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  1. #1
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    Webmaster Radio Piece - Dialog
    I just had a chance to listen to myself talk. Boy, can I go on. It did give me a chance to hear myself say that I was going to try a dialog out here, see if a conversation was possible, no shouting allowed.

    So, here's my post. How do we actually have a dialog on subjects? Is there a role for eComXpo in that?

    Comments welcome.

    BTW - if I'm doing something wrong as to form, please feel free to fix!

    Rob

  2. #2
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    A good start would be to tell everyone who you are. CEO IGive.

    Didn't hear the show. What do you think of Microsoft's Spyware tool?

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador cditty's Avatar
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    Welcome to ABW. I listened to the show best I could.

    I am curious to understand why you think the affiliate should not get the commissions earned when the same affiliate is the one that sent the customer to the merchant site. I spent time and money trying to get the customer to my site and once they click through my link, the commission should be mine. It doesn't matter if they want a percentage of their sale to go to some cause or charity. I have my own cause to worry about and that cause is me and my family's well-being. This is no different than a salesman helping you with your purchase and the clerk at the counter ringing up the sale under their code instead of the salesman.

    In your opinion, would it be feasable for your software to detect an affiliate link and not popup when the customer clicks on it? I'm not talking about added the afsrc=1 to the link. I am talking about a straight coded link. Also, this would need to be able to detect the redirect from the network itself for those of us that hide the direct affiliate link.

    I am curious to hear your reply.
    Thanks again for coming here.

    Chris
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  4. #4
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Hi Rob and welcome back to ABW. Don't know if you were at the LS Summit. If so sorry I missed you there.

    I would suspect there are going to be more folks here interested in talking with you about igive than ecomxpo. Just a hunch.

    Personally I would welcome a dialogue. For myself there were some things that were mentioned on the radio show that I would like to discuss more directly with you.

    There are a few ways to have a reduced noised discussion here. I mentioned in in the chat during the show, but it probably got lost in the other posts at the time. One thing Haiko and I have talked about are some scheduled discussions in the Inner Circle Forum on specific topics with specific 'guests' (for lack of a better word). I'm pretty sure something could be set up. Haiko posted recently he is planning on persuing those types of discussions here as soon as the board migration is completed.

  5. #5
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    Hey, so far so good!

    Yes, I'm the CEO of iGive.

    I like Microsoft's tool. It's loaded on my personal computer full time. Seems to work really well.

    The question that cditty brings up is a good one, and takes a thoughtful answer, which takes time, and some discussion. We all spend time and money (the merchant, affiliates other than iGive, iGive, and probably some others I'm missing). How to make sure that credit goes where credit is due IS the question. Both theoretical and practical. Was it the ad on TV? Was it the ad in the newspaper or on the radio? Was it the mention in iGive's newsletter? Was it the natural or paid search campaign put on by the merchant or by an affiliate? Is it the fact that the customer likes the money to go their cause? All have a hand in making the customer decide to make a purchase.

    To have a healthy industry, all players must feel that they're getting a fair shake. No answer will be perfect, but, on the whole, are we all making out sufficiently well to motivate us. If not, the character of the industry changes. I personally like the idea that this industry welcomes the small player, the newbie. If that should change I think it would diminish us all.

    And, lastly we have to remember that we're talking about the customer's money here. Without the customer, none of us makes out. The customer IS king (or queen as the case may be).

    As to the software question. Got me. I'm not a programmer. Anything is possible, given enough time and money. But is it worth it? And, what's wrong with the afsrc=1 solution? Why doesn't that address this? Inquiring minds want to know.

    And, on to Ms. B.
    I heard great things about your presentation at LS this month. Sorry I couldn't be there. Dialog is great, noise without meaning is not. So far, so good.

    Lastly -- I'm going to be traveling extensively this week, and then eComXpo is in high gear. Over 100 presentations, plus exhibitors, vendors, all those attendees. My focus is going to be on that. As Program Chair, I've got to make sure those presentations are in, we have the right mix of presenters, and that the presentations are good to great.

    That means that I will NOT be able to post here frequently (I'm hoping for once a week, but for the next 30 days zero promises).

    Thanks to Hailo for this forum, btw.

  6. #6
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    It really does not matter if you disguise the misdoings of your company or any other company as a charity benefit. What does matter is that your company is in business to make a profit, as are the thousands of hard working affiliate marketers whose commissions you are diverting for your own personal gain.

    So you give a percentage of it to a worthy charity. Great! If you're going to wrongfully take money that is not yours and give it to charity, why not give it all to charity and work for free? After all, when you steal our commission, we are working for free and we are the ones who got the customer in the first place.

    You ARE benefiting charities with OUR money. Furthermore, you are benefiting YOURSELF with OUR money.
    We all know that you WILL continue to take OUR money...our RIGHTFULLY and JUSTLY EARNED MONEY.
    If you broke in to my house and stole my TV and gave it to the Red Cross, you are still a thief.
    More and more merchants are avoiding your type of organization because they see that you are not doing the right thing. Not only are you not doing the right thing, you are using unsuspecting charities as a guise for your antics.
    A man in Central Florida recently enlisted the help of three local drug addicts to perform a series of brutal murders. The unsuspecting drug addicts did it because they were promised more drugs...sustinence if you will. How are you any different? You are using innocent and otherwise worthy organizations to act as a shield for your dirty work.
    Do the right thing, Robert. I beseech you to stop stealing money from affiliate publishers. You know it is wrong or you would not be here seeking approval.

    Scott


  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador cditty's Avatar
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    The only thing that I can say about what got the customer to the merchant site was MY affiliate link. PERIOD. The user came to my site and clicked on my link. That is all that should be considered. This has absolutely nothing to do with TV ads, radio ads, igive or anything else. They clicked on my link and per my contract with the merchant, I am due the commission.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertGrosshandler
    Hey, so far so good!
    And, what's wrong with the afsrc=1 solution? Why doesn't that address this? Inquiring minds want to know.
    What's wrong with this? It puts the burden on the affiliate to make sure that the link is coded correctly. This and the fact that 99% of the affiliates out there don't even know the afsrc=1 tag even exitsts or when and how to use it.

    Do me a favor, look at the salesman senerio I posted above. Is that fair for the salesman? Should the cashier get the commission? Just because the cashier checked the customer out?
    Recycled Talent - Architects of custom scripts and snippets, perfectly written to suit any need. We stay on top of the latest technology so you don't have to.
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  8. #8
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Admin note:
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    Inappropriate or name calling posts will be removed, let's have a dialogue, not a mud slinging contest.

    =====
    Thank you for posting Robert.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  9. #9
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    I don't know if I am the only one seeing this but, in the last few months I have noticed that many times that someone in the top from some of the companies discussed on some forums decides to show up at ABW to try to explain the how and the why of their programs, after they read some of the post concerning our worries and complains about their programs, all of a sudden they post that they will be out of the office, traveling, having a meeting, etc, or that they need to investigate or to have more prove, etc.

    But eventually they will have an excuse to get out of keep on answering the important questions they read on that day.

    Before I made this post, I did a small search on ABW to make sure I was not imagining things, so after I confirmed what I posted above, I decided to post it anyway.

    I hope this thread remain open, without bashing and that at the end of the day, we can have a definitely answer to this issue about the IGive program now, not a week or a month from now.

    BTW: This post have nothing to do with the program mentioned here alone, there are a few others in other forums. Anyone can do their own search on ABW before saying that I am wrong about this.

    Sal.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal
    I don't know if I am the only one seeing this but, in the last few months I have noticed that many times that someone in the top from some of the companies discussed on some forums decides to show up at ABW to try to explain the how and the why of their programs, after they read some of the post concerning our worries and complains about their programs, all of a sudden they post that they will be out of the office, traveling, having a meeting, etc, or that they need to investigate or to have more prove, etc.
    I was thinking the same thing...

    If you don't have time to talk, why bother coming here to let us know?

    Ebudae


  11. #11
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    "As to the software question. Got me. I'm not a programmer. Anything is possible, given enough time and money. But is it worth it? And, what's wrong with the afsrc=1 solution? Why doesn't that address this? Inquiring minds want to know."

    What are you talking about? Igive is software. You are the CEO. Programmers can program software to do whatever you want. Is your software currently popping off straight affiliate links?

  12. #12
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    As to the software question. Got me. I'm not a programmer. Anything is possible, given enough time and money. But is it worth it? And, what's wrong with the afsrc=1 solution? Why doesn't that address this? Inquiring minds want to know.
    This is the response to cditty's question:
    In your opinion, would it be feasable for your software to detect an affiliate link and not popup when the customer clicks on it? I'm not talking about added the afsrc=1 to the link. I am talking about a straight coded link. Also, this would need to be able to detect the redirect from the network itself for those of us that hide the direct affiliate link.
    I would certainly hope that as the CEO of igive you would know that answer, especially since all the issues/controversy which surrounds igive is related to the software. I am not a programmer myself nor do I work for igive much less in a management position. But even I know the answer to cditty's question. I know both whether igive's software does indeed detect in both cases and not pop and I know if it is possible for it not to pop in both cases (without the use of afsrc=1).

    What is wrong with the afsrc solution (and has been wrong with the solution from day one) is that the software is *your* responsibility (or anyone else who makes the choice to utilize software as a mechanism for operation within the Affiliate Marketing Channel. The responsibility for engaging in fair competiton when conducting business in a free commerce market falls on each individual themselves and they are responsible for their own individual business practices. You are not responsible for my business practices and I am not not responsible for yours. The problem with afsrc=1 is that it shifts the responsibility of fair competition in the marketplace from you (and other technology affiliates) to everyone else. It is not other affiliate's software. It is your software. You freely made the choice within your business model to incorporate the use of such technology. As such the responsibility lies with you to ensure that the technology is being utilized (behaves) in such a way as to potentially offer igive a fair competitive advantage in the marketplace. But what it can't do is infringe/interfere with the rights of others to conduct their own business. Direct interface with other's business flies in the face of a capitalistic/free commerce market.

    Anything is possible, given enough time and money
    Then you just need to take the time and money. And if you can't do those things (well at these stage the time thing is questionable), then you need not be using software technology as part of your business model.

    But is it worth it?
    Double damn tooting it's worth it! Especially if you really do believe that the customer is KING (or QUEEN as the case may be).

    To have a healthy industry, all players must feel that they're getting a fair shake.
    Close..but actually to have a healthy industry all players must have a fair shake. Not just feel that they are. And I'm talking about real health here, not perceived health.

    I personally like the idea that this industry welcomes the small player, the newbie. If that should change I think it would diminish us all.
    I realize there has been a lot of talk about consolidating this Industry and pushing out the small players. I'm aware of many who not only support this viewpoint but I'm also aware of certain steps being taken along those lines. I'll just say this in regard to that and your comments....the Industry has no choice but to welcome the newbie or the small player (not always necessarily one and the same). Because in our society and in our market system, that is HOW it is! It is the cornerstone and foundation of our economy as a whole. Heck, this country was built on that very principle. It's why people still come to this country from elsewhere because the 'small player' is supposed to be able to compete fairly with their own capabilities/resources.

    The bottom line is that software technology behavior can not be completely and totally justified by hiding behind the consumer and what is stated are the consumer's intent. The explanation that needs to happen first and foremost is whether or not the technology is adhering to fair trade practices and principles which are in place to protect the free marketplace. More fundamental to our ability to "make out" (monitarily) than the consumer is our ability to conduct our business within free marketplace. If we were not operating in a free marketplace, I doubt any of us would be "making out" to amount to a hill of beans.

    And yes I meant hiding behind the consumer and stated consumer's intent. That goes to comments I have with regards to some of your statements on the radio show regarding custumer ownership. But it's late tonight and this post is already long, so I'll save those thoughts for tomorrow.

  13. #13
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    I was not going to get involved on this thread, but I found these almost two years old posts and I think there is no need to try to fix anything here any longer.


    May 6th, 2003, 07:49 PM http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...7&postcount=35
    I told him that we agreed with the philosophy and spirit behind the Code of Conduct, and that it's not good for iGive.com, it's members, or our merchants to have the Shopping Window trigger inappropriately. I told him we'd research what was going on, that it was our intent to be fully in compliance with the Code of Conduct. I told him that it was my understanding that we were in compliance.
    ---
    ---
    ---
    ---
    If you find a problem, my committment is to have the problem fixed fast.

    Yours,

    Robert N. Grosshandler
    iGive.com
    And this too.

    May 6th, 2003, 10:51 PM http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...3&postcount=51
    A couple of thoughts before bed:
    1) Much of this discussion is way too technical for me.
    2) We're small. If 50,000 people (out of the 20,000,000 or more online buyers out there) were to use our site to buy something this year, I'd be ecstatic, overwhelmed, needing my heart restarted. If they all had the Shopping Window, I'd be worse off - since 100% penetration never, ever happens. Point being - the statistical probability that an iGive Shopping Window equipped user is going to encounter an affiliate's link, and then trigger inappropriately, and THEN buy, is tiny. Not that we shouldn't take steps to prevent it, and not that we shouldn't take steps to fix it if we know about it, but iGive is not worth losing sleep over.
    3) If I'm wrong, and the problem is big, then it is worth figuring out how to measure it. Otherwise, how do we know how much money to spend to fix it? And, after fixing it, how do we know that it's fixed? If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.
    4) I believe that having the Shopping Window trigger on affiliate links is bad business. The Code of Conduct (as amended) embodies that notion. It is impossible to act in a vacuum, so defining what an affiliate link is, and is not, seems perfectly rational to me.
    5) As I read it, the Code of Conduct's definitions suggest links that are hidden behind drop downs (such as in the page Mr. de Poel showed me with the Crucial link) probably qualify as "masked". I'd be curious to see if that still causes the Shopping Window to trigger if the link included the afsrc parameter.
    6) I agree that adding that afsrc parameter to links is a pain if you have to do it manually to every link. Since our site is database driven, it wouldn't take us very long. But even if it weren't, we'd do it if we thought it meant real dollars. Having that parameter in place completely drives out the gray. It leaves no room for argument about the "goodness" of the link, or whether it is masked or not.
    7) I'm interested in a constructive dialog on the topic of inappropriate triggering of the Shopping Window and that's all. I'm quite proud of the accomplishments of iGive - sending out thousands of checks for over a million dollars is something few people have done. We actually had to develop systems to handle the thousands of thank you notes we receive. Best of all, we're profitable, which means we'll be here next year and the year after, it means that we don't compete with the causes we serve for scarce donations. Feel free to call any one of the thousands of causes that have received money via iGive, and ask them what they think of us.
    I'm not interested in participating in any other kind of a dialog. Nor am I able to "hang out" here, so my responses and thoughts may be less frequent and timely than I would like. But so long as the discussion is on point, I'll be involved.
    Bed beckons.
    So my guess is that if this is going on since at least May 6th, 2003. Today the 26 of January, 2005, almost two years later, this thread will probably go where the other one with three pages went, NO WHERE.

    I rest my case, you all can continue posting, I will just sit back and enjoy the encore.


  14. #14
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    "Feel free to call any one of the thousands of causes that have received money via iGive, and ask them what they think of us."

    Maybe we should take his advice and call these 'causes' and ask them if they know how IGive gets this money. I would be willing to bet that if they knew it was dirty money they would not take it.

    I will call some and report back.

    You're right, Sal. This will go nowhere.

    All IGive merchants were dropped like rocks from my sites.


  15. #15
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Bio of Me GrossHandler... http://www.igive.com/html/body_bios.cfm
    Not much of a background in Charitable work, unless you count 5 years working with the poor in Chicago. Wonder if being a Getto Slum Lord and buying up properties at tax sales counts.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  16. #16
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    "Feel free to call any one of the thousands of causes that have received money via iGive, and ask them what they think of us."

    what I am wondering is this - you said something to the effect that you "own" your customers! (and I wonder what your customers would say if I asked them about that....)

    Come on, you don't really believe that, do you?

    egads, that would be like Sam's saying because I got their card that I could not shop at Target.
    Ebudae


  17. #17
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    But is it worth it?
    Evidently it was worth it to build the software in the first place. This not about adding enahncements or features. It not about fixing bugs that were recently detected. You obviously invested time and money to build the software, presumably with a specification, to interfere with affiliates' and merchants' sales processes.

    How to make sure that credit goes where credit is due IS the question.
    If a shopper clicks on my link on my site, there IS NOT a question, and your rationalizations don't change that fact. Donating money obtained through devious tactics is not the way honest philanthopists work.

  18. #18
    Member BeepBeep's Avatar
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    Unstoppable forces and impenetrable objects inevitably succomb to intelligence well applied, but not applied directly. Intelligence directly applied to inpenetrable objects and unstoppable forces is intelligence wasted.

  19. #19
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    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=54113

    Victoria's Secret part of
    http://www.limitedbrands.com/main.jsp

    Not a company you want to be doing that to Robert.

    Some contact info
    http://www.limitedbrands.com/contact/index.jsp

  20. #20
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    The dialog continues
    Hopefully, the following will be a cogent reply to the many replies this thread has gotten.

    1) The many posters who suggested that I shouldn't have posted if I don't have the time are partially on target. I had promised Haiko that I'd try to enter into a dialog back when his radio show first aired. I got reminded of that when it was replayed. I wanted to be good to my statement, so I opened a thread. I should have set expectations better when I opened this thread.

    2) I've been many things, but never a Ghetto Slum lord. Since I've been working for over 30 years, and I've been doing the iGive thing since 1997, that's over 20% of my working life. It's probably 5 years more of online involved / charity involved work than anybody else you'll find. Not an expert, just a pioneer (you can tell from the arrows in my back).

    3) I actually agree with the posts that say "if iGive is doing something wrong, it has nothing to do with the fact that charities are involved, it's wrong. Being cause related doesn't make a wrong right".

    4) I don't think iGive's business practices are wrong OR illegal. I've opened this dialog to give myself a chance to reexamine that belief through what Haiko promised would be a healthy dialog. There is always the probability that I haven't considered something. I certainly hope to learn something.

    5) Thanks for the many responses on the afsrc=1 issue. Whether I agree or not with whether it is possible (given the variety of links, very difficult to accomplish, certainly) I don't understand the focus on the subject.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't the time spent talking about it better spent fixing links? Does it take a lot of time?

    Does that put the responsibility on the affiliate? Yes. Is that better than not having the option? Yes. Is it perfect? No.

    In the spirit of dialog, I want to acknowledge Kellie's impassioned post about the free market. I don't agree with her analysis, but to try to do justice to her comments would result in a debate, not a conversation.

    6) Our job as business folk is to look for competitive advantage that is legal and moral. The way we gain competitive advantage is to listen to our customers, and bring them solutions they find more appealing than the alternative.

    7) Victoria's Secret and the rest. We definitely do pop there. No automatic redirect, no names of competitors. Just information. An iGive member does NOT get a donation when she shops at Victoria Secret. She wants to know that. Indeed, a big source of e-mail for us is members requesting that we add a store to our list. Great information, our members love it. They can make a conscious choice to continue shopping there and ignore the pop up, or to look for an alternative. I believe she can turn that feature off, too.

    Two ways to get on that list. First, be somebody like Victoria's Secret, a highly popular shopping site that does not participate with iGive, AND our members keep requesting that we add them to our family. The second way is to have once been a popular site at iGive, but be a store that no longer participates with us. We work hard to build an expectation in our members that shopping at an iGive merchant is going to help his or her cause. When that situation changes, the member wants to know that. Nothing worse than shopping at some store and NOT getting a donation.

    8) Credit where credit is due.

    Just because a link was the last step in the chain leading to a transaction has no bearing on how responsible the owner of that link was in causing the transaction. I'm repeating myself, but a customer makes a purchase based on a myriad of factors - advertising, newsletters, the cause component, etc. No way is it just the last link clicked. Did the last link have something to do with it -- certainly. How much? Completely uncertain.

    Is it wrong to only give credit to the last link clicked?

    That's the system we have in place today. I would love to devise a better system. I think the system we have today overly and unfairly compensates somebody who didn't have much to do with the transaction taking place when iGive is involved. I think that iGive's e-mailing newsletters, sending checks to causes, and working with merchants to create special offers have a great deal to do with an iGive member making a purchase at an iGive merchant.

    Unfortunately, I have zero data to support that contention. I wish I had some. If I did, I could use that data to negotiate better terms with the iGive merchants. But, if a member does NOT purchase through iGive, but uses an affiliate link, we have no knowledge of it, and therefore can't survey them to find out IF we were part of their decision making process.
    Last edited by RobertGrosshandler; January 31st, 2005 at 02:40 PM. Reason: better title

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertGrosshandler
    Is it wrong to only give credit to the last link clicked?
    No, and it should be expected.

  22. #22
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertGrosshandler
    Does that put the responsibility on the affiliate? Yes. Is that better than not having the option? Yes. Is it perfect? No.
    Not necessarily moral, either.

  23. #23
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    My opinion:

    Anyone who diverts a visitor from using my link directly, to my credit, is a parasite.

  24. #24
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    What a piece of work this guy is.
    I use the word "work" only because I repect Haiko's plea for this not to be a name calling contest.
    Robert, I still maintain that you should give ALL of the commission to the charity and work for free, since that is what the affiliates whose links you are hijacking are doing.
    I can't wait to see what happens when some of these companies' attorneys whose trademarked name you are hijacking get hold of you in court. You know this will happen. I will be the one in the corner laughing hysterically at your double talk and rhetoric in trying to explain away your intolerable, illegal and unethical trade practices.


  25. #25
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    Just because a link was the last step in the chain leading to a transaction has no bearing on how responsible the owner of that link was in causing the transaction. I'm repeating myself, but a customer makes a purchase based on a myriad of factors - advertising, newsletters, the cause component, etc. No way is it just the last link clicked. Did the last link have something to do with it -- certainly. How much? Completely uncertain.
    I repeat. Your rationalizations do not justify your actions. I see an ad for a product in my newspaper. I see it advertised on tv. I get a piece of junk mail about it. My neighbor has one and tells me it's great. I cruise around town and stop in and buy it at Target. Sorry, Robert, neither Walmart nor the newspaper, nor the junk mailer, nor my neighbor, nor my favorite benevolent philanthropist gets part of the action. I was in Target's store, on their property, availing myself of their display and purchasing the product from their store. A store that costs money to operate with the hope of making a profit.

    Other entities may have played a part in getting me to shop for it like the manufacturer's advertising or even a Walmart ad in the newspaper. But I decided to make the deal at Target. Target gets the sale and the money. I'm not exactly certain, but my guess is that if you found a way to interfere with that sale, you would probably face some kind of legal action. If you stood at the checkout lane at the store, grabbed the money offered to the clerk, and put it in your own pocket, even the fact that you gave a percentage to charity does not change the fact that have you stolen.

    I leave you with number 7 and number 10:

    7. "Neither shall you steal."
    10. "and you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.' ( and that includes his affilite links )

    Let your conscience be your guide. Good day, sir.

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