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  1. #201
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    To my knowledge there is no standard policy on the use of coupons. Point me to one if there is.
    Chuck, as far as I know the policies on posting coupons is up to each individual merchant and if you currently have no coupon policies in place than this is a moot point.

    I can certainly understand that all possible scenarios couldn't conceivably be anticipated but that being said, it is our understanding that once a policy is in place that it will be enforced fairly across the board. Not insinuating that you are handling this is any other way, it just seems that an awful lot of leeway is being extended to an affiliate that has blatantly posted unauthorized coupons against the terms of several different merchants.

    I understand that they're excuse/reasoning is that the coupons are posted by users and not by themselves, I'm just curious as to when the point in time occurred that we are no longer responsible for the content on our web sites.

    -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

  2. #202
    Newbie HazelB's Avatar
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    I think that the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the room needs to be acknowledged.

    Quote Originally Posted by ABC News
    Since the Web site's inception in November 2006, they have seen traffic grow from 2,000 users a day to more than 130,000
    130,000 targeted visitors looking for coupon codes per day.

  3. #203
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HazelB
    I think that the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the room needs to be acknowledged.

    130,000 targeted visitors looking for coupon codes per day.
    Seems like a gorilla we'd all be willing to accept as family.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  4. #204
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HazelB
    I think that the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the room needs to be acknowledged.

    130,000 targeted visitors looking for coupon codes per day.
    Good point. I'd certainly be willing to allow for a different set of rules for that kind of traffic.

    -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

  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by HazelB
    I think that the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the room needs to be acknowledged.

    130,000 targeted visitors looking for coupon codes per day.
    Right, so if the merchant doesn't have them in their program, they don't have to pay them commissions so take all that nice traffic. I'm talking about merchants who have specific rules on which coupons affiliates can use and if those affiliates can't follow them, then just deactivate them. If not you're basically opening it up to all coupon sites being able to do that. Like I said, just have an open policy then and then things like this won't be an issue.

    "I'd certainly be willing to allow for a different set of rules for that kind of traffic."

    As far as that there are a lot of coupon sites that have forms where visitors can send in coupons. I don't see much difference. Just coupons are being put on the site that visitors have submitted. I don't have a problem with an open policy, some merchants have this. Just make it clear.

    And say if you decide you're going to have one set of rules for sites like this and then another for other coupon sites. That will encourage more of these sites and I don't think merchants, who hire affiliate managers, want every coupon out there like that. Some are meant for specific channels. But like I said, there are some coupons out there that I would love to post, some better than the ones available thru the affiliate channel but I don't want to get the boot if it's against that merchants terms.

  6. #206
    Affiliate Manager guinness618's Avatar
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    I think it comes down to the fact that RMN steals from other affiliates by posting coupons, whether or not they are affiliated with the brands they are offering. Yes, as merchants it works out well for us, but honestly, I would rather pay commission to an honest affiliate than one who steals from others. I asked our pal Bevan to remove all of my brands from his site and instead, he posted every coupon he could find, including an employee only code.

  7. #207
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Trust, I have no coupon affiliate policy and am working on creating one. RMN is not violating any existing policy with me or the network.

    Point me to the ones you are referring to so I can see what others are doing.

  8. #208
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guinness618
    I asked our pal Bevan to remove all of my brands from his site and instead, he posted every coupon he could find, including an employee only code.
    Doesn't sound to me like he's very professional or logical. You say no and to spite you he's gong to post even more coupons that he won't get paid on. So take that you big meanie.

    -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

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Trust, I have no coupon affiliate policy and am working on creating one. RMN is not violating any existing policy with me or the network.

    Point me to the ones you are referring to so I can see what others are doing.
    That's different with each merchant.

    Some will say only post coupons available for affliate use or found in the interface.

    Some don't have a problem with affiliates posting whatever coupon they find.

    There have been times where I didn't see a coupon in the interface and I asked the merchant if they had any for affiliate use, they said sign up the consumer newsletter on the merchant site and use those.

    So it's whatever you decide it to be.

  10. #210
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    And what did Evan have to say when you spoke to him about this? If you kicked him out of your program then you have no direct connection to him.

    Point being, how can you protect other affiliates if you cut your ties with an affiliate like RMN? That is how this whole conversation started a year ago. I am giving all parties the benefit of the doubt including the networks, RMN and the other effected affiliates.

  11. #211
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I am not defending RMN but his direct comment to me was that they are a community site and the coupons are posted by consumers. With the exception of the coupon codes that are given to them by merchants.

  12. #212
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    I am not defending RMN but his direct comment to me was that they are a community site and the coupons are posted by consumers. With the exception of the coupon codes that are given to them by merchants.
    Being a community site has absolutely no relevance. If for instance a poster on a community site posted hateful bigoted rhetoric would that be ignored by the networks or merchants? Regardless of who posts on a site, it is the webmaster that is responsible for the content, period. Being a community site is not a reason, it's not an excuse it is a smokescreen.

    The fact that the site owners retaliate against merchants that ask them to remove their coupons should tell you all that you need to know about their integrity and professionalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Point being, how can you protect other affiliates if you cut your ties with an affiliate like RMN? That is how this whole conversation started a year ago. I am giving all parties the benefit of the doubt including the networks, RMN and the other effected affiliates.
    If enough merchants take a stand, then you have effectively cut off their income. There is absolutely no reason for them to continue these practices if there is no financial gain.

    -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

  13. #213
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    I'm just curious as to when the point in time occurred that we are no longer responsible for the content on our web sites.
    1998 when the DMCA was passed into law.

    DMCA Title II, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act ("OCILLA") creates a safe harbor for online service providers (OSPs, including ISPs) against copyright liability if they adhere to and qualify for certain prescribed safe harbor guidelines and promptly block access to allegedly infringing material (or remove such material from their systems) if they receive a notification claiming infringement from a copyright holder or the copyright holder's agent.
    It protects webmasters of community websites from its users posting copyrighted content without the webmaster's knowledge. Of course coupons aren't copyrighted so this is a moot point.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  14. #214
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Point being, how can you protect other affiliates if you cut your ties with an affiliate like RMN? That is how this whole conversation started a year ago. I am giving all parties the benefit of the doubt including the networks, RMN and the other effected affiliates.
    So you are saying you feel pressured to work with them because it is the only way to police them? Is that the kind of relationship you want, where you have to work with them to protect other affiliates?

  15. #215
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Connie, I am listening to all effected parties including competing affiliates and working toward a solution. My intended outcome is to get a better understanding into the whole situation so I can then create a consistent policy.

    I am trying to be transparent and public about what I am doing since I took a stance. In December I sent comments to the top networks which have ensued many conversations.

  16. #216
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    1998 when the DMCA was passed into law.

    It protects webmasters of community websites from its users posting copyrighted content without the webmaster's knowledge. Of course coupons aren't copyrighted so this is a moot point.

    - Scott
    I'm not sure that they would be protected in this case if coupons were copyrighted material since they actually encourage users to post them. I don't believe that you can be party to an infraction and then claim protection from the infraction.

    Regardless though, this discussion IMO is more about ethical behavior than legal liability.

    -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

  17. #217
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    "In December I sent comments to the top networks which have ensued many conversations."

    "I spoke with 3 networks to get their opinions on the legitimacy of this affiliate."

    It's like I said earlier, that alone surprises me after how long you've been here. Really what do you expect them to say? You very well know, they would tell you all the adware is just fine too. It's very simple, they make money on all of these kind of things. I'm not sure why they're even being asked, it's your program.

  18. #218
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Trust, I also have to answer to some of my merchants who want to know why a coupon affiliate has declined in sales. These come across in a gap analysis. My response is that I will investigate further. I can not test if I isolate and there are also others like RMN. This goes deeper than the one affiliate. At the same time I am working to find the right balance with couponers. Thanks for the input.

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Trust, I have no coupon affiliate policy and am working on creating one. RMN is not violating any existing policy with me or the network.
    So I am curious then... which one caused you to act here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    Since couponers are a big segment of my programs I have removed RetailMeNot from all 15 programs and have them on an auto decline list.
    and here

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    I was cleaning up the Register.com program and found RetailMeNot has posted multple exclusive coupon codes. I am removing them from the program and will discuss this with LinkShare on our weekly call.

    Haiko I am requesting the RetailMeNot have a subforum here and we treat them as a parasite. I intend to go after them on all top networks.
    Is it fair to say you booted an affiliate haphazardly without any policy infraction to cause them being booted? Because that is pretty bad that you are kicking affiliates willy nilly without them breaking any policy.

    Chet

  20. #220
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    (without reading back through all of the pages)...

    Any "community site" can make it LOOK like the general public is posting coupon codes, when indeed it is from internal user accounts. Unless you have the IPs of the coupon code posters, how do you know who is doing the posting? And even then with proxy protection who knows anyhow? Things aren't always as they appear.

    -sfcom


  21. #221
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    It looks like some merchants have successfully stopped RMN from posting ANY of their coupon codes (whether or not they have an affiliate relationship in place).

    For an example of a merchant with no affiliate relationship, look up Frontgate.com on the RMN site and you will see this message:

    User Submissions Blocked
    Sorry for the inconvenience but this merchant has specifically requested to have all user contributed coupons removed from the RetailMeNot system.

    For an example of a merchant that does have a partnership in place with RMN, look up LandsEnd.com. You will see the current links from Lands End that are available to affiliates, and then you will see that same message about "User Submissions Blocked." (Although when I looked at that page, I see that they posted an unauthorized free shipping code as a "featured discount.")

    I'm not sure how these merchants achieved it, but they did have RMN remove unauthorized codes and block users from adding new ones. I hope that more merchants follow suit - especially those that have strict coupon policies in place.

  22. #222
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Gr_Sacc
    I'm not sure how these merchants achieved it, but they did have RMN remove unauthorized codes and block users from adding new ones
    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyman
    Maybe they asked?
    Quote Originally Posted by guinness618
    I asked our pal Bevan to remove all of my brands from his site and instead, he posted every coupon he could find, including an employee only code.
    Apparently asking doesn't always work.

    -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

  23. #223
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    I'm curious to know what does work...

    For a merchant that does not have a partnership in place, maybe they threaten legal action.

    For a merchant that does have a partnership in place, maybe they threaten to boot them from their program if they don't conform to their policies. If they have a strict 'no unauthorized coupon' policy in place, user submissions should not be allowed - PERIOD!

  24. #224
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    And CJ gave them Publisher Of The Year at CJU - Stateless Systems and you can check out that site for their sites.

  25. #225
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Trust, I can't find that info anywhere on CJ's site.

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