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  1. #1
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    LittleGrad.com is a UPromise type deal, college savings via download (BHO) helper.
    I was up late last night reading the CJ class action suit and did a double check to see if any of the mentioned parasites were in my Little Giant Ladder program on CJ. I had never heard of LittleGrad.com until Uncle Scooter mentioned that we were on their site.

    I did some detective work and found Donuts post: http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...1&postcount=31 Sure enough we are on their site and I found them in CJ. Looks like they were accepted when first launched in 2005. They are not listed as a software affiliate but clearly have it in their description. I have filed a compliance complaint with CJ, removed them and have them on my auto decline list.

    Incentive Program Incentives:
    Little Grad is a service that helps parents save money for their children’s college education through online shopping. When Little Grad members shop at any of the Little Grad retailers, Little Grad passes on 50-100% of the commissions to help save money for college. Users do not
    need to be members to shop from the Little Grad retailers, in other words, great deals apply to all users. However in order to save money for college, the user does need to register so an account can be setup for the college savings.

    Software:
    The Little Grad Savings Manager is a toolbar application that is an optional download that allows users to be notified when they are shopping at one of the Little Grad Retailers. The application prompts the user to click on a button to add the commission to their Little Grad College Savings if the user is on a Little Grad site. If the user clicks
    through from another affiliate, the Little Grad Savings Manager does not interfere with the transaction. Again, the standalone application download is optional and has been submitted and approved through the CJ compliance group.

  2. #2
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Good Job, Way to be pro-active Chuck. Those parasites are sneaky like that!

    I also noticed in a post Donuts (may not be the same one) made the other day about Fatwallet, it appears it's a rebate site.

    In the past have they been considered a parasite? I'd certainly consider them on at this point. They have a beta 'bookmark popup' shopping aid.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Thanks Trust, I appreciate the help, I'm still sorting out all of this...

  5. #5
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    I will have to check on this when I get to the office tomorrow. I see our site listed on their site but as to when they were approved, I will have to look into this.

    I would assume that they were in our program before I started there as it is showing our old logo.

    I will remove them once I finish doing my research.

    Thanks for the heads up Chuck.

    PM sent to Kellie about this thread.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    From the description given by this affiliate it would *seem* they aren't parasitic. Is it the automatic prompt that causes them to be a parasite? I certainly don't advocate parasitic behavior, but sometimes I'm not sure where we draw the line between parasitic software and non-parasitic software.

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

  7. #7
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    From the description given by this affiliate it would *seem* they aren't parasitic. Is it the automatic prompt that causes them to be a parasite? I certainly don't advocate parasitic behavior, but sometimes I'm not sure where we draw the line between parasitic software and non-parasitic software.

    - Scott
    BHO toolbar that interferes with cookies and commissions = parasite.


  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    BHO toolbar that interferes with cookies and commissions = parasite.
    Don't get me wrong. I don't advocate this type of behavior at all. But I'm just unclear on the difference between this and a legitimate affiliate like Fatwallet. I'm guessing it's because this toolbar prompts the user to click while Fatwallet doesn't.

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

  9. #9
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Don't get me wrong. I don't advocate this type of behavior at all. But I'm just unclear on the difference between this and a legitimate affiliate like Fatwallet. I'm guessing it's because this toolbar prompts the user to click while Fatwallet doesn't.

    - Scott
    Exactly. And often when the BHO toolbar pops, if the user clicks "No, I do not want to save money" it still sets the cookie. Kellie busted UPromise cold at this a year or two back and I would bet money that it still works that way. These have also been known to pop when the user of the computer does not even have an account with the company, if it was installed with a bundle etc.

    FatWallet is a real loyalty site, not a cover for a commission stealing BHO to rob affiliates and merchants alike.


  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    FatWallet is a real loyalty site, not a cover for a commission stealing BHO to rob affiliates and merchants alike.
    I agree completely.

    And if you look at the details of what the fatwallet software does, it's very different than UPromise and the like.

  11. #11
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Good job on booting Little Grad, Chuck. Like a leech, they suck.

  12. #12
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Thanks for the heads up Eric. Yep, I'm aware of them. I've had them installed since they first came out. But with so many of them out there now, you never know when maybe I haven't heard about one. So thanks.

    LittleGrad is the type of "new breed" adware I've been concerned about and whining about for quite a while now. It requires the end user to take an affirmitive action..that is the end user had to actually do the click for their affiliate link to be set. The trade off appears to be, and it holds true with other applications as well, that they will deliver the prompt on traffic that arrives to the merchant from other affiliates. It seems to ok to interfere with traffic originating from other affiliates as long as they can get the end user to click something. IMO...just my opinion of course...I feel there is an increased risk for another affiliate's tracking being overwritten than with an applications like TopMoxie products who will have their software stand down (by and large) when the traffic other affiliates using direct network links or afsrc=1. How many won't click on a prompt that says they could be putting XX into little Sally's educational fund or earn a rebate? The rest of merchant's traffic is fair game as it's always been and allowed by some networks. Consumers have become the shields for redirecting affiliate commissions (either from other affiliates or from merchant's other channels). I almost started a riot bringing up this whole issue at one of Andy's seminars. Ah the memories....

    Again, if you haven't you should read the new CJ COC, which is pretty much saying behavior like LittleGrads is allowed. Least that's how I read it.

    The FatWallet thing is really just fancy bookmarks. I don't see anything parasitic about bookmarks. I guess Tim is still doing it, I haven't checked lately.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Thanks for the details Kellie! I wasn't sure what to make of this one since it's a bit different from parasites in the past. If they don't honor afsrc that's definitely no good. So it looks like using a bookmarklet is fine since it doesn't prompt and basically acts like a standard bookmark. I haven't tested the Fatwallet bookmarklet, but I assume when you click it it just sets the cookie while you remain on the merchant site? What if the customer came via an afsrc link?

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

  14. #14
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    "since it's a bit different from parasites in the past."

    Right it is different from what most are used to from the past. But the world of adware changes rapidly. Again, many of the newer ones behave along these lines. That also includes the various shopping comparison applications out there now.

    "So it looks like using a bookmarklet is fine since it doesn't prompt and basically acts like a standard bookmark."

    Right. It doesn't prompt the end user or anything. It's just sitting there in the Links folder. The end user has to say..oh right I'm a member of FatWallet...let me click my bookmark to see if there is a coupon or rebate for this merchant. Everything is user initiated. There is no type of automatic detection by the bookmarklet. To me it's no different than if the end user was on a merchant's site and said...oh yeah...the Snib site has really price comparison. I've got him bookmarked, let me check how this price compares.

    "I assume when you click it it just sets the cookie while you remain on the merchant site?"

    It takes at least 3 clicks before the tracking happens. But yes, if they click on one of the coupons or a rebate it will refresh the browser with his affiliate link for that merchant.

    "What if the customer came via an afsrc link?"

    It will do the exact same thing if afsrc is present, but I don't see where afsrc is applicable. If you've gotten a user to bookmark your site, should you somewhat block it's use if afsrc is present? Clicking on a bookmark is the end user intentionally wanting to go somewhere else. Tim's just set up where a page on his site loads in a pop-up type window and the end user isn't directed away from the merchant as well.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I see, so the bookmarklet will take the user to the Fatwallet site and not just set the cookie and redirect back to the merchant. Wasn't sure how that worked. Bookmarklets are certainly cool and I'm surprised more affiliates don't utilize them. They take into account the current page the customer is at and act according to where they're coming from. Very cool stuff.

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

  16. #16
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    Kellie,

    if i remember correctly, and if not, please correct, the Little Grad is a Canada based program, and they use the top moxie product.

    thanks

  17. #17
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Everything I see has them in California and no it's not a TopMoxie application. Maybe you are thinking of someone else?

    For merchants and networks, I see they now have a second site (registered in Feb), GradGold. Earn rebates to pay back student loans.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the heads up...found them in the AC Lens program and they're set to expire.

    Bob

  19. #19
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Chuck/Bob/Eric,

    It's been almost a month since you guys let us know you were terminating LittleGrad from your respective programs.

    As of this posting, all three programs are still listed on their site, are still active through their software (see attachments) and their affiliate links are still tracking through CJ and Performics.

    You'll notice from the screen shots, that I got the prompt for them before your site even loaded. Efficient they are with their prompt at least.

    My software updated this morning with a new merchant list right before I captured those quick tests.

    Looks like we have a problem here, one way or another.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Hi Kellie,

    Thanks for following up.
    Our program on their site is listed as "FairfieldGetaway".
    http://www.littlegrad.com/View.php?p...neAlphabetic_F
    They are no longer active.

    That is part of the Wyndham Hotel and that is on Performics.

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager
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    Hmmm...I did terminate them. Just did a search in CJ and I'm not seeing them. Just sent you a PM.

    Thanks

    Bob

  22. #22
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  23. #23
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Eric, sorry about that. The Performics link really threw me. I thought I missed yet another mid year merchant/network musical chairs thing.

    Fairfieldgetaway is still in their software target database though. With LS, if the end user clicks the prompt they will end up the error page. Could be confusing to end users, but no possibility for another affiliate's tracking being overwritten. I am getting the error page I should for a LS terminated account for your program (the program you really manage).

    Robert, responded to the PM.

    It is not a very unusal event for adware affiliates to not remove a merchant's link from their software. It's why I try and go back and check in cases where merchants have said they terminated. I just can't tell independently if an account is active or inactive with CJ and Performics. Everything looks the same. However, I'm not personally convinced 100% that in those cases another affiliate's tracking still isn't overwritten, it's just no one gets the sale. That's just me.

    All around it's better that they pull the links like they are supposed to and their TOS states they have to. Sometimes they need an extra nudge to do so.

  24. #24
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks Kelly. They are out of the program but it appears they haven't removed our site. The extra nudge has been taken.

    Bob

  25. #25
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Thanks Eric for the heads-up and Kellie for the due diligence. They were expired last month and are not active in my CJ program. I rejected their applications for LGL and Gatelys in PFX.

    A C&D will go out shortly and a complaint will be filed with CJ.

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