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  1. #1
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Illegitimacy of Unauthorized Third-Party Pop-Up Ads
    Illegitimacy of Unauthorized Third-Party Pop-Up Ads:

    Parasites spy, collect and transmit data and install in questionable ways, while their intended functions are primarily to deliver pop-up ads that may be relevant to the type of content you’re viewing. Some parasites also overwrite cookies and do direct (actually redirect - heehee) financial harm to merchants and affiliates. In this thread, I’d like to discuss the legitimacy of just the unauthorized pop-up ads. As I work to prevent parasites from causing financial harm to my affiliate business, I keep running into people who assert that pop-up ads, served over my site by a third-party, are a legitimate form of advertising.

    First, let’s define two terms:
    Definitions of legitimate:
    adjective: in accordance with reason or logic
    adjective: in accordance with recognized or accepted standards or principles
    Example: "Legitimate advertising practices"
    adjective: authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law

    Definitions of prevalent:
    adjective: encountered generally especially at the present time
    (Source: www.rhymezone.com)

    I assert that parasite-driven third-party pop-up ads are not legitimate and that they are instead, just prevalent. The parasites would disagree since they make their living this way –and- because they assert this service is requested by and agreed to, by the end-user.
    I argue that the end-user’s agreement, even if they realize what they’re agreeing to (and it’s arguable whether they do), is irrelevant.

    Let’s get started.

    Can I walk into a McDonald’s restaurant, grab a booth, and proceed to give away free Burger King Whopper coupons to folks as they eat? No, because the business McDonald’s doesn’t allow it. Arguing about whether the patrons want the coupons or not, is irrelevant. If patrons want coupons, they can go get them elsewhere. The business owner, the McDonald’s brand owner and the owner of the real estate property, have rights. These rights, among many others, include refusing to allow third-party advertising to occur on their premises.

    Can I go into the Library or Bookstore and stuff ad flyers between the pages? No.

    I’m hearing this reply every time I bring this up. “But wait Donuts, the Internet is different. It isn’t permission based.” Wrong. It is different, but it still recognizes the rights of the parties involved. Copyright law, trademark and service marks law, brand name protection and intellectual property rights still apply. Furthermore, taxes, interstate and intrastate commerce laws still apply. And a lot more rights are afforded, as they should be. There is no special allowance for Internet browsers to do as they please with the intellectual (and other) property of the parties involved. Then I hear “but the Internet is free – it doesn’t cost money to visit a site, like it does at McDonald’s”. The Internet itself doesn’t cost money (other than your access costs – which are not the Internet itself – more like the street that goes to McDonald’s), and most sites are free – but this is also true outside of the Internet. I can request and sign up for free mailed-to-me catalogs from merchants (like Land’s End for instance), but this doesn’t give me the right to stuff ad flyers in them and then re-mail them out to the masses.

    And things don’t need to be tangible to have rights attached to them. Just because the Internet is not a building or an object or a piece of real estate, it does not mean it doesn’t exist in the eyes of the law (and certainly by its owners). Now let’s be specific - people don’t view the Internet itself, that’s a mass of wires and protocols - they view sites. Sites are created by, and owned by, entities (people, companies, orgs, the government, etc). Just like a McDonald’s franchise.

    Intangible property includes things like songs, speech, music, theater among many other things. Books are also treated this way – it’s not the paper that’s the property that publishers are afforded protection under the law; it’s the words in them. Those words are not owned by the reader of the book – whether they checked it out at the library for free or paid to buy the book at the store (or bought it online).

    Then I hear this argument. NetZero used to runs ads (just are you assert are not legitimate) and they could do it. First, NetZero is now a pay service for Internet access and is no longer third-party ad service (just stating fact – it’s not relevant to my argument). Second, the phrase “they could do it” is proof of “prevalent”, not “legitimate”. Third, their previous business model, where people viewed ads that NetZero got paid for, is exactly my point – that we, collectively, are not recognizing the rights of Internet website creators and owners. Yes, NetZero did do this and it is not (and was not) illegal – my beef is that we don’t question it. Let’s makes an analogy to something besides the Internet and see how it sits.

    Let’s say I create a new business called Zongaz where I give my customers a free 50” HDTV for their living room, in exchange, they agree to allow me to install a box downstream of their cable/satellite receiver that inputs to their HDTV. My box can do many things – it can replace the ads shown on NBC, with other ads that my new company gets paid for. It can also sense the show you’re watching, and deliver targeted relevant ads, superimposed right over the show you’re watching. So you’re watching Friends on NBC, and the Zongaz box opens a picture-in-picture window over the top of the show and offers an ad to sell you the furniture you’re seeing on Friends. Or the Zongaz ad shows you an ad for a show on CBS that competes with Friends. The consumer loves their HDTV and can click a button on their remote to close the Zongaz ads if they so choose. Can I start this company? Sure. Can I find willing customers? You bet. So what’s wrong with this idea? NBC didn’t agree to it – that’s what. NBC creates the show Friends – they own it. You cannot materially alter it, link to it, replace it, adulterate it, manipulate it and mess with it! It isn’t yours! It doesn’t matter how much you love your Zongaz HDTV (or toaster), this is not a legitimate business model. Why? Because it infringes upon NBC’s rights of ownership! If however, NBC had an agreement with Zongaz, it would be legitimate. NBC has nationally and locally syndicated advertising sponsors (buyers of ad space) already. They could certainly and willingly enter into an agreement with Zongaz to do this. But if Zongaz proceeds without even contacting NBC, what happens? NBC sues them and easily wins.

    Let’s say I wanted to start another business called Kazap. I intend to compete with Apple iTunes, but I’m going to give away the music for free. I’m going to insert an audio ad before and after every song (and sometimes stick them in the quiet spots in between notes). I’ll sell ad space to anyone who wants it – and generate Kazap revenue this way. People can download the songs for free and I make money from the ads. Great plan? No. The owners of the songs must agree to this plan. If they don’t, it’s not a legitimate business plan. The song owners have rights. Kazap executes their plan and the song owners will file lawsuits galore.

    So Donuts, where then is advertising legit? Answer – wherever the media owner (website owner or book publisher or television network or billboard sign owner) sanctions it. Google decides what ads it shows on its site. Using AdSense, a website owner agrees to show ads on their website that they have authorized. A newspaper has the right to decide which ads it shows and where it shows them. NBC has the right to determine what ads it shows. In fact, some media owners exercise their right to show no ads at all. Bookstores have the right to give you a bookmark (with an ad on it) to use – but they can’t glue ads into the books they have on their shelves – because they don’t own the intellectual property in those books. And while my own affiliate website is not as entertaining or polished as NBC, I assert the quality and quantity of my site, is not a factor in determining my rights – even the Lifetime Network gets to decide which ads they show.

    So as we discuss parasites and what they do, you need to decide whether unauthorized third-party pop-up advertising is legitimate for you. It makes a huge difference in how you view the activity of parasites. For me, I have confirmed that my website’s domain name is in the program files of at least one very prominent parasite. If you have the parasite on your PC, by choice or not, and you type in (or view, or click on a link with) my domain name, then the parasite pops up a new window for that contains an ad for things I have not authorized in any way. I consider this no different (with one exception) than if I owned a restaurant and someone walked in to hand out flyers without my permission. That one exception – that one difference - is that I can’t call the cops and have them tossed. Why? Because the prevailing sentiment is that there’s nothing wrong with this activity –and – because of that, there’s no police force that I know of that will take my call. I hope that the sentiment changes. I believe that when it does, and my rights are recognized, that an enforcement body will naturally emerge as it always does in the land of the free.

    Think about it. Talk to your friends about it. Ask your family about it. Then decide if you will continue to accept the subversion of your rights as a website owner – or will you begin to assert, that as a media creator and owner, that you have rights as others around you do.

    Here’s the question to discuss, and to decide:
    Is unauthorized parasitic pop-up advertising legitimate, or merely just prevalent?

    You know where I stand. I’d love to hear your view.

  2. #2
    Internet Cowboy
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    I actually read this entire post. The first thing I have to say is that if you aspire to be Mike and Charlie, you will need more grammatical errors and you will also need to create some words of your own.

    As for the content of the above post, I could not agree more. If I climb up on a Macy's billboard on I-95 and spray paint my web site over Macy's content, I bet I would get in trouble. How is a parasite that pops up over your site any different?

    Until affiliates are able to stand united, this will only get worse. If every ABW member who is full-time at affiliate marketing would put up a sum of money, say $1000, we would be able to stand up and fight this problem. If you lose three sales a month to a parasite and your average commission is $20, it would not take you long to recover your $1000 investment. One or two people fighting this can't make a difference. 500 people fighting this can make a HUGE difference.

    If affiliates continue to bury their heads in the sand, the likes of 180 will put us all out of business in only a few years.

    Anyone who would be willing to put up $1000 to combat this, please send me a PM. This money would be put in an escrow account that is set up for legal fees to fight a specific parasite. If you PM me, tell me which parasite you are willing to spend $1000 to eliminate. Of course no details of who is willing to fight this will be posted, only the number of affiliates willing to fight it and the parasite that they want gone. If we get enough people interested in doing this, we can then look at actually doing it.


  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I speechless as my stream of prevalent rants get some legitmacy....
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  4. #4
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    The longest thread I have ever read from Donuts, coupled with the shortest thread I've ever seen Mike write, leaves me stunned.

    Donuts, you aiming for the 'best thread 2005' award already? Good job!

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Like a trainwreck, I was compelled to look. But like the messy aftermath, I had to turn away.

  6. #6
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    This is a very good definition and compelling explanation of what parasite-ware is.

    I am new to affiliate marketing, but I knew what ad-ware/parasiteware/spyware was...but didn’t know how it related to affiliates. Not until I started looking into affiliate marketing, did I understand how terrible/unethical these people are. I just thought that adware/spyware just hi-jacked your PC for vital info and annoyed you with numerous popups -- but it goes even further

    I'd love to help out...but just starting out and I have a very small budget. But, I will definitely help when my site(s) get going

    Kirk

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbowcreek
    Donuts, you aiming for the 'best thread 2005' award already? Good job!
    Just a few more awards and Haiko will have to actually send me a t-shirt, not just say I won one.


    (PS - couldn't help myself Haik ol buddy - for the record, love ya more than ever)

  8. #8
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyburbs
    Like a trainwreck, I was compelled to look. But like the messy aftermath, I had to turn away.
    Turn away if you'd like - I see that as the problem.
    And my point is also that we've turned away for too long.

    Shall we interpret your reply to mean that you disagree with me and that third-party unauthorized ads are legitimate in your view?

    If so, is the relevancy of the ad a key for you? Say for instance that a parasite started popping porn ads on your phillyburbs site - is it still legit? If not, then are you asserting your right to edit or control what is, and what is not, shown while people view your site?

    Please share your views.

  9. #9
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    Thumbs down Unauthorized Pop-Ups


    Hi, Donuts,

    Quote #1 from Donuts:
    "Here’s the question to discuss, and to decide:
    Is unauthorized parasitic pop-up advertising legitimate, or merely just prevalent?"

    You have made an excellent argument that parasitic pop-up advertising
    is just prevalent, not legitimate. Your Zongaz-NBC example is very lucid and reasonable. Pop-ups without the web site owners permission should be illegal, IMHO. However, this is the state of the WWW (World Wide War) in 2005.

    Quote #2 from Donuts:
    "Some parasites also overwrite cookies and do direct (actually redirect - heehee) financial harm to merchants and affiliates."

    I am looking forward to your next post on crooks who overwrite cookies thus
    stealing commissions and income from web site owners. A large list of these perps published in public could be very helpful to the cause of putting these crooks in Federal prisons.

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

  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    :
    Quote #1 from Donuts:
    "Here’s the question to discuss, and to decide:
    Is unauthorized parasitic pop-up advertising legitimate, or merely just prevalent?"

    You have made an excellent argument that parasitic pop-up advertising
    is just prevalent, not legitimate. Your Zongaz-NBC example is very lucid and reasonable. Pop-ups without the web site owners permission should be illegal, IMHO. However, this is the state of the WWW (World Wide War) in 2005.
    True. I said the prevailing sentiment is that way. But change does happen. And the infancy of change is EXACTLY here in our exchange.

    Quote #2 from Donuts:
    "Some parasites also overwrite cookies and do direct (actually redirect - heehee) financial harm to merchants and affiliates."

    I am looking forward to your next post on crooks who overwrite cookies thus
    stealing commissions and income from web site owners. A large list of these perps published in public could be very helpful to the cause of putting these crooks in Federal prisons.
    In order to put people in jail, you need two things - laws and enforcement of them. We have neither. There is more coming from me - but it's not a list of the perps. The FBI does wanted lists. Victims band together and become one voice. Then they demand change together.

  11. #11
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    you need two things - laws and enforcement of them. We have neither.
    And there lies the key to the situations you oulined in your first post.

  12. #12
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    I have read the entire post and all of the 9921 characters in it. (yes, I count them.)

    But for those that don't like to read it all, here is the short version in a nut shell. (It's only 533 characters long.)

    Can I walk into a McDonald’s restaurant, grab a booth, and proceed to give away free Burger King Whopper coupons to folks as they eat? No, because the business McDonald’s doesn’t allow it. Arguing about whether the patrons want the coupons or not, is irrelevant. If patrons want coupons, they can go get them elsewhere. The business owner, the McDonald’s brand owner and the owner of the real estate property, have rights. These rights, among many others, include refusing to allow third-party advertising to occur on their premises.
    Those that don't want to see reality, are more blind than those that are blind since birth.

    Sal.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Turn away if you'd like - I see that as the problem.
    And my point is also that we've turned away for too long.

    Shall we interpret your reply to mean that you disagree with me and that third-party unauthorized ads are legitimate in your view?

    If so, is the relevancy of the ad a key for you? Say for instance that a parasite started popping porn ads on your phillyburbs site - is it still legit? If not, then are you asserting your right to edit or control what is, and what is not, shown while people view your site?

    Please share your views.
    Honestly, I just couldn't get through the whole post. Information overload...

  14. #14
    I like traffic lights
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    We need a lobbyist in Washington DC. For him/her to be effective, they have to spend more money than the Parasites are currently spending on lobbyists in Washington DC.

    Finding out that figure is the first task of setting a budget.

  15. #15
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    drewbert- I haven't looked into this site any, but maybe there's a site or two like it that would have some info about specific individuals....... http://www.politicalmoneyline.com

  16. #16
    I like traffic lights
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    Yikes! That's one scary-arse website!

    I wonder what the USA would be like if they managed to get all the money out of politics?

    There'd be different people running the show, I think. Maybe they could import a bunch of MP's with bad teeth from the UK? :^)

  17. #17
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    My clients are to cheap to hire Washington DC lobbyists and their entourage of party hostesses. I just devise landing page URLs to perk up the sleepy Senators via expensive perfumed linen paper snail mail. Works every time to get through Patents and requests for free samples.

    http://www.suspenders.com/404.html
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  18. #18
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Money, lawyers, political action committees (pacs), lobbyists will not solve the problem until the voice of many people who have been done wrong is unified.

    I can't even get replies posted here to my question - so I doubt that we, as part of a group, are unified and ready for action.

    Here's the question again:
    Is unauthorized parasitic pop-up advertising legitimate, or merely just prevalent?

  19. #19
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    This topic is at the very root of many of our largest problems as business people conducting Internet Affiliate Marketing. I am leading to something with this line of discussion. I need your opinion. PLEASE post your input.

    Here's the question again:
    Is unauthorized parasitic pop-up advertising legitimate, or merely just prevalent?

  20. #20
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    I say it is in no way legitimate. Legitimacy must include some notion of being generally accepted.
    Find me some people who say:
    "Hey Donuts, come look at my computer. It has been slowed down 90% and has all these pop-ups too. Cool huh?"
    ...and we can discuss the legitimacy of it. Until then, it is totally illegitimate.


  21. #21
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scohaz
    I say it is in no way legitimate. Legitimacy must include some notion of being generally accepted.
    Close. I agree it isn't legitimate from the affiliate point of view, but there are lots of people who's notions make its practice, if not its worth, appear to be legitimate. Namely, the parasites themselves. The investors in the parasites and in their technology. Those who choose to advertise through them. And the merchants and networks who tolerate their behavior.

    But who precisely finds this practice illegitimate?

    Find me some people who say: "Hey Donuts, come look at my computer. It has been slowed down 90% and has all these pop-ups too. Cool huh?" ...and we can discuss the legitimacy of it. Until then, it is totally illegitimate.
    Close again. Consumers are affected to some degree - a nuisance degree only though (although it's a major nuisance). But which group of people are having their rights disregarded and ignored?

    C'mon people. The answer is right in front of you. Nail it on the head and the path becomes clear. Who is the NBC from my Zongaz analogy in the first post of this thread?

  22. #22
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Hypothetical question... say the parasites technology was so efficient that the infected consumer's PCs were not slowed down to any noticeable degree - who is still being wronged?

  23. #23
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    We need to keep testing and any affiliates advertising through these parasitic
    programs need to be turned in to the merchants. I just turned another one in
    today. If they keep getting their accounts terminated, they may start to
    think twice about advertising in this way. Some call me a tattle-tale for doing
    this, but I don't look at it that way, they are stealing my commissions which
    they have no right to.

  24. #24
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    As far as I am concerned if anyone diverts a customer a sale or the sales comission from my site they are in the wrong.

    I dont care what the computer owner wants it is MY website made by ME to be viewed in a certain way, and if anyone alters it then they are in the wrong.

    If computer owners are not happy with the way my sites look and they want to view my sites in a different way that I made it or they want to give my comissions to someone else then they should just stay away from my sites.

    No two ways about it, the parasites or popup merchants are scum and they aways will be scum.
    One day parasites and their ilk will be made illegal, I bet a few Lawyers will be pissed off when the day comes.
    Mr. Spitzer is fetching it nearer

    YouTrek

  25. #25
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Who is the NBC from my Zongaz analogy in the first post of this thread?
    That's US, the copyright holders. What is that, a question designed to trip up people who didn't read that post?
    And of course, parasiteware is not legitimate, because it infringes on our intellectual property.

    Those aspects aren't exactly things nobody here has thought of. You're preaching to the choir, there. So how about your proposed solution instead of giving "test questions" to see who actually read your post.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

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