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  1. #1
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    LinkShare Terminates 180?
    A LinkShare merchant forwarded me the following:

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "LinkShare Corporation"
    Sent: Friday, March 18, 2005 10:08 PM
    Subject: LinkShare Notice of Affiliate Termination

    Dear LinkShare Client:
    LinkShare would like to inform you that we have concluded invalid activity in the account(s) of the following affiliate(s):

    1400080 {T}180solutions, Inc. http://www.180solutions.com meganc@180solutions.com
    144376 {T}180solutions http://www.180solutions.com jennifers@180solutions.com
    ...

    Please note that the affiliate has been permanently removed from your program. When you are running reports, terminated affiliates will be denoted with the following characters preceding the site name: {T}. This indicator will also appear in your affiliate invoices so that you may take what action you deem appropriate. If you have any questions, please contact your LinkShare representative.

    Best regards,
    The LinkShare Team
    http://www.linkshare.com

    MID: ...
    Meanwhile, I've continued to observe many 180 advertisers stuffing cookies (often through obfuscated/decoy popups) (example), and I've continued to observe 180 software installed through security holes (example video). So even is LS has terminated 180's direct relationships with LS merchants, 180 continues to harm many LS and other merchants.

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    A must read there Ben and kudos for the excellent documenting this growing practice of forced cookie stuffing by affiliates riding the 180Solutions theftware train.

    The perp site here has secret Whois information and only one page visible in their hosted domain. Big red flag is that page only is a front to get by the "first look smell test by AM's". I'll PM you Ben with some interesting stuff for your evaluation.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  3. #3
    15 years and counting
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    Is LinkShare in trouble?
    Why are they deactivating 180solutions only now?
    Are they under some kind of pressure?
    Why did it took them so long to understand 180solutions was stealing from affiliates and merchants?
    Are they going to credit us with all the stolen commissions?
    Is it more PR bullsh@t to cover their Legal Entity Registration mess?

    Thanks Ben for keeping us up to date and for your investigation on 180solutions.

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=56145

    45 minutes left on the Donuts blue light special.

  5. #5
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Being the cynic that I am, I have to wonder if 180 was cutting in on the booty from one of LS's other "most favored parasite" partners.

    Sometimes I think our only hope is if they all kill each other off.

  6. #6
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    So what are folks saying here? What they would prefer is that the LS/180 continued? It's really seeming like a 'damned if you do and damned if you don't' situation. IMHO, I don't really care why a Network/parasite relationship ends when one does. What I see is a good thing for the Joe Blow affiliate who also have relationships with the Network.

    It is also my understanding LS is not the only Network where there is a recent relationship severance between 180 and a Network. I am still verifying that this is the case for the other Network, although I have no real reasons to believe that it isn't. Given that information, I'm personally not seeing a connection with the LS status and the Legal Entity Registration Program. Also considering other information presented here recently regarding 180 and some companies, my mind is actually going along a completely different line of thought.

    And finally, let us not forget that there are other Networks that 180 continues to have partnerships with.

  7. #7
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    I would have been more than happy to congratulate LinkShare for deactivating 180solutions. But, waiting so long is not professional IMHO. Don't forget that during all that time, we had to listen to their CEO trying to sell us all the benefits of their technology affiliates and telling us they were doing nothing wrong. How much damage was done? Lost credibility? Money stolen? Is he going to pay for his mistakes?

    I'm still thinking there's a reason behind the timing of 180solutions removal from their program.

    And I'm not going to applause CJ the day they will conclude there's invalid activities in 180solutions account. I'm not becoming friends with thieves the day they are caught and put in jail.

  8. #8
    Yup, Sure ... now let me check ... Cagles Mill's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm being paranoid, but is everyone sure that 1-800-Scum is completely removed from LinkShare? The message to the merchant refers to 2 accounts belonging to 1-800, but how many other accounts do they still have?

    Also, notice the message says
    the affiliate has been permanently removed from your program
    , i.e., those 2 accounts have been removed from the merchant's list of affiliates, but it never says they have been removed from LinkShare itself. Maybe the merchant had inquired about some strange activity and so LinkShare had simply deleted them from that particular merchant's program.

    Am I just being paranoid?
    Rick M.
    I would rather have a bottle in front of me, than have a frontal lobotomy!
    Does your bubblegum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?

  9. #9
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    Many many PIDs; why rule-following affiliates have something to complain about
    Cagles, You're absolutely right to worry that 180 will still interfere with correct tabulation of LS commissions according to LS's stated rules: 180 advertisers can still intercede to claim commissions, and indeed I'm still seeing precisely that behavior.

    I tried to convey this point in my initial post: "I've continued to observe many 180 advertisers stuffing cookies."

    In my initial (mid-2004) article about 180, I mentioned that I had then seen 180 using at least 84 different affiliate IDs (including 13 distinct LinkShare IDs). I've subsequently observed many many more, in large part because I've written extensive software to help me identify many more such PIDs much more quickly. So, shutting off two PIDs is just a drop in the bucket.


    As to Kellie's questions: At this point, yes, I think LS may well be damned if they do and damned if they don't. The time for action on 180 was months ago -- many months ago. That LS let 180's violations continue for so long speaks to LS's ability and inclination to police rule-breakers within their network.

    Fact is, there are lots of LS affiliates who are known to be rule-breakers, i.e. who can be shown by compelling proof (videos, etc.) to be rule-breakers. I could post some more videos -- eXact Advertising, IBIS, etc. And then there are all the TopMoxie's, per Haiko's impressive documentation. And more.

    LS is rightly criticized for this kind of rampant rule-breaking. Clearly it's always better to start moving in the right direction, and the moving in the direction deserves praise, all else equal. But I don't take the prior messages to criticize LS's efforts to move in the right direction. Rather, what's being criticized is the fact that LS has let the problem get as bad as it is. Where LS's inaction causes rule-following affiliates to lose commissions that they otherwise fairly earned, it's easy to understand and sympathize with their disappointment and even anger.

  10. #10
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    The subject line of the email indicates Linkshare has terminated those affiliates.

    I suspect we'll be reading about this in the media within the next day or two. Lord knows, 180 Solutions has certainly received tons of press where they have denied any impropriety. Those same journalists will be all over this.

  11. #11
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Everyone can certainly focus on the past and not the present nor future. For me I am more concerned about what is happening now and will possibly be happening in the future.

    What I know is that 2 Network partnerships with 180 are being severed in a close time frame. Then there is the fact that 180 is a primary partner in the AdOn Network (heard of them?). That whole thing is a lovely entanglement of software applications. Oh and the reports of 180Solutions being the primary 'affiliate' for Primary Ads who has a bid for buyout by CGIHoldings. That would be the company that just bought Kowabunga. What's this picture beginning to look like? Ever hear of AdRoar? Nice little Network no? They also put out their own parasite which allows for 3rd party advertising like 180. Only difference is they have their own Network. Wow!

    I completely understand the frustrations related to parasites. I've been testing these guys and advocating for years. There are a lot of 'should have' out there to go around for everyone. But could have, would have and should have certainly doesn't put the money in the affiliate's pocket where it should be. And when it becomes a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation for Networks and Merchants who are making the decisions about relationships, then where lies the real motivation between the "do" and the "don't"?

    but how many other accounts do they still have?
    Personally, I've only ever seen 2 LS ID's definitively associated with 180Solutions themselves.

    I mentioned that I had then seen 180 using at least 84 different affiliate IDs (including 13 distinct LinkShare IDs).
    Completely misleading. Out of the 13 LS IDs how many of those IDs belonged to 180Solutions themselves? You know. 180 themselves haven't been using 13 distinct LS IDs. Nor has 180Solutions themselves been using the 84 PIDs you reference. Nor however many BF IDs. Nor however many PFX IDs. Nor all the other Network and Indie IDs that can show up. The reality is for all those other IDs it becomes a separate potential compliance issue for whoever each of those other IDs really belong to (depending upon the behavior of how each of those IDs through 180's software). And yes, there is a problem with what some of those other affiliates are doing when buying ads through 180. But those folks aren't 180 themselves.

    Fact is, there are lots of LS affiliates who are known to be rule-breakers, i.e. who can be shown by compelling proof (videos, etc.) to be rule-breakers. I could post some more videos -- eXact Advertising, IBIS, etc. And then there are all the TopMoxie's, per Haiko's impressive documentation. And more.
    Are all of those just LS affiliates? Are they not affiliates with many other Networks also? Are you suggesting from your post overall that Networks shouldn't take action on anyone unless they are going to take simultaneous action on everyone? A very unrealistic expectation IMO.

    What I'm saying here is don't lose sight of the forest for the trees. Keep your eye on the big picture of what your real concerns/issues are as an affiliate with relation to the parasites. Is it to be compensated for what you feel you have justly earned? You have frustration and anger over all that has happened in the past and that's understandable. But in the big picture what road/path do you go down to put the money into your own pocket instead of being in someone else's? Do you let the frustration/anger put road blocks in your path? Do you look in the rearview mirror or do you focus your attention forward on the road ahead of you?

  12. #12
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    It's good that 180 FINALLY got fired, but...

    Do you look in the rearview mirror or do you focus your attention forward on the road ahead of you?
    You look at the road ahead--but you never forget what was behind, so if you see it again you recognize it and respond accordingly!

    I usually don't do quotes, but these two come to mind immediately:
    "S/he who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it"
    and
    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    While I can see some of your points--there is no virtue in playing the fool. I rightly resent--and greatly mistrust--it when someone tries to get me to pull wool over my own eyes. It's right and good to question the motives of a place (LS) that's been fishy. This isn't 1000 years ago we're talking about! NOTHING about LS is "in the past." The very *premise* of Messer's "it's in the past" fallback (I know you just said that this time, but HE said it first over a year ago, while infuriatingly trying to sweep their ever-present merchant payment problems under the rug! So it's a (C) LS line.) is so laughable as to be ridiculous--the company is still so young that EVERYTHING about their so-called "history" is relevant!

    Rather than trying to gloss over their past, they need to meet it head-on and *repeatedly* show improvement. The fires will eventually go out if they really stop adding fuel! But saying to ignore the 10 tons of fuel they threw in last week or last year is not going to cut it.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  13. #13
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Actually, while I don't know what is going on, I don't think LS has fired 180. If they had, they would be here telling us how great and wonderful they are.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  14. #14
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    SSanf - If they had, they would be here telling us how great and wonderful they are.
    I'm starting to wonder about that.
    The email was sent to one particular client and their wording "Please note that the affiliate has been permanently removed from your program."
    It sounds more they removed them from one merchant program.

    If they have found invalid activities and are not deactivating them from ALL merchant programs they are going to be in trouble soon.

  15. #15
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    It sounds more they removed them from one merchant program.

    If they have found invalid activities and are not deactivating them from ALL merchant programs they are going to be in trouble soon.
    Exactly what I'm thinking.

    And likely someone got caught red handed and they slapped just that hand... errr... finger.... errrr... fingernail.... err... hang nail... or whatever the smallest action possible was.

  16. #16
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Smile
    Now the affiliate world can see the social redeeming value of the ABW community as a whole. Look at our history calling for action side by side with the history of the networks responding to those pleas. From the very first disclosure/Outing of the TopText perp a clear bow shot was given to network management. Repeat the pleas from flame posts here over Buyersport/Morpheous, Gator, WhenU, and the TopMoxie secret launchings into the commission pool. Then look at the network pathetic actions, growth curve of parasitic enities and their insider pull to get automation shoehorned into all the BHO "incent" programs. Result being my sight lights up like a Christmas tree from a slew of sparking popup alerts & Ads. Meanwhile the sleazy domain bound "incenters" jump into the poorman's version of the BHO with cookie stuffing and SE spamming.

    The real greed mongers form pseudo networks to hide their involvement and play all sides of the forced cookie game ... http://frazoo.mygeek.com/adon_network.jsp WOW! Now those running spam farms, info peddling false fronts, porn sights, freebee sites and the Get Paid to ??? can join up, and build quickee sites getting drive-by and bundled infestation re-infestation fees while running normal sites as a facade. Seems like the network history book reads like a bedtime story where "Atilla The Hun" joins forces and loins with "Mindy The Adwhore" with Ken Lay keeping the household books. I applaud with one hand LS's move to acquiest to the demands of a few merchants to remove 180Solutions from draining their commission pool. Hope to applaud with both hands further moves to pull 180Solutions roots from their entire network right down to banning any affiliate/merchant/Duper riding their theft train.

    _____________________

    I now need another shower after reading every smoke & mirror neuance posed by the ADon Network .... http://frazoo.mygeek.com/adon_network.jsp I'll take another soaking after digesting the tainted offerings of the "Adwhores Gone Wild" show at AdRoar Marketplace.
    http://adroar.com/demo.html

    http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...LC:en&q=AdRoar
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  17. #17
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    180 is terminated from the Network. That's from within LS.

    So what are CJ doing ? Hmmm nothing last I checked...
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
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  18. #18
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris - AMWSO
    180 is terminated from the Network. That's from within LS.

    So what are CJ doing ? Hmmm nothing last I checked...
    Chris, I beg to differ.
    Todd Crawford
    Co-Founder, Impact Radius

    Give me a minute before I post again

  19. #19
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I guess the network alarm bell and "something is fishy" button only goes off when a BHO perp, with a one page wonder merchant directory site, gets paid more then 100 MILLION dollars from the victim fund.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  20. #20
    Devil's Reject Electropulse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddCrawford
    Chris, I beg to differ.
    what meaneth that statmenteth?

  21. #21
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Well, now LS is starting to look more like a network. One can hope.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  22. #22
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    SSAnf, that is what i am wondering, did they become a network because they saw the writing on the wall, or did them becoming a network get the other networks to decide they no longer liked them?

    Chet

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris - AMWSO
    180 is terminated from the Network. That's from within LS.

    So what are CJ doing ? Hmmm nothing last I checked...
    One thing's for sure. This step makes Linkshare better than CJ in terms of the parasite issue.

    What does Todd mean though?
    Either 180 is in or 180 is out. So is 180 in CJ?

  24. #24
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Aha!
    there is definitely something positive brewing here. let the inertia build!

  25. #25
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    More bait: I'll clap loudly while singing the praises of any major network putting this clause boldly in their TOS.

    Any network advertiser program, or affiliate, performing drive-by or hidden bundling of anything detected as Spyware/Adware/Computer Virus by MicroSoft's Anti-Spyware program will immediately get their account frozen, with all the network links landing on a alert page explaining their violation. They get 15 days to boot the offender or sever the relationship before getting their final termination notice.

    This TOS term has passed Charlie's pro-bono lawyer review committee with flying colors.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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