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  1. #1
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    Hale Groves is Now eBates Free
    The Hale Groves AM emailed me today to announce that they have ceased their association with e-b-a-t-e-s.

    Thank you for making us aware of the "parasite" issues with E-b-a-t-e-s.
    After complete evaluation of the E-b-a-t-e-s program, we have decided to
    remove them from our list of affiliates.


    This is a good example of how a simple email to a merchant can benefit us all. The affiliate can now feature Hale Groves without fear of their links being hijacked. The merchant will also see a difference when they are not paying for natural links being hijacked.

    I would like to request that anyone interested in featuring citrus on their site to sign up with Hale Groves today. Let the affiliate manager know that you support their parasite free stance. Also they are probably the one of the best groves in Florida (I’m a resident)

  2. #2
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    Wow don't I feel stupid. I grew up in Vero Beach, home of Hale Groves and never even thought to consider that they would have an affiliate program. Heck I even know several people who work for the company (or used to, apparently I am out of touch with the world).

    Hale Groves product is outstanding (he says unbiasedly). Some of the best citrus you will ever get. Good folks. Glad to see them take a stand and be parasite free.

    Cause you don't want parasites in your citrus....ruins the taste.
    Chris Mayr
    When amassed, even dust can become a mountain.

    There is a finite amount of intelligence but an infinite amount of stupidity in the universe

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    zendozen,

    Great work!

    HalesGrooves
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  4. #4
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    Is the title of this thread in fact accurate? Hale Groes dropped Ebates, OK. Does that make them parasite free? Not to point out the obvious, but what about all the other parasites?

  5. #5
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    What other parasites are they associated with?

  6. #6
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    I'd have to run extensive checks to know for sure, and that's time-consuming. (I usually only do it upon a merchant's request, on a consulting basis.) But there's no reason to think other parasites aren't targeting them -- there are lots of parasites out there, not just Ebates.

  7. #7
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    I don't see them listed on any of the parasites merchants list, unless somebody can post a link to one.

    "But there's no reason to think other parasites aren't targeting them"

    That's always possible that they're targetted, they're not working with them, but they can always be targetted. Even merchants without an affiliate program, like Victoria's Secret being targetted by Igive from the other thread.

  8. #8
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    1) Kicking Ebates out of a program makes the program "Ebates free." Not "parasite free." Removing Ebates, with nothing more, certainly doesn't mean that "The affiliate can now feature Hale Groves without fear of their links being hijacked." I like the title of this post -- emphasizing that what's been done is the removal of Ebates. But other rule-breakesr still remain, and there's every reason to think there are many such threats.

    2) My existing records show that Hale Groves participates in the BargainBuddy (aka eXact Advertising, aka Cashback Buddy) software download. Confirmation. Recall that I previously posted a video showing this software arriving on my test computer through a security hole, without any notice or consent.

    3) Again, I'm sure they're targeted by other bad actors too. There are lots of rule-breakers out there, and merely removing Ebates is just the start of a long process to truly becoming "parasite-free."

  9. #9
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    Change in thread title?
    Did this thread start out with the title "Hale Groves is Now Parasite Free"? That was my recallection, and my first post in this thread only makes sense if that was the initial title. But now the title says "Hale Groves is Now eBates Free."

    Clearly the new title is better... but is it really possible to change the title of a thread without the initial post at least showing an edit? Or maybe I'm losing my mind?!

  10. #10
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    They probably just need that information so they can remove them too. Anybody know any other parasites?

  11. #11
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    http://www.cashbackbuddy.com/merchants.php

    Actually we might need to start another thread. I see some merchants that are listed there that want to be parasite free and may not know. I see Forzieri, Greatskin, Deckers, Hale Groves etc.

  12. #12
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    I know lots of other parasites! Question is, which of the parasites are targeting this particular merchant?

    For example, what is 180 doing to this merchant? (It's a rare merchant that isn't targeted by 180, save for those merchants fortunate enough to be on 180's exclusion list.)

    Then there are all the second-tier parasites folks here generally don't discuss by name.

    I'm not in a position to run all these tests for free. Perhaps someone else here would like to take up that task, though.

    It's great that the AM is willing to do the right thing on these issues. Next question is whether the AM will be proactive (affirmatively figure out where the problems are) or merely reactive (wait for others to present the research and evidence). That's not to criticize those AMs who see their role as more passive, but if I were supervising the sending out of monthly checks, I'd want to do some research of my own to see who I'm paying.

  13. #13
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Ben,

    I changed the title per your suggestion.

    Apparently title changes don't show as an edit, sorry, thought it would.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  14. #14
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    IMO there is a HUGE difference is being 'targeted' by a parasiste and being partnered with a parasite when talking about a Merchant being parasite-free.

  15. #15
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    I agree that there's a difference. Now, in terms of the claimed benefit offered in the first post (that affiliates purportedly can now "feature Hale Groves without fear of their links being hijacked"), I think there's actually no significant difference. But from the perspective of merchant intent, there's a relevant difference -- purposeful partnering, versus acquiescence (even if arguably negligent).

    Fact is, there are lots of rule-breakers that claim to be partners -- all the TopMoxies, but also BargainBuddy, SAH, e2give, and plenty more. Do we call IBIS a "partner" or a "targeter"? I guess ultimately I don't much care what label is chosen. Point is, in my testing they don't seem to add value to a merchant's program, and they do take commissions that would otherwise flow to other affiliates. From the perspective of the "without fear" test Zendozen proposed at the start of this thread, they're all the same, and they all need to be stopped in order to assure that affiilates get the commissions they're entitled to under the stated rules.

  16. #16
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Now, in terms of the claimed benefit offered in the first post (that affiliates purportedly can now "feature Hale Groves without fear of their links being hijacked"), I think there's actually no significant difference.
    They can in relation to Ebates hijacking Hale Grove links. Did Zendozen use the best terminology for the first title of this thread? Most likely not. But my sense is that Zendozen is maybe new to this whole parasite thing (I could be wrong here). What I do know is that Zendozen saw postings here regarding Ebates, was concerned about their revenue and took action. Not only did they take action, but the action they took yielded positive results not only for themselves, but for other Hale Grove affiliates, future Hale Grove affiliates and for Hale Grove themselves. So does this positive announcement turn into something that is beginning to look like criticism of zendozen and Hale Grove (who both did something positive) over choice of terminology? I say kudos to Zendozne and Hale Grove. I say if there are other bad players lurking in their midst yet that we are supportive of Hale Grove and assist them productively and constructively in ways to continue to improve their program.

    But from the perspective of merchant intent, there's a relevant difference -- purposeful partnering, versus acquiescence (even if arguably negligent).
    Are you saying Hale Grove is acquiescent and negligent?

    Fact is, there are lots of rule-breakers that claim to be partners -- all the TopMoxies, but also BargainBuddy, SAH, e2give, and plenty more. Do we call IBIS a "partner" or a "targeter"?
    Partner = mutually entered into business relationship. IBIS applies to a Merchants program and is accepted into the program by the Merchant. IBIS is a partner of that Merchants

    Target = IBIS pops on Merchants site, redirects Merchants traffic, etc but is NOT an affiliate in the Merchants program. Merchant is a target.

    I guess ultimately I don't much care what label is chosen.
    I do care very much! It's quite significant in how to approach and deal with the issues. WhenU has popped on my ecommerce shopping site going back around 2001. I have NEVER had a business relationship with WhenU nor will I ever have a business relationship with WhenU. WhenU's pop ups on my shopping cart were without my authorization or approval. I am not acquiencent nor negligent because of those pop ups. And anyone who even insinuates that I partner with WhenU because there is no significant difference between partnering and being a target, I will beat back into tomorrow with the biggest clue tree (not stick) that I can find! Heck Haiko has had more than one of these companies pop on ABW. He also had an affiliate program. So are you saying that Haiko's affiliate program is NOT parasite-free???

    they all need to be stopped in order to assure that affiilates get the commissions they're entitled to under the stated rules.
    Agree 100% total with that statement. Affiliates need to get the commissions they are entitled to.

  17. #17
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    Musing on definitions, targeting/partnering, and what comes next
    I say kudos to Zendozne and Hale Grove.
    Kudos for taking the first step in a multi-step process. But let's not overstate the significance of this step, standing alone, as the first post in this thread did. That's not to blame the poster -- everyone's allowed a slip of the tongue / keyboard now and then. But these are written communications, read by a large group, and so precision is at a special premium.

    Are you saying Hale Grove is acquiescent and negligent?
    Let's take the more general question: Is a merchant acquiescent and negligent when, for months on end, it pays commissions to Ebates, BargainBuddy, and the like -- all having applied to the merchant's affiliate program in their own name, all with semi-truthful descriptions of their activities, but also with material omissions (e.g. failure to disclose their nonconsensual installations in violation of applicable network rules)? I don't know. I see some facts on each side. On one hand, the principal bad actor is the software developer -- designing software that breaks the rules. But merchants and their AMs surely have some responsibility for investigating who they're partnering with. Negligence -- "failing to providing a proper or reasonable level of care" -- is precisely the failure to complete this kind of investigation.

    If a merchant were to file suit against its affiliate manager for failure to properly supervise an affiliate program, I would think the concept of neligence would come up at great length, and would end up being a key point of contention.


    As to the partner/target question: I've only been referring to (and only thinking about) software programs that apply to merchants' affiliate program -- so "partners" under your definition. But is 180 a merchant's partner merely because a merchant happened to allow 180 (or one of its advertisers) into the merchant's affiliate program? The IBIS behavior I've observed is "partner" behavior in that I've observed IBIS waiting for users to browse to merchants' sites, then redirecting users to merchants' affiliate links -- so they're in merchants' affiliate prorams, and therefore a partner under the definition I understand you to propose. They're not covering a merchant's site with competitors' popups, nor otherwise redirecting merchants' traffic to competitors, so they're not "targeting" the merchant as you've set out the test.

    A different partner/target test would focus less on "where does traffic end up?" and more on "is there a genuine bona fide business benefit to the merchant?" On that test, IBIS, could well end up a targeter rather than a partner. If there's no business benefit to what IBIS is doing, then it's hard to think an informed merchant could have chosen to partner with IBIS.

    Hence the serious and difficult question in my prior post, as to whether we call IBIS a partner or a targeter. And hence my statement that it doesn't much matter which label we use, because what's truly relevant is the way that the software program harms the merchant and harms rule-following affiliates.

    But I agree with you that it's important to distinguish the easy "partner" cases (Ebates) from the easy target cases (Claria) from the intermediate cases (supposed partners that nonetheless don't add any substantial business value, e.g. the IBIS behavior I've observed). Clearly no one would say a site is partnered with Claria merely because Claria targets that site for showing competitors' popups.


    Where does this leave us? Back where I started in my first post in the thread: That removing Ebates from a program is (arguably) commendable in terms of business benefit to the merchant; but that there are lots of other software apps still requiring attention; and that an affiliate program isn't "clean" until it has made serious and substantial efforts to identify and remove substantially all such apps.

  18. #18
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    Proactive - Acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty

    That is all I have been trying to do, there is no magic or even special skills needed to perform this feat. I have been at this affiliate game for some time now and I am better than some and probably mediocre than many. But I have a single minded goal – to earn more with all my affiliate sites.

    I contacted Hale Groves because I am an affiliate and I wanted to make sure that I got what I earned. I used the forum posts here to enlighten the affiliate manager who was already aware of the problems with parasites. That information and my calls seemed to have helped them make their decision to drop e-b-a-t-e-s.

    I did this with another company and they dropped i-g-i-v-e.

    What I was hoping would happen was that other affiliates would see how easy it is to contact a merchant. Informing a merchant about what is happening to their money is really something they will listen to. If it affects their pocket you can be sure that some note will be made of your email/phone call.

    I entitled the original post as parasite free for two reasons. One I don’t like giving e-b-a-t-e-s any more SERPs than needed (that is why I will not spell their name out) and second because I was hoping the Hale Groves AM would join the forum and contribute. I emailed her thanking her for her company’s decision to drop the parasite and gave her the link to this post.

    I guess you guys like to make sure all is just right with every post and it does seem like the discussion tends to hover over the little things (semantics?). Not trying to step on any toes but how about some action? Where are all the emails to Hale Groves to commend them on this decision? No one wants to think they have not done enough but everyone likes to hear praise.

    To paraphrase ecomcity’s sig line “What have you done today to help make a merchant aware of parasites?”

  19. #19
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Exactly Zendozen and very well put...much better than I did.

  20. #20
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Very Well put, but I must ask about:

    . One I don’t like giving e-b-a-t-e-s any more SERPs than needed (that is why I will not spell their name out)
    ... because a SERP with another merchant dropping them *IS* a great listing for affiliates
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  21. #21
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    TopMoxie appears to desire consumer and merchant legitimacy, while having a free reign to hijack network sales through their insider relationships with the network powers. They sense those powers are so greedy they will throw ethics to the wind and push the TopMoxie BHO apps upon uninformed merchants if they just allow one hijacked sale at a time. They see domain bound affiliates as an obsolete in effectual force to drain merchnats Ad budgets and assure a cookie is attached to every sale made.

    The EyeBall hijacking War has progressed to where the networks are content to have first level and wannabee first level BHO's on the lips of their IAB/DMA controlled AM's 3rd party firms. All Ad Agencies, blinded by their own mindset, are having a orgasim as they play all sides to raid the corporations with established Ad budgets. SEO/SEM -spamming in all flavors - BHO's and even cookie stuffing with the hords of sleezebag "incenters" make them appear to be earning their fees, as more sales migrate automatically to Internet sites.

    It's one big con-game with both the domain bound affiliates and the hijacked consumer systems being victims. If Shoving cheap mass advertising up the consumers butts requires paying off the networks, Merchant AM's and the Super Affiliates of all flavors...then so be it.

    Major conflicts are coming down the pike to upset this grand scheme. They forgot to factor in consumer wrath as ALL consumers hate gorrilla marketers and choose not to be bombarded by the evil Adwhore industry. Even making the major BHO players hyping liberal thoughts/charity scams and reward programs will not hold up when 180Solutions, WhenU, Gator and 300 2nd tier players don't give a rats ass about a unenforced CoC and do drive-bys and bundling infestations on those consumers systems.

    ROLMAO ...Who is eXact Advertising
    eXact Advertising was formed in May 2002 by industry veterans from leading Internet media and communications companies, it has quickly become one of the dominant players in Contextual Marketing.

    eXact Advertising connects users and advertisers through several different delivery methods that in aggregate, reach greater than 90% of all Internet users. Our areas of expertise include Contextual URL targeted and Banner Advertising, Search Engine Marketing, and Demographic Marketing.

    The HYPE: eXact Advertising works with top tier advertisers and leading agencies to display relevant, contextual advertising messages and offers to consumers who have requested the service, based on real-time online behavior. Our roster of Contextual Advertising clients now tops more than 500 advertisers including over 100 Fortune 500 advertisers like AOL, Bank of America, Cingular Wireless, Citibank, MasterCard, Merck, SBC Communications and Verizon as well as every major advertising agency. Learn how eXact Advertising can deliver unparalleled results for you. Other eXact Advertising properties include the BrainFox bidded search engine, eXact Search engine, eXact Search Bar, Mail.com, ExitCity, DealBandit, LuvBandit, and PhotoGizmo....and Bargainbuddy.com.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

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