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  1. #1
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    Is that a warning to incentivized publishers?
    According to this

    http://www.dmconfidential.com/blogs/column/iLegal/1298/

    It seems like the incentives business isn't so legal in some points - do you agree with this article?

  2. #2
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    I agree, they are scammy

    Free means at no cost to you

    all those free ipod, free wii, free etc sites want you to sign up to various rograms which cost you money.

    I try to keeep those ads off my site since they are scams IMO

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    they are email / pid harvesting and bait and switch artists. I've looked in to so many of these and all are scum. They say they're giving away a laptop for free and then they take you through registration process and THEN tell you that you have to buy ("complete the offer") one item from each step in the process... step one is to use a coupon at any one of 10 stores, all popular (they are getting a commission as a coupon affiliate), step two will be to get home insurance from one of three places they "offer" (all are lead gen programs as well as aff programs and the consumer has to get home insurance - they may not even own a home) and on and on. Sometime a step will be something like get dish network or directv - again, aff comms for the incentivizer. Stupid consumers that fall for this stuff can't afford to complete all the offers! If they do it on credit (credit card signups are usually an offer/step!), by the time it's all done, their "free" laptop has cost them dearly.

    the ftc and some stats attorney generals are presently going after these scumbags.

  4. #4
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    And others are taking note of the goings on with the FTC as well. Rohan's report. Very much worth the read for several reasons. His estimates for how much these types of offers contribute to ValueClick's earnings are eye opening. And VC certainly isn't the only one in that field.

  5. #5
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    More than just email harvesting on some of those orders. I've looked at the javascript code on some of those offers...it would make your hair stand on end to see some of the variables in that code. Data is KING and where the real bucks are. Reselling data...chaching.

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Legal or not, most incentive sites are incredibly scummy. The FTC obviously things that many aspects of them aren't legal. CPA networks are typically really heavy into these types of sites.

    I have no doubt that the government will one day come down really hard on these incentive sites. When they do, the CPA networks are going to be impacted very hard.
    Michael Coley
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Legal or not, most incentive sites are incredibly scummy. The FTC obviously things that many aspects of them aren't legal. CPA networks are typically really heavy into these types of sites.

    I have no doubt that the government will one day come down really hard on these incentive sites. When they do, the CPA networks are going to be impacted very hard.
    What is their target? The publishers or the advertisers? I don't know if I'm allowed to do this but I do incentives and I really would like to show you how I do it with 1 section - it goes really great and I enjoy it, really, I wish I could post a link so you can view but I better keep it without as it might be against the forum's rules

    Arie

  8. #8
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    "What is their target?"

    Are you advertising something on your site as free and it's really not? Using deceptive advertising? That kind of thing is going to run you into trouble.

  9. #9
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    You're more than welcome to list your own site.

    Not all incentive sites are bad, but most of them are incredibly deceptive. My wife is very intelligent and fairly cynical. She can see right through almost any scam. Yet she fell for one. One day I walked in to the kitchen and she said "You're not going to believe this, but I just won a laptop." I told her "I guarantee it's a scam". She said "No, I just have to complete three simple steps to claim it. I'm already on step two. Step one was her email address. Step two was a ton of co-reg stuff all of which she was switching to "no". I asked her if she had read the site's Terms & Conditions. She hadn't, so I clicked on them. At the bottom of the Terms & Conditions, I quickly found the requirement (step three, apparently) that she complete 10 sponsored actions and the she refer two friends who complete all the requirements as well.

    Would she have received it? Who knows. I kind of doubt it.

    Would her "referred" friends have appreciated it? Definitely not.

    Would she have received tons of spam? Definitely. And she probably will anyway, since the email address was the first question.

    If she had completed ten sponsored actions, would it have provided value to the advertisers? Highly unlikely. If she signed up for a credit card, she would have canceled it after it came in. If she signed up for a coffee, book, DVD, or music club, she would have canceled it after the free shipment. If she signed up for AOL, she would have canceled it without even using it.

    I talked two a newbie merchant once who had used a CPA network for his continuity program. Within a short period of time, he had paid for $250,000 worth of leads at the CPA network. What did he get out of it? Thousands of spam reports. Tons of chargebacks. Customer service calls from people asking about their free laptop, gift card, (fill in the blank). Thousands of canceled orders. And very, very few customers who continued the "continuity" program.

    These types of incentive sites only help the affiliate and the CPA network, and are incredibly hurtful for the advertisers, customers, and affiliate community as a whole. Are you going to provide value to the customer, or just to yourself? That's a question every affiliate needs to ask themselves, and shame on those who provide value just for themselves at the expense of the customer.
    Michael Coley
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  10. #10
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    Are you going to provide value to the customer, or just to yourself? That's a question every affiliate needs to ask themselves,
    I don't think that's the real question in this case. These scum programs aren't just providing a "neutral" or "no" value to customers--they're a definite negative!

    Throwing the customer to these wolves is a whole lot different than just deciding to use Good-Merchant X for a particular product in order to get a higher commission.

    When the customer is actually *hurt,* that's where I draw the line. The customer isn't hurt because I refuse to do business with some lousy cheapskate--at worst, if they really want to deal with the cheapskate, they have to get to that merchant some other way.

    But to push a fake offer on them is causing actual harm, and is therefore blighted.

  11. #11
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    But arie apparently loves the scummy side. He is constantly mentioning his incentive site at the same time he asks other affiliates questions about all of the problems associated with it and gets the same advice over and over and over again.
    Arie, if you are going to operate with this faction of the Internet you will always have problems. You will potentially have legal problems because you are working with people the authorities are watching closely and you will constantly face issues of non-payment because you are paying people who have no intention of buying to complete forms that initiate a sales process in order to get their incentive. You are not only not adding any value to the customer, you are not adding any value to the merchant either.
    You come here and post thread after thread after thread whining and complaining about non payment, asking questions like is it OK to have your users open a Yahoo email account to use so they don't have to give their real email address. You seem to not do any research on your own about these things and instead seek advice here, yet you never take it or you would not be asking about the same things over and over again.
    I for one am getting annoyed with your threads. Either learn how to be a good affiliate or put up with the shit that you get being what you are and shut up about it.
    Thanks


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    But arie apparently loves the scummy side. He is constantly mentioning his incentive site at the same time he asks other affiliates questions about all of the problems associated with it and gets the same advice over and over and over again.
    Arie, if you are going to operate with this faction of the Internet you will always have problems. You will potentially have legal problems because you are working with people the authorities are watching closely and you will constantly face issues of non-payment because you are paying people who have no intention of buying to complete forms that initiate a sales process in order to get their incentive. You are not only not adding any value to the customer, you are not adding any value to the merchant either.
    You come here and post thread after thread after thread whining and complaining about non payment, asking questions like is it OK to have your users open a Yahoo email account to use so they don't have to give their real email address. You seem to not do any research on your own about these things and instead seek advice here, yet you never take it or you would not be asking about the same things over and over again.
    I for one am getting annoyed with your threads. Either learn how to be a good affiliate or put up with the shit that you get being what you are and shut up about it.
    Thanks
    You so didn't understand what I do with this section, it has nothing to do to those stupid free laptop websites

    I cannot explain it here just like this, must provide a link and don't know how to do it

    I'm talking about good feedback here both from the advertiser & the user... something unique I'm sure you haven't thought of

  13. #13
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    Bravo Bravo, Uncle Scooter!!! You took the words right out of my mouth!

    Arie, you can't be serious when you say that you do not know how to post a link to your website.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    incentive programs, get rich e-books, miracle herbal remedies, free screensavers (or whatever), toolbars,

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arie1985
    You so didn't understand what I do with this section, it has nothing to do to those stupid free laptop websites

    I cannot explain it here just like this, must provide a link and don't know how to do it

    I'm talking about good feedback here both from the advertiser & the user... something unique I'm sure you haven't thought of
    Arie, did you read Michael's response earlier, or no? Post you link, or just use text, either way, we'll be able to take a look.

  16. #16
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    Analyst Jordan Rohan of RBC Capital Markets last week issued a 19-page research note maintaining that ValueClick's current growth is unsustainable because it employs questionable lead generation tactics such as using the word "free" when multiple purchases are required, or using lengthy surveys to generate email addresses for resale to marketers without sufficient disclosure.

    ValueClick's business is misunderstood, Rohan wrote, and said the majority of upside over the past year has been from lead generation growth.

    "In our view, the writing is on the wall for reform of the highly-incentivized lead generation companies like ValueClick's WebClients. The timing of that reform is hard to predict with accuracy, but the ultimate magnitude could be significant," Rohan wrote.

    http://publications.mediapost.com/in...&art_aid=59743

  17. #17
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Rohan is informed and accurate here. "ValueClick" has abandoned the "Value" and focuses on just the "Click" part.

    Quote Originally Posted by arie1985
    You so didn't understand what I do with this section, it has nothing to do to those stupid free laptop websites
    hmm, not a stupid free laptop site... hmmm... is it a smart free software website then?

    Quote Originally Posted by arie1985
    I cannot explain it here just like this, must provide a link and don't know how to do it

    I'm talking about good feedback here both from the advertiser & the user... something unique I'm sure you haven't thought of
    you can link to your site in your ABW user profile. you're going to show us an idea so good and so unique and is one the affiliate of the year is unable to have thought of... i can't wait.

  18. #18
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Analyst Jordan Rohan of RBC Capital Markets last week issued a 19-page research note maintaining that ValueClick's current growth is unsustainable because it employs questionable lead generation tactics such as using the word "free" when multiple purchases are required...
    (bold added)

    Best case scenario: misleading. Worst case scenario: FRAUD.

    -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

  19. #19
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    speaking of questionable lead generation tactics used by ValueClick...

    i'm not a lawyer, but it's a matter of public record that they've just been sued for violating CAN-SPAM and a couple of Washington state laws as well! i have not seen this hit the press yet, but it can be downloaded from the court system.

    the guy who has filed suit is Bruce Haselton of PeaceFire - learn more here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peacefire

    they call ValueClick as the defendent and they also name john does as additional defendents... my guess, CJ and BeFree affiliates that send spam!

    Haselton et al v. Valueclick Inc et al
    James L. Robart, presiding
    Date filed: 03/14/2007

    Since there are multiple laws allegedly broken, there are multiple claims for relief - stuff like $100 per email, $500 per email, $1,000 oer email... I imagine it's quite a bit of money!

  20. #20
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    I got a free ipod about 3 years ago.. the offers were a lot easier back then, I think i had to sign up for some free long distance plan (not change my real one, it was a dial-800# one), but I never used it. I think the folks I referred got the same thing too.

    I won't do those things again though. I don't have the time or desire. I think i have accounts on the free laptops and handbags sites but never used 'em.

  21. #21
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    RewardsGateway, a company which specializes in these incent offers and is owned by ValueClick.

    I've got my own little personal list of these types of companies I'm waiting to see if they show on the FTC's attack list or not.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyBusiness
    Arie, did you read Michael's response earlier, or no? Post you link, or just use text, either way, we'll be able to take a look.
    I just posted the link and edited my message again lol

    I'm afraid people can look and steal my idea, darn, I really mean it, maybe I'm sorry I mentioned that, but I'm really not making it up - it's a really nice idea

  23. #23
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    So this is yet another useless arie thread that is nothing but noise in the forum. It ads nothing, accomplishes nothing and only further accentuates my previous post.
    Arie, I am not attacking you and don't mean to sound rude or ugly, but look at the threads you have started. There is the one about offers being reversed, the one about using an alternative email address so your incentivees don't have to deal with all the spam and many others where you have sought and been given advice over and over that you don't take.

  24. #24
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I just spent 30 seconds searching and I think I found your site. It's definitely not one of the deceptive incentive sites, but there's nothing unique about it (except perhaps the quick payments). Basically, you're just paying a percent of the payout to people who complete offers. There's nothing novel about that. That's pretty much the simplest incentive model.

    With your low payouts (25-40% of your commission) and the quick payments, you're going to be more appealing to fraudsters than legitimate customers (at least compared to other incentive sites). I'm sure that has a lot to do with the terminations you've received.
    Michael Coley
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  25. #25
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    Well, again, I'm not talking about my website in generally, I'm talking about a specific section - there you go:

    http://www.gptreasure.com/modules/goldclub/

    Some advertisers told me already they really like the traffic and it goes pretty well - so just heads up

    As for the general idea of my website - if you don't pay quick your website is not attractive, and if you pay quick you get fraud - it's true, but we're doing more verification now with State ID cards, a lot of people do cooperate - or in the other way, if a person takes the ringtone offer I do "believe" him he's a US resident because he must provide a cellphone in this one

    It's not the perfect way to do those things but I know the guy who runs an incentives website paying daily and he does a phone verification and he spams forums as hell

    By the way, my wish is to go for all kind of traffic, not only US, it's difficult but more companies from Europe are joining those ads-online now and if I could have a website which is good for all countries, and being separated to all the countries in Europe like "Special offers for Italy, Norway, Germany, Israel, England, Ireland, Switzerland" - then I can say I made my dream has come true

    It's not easy but trust me, if it works, the last thing I would expect to get is fraud - I wanna work with International traffic and this thing is difficult as hell as well

    Tell me what you think, I will try to amend mistakes to the left or to the right depends on your opinion - and I did listen to you when you told me to not mess up with a phone verification, it's not true that I don't read why you guys tell me here

    Arie

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