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  1. #1
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    Two comments on CashBack by BargainBuddy (from Exact Advertising):

    1) I have obtained a copy of the full list of all merchants targeted by BargainBuddy, as well as the PIDs used for such merchants. Some ABW "regular participants" are on the list, and some big non-ABW names too. Any suggestions as to how best to distribute this list? Email me.

    2) I have personally observed, and have recorded in videos, multiple instances of BargainBuddy installed on users' computers through security holes. See an example video with write-up.


    Ben

  2. #2
    Full Member amanda_mytights's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention, do you know of other companies that are doing the same thing BargainBuddy is doing? Should I make it a rule to not accept any of the sites that run the similar "cash back" schemes?

    I look forward to your insight.

    Amanda

  3. #3
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    Amanda,

    I think you should be suspicious of all affiliates who admit to using software downloads. The basic affiliate marketing "bargain," as I've always thought of it, is commissions paid in exchange for a click from an affiliate's web site to a merchant's web site. Software downloads break that bargain -- threatening to "fake" the clicks without any user action, thereby claiming commissions in violation of relevant network and merchant rules. Software downloads are all the more worrisome because so many companies will go to such great lengths to trick users into installing their software.

    I don't think all cash back programs are bad in and of themselves. I readily admit to being a long-time ebates.com user. The ebates site is, to my eye, perfectly legitimate when accepted with merchants' informed consent. It's just the software downloads -- so often installed onto users' PCs through trickery, and so often overwriting other affiliates' cookies -- that rub me the wrong way.

    Others have their own perspectives, of course. Ultimately you'll have to think about what works best for your pgoram.

  4. #4
    Full Member amanda_mytights's Avatar
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    Thank you very much. I will do some major house hold cleaning and go through these sites that I have listed as "questionable and incentive" on my program to check if they require customers to download software, etc.

    I really appreciate your help on this matter, those parasites are so tricky. It's really a hard thing to get a grasp on.

    Amanda

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Amanda you have a very niche' productline that can live comfortably by repeat business. Your sites conversion ratio should be in the 1/100 or better range (sales/click average). Encourage dedicated pages to your product lines by looking into Akiva's (Essential Apparel) Product Showcase Creator (PSC) to build out mini-showcase displays of the various stocking brands or styles.

    All the sleazeballs in affiliate marketing are "incentive" type sites. They will resort to SE spamming, cookie stuffing, Trademark violations, and shady PPCSE campaigns once they see you convert. Only give out coupons/rebates to known trusted affiliates. Want to eliminate cart abandonment ...eliminate coupons all together and just build product/Brand specials landing pages with a affiliate creative.


    Studies now in prove..."Advertisers themselves might be tempted to continue with these nasty design techniques as long as they can find sites that will run them. After all, they typically yield higher clickthrough rates. But clickthrough is not the only goal. Users who are deceived into clicking on a misleading ad might drive up your CTR, but they're unlikely to convert into paying customers. And your brand suffers a distinct negative impact when you antagonize customers and use techniques that are associated with the worst scum on the net."
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  6. #6
    Full Member jtoskey's Avatar
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    Ben,

    Does your list wash with the list of merchants on the CashBackBuddy site?
    http://www.cashbackbuddy.com/merchants.php

    Also, I have to admit I'm surprised that you're an Ebates user. Have you done testing on their download or found cases of their software being illicitly loaded? As I'm sure you're aware, they are generally looked down upon by a large chunk of this community.

    Thanks
    John

  7. #7
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    John,

    The list I have obtained is generally consistent with the list posted at the link you specified. Perhaps I should write a script to compare them entry by entry, but all my spot-checks passed as expected. Recall the basic problem from the TopMoxie apps: Some savvy merchants agree to participate in, e.g., the Ebates.com web site, but not in the software download. So sometimes the web listings are overinclusive, reporting merchants not actually included in the software download.

    As to Ebates: I don't see a problem with incentive sites when fully documented to merchants. Now I think many of the incentive sites give users a bad deal (the incentive sites pocket "too much" of the rebate). But my basic starting point is that, with merchants' informed consent, an affiliate may share its revenues with its users, if it is so inclined.

    The preceding paragraph, and my preceding comments, speak to the Ebates web site. The Ebates download (Moe Money Maker) is quite a different matter. Any time I see a software download, I worry about 1) installations without users' informed consent (perhaps without any consent at all), 2) claiming commissions when other affiliates "should" be paid, 3) claiming commissions on type-ins (in ways that can't possibly benefit merchants, such that I have to doubt whether merchants have given informed consent). So I'm not a MMM user -- I go to the ebates.com web site.

    I sense that many (though surely not all) ABW participants generally agree with these sentiments. Is anyone prepared to criticize fatwallet.com's rebate program? MMM aside, what difference is there between what fatwallet is doing and what the ebates.com web site does?

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