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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Sheri's Avatar
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    CJ Hires Web Detectives -> Cyveillance
    (from an article)
    The large e-commerce affiliate network known as Commission Junction (CJ) is gearing up a campaign that uses automated searches of the Web to catch dishonest participants.

    The network has contracted with Cyveillance, a firm that monitors the online use of trademarked terms, to "spider" the Internet seeking affiliates that generate commissions without legitimately earning them.


    ???? Is this CJ trying to clean up its act, or is it just them trying to find another out for not crediting affiliates for sales????


    Sheri

  2. #2
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Watch Cyveillance hire Kellie / Ben / Haiko to learn the ropes (I wish!).

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I sure hope they use it to pull out the weeds in their network...

    "Scour The Hidden And Visible Internet
    As the Internet becomes more pervasive, online security takes on a strategic importance. In fact, 70% of fraud complaints received by the government now occur on the Internet.

    Piracy and fraud activity arenít limited to the World Wide Web. Thatís why Cyveillance also monitors cases of fraud occurring on the Hidden Internet -- beyond the reach of commercial Search Engines. Monitored channels include Internet Relay Chat, P2P networks, instant messaging, blogs, online auctions, e-mail, Usenet newsgroups and FTP sites.

    An Early Warning System
    Cyveillance combines its own patented technology with human review processes to deliver intelligence thatís100% relevant to your organization:

    Phishing and Identity Theft
    As one of the most effective and fastest growing online scams, phishing frequently results in fraud and identity theft.
    Information Leaks and Insider Threats
    Intellectual Property can be more valuable than physical assets, and is inadvertently divulged online by employees as well as sought out by criminals.
    Executive Threats
    The Internet has become a key communications channel used by extremists to organize actions that may threaten corporations or individuals within the company.
    Corporate Brand Abuse
    Corporate Brand Abuse costs companies billions of dollars every year and includes online traffic diversion, paid placement advertising, fraud and more.
    Online Credit Card Fraud
    According to a recent 2004 study, online fraud and credit card theft amounted to more than 2.6 billion or 1.8 % of total online revenues.
    Gray Market Distribution and Counterfeiting
    Online product distribution is fraught with fraud, counterfeiting and other product-related liabilities. "
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Google Cyveillance, and you'll see there are a few out there who don't think they're on the up and up. Looks like their bots are already on a lot of bad bot lists, so there are quite a few sites that don't allow access.

    Andy

  6. #6
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    that can explain the CJ bot popping up in some stats

  7. #7
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    Looks like no one has linked to the underlying article. It is as follows: http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/col...le.php/3558911

    Notice that this is from Brian Livingston, who last week covered CJ ejecting SAHS. His prior columns at Earthweb: http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/columns/executive_tech


    I'll have more to say about this in a couple days. Will need a bit of time to get my thoughts together.

  8. #8
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    Watch Cyveillance hire Kellie / Ben / Haiko to learn the ropes (I wish!).
    Actually, someone from Cyveillance contacted me some months ago. I gave them a frank assessment of the state of affiliate networks, and the ways in which I thought Cyveillance technology and methods could be helpful. That was the last I heard from them.

    The current CJ-Cyveillance project is interesting, but it was not high on my list of priorities. With all Cyveillance's capabilities, just looking for cookie-stuffing seems a bit weak (though surely still better than nothing).

  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Eventhough the BHO perps get a break some of the cookie cannons and Trademark incenters will have to worry.

    "Time To Throw Out The Bath Water

    Hopefully, spidering the Web will result in dishonest affiliates getting the boot from CJ -- and possibly other such networks that also face scam problems. Legitimate affiliates and merchants alike constantly grumble about shady Web site owners that take money out of the system without earning it.

    At the same time as CJ's detection mechanism becomes automated, though, Kinsky emphasizes that the human approach is still the best. People who see questionable practices should report them so CJ can investigate, he says. "Someone will buy a misspelling of a site" to get accidental traffic, he explains. A robotic spider might not know the difference, but it's against CJ's terms of service and affiliates can be banned for it. Now looks like a good time for rogue e-commerce affiliates to clean up their acts and try to make money in an above-board way, for a change." ... http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/col...le.php/3558911
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    hey moderators!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the first article posted in Ben's post #7 above will be missed sitting here in a thread called cyveillance... please retitle this thread or something - I think that article is the most important CJ news this year!!! It might be a sign of a new age coming in affiliate marketing!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. #11
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    CJ outsourcing this is significant news even if it appears the tests won't coer everything needed. If it comes to frutuion as stated, it is a great beginning. How long until other networks follow?

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    CJ outsourcing this is significant news even if it appears the tests won't coer everything needed. If it comes to frutuion as stated, it is a great beginning. How long until other networks follow?
    Sooner then you think if the network merchants demand every cookied click be legitimate. They rightfully should demand commission be earned only by those abiding by the network TOS -CoC and PSA.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  13. #13
    Moderator Nabz's Avatar
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    Finally, CJ is doing something to eliminate the BAD guys.

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    This move signals CJ wants teeth in their new imposed PSA, taking root on the 20th. It's automatic that BF follow suit or lose their most honest merchants to the CJ service. Might be why Boscov's is migrating to CJ. I'd never trust a dual tracking system with a BeFree merchant. All history shows the BF tracking system fails if a merchant's cart has to parse multiple network cookies.
    Last edited by ecomcity; October 25th, 2005 at 11:04 PM.
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  15. #15
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    "Finally, CJ is doing something to eliminate the BAD guys."

    They could have done that any time. Just boot them out when they were caught violating the rules. People have posted videos of violations in the past. They worked with them. Had Ebates as a success story with awards and pics on the home page at the same time they were redirecting my traffic. Networks have always been home to the parasites. Just check out a parasites merchant list, network merchants.

    "Might be why Boscov's is migrating to CJ."

    Mike all the BF merchants are slowly migrating over to CJ, have been for some time.

  16. #16
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    An example of well-documented cookie-stuffing still in progress
    Apologies for not posting more earlier. Was on my way out the door.

    I do think CJ's collaboration with Cyveillance is commendable. Outsourcing fraud detection is very sensible -- reduces some conflict of interest problems, and puts fraud detection in the hands of those who specialize in that field.

    That said, as I mentioned in a prior post above, I don't think finding cookie-stuffing is the most urgent of affiliate fraud issues. If I were in charge, I'd work first on what seems to be the biggest and most worrisome trend -- affiliates buying rogue traffic from "adware" apps, forcing cookies when users are already at merchants' sites. Recall my recent examples of such practices and the crawler I announced this past spring, that in highly automated fashion finds and documents affiliates buying adware-sourced traffic.

    But Cyveillance's specialty is crawling the web, not crawling spyware-delivered pop-ups. So I can see that the cookie-stuffing project is a more natural fit for them. In that context it's an understandable place to start.


    Now that CJ is outsourcing this work and, one can only imagine, aspiring to do a better job here, we might reasonably ask: How is CJ actually doing? On some level perhaps it's hard to know: If we had a comprehensive list of all cookie-stuffers, we could compare today's list to a list from a year ago; but of course no one has such a list.

    In thinking about CJ's progress to date, especially in light of Mr. Kinsky's request that interested experts and others send problem reports to CJ, one natural question is how well CJ is doing at stopping well-known publicly-documented cookie-stuffers. Some ABW'ers may remember my listing, posted a year ago, of more than three dozen examples of cookie-stuffing targeting major merchants at major affiliate networks. See http://www.benedelman.org/cookiestuffing/ . If CJ is so serious about stopping cookie-stuffing, we might imagine that CJ has read my pages, watched my videos, confirmed my findings through their own testing, and either asked each affiliate to stop cookie-stuffing or (if they wouldn't stop, or if CJ deemed the violation sufficiently serious) removed those affiliates from CJ's network.

    Has CJ actually done this kind of examination? By all indications, no. See the cookie-stuffing example I posted today -- which shows the same cookie-stuffing affiliate I previously reported, still up to the same tricks, still using the same business name and same affiliate ID (PID), apparently undaunted by being listed on my report of cookie-stuffers.

    Stopping cookie-stuffers is a laudable task. But it requires more than talk, more than PR, and more than hiring even the most expert of consultants. It requires actually taking action against those who break the rules. If CJ doesn'ttake action against rule-breakers who are widely reported, than who is CJ taking action against? So the example above suggests CJ still has plenty of work to do.


    (Incidentally, for those who are wondering, I haven't yet tested all the other examples I reported last year. The example reported above is the first one I decided to test, having recently seen some other cookie-stuffing by this same affiliate earlier this month. I've seen similar behavior by others too. So I don't think it would be accurate to write off the example above as the only one of my examples that [say] slipped through the cracks at CJ. Far from it.)

  17. #17
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Looks like their bots are already on a lot of bad bot lists, so there are quite a few sites that don't allow access.
    If the bot doesn't say "CJ" or the name of a major SE in its user-agent, chances are I've got it banned, or will ban it. When I spot an unknown bot eating too many pages, I ban it, figuring that it's either a scraper or some other crap thing up to no good.

    I think a lot of others have the same reaction, so the actual usefulness of this initiative may be limited...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  18. #18
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Love to see your new findings on CJ cookie stuffers Ben. That alone should be a trial list for the Cyveillance/CJ team to point their sleuth application towards... Hey they asked for some outings ... didn't they?
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  19. #19
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    If the bot doesn't say "CJ" or the name of a major SE in its user-agent, chances are I've got it banned, or will ban it. When I spot an unknown bot eating too many pages, I ban it, figuring that it's either a scraper or some other crap thing up to no good.

    I think a lot of others have the same reaction, so the actual usefulness of this initiative may be limited...
    Not to any avail as Cyveillance's bot ignors all Robots.txt barriers and just goes on in to sniff out any cookie stuffing routines. Same goes for TradeMark violations in the PPCSE Ads.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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  20. #20
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I usually IP ban 'em. I started doing that after a ravenous Chinese bot wouldn't go away after being robots.txt'd.

    As for the TM violations, I've heard so much bad about NameProtect (I *think* they're different place than Cyveillance) sending out bogus C&Ds willy-nilly, to everyone who happens to mention a TM name on their pages (regardless of whether they have permission or not), that the thought of a robotic TM detector makes me cringe.

    It's fine if they aim right, but I remember a spate of posts here from people being ordered to remove "copyrighted images and descriptions" and TM mentions from their pages *despite being in the merchants' programs.* More than one program had this occur in it.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  21. #21
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    Good move, CJ.
    Brian Livingston - Now looks like a good time for rogue e-commerce affiliates to clean up their acts and try to make money in an above-board way, for a change.
    I'll say, Now looks like a good time for CJ to exclude all rogue e-commerce affiliates. No second chance.
    It could be done in no time before Thanksgiving.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    This will be interesting to see how it turns out. I surely hope this is for real, and the thieves are booted, without giving them 90 days to "fix" their software.
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  23. #23
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    Personally, I have minimal expectations. CJ is a great company, and provides a great service, however as a whole they do not seem to respond quickly when sources external to their company provide documentation of wrong doings. In smaller instances, perhaps, but with big money clients, the appearance, from my perspective, is that they want to work with them rather than ban.

    Which is frustrating in that other, 'honest' affiliates, want the client banned immediately, and permanently.

    The perception of 'intent' is what it boils down to. IMO, CJ perceives rules infractions from large clients as a mistake or a programming/business model that needs to be corrected, eventually, as part of an upgrade. Competing affiliates perceive the rules violations as intentional, aimed at stealing their hard earned commissions during critical shopping periods, and want the client punished.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

  24. #24
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedelman
    I'd work first on what seems to be the biggest and most worrisome trend -- affiliates buying rogue traffic from "adware" apps, forcing cookies when users are already at merchants' sites.
    Ben, this is my central focus for all the testing that I do.

    As an affiliate driving traffic to my merchants, this parasitic cart poaching makes me SICK.

    An affiliate builds a site, pays for ppc, does seo (which isn't free today either), builds a relationship with the merchant, knows the products, spends their every waking hour trying to get more interested folks to their site and to prep them for a sale / hand off and when that handoff is made, poof, the credit goes to a cheater.

    I have a few merchants I work closely with to do testing for this behavior - where I can see the financial impact of this behavior - and it is shocking.

    Affiliates abandon their efforts and reduce their ppc bids and switch merchants and more in attempts to find ROI from their efforts... while the cheaters take, take, take...

    CJ is idiotic and complicit especially when you take the time to show them these things and they fail to act. They should be embarassed. And apparently, even embarassment doesn't move them to action.

    So I applaud the outsourcing effort re: Cyveillance, but only as a sign of a possible change and what may an early hint of the action we all have expected from our "trusted partner" CJ. We can all plainly see that they have a LONG way to go!

  25. #25
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    I don't expect much at all. Reading their site and what Ben posted. Cookie stuffers have been brought to their attention many times, those cookie stuffers are still cookie stuffing. And in the past i think Poon asked a question about this via AAQ and got 2 different answers to the same question. They know about cookie stuffers and what adware does already and who's doing what. The rules are there for anybody to read. People have posted many videos of rules violations. And? So i'm not sure exactly what they're using it for but i don't think it's for what most people think. If a network is serious about enforcing their rules it's very simple, what i suggested before and what Google does when they have rule changes. When logging in CJ you see a screen with the rules and you have to click ok to them agreeing to them. You can't do anything in your account unless you agree to them. After that if you violate, you get booted. And if someone posts video of violations, you boot. Rules are nothing if not enforced.
    "trusted partner" CJ." Your merchants are your partners, not the networks. "trusted third party" They have the third party part right. First and second party, merchant and affiliate, thats the partnership.

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