This is from another thread. Chris from Mondera posted this: From a Bcentral Newsletter.

> From: Edwin Hayward
> Subject: StealWare
> > This is what I sent to and
> > The only action I can think of is to
> > contact all of your merchants and... suggest
> > they run their own associate tracking software...
> - Ian Hewitt, Daily 1430
> While Ian Hewitt's intentions are good, what he may not realise is
> that the affiliate networks are VERY aware of the "StealWare" issue
> and are fighting a strong battle to preserve the status quo. There
> have been many hundreds of posts on the matter to the ABW forums at
> [cut & paste this link] (I'm not affiliated
> with the site - I just post there a lot!)
> Fundamentally, the affiliate networks are a big WINNER in the
> StealWare scenario, since they make commissions on formerly
> "uncommissionable" sales, as well of course as continuing to make
> commissions on regular affiliate sales since the StealWare
> companies are also affiliates, and therefore CJ, BeFree, Linkshare
> and Performics make their commission on the latter sales regardless
> of whether they are credited to the "correct" party or to a
> StealWare company.
> The real dirtiness of the game being played out comes when you look
> at the behaviour of many of these StealWare programs a little more
> closely (note that StealWare is definitely not limited to file
> sharing software -- although it is often bundled *with* this type
> of software -- for example, Gator is StealWare).
> Many StealWare packages don't just overwrite or otherwise hijack
> *affiliate* links -- they also intercept traffic flowing directly
> to a merchant. For example, if a person types
> into the location field of the web browser, or searches for "used
> books" and clicks on Merchant A's link, or indeed browses on Yahoo!
> and sees a banner ad run by Merchant A and clicks on it.
> Under normal circumstances all this direct traffic is, naturally
> enough, uncommissionable. In other words, it comes about as the
> direct result of the promotional and branding efforts (and
> marketing $) expended by Merchant A.
> So where does StealWare enter the picture? On the merchant site
> itself! Some StealWare packages pop up coupons or other
> distractions once a visitor arrives at a merchant site that the
> StealWare company is affiliated with, even if the visitor came
> there *directly* as outlined above.
> What happens is that the visitor then is induced to click on the
> "distraction" and is sent back to the merchant, either directly or
> via an intermediary page. Suddenly, that merchant finds itself
> having to pay a commission to the StealWare company on traffic that
> THE MERCHANT brought to its own site!
> And guess who gets 20-30% of ALL commissions, regardless of their
> origin? The AFFILIATE NETWORKS, of course!
> The key to cracking this problem is not to expect the ANs to fight
> on behalf of the merchants and affiliates -- their recent actions
> have shown that they're working on behalf of the greater Profit
> god. Instead, you need to work to *inform and educate* the
> merchants you work with most regularly, since the vast majority
> have never heard of StealWare (also called Parasiteware or Scumware
> btw) or have any inkling that they are essentially having money
> stolen from their own pockets.
> Indeed, until they are enlightened to this shocking state of
> affairs, many merchants no doubt prize these StealWare companies
> amongst their most important and productive affiliates (since the
> volume of transactions and commissions they will be driving will,
> in general, be high) -- not realising that their revenue is derived
> from a combination of commissions poached from hard- working
> affiliates and from traffic stolen "at source" i.e. directly at the
> merchant site itself.
> Shocking isn't it?
> Edwin Hayward
> Free Email Address Directory
> Comment?


Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map.
--Wayne Calloway