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  1. #1
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    Here is a BeFree Press Release that I found on Yahoo.com. BeFree is announcing the release of BESELECT 3.0.

    quote:
    BSELECT works by anonymously analyzing each visitor's clickstream and purchasing activity in real time. Utilizing the knowledge gained from this analysis, BSELECT dynamically decides which products are most appropriate for each unique visitor and helps merchandisers make the most appropriate recommendations to its customers either automatically or through its real time product association reports.


    In theory, this should help people using simple banner links into the site's home page. However, it is nothing more than a distraction for affiliates that send customers to specific products.

    Are merchants using this? are any actually happy with it? Is there any actual proof that personalization does a better job optimizing a clients click than simply sending the customer to the product they clicked to from an affiliated site?

    Missoula - Short Stories

  2. #2
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    We are not using it....

    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager

    TigerDirect.com
    P: (305) 415-2313
    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com
    ICQ: 175010
    AIM: miamitigercub

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    ... sounds like spyware to me ... Is "Bob Regular" (Cydoor) now on the board? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    (joking aside, I'd like some real input on how this benefits affiliates and/or end users)

    Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli



    [This message was edited by Haiko on September 16, 2002 at 05:03 PM.]

  4. #4
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    Since TigerDirect has a big product line, it is one of the few companies that I thought might see a benefit from BESELECT. Well, come to think of it. The Best TD customers know what they are after, or they want to go through the process of learning. A computer algorithm isn't going to figure that one out. Or it will pop up with the astute observation: this is a computer geek who often looks at computer components! Quick, show some images of motherboards.

    IMHO, BeFree's commitment to BESELECT is the primary reason for their continued downfall. Seems to me that the best way to succeed is for the merchant to optimize their selling process for their products, and for affiliates to optimize their commissions by choosing the right products and merchants for their niche. There is no need for a BESELECT program in the process.

    Gator would love the data. Does BeFree give their clickstream data to Gator?

    Missoula - Short Stories

  5. #5
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    This BESELECT 3.0 question just jumped in my mind. Does BESELECT provide its customer information across merchants. For example, TigerDirect is not a BESELECT customer. But another company LionInDirect uses BESELECT. Does the data beFree collected on TigerDirect go to help LionIndirect sell discounted electronic equipment?

    Even worse on the spyware scale. Does BESELECT used the clickstream data from the 1x1 pixels from my site in email campaigns to my site visitors?

    I asked this second question a long time ago. The beFree rep basically said that beFree did not have any type of program like BESELECT that used clickstream data to create sales campaigns. NOTE: The press release above is dated today. You will find lots of other press releases on BESELECT in beFree's history.

    Missoula - Short Stories

  6. #6
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I don't see how this benefits affiliates in anyway. The BeSelect thing has been going on for a good while and separate from BeFree. The few actual references I found to merchants using BeSelect were not BeFree merchants.

    As far as benefiting end users? Looks like spyware pure and simple to me. Per BeSelect, this is where you have to go if you want to opt out of your online activities and sales being monitored if you stumble across a BeSelect site: Control Panel. One site I found that uses it had a reference buried in their privacy policy about the tracking and the link to opt out. Another site, I could find no reference, so I don't know if they were no longer using it or just didn't let you know they were tracking you.

    A press release I read a bit back about BeSelect stated they were no currently sharing data collection between merchants, but it was a consideration in the future. This caused me a bit of concern about where they are getting all this data regarding consumer buying habits to feed the BeSelect program. Being the cynic that I am, I think it would be hard to have all this information from affiliate driven sales and not use it. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img] That's pure cynicism and speculation on my part.

    Even so, still seems somewhat slimy and a privacy issue to me. And there was also some reference to building some email type component to the program which also gives me pause.

    I'll have to try and relocate the references I found in the past about the program. There wasn't a whole lot and it's been a couple of months ago now.

  7. #7
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    quote:
    I'll have to try and relocate the references I found in the past about the program. There wasn't a whole lot and it's been a couple of months ago now.


    I remember reading many of the same things in the official beFree press releases by BeFree. Read the articles with BeSelect in the topic. Too bad BeFree has not commented. My read on the whole issue is that beFree uses the data collected by the 1x1 pixel to undermine affiliates. Following the complete collapse of the stock and ultimate sellout of the company below cash. I take it that the Trivida personalization stuff has so far proven a wash.

    Personally, I think this issue is worse than their support of Gator.

    Missoula - Short Stories

  8. #8
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    It seems to me that BeFree are inclined to do absolutely anything they please no matter how dodgy.

    When they get dumped en masse, they make whatever minimum concession they can to stop the affiliate drain. In the meantime plotting and planning further plots and plans to screw us out of commissions and squeeze every last drop of blood out of some hapless consumer.

    Its a way of life. And we encourage it with every sale we donate to them. I think it is time to give up on BeFree
    completely. Well past time in fact. Let them live off their capital just as long as it will sustain them and let that bunch of loosers who call themselves merchants do the same.

    In the meantime there are other things to promote at other networks and in private. I have a list as long as next week of merchants I could be busy with. None of them are at BeFree and if I lived to be a hundred I couldn't do a full rollout on all of them.

    I

  9. #9
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    Since this was an official press release, edited, issued and approved by ValueClick, I am surprised that the BeFree moderators have had nothing to say on the issue.

    The BESELECT 3.0 is now an official, publicly stated direction of the company. The little token messages about Gator are simply efforts to distance its merchants from the Gator stigma.

    My guess is that BeFree knows that it is using the data gathered from our sites to undermine our sites, and that there is really no good way to spin the official press release in their favor.

    Missoula - Short Stories

  10. #10
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    It appears on the surface that "BeSelect" 3.0 is a software sales/click analysis tool being used to marry Merchant advertisers to BeFree/ValueClick. Similar in function to the centralized reporting offered by some Affiliate management software used by larger affiliates with multiple networks for analyizing the data.

    On ValueClicks side as a banner server it does seem to be spyware as such to target banner feeds for relevency for rotation or search terms. As a recruiting tool for both VC & BF it appears to add more ROI value to merchants who utilize both services as advertising vehicles. Even direct marketers (e-mail and conventional direct mail or Telemarketing)who aren't using BeFree migght pay for the data collected.

    Now I'm not sure if it is also used to digest click stream and sales conversion stats for DuperAffiliates ( BeFree autoload coupon-incent specials) and even parasites like ShopNow or Gator who pay a fee for the data service. I think it's just one of the toolsets allowing VC to justify the merger. BeFree needed an easy way to tap into VC's merchant pool to replace many of it's dead pool merchants and entice new affiliates. VC sees it as a way to take BF merchants and sell them on VC banner and e-mail advertising campaigns.

    Not much of a panic issue for affiliates since the merchants wanting to use BeSelect 3.0 are just the normal pure play advertisers seeking FREE affiliate traffic and not the converters like TigerDirect. I don't see many major brands jumping over to Befree just to utilize this statistics application. If it starts to get integrated into direct e-catalog product displays for someone like ShopNow/Whenu with auto product feeds by competitors for Popups, then we should worry.

    WebMaster Mike

  11. #11
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    My name is Neal Karasic - Scott asked me to take a look at this thread since I'm more familiar with BSELECT. I wanted to address some of the concerns raised in this forum about BSELECT.

    What BSELECT is:

    A hosted merchandising and recommendation tool for online merchants. It takes anonymous browsing and purchasing behavior from a merchant's site and uses it to make recommendations and report on aggregate activity. Typically merchants will include a 'You might also be interested in:' or 'People who bought this item also bought:' type of link on a product or category page on their site. BSELECT uses a predictive statistical model to determine what products people are likely to convert on.

    BSELECT does not track personally identifiable information. Be Free does not share the data that it collects via BSELECT for a particular merchant with other merchants, nor does Be Free sell this profile data to any third parties. BSELECT does not interact with affiliate links or redirect affiliate click-throughs nor does it use affiliate data for recommendations.

    Here's what we do to protect end user privacy with BSELECT:

      [*]An end user can opt out of being tracked by BSELECT or delete his browsing history with a specific merchant at http://www.yourcontrolpanel.com[*]We require that BSELECT customers include a link to the yourcontrolpanel.com site in their privacy policy and/or on their web site.[*]The current version of Be Free's privacy policy can be viewed at http://www.befree.com/privacy.htm[/list]

      Hope this clears some things up. Let me know if there are other questions.

      Thanks.

      Neal
      nkarasic@befree.com

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the reply. You are right, as a tool that is designed to control page flow for a single merchant it is pretty much benign.

    Is there a published list of companies using the product. Only these sites showed up in a Google reverse link lookup for http://www.yourcontrolpanel.com/mypage/pcp.html: Best Buy, Motorola, HSN and Sur La Table.

    Do merchants use the product for email campaigns?

    I know I sound paranoid in my rant, but BeFree seems to keep focussing on projects like BESELECT as its affiliate network erodes from underneath. (Yes, I know you don't consider beFree to be a network. I am nor sure what it is if it is not a network.)

    How do you personally see this as something that can help the run of the mill affiliate make sales?

    Another odd question. If this is just a tool for merchants analyzing their own sales. Why do you need to put it in the large centrally located warehouse at Teradata?

    Missoula - Short Stories

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