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  1. #1
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    Although this article is from October 14th of 2002, we are still fighting this. I just wanted all of the 1-800 CONTACTS affiliates to know that we are serious about fighting unethical behavior(even if it takes a loooong time).

    October 14, 2002
    U-Haul, 1-800 Contacts Join Anti-Pop-Up Bandwagon
    By Christopher Saunders
    U-Haul and 1-800 Contacts are joining the legal battles against the advertisers and software firms responsible for site-targeted pop-up ads, as pressure on the controversial advertising model increases.

    Phoenix, Ariz.-based U-Haul alleges that WhenU.com, a software company headquartered in New York, delivers ads for competitors to users of its SaveNow software who visit Uhaul.com -- thereby infringing on the transportation company's trademark. The suit, filed in federal court in Virginia, also names Budget Rent-A-Car, Moversbay.com and Door-to-Door Storage, which allegedly advertised using WhenU's software.

    Separately, 1-800 Contacts is suing WhenU and advertiser Vision Direct for ads that appeared on 1800contacts.com.

    The suits claim that WhenU deliberately targeted offers from rivals based on the Web site that its users were visiting -- profiting from their brand equity, according to the complaints.

    "WhenU.com profits from free riding on other Web sites' content," Draper, Utah-based 1-800 Contacts claims in its suit. "WhenU.com's pop-up advertising scheme allows WhenU.com to profit, without the permission of the Web sites it targets."

    The suits also allege that consumers are unaware that the pop-up ads are delivered by WhenU's software, rather than the sites they are visiting.

    "WhenU.com's pop-up advertising scheme is inherently deceptive and misleads users into falsely believing the pop-up advertisements supplied by WhenU.com are in actuality advertisements authorized by and originating with the underlying Web site," it reads.

    But WhenU dismissed the charges and said it provided "contextual marketing" that helps consumers to make better purchasing decisions.

    " All WhenU offers are clearly branded from WhenU.com and delivered based on relevancy to the user," a company spokesperson said. "WhenU gives consumers additional choices when they surf online, and millions of users have benefited from our coupons and offers."

    Executives at the firm declined to comment further on the litigation.

    According to the suits, advertisers also are named because they knowingly allowed WhenU's pop-up ads to infringe on 1-800 Contacts and U-Haul's trademarks.

    "WhenU.com was ... apparently contacting their competitors and expressly soliciting them to place ads on their Web site," said Terence Ross, the attorney representing 1-800 Contacts.

    That hasn't been mentioned in other recent lawsuits filed against WhenU.com and Redwood City, Calif.-based Gator Corporation, another software firm under fire for its pop-up ads.

    Gator, which offers ad-supported software, is being sued by Web publishers including Dow Jones & Co. (Quote, Company Info), The New York Times Co. (Quote, Company Info) and the Washington Post Co. (Quote, Company Info) over its practices of selling pop-up ads to advertisers, on the basis of targeting the ads to users who visit those sites.

    But Gator claims the lawsuit is little more than sour grapes on the part of the publishers -- that its ad model works, and theirs doesn't. To illustrate the point, the company points to orders for ads it took from the New York Times, which called for pop-ups to run across the sites of competitors.

    The firm also says that users are fully aware that the pop-up ads come from its ad server, rather than from the sites that trigger them.

    Article Source

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Sure makes me want to puke when I see the advertising mindset in action. What next door to door naked ladies with Advertising painted on their bods. The Ad wanks of Gator and WhenU would then recruit 300 pounders to get more bang for their buck.

    Merchants and networks some how allowed advertising to be the dominent motivator in the affiliate pay per performance industry rather then distance themselves from the trickster in the CPC and CPM marketplace.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

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

    You and 1800contacts are ensuring our right to compete (as affiliates) and I personally thank you and 1800Contacts for this ... that is all we ask.

    Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli


  4. #4
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    I don't quite understand your stance since you are still associated with ebates. I certainly applaud your action with Whenu. Ebates is right there ready to take other affiliates commissions. I can see why I have such a low conversion rate.

    Gene
    TCS

  5. #5
    ABW Veteran jc101's Avatar
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    thanks for your action against whenu.

    goal: $2000 a month by 11/26
    Financial free by 2004.
    The xtremeshopping.org network

    Jason- Santa Cruz, CA

  6. #6
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    Gene,

    I actually am fairly new to Abestweb. Prior to taking a part in these forums I was unaware of many of these parasite ware problems (other than Whenu and Gator). Since joining Abestweb a few weeks ago, I have begun discussions with Ebates. I have heard and read a lot of negative things about their ethics and history, but I would like to verify theses things which I have heard. I have another call on Monday to discuss the Moe Money Maker. If I feel that they are being unethical and/or are causing harm to affiliates or 1-800 CONTACTS, then we will take action. I feel that it is very important that I review the ethics of Ebates by talking directly to Ebates (or any other company in question) before condemning their business practices. However I want to be time conscience at the same time.

    Josh

  7. #7
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    quote:
    I feel that it is very important that I review the ethics of Ebates by talking directly to Ebates
    I totally agree with you Josh but do not let their spin artists pull the wool over your eyes. There are many postings in these forums that would show you what their word is worth.

    Travel safe
    Gordon
    YouTrek

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Josh you will find all the major BHO's have a uniform pitch designed to appeal to greedy merchants. Advertise at the point of sale on your competitors site....very enticing if unehtical. The real underlying message is this. If you don't join our program we will still steal customers from you with our incessent popup offers on your site. Join us and we can work out a way for a fee to keep your competition from popping up their offers.

    Of couse their is no honor amongst thieves so the BHO competitors still plague your site and all of them double-dip you on all non-commissionable links to your web site.

    One merchant at a time strongly objecting to the extortion racket of the BHO's and refusing to pay to keep off the competition has an effect on the networks. Enough merchants join in classaction law suits, like TigerDirect and others, will make the networks aware that their enabling "incent" BHO's to attack their entire merchant pool is bad business even if they get to skim extra profits brought in by double dipping merchants.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

    [This message was edited by EcomCity.com on June 01, 2003 at 02:38 AM.]

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Josh@1-800 CONTACTS:
    I feel that it is very important that I review the ethics of Ebates by talking directly to Ebates (or any other company in question) before condemning their business practices.
    Josh, after you've been around here a little longer, you'll realize what a naive view you have. Ebates will lie to you just as they've lied to every other merchant that has approached them about their parasitic tactics. They've become professionals at this.

    It is your decision who you choose to affiliate with, but your decision should be based on affiliate behavior, not their verbal spin.

  10. #10
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Ummm they are already suing WhenU ... why shouldn't they see the spin of eBates?

    All they have to say is exclude me from the MMM, they [eBates] will prove to 1800Contacts why they need to drop them ... in very short order ... IMO

    Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli


  11. #11
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Josh,

    In light of your ongoing lawsuit against whenu, you might want to have a chat with FindWhat who is serving up 1800Contact PPC listings through whenu. I've gotten quite a few whenu pop ups with 1800Contacts in them.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  12. #12
    Full Member styleforfree's Avatar
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    Thanks a mil Josh for taking a noble and enduring stand against this behavior. It's merchants such 1800Contacts that will keep the industry from becoming monopolized by a mere scrappy script/pop up.

    BRAVO!!!

    With my best,

    Liz
    http://Styleforfree.com

  13. #13
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    Great Josh!

    When you are looking into ebates, look into the cookie issue.

    Ebates will tell you that they are compliant because they do not pop up on affiliate sites, or on merchants when someone clicks through from an affiliate site. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt on that one, for the moment.

    Assuming that is correct, here is what they do to get around it...they pop-up on the merchant site.

    The visitor clicks through from an affiliate to a merchant, and in most cases does not make a purchase right away. We all know that it takes a decent number of visitors before the buyer appears on the first click-through. BUT a lot of people will bookmark the merchant, or just remember them and visit directly within the cookie return day period...which is why return days are offered by merchants.

    Now, if the visitor clicks through from an affiliate site, and the merchant provides a cookie of 10 days, or 30 days, or whatever, that affiliate should be protected within that time period...provided the visitor does not visit another affiliate partner site, in which case the new affiliate would now be tagged for the return day period.

    Ebates invalidates the return day period that is part of a merchants agreement with their other affiliate partners. If someone has MMM on their computer, and that person visits a merchant after the initial click-through, but during the original cookie return day period, MMM will pop-up and attempt to get the visitor to click on their link.

    The COC that ebates will refer to when they cry that they are being unjustly accused, allows them to pop-up on the merchant site provided it is not done during the click from an affiliate site.

    If they pop-up on a merchant site within that cookie period, and the merchant allows it by virtue of their partnership, then the cookie period for every other affiliate isn't truly dictated by the merchant...it is dictated by ebates.

    The cookie is in place unless ebates pops-up on the merchant site.

    Of course, there are other aspects to the pop-up on the merchant site. The merchant will be giving ebates credit for traffic that has nothing to do with ebates. The merchant in effect pays an ebates toll for CPC traffic, free search engine traffic, email traffic, etc.

    I hope you look very closely at what actually happens in the whole affiliate relationship process when talking with ebates.

    Don't let them cry that they are living within the rules of the COC, and therefore they are OK. Their behavior is still very damaging to any other affiliate that has the misfortune to be partnered with the same merchants as them...until those affiliates, or those merchants wake up.

    Just my humble opinion of course.

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Good clairification ROFL. One important addition. If the referred shopper doesn't buy on the first visit but returns via a bookmark -e-mail offer or direct URL type-in eBates automatically overwrites the the original referrers cookie. I think their TopMoxie program is written to overwrite all merchant/network cookies unless it detects a network link or the &afsc1 blocker.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the great feedback.

    Biddingfortravel- I absolutely won't base my decision of off solely off of their word. What I meant to convey is that I am not going to take just 1 view before making my decision (whether that view is what I read on Abestweb, what I hear directly from them, and/or other sources). I plan on getting feedback from Ebates, from Abestweb, from other associates/friends that have worked with Ebates-then making an educated decision.

    I would never base a decision strictly off of what the publisher in question in saying. I have worked with enough companies to know that 1-In most cases, they will say what they want you to hear (and whatever will close the deal) 2-People who run unethical problems are obviously not worried about telling you lies (unethical as well).

    Thanks again!

    Josh

  16. #16
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    Thanks Ms. BLFH!

    We actually noticed this last week and took immediate action. We were running a test campaign with Findwhat and had no idea that it would also involve Whenu. We already contacted Findwhat and had them make our account inactive. We are now working to get our campaign test money back (which has been somewhat difficult).

    The funny thing is that when I ask them if they have a relationship with Whenu, they all have teh same answer. The answer is something along the lines of "At this time, we do not have a relationship which has been announced publicly. I am only familiar with the public partnerships."

    Hmmm interesting!

    Any rate, we have been removed from Findwhat and should no longer show up on any Whenu pop-ups. We also addressed a few problems where affiliates were using Whenu to fight other affiliates. This has also been resolved.


    Josh

  17. #17
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Josh,

    quote:
    The funny thing is that when I ask them if they have a relationship with Whenu, they all have teh same answer. The answer is something along the lines of "At this time, we do not have a relationship which has been announced publicly. I am only familiar with the public partnerships."


    Pete Neumann already confirmed it ... http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...89&m=460606399

    Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli


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