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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Is it not a violation of the network and merchant TOS to offer an incentive, kickback, rebate, etc., for clicking links?

    I seem to remember this is not acceptable behavior, so how do the parasites get by with it?

    Just because you're big and powerful, doesn't mean you're going to always get by pulling dirty deals -- just ask Enron, WorldCom, Martha Stewart, and all the rest.

    Andy

  2. #2
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    From what I've seen, the parasites are not offering incentives just for clicking links or filling out lead forms. They are offering some kind of reward for actual purchases, and there is no problem with that as long as the merchant agrees.

    There are no ethical problems if an affiliate grants rebates to their own shoppers from their own commissions on sales that were generated by their own promotions.

    Where problems arise is when someone uses a rebate as the bait in poaching tactics that intercept someone else's customer at or near the point of sale.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    So it would be perfectly OK for me, as a publisher, to offer a rebate to my visitors that clicked on my links and made purchases, provided they made sure I got credit for the transaction?

    Andy

  4. #4
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    Andy,

    No. To issue rebates or incentives almost always requires special permission from the merchant partner. On most networks you must identify yourself as a publisher that works in the incentive space.

    -wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Advanced & Automated Data Analysis for Performance Marketers.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    OK.

    So it should be easy for a merchant to identify an affiliate that's a parasite, right? They'd have to grant special permission to the affiliate to offer incentives.

    There goes the excuse that a merchant didn't know an affiliate was a parasite.

    Also, it seems a merchant would have to have a really good reason for not agreeing to a "reward" or "rebate" when requested, since they're letting the parasites do it.

    Andy

  6. #6
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    >>So it should be easy for a merchant to identify an affiliate that's a parasite, right? They'd have to grant special permission to the affiliate to offer incentives.<<

    Not true. Some parasites are not incent based, but coupon based. They offer the same coupons, specials, and sales, that are available to all affiliates.

    -------
    Dawn is nature's way of telling you to go to bed.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I hadn't thought of coupons, I've just been thinking of everything that seems to be out of reach to a "regular" affiliate.

    But even so, there would still be no ad impressions showing, right? So an affiliate with 2,965 sales for the day with no impressions would certainly raise suspicion quickly.

    Andy

  8. #8
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    Andy,

    Not all incentive based affiliates are "parasitic". Actually in my opinion most are not. But it is easy to identify sites that use incentives.

    Each network has special technology that is used by incentive sites to gatther transaction level data and match this up to who made the purchase so proper credit can be given.

    best,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Advanced & Automated Data Analysis for Performance Marketers.

  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Wayne is correct. The networks all know who run "incent" type programs and can easily monitor and flag new or existing affiliate accounts that show huge jumps in transactions if they lend their affiliate ID#s to a parasite. No new site or affiliate can ramp up immediate large jumps in traffic and sales volumes without hijacking proceedures unless they're a existing high traffic portal.

    WebMaster Mike

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    It just seems to me that the networks and participating merchants have rolled out the red carpet to the parasites, allowing them to do things that the typical affiliate would not be allowed to do.

    Which means affiliates like me with content sites that have something legitimate to offer to visitors, can't compete. In fact, we are the entry way for the parasites to make money. If there weren't people visiting our sites, and clicking on our links, there would be no income for the parasites.

    Andy

  11. #11
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    There's a super-easy way to at least clip the wings of a Parasiteware company like Morpheus: go to their Shopping Portal, check each link on there and suspend the affiliate account associated with the ID in the link.

    It should be possible to write a simple spider to pull all the affiliate IDs out of the links, then it's just Cut-Paste-Delete-Repeat.

    Do that every few days, and they'll never be able to get off the ground.

    But as my individual posts about the relationship between Morpheus and the various affiliate networks show (see each affiliate network forum), just because they technically can do something doesn't mean they want to do it!

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