Affiliate Lists And Potential Stalking Alert

I’ve been following the discussion around town regarding The Affiliate List since Graywolf posted about it over on threadwatch: List of Top Earning Affiliates. I pretty much want to stay out of it.

But I will discuss here how all this has affected me as an affiliate and my future outlook. Maybe my voice isn’t all that important or as important and connected as others, but that’s never stopped me before! πŸ˜†

Number 1 – I’m not on the list. I haven’t seen a copy – but I know it’s not possible. And if I was on the list – there’d be a serious gong show goin on. :lol:!

Somewhere earlier on this blog we had a little discussion about why I won’t post my sites publicly here. IMO it’s the fastest way to kill a money making site. Six months flat – tops. And here now with the List – some of the true ‘Super Affs’ are having their network of sites and information outted. By someone who worked with them at some point.

What I’m most concerned about, because now this part *does* affect me, is the fact that affiliate managers, affiliate network VPs and employees, contractors, programmers, etc., have the opportunity to cull and gather all my information. And sell it. Or move on to copy my work and build for themselves.

http://www.threadwatch.org/node/2900#comment-18440:

1) I have offered my biography many places on the Web, including the site where this product is sold. If it remains a mystery as to where I’ve seen the data (that allows me to pass judgment on retail focused affiliates) after helping found an affiliate network, lead the sales effort at the leading affiliate data services provider and manage dozens of programs as an outsourced services provider to marketers… well, then, I’m sorry. Believe it or not, Elisabeth, people who are employed with such companies and in such positions can actually view data without distributing it. Right now there are dozens of people with access to every affiliate’s data out there… their financial information either in part or in whole. They’re looking at it right now perhaps. Hey look – there’s an affiliate manager looking at it. Now there’s an employee at a network looking at it and they’re looking, also, at your SEO techniques. Maybe they’ll leave their $70K a year position and become an affiliate. Hold the show, now there’s three guys from Overture (I shall not name them but most should know who they are) who broke away and are some of the largest affiliates out there to date. How? By leveraging the data they *saw* (didn’t take or sell!) from within Goto/Overture.

It seems I misunderstood and what I thought was private and protected about me – really isn’t. Yeah I know whois is there for the taking, yada yada yada, but what I thought was sacred was my financial earning power within the networks. I didn’t realize that someone I worked with could legally flag and tag me as a big gun, package that information and sell it – or even just share amongst other affiliate managers outside the company, or anyone outside the network period.

As an affiliate I’m one of many really striving to reach top dollar status, spending hours learning SEO techniques, web development issues, script programs, scouring for good hosts, sales techniques, copywriting development, ppc techniques – the learning curve for affiliate marketing is TREMENDOUS!

And I love it absolutely.

But now I have this scary thing looming ahead. When I do *get there*, I can see I’ll potentially have an army of affiliate managers and affiliate network employees stalking me and my work. And using my information, my techniques, to benefit and further themselves. And the scariest part is – that seems to be the best case scenario I could hope for! Because apparently they could choose to package it all up and hand my information out to anyone.

Someone told me eons ago that affiliate marketing is super-shady behind the scenes (not slim shady – super shady!), but was an excellent way to figure the ‘web ropes’ out. But once I get there and learned my tricks, move up and out lickety split as a manner of self preservation for earning online.

I’m starting to get what he was saying.

He also told me a few tricks about the whois πŸ˜‰

More discussion:

Affiliate Lists – Lies Damn Lies
The Source’s Ass
Why can’t we all just get along v.2.0
The Affiliate List Under Fire
The Useful Idiots of Affiliate Marketing
Premier Web Affiliates Revealed, Profiled

btw – anyone have a good list of dropshippers handy? Anywhere? 😎

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I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.

8 thoughts on “Affiliate Lists And Potential Stalking Alert

  1. Good stuff Terry. Aff stuff is fairly shady from what I’ve seen, but those that were in it early DO know the web inside and out. I guess it makes sense from an AM perspective that they want to recruit the best affiliates…I would imagine this is only the tip of the iceberg on this sort of thing unless the equivalent of an “affiliate union” is created, which could only help serve to make things MORE shady;)

  2. Just a passing thought as I’m researching my monday morning tool list (on PR tools)…There are a whole BUNCH of places that sell the contact information from a database for journalists.

  3. Thanks Todd.

    An Affiliate Union would destroy the world as we know it! πŸ˜† j/k, but I do agree that this list is only the start. I think a precedent has now been set and that any pretense of privacy is gone. No turning back as that door has been opened.

    I think the difference between selling contact information (as you mentioned above) is that it’s just – contact info. It doesn’t flag people as ‘super affs’, their earning power and how they’re doing it (websites listed).

    What’s unique about the web is that any mickey mouse can come along and copy what we’ve built. If we can’t trust the people we’re working with to respect our need for privacy and discretion, and at the very least – keep our websites private – who the hell can we trust?

  4. I’ve been making my own list. A list of people NOT TO WORK WITH EVER. I’m very upset about one person in particular supporting this. They’ve been one of my aff managers and it sickens me to think of the data they have on me and their obvious blase ‘tude about protecting affiliate information. Do I ever feel sorry for the affiliates that were put out in prime time like this. All that hard work made public. The garbage pile just gets stacked higher and higher in AM. The people that were supposed to be on my side working with me really are on their own damn side. I’m looking at things outside AM too Terry. There’s just so much grease a person can tolerate. I’m also disappointed in the higher profile affiliate managers and companies that aren’t coming forward and condemning this. I have to wonder what they’re up to and planning with their affiliate data. I’m pizzed about this.

  5. If Perfomics and Linkshare gave Molander access to this information with no protection whatsoever, and they have privacy statements on their web sites, and they have done nothing to stop him from publishing private information, they are IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW IN CALIFORNIA, MARYLAND, AND NEW YORK at the very least.

    Linkshare and Performics had better sue him or they will be sued.

    At the very least, they are liable under financial privacy laws AND stalking laws in California. If I were a lawyer for Performics or Linkshare, or even Afftrack, I’d start studying California law around these issues. Y’all are exposed!

  6. The Great Controversy Over Lists

    3) Networks and consultants have been trading, or offering lists of affiliates for years and years. Complete with personal contact information. Rumor has it that many managers have passed or swapped these lists around.

    Well there we have it. MPeters my guess is that you’re not going to hear any affiliate manager or network stand up against this. Apparently it’s a common industry practice for affiliate information to be flipped around like pancakes.

    I recommend everyone read the above article. I found it very forthright and something every affiliate needs to know. I may not have *liked* the message, but I appreciate the information.

    One positive about all this – I’m a lot less naive than I was yesterday!

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