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  1. #1
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    First of all, I want to say a big "THANKS!" for the previous posts and warnings about Morpheus/BuyersPort/WURLD Media. They joined our program during a period when we allowed automatic signups through CJ and when we had no idea what "parasiteware" was really all about. We have deservedly dumped them from our program (give it another 3 days to take effect through CJ's 7 day grace period).

    Seriously, thanks to those who contacted us last week to let us know what they're really all about. If there are any other parasitware companies that we should know about, please contact me ASAP at partners@bath-and-body.com.

    That said, I'd like to share the following e-mail we received from WURLD Media. These guys aren't going to just go away without some serious action. I'd be happy to script a very compelling message to merchants from the merchant point of view if anyone would like to step forward and distribute it to merchants that have BuyersPort as one of their marketing partners. If not, send us a list and we'll do it ourselves - it might even carry a little more weight that way. (I'm MAD about this! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img] )

    Anyway, the e-mail from Morpheus is presented in its entirety below.

    Ken Greenlee
    President
    Bath-and-Body.com

    P.S. Sadly, Joanne is no longer with us.
    ---

    Important Message To Our Merchant Partners - We Are Looking For Your Help

    Dear Retail Partner,

    Here's the latest in WURLD news…the BuyersPort Shopping Community has become one of the fastest growing ecommerce sites on the Web, serving millions of customers in 140 countries with two additional distribution partners promising 25 million new members to the shopping community in the beginning of next year. Due to the reach of BuyersPort's customer base, we are happy to announce, that our board has approved a significant capital investment and development of a division to be dedicated to our retail community.

    WURLD Media is designing the largest real-time customer management system for participating retailers on the Internet, the BuyersPort Retail Resource Center. The center will contain comprehensive consumer information, analysis of purchasing habits, and demographics for the entire BuyersPort Network. We are committed to provide the most valuable e-commerce platform for our merchant partners and are working to supply you with valuable information to assist you in deploying successful e-commerce initiatives and building valuable customers. Completion of the Resource Center is scheduled for the 1st quarter 2003 and we encourage any input from the merchant community during the development process.

    One of the provided links on the left displays a sample of our consumer rewards page that is scheduled for release in November. Shopping members will be able to view the rewards incentives they have earned with their online purchases and our retail partners will be prominently displayed, offering additional loyalty and goodwill between you, the retailer, and the BuyersPort Shopping Community. Again, we encourage your participation in the development of your Resource Center.

    Sincerely,

    Stephen Kerber
    Affiliate Department Manager
    WURLD media, inc.™
    Tel: 518.691.1100
    Fax: 518.691.1190
    www.wurldmedia.com

  2. #2
    15 years and counting
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    Ken, thanks for sharing this information with us.
    It was a well planned campaign, not just a bug.

    It's not the big that eat the small... it's the fast that eat the slow. Jennings & Haughton

  3. #3
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Ken,

    Hi and Welcome to ABW!

    I posted that email in the Wurldmedia forum conatained in the ParasiteWare(TM) subsection ( http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...1&m=5086070321 ) it is damage control for them [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]

    We are working on an industry standards meeting please see http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...9&m=1626044321

    and you also have access to the Affiliate Manager's forum ( http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?q=Y&s=...m&cf=315609789 )

    Things will change!

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli
    </font></p>

  4. #4
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    Thanks Ken,

    I just signed up look forward to promoting your products.

    I saw you mention a merchant forum. I'd love to hear that information from merchants like Ken and our other good folks here have a place in there and that all the merchants on the list were invited to join and participate.

    A merchant forum on this topic could serve as a valuable resource for merchants who have questions and as Ken said, carry much more clout than 5 or so angry affiliates (LOL - sorry couldn't resist) emailing them.

    I sure hope the government doesn't look at the Enron, Worldcom, Tyco and other fiasco's going about as an opportunity to discipline merchants by allowing their customers to specify if profits on sales would go to the government to fight crime and the customer get a rebate or let the company keep it.

    We all know how long they would stay in business now don't we.

  5. #5
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    happypoon,

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>A merchant forum on this topic could serve as a valuable resource for merchants who have questions <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Once I see a registration that is for an AM I auto approve them into the Affiliate Managers only forum, and we have a teleconferancing bridge for up 100 also (which we have use) ... ABW is about real communication for all parties involved.

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli
    </font></p>

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Thanks Ken for showing us all that Wurld Media/Morpheus had a reason for planting spyware alongside their adware backdoor virus. They wanted to map out shoppers buying habits to use as a recruiting tool for more merchants. Morpheus obviously knew they could never co-exist for long on the networks merchant pool once the normal affiliates found out they were hijacking their traffic. They plan on setting up an independent competing network of willing merchants, leveraging their captive group of shoppers, and run it any way they want.

    They just hoped for more time to get it all in place. They knew all along they'd never abide by regular affiliate restrictive rules and hoped the big 3 networks would stay fragmented on the issues due to savoring their cuts. Now is the time for the networks to stand up and make a set policy that all commissionable sales come from an affiliates actual domain or recognized domain opt-in e-mailing...period.

    WebMaster Mike

  7. #7
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Hi Ken! Welcome and thanks for sharing that email.

    The tracking of users web habits and shopping patterns in order to leverage deals with the networks and/or merchants isn't new for Wurld Media. The current version of Morpheus has the tracking features has opt in's during the install. Whether or not it actually doesn't install I have no clue. There's 2 different things there you can opt out of. I forget how it is all worded exaclty, but the spin of it is: leave the boxes checked and we will track what you are doing in order to make the Internet a safer place and help to you to keep from getting bombarded with unwanted ads. Totally misleading the most computer users and I find laughable, if it wasn't such a serious matter.

    Here's a very interesting article from the past regarding Wurld Media and StreamCast's past spying in order to establish shopping trends http://news.com.com/2100-1023-864086.html

    It's very enlightening when looking at what all is going on and being talked about now. Notice the reference to BF. I don't know how anyone can think after reading this blast from the recent past that the programming in the shopping community program with the encroachment on other affiliate's links was an "oops we didn't realize." This has all been very well thought out.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    BLFH I have always sought out your posts and feel you have a honest grasp on the issues discussed here. You should contact Haiko about entry into the private affiliate section when you reach 400 posts. I for one would vote for you. We have no secret adjenda's there but some of the affiliate concerns are discussed out of the watchful eyes of lurkers at ABW.

    WebMaster Mike

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that email here, Ken. I'm ready to sign up since I'm about to drop the best merchant on my Beauty page due to no response to my emails.

    Ernie

    It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Mike,

    Thanks for the kind words. I can certainly understand the need to private forum (I know not everyone agrees [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] ) and the need to be careful about inclusion from things that have happened in the past. But then again, that would give me yet another forum to keep up with. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    I'm glad Ken posted the email. I had read that article a long time ago, but didn't bookmark it. His post made me go back and find it.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Your welcomed ..I mean it. Besides you type much better than me and I'm thinking, after 2600 posts, to take the 12 step ABW withdrawl program.

    WebMaster Mike

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
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    I'd like to point out to those who moan about merchants who don't auto approve at cj, that one of the dangers of auto-approval is ending up with a parasite for an affiliate without even knowing it.

    Ken has been extremely helpful over the year I've worked with bath-and-body, and I'm very, very proud to have expanded my marketing of the company's products.

    - - - - -
    42. Yup, the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

  13. #13
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> one of the dangers of auto-approval is ending up with a parasite for an affiliate without even knowing it. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    All the bastards need to do is set up a dummy site, get approved, then add another site to their account without the merchant knowing a thing about it. Or just use the PID wherever they feel like it. If Morpheus was not doing this already, then why the multiple PID's they already have in use? Get dumped by a merchant? Aw, shucks, now we gotta switch over to another PID again. A whole five minutes worth of revenue will be lost.

    "I got a million of 'em" ~ Morpheus.

    AS SEEN ON SE!!!

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
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    You're right, Deelz. Sigh. I think I'm getting dizzy again.

    - - - - -
    42. Yup, the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    This is why we need to be vigilant and keep track of their activities and their merchant partners. Get the word out on the merchants working with them and their affiliates should take it from there by contacting the merchants.

    Being new to this forum, I just discovered one of my merchants is using Gator. I emailed them Friday and will give them one week to reply. After that, I will drop them and tell them why. Keep it up all.

  16. #16
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Notice how the Irate noise has been replaced by some serious sleuthing. Hell lurkers are coming out of the woodwork and some are even listening to me or reading my old posts and those from the vocal group here.Some more media coverage and maybe GWB will label ecommerce Parasites as terrorists.

    WebMaster Mike

  17. #17
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    Deelz wrote:

    "All the bastards need to do is set up a dummy site, get approved, then add another site to their account without the merchant knowing a thing about it. "

    Well, this is why the networks MUST get involved. Their systems all have vulnerabilities that prevent merchants who want to be parasite-free from being so.

    At the VERY least, they must offer tools that give merchants the ability to reliably purge all parasiteware affiliates from their accounts, if they wish to do so.

    But IMHO, JUST doing that is a still a spineless way to go about things.

  18. #18
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    As an Anti-parasite-paranoid Merchant I have to say I am enraged by all of this. It's time consuming enough to try to manually approve GOOD affiliates while trying to filter out adult or other objectionable content. To try to outwit and 2nd guess all this parasite stuff is unreasonable.

    Merchants must have help from the networks to filter out or identify this scum.

    Deelz wrote:

    "All the bastards need to do is set up a dummy site, get approved, then add another site to their account without the merchant knowing a thing about it. "
    -----------------------------------
    Here are some other ways AM's could innadvertantly approve a parasite.
    -----------------------------------

    1) Some legit affiliates sign up who have 20 or more web sites. I assume most AMs like me spot check a couple. It would be impossible to check every site. There could be a parasite hiding in the middle.

    2) What Deelz said above

    3) I signed up 1,000 affiliates that looked legit BEFORE I found ABW and spent hours trying to research this parasite thing. How do I know I don't already have a theif in the group?

    4) Sites that are down - I spend a ton of time trying to approve sites that are down or where the affiliate did not enter their URL correctly. I put these on hold til I can check the site. But I'm sure a lot of AM's approve sight unseen if it sounds like a legit URL."familsavings.com" sounds safe - but could be a parasite front.

    5) Pop-ups - I get stuck on affiliate sites all the time that have too many pop-ups, try to trap me into staying on their site,etc. They always make me nervous. But how do I know if it's an agressive affiliate trying too hard to make some $$ or someone who's trying to give me a virus or trying to download scumware on my system.
    I don't have time to be a fulltime detective.

    6) Incentives - CJ warns us about incentives so that does throw up a caution. But most incentives I find APPEAR to be legit... 25 cents to charity or shopper rewards programs. What if they are new version of scum? How do you know unless you spend a ton of time trying to analyze.

    7) As we speak there are probably 10 new scumware schemes being invented. Some just reinvented by the same scumlords coming up with new names. Some brand new that we have not even discovered yet.

    As both an affiliate and a Merchant I see this awesome WIN-WIN business model we are all involved with being in serious danger. I feel this scumware issue is bigger than each of us and although there are a lot of dedicated and focused individuals here trying to fight it - I think the networks need to be held responsible for protecting both the merchants and the affiliates.

    I'll copy this thread for Todd at the CJ forum.
    Haiko, may be you should post it also at the Merchant & AM forums. (I don't want to be accused of crossposting.) But I really don't feel most AM's are aware of some of these issues when they are busy trying to get legit affiliates approved.

    I hope the networks will become active in helping us find a solution.

    Linda
    Ecommerce & Affiliate Manager
    ProSound and Stage Lighting
    www.pssl.com
    Email & Search Engine Marketing
    www.catalystEmarketing.com

  19. #19
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Linda,

    You are right about how time consuming it can be. A couple of things you can do to "screen" for potential parasites.

    When you hit a site for review that is an incent site than take a closer look around. Look to see if they promote some type of "applet" or "reminder service" to their users so they get their rewards. If you see this, then that should be a red flag for possible parasite activity. And don't be fooled by sites that donate proceeds to charity. I have seen charity sites that utilize Top Moxie as their "reminder service." Unfortunately, I've also been noticing sites that bury the availability of such applications on their site. Check their privacy policy page, if they are running something or the sort, many times you will see a reference to it there. Also I recently came upon a site that that you had to join before you saw mention of the application. If you see a reward site that you have to log in to see all the content, then it may be worth the time to register and have a closer look at what may be really going on.

    Also check your stats for affiliate performance. Visit the referring URL's for your top performers and check for your links on the pages. Also when you see a high ratio of clicks with little or now impressions then that always warrants further investigation of fraud. It may be that the affiliate just didnt use the 1 x 1 pixel tracking or it's traffic from email list. But you have every right to question the affilaite and have them validate where the traffic is coming from. This is also a good way to catch affiliates who are spamming. Also take a closer look at affiliates who have a big jump in their sales or traffic they are sending you. This can also indicate something fishy maybe going on. Maybe not, they just may have suddenly hit upon an effective marketing strategy, but it warrants taking a closer look.

    It is all very time consuming though.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  20. #20
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    Thanks BLFH,

    Great tips, that's what I was looking for. It's still very overwhelming though. Sure would be nice if the web was filled with honest people just trying to make an honest living.

    I guess I need to turn my rose colored glasses in for a set of sunglasses and start acting more like a detective. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

    Linda
    Ecommerce & Affiliate Manager
    ProSound and Stage Lighting
    www.pssl.com
    Email & Search Engine Marketing
    www.catalystEmarketing.com

  21. #21
    Member mayatime's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Linda - ProSound:


    Sure would be nice if the web was filled with honest people just trying to make an honest living.

    I guess I need to turn my rose colored glasses in for a set of sunglasses and start acting more like a detective. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Ditto Linda
    It really is too bad.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Linda - ProSound:
    Thanks BLFH,

    Great tips, that's what I was looking for. It's still very overwhelming though. Sure would be nice if the web was filled with honest people just trying to make an honest living.

    I guess I need to turn my rose colored glasses in for a set of sunglasses and start acting more like a detective. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Same here Linda,

    We just want to work and make an honest dollar.

    I have a small story to tell.

    Imagine that you have live with this situation in your own home.

    Ten years you have been taken advantage and tried everything to reason your self and makes all kinds of reasonable excuses to make some kind a sense to what is going on. Even you know it's wrong and you have given all the chance you can give to make it right!

    And still nothing happen! You are promised that it will change. "Give me ten thousand more chance"

    And you have given all the chance you can give, (because you were ask to give a chance)
    until one day you realize that you have wasted all that time and nothing change! What would you do?

    How much can a person take for this kind of Abuse?


    very very sad!

    And I can say I am glad that this board exist and I see alot of people doing something to make a difference.


    my two cents!

    Love Life to the fullest. we only get ONE chance! :-)

  23. #23
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    I really don't see how it is possible to catch all the parasites in the initial review. It seems to me that the best way to catch them is in a mid stream review.

    REVIEW THE SITES WITH A LOT OF TRAFFIC, SALES, ETC.. Don't just call them 'dupers, and roll over like BeFree does. Be suspicious of your top performers. Make sure the traffic coming through them looks legit. If SisterAnnsHomeForWaywardChildren.com has a ton of rap music sales, well, something might be amiss. This might be a parasite site run by the wayward children--not a charity by Sister Ann.

    I really don't think it is possible to find the parasites in the initial check. Small parasites that fetch $5 a month aren't really much of a threat. The 'dupers are the problem, and they make themselves known quite loudly.

    If I were an AM, I would make midstream reviews the main focus of my strategy.

    BTW: Does CJ give you information on which programs might be dupers, porn sites in hiding and the like? Or is it entirely your burden?

    Missoula - Short Stories

  24. #24
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Linda - 5starAffiliatePrograms's Avatar
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    Yintercept,

    "If I were an AM, I would make midstream reviews the main focus of my strategy."

    I have started doing this and through HOURS of research think I have found a "duper". Emailed CJ re: potential fraud, rejected the scoundrel,
    sent him an email saying I suspected him of fraud and to please provide info on how he was making all those sales.

    His site has been down for weeks, the affiliate link he reports using is bogus. One of our own employees made a test sale internally and he got credit for the sale. We can't figure out how he's doing it and he has not responded to emails from me or CJ re the supected fraud. So in my book he must be guilty. But it was all VERY time consuming.

    "BTW: Does CJ give you information on which programs might be dupers, porn sites in hiding and the like? Or is it entirely your burden?"

    It is entirely up to the AM to do endless research and diligence to try to only approve the honest affiliates. The only thing CJ warns us of is affiliates that offer incentives. Some of those look legit and some make me suspicious.

    Lately I'm getting a lot of affiliates trying to sign up who look like "pay to surf" and "shopper rewards programs" and exit traffic and various other types of search engines. They all make me suspicious but how can I know if they are honest affiliates using new creative marketing methods or dupers?

    I apologize if I accidentally decline anyone from this board who is legit, but I am having to use my best judgement and decline everyone who looks suspicious or else I risk my reputation if I inadvertantly sign up a duper.

    Sad [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

    Linda
    Ecommerce & Affiliate Manager
    ProSound and Stage Lighting
    www.pssl.com
    Email & Search Engine Marketing
    www.catalystEmarketing.com

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