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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    I am getting so frustrated! So the parasites get dropped from affiliate programs because of unethical practices. Then they come back to the merchants saying, "Oh, we didn't know it did that, we fixed it now" and get back in." Then they do it again, get kicked out, come back.... On and On!
    So, all the criminals in prison should be let out if they just say sorry, I didn't realize what I was doing was against the law and promise not to do it again?
    I say if they are caught doing something against the rules, they should be out - no getting back in!
    We could stop all this right now if the Merchants woud JUST SAY NO!
    If your accountant is fixing the books, then promises not to do it anymore, do you keep him on? NO! The trust is gone, they have shown themselves to be crooked and how could you trust anything they tell you.
    And I am getting tired of the wait and see approach! If they have been proven to be thieves, why give them the benefit of the doubt!

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  2. #2
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Connie,

    We feel your frustration. Bottom line, money talks. Which is why it's so important for all of the independent affiliates to stand together united and firm.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    But the money would still be there. Take out the parasites and the money just gets redistributed to the rightful owners! Plus the merchants won't have to pay when people come directly to their sites. Seems they would make more money and so would the rest of us!

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  4. #4
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    So true, so true. But for some unkwown cosmic reason, there seems to be an awful lot of merchants who just don't get that. I still haven't figured out how it makes good business sense. Well, execpt for the networks. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] I guess there are a bunch of CFO's who don't understand diddly about the Internet and all they see is the bottom line on their financial reports.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  5. #5
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    The best way to do this.

    Personally contact the merchant. Explain in person ( on the phone) on your thoughts and feelings. This is what I found Best.

    I think connie you would have a lot of clout with these merchants. Anyone with contacts to merchants should call them, that is the best way, Merchants can delete emails, and pretend it doesn't happen, but on the phone, they have to take the time to LISTEN.

    Then you know which one's understand or don't and can save you time when dealing with them on these issues.

    "Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open." Thomas Dewar

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Canfree has a very good point. A phone call is more difficult to ignore than an E-mail.

    A lot of the merchants really don't understand there's an issue. Think about it. If they go to their office, and don't visit ABW or any of the other forums where affiliates are posting, how would they know? CJ isn't going to raise any red flags, that's obvious.

    But if they start getting calls and messages from their affiliates, they either do something about it, or their silence on the matter indicates their stand on it.

    They really don't understand how it all works, and they're afraid they're going to lose money on the deal if they drop the parasites.

    We need to educate them. We need to tell them to JUST SAY NO to the parasites.

    Andy

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    What kind of clout do I have? In the last 6 months my sales/commissions have steadily declined even though my traffic and subscriber lists are up. If I am not making much in sales due to the parasites, why would companies care what I have to say? I hit a 3 year low for commissions in September.
    I am on the bottom of their affiliate list, the parasites are at the top. Who they gonna listen to?
    Not me!

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  8. #8
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Frankly, I am kinda surprised no prosecuter has looked into this. I mean, even some of the parasites openly admitted they overwrote affiliate id's..... just seems like it would be a pretty straightforward case to me.

    Until a prosecutor starts looking into their goings on, and also takes a look at their enablers, we will never have a truly level playing field.

    Somewhere, I am sure, the Gods of War are laughing.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    If merchants know that these illegal things are going on, and support them, aren't they as liable as the person who drives the get away car in a robbery?
    I forsee a lot of the money the merchants think they are making going to lawyers in having to defend their actions.
    Trouble for the affiliate is that there is no way we can prove what our actual losses are. We can only estimate what our sales and commissions should have - would have been.
    If we could prove an actual amount we lost it would be much easier.
    Seems this is no different than the Microsoft Anti-Trust case. The parasites don't even give us a chance at the sales, they just take over. It is one thing to have a popup that someone has to click on but to automatically redirect affiliate links is unfair competition. They are becoming a monopoly. They are taking over, brainwashing merchants with their big numbers while we don't stand a chance.
    Affiliate managers need to realize that by stopping these parasites, they are not losing sales, they would just get redistributed fairly to the rightful owners.
    Guess they might as well just stop having affiliate programs and just do a private deal with the parasites. Better for them to only have to deal with 5 or 6 companies privately than thousands of affiliates.
    But guess they wouldn't need affiliate managers then either! Maybe affiliate managers should consider that.

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  10. #10
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    Connie,

    DO contact your merchants to express your concerns, whether you feel big or small. There are lots of merchants out there who have no idea about parasiteware, and the only way they'll find out is if affiliates like us tell them. It's obvious that the networks are in no hurry to do so!

    I was on the phone this morning with a merchant who had never heard about parasites. He genuinely didn't have a clue what I was talking about. As I tried to explain, I mentioned Ebates as an example, and he replied with surprise that they were one of his biggest affiliates. I checked and it's a merchant that you list.

    I took the liberty of pointing him to your post about Ebates. If you get an inquiry, that's where it came from.

    Anyway, the point of this is to encourage you to contact your merchants. That's the point of contact that will do the most good and where you will see the most immediate action. Assuming the merchant can do math, that is!

    Merchants can help put pressure on the networks too. The networks have been astonishingly slow to show any ethical backbone in this whole sordid situation, and every additional merchant who is angry and informed can only be a good thing.

    Elisabeth Archambault

  11. #11
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    quote:
    Originally posted by elbowcreek:
    Frankly, I am kinda surprised no prosecuter has looked into this ...


    quote:
    Originally posted by Connie Berg:
    If merchants know that these illegal things are going on ...


    That's the problem. It's a gray zone, legally. There simply aren't any laws that apply to this kind of activity. That's the reason the judge in the ongoing Morph trial granted RIAA a jury trial - because he knew he could not make a ruling himself based on the current law, not a ruling that would stand.

    But we could ourselves do some things to make it illegal. One example, out of the top of my head, if we created our own meta-tag (meta name=spyware content=no) and an end user agreement for proper use of a website, then we could submit the agreement to the companies telling them they are violating our user agreement, and demand that they modified their software to avoid websites with our tag.

    When/if they decline, then we could take legal action. Because we hold the copyright to our websites, and therefore have the right to determine what's acceptable use, provided we can differentiate between users.

    While I'm at it, has anybody created a list of merchant affiliate mangers? It might be an idea to regularly send out a newsletter to educate at least some of all the merchants who don't know anything about all this, or that they are loosing money.

    -- Less is more --

  12. #12
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    Connie

    I spent last week talking to merchants via the phone, and I'm what you call a "small affiliate" I am sure "you" are bigger than me, and well they did listen to me.

    Now if I called them, and you called them, Buckworks called them, etc. I'm sure we would be heard.

    I'm sorry to hear that your sales are at an all time low. I remember reading your success stories, and you were someone to be admired. I guess this proves a point we all have "this " issue as a problem meaning big and small affiliates alike, you may consider yourself small, but there's many "smaller affiliates then yourself"

    But Connie, Your site is "well known" internet wide, I'm sure if you called a merchant and said this Connie from flamino..... they'd say "Hey I remember you"

    IF you want "merchant's " to contact you in a hurry. Here's what I did. I emailed them all my phone number and said I wanted to work more closely with them. ( becareful only email about 10 at a time) and each merchant I discussed parasites. Most didn't have a clue, My "informative" email went un-noticed. And every one of these merchants...I asked how many emails they received from upset affiliates, and do you know what their response was "none or one or a few".

    So it seems, affiliates like to do alot more talking then acting. (I'm not pointing fingers at people ...just going on the merchants word) So if your emails went unnoticed, then start picking up the phone, or do what I did and get them to call you. IF anyone would like a sample Please PM me. I'd be glad to help you out.

    "Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open." Thomas Dewar

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    I am really hoping a lot of merchants will be at CJU this month. I think talking to them face to face will be a good way to do it if possible.
    That and confront Ebates and Whenu about their practices in a public forum. I am just hoping this isn't some kind of moderated discussion, where you hand a note to a person with a question and they decide whether to ask the question.
    Because I am mad enough, and frustrated enough to make a loud statement for all to hear!

    In the last year my income has dwindled down to crap. I could go out and get a "real job", work less hours and make more money. But damn it, this is something I did all by myself, it is like my child and I will fight to the death for it.

    I will go out kicking and screaming! Just hopefully don't get kicked out while screaming at CJU!

    I'm not much of a drinker, so what will be a good drink to have lots of afterwards, that won't make me feel like death warmed over in the morning?

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    Speaking about small...I contacted a major merchant (with whom I've had no sales) about the Morpheus issue and they thanked me for bringing this to their attention and dropped them like a hot potato.

    Ernie

    It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

  15. #15
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    quote:
    I think talking to them face to face will be a good way to do it if possible.
    You go, girl!

    If there's anything the rest of us can do to support you in that, let us know.

    Merchant education is critical, but it's pretty clear the networks are in no hurry to tell merchants about this stuff. It's up to us to do it, one merchant at a time.

  16. #16
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    i don't know if this would be practical or not, but what if us affiliates pledged to only do business with those merchants who have taken a firm stand again parasites here at abw, and/or do not appear on the parasite list?

    i spent last weekend doing just that to one of my websites.

    also, what if we put some kind of brandable logo (abw's, maybe?) on our web pages as a show of solidarity and to serve notice that we affiliates will not tolerate merchant/duper fraud, BUT WILL wholeheartedly support the good merchants out there.

    it would be a very visible way to show us affiliates as a united force, not to be messed with. kinda like an affiliate union [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    i apologize if someone has already suggested this.
    if not, any ideas or suggestions?

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    quote:

    If there's anything the rest of us can do to support you in that, let us know.


    You could start a bar tab for me. I will need it afterwards!

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  18. #18
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Connie-

    Talking to merchants at CJU is a great idea. I would go one step further and suggest that you should have multiple copies of a brief document you could pass out to them, just a couple of pages that summarize affiliates concerns, with urls to the appropriate threads, and a comment about how these parasites are really costing the merchant commissions off of their free SE traffic.

    Just a thought!

    Somewhere, I am sure, the Gods of War are laughing.

  19. #19
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    Connie.

    I wish you the best at the CJU conference, I wish I could attend, so I could stand by you, and help you make others aware. But just to let you know, I'll be thinking about you on that weekend, and hopefully "you kick some parasite butt".


    And whatever happens I'll back you 100%.

    I'm perhaps going to seriously think about going. I don't know if there's room, or any tickets left, but maybe I'll see If I can go. Financially I could swing it, but I have other "personal goals" to attend with as well. I'll think about it some more.

    "Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open." Thomas Dewar

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    I think having a handout to give to merchants and affiliates at CJU is a wonderful idea.
    I also think we should have a listing of some of the sites that support the handout on the bottom. That way they know there is more than just me mad as hell, and might add some clout to it.

    If someone who is more fluent could gather the info, include pertinent links I would be happy to copy off hundreds of them and pass them out.

    Maybe start a new thread that everyone can post things that should be in the handout, and then we can somehow combine it all?

    I would also love to get some buttons made to pin on, something with the parasite on it. Kinda like the no smoking but instead "no parasites" Anyone know where I could get some made up?

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  21. #21
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    I offer the contents of the first post in this thread for you to use, edit, adapt, add to, whatever, however you see fit, if it would help in any way.


    Elisabeth Archambault

  22. #22
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Great ideas Connie. You're going to be one busy little camper at CJU. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] Here's a google search for places that do the button thing http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...motional+items

    I think having people's names and/or site's attached to the handout would add more clout. Nothing like the merchant reading what you hand them and then see a couple of hunderd names that support the document. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    I am also emailing a bunch of site owners about the Ebates thing. I don't think some of them have any idea what Ebates is doing, or they wouldn't be promoting them on their sites.

    Along with a bunch of merchants, because with a teenager in the house the phone isn't free very often to make calls.

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  24. #24
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    LOL Connie about the phone. I can never get my sister on the phone for the very same reason. I have to email or IM her.

    Have you seen what the ebates thing looks like now? Top Moxie was supposed to have revised their software to come into compliance with BF standard. I think it was BF. Anyway I know LimeWire supposed to have changed due to BF and that's TopMoxie. I was just wondering exactly how the ebates thing works now, if different at all. Maybe I'll have to install it and see.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    I just downloaded it again, to make sure I had the latest version.

    Still doing it.

    You need to download it to see it in action.
    Go to my page here and click on the Buy.com link:
    http://www.flamingoworld.com/electronic.php

    The link will open in a new window, starts out ok, then Ebates takes over. Next thing you know, the pop up is there saying you are now earning your rebate, and Buy.com is framed in Ebates frame.

    They win, I lose. They don't even try to hide it, just throw it in my face and say ha ha!

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

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