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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    I have never felt so screwed in my entire life since I got into this business. I had no visions of making a ton of money but based on the traffic levels I have obtained I surely thought I'd be making much more.

    At first,
    *) I blamed cookie cleaners and IE 6 for allowing cookies to be turned off.

    *) Next, I learned more about cookie durations or so called "return days" A low return day looks good to a newbee and a high one is bad (at least that was my impression - I figured that it meant a user had a longer time frame a user could return products) Is this terminoligy deliberate to confuse a newbee?

    *) Next, I began to realize that many of the vendors were just plain old crooks and it didn't matter what you did you couldn't make any money from them.

    *) Next I learned that getting cookie information from some companies just isn't available so you have to assume they are all zero cookie durations which is definately not a fair partnership for me to send business to anyone.

    *) Next, I learned more about cookies and that some of the vendors can turn them off after a sale is made. The fact that affiliates don't know who these companies are and the fact that this information is not publicly listed by so called AM's and available to affiliates outrages me and further indicates an serious flaw in thinking
    these companies give us a respectible and fair business relationship.

    *) Next, I felt like the AM's themselves had poor tracking services and that there is inevitably a switch inside their traking code that monitors your conversion ratio and sales and acts accordingly allowing you to get credit for sales or not.

    *) Next I learned about gator and whenu and morpheous and other scumware that is stealing my
    commisions and how the AM's and companies are teaming up with them to allow us to get raped.

    *) Next I see the list of vendors with gator and think the issue while severe isn't that bad but nevertheless, the so called "respectible companies" that are so willing to partner with thieves is disturbing.

    *) Next I realized there are companies where I have sales due from right at 4 months back and I still haven't got paid. I come in here and complain about this and it appears that very few of you are actually willing to take a stand on these issues and are not willing to help put a plan in place to help us make an impact in a noticible way that we will have some wins with.

    *) Next I see the Morpeous list and I'm totally blown away at the scope of the thievery. I'm surprised to see that every AM is perfectly willing and glad to do business with them. Every AM program here is partnering with the thieves in a big way and..... the merchant list is like the whos who of companies (many of which are suppose to be respectible). Now, with all of these issues, how are we are suppose to be able to have
    a fair chance to earn money with this business.

    *) Next I see that many people would rather Haiko ban the merchants from this forum rather that acting themselves. I add post's suggesting we need organizing and there is no response.

    Hey gang.....

    I'd suggest our business is in deep trouble and unless we can use our strength together, our road to recovery and realizing the profits we rightly deserve for our servcies will always be cheated.

    I realize several things:
    1) I'm a terrible writter and speller [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
    2) That there is no way anyone can pull the links for all of these companies easily but I encourage each and every one of you to start pulling links and most importantly..... send an email telling them you pulled the links and why. I personally feel we need to collectively organize a plan and take action on a group of merchants at a time. That way we can effectively demonstrate our ability to reduce sales for these companies
    and hopefully have a chance at bringing them around 1 by one. Unorganized pulling of links will not allow us to demonstrate our ability to impact sales! But....... any action is better than no action.

    If anyone else wants to get involved in putting a plan in place and if the other affiliates in here would agree to participate I'd sure spend some time on it. But as is, this will be my last attempt to bring the seriousness of our situation to the affiliates in here.

    Haiko has provided us a great board but it's up to us to effectively organize beyond that. Our lack of organization and the lack of real participation or willingness to make sacrifices for long term wins (for many of you) is despicable!

    1 Stop Florists Morpheus
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Sorry to be harsh, but you're living in dreamland if you think even 6,000 affiliates (and in fact, only the small subset of 6,000 affiliates who can actually be motivated to take a stand) will make merchants lose even 1 minute sleep!

    Pragmatically, you'll be much better off focusing on what YOU PERSONALLY can do to improve YOUR situation, and less on what some nebulous group of angry affiliates might or might not be able to do when working together.

    It's like when I see on Search Engine-related forums "Let's boycott Yahoo! because they charge a $299 listing fee" or on email-related forums "Let's boycott Hotmail because they spam their users until their email accounts are useless"... Talk about ants trying to band together to fight elephants!

    On the other hand, if you take a stand, personally, by working to optimize your own income by forming productive relationships with productive affiliate merchants, and everyone else is trying to do the same thing because it's good for them, the net effect is that the "good guys" will win a bit more, and the "bad guys" will lose a bit more.

    Repeat this process again and again until your traffic's optimized as far as it will go, and you will have indirectly done your bit in the battle against the ripoff merchants.

  3. #3
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Opposite the Slough of Despond
    Interesting post Happypoon, and you're right about all the frustrations.

    However, my two cents worth is this - you can boycott all the merchants you like and you'll only end up hurting yourself, and even all 5000+ could boycott all the merchants on the list and it would still do no good.

    I think the key thing is Merchant Education - they need it hammered into them that Morpheus and Gator is killing publishers, and the less publishers out there then the less income they'll get.

    I use detection scripts on some of my pages which I think is a great way to deal with the problem. If the visitor has scumware installed then frankly they can sod off and stop using my bandwidth. I guess I could use more detection scripts.

    Good post Happypoon, a lot of things to think about [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Меня зовут Динаму

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    I'm only awake enough to respond to a few of your points, although there's lots of good fodder for discussion there.

    Many of us ARE looking for "clean" merchants to replace those who collaborate with parasites. Many of us ARE writing to our merchants and expressing our concerns. These things happen in a semi-coordinated way, rather than tightly organized like a union or something, but they're happening. Your list will help ...

    Merchant education and public knowledge is one of the biggest things we need to work on. The parasites are sneaky enough that many affiliate managers honestly don't understand how they work unless other affiliates complain. Sometimes they have to hear the same message from several people before it gets through. When a company proves truly clueless about parasites or other concerns, word gets around and links DO come down ... there ARE good companies out there to replace them with ...

    Now if only the networks would show some ethical backbone and condemn parasitic link placement ... hey, I can dream ... ?


  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    happypoon, some people are not going to agree with your methods, suggestions, or reasoning. That does NOT mean that they do not take this issue seriously or that they are doing nothing about it.

    For intance, I don't believe that en masse boycotting, pulling links, or organizing a "strike" is an effective means of correcting this (or just about any) affiliate situation. Individuals may pull links on personal grounds, but I think we're all fooling ourselves if we expect that to affect change in all but the smallest of merchants.

    Each of us has to do what we believe to be the Right Thing -- as this is a difficult and complex situation with no easy answers (unless the networks can the scum altogether -- I join buckworks' dream), you have to expect that there will be different approaches.

    Dawn is nature's way of telling you to go to bed.

  6. #6
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Opposite the Slough of Despond
    There's a certain amount of market economics here.. as an affiliate it is in my interests to use merchants that don't have dealings with scumware merchants (there are several but TigerDirect springs to mind) - so these merchants will eventually be better at recruiting merchants than the ones who haven't sorted out their scumware relationships.

    That big long list includes merchants without whom I could not operate certain affiliate stores. If I pulled the merchant then there would be no-one to replace them. This sucks, but if there's no alternative what am I to do?

    I said it a moment ago but I really really do think that detection scripts are the way forward, where possible. Basically my point of view is that every visitor costs me money in some way and if they're never, ever going to give me any commission (even if they bought a product) then they can sod off.. so I have an (old) Morpheus script running on my main content pages which stops about 1%-2% of visitors seeing my content.

    Меня зовут Динаму

  7. #7
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    I feel a certain obligation to say Mondera is clean green and parasite free and while I run the program will stay that way [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img], good EPC, good commissions...what can I say Diamonds are Cool.



    Chris Sanderson
    Mondera Partner Management
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  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    MESSAGE Deleted asked a dumb question.... [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Good posting happypoon. I see that Overstock is on your list and yet it is a feature banner on this section. I wonder why Haiko would promote them?

    Where Do You Want To Be Tomorrow?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Hello. I agree that there are lots of problems. In fact I will add one more to your list that is my pet hate:

    Merchants that prominantly display their telephone number on their site and have no way of tracking telephone orders to affiliates.

    However there are some affiliates that are making a good income ... our income would probably be double or triple if these problems were all rectified.

    In the end the only solution I can see is to only promote the merchants that are profitable for affiliates ... and we need to tell other affiliates about problems with merchants, exactly what this forum is for. However to just drop the programs you have listed above. For personal interest reasons this is difficult. I am making a good income out of a few of the merchants listed above, which makes it difficult to just drop them.

    Probably the best strategy is to write lots of emails to the marketing/affiliate managers for these companies. I have tried this before, but didn't seem to do anything. I have even contacted 5-10 of the other top affiliates for a merchant with a specific problem, and they haven't done a thing about it. Takes a lot of time doing this so I've kind of given up, but wish we could make some kind of impact.

    In the end, the merchants will probably only listen to affiliates that generate a substantial revenue for them ... they probably just ignore requests from other affiliates.


    Top affiliate made $169,300 in one month. Find out how much affiliates are making at

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    One thing to consider is the number of totally *CLUELESS* affiliate managers there are out there running merchant programs.

    They aren't members of ABW;

    They don't realize there's a problem with the parasites, or if they do, they have no idea how big the problem is.

    You know the ones, they use the "fill in the blank" canned merchant information screen at CJ; they have one day cookies; the cookies are killed after the first order; they don't understand how EPC works, so they terminate publishers that don't send "good" traffic. The fact that they are out of merchandise, the fact that product links don't go to the right page, and the fact that their site isn't optimized to sell the merchandise escapes them.

    That's why it is so important that all of us E-mail them and tell them how serious this issue is. If they have the knowledge, and they choose to do nothing with it, then we know where they stand on the issue.

    I still feel like a lot of affiliate managers don't know there's a problem. Where would they hear about it if they don't visit the forums? CJ obviously isn't going to tell them.

    We need to make sure they're aware of what the parasites do, how they work, and the impact they have on the affiliate marketing industry as a whole.


  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Well put "Happypoon" and pretty much summarizes the state of affiliate marketing ..if not the direction it's headed. Parasites, Duperaffiliates and scumware shopping plug-ins are like a far off Hurricane, which now has changed course, built up speed and threatens to wipe us out if we aren't prepared. Unlike Hurricanes this menace is Man made and purposely directed where it can do the utmost damage.

    The moment we wake up to the danger, and personalize it to our web sales efforts, we get angry at all who were party to these destructive forces. Just like legit e-mail marketers hate the spammers worse then we do, so too should the networks hate the Dupers and parasites who drain the revenue potential from their collective merchant/affiliate swimming pool.

    Nothing like a Gator or two in a public swimming hole to stop people from going there. Wake up networks! Add in some poisonous snakes like Morpheus -ShopNow -Kazaa and your going to have to pay the over heated swimmers to get into your pond.

    WebMaster Mike

    [This message was edited by on September 25, 2002 at 08:38 AM.]

  13. #13
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    theft in this business is a lot easier to live with than theft in a regular store.. popups don't carry hammers and knives

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Amen to that Mike!

    "My two cents"

    This is very overwhelming to me.
    I pulled most of the vendors who is on the
    loooooooooong list.

    But if I pulled the rest of them I guess it's time for me to go back to my $5.50 minimum wage.
    At least I know I will get paid for my hard work (On Time! :-)). This job is too much for me.

    When I start on this program, I tell my self it's my chance to really get paid enough money without working so hard for more than a minimum wage.

    I have to pay to advertise their products (most don't convert) on top of that I have to pay for my website, domain name, and have a butt arthritis!
    Oh I forgot to add the Stress Factor of this business...

    I feel so badly about all of us that just trying to earn an honest dollar and getting duped in every way you go! TERIBLE TERIBLE TERIBLE...

    I always work and earn every penny I made. And darn proud of it!
    I love it when I came to U.S. 15 years ago. I learn so much since then.
    But this one I wish I have never learn. It is Outrageous!

    I start the boycotting the vendors. I might be just a small person (really I am). But I can't lose if I pulled them all, I am losing already anyway and I'll just have a website for recipes.

    Or like my Daddy always say when I was a young pup,

    "If you can't beat 'em? Join 'em!" hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

    Well this is my two cents.

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

    [This message was edited by Nova on September 25, 2002 at 12:29 PM.]

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by chinaski:
    theft in this business is a lot easier to live with than theft in a regular store.. popups don't carry hammers and knives<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I rather fight with a live person!
    At least I can depend my self on my way!
    Guns, Knives don't scare me!
    this is!

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

  16. #16
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    NOVA ..hang in there. It will take some time to see our campaign to wipe out the parasites and cleanup the network's involvement in giving them and the Dupers unfair advantages. Take each cleaned merchant and showcase them and their products and you can weather out the storm.

    WebMaster Mike

  17. #17
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    I'm really starting to like this Mondera company. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

    As to all the negatives involved in affiliate marketing I just have to point out that no matter what business you get involved in there are always problems. For instance getting enough credit to stock a retail store is a PITA as well as being a wholesaler of any sort and everyone expects you to extend credit to them and I don't mean for small amounts either I mean thousands of dollars over what was supposed to be 90 days or less and two years later still trying to collect you money.

    Affiliate marketing is definately the easiest, safest, and cheapest way to run a business and let's not forget it is one of the very few things you can do that has absolutely zero limits.

    Yeah having your commissions stolen from you is a kick in the teeth especially when we expect a solid business relationship with these merchant companies but believe me in the brick and mortar world they will screw you just as fast as they do now.

    "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  18. #18
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    &gt;However, my two cents worth is this - you can boycott all the merchants you like and you'll only end up hurting yourself.

    Heh. Not quite. With the exception of Amazon and JC Whitney that is the longest string of crooked losers I've seen in my life.

    Just because a company has real life stores and is quoted publically does not mean they are honest. Far from it. Once a crook, always a crook. How about of a list of merchants that aren't on there? They are the ones to invest your time with.

    The ones above are going to be paying the networks even for free sales. They are not going to be able to afford commissions for us anyway. CJ and the like will soon have them by the short and curlies.

    It isn't Morpheus that is the parasite here. CJ lied to their merchants and said Morpheus wasn't diverting commissions and wasn't doing anything illegal.

    Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?

    This will be Bill Gross' idea. He runs his 'VC' company as illicit mutual funds. Then it 'oops I've bankrupted another one sorry' to hide the paper trail.

    I'm certainly up for a network strike. While we still have the leverage.


  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Obviously a separate and disparate approach has done very little good to this point - I mean.... just look at the list! It only speaks to how ineffective affiliates have been in fighting this.

    With as many vendors as are in the list surely, we can find one or more we could target where we have alternatives and... let it be known we are targeting.

    I'm writting my merchants and pulling links too and no I can't pull all of them either but I can't help but think that if we made an example out of some of them and the success of their programs (or lack thereof), we would be better off. Many of them do have competitors and in some cases the entire group is infected so dropping one wouldn't realy matter but to the one dropped - it would still be measurable!

    If we bring one merchant in a group around, we stand a great chance of bringing other merchants around and if we can't, that one merchant who did come around is going to get much more exposure, marketing and sales from us.

    Many of you seem to think it's because the AM has very little or no understanding of Morpheous tatics and I say Andy and Shawn both knew they were thieves initially but still let them in because they really want sales! Don't get me wrong, I would have given them a second chance if I were in their shoes too but now the stakes have been raised and they are faced with some tough choices.

    Bottom line, I know the AM's understand one major thing..... It's called "Sales" and I feel our best approach to getting them see the light is by effecting that. Many of the other AM's may not know how to effectively build relationships or to provide approriate marketing material like Andy and Shawn.... and you to Chris but, they are still judged on their effectiveness based on underlying sales! Only one legal way I can think of how to effectively impact their sales. It's spelled B. O. Y. C. O. T.

    Banning merchants one at a time in a well organized way will surely help turn this issue around and if you don't believe that well..... One of us is very naive.

  20. #20
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Opposite the Slough of Despond
    The great thing about having TigerDirect, Mondera and probably some of the other merchants here is that you know where you stand with them.

    I'd never heard of TigerDirect before Andy came to ABW, but I've started to send traffic and make some money from them.. and I know I'm not being fleeced by some scumware pusher.

    The same goes for Chris and Mondera.. you know I would *never* have thought about promoting the product before their stand on scumware, and now they're on my to-do list, just waiting for inspiration.

    Selling your affiliate programmes to publishers is a lot more than cookie durations, commission rates, chargeback percentage etc, it's about listening to your affiliates and attracting more by offering a good programme and listening to affiliates views... how many times have TD affiliates been pleasantly suprised when TD has ditched something unpopular because of affiliate input.. quite a few!

    Affiliate pressure *does* work.. even the grandaddy of all affiliate programs at Amazon has started listening to affiliates.. uh.. "Associates" by improving the commission structure and even (rumored) to be thinking about the scumware merchants.

    Frustrating... heck, yes. But it's still a helluva thrill to see those unexpected BIG sales coming though.. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Меня зовут Динаму

  21. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Coldwater Creek did remove morpheus from our program.

    Jamie Birch
    Affiliate and Partner Programs Manager
    Coldwater Creek

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    That is awesome Jamie. If this is the only location you stated this, perhaps you should put it elsewhere. Must support the merchants that find us valuable.


  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    yes it was posted on the Coldwater Creek forum, i think it the 30 clicks 1 sale thread. Good job Jamie.

    May all your ups and downs be in bed

  24. #24
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Opposite the Slough of Despond
    Shucks that means another merchant I'll have to check out [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] (Look, I *do* live on another continent you know).

    I know there are some discussions elsewhere about this, but I do think it would be useful to create a list of the merchants who UNDERSTAND what these scumware pushers are about and that ultimately it's in both the merchant and affiliate's interests to stamp out commission theft.

    (Coldwater Creek still sounds like an Aussie wine to me [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] )

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  25. #25
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005

    Beating the minimum wage at this is EASY, despite everything--once you get the hang of it.

    I'd say it takes 6-8 months to really get the hang of things (during which the earnings suck)--then things fall into place and it can take off like a ROCKET! So don't give up even if you have to do some employment until you're making enough to quit the job. My mother is learning the biz in between teaching music full time. It's going slower than if she quit teaching first but I can see that things are finally starting to click. If you persist you can blow by what any job can pay!

    Happypoon, you mention a lot of hazards in this business but it's really no more hazardous than bricks-and-mortar. Shrink (loss due to theft, returns, damaged goods, staling, etc. but usually theft) is a fact of life in bricks-and-mortar business, especially retail! The best Loss Prevention department cannot prevent all the shrink from happening, although a good LP dept. can cut the amount a lot.

    Basically there is a point where it costs more to prevent any more shrink, than the shrink itself is costing. Once that point is crossed, there is no profit in preventing the shrink! That's one of the reasons that most stores don't do much about the $2 items but chain up the fur coats.

    @ no one in particular:

    I see a lot of talk about how big Morpheus (or Gator or any other place) is and how Little an affiliate site is. I think that kind of talk is defeatist!

    There is NO reason an affiliate site can't become a big huge company like all the other big huge companies already existing!!! So-called "reasons" that spring to the defeatist mind are nothing more than the other Big Huge Companies faced before they were big and huge. Established big companies to compete against, costs of business, name it. To get big and huge the big companies drove over those "obstacles". The biggest companies started out TINY just like the rest of us!

    And of course it can be done legitimately. It usually takes longer to do things legitimately but once done, the legit operation is much more solid (provided they don't make some other dummy business move). I think most of the long-standing, huge bricks-and-mortar companies are basically legitimate operations. And I've seen more places brought DOWN by internal crookery (like Enron) that have been brought UP by it!

    I intend to make my sites big and huge despite Parasitewares and all the other obstacles. Shoplifting doesn't stop bricks-and-mortar retailers from becoming big companies and parasiteware will not stop me.

    Of course it's better to have no shoplifters but shoplifting is no reason to close up shop or believe that there's no serious money left to be made either. Loss Prevention is a part of every business.

    There is no knowledge that is not power.~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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