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  1. #76
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    I just need to interject a bit of common sense here. I'm just a regular consumer--not an affiliate--and yes, I just registered today specifically to respond to this thread.

    I don't know anything about the secret workings of RetailMeNot, but the idea of the site--at least as it appears--is wonderful. Users submit coupon codes to the site from every possible source, so that they are collected in one site. This way, we the consumers don't have to go around looking at a hundred different sites searching for codes, we can just look in one place. There is nothing unethical about this. If the merchant didn't want their coupon codes to be distributed, then they could use a more advanced coupon system, and issue a unique code to each person that can only work once. It's pretty simple, actually.

    It amazes me how much all of you are badmouthing RetailMeNot as unethical, when it seems as if most all of you are yourselves entirely unethical! You try to get money via affiliate scams for essentially doing nothing! I can tell you, that as a consumer, I constantly fight against people like you trying to earn money off of my sale. I always try to remove any affiliate links, clear any cookies to ensure what I do is not traced to any affiliate, etc. I think it's wrong. And it is especially wrong for corporations to track my purchasing habits without my permission. And while most average consumers don't care about such things, I believe that, if properly educated about what was going on, they would feel the same way.

    I realise we are not going to agree on this issue, but I just want you guys to take a step back and realise that this is a complicated issue, there are many ways of looking at it, and you should not be so quick to judge RetailMeNot without looking at what you yourselves are doing.

  2. #77
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edjolanski
    It amazes me how much all of you are badmouthing RetailMeNot as unethical, when it seems as if most all of you are yourselves entirely unethical! You try to get money via affiliate scams for essentially doing nothing!
    I don't think you realize how many hours we spend updating coupons, products and prices on a daily basis so we can provide for our families. This is our livelihood and is hardly a scam. I understand where you're coming from, but you have to understand that many of us don't do this out of greed but because we have a passion for building websites.

    - Scott
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  3. #78
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    In many cases (if not most all), affiliates send traffic (and sales) to merchants that they would not otherwise have had, for any number of reasons.

    Merchants give coupon codes to affiliates because those affiliates are making them money they would not otherwise have made. If a merchant gives an "exclusive" coupon to a certain affiliate who the recognize has made money for them, who has a right to steal that coupon that wasn't given to them?

    Incidentally, is retailmenot not an affiliate?

  4. #79
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    It amazes me how much all of you are badmouthing RetailMeNot as unethical, when it seems as if most all of you are yourselves entirely unethical! You try to get money via affiliate scams for essentially doing nothing! I can tell you, that as a consumer, I constantly fight against people like you trying to earn money off of my sale. I always try to remove any affiliate links, clear any cookies to ensure what I do is not traced to any affiliate, etc.
    You have no idea where you are or who you're talking to or how this industry works. Please feel free to read and educate yourself. Ask a few questions, even. But don't assume you have a clue, because you don't.

  5. #80
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    I don't doubt that you put a lot of time into what you do, and earn your living off of it, but in my view that doesn't make it right. I see it as a drain on society--it increases the prices of all the products we buy. From a philosophical perspective, if we had no affiliate schemes, then companies wouldn't have to pay them, and they could lower their prices, which is better for everyone. Also, those people currently earning their living via affiliate schemes could instead find a job which they really enjoy, which benefits society, thus everyone wins. I'm really digressing here, though, I didn't mean to start a whole discussion about the merits of affiliate programs in general.

    Like I said, I don't know any of the specifics on RetailMeNot. If they are an affiliate also, and somehow stealing other's commissions, then I certainly agree that is unethical. However, in my view the consumer is always the most important person amongst the merchant and affiliate. And we need a place to find the best deals, regardless of which affiliate they come from. That's my #1 goal.

    As a consumer, I find it *extremely* difficult to search for coupons because of the abundance of affiliate sites out there--the vast majority with identical content. Now I don't know if any of you are behind these sites, or whether you would consider them unethical as well, but they make the process very difficult and time-consuming.

    That's why to me, having a completely independent site, free of any affiliate relationships, is important to me. Then, in theory such sites could link to all of your coupons and you'd still get your commission and all would be happy, no? This is what RetailMeNot *should* be doing.

  6. #81
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    If they are an affiliate also, and somehow stealing other's commissions, then I certainly agree that is unethical.
    Exactly. That is what's happening, and is the reason for this thread.

    And yes, they have to be an affiliate in order to get commissions off the coupons that were given for the exclusive use of other affiliates - not them.

  7. #82
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    I would expect such coupon codes to be tied to a specific affiliate, thus no other affiliate could get credit for it. Is that not the case? It seems like a pretty poor design if that is so.

  8. #83
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    You're not wrong that the system could be improved, but does that excuse unauthorized misuse and abuse of coupons exclusive to other affiliates by an affiliate (retailmenot) they weren't issued to?

  9. #84
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edjolanski
    I just need to interject a bit of common sense here. I'm just a regular consumer--not an affiliate--and yes, I just registered today specifically to respond to this thread.
    If you are who you say you are then welcome aboard. You should probably stick around and read other threads and find out who we are, what we do and how we do it. Once you understand what affiliate marketing is all about, then you're opinions may change. Without that knowledge, you're opinions are...well, they're you're opinions and don't really carry much weight.

    If you're just a shill for RetailMeNot, then you've just demonstrated what everyones been saying about their lack of ethics.

    I don't know anything about the secret workings of RetailMeNot, but the idea of the site--at least as it appears--is wonderful. Users submit coupon codes to the site from every possible source, so that they are collected in one site. This way, we the consumers don't have to go around looking at a hundred different sites searching for codes, we can just look in one place.
    You're absolutely right, it is a great convenience to the consumer and there are many coupon sites that provide a great deal of value to their users in an honest and ethical manner. Unfortunately RetailMeNot is not one of them.

    There is nothing unethical about this. If the merchant didn't want their coupon codes to be distributed, then they could use a more advanced coupon system, and issue a unique code to each person that can only work once. It's pretty simple, actually.
    If I understand you correctly, you're saying that if Grandma doesn't close her purse then her wallet is fair game. You have no idea what the merchant intended. RetailMeNot does. They also know that exclusive codes are meant to be exclusive. Frankly I'm not sure why you're having difficulty with the word exclusive. Basically, in this context, it means that it belongs to someone else. But now we're back to grannies purse, it's open, it's OK for you to dip your hand in it. Just because something is readily available doesn't mean that it's fair game. But I will remember to lock my car when you're about.

    It amazes me how much all of you are badmouthing RetailMeNot as unethical, when it seems as if most all of you are yourselves entirely unethical! You try to get money via affiliate scams for essentially doing nothing! I can tell you, that as a consumer, I constantly fight against people like you trying to earn money off of my sale. I always try to remove any affiliate links, clear any cookies to ensure what I do is not traced to any affiliate, etc. I think it's wrong. And it is especially wrong for corporations to track my purchasing habits without my permission. And while most average consumers don't care about such things, I believe that, if properly educated about what was going on, they would feel the same way.
    Again, you speak of something that you obviously know nothing about. We provide legitimate resources to our consumers. Obviously you must think you benefit from what we provide or you wouldn't be visiting our sites. That's the only explanation that I can gather from a need to clear our cookies. So if you think we're scammers, why visit our sites in the first place? Oh, I forgot. You like to get something for nothing. You don't care about the hard work of others as long as you find a way to benefit from it.

    I realise we are not going to agree on this issue, but I just want you guys to take a step back and realise that this is a complicated issue, there are many ways of looking at it, and you should not be so quick to judge RetailMeNot without looking at what you yourselves are doing.
    And obviously you don't have the amount of knowledge about what we do to accurately judge our business model. You're right in one respect though, there are unethical affiliates. For some reason you decided to come to our forum and post about one of them. I can take a look at my business model and feel good that I provide value to my consumers in an ethical manner. It's great to know that I will never have to visit a forum and post a BS justification for my actions while posing as a consumer.

    -rematt
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  10. #85
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edjolanski
    I don't doubt that you put a lot of time into what you do, and earn your living off of it, but in my view that doesn't make it right. I see it as a drain on society--it increases the prices of all the products we buy. From a philosophical perspective, if we had no affiliate schemes, then companies wouldn't have to pay them, and they could lower their prices, which is better for everyone. Also, those people currently earning their living via affiliate schemes could instead find a job which they really enjoy, which benefits society, thus everyone wins. I'm really digressing here, though, I didn't mean to start a whole discussion about the merits of affiliate programs in general.
    I hate to be rude, but get off your f&^%$*g high horse. If we eliminated all of the retail stores and bought directly from wholesalers then we also could save money. WTF, let's eliminate the wholesalers and just buy from the manufacturer. What we do is no more a "scheme" then any other legitimate sales operation. We add value to the merchants that we promote and to the consumers that visit our sites for reviews, product comparisons, information and YES, COUPONS.


    Like I said, I don't know any of the specifics on RetailMeNot. If they are an affiliate also, and somehow stealing other's commissions, then I certainly agree that is unethical. However, in my view the consumer is always the most important person amongst the merchant and affiliate. And we need a place to find the best deals, regardless of which affiliate they come from. That's my #1 goal.
    It appears that actual knowledge is not a prerequisite for you spewing crap. You want the best deals, you want the deals that we can provide, you want to benefit from our hard work, you just don't want us to be compensated for it. Seems reasonable.

    As a consumer, I find it *extremely* difficult to search for coupons because of the abundance of affiliate sites out there--the vast majority with identical content. Now I don't know if any of you are behind these sites, or whether you would consider them unethical as well, but they make the process very difficult and time-consuming.

    That's why to me, having a completely independent site, free of any affiliate relationships, is important to me. Then, in theory such sites could link to all of your coupons and you'd still get your commission and all would be happy, no? This is what RetailMeNot *should* be doing.
    Then go directly to the merchant that you want to buy from. Where do you think you're finding the coupons? They are affiliate sites. The same ones that you don't want to do business with. The same ones that you consider scammers. Apparently your moral indignation doesn't extend to your pocket book.

    Why don't you go hug a tree or save a whale and leave us the f&%k alone.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  11. #86
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    They are an affiliate of SAS?
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  12. #87
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edjolanski
    I just need to interject a bit of common sense here.
    Your drain on society and raising prices stance might be a good place to start.

    Merchants themselves freely decide to enter into at-will affiliate programs to lower their unit selling costs. As long as your stance includes a huge blind spot with regard to the obvious truth of that, it's senseless to discuss these issues with you.

    Welcome to ABW.

  13. #88
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Edjolanski, you are missing the most important element that makes affiliate marketing an extremely attractive way for merchants to promote themselves. It is one of the only models that comes with an absolute fixed cost. The merchant pays nothing until a sale is made and then pays a fixed percentage that they have determined is economically sensible. With most other marketing/advertising there is no guarantee of success.

    There are not many ways to get extraordinary exposure with fixed costs directly proportionate to revenue.
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die
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  14. #89
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edjolanski
    I just need to interject a bit of common sense here. I'm just a regular consumer--not an affiliate--and yes, I just registered today specifically to respond to this thread.
    Kind of sounds like you're familiar with this place.

    First you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by edjolanski
    I don't know anything about the secret workings of RetailMeNot, but the idea of the site--at least as it appears--is wonderful. Users submit coupon codes to the site from every possible source, so that they are collected in one site. This way, we the consumers don't have to go around looking at a hundred different sites searching for codes, we can just look in one place.
    Then...
    Quote Originally Posted by edjolanski
    It amazes me how much all of you are badmouthing RetailMeNot as unethical, when it seems as if most all of you are yourselves entirely unethical! You try to get money via affiliate scams for essentially doing nothing! I can tell you, that as a consumer, I constantly fight against people like you trying to earn money off of my sale. I always try to remove any affiliate links, clear any cookies to ensure what I do is not traced to any affiliate, etc. I think it's wrong. And it is especially wrong for corporations to track my purchasing habits without my permission. And while most average consumers don't care about such things, I believe that, if properly educated about what was going on, they would feel the same way.
    So is a coupon site "wonderful" or a scam? You claim scam but you use them. If they're a scam, how can they be wonderful and why would you use such sites? You are also willing to take advantage of someone else's work and yet are unwilling to let that person get paid.

    As an affiliate manager, I've yet to have or hear any merchant raise their prices because of the affiliate program. They are willing to make a little less on the sale since it's a sale that is handed over to them. So you pay the same either way. You like to get paid for your work but have a problem with others getting paid for their work, and whose services you use.

    Quote Originally Posted by edjolanski
    you should not be so quick to judge RetailMeNot without looking at what you yourselves are doing.
    Yet you are so quick to judge affiliates and you state they are a scam so RMN is a scam too, in your opinion. Before you try to "educate" the public, it sounds like you need to educate yourself first. And, no, I don't think you're Joe Consumer either.
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  15. #90
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rice
    Before you try to "educate" the public, it sounds like you need to educate yourself first.
    Good news here, he says he's eager to learn.

    s*ingerzone.com/members/REG/MN/MN-3235.txt
    Last edited by Haiko de Poel, Jr.; December 11th, 2007 at 11:35 AM. Reason: Nice find, but it's clearly a privacy issue so I have to edit.

  16. #91
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  17. #92
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Good gosh Donuts. Where'd you come up with that?
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  18. #93
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Good news here, he says he's eager to learn.

    s*ingerzone.com/members/REG/MN/MN-3235.txt
    LMAO! That's priceless
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  19. #94
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Good news here, he says he's eager to learn.

    s*ingerzone.com/members/REG/MN/MN-3235.txt
    He should have stuck with that instead of coming here to j@*k off.

    -rematt
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  20. #95
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    Now THAT made me 'lol'.

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  21. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Good news here, he says he's eager to learn.

    s*ingerzone.com/members/REG/MN/MN-3235.txt
    LOL - great find, Donuts

  22. #97
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Good news here, he says he's eager to learn.

  23. #98
    Affiliate Manager Sharon Page's Avatar
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    Unethical Affiliates
    Hey edjolanski

    I would have to say that Retailmenot are not a great example for you trying to explain ethics. I banned them a while ago becasue they were using exclusive coupons. Then I find out they are still posting coupons and now I have passed it to our legal team.

    What does it mean, it means it costs us money to make them obey the rules, it takes up my time to deal with it and away from taking care of other things and affiliates who obey the rules. If Retailmenot do not care about scrapping other affiliate sites what are they doing to the consumer, I would be worried about that.

    If you really want to learn about ethical practices then welcome to ABW it's a great place to learn.

    Thanks,

    Sharon
    Sharon Page - MGECOM.COM
    Affiliate Manager

  24. #99
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Something tells me we won't be hearing from edjolanski again. Probably just as well, he was waaay too easy.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  25. #100
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    edjolanski, by the way, your linked exploits have nothing at all to do with anything relevant here, i was mimicking you to make a point. If they want to build a site to catalog codes to help shoppers, they are free to do so - the argument begins when RMN chose to execute an agreement to partner with that merchant. That partnership is not being honored as soon as the affiliate violates the merchants terms or when the affiliate moves to leverage the value of the merchants name in a manner clearly not in the merchant's interests.

    So we can blather on about how great it is for the shoppers to know every code, but it's irrelevant to the whole point of everything you've said - because he's an affiliate. Further, because this affiliate does monetize his site through similar relationships with many other merchants, he should realize the incompatibility between his actions and the desires of the merchants who pay him.

    Since you are so pro-Open Source and collective good, why don't you suggest he continue on doing as he pleases, but without any affiliate relationships in place?

    Blatant disregard for the merchants who pay him is also not at all aligned with your dreams of free stuff for people working in a communal fashion to better the common good - he's an affiliate, and he needs to behave like one or merchants will make judgments about his value.

    When you finally open your eyes, you'll see he's got you bent over, not us. He's a bad-acting marketer, not the do-gooder you make him out to be.

    If you are indeed eager to learn, go ask him to drop all those "nasty" affiliate links and to start serving the collective good and see what he says...

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