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  1. #1
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    I think I got another parasite in our program, and this made me wonder if both affiliates and adware publishers would be happy with a different approach.

    What if all adware companies or publishers who buy exposure from adware companies would get special affiliate accounts. Those accounts would not overwrite cookies at all. So if there is no cookie, then the merchant's/network's script sets one, but if there is a cookie set - then nothing gets overwritten. Other than that, it would be a regular account.

    That way, it's controlled by the merchants or networks and not by adware producers and their promises of not overwriting cookies.

    It seems this would stop adware companies from opening accounts under fake names, and at the same time would guarantee that none of the affiliate cookies are stolen.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
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    But how would this stop parasites from hijacking affiliates' links?

    Jason Weinstein
    http://www.MaximumEdge.com/

  3. #3
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    It seems that parasites' popups usually open 10 seconds or so after the original affiliates' links get clicked.
    So by the time the the popup kicks in, the original affiliates cookie is already set.

    As far as hijacking links, do they actually modify the original browser's request?

  4. #4
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Konstantin, I'm against any form of appeasement or accommodation for these folks. I think it's safe to say they can't be trusted to honor any agreement with a merchant. We are all (merchants, networks, and affiliates alike) cannon fodder to these people.

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Nice concept to seperate BHO cookies from the normal affiliates cookies and make them intelligent enough to detect pre-existing network cookies and stand down. The assumption of course is that the networks want to openly identify S/W affiliates cookies from domain bound affiliates cookies and muzzle the cookie munching hiennas.

    The reality is over the last 4 years the networks refuse any move to make their BHO parnerships transparent. Not one mention -press release or hint they had just unleashed these commission sharks into the commission pool. Further reality is that the 2nd generation of BHO's are seeking ways to secretly attack their BHO competitor's cookies too.

    Inside the typical infested shopper system there's a constant battle taking place as multiple POS (point of sale) rabid dogs seek to gang rape the shopper in heat. Asking the horney devils to halt their attacks is as laughable as seeing the neighbor trying to douse doggy passion with a garden hose.

    The networks can setup seperate cookie setting servers, but they balked when we asked them for 2 years to just boldly identify S/W affiliates to assist sworn parasite free merchants. Short of releasing a cookie setting Nuke bomb where all merchants see an affiliate ID on every sale rung up the networks will remain in denial.

    A much easier task then cleaning up the networks was just announced to me by Charlie. "Just steal the Cookie". I assume he means just develop a computer trojan that does nothing but seek out the shoppers cookies on their HD and silently swap ID#s. No detectable action has to take place within the browser and no shopper will ever care to notice the cookie ID muncher. I further assume he wants his own ID# built into the trojan with checks sent to a Grand Camen Island drop box.

    Under the current network's view they could care less if a no-name upstart makes 7 million per month from jump street as they let shady behavior take years to correct before they take action. Meanwhile the TopMoxie apps and those of 180Solutions, Gator,WhenU,Upromise, Schoolpop and iGivetoAdwhores scratch their heads and yell like ABWers ....what happened to my revenue. Sales must not be tracking or someone's wheelchair is crimping the reporting servers cable. The networks wouldn't even have to re-write their excuse crib notes.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  6. #6
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    Well Rhea, that's really the point. We don't have to trust them with such setup. Merchants/networks control it. And I don't see a reason for merchants or networks to cheat affiliates in this situation.

    From the parassites' perspective, it would be better to openly state how they generate traffic when they sign up, and accept some "loss" than to risk forfeiting all their earnings.

    It's like the SAS signup, when you have to specify if you are using any incentives or not - just another field in the application. And if you lie - you get dropped and lose all what you've earned up to that point.

    And for affiliates, it would mean no more losses due to parasites (at least with participating merchants/affiliates).

    I don't mean to endorse or approve parasites in any way, and I wish they simply didn't exist, but they do exist and are not likely to go away any time soon. And consider this: the last two parasites I booted off our program didn't specify their adware company names. What they specified was either just fake info, or those were independent people who just registered accounts in their own name and then bought exposure from parasites.
    So it will only get worse.

  7. #7
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    There is another drawback to your plan Konstantin, who the heck is going to trust the Networks after the way Linkshare and CJ have shafted us affiliates?

    Nope I totaly agree with Rhea "I'm against any form of appeasement or accommodation for these folks"

    The only good parasite is a dead one or one that is banned from all Networks and affiliate programs period. They have proven themselves so many times to be nothing but a bunch of liars.
    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

  8. #8
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    Mike, there is no need to have a separate cookie.
    The basic algorithm is when the aff link is clicked - check if this account is flagged as adware. If no, then proceed as with a regular account. If yes, then check if the browser returned an existing cookie while doing a request for that aff link. If no, then set a cookie. If yes, then don't set on.

    So it will look exactly the same from the outside.

    If I understand it correctly, most "legit" adware operate by opening popups. That's grey area, and can't be called illegal.

    But if they actually started modifying cookies on the customer's hard drive - that would be much easier to outlaw. After all, if they access and modify data on the customer's drive and tampler with merchant's cookie - that's a more serious offence.

    Also, a merchant might show a disclamer such as "...all information blah blah is confidential and intended for the recipient only..."
    which would refer to cookies (it is information). So companies reading/writing cookies on the customer's dirve would voilate that as well. That's just one more argument in court, should there ever be a case against those "BHO2."

  9. #9
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    Gordon, I agree, but they are not going away, and this might be a good compromise.

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    quote:
    It seems this would stop adware companies from opening accounts under fake names,


    It seems to me it would actually promote them opening fake accounts to avoid their cookies not being set.

    quote:
    So if there is no cookie, then the merchant's/network's script sets one, but if there is a cookie set - then nothing gets overwritten.


    What about the Merchants who are having their organic traffic converted into affiliate sales?

    quote:
    it's controlled by the merchants or networks


    quote:
    As far as hijacking links, do they actually modify the original browser's request?



    Some can yes.

    Maybe controlled by Merchants running indie programs. But the Networks? The Networks already say this "shouldn't" happen. So if it is still happening, then it's a matter of enforcing compliance. If the Networks aren't doing that, then why should we expect them to do this system?

    quote:
    It seems that parasites' popups usually open 10 seconds or so after the original affiliates' links get clicked.


    Sometimes, but not so many times.

    quote:
    it would be better to openly state how they generate traffic when they sign up, and accept some "loss" than to risk forfeiting all their earnings.


    But there it is. At present they aren't necessarily risking forfeiting all their earnings. Or even part for that matter. There is no incentive in a real sense. With SAS, there are consequences which are enforced. That's actually the key!

    quote:
    most "legit" adware operate by opening popups.


    Many times the cookie set is caused by that pop up without a physical click. I don't consider that legit. In fact, in certain circumstances I don't consider it legit with a physical click depending on what triggered and how the pop the was delivered.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    The problem with this plan is it would require the cooperation of the networks, who are perfectly happy with things the way they are. Well, they'd be happier if all of us here at ABW would just shut up and drop off the planet, but that's not going to happen.

    The networks ARE MAKING MONEY, and more than they likely would be making without the software apps, because the merchants pay out commissions for sales they normally wouldn't pay out on, and the network keeps its cut of those sales.

    And while the software apps are costing the merchants more money as well, the merchants are still getting sales, so they figure it's just a cost of doing business.

    Sounds great, doesn't it? The only problem with all this is the affiliates who don't use software apps are getting royally screwed. We're getting cut out of the deal.

    In spite of the fact we have an agreement with the networks that we'll be paid.

    In spite of the fact we have an agreement with the merchants that we'll be paid.

    The poor lowly affiliate, the one who actually does something to create traffic and sales, is the only one who doesn't get ANYTHING!

    And the networks don't care. They say they do, they're looking out for our best interests. IN A PIG'S EYE! Actions speak louder than words, and the affiliate is still THE ONLY ONE NOT BEING PAID!!

    SCREW THE NETWORKS, they aren't going to help us until they have to. When the gavel comes down on the software apps, that's when the networks will do something, because they HAVE TO.

    And dealing with all of us here at ABW is just the price they have to pay for all that extra revenue being generated. That's why Todd and Steve pop in from time to time, gotta keep those poor dolt affiliates under control...gotta pretend everything is A-OK.

    That's why this plan would never work, the networks like things the way they are, and we're supposed to just be happy with whatever we do earn and shut the h3ll up!

    Andy

  12. #12
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    quote:
    Many times the cookie set is caused by that pop up without a physical click. I don't consider that legit.


    Legit in the context of those that tamper with cookies on customer's drive.

    quote:
    It seems to me it would actually promote them opening fake accounts to avoid their cookies not being set.


    I was talking about merchants not paying them what they earned, if they are caught.

    quote:
    What about the Merchants who are having their organic traffic converted into affiliate sales?


    Do we have a choice?

    One parasite I caught was setting cookies for our newsletter mailings. That's how I got him. So it can't get any worse for merchants.
    Also, I would rather them force their cookies on traffic we would get anyway than to direct that traffic to our competitiors that work with parasites. It's the lesser of two evils.

    quote:
    Some can yes.


    Is that a proven fact on a speculation?
    It is very important to be clear on this matter.

    quote:
    Maybe controlled by Merchants running indie programs. But the Networks?


    Well, unless you promote clickbank - you always have a choice not to work with a merchant/network that does not control parasites.

    quote:
    Sometimes, but not so many times.


    That's what I saw, and we track and cross-reference each pageview for each visitor for each affiliate.

    quote:
    But there it is. At present they aren't necessarily risking forfeiting all their earnings.


    I guess that's because there is no "fair" way of handling the issue. We say they should all die, they say they got bills to pay too. And networks got bills to pay, and the largest merchants got shareholders demanding profits, so they keep using parasites. So nothing gets resolved.


    I proudly say that GenericGifts program does not tolerate parasites. Woohoo! Cool! But is it, really that cool?

    Imagine this scenario:

    A visitor gets to our site form your link.
    His PC has adware on it.
    The adware provider know that we don't accept parasites into our program.
    So they set their software to display a full-screen popup for some competitor.

    Now, we lost a sale and you lost a sale.
    What good has not tolerating parasites achieved?

    You see, I would much rather contact all parasites and offer them special accounts if they ever decide to pop something over our site.

    And for sales that were generated by organic search engines - we would take a hit.
    It still beats not getting a sale at all.

  13. #13
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    quote:
    SCREW THE NETWORKS


    Ok, you said it. Act on it...
    But you can't really act on it, can you?
    The best you can do is not promote merchants that have parasites in their program.
    Read the end of my previous post. Not promoting those merchants does not help much.

    And simply not promoting them out of principle is like dempanding something and threatening to hold breath until the demands are met. I'm sure those guys out there have a good laugh every time they hear someone stating that he is not going to promote such merchants...

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I don't need to act on it. All I need to do is make sure people know what's going on. Make sure my legislators and senators understand what a plague these software apps have become.

    Eventually, they will come around and put a stop to them. It will happen, people are sick of these apps messing with their computers, spying on them, downloading without permission, etc.

    And the merchants who don't want them have to keep getting rid of them! They're insects, they just keep coming back. What upstanding companies they are, if you don't want to do business with us, we'll change our name and apply again...and again...and again...until we slip by unnoticed!

    No, I don't need to screw the networks, they're doing a fine job of it themselves, thank you. Their actions today will come back to haunt them tomorrow. It will happen. You can be sure of that.

    Andy

  15. #15
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    quote:
    Ok, you said it. Act on it...
    But you can't really act on it, can you?
    You know as well as I do the Networks are in the driving seat for the time being. As soon as the first case is heard in a court of Law they will be crawling to the smaller affiliates and trying to tell us how the parasites held them to ransom.

    I am also certain Konstantin that they are laughing their c*cks off everytime someone tries to appease them or gives them an extension to correct their software knowing what a lying bunch of sh*ts they are.

    Seems to me you are leaning towards having them in your program.
    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

  16. #16
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Konstantin, I'm sure you've read the thread in the LS forum where Messer tried to rationalize a new "cooperative" environment with 180. So I'm sure you know how we're likely to react if you go forward with such a plan. If this discussion is hypothetical please say so, otherwise I'm concerned that you are about to take GG down the same pothole riddled road to hell that LS is on.

    If you do act on this plan, won't that get GG booted out of SAS?

  17. #17
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    quote:
    All I need to do is make sure people know what's going on. Make sure my legislators and senators understand what a plague these software apps have become.


    Andy, as I said, I wish they didn't exist, but they do.
    How long do you think it will take for the appropriate laws to be passed and enforced?

    Look at the e-mail spam. Spammers were doing mailings for many years before any lawmakers go interested in the subject. And now we got a law in the US, and I don't see it helping. It will probably help some once a few people get procecuted, but that might take a few more years.

    So are you proposing to wait 5-7 years for the law to be passed and then another 3-4 for first serious convictions?

  18. #18
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    quote:
    Seems to me you are leaning towards having them in your program.


    Yes Gordon, I'm contemplating possibilities.

    quote:
    If this discussion is hypothetical please say so, otherwise I'm concerned that you are about to take GG down the same pothole riddled road to hell that LS is on.


    It's not hypothetical, and that's why I need your factual and not emotional feedback. But I can promise you one thing: I will not make any changes to the program that might even remotely affect affiliates in a negative way. If there turns out to be no way to cooperate with parasites then there won't be any in our program. There won't be any moves that screw affiliates just to increase our revenue.

  19. #19
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    Oh yeah, Rhea, I haven't read that thread. Could you drop a link?

  20. #20
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    http://clickbanksuccessforum.com/for...opic.php?t=543

    Read the first post. That's what I have in mind.

  21. #21
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Hey Konstantin, the thread you really need to read is A new approach (hopefully) to working together. Caveat: it's not a pretty thing to read.

    I have one merchant at LS that's coming due to write me a check. Once that check is written I plan to drop LS. Others have done it already. LS was never much of a bargain anyway, so for some of us it's quite easy to walk away from them.

    I did read the thread on the link you provided and it hasn't convinced me that cooperation is to my advantage. I honestly believe that the only way to defeat parasites is if we *all* reject doing business with them. I'm not comfortable with the idea of buying protection just to make a couple more bucks. It goes against my principles, and I don't compromise them for the sake of money.

  22. #22
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    I see your meaning Konstantin but please do not forget these guys, not specificly 180 but other parasites, have done this before and it was found they had on/off switches on their software. Maybe time will tell with clickbank, it is very possible thast they have not yet been caught.

    Konstantin.... if these guys had any intention of going straight do you think for one minute they would apply so many times and under so many different names just to get in somebodies affiliate program?

    Lets get sensible and work with what we know....they have no intention whatsoever of going straight or stopping their thieving ways until the law compels them to.
    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

  23. #23
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    quote:
    I honestly believe that the only way to defeat parasites is if we *all* reject doing business with them.


    Yep, and that would be the best solution.
    Unfortunately, this is not going to happen.
    Look at it this way. GenericGifts is a relatively small merchant, and yet we have 180 and MD registering as our affiliates.

    If those guys approached us, I'm sure they approach a ton of other merchants as well. And many merchants don't read ABW, and don't know/care about parasites.

    So simply excluding parasites does nothing but drives them towards those merchants.

    And that leads to:
    quote:
    Imagine this scenario:

    A visitor gets to our site form your link.
    His PC has adware on it.
    The adware provider know that we don't accept parasites into our program.
    So they set their software to display a full-screen popup for some competitor.


    So driving parasites out of business is not going to work.

    quote:
    I'm not comfortable with the idea of buying protection just to make a couple more bucks.


    That's exactly what it is. Paying protection money to the mob, just so they leave you alone.

    quote:
    It goes against my principles, and I don't compromise them for the sake of money.


    Yep, it sucks. I would love to hear any suggestions on how to deal with the scenario I outlined, when we both lose.

    We are testing onload window.focus(), but that seems to make only small difference.

  24. #24
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    quote:
    but other parasites, have done this before and it was found they had on/off switches on their software.


    Gordon, this is my point exactly!
    I will have the switch, and not them.

    The thing is, I can monitor when they pop up our site, but I cannot see anything if they pop our competitor. When they are a part of our program, even with 20 different accounts - I can watch what's going on, and I can tranfer commissions to the previous affiliate, as I've done before. But if they promote another site - I don't have anything in our tracking, so I'm blind and helpless.

    That's what I'm trying to deal with.

  25. #25
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Konstantin,

    I really like the idea. It definitely addresses my concerns as an affiliate. Some affiliates might not understand or believe that it works, but if you understand how networks and merchants use cookies, it's clear that it would work great.

    It doesn't address all of the merchant concerns (especially paying for traffic they would have already received), but if merchants were concerned about that, they wouldn't work with the parasites.
    Michael Coley
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