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  1. #1
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    Affiliate Blacklist for Merchants
    Does anyone know of an industry blacklist that Merchants can refer to identify "known" fraudulent affiliate sites?

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager
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    I'm looking for that list as well. Pretty comfortable with SAS but now I have started eye balling the MyAp affiliates and trying to figure out how exactly to hunt through them and find the bad apples so I can clean up our program.

  3. #3
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    KB has one for thier merchants.

    email Todd Farmer & ask him what he would charge you to see it.

  4. #4
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Direct Track had one also.

    I personally think it is a legal chasm that you shouldn't want to go near.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    In that case, how can I figure out which affiliates may not be desirable that are already in our system? I'm still new to the game and learning as I go. Hadn't even heard of Shopathome until Donut hit me with a whip about it. Just got them axed and done with so we should no longer show up on their site.
    I'm just looking for things like that, things that a lot of experienced affiliates as well as merchants know as second nature but is just absolutely unknown to myself.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager adambha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by splinterproject
    ...how can I figure out which affiliates may not be desirable...
    siteadvisor.com

  7. #7
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    There are many common sense things and methods used to identify problematic affiliates or there are subscription based services as well. The cheapest and "most reliable" method is to google the site name and/or URL sans the .com and look at the SERPs (see example). For added and quick detection of bad guys install McAfee SiteAdvisor.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    You guys rock!

  9. #9
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    $0.02

    Good reason to use an OPM, especially on new programs. They have been there and done that and can help guide you through these issues. You might find one who will consult on specific matters like this one.

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  11. #10
    Affiliate Manager
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    One problem with that though. Well ok, maybe two. The first would be my lack of hands on learning. I Don't want to outsource the reason for my employment either. I was brought on to learn about and get our program running. I realize I can not do that over night but we are not looking to run a grade A, million member program over night as well. I figure as long as I stay honest and continue to post here then people like Donut will call me out on the things that I miss and don't know about. Which is awesome, cause I have absolutely no problem with critic and even a occasional slap if it will teach me something important.
    Before I got here the MyAp program was set to auto accept applicants, so now I'm going through and checking the url's one by one.
    Which brings up another question. Myspace, Blogger and such all have a no banner placement policy. So should those affiliates who have registered with those url's be allowed to use those url's or should those be denied?

  12. #11
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    >I personally think it is a legal chasm that you shouldn't want to go near.

    I WOULD NEVER SHOW OUR LIST for any price.

  13. #12
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by splinterproject
    I Don't want to outsource the reason for my employment either. I was brought on to learn about and get our program running.
    Not outsource, consult. See how much someone would charge for a couple 2 hour blocks going over this particular issue. There are "red flags" they could teach you to look for as well as show you how to track down the scum and kill them.

    Blacklist is a very touchy subject. In the US, the most litigious society in the world, posting or sharing a blacklist would most likely land you in a courtroom somewhere. I'd bet $$$ every AM has one hidden on his/her hard drive.

  14. #13
    Affiliate Manager
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    LOL. Perhaps I bumped the wrong topic then.

  15. #14
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    The first step is understanding the different types of "fraud" out there (i.e. traffic/sales/leads driven to you which are not what you intend for your affiliate program). Then make sure you have those types of behaviors disallowed in your TOS. Then you go looking for those affiliates who are in violation of your TOS.

    There is no one magic bullet for finding TOS violators. The practices, sources and methods vary greatly. Again, first understanding exactly how different types of fraud is done goes a long way in detecting it in your program. You begin to be able to start building "profiles" from statistical data that something isn't right. I wish I could give you a one cookbook profile, but unfortunately, in reality, it doesn't work that way.

    But there different tools out there that can help you compile the profiles that should send up red flags. Google toolbar, archive.org, Alexa, Compete and Whois can all give you pieces of the picture if you are using the information correctly. The 2 most helpful and reliable free sources, IMHO, in detecting foul play is ultimately your own statistics. Both your stats through your merchant interface (inhouse or whichever network you are on) and your own server logs from your web site. If you use a third party analytics service, valuable information can be found there as well. Sidebar: Choose your analytic company carefully as some of them are questionable folks themselves.

    SiteAdvisor and Stopbadware can be of assistance, but it is imperative that they be used correctly and in context for what they are. Both are excellent resources and I use them myself quite frequently for very specific things (primarily finding specific verisons of adware applications I want to test from "in the wild.") Both services are meant for consumers. None of their reports focus on the impact on affiliate programs. It's just not what they do. You should take the information provided with an open mind. There will be instances where the information is obvious that an adware application is present. However, there are numerous sites rated as green on SiteAdvisor which have very well known adware in the affiliate marketing community and are considered problematic to many merchants and affiliates. A few examples are:
    Buyersport Actually reports on 5 downloads and rates them all green. They are the "granddaddy" of adware. Will redirect your own traffic and overwrite affiliate links
    Care2 A TopMoxie product. Rates the site and download as green.
    iGive Rates the site green and doesn't report there even is a download.
    uPromise Again rates the site greena nd doesn't report there is a download.
    ebates rated green and no download.
    Pronto rates the site and software as green.
    Savendonate site not tested.
    Vomba green site, no downloads
    mPire green site, no download. Not only do they have their own software which alters the merchants pages (adds their own links next to the add cart button ), I've recently started seeing them come through Zango.

    Both services can be helpful, but again you should understand what they are really reporting and not relie of them in for the ultimate, final determination. At least not if you are really wanting to maintain the integrity of your program. Nor will either of these services give you any indication of affiliates who are buying ad inventory through third party adware companies, such as Zango, Vomba, DirectCommunications, InstantNavigation, AdonNetworks, TargetSaver, ContextualChoice, NumbSoft, etc, etc, etc. At least with all the sites I listed above, you can go to them and see the download on the site. Another great tool...visit the affiliate's web site and look around. IMO, the third party advertisng is some of the worst stuff going on out there. It also seems to be the least addressed by merchants and network. It is extremely prevelant and lots of traffic and commissions are being paid out via this medium. Just AdonNetwork claims over 4 billion impressions per month. A good bulk of those "impressions" are pop-ups through adware (and some really rogue adware). And many of their advertisers are affiliates. Impressions are dirt cheap with them.

    And not to be even more discouraging than I already have, but any list may come across be sure to find out how "fresh" the list is. The bad players are constantly changing. New folks come in and old folks change their identities (and that one really isn't too hard to do). There is a lot, and I mean a lot, of money floating around in this Industry right now. That is a good thing. It will also draw folks who are less than honest. Maintaining the integrity of your program is an on-going process.

    The top 5 things I think merchants can do for free themselves to monitor their programs are:
    1. Understand the bad behavior that is out there and the primary things that can make your business less profitable (adware doesn't impact just your affiliate channel)
    2. Develop profiles from the known bad behaviors to use as red flags
    3. Know your partners
    4. Manually visit the web sites and go beyond just the homepage (you'll be surprised what you find at times)
    5. Pull as much information from your own logs and merchant interface and learn what to look for. Probably one of the most under-utilized tools by merchants.

    And the most important thing you can do..understand the limitations of service/tool/approach you are using! Everyone of them has their own unique limitations, including my own service. Don't lull yourself into a false sense of security or bury your head in the sand. It only leaves you wide open for abuse.

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  17. #15
    ABW Ambassador
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    We are a NICE group of people here at ABW.
    Many here like to give HUGES and that is just fine.

    That said, there are some vicious and cruel MFs that will bend you over a hot rock for a $. Many of us have LISTS. AM is a dirty Biz.

    imho
    Last edited by Merchant Consultant Team; April 4th, 2007 at 08:19 PM.

  18. #16
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Kellie gave some good listing and a good to do list.

    One thing that I usually avoid is sub-networks. Call it my narror vision or whatever but usually, if a person runs a sub-network, all or most activities done by the affiliates on the sub-network will be masked or they make it hard to identify their activities.

  19. #17
    Affiliate Manager
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    Good stuff Kellie, thank you for taking the time to reply.

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