote:
    Flower, It is not a witch hunt it is a plea to ask Gator from poping up on affiliate sites.


    The plea is a commendable one. And (this is important) don't take my pushback in any way as endorsement of Gator and thier ilk. Also, I don't mean to be preachy, nor do I claim to know all on the subject. But I do feel that I've educated myself on how it works.

    The reason I say this has the makings of a witch hunt is that Haiko (who I know has educated himself on how Gator works), has raised all these villagers. They're all telling the scumware story. But the more people repeat the story, the more the facts become distorted. So everytime someone hollers about Gator with misinformation, the group loses credibility.

    For example, contrary to what people are saying, Gator is uninstallable -- at least the current version is. I installed it (from a driveby install, finally said 'yes') and uninstalled it from Windows Add/Remove programs. It all uninstalled clean. I verified this with before and after snapshots with Adaware.

    Second, technically, Gator doesn't pop-up on top of affiliate sites as you suggest in your plea above (except maybe some very big ones). It does pop up on top of merchant sites (e.g, Staples, officedepot). The end result is the same -- the buyer is distracted and the affiliate loses a sale. But people can say that you don't know what you're talking about.

    Third, as far as I can tell, the driveby downloads aren't done through their affiliate program. I've examined some of them and they're done with other partnerships of pop-up and pop-under advertising companies.
    Should BeFree distance themselves from them? Yeah, or at least lean on them hard. But are they responsible for or enabling ugly driveby downloads? I haven't seen any evidence. (In fact their affiliate program may be their only legitimate marketing program where they drive traffic to their site where the user must actually choose to download the software.)

    There's plenty bad to be said about Gator.
    (1) They use a downright sneaky installation method that when used in conjuction with pop-under supporting ad-networks can trick users into installing.
    (2) If you don't know that it got installed, you don't know to try and uninstall it.
    (3) They pop up on top of websites and promote competitors, even when another advertiser/affiliate has driven that traffic.
    (4) And if Mike is right about the $50,000 payoffs, that stinks too -- though I haven't heard that from anywhere else.
    (5) it made my browser crash.

    All bad.

    Morpheus and Limewire were no-brainers. They were actively overwriting affiliate links with their own so even they couldn't deny the problem. Gator's not so black-and-white, so it's a tougher argument and not so easy for them to admit wrongdoing. So don't undermine your own credibility. Install it, watch what it does, uninstall it.

    And in the process, you may be surprised at some of the merchants who are advertising through Gator.


    My apologies for the long post.


    I leave you with this care of Monty Python....(nothing personal, it's just plain hilarious.) [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    FIRST VILLAGER: We have found a witch. May we burn her?

    ALL VILLAGERS: Burn her! Burn her! Burn her! Burn her! Burn her!

    BEDEVERE: How do you know she is a witch?

    FIRST VILLAGER: She looks like one!

    ALL VILLAGERS: Yeah! Yeah! Burn her! Yeah!

    BEDEVERE: Bring her forward.

    [They bring her forward - a beautiful YOUNG GIRL (MISS ISLINGTON) dressed up as a witch.]

    WITCH: I'm not a witch. I'm not a witch.

    BEDEVERE: Uh, but you are dressed as one.

    WITCH: They dressed me up like this.

    ALL VILLAGERS: We didn't, we didn't!

    WITCH: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.

    [BEDEVERE takes her nose off.]

    BEDEVERE: Well?

    FIRST VILLAGER: ... Well, we did do the nose.

    BEDEVERE: The nose?

    FIRST VILLAGER: And the hat. But she is a witch.

    ALL VILLAGERS: Yeah! We burn her! Yeah! Burn her!

    BEDEVERE: Did you dress her up like this?

    FIRST VILLAGER: No! No! No! No! No!... Yes .. Yes ... A bit. A bit. She has got a wart!

    BEDEVERE: What makes you think she is a witch?

    SECOND VILLAGER: Well, she turned me into a newt!

    BEDEVERE: [after a pause] A newt?

    [Others stare and look at SECOND VILLAGER, who is plainly a human, not a newt.]

    SECOND VILLAGER: [Notices the stares. After a pause:] I got better.

    ALL VILLAGERS: Burn her anyway! Burn her! Burn her! Burn her!

    BEDEVERE: Quiet! Quiet! There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.

    [ARTHUR and PATSY ride up at this point and watch what follows with interest]

    ALL VILLAGERS: Are there? There are? What are they? Tell us! Do they hurt?

    BEDEVERE: Tell me ... What do you do with witches?

    ALL VILLAGERS: Burn them! Burn them! Burn them up!

    BEDEVERE: And what do you burn apart from witches?

    FIRST VILLAGER: More witches!

    SECOND VILLAGER: Sh!

    THIRD VILLAGER: Wood!

    BEDEVERE: So why do witches burn?

    FOURTH VILLAGER: [pianissimo] ... Because they're made of wood...?

    BEDEVERE: Good.

    [PEASANTS stir uneasily then come round to this conclusion.]

    ALL VILLAGERS: Oh! Oh yeah!

    BEDEVERE: So. How do we tell whether she is made of wood?

    FIRST VILLAGER: Build a bridge out of her!

    BEDEVERE: Ah ... but can you not also make bridges out of stone?

    ALL VILLAGERS: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Uhh...

    BEDEVERE: Uh, does wood sink in water?

    ALL VILLAGERS: No! No! No! It floats! It floats! Throw her into the pond! The pond!

    BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?

    ALL VILLAGERS: ... Bread! ...Apples! ... Uh, very small rocks! Cider! Gra- Gravy! Cherries! Mud! Churches! Churches! Lead! Lead!

    ARTHUR: A duck!

    [They all turn and look at ARTHUR. BEDEVERE looks up very impressed.]

    BEDEVERE: Exactly. So... logically ...

    FIRST VILLAGER: [beginning to pick up the thread] If... she ... weighs.. the same.. as a duck ... she's made of wood.

    BEDEVERE: And therefore?

    ALL VILLAGERS: A witch! A witch! A witch!

    (taken from here: http://thecave.virtualave.net/TheWit...n/mp-holy.html )

  12. #12
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Scott,

    I have spoken to Befree and Linkshare about your alleged claim of looking into not popping up on affiliates sites (documented) and see that you have done nothing to that effect!

    No matter how you reduce, Gator's damage against affiliates, to the ridiculous ... you still are taking our traffic ... I asked you to stop this 2 months ago and have heard and seen nothing to this effect. I have removed the gatorisacrock site from public viewing ... yet, you sir, are still continuing your tactics and care not to act on your word!

    No-on has spammed neither you nor Steve ... they are the victims ... they have a voice no matter how either of you desire to hear it or not! I seriously doubt that any of them "were horrified and apologized", but, it sounds good!

    We had a dialog, and I acted in good faith accordingly, but if BeFree and Gator are desirous of pilfering affiliate traffic I will continue to complain as will affiliates (including my members). You are on my mailing list as is Steve Pike, so you could see exactly what I said. I said nothing detrimental, nor encouraged any "Spam" (as you call it) ... these are the people who you own the sites where you pop up on, they are complaining about you and befree allowing you to ... this is America, we have a voice, no matter how much you or Befree has in the coffers!

    Now I will ask you once again ... can you PLEASE stop popping up on affiliate sites? Your past "logic" of "pilfering" only 1% of the sales and that we should allow such is asinine - "I stole 100Million but gave back 99MM so let me have the 1MM! That is ridiculous!"

    If you find a need to take action against me that is fine, although an effort in futility ... the violators in this case, Gator and BeFree are the ones with the money to lose ... not me!

    Now lets get back on track ... and continue our open dialog ... that YOU dropped the ball on ... not me!

    Haiko
    Haiko@abestweb.com
    ============================
    http://www.abestweb.com
    The Fastest Growing Affiliate board
    5,400++ members are not wrong!
    ============================


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Scott Eagle"
    To:
    Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 12:10 AM
    Subject: emails


    > I received a bunch of emails today from folks personally telling me that
    > "your" email newsletter gave them the facts they needed to Spam me and
    > Steve. When I gave them the real facts they were horrified and apologized.
    >
    > The next time you take any direct action against Gator you should be
    > prepared to have your attorney respond on your behalf.
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Scott
    >
    >
    >

    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli

  13. #13
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Fowler,

    Hi and Welcome to ABW!

    quote:
    Gator's not so black-and-white, so it's a tougher argument and not so easy for them to admit wrongdoing.


    PLEASE READ ... it is BLACK AND WHITE!

    quote:
    Actual correspondance with Scott on 5/31!


    quote:

    Haiko,

    It was great to speak with you as well. Lets keep up a dialog.

    And again, please share the following analysis with the affiliate community as we are not even impacting them 1%. Here is real math that they should understand:

    At even 15 million worldwide consumers last quarter, Gator represents less than a 10% domestic overlap with their user base. More likely closer to 5%, but lets use 10% for this example. Then when these 10% overlap consumers see our ad on sites where they (the affiliate) drove traffic to, we get a 10% click rate on our ad. The other 90% of folks ignore/close our ad and continue perusing the affiliate driven site as they were before the ad showed up. This means that right off the bat that AT MOST we impact 1% of Affiliate business (e.g. 10% of the affiliate consumers who have Gator, multiplied by the 10% click rate).

    And of the 1% of consumers who do click, maybe half of clickers don't click until they are finished at the site -- or maybe some percentage of these folks click right away but then hit the back button and ultimately return. So call the "eyeball loss" done to the affiliate at half of the 1%. So the "real" lost traffic to affiliates is less than 1% overall impact. Thus, they still are getting 99.5% of all traffic they generate

    Should Affiliates like it when they lose half of a percent? Philosophically, I can understand why they don't like it. But financially
    they are really not impacted in any measurable way. Once they understand this I bet most of their anger will go away. Make sense?

    BUT now let me paint the real picture of why Affiliates aren't earning their fair share of revenue from advertisers/manufacturers.

    Look at what happens on a CPA deal where Affiliates are being taken advantage of by the manufacturers:

    As an example lets us 200 affiliate visitors who SEE/CLICK the "Company X" ad.

    Then for every 200 clickers there are AT LEAST 10-fold (2000) affiliate visitors who SEE but DON'T CLICK the Company X Ad -- but then maybe 40 (e.g. 2%) type in www.companyX.com within 4 hours.

    These 40 "view based" visitors to Company X represent 40/200ths or 20% lift that Company X gets in traffic that the affiliate NEVER gets paid for since they can't quantify this. Imagine this Greg, literally millions of impressions and VALUE delivered by Affiliates that they don't get paid for. Bummer, huh?

    That's the issue of not getting paid for view based conversions. Now add insult to injury and consider the time delay between clickthrough and transaction. In some categories, for every 10 sales that are measured via cookies in an X day period, there may be another 2 sales that happen within the next XX days after the click visits. Again, this is another 20% that the Affiliates are getting ripped off. Net, a 40% possible total loss. That is pretty unfair and very ugly Affiliate economics. Juxtapose that against the less than 1/2 of 1% Gator impact.

    As you can see from the above, LinkShare/Befree/etc affiliate member angst and anger is misplaced when it is focused on Gator. They are losing tons of money on the issues that they aren't addressing, and are losing almost nothing on the issues they are inappropriately focusing on. Again, make sense?

    Lots of food for thought.

    Peace,

    Scott

    At 01:19 PM 5/31/2002 -0400, you wrote:

    Scott,

    Thank you for the conversation yesterday.

    As I indicated I would like not to pilfer affiliates traffic. I agree with your percentages and rationale, but if it is so "infinitesimal", then I'm sure Gator Corporation wouldn't have a problem with implementing technology sufficient to gain the good will of the the affiliate community.

    As I indicated, we would love to work with Gator in a fair and meaningful manner to further all of our efforts.

    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    Haiko@abestweb.com



    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli

  14. #14
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Fowler,

    I' tired but I'll answer your post in the morning ...

    Haiko

    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli

  15. #15
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    I must admit that when I read Haiko's newsletter this morning, I didn't understand this whole Gator issue. So, I took it upon myself to do a little bit of independent research. I found several articles online reporting suits filed against Gator. The most recent article being located at Publishers sue Gator over pop-ups on June 27: "The suit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, Va. The Washington Post, The New York Times, Dow Jones and seven other publishers allege that Gator's ads violate their copyrights and steal revenue."

    What I learned was that Gator is not earning affiliate commissions. They are selling pop-up advertising to businesses that want to steal business from their competitors.

    I don't see how BeFree can defend Gator, and say they aren't doing anything wrong. HOw would BeFree like it if every time a merchant came to their site to look into setting up an affiliate program, a Pop-Up ad came up for CJ, Performics or Linkshare luring their potential new merchants away?

    quote:
    This week's action charges that Gator violates the publishers' copyright and trademark rights. By delivering unauthorized pop-up ads, Gator is altering the intended display of the work, a right that has been recognized by the Supreme Court, said Terence Ross, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.


    Oh, but of course, that would never happen because Gator serves up those pop-up ads and Gator is a merchant of BeFree. And if they continue to be a merchant, and enough people become disgusted and start pulling their business from BeFree, Gator may be the only merchant left at BeFree. Then BeFree will BeBroke.

    quote:
    The latest suit highlights mounting tension over tactics used by Gator and others. Earlier this year, WeightWatchers.com sued rival DietWatch.com for using Gator to deliver ads to visitors of its site. On June 11, a court granted WeightWatchers a permanent injunction barring DietWatch from serving ads on its site.


    Gator is stepping on some really big toes! I don't think a Barnes and Noble brick and mortar store would let somebody stand in front of their store handing out coupons discounting books at Books-A-Million. Why should a website, no matter how large or how small, stand for somebody popping up their competitor's banner when somebody visits their website? That is unethical, plain and simple.

    Why would anybody support BeFree if it is helping to promote Gator so that Gator can download more of its scumware on unsuspecting people who don't understand the ramifications of what is being put on their computers?

    I can't wait for the day when there are so many lawsuits filed against Gator that it comes to the attention of Congress and they pass a law banning any pop-ups other than the ones generated by the site actually being visited. Why don't we just skip all the lawsuits, and just start lobbying Congress right now? We could all write to our Congressmen!

    Pop-ups have gotten way out of hand. Average web surfers are sick of them and fighting back by downloading software that prohibits them from appearing on their computers. And who suffers from that? Sure, eventually it will kill Gator's business, but in the meantime those that use pop-ups in an ethical manner to enhance their site and point out special savings also suffer.

    Witch Hunt? As cute as that story was, it has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on. This is not a witch hunt. This is ethical business people protecting their businesses from scumbags who can't generate business by ethical means, so they try to steal customers away from their competitors by using underhanded tactics! And it is a very, very sad story because they have hire lawyers and file lawsuits in order to protect themselves.
    ---

    Judge your success by the degree that you're enjoying peace, health, and love.

  16. #16
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    Hey, Haiko!

    Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this case, I'd always assumed that email was supposed to be private unless explicit permission was given to share it.

    Yet I see you quoting private emails left and right in this thread.

    Can you please clarify that all the people who emailed you gave you explicit permission to post their emails in this forum?

    Thanks.

  17. #17
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    Edwin:

    Scott is threatening Haiko:
    quote:
    The next time you take any direct action against Gator you should be prepared to have your attorney respond on your behalf.
    Haiko has every right he need to publish that bull from this THIEF!
    I can't possibly see how you can deny him that right.

    And in the other mail he quotes, Scott says:
    quote:
    please share the following analysis with the affiliate community...
    There's your permission. And his arguments: I'm only stealing 1%, so leave me alone!

    It never ceases to amaze me how many idiots there are. And when I think I've seen the most stupid ever, someone comes along and beats it by a long way!

  18. #18
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    quote:
    Hi and Welcome to ABW!


    Thank you.

    quote:
    PLEASE READ ... it is BLACK AND WHITE!


    Yes, I have seen that email and others. I went through hundreds of posts here before writing that long note.

    I hope that you'll carefully read my post after some rest and see that we're on the same side. I know you will after reading your second post.

  19. #19
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    The Gator stats are just a smoke screen. They know they follow that same shopper, who first sees the popup while shopping our sites, like Comet Curser bug trail. The shopper clicks on my merchant link and Gator follows them to that site to only jump a competiter in front of them there...Ad-nausium..thereby destroying the stats while recording the shoppers surfing habits. 19 million pops/distractions a month at the point of sale makes for very poor conversions because of Gator.

    I'll boycott any merchant who uses Gator as a preditor advertiser. Those same merchants are likely to also show up as supporters/clients for UCE opt-out spam artists or be on the ShopNow and Duperaffiliates lists.

    My e-mail to BF and now I see gator:

    I am sick and tired of being taken advantage of with your allowance of Gator poping up on my site!! I took the time over a year ago to uninstall Gator on my own system and at various client's office systems which were install when gator was a nice free application without spyware/parasiteware and completely into all forms of pseudo legal but unethical gorrilla marketing schemes.

    I know BeFree can work as advertised for both merchants and affiliate alike. Why? Because a year ago I took on advising TigerDirect how they could overcome some bad PR on lost or non-reported transactions -lack of affiliate trust and very poor conversion ratios. My advice and Andy Rodrigez's efforts, as TD's affiliate manager, now makes them the #1 merchant at BeFree for all ABW members and your entire affiliate pool. They do not utilize Gator -Morpheus -eBates or any other form of Duper affiliate mass marketing tool beyond their Befree links to achieve a 800% increase in affiliate sales this last year. I'm sure they cut more affiliate checks in a month than Gator has in 2 years!!

    I appreciate your efforts Steve to open up communications on issues that prevent affiliates from showcasing Befree merchants. Gator doesn't pay squatt to their affiliates as a merchant and refuses to communicate with those affiliates or even drop them upon request (I sent in 9 requests -no reply). Therefore they do not deserve to trick affiliates by their BeFree merchant status into advertising their non-paying program. When was Gator's last payout to their affiliates larger than their BF monthly bill?? Get rid of Gator as a positive PR move and get on with building some trust within the affiliate community in BeFree merchants and reporting interfaces.

    Mike Hyland
    EcomCity.com

    WebMaster Mike

  20. #20
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    @Fowler:
    I don't think it's ever been stated that Gator uses drive-by downloads through their affiliate program. The drive-by downloads are an example of the company's unethical/illegal practices. Gator frequently claims that their software is legit because the end user agrees to it being installed and accepts the popups. But how can this be when they are doing stealth downloads? I would like Gator to show documented figures as to how many of their users have voluntarily downloaded their application from an affiliate site or directly from the Gator site vs. the third party advertising programs with the sneaky downloads.

    @Edwin:
    At don't think that there is any inherent right to privacy with any type of communication either phone, verbal, email, or snail mail. How many times is any form of communication used as evidence in a legal matter? The only communications that I'm aware of that have right of privacy held to them are doctor privilege, client lawyer, and clergy. I don't think that the folks over at Gator fall into any of these categories, and as such anything they may communicate is fair game and they communicate at their own risk that it could be made public. Everyone should take care when they communicate with someone else, as it can always come back to bite you in the butt. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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