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  1. #1
    Affiliate Network Rep Jackie Lane's Avatar
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    Lightbulb FraudFREE Technology 101
    FraudFREE™ Protection
    LinkConnector has a zero tolerance fraud policy that is backed by our FraudFREE protection system. This system employs advanced technologies to find and eradicate dishonest merchants and affiliates permanently from the LinkConnector Network. In our network, we have a “one strike and you’re out” policy. And, contrary to what is typical these days, we don’t mean “one strike and you’re out” of any complaining merchant’s campaign, but permanently out of our network. We believe our philosophy and technology to date in this arena to be industry leading. Currently the front door fraud protection (FDFP) component of FraudFREE rejects nearly 40% of applicants deemed too risky.

    Why is this so important to us?
    We believe that if fraud could be eliminated from Affiliate Marketing, honest merchants would pay more for their affiliate marketing efforts, and honest, hard-working affiliates would receive more. We are trying to build a very robust and sophisticated fraud detection and elimination system in FraudFREE.

    Further, LinkConnector’s FraudFREE protection ensures our network’s integrity. It is our intention to provide an honest network that earns affiliate and merchant trust.

    What are some components of the FraudFREE system?
    LinkConnector employs FraudFREE protection technologies including Click Validation, Front Door Fraud Protection, Source Checker™, Merchant Messaging, and Data Pattern Matching.

    Click Validation: Affiliates will not receive click/cookie credit for subsequent clicks from the same computer within the same one hour.

    Front Door Fraud Protection: The FDFP component of FraudFREE uses application data, coupled with information on fraudulent activity compiled by us, to review and reject any affiliate that we deem too risky. This helps to prevent affiliates more apt to commit fraud from entering into our network.

    Source Checker: Merchants have the control to approve which of the Affiliate's websites are accepted for particular campaigns. Therefore, not all affiliates or affiliate websites need be approved for all merchant campaigns. If a recorded referrer is not from a valid, approved website for the specific campaign, the affiliate will not be credited with the click and the cookie will not be recorded. This Source Checker™ Module also allows the merchant to restrict affiliate promotion in search engines, thereby gaining more control of their brand and products, if so desired.

    Source Checker™ also checks the referrer for merchant nominated domains to ensure event code has not been placed on sites not controlled by the merchant.

    Merchant Messaging: Merchant Messaging notifies a merchant about potential and actual invalid affiliate activity. LinkConnector’s system also makes note of the occurrence in order to take further action against this activity should it become necessary.

    Data Pattern Matching: DPM is a technology unique to LinkConnector where our system utilizes a variety of information about click, referrer, and transaction activity and relates it to known, proven sources of similar traffic in order to identify possible fraudulent activity. This technology has proven to be 99% reliable in pinpointing fraudulent affiliates within our system, so we can permanently remove them.

    FraudFREE is an automated system that monitors affiliate and merchant activity for fraud once they are in our system. We routinely suspend affiliates monthly for fraud and update our FDFP algorithm to keep them from getting back in. For any merchant committing or promoting fraud, we will kick them out too. We feel, as the network, it is our job to ensure honest transactions on both sides and protect both parties equally.

    We are happy to discuss this information with any affiliate or merchant, although we may not be able to expose specific, in-depth details related to our algorithms. Our FraudFREE system continues to grow and we continue to make improvements getting us closer to our ultimate goal—completely eliminating fraud from the LinkConnector network!

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,

    Jackie

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Once again, I have concerns. Technology is good, but indiscriminate use of technology can have unintended negative side effects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackie Lane
    Click Validation: Affiliates will not receive click/cookie credit for subsequent clicks from the same computer within the same one hour.
    Unless you're paying CPC, this makes absolutely no sense. I can think of a variety of scenarios where this could cause commissions not to be assigned correctly.

    Is this network-wide, or just within a merchant. For instance, if I work with several LinkConnector merchants and a customer comes to my site, clicks through on more than one, and buys from the last one they click through, will I not get credit since that click was within an hour of another click?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackie Lane
    Source Checker: ... If a recorded referrer is not from a valid, approved website for the specific campaign, the affiliate will not be credited with the click and the cookie will not be recorded. ... Source Checker™ also checks the referrer for merchant nominated domains to ensure event code has not been placed on sites not controlled by the merchant.
    This dependence on referrers (which seems to be a recurring theme at LinkConnector) is very disturbing. Even if they are accurate 95% of the time, that's leaving 5% of sales on the table.

    These types of things are great indicators to flag things for manual review, but if you're automatically throwing out clicks and sales based on this stuff, it's just plain wrong.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    January 16th, I told you that you have an organization in your program (MetaReward, aka NetFlip, aka Star Rewards Club) that uses fraudulent techniques:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...0&postcount=79

    You said "As promised, we will look at them carefully using (at a minimum) all of the information provided in this thread":
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...5&postcount=85

    I see MetaReward is still active in your program:
    https://www.linkconnector.com/affili...m.htm?mid=2675

    Should I conclude that you finished looking and concluded they're FraudFREE?

  4. #4
    Affiliate Network Rep Jackie Lane's Avatar
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    Michael ~ These are good questions that you will certainly hear much more on. A small reminder is that we have a much more detailed and targeted Thread on Source Checker that is scheduled for this Monday (Feb. 13).
    So, there will be a detailed post on this topic very soon.
    Jackie

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackie Lane
    Michael ~ These are good questions that you will certainly hear much more on. A small reminder is that we have a much more detailed and targeted Thread on Source Checker that is scheduled for this Monday (Feb. 13).
    So, there will be a detailed post on this topic very soon.
    Jackie
    Translated

    Michael ~ These are good questions that we know expose a serious flaw in the house of cards that is our network. In fact so serious, not only will we never discuss the methedology used to make our 95% claim, we will not discuss the claim itself or any technology related - don't even get us started on how much we won't talk about javascript and how much of our program is built on that often blocked technology.

    But thanks for responding to this thread to bump it up, because we firmly believe, if we keep spinning, never addressing any issues raised, some of the sheep will signup just because we have our name out there and we can continue avoiding answering questions.

    So thanks again, and you should look forward to another thread where we spin our broken system, and don't answer any questions! We should be able to keep up with these threads and promises of new ones until you all tire of asking questions.

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    At least his question got addressed...

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    At least his question got addressed...
    But not the one in msg #3 about MetaRewards.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Network Rep
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    Donuts

    As we stated last month, we are looking into the actions of MetaReward very carefully. We have established that there is no evidence of improper behavior in LinkConnector. But, as you pointed out in other posts, past behavior and the potential to do harm to our network may be enough to disassociate ourselves with them. For this, we are currently in the middle of the evaluation.

    As you've probably noticed, we don't knee jerk any of our decisions and everything is given full and proper consideration. We should be making a final determination and decision on this matter soon and will inform you when we do, as promised.

    Choots Humphries
    President, LinkConnector Corporation

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Allen Nance's Avatar
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    Jackie,

    Metarewards / Starclub is using 180 / Zango to pop up their site over kiteandwind.com see thread http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...3&postcount=10

    Their abuse is surely not warranted of thinking it over and further investigation.

    I as a merchant with you are troubled that this was even a question. We all know that when someone uses this type of software plugin advertising, they are out of line.

    Allen Nance
    KiteandWind.com
    Signup Now for our KiteandWind affiliate program exclusivly at Shareasale.
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  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    "We all know that when someone uses this type of software plugin advertising, they are out of line."
    And MetaReward knows it too. This is how they operate. 180 is not their only vehicle for abusing your legitimate affiliates' efforts.

    So take all the time that you need, that is of course, completely up to you.

    But we retain out rights as well, like our right to judge your ability to discern and act. And to draw conclusions about how you might "protect" our earnings in future cases.

    I posted links about their activities ealier, like this link:
    http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/...95,pg,6,00.asp
    With a preponderance of evidence easily available via simple searches, to know what kind of player MetaReward is, we also retain our rights to judge your ability to research / vet in a timely manner.

    If "FraudFree" is to be meaningful to the people it's supposed to protect, I'd argue again that this case is a great litmnus test for affiliates to judge you and your team.

    Very patiently yours,
    Donuts.

  11. #11
    Internet Cowboy
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    Cheaters make networks money. Networks profit from cheaters, cookie stuffers and parasites. We have been over this again and again.
    Do you think that they REALLY mean FraudFREE or does it just sound good and look good on banners?


  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador
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    Still no answers.

    Yes, we know you move slow. Too slow. You might want to try and answer a few questions...

  13. #13
    Affiliate Network Rep
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Unless you're paying CPC, this makes absolutely no sense. I can think of a variety of scenarios where this could cause commissions not to be assigned correctly. Is this network-wide, or just within a merchant.
    Sorry our original post wasn’t more clear on this issue. As you have intimated, Click Validation is good for fraud control in CPC and this is exactly what it is designed to do. The one hour restriction on clicks is restricted to a unique combination of a user, an affiliate, and one of a merchant’s links. It is designed to defeat repeated clicks on one particular link on an affiliate’s website by the same user.

    I hope that clears it up for you and alleviates any concern related to Click Validation. I will attempt to get a correction appended to the original post which clarifies this.


    As an expansion of our position and an update to MetaRewards in the LinkConnector network…

    LinkConnector makes an instant decision and takes immediate action against any affiliate or merchant perpetrating fraud in the LinkConnector network. We do this often. As I’ve previously stated about MetaRewards, they are not guilty of fraud in our network.

    I know several of you feel you have presented us plenty of evidence to disassociate ourselves with this Merchant. But much of what has been presented in this forum is related to past behavior or is not evidence, but conjecture. For example, Poopie Nubert’s post in this thread does not constitute evidence that MetaRewards is buying traffic from 180 / Zango. It might instead be one of MetaReward’s affiliates buying the traffic to earn affiliate commissions from MetaReward as the merchant. I’m not saying that it is the case, I’m saying the pop-up itself isn’t evidence of any wrong doing by MetaRewards. Tracking the click to the revenue ultimately tells the whole story.

    That said, I think we have indicated that past behavior and the potential to do harm to our network may be enough to disassociate ourselves with them. We are in the final stages of evaluation which means we have given them a chance to respond to our concerns. We don’t expect them to be able to make us comfortable enough to keep them on as a merchant (or affiliate) and expect to start the process for elimination out of our network next week. If that changes, I will post our reasons.


    Quote Originally Posted by Poopie Nubert
    I as a merchant with you are troubled that this was even a question. We all know that when someone uses this type of software plugin advertising, they are out of line.
    If your evidence goes beyond your initial thread that reported the pop-up (did you confirm it wasn’t an affiliate of MetaRewards by following and analyzing the clicks?), please contact your Account Rep or me directly and we will take immediate action.


    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Do you think that they REALLY mean FraudFREE or does it just sound good and look good on banners?
    We really mean FraudFREE. As I have stated many times, we believe that if fraud could be eliminated from Affiliate Marketing, honest merchants would pay more for their affiliate marketing efforts, and honest, hard-working affiliates would receive more. This is not marketing spin, but one of our core philosophies. We intend to prevent as much merchant and affiliate fraud as technologically possible.

    Choots Humphries
    President, LinkConnector Corporation

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Choots your to be commended to face the challenges of the ABW community to your network's "FraudFree" commitment. You'll find many here, like Donuts, are all for operating/competing on a level playing field. Others are all for whacking the obvious browser and POS commission hijackers. (POS=Point Of Sale) as long as their own POS attack adjendas can openly operate on the LinkConnector platform giving them a tilted playing field. I'm sure you have something in the "FraudFree" technology to detect and weed out the all to common Cookie Stuffers (Poorman's BHO).

    Seems like your to be applauded for tackling this commission/cookie blackhole upfront, relying upon the premise legit traffic should get paid a higher commission rate then the bastardized traffic coming from existing major networks. Eliminating fraud, traffic/commission hijacking at the Point Of Sale, and demanding physical clicks from a value-add affiliates own pages or Opt-in e-mails sure should demand a higher commission rate.

    Easiest way to accomplish this is to place ALL incentive type affiliates on the Fraud suspect list upfront. In order to offer rewards/rebates/points/prizes from their commission cut they have to employ "tricks for cookie setting clicks". None are interested in showcasing the merchant/product/price or service to a potential customer. Heck I'll throw in the Couponers into this group as they too refuse to promote anything other then Trademark/Brand + coupon in their marketing efforts.

    Hopefully you'll make some headway with all sides emphasizing your network diffenenciators. It's a uphill process as most affiliates do not want to compete on a level playing field. Victimized merchants are leary of affiliates in general as they've had the worse of the worse fraudmongers and cookie cannons pushed upon them for years as must have Super Affiliates. Love to see how Linkconnector could shoehorn into the www.ecomcity.com/safehaven-network.htm model as I researched and booked marked your site early last year.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  15. #15
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I'm all for a network that reduces or eliminates fraud, as long as it doesn't also have a negative impact on legitimate affiliates. This strong dependence on valid referrer strings is a deal-breaker for me, though. I've done enough log analysis on my own sites to realize just how many potential problems there are with referrers. They're good as indicators, but when a network says "I'm going to throw everything out with a bad referrer" (which is essentially what they're saying), that's just wrong.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  16. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I'm all for a network that reduces or eliminates fraud, as long as it doesn't also have a negative impact on legitimate affiliates. This strong dependence on valid referrer strings is a deal-breaker for me, though. I've done enough log analysis on my own sites to realize just how many potential problems there are with referrers. They're good as indicators, but when a network says "I'm going to throw everything out with a bad referrer" (which is essentially what they're saying), that's just wrong.
    I agree that this is a concern. One possible fix is to make every transaction that has no referer "pending". Then the affiliate manager is aware of them, and can manually approve them. If an affiliate has too many of them, they are flagged for scrutiny by the network and the merchant. I think everybody wins in this scenario.

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