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  1. #1
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Taking Action
    Billy Kay has posted in a few threads of late about his decision and experience of removing Merchants from his sites which are associated with parasites. I know that over the last several months, there have been more and more affiliates who are taking this same action.

    The other day Billy posted in the JRami Consulting forum here: http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...186#post407186 about his experience with this decision and it was in relation to Jorge Ramirez dropping a Merchant contract due to the Merchant's decision to allow Ebates into the program.

    I found Billy's post both informative and inspirational. An affiliate who certainly demands a certain level of expectations met from his Merchant partnerships, but who is also willing to face the sometimes tough decisions that Merchants are asked to make by their affiliates.

    I'm reposting his post in this thread so that it will receive the viewing exposure that it deserves.

    Hopefully we'll reach the day in this Industry when what other Affiliates a Merchant is partnering with won't have to factor into the Affiliate/Merchant partnership decision.

  2. #2
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Copy of Billy Kay's Post
    Jorge,

    I know I already posted, but...

    In December - at the height of Christmas season - I removed some of my money making merchants. It was out of principle, not money. They were using Liveperson, and despite their claims to the contrary, I saw the proof they were taking my commissions.

    Each removal was a tough - and emotional - decision.

    I spent January removing a lot of merchants while doing annual house cleaning. Even the non-performers were are hard decision to remove.

    Recently, Haiko posted an ebates thread. And I removed more merchants on principle. Some were money makers. But even though I was happy they made me $100, it was shown I should have made $150. And again, each removal hurt.

    And 5 seconds ago, I finished removing all traces of Dell - again soley on principle.

    It's like breaking up with a girl when you know the relationship isn't going anywhere, but you have some sort of history. It hurts in the beginning, but something better will come along.

    I can state with 100% confidence that yes, there was pain, but I feel truly liberated. hec! If I were the type to carry a pink parasol on a hilltop meadow and spin around in slow motion and sing - I'd do it!! (What an ugly image!)

    And even if I only make $90 instead of $100 because of the removals, it still feels good.

    And... out of the blue... other opportunities came along. Merchants who for a long time were nameless and unknown to me, (and basically just had a general link or 2 on my sites) have been contacting me wanting a better relationship. With their own suggestions: This will fit here. That should do nicely there. Lemme make a custom ad that fits your look.

    In theory, the replacements for the dropped merchants should bring me back up to $100 in no time. PLUS, we're developing a relationship/partnership - rather then just making links - which I have always found to lead to more money. I expect to improve on the $100 soon!

    I hope your replacement comes quick - and it proves to be a better relationship - and more profitable.

  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    but who is also willing to face the sometimes tough decisions that Merchants are asked to make by their affiliates.
    I am one.

    Good Post, that's a Good Title and I agree 100% with it, but.............

    While I had no problem dropping that merchant the other day and I have no problem dropping any merchant that is found to be working with parasites, I know that many here won't do it.

    I have read that page (all_stores.jsp) many times and there I see many merchants that are promoted big time by many members here.

    Why they stay with those merchant, even after they know that those merchants have parasites?

    That is very easy to answer, MONEY and as long as they're making MONEY with those merchants, they will not going to drop those parasitic merchants, even if they only get pay halve of what they're supposed to get pay.

    I didn't invent that answer, that was posted on ABW by a few members about a year ago on a similar thread. I have not searched for that old thread yet, but I remember when some members posted that halve of the money was better than no money at all. (How can I forget that crap?)

    I might understand when some new merchants or affiliates might be hook by false promises of big money, by Networks and or parasites that have nothing to lose and a lot to gain money-wise, but once those merchants and affiliates get to know how the parasites work, if they decide to stay in bed with the parasites, they all deserve whatever they get coming them sooner or later and that won't be more money, that's for sure.

    There is a big double standard on this business and as long as there is some money to be made, there will be a lot of people that will use their greed for money before the ethics.

    There are a few lists of merchants that work with different parasites but, there is also a lot of merchants that are 100% clean of parasites and have ethics and principles.

    There are also some merchants that are forced to drop the parasites they have because of the pressure some of us put on them to be a clean merchant and they don't want the bad publicity they may get if they don't drop the parasites, even if they think that they'd be making more money with the parasites.

    I will like to end this post with a big important question:

    Why would a Clean Merchant that don't work with Parasites, Will allow in their program an affiliate that works with another merchant that works with parasites?

    Sal.

    Note: To me, if a parasite is bad for one merchant that I want to join, that parasite is bad for all the merchants that I have joined before and if I won't join that new merchant because of one parasite, I sure won't promote any other merchant I have, if I find they're working with parasites.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Just in case:

    I didn't invent that answer, that was posted on ABW by a few members about a year ago on a similar thread. I have not searched for that old thread yet, but I remember when some members posted that halve of the money was better than no money at all. (How can I forget that crap?)
    I searched for that old thread and I found it.

    Here is the link to that thread: http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=3772

    And here is what I said on April 14th, 2004 on that thread:


    __________
    ["If parasites steal $2,000/month in affiliate's commissions but the affiliate still makes $2,000/month with this particular merchant... does it justify the affiliation with this merchant or should they be dropped? Reduce your income today to have more income tomorrow? Or swallow the loss because $2,000 is still better than nothing ?"]
    __________

    If I find that I am making $4,000/month with one merchant but, the parasites are stealing $2,000/month and I get pay only $2,000/month, first I will try to get all may money back and if that fail, then that merchant is history from my site, I will never settle for halve of what is rightfully mine.
    To me making nothing is better than to share of my earning with a crook.
    Sal.
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...3&postcount=17

    ---------------------------------------------

    Now I would also like to see who is also willing to face the sometimes tough decisions that Merchants are asked to make by their affiliates.

    The thread is open, let's see how many members post their willingness to make that tough decision now.

    Sal.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    I'm in - with a suggested proviso:

    Contact the merchant and try to get them to drop their parasitic affiliates. I did this in early January with my 2nd best performing merchant as I discovered they had a bunch of software affiliates (guess I wasn't paying attention enough before). I tried very hard not to be cynical or judgemental in my emails to them (almost managed it!) and to my surprise the AM said that they had wondered about it for a while, but now I'd contacted them as one of their best performing affiliates, they were going to look more closely at how those other affiliates worked.

    As a big company things weren't instant but before the end of January the parasites had stopped being paid by them with a new legal position to be in place by mid Feb.

    So use the earlier metaphor, we went to counselling, got things sorted and are as happy as ever on the right track again.

    It's difficult sometimes and there are some downright liars out there, but sometimes the AM's just don't know what's really going on and need some help to understand it. Maybe it's not worth a personal approach and exchange of emails for the $50 a month merchant, but if we all reach one, or just one in 10 or so of us reach one, then they're informed and cleaned up for all of us.

  7. #7
    15 years and counting
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    Paul Ward - Contact the merchant and try to get them to drop their parasitic affiliates. I did this in early January with my 2nd best performing merchant as I discovered they had a bunch of software affiliates (guess I wasn't paying attention enough before). I tried very hard not to be cynical or judgemental in my emails to them (almost managed it!) and to my surprise the AM said that they had wondered about it for a while, but now I'd contacted them as one of their best performing affiliates, they were going to look more closely at how those other affiliates worked.
    Thats' the right thing to do. After mrmerchant small @ss comment in the iGive thread
    "Kellie, you assume that Amazon, Victoria's Secret and such don't know. Why? Just wondering. Perhaps because it stirs emotions and makes you look like you're a hero or like you found something that people don't already know about? News flash: They know. They don't care. "
    I had a long call with both the AM and the CEO of one of the Linkshare merchant listed on iGive.com.
    Sure enough they didn't know iGive was parasitic. After a few days of research, iGive was gone. Just do it with your best merchants, they are listening.

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Only way to get any merchant to sit up and pay attention to parasitic double dipping is to make them understand the amount they're paying out for non-commissionable actions. No parasite friendly AM is willing to volunteer this info. It's simple for any real merchant employed manager (Marketing or Sales) to request the top 50 affiliate payouts monthly from their hired gun AM's and put a $$$ amount to the cost of doing business with the darkside.

    You can bet they'll become more curious in 2005 as MicroSoft's Anti-Spyware programs -Ad-Aware -Spybot and the US Congress bring the issue into prime time media. Seeing what happens on their own home computers after a cleansing will open their eyes. It will be interesting to see entire verticles, like computers, electronics, flowers or cameras, become the exclusive territory of Mass Adwhore affiliate wanks because there is no opportunity to make money on referring session only shoppers to these type sites.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  9. #9
    Full Member ahmar's Avatar
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    After reading iGive thread and seeing the list of merchants, found one merchant I am working with among the list. Immediately wrote to them, with link to iGive thread, as I am aware of their stance against parasites. AM replied to me and said she needs some time to investigate and she would come back to me. Today i received an email from her stating that they have dropped iGive for going against CJ code of conduct. After reading her email went straight to iGive's site and Yes! She was right they did drop iGive and they are no more listed on iGive's list of merchants.
    <DT>[size=1][color=navy]"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return.[/color][/size]<DT>[size=1][color=navy]It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale." Arthur C. Clark[/color][/size]</DT>

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Good Post. I too have started to take action by slowly cleaning out suspicous merchants. I have also created a whole page of consumer infomation regarding Adware,Parasite and bad merchants. I asked Haiko to view the page and he seemed to like it. Get the word out to your visitors!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mailman
    Good Post. I too have started to take action by slowly cleaning out suspicous merchants. I have also created a whole page of consumer infomation regarding Adware,Parasite and bad merchants. I asked Haiko to view the page and he seemed to like it. Get the word out to your visitors!


    Hi, Mailman

    Interesting post!

    Where can we see the page you created?

    Thank you!

    RadarCat, Webmaster
    http://www.os2warplinks.com

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Hi Radar Cat. You can see it here,but I still am working on it. I am not much of a webmaster as I still use old script. It's a start and I still have a lot of tweeking to do.
    http://www.mailordering.com/consumers.html

  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Kellie,

    Thanks!

    I agree of course, and glad you re-posted this. Billy's post was very informative and inspirational. It should help everyone to "take action" as they are not alone in the fight. As I told Billy, "it will take people like Billy Kay to finally lead the way".

    I already see many here also leading the way and the fight by dropping merchants and placing comments on sites. Good Job! The very first step should also always be to notify your merchant AM as some might not be aware of what really happens with parasites, what list they are on, and also teach them of positive ways to improve the program.

    I suggest someone always keeping this thread alive as each one Takes Action in one form or another.

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Folks here just need to build a useful landing page for the free SERPs outlining various detect removal tools. Forget the PC crap and just tell it like it is as the visitors are all pissed and anxious to get some relief on their hijacked browsers.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  15. #15
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    Hi, MailMan,

    Your page has very good information. I can tell that you put a lot of thought and research into it.

    It certainly is worth studying.

    Thanks!

    RadarCat, Webmaster
    http://www.os2warplinks.com

  16. #16
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    I have a 2 part post.

    First, I'm fixing to pull what eBay and Overstock links I have up, down. I don't make anything through eBay anyway, and I know after reading many posts at ABW that Overstock is fully aware of what's going on and continues to remain affiliated with such places as eBates. I don't make anything through Overstock either, so no loss on either of these 2.

    Now on to my second part. There are 2 companies listed on eBates that I'm unsure of their stance or their knowledge of such things (those being Monster and eHarmony). The first thing I would like to do is contact them and learn of both their stance and knowledge and move from there.

    The problem lies, as I'm sure it does with many affiliates here, with knowing about the problem but not how to properly handle contacting merchants about this type of thing. I'm aware of how 'parasites' work, persay, but I have no idea how to effectively convey that information to a merchant.

    It'd be nice if those with the expertise in this area could offer some collaborative information that we can use so that we can get the message across to the particular merchant(s) and not misrepresent any information at the same time. What to say, what not to say, the best information to make sure they get the point.

    As far as I can tell, those are the only 4 I'm affiliated with that are working with eBates, at least. But these are also 2 merchants that I'd like to continue working with assuming they're not completely aware and are willing to remove themselves from dealing with such parasites. If they are aware, they're gone.

    It's not just about telling people to deal with parasitic merchants, but how to deal with them. And if this information already exists in a collective form somewhere, then please point me to it.

    With that said, I'm off to take care of part 1 at least.

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  17. #17
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    My best friend's computer got whacked with the Home Search Assistant (HSA) drive-by install this weekend. It's a variation of the CWSCoolWeb search parasite and it's nasty!!! CWS Shredder was a program designed to remove the earlier CWS (CoolWebSearch) parasite - but there's no similar program for the HSA - it's horribly hard and tedious to remove - and I'd say that 95%+ of the general computer using population would be unable to fully remove it even if given the exact steps.

    Here's where I found how to extract it:
    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topict3341.html
    http://www.short-media.com/review.php?r=259

    The HSA hijack took over his desktop, created constant pop-ups, slowed his computer to a crawl, redirected any searches he did anywhere including within Windows itself and a lot more.

    It's heinous!

    When will laws be passed and criminal prosecution of this type of thing begin?

    I personally installed Spybot S&D and AdAware SE on his PC a few months back. Neither could even begin to remove this "helper"...

    My buddy was ready to throw his computer away - it's 9 months old...

    It smokes me to think that they defend themselves as providing a legimate service with their software application. They should be flogged.

  18. #18
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    I remember asking that question last year
    Mr. Sal good for you! However, there were other affiliates who said that $2,000 was better than nothing.

    Networks work against us on this issue, they push these scums full force on their merchants. Shame on them... I wonder how they can sleep at night knowing that they are stealing from us AND their merchants every single minute of every day. That's what you really call a trustworthy 3rd party, isn't it?

    I continue to contact merchants to talk about spyware and how it works. Some do care, most don't. If merchants don't have any affiliates to work with, do you really think they'll make money with their spyware buddies? Whose sales are they going to steal? It only leaves the merchant's free traffic.

    In my view, the only thing us, affiliates, can do to stop this problem and give ourselves a raise this year (I like a few signatures) is to drop these parasitic merchants (and starve a parasite, that's a good one!) from our sites and only work with clean merchants. Yes it may be difficult at first to deal with the drop of income, but you don't have to remove all your links in one day. It's extremely time consuming and not an easy task to find replacements, if or when you can even find them.

    On my garden site I NAME the merchants I removed because of their affiliation with spyware, and I tell my visitors that these particular merchants are a reason that they get these spyware programs downloaded on their computer WITHOUT their permission. Companies that use these programs keep them in business. To protect themselves, their computer and their personal information, they should NOT buy from them. Some customers won't care, but I am certain that many will and might even contact the merchant. Merchants will also see a decrease in sales and wonder why.

    The more affiliates who drop merchants because of their association with parasites, the bigger of a POSITIVE impact we'll make on the situation.

    It's time we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH - WE WON'T BE RIPPED OFF ANYMORE!

    Catwoman

  19. #19
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    In my view, the only thing us, affiliates, can do to stop this problem and give ourselves a raise this year (I like a few signatures) is to drop these parasitic merchants (and starve a parasite, that's a good one!) from our sites and only work with clean merchants. Yes it may be difficult at first to deal with the drop of income, but you don't have to remove all your links in one day. It's extremely time consuming and not an easy task to find replacements, if or when you can even find them.

    Yes Catwoman, I agree with that and specially with the part that I bold.

    Thank You for that post.

    -------------------------

    I also have noticed that in the same way that a slogan on the Gun Issue, there is a saying that goes something like this: "Gun's don't kill people, people kill people with guns."

    This may apply too: Not all Parasites steal from all the regular affiliates all by themselves, most of the parasites steal from most of the affiliates because of the Greed or the ignorance of many merchants that allow the Parasites to join their program and even after they learn all what the parasites do, they decide to keep them because the money they generate looks good and as long as the monthly sales keep going up with the parasites on board, some merchants would not be interested on how those sales are made, even if they're paying for commissions that they don't even have to pay.

    If some of those merchants don't really care about the regular honest affiliates, that complain about how the parasites are stealing commissions that they don't have to pay, much less would they care about stolen commissions from regular affiliates links.

    Some very interesting definitions.

    Parasite: An animal or plant that lives in or on a host (another animal or plant); the parasite obtains nourishment from the host without benefiting or killing the host.

    Host: A person who invites guests to a social event (such as a party in his or her own home) and who is responsible for them while they are there.

    Responsible: Worthy of or requiring responsibility or trust; or held accountable.

    -------------------------

    By now, everyone around here should know how the parasites work and what to do or not to do, about it. Unless you're totally brand-new to affiliate marketing today, I don't see a valid reason for excuses three, six or twelve months from now, saying that you didn't knew how the parasites work and that you will do some testing then.

    The parasites issue have been going on from some years now, so enough is enough indeed.

    Sal.



  20. #20
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    "aka"

    Hey, if you're gonna' quote me... at least invite me to the thread!

    ... and of all the posts I've made, you quote the one where I say "imagine me with a parasol spinning and singing in slow motion in a meadow"???

    surely I have a post you can use where I say "Imagine me with the Barbie Twins in a meadow"!!


  21. #21
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    So you guys only have 100% parasite free/network free indys on your site?

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    That's my plan. Soon all Linkshare merchants will be gone. As far as I am concerned the free ride is over. It would be a wonderful business if everyone played by the rules.
    Some merchants have no plans to pay affiliates, it's just a Scam. Remember this, it's your site so why should'nt you be paid?. I own my site and I also pay the monthly bills to operate it. Screw all the BS. There are merchants that post here and still belong to ebates. Go ahead and check out ebates and you will see who supports them.
    How about SHUTTERBUGS for a start!

  23. #23
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    "aka"

    Hey, if you're gonna' quote me... at least invite me to the thread!

    ... and of all the posts I've made, you quote the one where I say "imagine me with a parasol spinning and singing in slow motion in a meadow"???
    Why do you think I picked it? The visual image of that one is still 'spinning' through my head.

    Anyway, your fault for articulating very well a dilemena faced by both Affiliates and Merchants because we haven't reached that level playing field yet.

  24. #24
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    "That's my plan. Soon all Linkshare merchants will be gone."

    mailman i wish you would stop lying. These are your past posts

    posted March 13, 2003 07:27 AM
    At one time I had 100 hundred Linkhare merchants and you know what?.I never registered one cent in revenue.

    posted March 22, 2003 07:39 AM
    Don't bother tracking me as I have removed everything on Linkshare.

    posted October 13, 2003 07:56 AM
    I have never received a cheque from linkshare.

  25. #25
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Kellie,

    I posted that dropping a merchant can hurt, but hopefully something better comes along, and compared it to a realationship, where, in theory, you learned a few lessons, found some of your strenghts and weakenesses, are a little more confident in knowing what you're looking for, so you're next relationship should be better.

    I confirmed today that I dropped 'Rosanne" and found "Pamela Anderson"!!

    Night and day! Fric and Frak. Not even in the same ballpark! To the moon Alice!

    My jaw is dropping!

    And I can't post any of it here.

    I'll PM you the details - and since people respect and listen to you - when you say "Try dropping a parasite and something better can come along" it will carry some weight.

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