It Was The Affiliates That Spammed!

Techdirt: Bogus Diet Patch Company Gets Away By Blaming Affiliates

Despite the fact that the company was probably pushing others to do the spamming for it, if they didn’t do the actual spamming, should they be held liable for spamming? Of course, there’s also the followup. If they know it was the affiliates, then why not go after those affiliates as well? That should scare off some of these spammers from signing up for affiliate programs.

InternetNews: Diet Patch Spammers Settle With FTC

Ok let me see if I got this right. You can get away with spamming if you have affiliates for your product(s). Then if (when) the FTC comes crashing down your door – you just say: Hey! You can’t prove it was me – look at all the affiliates I have.

And there’s truth in that. How does the FTC know the company isn’t a victim of its affiliates? Or worse yet – its competitors?

Wouldn’t this online world be a better place if people STOPPED BUYING FROM SPAM! Take away the motivation for spam (sales $), and snap snap – spam problem solved. I say instead of fining spammers to deter spam (um it’s not working), people who BUY from spam should be fined. Snap snap again – problem solved.

๐Ÿ˜†

Sweeping Up All Those Cookies

So I’ve been a cookie monster this month, big deal! ๐Ÿ˜€

Cookies Crumbling Drama & Confusion

Disturbing Cookie News

More Crumbling Cookies Talk

But being involved online with affiliate marketing, HEY COOKIES ARE IMPORTANT! When the cookie doesn’t work, I don’t get paid.

There’s a great discussion going on over at Search Engine Watch Stopping Anti-Spyware from Deleting Cookies that’s discussing the ClickZ article Crumbling Cookies Threaten SEM and Online Advertising.

The ClickZ article has some good info, two blurbs toward the bottom states:

Several trade associations are positioned to help save the cookie as a viable ad tracking method (if it can be saved). They have several weapons at their disposal, including:

Proactive consumer PR efforts, so consumers will understand cookies’ positive effect in helping them manage their online experiences and even to see more relevant advertising

Lawmaker education on the realistic levels of privacy “invasion” caused by non-personally-identifiable cookies served by first- and third-parties

And

Is the potential outcome of the “cookie crisis” overstated? Perhaps. But I don’t want to see the cookie’s value to consumers, advertisers, and publishers evaporate.

Personally I think the cookie is toast. Surfers want clean computers and if that means sweeping away the 150 cookies their computer stores daily, so be it. I can’t think of one good reason why I need to store my cookies (I’m a daily cookie sweeper). Someone convince me – educate me. Show me how it’s in *my* best interests to keep my cookies stored.

Easy logins? Nah, my Roboform provides me with one-click access. Sure a lot of surfers don’t use password managers, but they do use their browser’s password management feature.

Aside from that there is a bigger concern that caught me eye in the SEW thread:

first of all, the ‘net buyers’ usually have more than one computer and usally surf in a ‘passive way’ when at work and in an ‘active’ one when at home; for example, i work in a search engine and i’me always online, but when i want to buy something online, i do it at home; i ‘search’ at work (with another pc) and ‘buy’ at home; so the cookie does not work; and in my office i see every guy doing the same thing: nobody want to extract his cc in the office and start buying there; we want to do with calm at home, ins’t it??

And thinking on that, I realize how much truth is stated there. We’re no longer a ‘one computer’ society. I have three at home, use two or more regularly at work. And hell no – I will never buy anything online while at work. I might as well just pin my credit card number up on the bulletin board in the staff room.

So if we’re using multiple computers, searching on one/two/three computers and buying on others, how are cookies effectively tracking affiliate sales? Now throw in the parasite issue that too many merchants and networks allowed to flourish.

Snip from the SEW thread:

I think this will soon become a competitive issue: The companies that can show the most reliable tracking will win the best performing affiliates, and will be able to bid the highest CPCs on PPC listings.

Companies left behind, with only cookie tracking to offer, will have to pay affiliates a higher cut (for the users lost in tracking) and the same companies will have a harder time calculating ROI.

I am sure we will soon begin to see more vendors offering alternatives to cookies. With more competition the prices will most loikely drop to a level acceptable for even smaller comapnies. Today, it is just too complicated and expensive for small sites.

Amen.

Now, how many affiliates are seeing the graffiti sprayed across that brick wall? Do we keep building pages/websites around cookie tracked commissions? Or do we run like hell and prepare for what’s happening?

Building Sites That Earn Within 24 Hours

Paul Short has written a few great *informative* posts in this thread over at the Warrior Forum:

The Most Saturated Internet Biznesses (spelling error left intact). He starts off with:

Yesterday morning at about 12:30am I had an idea for a niche web site. I did a little digging and if I had found there was no competition in that niche, I would have stretched, yawned, and went to bed.

Instead, I discovered there IS competition in that niche, lots of it – enough to make PPC advertising in that niche market very expensive and consistent…

So instead of going to bed, I fired up the coffee pot, registered a domain name and built a site based on about 40 targeted keyword phrases. I went through the whole process in about 3 hours and spent the rest of the night getting inbound links from other related sites. THEN I yawned, stretched, and went to bed.

I can’t get over how he achieves quality link exchanges (ones that provide traffic) with a Google PR of 0 (brand new site). ๐Ÿ˜ฏ But aside from that, it’s a nice read and a reminder that earning online doesn’t have to be as complicated as we sometimes like to make it.

Kudos on the great posts Paul!

CJ Shares A Server With An Aff?

I can’t make sense of this, can anyone provide some wisdom?

Connie Berg at revenews has a puzzling post:

Just My Imagination Or Something Fishy Going On?

So many questions and no answers yet.
Is this really nothing, is my suspicous mind just working overtime?
Why are Shoponlineshopping. biz and Shoponlineshopping. us which belong to the Robbins on the same ip/server as the CJ domains?
Do the Robbins folks have some connection to CJ?

The whois for http://whois.webhosting.info/Shoponlineshopping.biz

The sites sitting on that server:

http://whois.webhosting.info/216.34.209.13

Whois

Whoops! Looks like I grabbed the screencap just in time. Whois is being switched up all over tonight (Whois database was last updated on: Fri Mar 25 08:07:17 GMT 2005) and only Shoponlineshopping. biz is still showing up on the same server as CJ’s. Shoponlineshopping. us that info is now toast (Whois database was last updated on: Fri Mar 25 09:14:34 GMT 2005)

Anyone know the “what’s-this-all-about” story?

More Crumbling Cookies Talk

Are the report’s numbers off? Another perspective about the cookie news I posted earlier today here Disturbing Cookie News. Seth Godin writes:

File Under: Stats That Cannot Be True

Let’s do a reality check here. This is the same population that can’t get rid of pop ups, repeatedly falls for phishing of their Paypal and eBay accounts, still uses Internet Explorer, buys stuff from spammers, doesn’t know what RSS is and sends me notes every day that say, “what’s a blog?”

Forgive my skepticism, but it’s inconceivable to me that 40% of the audience knows how to use their browser to erase their cookies.

And posts out another article here: Study: Consumers Delete Cookies at Surprising Rate

Seth does have a point and Lord knows I still have to teach my co-workers how to use a search engine. However I do think that we need to remember people are becoming more and more net and computer savvy every day. There are countless links, posts and instructions posted across thousands of blogs, forums, websites, each pointing to AdAware, Spybot S&D, spyware cleaners, cookie cleaners, popup blockers and more.

People are sick and tired of their computers bogged down and paying to have their computers cleaned up. And they’re actively seeking out methods/programs to help with maintenance. And many of those methods (if not most), wipe out cookies.

Are the report’s numbers off? Could be, I don’t know. But if the numbers are wrong, for how long?

Kowabunga! Newsflash

CGI Holding Corporation Acquires KowaBunga! Posted on Kowabunga’s Corporate blog

Todd Farmer, the CEO of KowaBunga, stated, “Merging with Think Partnership and their impressive family of companies offers KowaBunga an unprecedented opportunity for growth and development. We see this merger as a synergistic partnership that will allow us to reach a wide variety of new clients while offering the other Think Partnership companies custom technology solutions.”

Think Partnership Inc. (CGI Holding Corporation)

The new name reflects our commitment to building a decentralized, collaborative partnership of entrepreneur-driven, profitable companies with expertise in online and traditional advertising, marketing and communications.

Think Partnership intends to continue its aggressive growth both organically, as well as by acquiring selected profitable private companies with proven management teams who are enthusiastic about helping us build an industry leader, as one of our partners.

CGI Holding Corporation Acquires KowaBunga! Marketing, a Leading Affiliate Software Provider

Based in Westland, MI, KowaBunga has grown steadily since its inception in 1996, by offering innovative, cutting edge technology combined with world-class support and customer service. KowaBunga currently services over 2,000 merchants with their My Affiliate Program Tracking and Management solution and thousands of affiliates with their newly released Kolimbo Affiliate Network (www.Kolimbo.com). Todd Farmer, the founder of KowaBunga, will continue to lead the business following the merger.