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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager inflatemouse's Avatar
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    Following the trail & Clean Sweep (Revenue) articles
    After reading the clean sweep article (in Revenue)I came over to ABW and did some searching and came across this:
    The Hidden Money Trail (Parasites / Adware EXPOSED!)
    Thank you Donuts.

    I called Miva to ask some questions. They were not aware of the article in PCWorld. They say that PCWorld has not contacted them since the April 2005 article about Lurq. They also have a very strongly worded Terms of Use for their distributors http://miva.com/us/content/about/terms.asp they also claim to have purged their distributor list of people who broke distribution guidelines.

    "FindWhat.com also said that in recent weeks it has been removing certain distribution partners, representing a meaningful percentage of daily click-through revenue thereby negatively affecting the Company's short-term financial performance. The Company believes these partners and/or their sub-affiliates had developed methods for obtaining new users that did not follow the Company's distribution guidelines." --quoted from May 5th Press release

    Second I visited Cool Web Search (CWS) -- listed in the PCWorld article. I searched "air travel" and "dell" under both of these searches there was at least one case of CWS bouncing the click through more than one party before arriving at the destination site.

    Some of the links go through ABCSearches (ABC) -- ABC seems to have lapsed its domain on Oct. 13th. It appears CWS is collecting PPC revenue for sending traffic to ABC, who sends the traffic to the destination through Miva's PPC. It seems that merchant is only paying for one click -- but CWS is being paid by ABC to provide traffic to ABC.

    CWS lists their payment for each search click, this doesn't seem nearly as bad as PCWorld makes it look. Maybe I am wrong.

    PS. I am going to post this in the Revenue Forum and Midnight Cafe as it is a cross over between threads

  2. #2
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inflatemouse
    this doesn't seem nearly as bad as PCWorld makes it look. Maybe I am wrong.
    For those of us that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ppc, it's worse than PCWorld makes it out to be... When your clicks are going through dodgy orgs to ill-aimed traffic (when it actually goes to live traffic) and accountability (shady orgs) becomes a serious issue, then you realize a big chunk of your spend is going down the toilet... wait, no, it's worse, it's going to support those same shady orgs.

    Fire up a Miva (formerly FindWhat) campaign and if you know how to test adware and parasites and 2nd and 3rd tier PPCSEs you can watch you money getting pissed into the wind.

    AND...

    if you read CJs new PSA and come to realize that you ccan get into hot water when your own spend is used in dark corners without your knowledge, conttrol or ability to opt out, you'll RUN away from crap like Miva - and they're FAR from being the worst in this regard.

  3. #3
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Agree with Donuts 100%. And Miva knows darn well where their stuff is showing. I got them just the other day through 180 pops and it was not 2nd or 3rd tier listings. But that stuff does go on quite frequently also. The PPCSE stuff has escalated over the last couple of years. And all these PPCSE know what's going on, but they are making tons of cash.

    The PPCSE's need to monitor and police where their listings are ultimately showing up just like the Networks do. There's absolutely no difference except they haven't had any real pressure put on them to do so. And most people are ignorant to what is going on.

    Think on this. Claria (Gator) was never able to show a profit until they hooked up with Overture. Then they finally made a tidy profit. Enough to make them want to go public. What nixed the public offering for them was their overall business practices and pending lawsuits because of those practices. In the end the financials couldn't outweigh their business practices with regards to going public.

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    For those of us that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ppc, it's worse than PCWorld makes it out to be... When your clicks are going through dodgy orgs to ill-aimed traffic (when it actually goes to live traffic) and accountability (shady orgs) becomes a serious issue, then you realize a big chunk of your spend is going down the toilet... wait, no, it's worse, it's going to support those same shady orgs.

    Fire up a Miva (formerly FindWhat) campaign and if you know how to test adware and parasites and 2nd and 3rd tier PPCSEs you can watch you money getting pissed into the wind.

    AND...

    if you read CJs new PSA and come to realize that you ccan get into hot water when your own spend is used in dark corners without your knowledge, conttrol or ability to opt out, you'll RUN away from crap like Miva - and they're FAR from being the worst in this regard.
    The PPCSE's manned by the junk traffic Adwhores reek to the general public too... now they're wise to Adware. Findwhat buys creditability with the Miva cart/catalog buyout. Trouble now the traffic sheisters operate both. Even if it's wise to open up those Miva ecatalog merchants to PPCSE keyword traffic... wasting their money on junk traffic isn't wise when they're kidnapped by the Adware/Spyware tool bar wanks.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  5. #5
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    I agree that PPC can be a major source of revenue for lots of dubious software. And this problem does extend well beyond Miva (FindWhat), i.e. to Overture. For Overture, it extends well beyond Claria to others -- 180, DR, eXact, Hotbar, and plenty more.

    Write-up with screenshots, packet logs, etc.: http://www.benedelman.org/news/083105-1.html

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Face if folks blackhat affiliates are the root cause of PPCSE fraud. The networks performing SEM fee based services employ blackhat affiliates (BHO's and cookie stuffers) in every campaign they run for merchants and Supers. Forget the network hype and spin trying to cover up their reliance upon affililiate bad actors and commission thieves. What a load of manure even CJ lays upon this community trying to get us to buy they only get 5% of their income from BHO's. When you add up all the BHO downloaders and S/W incentive affiliates with the SEM/PPCSE affiliates you get 70% of their entire network's reported sales ...via the cookie cannon route.

    Yahoo/Overture needs to be involved in a major class action suit for defrauding their PPCSE advertisers out of hundreds of millions of dollars by known syndication with every commission stealing criminal to come down the pike. The networks pouring millions in clients SEM budgets right into this cesspool of scumbag searchbar affiliates comes with full knowledge of the clickstream data. The US Congress, and the various States Attorney Generals offices, need to subpoena all of Yahoo's and the Network's analytics data mined stats to prove they coordinated PPCSE fraud on a massive scale for years.

    Networks are you willing to turn over your entire network data mining stats to Spitzer and the Feds?? You might have no choice soon as the duped consumers team up with PPCSE advertising victims to completely blow the lid off the unethical online advertising industry. Of course this will effect every legit value-add affiliate as we get thrown into the "guilt by association" media feeding frenzy.

    Immediately any PPCSE who doesn't allow keyword advertisers to OPT-OUT of all syndication is an outright thief, or fence for cyber criminals. As far as all the ABWers riding the BHO gravy train... via PPCSE ... shame on you as you certainly check your stats to see how Claria, 180Solutions, Direct revenue, Sidesearch, Coolwebsearch et. all are doing for you today on your keyword campaigns.

    Drink that Adwhore Coolaid, that HappyPoon said you'd become addicted too when you fell for the merchant's AM pitches to pay for PPCSE traffic to your pages. It was a mass marketing money hole to encourage combining SEO SERP spam with PPCSE Keyword fees and panel the SERPs for each greedy merchant turning a blind eye to forced cookie stuffers. Feed Spam was mixed to enable doorway page traffic hijackers. Can't you see only those who employed BHO's, SEM and e-mail marketing Super Affiliates, and the Duper Merchants, know only those who can afford data mining S/W can play in this game successfully. Therefore the darkside owns the profits from PPCSEs, with the Adwhores running these money pit engines... The crooks in PPCSE know they have a real tool in PPCSE to enable draining Ad budgets quicker, so they get blessings and even competition from the networks.

    Hopefully the networks wake up and realize judgement day is coming. The Merchant's now know your after their money without concern for any ROI. You endorse shoving every form of spamfood to sleazy affiliates, of all flavors, to quicken the draining of Ad commission budgets by trying to cookie every online transaction. This just greed driven logic. Your value play in the buying process is beginning to suck for all those shelling out money to you!
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager inflatemouse's Avatar
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    They have a first party PPC on 180? Has anyone else seen them in Adware or BHO listings recently? If you all send me examples I can cite I am very willing to make inquiries with my contact at MIVA.

  8. #8
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inflatemouse
    They have a first party PPC on 180? Has anyone else seen them in Adware or BHO listings recently? If you all send me examples I can cite I am very willing to make inquiries with my contact at MIVA.
    Are you kidding?

    The charge to run ads. So they have ad inventory. Like a bucket full of ads. And they need places to dump them. They don't have a major portal like AdWords has and Yahoo Search (formerly Overture) has where they can use up a lot of the Ad inventory. By the way, "use" means distribute - get it out to people on the Net - monetize it - as a PPCSE, that's what they do and what they charge for. Their job is to find ways to distribute ads.

    You don't need to tell them about the crooked distribution methods being employed - they've contracted for them to happen. That's what they do.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager inflatemouse's Avatar
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    Their ads do appear on legitimate search sites like Lycos and Dogpile. I don't find fault with that, but if they are in fact still knowingly allowing their ads to be distributed unethically -- that’s a different story.
    There are certain practices that are standard that we can't avoid -- even Yahoo and Google hide who their distribution partners are. Each of us only has one set of eyes.

    I would like to believe that people are employing best practices whenever possible. But obviously that is not the case.

    I see ABW as an opportunity to collect data for an informed decision -- because it provides information on many people’s experience on the Internet. I get to choose where my money is spent -- and thus can makes a very obvious impact with how I spend it.

    The same way that companies can be enticed to participate in borderline practices because they see a profit they can also be dissuaded when their major sources of income explicitly detail expectations. For example AddHandler is leading a thread http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...609#post493609 to get a standard datafeed format. I take it seriously because I would like for the Associates in my program to have the best resources possible – you are an important channel for my company.

    I am sure that the PPCSE see it the same – if no one buys any ads they are losing money. When a company approaches us as merchants and we say “Your business engages in practices A, B, and C. Consequently we can’t do business with you at this time” it makes the industry have to deal with the issues. If all we do is not buy it isn’t nearly as explicit.

  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    I signed up with them so I'd have an account manager to share information with... guess what... deaf ears! Where they distribute has been well documented, reported, explored and exposed, as well as commented on here extensively.

    They know and can't / won't stop. They're addicted, they're junkies... this is why Ecomcity calls them adwhores - they are too stupid and corrupt to conduct themselves ethically.

    And hey, if you want to go talk to them, knock yourself out. It is a VERY simple matter to see where a large chunk of their ads (YOUR ADS) show and it ain't pretty.

    And I want to remind affiliates that CJ's new PSA policies will get you fired for third-party antics - CJ's not going to separate your legitimate income from the pittance you hope to get through Miva - so you're risking a LOT to continue the naive, folksy, assuming-everyone's-nice-and-will-change path that many affs new to PPC can fall for.

  11. #11
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    I have recently been testing some spyware-infected computers that use forced clicks from a PPC search engine to obtain ads to show as pop-ups.

    Typical scenario:

    * User requests merchantname.com on a machine infected with spyware.

    * Spyware opens up a list of sponsored links (from some PPC engine, sometimes Miva) keyed to term "merchantname".

    * Spyware forces a click on the first ad in the list of sponsored links. More often than not, that's an affiliate ad. User is taken to merchant's site via that affiliate link -- despite no user ever clicking on the affiliate's PPC ad.

    What a mess! On one hand the affiliate is being cheated by its PPC service -- charged for clicks that didn't occur. On the other hand, the affiliate is cheating the affiliate merchant -- invoking an affiliate link and receiving commissions without a click occurring. Merchants are left in an unenviable position: Terminate the affiliate (or refuse to pay its current-period commissions) because of forced clicks? Or pay the affiliate anyway, since it's not the affiliate's fault, even though everyone agrees that affiliate clicks were forced in violation of applicable rules? Tell the affiliate not to use that PPC service any more? What if it's a "big" PPC service that the merchant doesn't want to abandon?

    I don't know quite what to say about this situation. Perhaps ABW readers will have advice. The net takeaway: Click fraud is a real mess.

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I sure hope all the networks make compliance moves against commissions going to blackhat affiliate bad actors. Fear of commission loss never factored into decisions to employ the darkside to set cookies through PPCSE syndications before this PSA. Most the PPCSE playas could care less how the cookie gets set as they think they can gamble on the top 100 most visited shopping sites turning some sales. Sending traffic to their own lame pages is not on the immediate menu, if they can cookie a direct clickthrough with keyword Ad even knowing they're a Claria or 180Solutions popunder page view.
    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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