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  1. #1
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    Well, it looks like the trend to stop affiliates from using merchant names in search engines is increasing.

    But I'm not sure how any company will react if their name does come up in a search result from my website even if I do NOT use their name or trademark in my meta tags nor advertising.

    quote:
    Dear Eastwood Affiliate:

    The Eastwood Company recently developed a new strategy for our affiliate program that we believe will revitalize and energize the program going forward for all concerned.

    The new strategy includes several steps to be taken in the coming months that will enhance the program. These include creation of new banners and text links, development of special promotions with production bonus incentives, and more frequent communication with our affiliates. However, one of the first steps involved modification of The Eastwood Company’s Affiliate Agreement. We encourage you to read the entire new Agreement thoroughly by visiting www.eastwoodco.com.

    Modification of the Agreement was necessary to provide clearer communication of our program’s purpose relative to our affiliates. Our affiliate program was created to generate traffic to our Web site (via www.eastwoodco.com) by leveraging traffic from our affiliates’ Web sites through their normal advertising programs, etc. Using Eastwood brand names, trademarks or variations thereof to generate traffic to an affiliate’s site or redirecting traffic to another site is inconsistent with the basic premise of our program.

    Under terms of the new Agreement, affiliates are now prohibited from using Eastwood brand names, trademarks or variations thereof for traffic generation via search engine registration techniques (e.g., inclusion in meta tags) or bidding on them at any pay-for-placement search engine (e.g., overture.com, google.com, findwhat.com, etc.).

    If you are currently using Eastwood brand names, trademarks, or variations thereof to generate traffic via search engine registration techniques or bidding on them at any pay-for-placement search engines, please stop doing so no later than September 30, 2002.

    Any affiliate violating this new policy after September 30, 2002 will be removed from our program and any commissions earned up to their date of removal will be promptly paid to them.

    We value our affiliates efforts in helping build our online business. However, we believe it is in the best interest of The Eastwood Company and our customers for us to maintain exclusive control over our brand names, trademarks and variations thereof within the various engines.

    We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. We look forward to continuing to work with you in a mutually beneficial relationship.

    Sincerely;

    Robin Neil Haberle
    Internet Marketer
    The Eastwood Company
    rhaberle@eastwoodco.com
    (610) 323-2200 Ext. 2206



    I am also inviting Robin here to hopefully shed a light. Perhaps she realizes/perhaps she doesn't, but I think Eastwood's claims are substantial but just may not have enough substance to force an affiliate to not promote our site for fear their name will come up in a search.

  2. #2
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    Hello Robin,

    I have posted the following message at ABestWeb.com forum in hopes that this issue will become more clear for all concerned. There are a few issues that you may, or may not, be aware, especially in light of search engine pages that are already cached on their servers.

    While it is easy to stop upcoming promotions from using the Eastwood name and TM, how will the company handle existing promotions and, perhaps more importantly, how will the company expect us to promote/send customers your way WITHOUT informing them that we are sending them to "YourCompany.com"?????

    Please pick up where this question leaves off at the ABestWeb.com Forum thread here: http://www.abestweb.com/cgi-bin/ubb/...&f=17&t=001406

    Thank you,

    Brian W.Cornwell

    [ 08-19-2002: Message edited by: Cyclone ]

  3. #3
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    >Our affiliate program was created to generate traffic to our Web site by leveraging traffic from our affiliatesÂ’ Web sites through their normal advertising programs, etc.

    Well... you're at the right place (CJ) to do just that. If you ever change your affiliate program's goal to "SELL Products through your affiliates' websites", wake me up.

    - BluesX

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
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    I'm beginning to see the Blue light.

    quote:
    We value our affiliates efforts in helping build our online business.


    And what about ours? I could swear that my efforts are to build my online business.

    Mmmmmhmmmm.

  5. #5
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    Sometimes I wonder if most merchants even have the ability to think, never mind act on issues they create themselves.

    One of the most important issues revolving around any business, especially with affiliate partners, is to communicate in an efficient manner.

    Robin,

    If you've gone through the obvious pains to develop, and then distribute, the changed program information, at least have the courtesy to reply to concerns raised by said program changes.

    I sent you an email at Monday, August 19, 2002 11:07 AM; it's 1:50pm were I'm parked, and I would appreciate some kind of dialogue, even if it is merely to state "We wish not to talk to affiliates in a public forum".

    I can understand any number of reasons but to NOT respond in any manner whatsoever is not acceptable and considered rude, again from where I am sitting.

    IF, per chance, you wish for this correspondence to be a private matter, you do have the option to discuss with me by replying to my email sent earlier.

    In light of lack of same leaves lots to be desired. Please . . . Robin . . . I only wish to clearify a few issues that might be misunderstood by me, you, and maybe others.

    Thanks again . . . BWC

  6. #6
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    >>I sent you an email at Monday, August 19, 2002 11:07 AM; it's 1:50pm were I'm parked<<

    Okay, reality check here -- this person works in an OFFICE. When you work in an OFFICE, there are many times when you can't even get to your email for several hours, much less respond to it. She may just be away from her desk, she may have ten critical issues (where something is actually broken) before yours, she may be in meeting h3ll, she may have taken the day off, she may be in an offsite meeting, etc etc.

    Or she may just be ignoring you. But three hours is hardly enough time to judge that.

  7. #7
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    quote:
    Or she may just be ignoring you. But three hours is hardly enough time to judge that.


    Okay . . . what would be YOUR time span Cedric?

    My assumption is for an affiliate manager to be able to respond to their job issues, especially one of this magnitude sent to all affiliates, in a VERY timely manner . . . at least a message stating "We'll be back in touch soon".

    Something . . . anything . . . but not nothing.

    PS . . . it is now 2:30pm where I sit patiently. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    [ 08-19-2002: Message edited by: Cyclone ]

  8. #8
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    quote:
    Well, it looks like the trend to stop affiliates from using merchant names in search engines is increasing.


    And about time too. I think all merchants should do that. Its one thing recommending merchantname.com and its an entirely different scummy and lowlife thing to bid on someone elses trademark in a ppc

    Take a look at this http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...=Google+Search

    Look especially at result #2. Would you want to pay commissions on that?

    Just my stinkin opinion of course

  9. #9
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    >>Okay . . . what would be YOUR time span Cedric?<<

    Twenty-four hours MINIMUM. Probably wouldn't send a follow-up for 2-3 days.

    >>My assumption is for an affiliate manager to be able to respond to their job issues, especially one of this magnitude sent to all affiliates, in a VERY timely manner<<

    The "magnitude" of this issue is not judged the same by all peoples. And I would suggest that is possible (not at all gauranteed) that the affiliate manager is responding to more pressing issues... or gone for the day... or in meeting h3!!... or checking with other team members for an appropriate response (which is a GOOD thing, not a BAD thing).

  10. #10
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    quote:
    And about time too. I think all merchants should do that. Its one thing recommending merchantname.com and its an entirely different scummy and lowlife thing to bid on someone elses trademark in a ppc


    I never stated I did NOT agree with their decisions, especially in light as to what you have demonstrated. I pointed out the need to address finer points like when I choose to use the company name within my site to direct someone to their site, and definitely do not use their name promoting in search engines or in any way that implies that I am their company.

    There are other issues, all of which I am not the main interest in but others who frequent these threads and affiliates that may wish voiced concerns is why I attempted to open a dialogue here.

    I did not create the changes in policy. Making clear these policy changes in this forum makes it easier to understand. Sometimes I can be a blockhead and might need the eyeopening brought on by others who are concerned.

    Again, I AGREE with the company's decision in light of what you have presented. And I also like to point out that I am NOT one of those that uses a merchants' name, nor brand names, nor TMs in meta tags, BUT, that IF my site shows up in the SE listings where it shows the company's name from somewhere on my page, I want to know how Eastwood or other companies might handle such an occurrance.

    Am I to blame if somewhere on my page I state that SomeCompany.com is the proprietor to which my visitors will be shopping?

  11. #11
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    Cedric . . . your points have been taken and understood . . . thanks

  12. #12
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    I see a few different issues here.

    1) PPC bidding on a merchant's main URL

    This is clearly a problem. Merchants argue that customers looking for merchant.com should not have to wade through several of the merchant's own affiliate sites to find them. Merchants also argue that they are paying a commission on sales they would have gotten commission-free without the affiliate bidding. The merchants are correct - this practice can reasonably be prohibitted, IMHO.

    2) Using a merchant's name in meta tags.

    Ignoring the fact that meta tags are often ignored by search engines these days, this strikes me as short-sighted from a merchant's point of view. Potential customers search for all kinds of odd combinations involving a merchant's name, and it is unlikely that any merchant's site will be able to rank highly on every combination. But with large number of affiliate pages in circulation, the odds of a page featuring the merchant's products showing up for those searches increases. I shake my head in disbelief whenever I see a merchant deliberately limiting their online exposure.

    3) PPC bidding on a merchant's name in Google

    With one possible exception (see item #1 above), I also see this as short-sighted on the merchant's side. Here an example best illustrates my point. Let's say I am interested in buying a television from Amazon.com. So I go to Google.com and search for "amazon tv" (with no quotes). Guess what? The only Amazon.com related page that appears in the first page listings is for www.amazon.co.jp - clearly useless to me as my Japanese is very rusty. But there in the right Adwords column is an affiliate ad for Amazon.com (unfortunately, it does not appear to be a direct link to the Amazon electronics page, but this affiliate's failure to target his/her ad is beside the point). So Amazon, without doing any work on its own, has hundreds of thousands of affiliates filling holes in Google's search mechanism, ensuring that potential Amazon customers are not left with competitors as their only option.

  13. #13
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    When you search for "company.com" at google, it will only show you the company link if there is one. When you search for a company name, Google is 99.9% accurate in bringing the mark owner company on the top.

    No company owns any variation of its marks. So it is pure BS to say affiliates cannot exploit variations/misspellings of company marks.

    There is a lot more to learn, for both merchants and sales people. Pretty soon, we will have our own affiliation agreement, merchants will need to accept our affiliation agreement before having us as their affiliates. I am telling you, 95% of today's merchants will run when they see our terms, which are/will be just a little lighter than their affiliate agreement terms.

    - BluesX

  14. #14
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    Note that the revised agreement does NOT prohibit you from using the trademarked terms when LINKING to their site.

    So you can still have "Buy X from Eastwood.com" as a link.

    All they're asking is that people don't bid on their trademarks or optimize their pages for the search engines based around their keywords, which is fair enough.

    NOTE: Many companies have successfully won lawsuits prohibiting the use of their trademarked terms in other sites' meta-tags... this is nothing particularly new.

  15. #15
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    I also don't see what's so difficult about using generic links to drive traffic? Even "eastwood company" only got just over 1,000 searches at Overture last month, so specific combinations of tools including the word "eastwood" get much, much fewer searches than that.

    Let's take a SPECIFIC example...

    Say you wanted to drive traffic to the Eastwood Company page of abrasive blasting tools at http://www.eastwoodco.com/cgi-bin/sg..._blast_new.htm

    You're going to do better by optimizing your page that will originate the traffic for the term "abrasive blasting" (658 Overture searches) than for any combination of keywords that includes "Eastwood"

    And if you wanted to bid on traffic to push to that page, you would logically choose to bid on "abrasive blasting" under normal circumstances.

  16. #16
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    quote:
    There is a lot more to learn, for both merchants and sales people. Pretty soon, we will have our own affiliation agreement, merchants will need to accept our affiliation agreement before having us as their affiliates. I am telling you, 95% of today's merchants will run when they see our terms, which are/will be just a little lighter than their affiliate agreement terms.


    Praise the day THAT happens brothers and sisters~! I would not be HERE if I did not feel that is E X A C T L Y where we should be headed. I'm just glad BluesX brought it up, and not me, because I also get the feeling that, had I made this comment, it would have been viewed in a most negative light.

    Thank you brother BluesX . . . at least someone is thinking along the same lines.

    NOW . . . HOW do we move forward with these new Affiliate/Merchant PARTNER Agreements? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  17. #17
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    Cyclone:

    We need a little more time, little more patience...

    Edwin:

    You are absolutely right in your specific example. But that's only an example we are talking principles. In practice, Eastwood Company has no rights over the term "Eastwooden" and anybody who wish to exploit that term (good luck!), can do so without any parasites from the Eastwood Company.

    Companies should protect their marks from GATOR before protecting it from its own sales people (though the Eastwood Company says they only want traffic and they refuse to pay for it unless it turns into sales). First things first.

    - BluesX

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
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    Yes, this was the one that finally sunk in for me about what Blues has been saying for quite a while now. I am not interested in "generating traffic" for anyone's site. I am quite interested in "generating sales" as a sales partner.

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I think I have a pretty good idea how concerned Eastwood is about its affiliates. I sent them an E-mail through the CJ sytem several weeks ago regarding a bad link, that redirected to the wrong page.

    The redirect was quite obvious, and I was certain it was an error. To date, I've heard nothing back from them, not even an autoreply.

    Actions speak louder than words.

    Andy

  20. #20
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    I have received a reply to my letter I originally sent to the AManager at Eastwood . . . that would be Robin.

    She has explained to me how affiliates are using linking not in the best interests of the company. And I do agree with each and every explaination Robin has put forth.

    Although it would appear to be easier to simply post this correspondence with accompanying explanations, I have been asked NOT to and must abide by these wishes.

    I admit that it would be better (IMO) if all affiliate managers were present in this forum but, for the meantime, just trust me when I tell you that Robin has explained, and all is on the up and up with the company known as Eastwood.

    I'd also like to add that, although I first had a negative reaction towards the receit of the program changes, my eyes have seen that it is NOT the managers, or the programs, in this instance. I have seen first hand how a large percentage of AFFILIATES are abusing many company's policies, but are abusing the entire Affiliate Marketing Systems . . . especially the search engines.

    There have also been other methods pointed out to me (not by Robin) that only shows me that some Affiliates, not necessarily talking only about this company (generally speaking) that make what Gator is doing look like the kid that steals lollipops from babies. In other words, I have seen affiliates not only stealing from merchants, they are stealing EVERYTHING in sight~!

    Thank you Robin if you are reading this.

  21. #21
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    >She has explained to me how affiliates are using linking not in the best interests of the company.

    I'd assume that sending traffic to Eastwood Company and getting paid only if the traffic turns into sales is not in the best interest of the affiliates, but isn't that what the goal of Eastwood Company's affiliate program is?

    You can not possibly give me a reason why anyone can not optimize a page for "Eastwooden Company", which has absolutely nothing to do with the mark of the Eastwood Company except maybe it is made of teh same material?

    Please somebody make me understand this. If I, say, optimize a page for "The Brigter Image" and send any traffic I get to "The Sharper Image", whose image is being jeopardized?

    Yeah yeah... yada yada... there are bad weeds out there (yeah yeah, yada yada there are many bad merchants out there... probably more than there are bad affiliates anyways), but heck, it is the merchants' crusade and merchant proclaims the right to hang any affiliate he doesn't like. I recommend merchants running that boulevard as far as they can because soon they won't be able to... so boot the bad affiliate before laiming you own the webster's dictionary and my meta tags

    - BluesX


    Edit: *sorry for the typos. I just found out that some of the keys on my keyboard are copyrighted by the Eatwood Company and I had to remove them from my keyboard!*

    [ 08-20-2002: Message edited by: BluesX ]

  22. #22
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    Actually, when considering today's search engines technology, it is not clear that Eastwood really knows what they are asking for.

    The most obvious example is Google's method of ranking sites, not just by the keywords in the page, but also by the relevancy of the keyword to the "subject". There have been known examples of sites that are ranked very high for keywords that do NOT appear on the page...

    SEO is a legitimate way of sales promotions, and IMHO, it is in the merchants' best interest to have some SEO-oriented affiliates. That way they might have a better chance in KEEPING their "brand" name to themselves, and not have it "diverted" to the competition. For example, if I rank high for keyword "Amazon", BN.com WILL thank me for diverting traffic to their site...

    And while on the subject, most merchants do not allow affiliates to "bet" on their brand name in PPC's. While it sounds reasonable, it might, again, turn against them in the same way. Meaning that the less people betting on the same term, the cost will be lower, hence the competitors gain advantage..
    Moreover, IMHO, if someone is looking for "Eastwood" at Google INSTEAD of going to their site, then he/she might need a "push" to make the sale, preferably by an affiliate of Eastwood...

    Sorry about the grammar, English is not my mother tongue... [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

  23. #23
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    quote:
    SEO is a legitimate way of sales promotions, and IMHO, it is in the merchants' best interest to have some SEO-oriented affiliates. That way they might have a better chance in KEEPING their "brand" name to themselves, and not have it "diverted" to the competition.


    I would love to see anyone send and explain thezse issues t any and all managers out there. I agree there are a lot of instances that I also have been trying to point out but, if the only talk about these issues is on these boards, then most merchants will never hear of these reasonings UNLESS we tell them about it because they are NOT coming to these boards.

    BluesX, you know I agree with what you're saying and I am anxious for "The Day" things can turn around and work FOR affiliates but I think it won't happen unless things can also work FOR the merchants as well.

    I get sick and tired of always feeling like every merchant out there works against us, even when they do.

    I don't think I'll ever see enough changes in short enough time to help earn enough money. I think I'll be OUT of the game at the rate things are going.

  24. #24
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    Companies do have the right/responsibility to protect their trademarks (and in some cases that includes variations). And if they don't show determination to protect their trademarks (across the board), that can hurt them in court if there ever is a dispute.

    You can't let 100,000 violations go by without a word and then try to nail violation 100,001... okay, you can, but it is harder to win.

    That's one reason. As if the Idiot Affiliate violations were not enough.

  25. #25
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    Hey Eastwood (and other severely paranoid TM owners.

    1. Think up some new TM terms (make sure they're not dictionary words though).

    2. Don't tell anyone about them, or write them down.

    3. Kill the employee who thought up the TM's.

    There you are - 100% protected TM's!

    Or you could TAKE A REALITY PILL.

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