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  1. #1
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Parasites and Competing Merchants
    The following satellite merchants have announced new terms / policies against affiliates using parasites:
    RapidSatellite; DishPronto; iDishnetwork; AllSat

    VMCsatellite and ExpertSatellite have not. Their choice - all here should know about it.

    Now, the clean merchants above, who are proactively acting to protect affiliates, are being damaged by ExpertSatellite. ExpertSatellite is running campaigns against them all. ExpertSatellite is using Zango / 180 to launch popups over these clean merchants. In so doing, ExpertSatellite is poaching sales from both affiliates and from these clean merchants as well. I have documented this and reported it to all involved INCLUDING ExpertSatellite.

    Guess what - ExpertSatellite continues to pop. They are specifically targeting the clean merchant's urls using Zango / 180.

    If ExpertSatellite will use parasites to poach off of their competitors... can they be trusted to track sales for their affiliates?

    If they won't reply or act when informed they've been discovered - and - they won't stop poaching off of people attempting to EARN their sales through hard work and the expense of legitimate promotion techniques... what recourse do the clean merchants have?

    Since ExpertSatellite won't stop, I have sent emails to the clean merchants (except allsat - I don't happen to work with them) telling them they have no choice but to run Zango campaigns in return - and to target the ExpertSatellite domain and URLs.

    This strategy will not take sales from affs of the clean merchants.
    But it will take sales from Expert and Expert's affs.

    I see this as the ONLY possible recourse available now, for these clean merchants to stop being attacked by ExpertSatellite.

    Further, I have documented that the popup ads are coming from ExpertSatellite themselves - not from affiliates of Expert's - so Expert has made a decision to poach their competitors. Since they won't stop, something else must be done.

    Questions for our community:
    1) Do we flame Donuts for advocating use of Zango by these clean merchants? (it took consideable soul searching, even pang, for me to suggest this tactic)

    2) Besides poaching back, what else could the clean guys do to defend their sites from this poaching?

    3) What should affiliates of Expert do? Stay on board with a parasite-using merchant? Know they will lose sales to the other merchants because those clean guys are forced to poach Expert back in return?

    4) As affiliates who want merchants to "go clean", think beyond satellites here - what will you do when this situation comes to your niche? We want to support clean merchants - when they are injured because of their "going clean", what can we do to protect them?

    (Moderator - you may want to move this thread - I had a hard time figuring out where it belongs)
    Last edited by Donuts; June 2nd, 2005 at 09:46 AM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well CJ just announced they won't allow affiliates to ride the 180Solutions theftware train. It deplorable that ExpertSatellite wants to wash their legit affiliates cookies via Zango. They probably do the same with all their e-mail promos. The cure is for the legit Satellite companies to demand the booting of ExpertSatallite from the networks they operate on...
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I'll not flame, but I will play devil's advocate on this one and throw in some food for thought.

    1. This is purely my own personal feelings, but something I do feel very strongly about: 2 wrongs don't make a right and the means don't always justify the ends (although I'm in doubt about what the 'end' might actually be in this case).

    2. As soon as you yourself start engaging in the very behavior you are against (as tempting as it may become at times), you have eroded to a very significant degree your standing on the behavior you oppose. See next point.

    3. Extending on point 2, it can come back on you to bite you in the butt. One particular example stands out in my mind. Overstock sued another merchant for popping up on their site. They eventually withdrew (or settled quickly..can't remember off hand exactly) the suit when it was put forward by the merchant they were suing that Overstock had done the very same thing themselves in the past. Actually a pretty valid point.

    4. As soon as you start 'poaching back' you really aren't clean anymore are you?

    5. To what extent will poaching back possibly actually stop or curtail the targeting of the 'clean merchant's' URLs? That is, is there anything in the history of this nonsense to show this is indeed an effective tactic?

    6. You are financially supporting the vehicle which allows this to happen to begin with. In this case, 180Solutions. I bet 180Solutions (or other such outfits) grin from ear to ear when domain targeting wars break out between Merchants.

    This is certainly not a new problem for Merchants and something Merchants have talked about publicly here and to me privately over the years. Maybe Chris, Andy R. and some others will weigh in on this one from their own past experiences with this issue. Although the situation is a bit different in this example since the above AM's have experienced what seemed more as retaliation directly from the parasites they had terminated and/or spoken out against. In this case, it's a Merchant targeting their competitors and that decision to do so may well not have anything to do with the other Merchants recent policy changes.

    So what can be done? Well, that's a difficult question for sure. I tend to advise Merchants to discuss the problem with their legal counsel. There have been some cases in the past where a Merchant engaging in such activity ceased the activity when they received contact from the legal counsel of their competitors. Of course, that hasn't always worked but a Merchant targeting a competitor is certainly more likely to consider that option when it comes directly from the legal team of their competitor than from an affiliate of their competitor who they have no connection with whatsoever.

    I cannot agree however that clean merchants beginning to engage in the very same behavior themselves is the ONLY possible recourse available now. Indeed, there may actually be more recourse available to Merchants than in the past with the current climate and new state laws coming onto the books. But again, that is something that the Merchants legal team would need to evaluate.

    As affiliates what can be done? Continue to support those Merchants taking a stance. Inform them when you see this happening (as seems to have been done in this case). Point them to new laws which might offer them protection for their legal department to review. If you are promoting a Merchant who is engaging in such targeting, seriously reconsider whether or not to continue to promote them. If you decide to discontinue your business relationship with them over their behavior, then be sure to let them know exactly why you won't be working with them anymore.

  4. #4
    Internet Cowboy
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    If I were the merchant being targetted, in addition to legal action I would consider contacting the carrier (DTV or DishNetwork) and alert them that this franchisee is using illegal and unfair marketing practices and nicely tell them that if they are OK with it they too will be mentioned in any upcoming litigation. This is touchy because it might jeopardize the relationship with the honest merchant and the satellite carrier, but the carrier is profiting from this illegal activty and should be subject to the same sanctions the rogue franchisee is.


  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Thans for the info, I will pull them immeditatly

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Kellie, you are of course correct and wise on all points you made. I agree with them 110%. I find it hard to fight my nature which is to slug back square on the nose. You and Scoot both proposed better and more effective methods which I will be discussing with the clean guys.

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