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  1. #1
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Anonymity at ABW
    This post has been in my head a good while. What are the pros and cons of anonymity here? I have personally felt constrained at times as bumpaw, but being a relative new comer I have gone with the flow.

    I understand that OPM's, AM's, and others doing business here like Brian at SAS would need to use their real name. But then I see well respected affiliates like Michael Coley seem to prosper in the sunshine.

    Us junior players hope for the day we can go to affiliate gatherings and actually put real name to faces. We see that there is a community within the community here, and hope to be part of that some day.

    I realize that this is a touchy issue here. I flubbed in an attempt to reach out a few months ago. I became aware of a major poster's identity and made a contact through their site's online contact information. I gave my name because I was feeling a little guilty knowing who they were and them not knowing who I was. The individual was not happy and told me so.

    Basically I was told to channel any future contact through ABW, and hopefully there are no hard feelings. It seems that there are those that don't want their identity known except to those who they choose. I respect that.

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Off the top of my head:
    -----------------------

    Pro = no retribution from networks, merchants nor inspection / copying from competing affiliates.

    Con = your not a 'personality', your an alias, so it's like Hi, I'm XXXX, or Bumpaw on ABW. Oh, hey Bumpaw , I'm XXXX, my ABW username is YYYY!

    PS. They'll need a court order to get any member's information from me, so your safe!
    PPS. A few members went full disclosure when we opened the IC per Messer's request, then he decided to post on a now defunct board because the heat was too hot at ABW.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  3. #3
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Dunno J,

    I like to use my alias, Andy Rodriguez ...

    Retribution? "Come say hello to my little friend "
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
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  4. #4
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Retribution - Memories are short?

    There was an affiliate who was physically threatened and kicked out of their program because they posted something not favorable about the merchant on the CJ forums.

    Then the goons from wurldmedia who hit certain pple's houses.

    Then the PI's watching others because of another parasite ...

    Shall I continue? Or shall we just continue quoting scarface?
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  5. #5
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    I keep and will keep my anonymity here for one reason. I used to be a gaming affiliate. I had a few very nice sites that did reviews, had forums, sponsored tournaments, and were very reputable high traffic sites. I was 100% white hat and made good money doing so.

    To admit that on ABW automatically classified you as a scumware parasite low-life. It's just the way it's always been here and even recently there were comments about it.

    I'm making my transition away from gaming for obvious reasons. To date all of my new sites have been nothing more than AB tests to see what works and what doesn't for me. I'm still trying out new ideas and trying to determine which direction to focus on for the longer term.

    I'm very careful about making sure that I don't mix the two. I even go as far as using different hosting companies and created new accounts on the networks so there would always be a separation and never any confusion.

    The funny thing is nobody minds brick and mortar gambling. They even had an Affiliate Summit in Vegas. I'm sure many people dropped a few dollars in games here and there while attending. But if you mention "online" gaming, people automatically think those involved are criminals or parasites. Not true.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    Retribution - Memories are short?

    There was an affiliate who was physically threatened and kicked out of their program because they posted something not favorable about the merchant on the CJ forums.

    Then the goons from wurldmedia who hit certain pple's houses.

    Then the PI's watching others because of another parasite ...

    Shall I continue? Or shall we just continue quoting scarface?
    Your right, I wasn't thinking about that one, regardless, G19 remains locked and loaded ..
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
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  7. #7
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Mack,

    We are anti-gaming only because it is illegal in the US and prior to was too grey of an area, but I know for a fact that no one would consider you a "scumware parasite low-life", in fact we've only embraced the affs who have crossed over from the gambling and even the porn side of the business, but I respect your anonymity and decision for it and enjoy your posts.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  8. #8
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Rodriguez
    Your right, I wasn't thinking about that one, regardless, G19 remains locked and loaded ..
    One? That was three separate examples.

    I'm sorry but I can't 'support' a "A glock and a smile" as an answer to anonymity and a real threat of 'retribution'
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    IMO:

    PROS: First, what Haiko said.

    Also--It's a bozo filter. Making people go through a layer of detective work can keep a lot of crap from literally reaching the front door. The thicker the layer the better, too.

    It keeps people from making assumptions about your personality based on your "real name"--a name you didn't pick for yourself, and which may cause a wrong first impression of you.

    You get to use the name that you actually like!

    CONS: I can't think of a real one.

    Some jerks will occasionally try to make slams like "what good is the opinion of a bunch of anonymous..." when they get called out here. But that just shows THEM to be losers with no real substance to stand on. A decent argument stands on its merits, not whether the screennames of the opposition matches what's on their driver's licenses. They'd be just as full of shite if they got told off by SomeRealName as they are getting told off by SomeFakeName. So IMO the objections of these jerks are just baloney.

    Introducing yourself by two names at events may be a bit of a pain, but that should be just a minor inconvenience...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

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  11. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    I flubbed in an attempt to reach out a few months ago. I became aware of a major poster's identity and made a contact through their site's online contact information. I gave my name because I was feeling a little guilty knowing who they were and them not knowing who I was. The individual was not happy and told me so.

    Basically I was told to channel any future contact through ABW, and hopefully there are no hard feelings. It seems that there are those that don't want their identity known except to those who they choose. I respect that.
    There are no hard feelings, I'm sure. But whether or not you understand that person's choice or not, or anyone else's choice, respecting people's choices is the very first thing you can say about yourself as you attempt to meet people. It reflects on you more than the person you're meeting. If the bathroom door is closed, and you fling it open and say "hi there, darn glad to meet you", it screams that you want something and are willing to disregard that person's clearly claimed privacy because your needs are somehow more important than theirs.

    So it's not that it's a national security shield for us who choose anonymity (though Haiko protects our data like it is), it's just a matter of showing how you treat people and their desires. If somebody chooses to be anonymous and you track them down and basically say... I snooped around and now I know who you are, how'd you like to be my pal? I wouldn't expect a warm welcome.

    In any case, good luck and have fun!

  12. #11
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    I like hiding behind my name and title. It gives me great security knowing no one can find me. I feel so sneaky.
    Last edited by Anne; March 23rd, 2007 at 06:46 PM. Reason: spelling error, how HORRID that I can't spell!

  13. #12
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I think it's a matter of marketing to the right audience. In most cases ABW isn't the right audience. In fact ABW is probably the last place you want to mention your site because not only are you marketing to the wrong audience, but you're giving other marketers ideas to compete with you. Now if you have a site that lists affiliate resources and you cater to affiliates then this might be the right place to mention your site.

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

  14. #13
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Yeah, I love being able to mess with people and they don't know who I am. Less stalkers that way.

  15. #14
    Newbie TooLegitToQuit's Avatar
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    BumPaw,

    I give you props for your post. To be successful in almost industry you have to have the courage to put yourself out there. I get so intimidated sometimes, but I try to remember that everyone had to start somewhere. If I am ever an industry leader (crossing my figures), I would be totally stoked if someone reached out to me. Well, there are always exceptions, but I think most people have good intentions. Good luck to you!

  16. #15
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateBuddha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    I think it's a matter of marketing to the right audience. In most cases ABW isn't the right audience. In fact ABW is probably the last place you want to mention your site because not only are you marketing to the wrong audience, but you're giving other marketers ideas to compete with you. Now if you have a site that lists affiliate resources and you cater to affiliates then this might be the right place to mention your site.
    What snib said is I think the basic reason for not revealing your identity on ABW. Everybody has their own techniques and niches they concentrate on - every affiliates has a different way of generating revenue, Exposing your name and URL will just open up the techniques and niches to competition.

    Not for me though the blog in my signature is something that is tailored for ABW members,
    Gift Shopping Zone Affiliate Program on SAS - 10% per sale with unlimited cookie duration, over 10,000 products.

  17. #16
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    I leave it to each individual to pick his/her method. I prefer to identify myself by my true name. I also post my contact numbers for both CO and FL. Just the way I prefer to do it. Others who prefer anonymity are free to do so and I am fine with whatever the persons wish may be.

    The problem I'm having is in dealing with the conflict over what my mom always told us when we were growing up: "you shouldn't talk to strangers!"
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  18. #17
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    This post has been in my head a good while. What are the pros and cons of anonymity here? .
    I just want to comment on one con.

    While I will admit that some of the nicknames are very strange because, some are too long, or too weird to make any sense on any language, I really don't see a problem with that.

    But, the only thing I see wrong with the anonymity of some members is not the cognomens they use, but the choice of avatar they do use.

    A name is just a name, but after you spend a couple of years reading all the posts made by some of the old members that you have not meet in person yet, it's kind of difficult and weird to have a nice dream on were you're interacting with those members because, they do look like their avatar on those dreams.








  19. #18
    ABW Ambassador
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    I changed from an alias to my real name sometime after the visit by the buysports thugs, but my real name is just as anonymous as a fake one. I still keep my real affiliate sites private, people have posted my content sites here to "expose me", i am fine with that - thanks for the traffic encylopedia brown.

    As for finding out who someone is, more than a few people can testify here if you are just an affiliate and I figure it out (and you are just a regular affiliate, not evil etc), I will pm you to warn you how I figured it out so you can fix the hole. I understand the want for privacy.

    As for merchants, you should have no expectation of privacy or anonymity. Of course if you want to hide, you could just keep changing your phone number... *cough*

    Chet

  20. #19
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    this thread makes me laugh.

    i can just imagine an environment with boisterous laughing hyenas. you know, the predatory, scavenger type. they feed on the weak ones. watch out. if you get identified, they will swarm over you

  21. #20
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    sometimes I don't even know who I am

  22. #21
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReallyBigGuy
    sometimes I don't even know who I am
    Sometimes it doesn't matter Big....
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  23. #22
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Oh, oh. Now you guys have got me all paranoid.

    Just forget the posts where I've signed my name.

    And why are you all staring at me like that??

    Gary -- uh, I mean -- writerguy

  24. #23
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I think for merchants, OPMs, and network people, anonymity is a hindrance. They should clearly disclose who they are.

    For affiliates, I can see both sides and I think the best choice is different for different people. As someone with a coupon site, I could care less if anyone copied my site. There are already (literally) thousands of coupon sites out there. A few dozen more won't make a difference.

    One big advantage with using your real name is the credibility that it provides (assuming that you're playing above the board and have good things to say). Merchants are much more likely to be interested in working with me because of my public participation here. That can be both good and bad. It's good when they're merchants I actually want to work with. It's bad because there's no way I could work with everyone who wants to work with me.

    Some people have mentioned the potential problem of merchants or networks taking retribution against you for what you say here. I have been quite vocal about things with numerous merchants and networks, and have never had that happen to me. If I did, I would consider it a blessing in disguise because that would be someone I wouldn't want to work with anyway. I think it really helps to keep things constructive, though, and not to just attack.

    I don't have any problem whatsoever seeing affiliates hiding behind anonymity here. I would have an issue if someone were abusing that anonymity to say things that they wouldn't say in person, but I haven't seen much of that here.
    Michael Coley
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  25. #24
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses. I have never had a problem with board anonymity in general, but for me personally there is a pull toward using my own name. It kind of came to a head when I saw Michael Coley using his name on a chess site where we both play. I'm going to harden the whois on a few sites and then see where this feeling takes me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko
    Con = your not a 'personality', your an alias, so it's like Hi, I'm XXXX, or Bumpaw on ABW. Oh, hey Bumpaw , I'm XXXX, my ABW username is YYYY!
    This response stuck with me as I was reading each following response.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    It keeps people from making assumptions about your personality based on your "real name"--a name you didn't pick for yourself, and which may cause a wrong first impression of you.
    I'm trying to chunk worries like that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    But whether or not you understand that person's choice or not, or anyone else's choice, respecting people's choices is the very first thing you can say about yourself as you attempt to meet people.
    Total agreement here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    ABW is probably the last place you want to mention your site because not only are you marketing to the wrong audience,
    I really have no desire to do that.
    Quote Originally Posted by TooLegitToQuit
    Well, there are always exceptions, but I think most people have good intentions.
    Assume the best and keep an eye out for the worst.
    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateBuddha
    Everybody has their own techniques and niches they concentrate on - every affiliates has a different way of generating revenue, Exposing your name and URL will just open up the techniques and niches to competition.
    Would giving your name mean you have to tell all? If you use the privacy option on your domain name and don't put your name on your sites is that enough?
    Quote Originally Posted by chetf
    I changed from an alias to my real name sometime after the visit by the buysports thugs, but my real name is just as anonymous as a fake one. I still keep my real affiliate sites private
    A lot to think about here.
    Quote Originally Posted by waytogo
    i can just imagine an environment with boisterous laughing hyenas. you know, the predatory, scavenger type. they feed on the weak ones. watch out. if you get identified, they will swarm over you
    I don't feel weak so no fear.
    Quote Originally Posted by writerguy
    Just forget the posts where I've signed my name.
    Put the word out that your real name is fake too.
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    One big advantage with using your real name is the credibility that it provides (assuming that you're playing above the board and have good things to say). Merchants are much more likely to be interested in working with me because of my public participation here. That can be both good and bad. It's good when they're merchants I actually want to work with. It's bad because there's no way I could work with everyone who wants to work with me.
    Some how I knew this would be my favorite response.

  26. #25
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Personally I think it is kind of creepy that people hide behind aliases, like silent stalkers. I especially feel strange when I run into someone at a conference and they ask me what site I run, and I tell them, and I ask them the same question ( not because I want to copy their site, but to be polite on a reciprocal basis) and they say "Oh I don't disclose that," or they say "I have lots of sites," or they look at me with a 'deer in the headlights look' and walk away. I am not stealing ideas from anyone and I don't think most people are here to steal from people. I just think this anonymous thing is overrated and down right creepy. Just my two cents, lol!

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