View Full Version : Todd Crawford/VP at CJ.com responds to my email

08-31-2001, 07:11 PM
My email to Todd- sent 8/31/01 (PST - San Diego, CA, Planet Geek):

Todd Crawford
VP Strategic Alliances

Hello Todd,

Please excuse the interuption. You and many present and past members of your
staff have used my geek/talk Forum at http://www.geekvillage.com/forums/ to
answer my members questions and promote your program. Rather than jumping to
conclusions and post publickly on my BB, I thought it necessary to ask you
some questions related to Contextual Advertising which has already defaced
my site, altered my content, and stolen my advertisers links without my
prior permission and without providing me with any revenue sharing. Some of
these Companies have also inserted "Adult" links in my site and defaced
religious sites. I am also a CJ affiliate and a number of my members need

I have recently learned that CJ.com provides tracking and has an affiliate
relationship with Ezula and Gator. Is this true? Do you also provide
tracking and or an affiliate realationship with any other Merchants who use
TopText or similar Contextual Advertising techniques? Could you please
provide the names?

Obviously, If what I read is true, and CJ is providing services to these
companies I would urge you to immediately terminante these relationships.
I'm not concerned with your "legal" position in this matter since I'm not
privy to your contract. I am very concerned about how you will fair in the
court of publick opinion and if a significant number of Merchants and or
Publishers immediately terminante their relationship with CJ this will have
a serious negative impact. Every day of the year, members of geek/talk
deliver thousands of dollars in sales via CJ.com so this issue is very
important and I would appreciate a response to this email.

Your last post:


My Screen Captures Forum which documents these actions:


Best regards,
Steve Shubitz
Tribal communication with like minded
natives at it's very best!

---end of my email----------

His email responce - recieved on 8/31/01 (PST - San Diego, CA, Planet Geek):


Thank you for the email. I appreciate you bring this discussion to my attention. I am aware that there has been quite a bit if discussion concerning eZula's TopText, Gator.com and Microsoft's SmartTags (IE 6) lately. Most of it has been in our member area message boards and at ReveNews.com.

If I may, I would like to summarize my personal feelings on these forms of advertising. This is not an official CJ position because we are still investigating the legality of their business models and how it would apply to the CJ Publisher Agreement. Additionally, CJ cannot legally release the names of publishers without their consent, so we cannot confirm nor deny that they are using links from CJ and if they are using CJ links, how those links were obtained - either directly merchant negotiated or submitted by another publisher (which was recently the case between TopText and PremierEquity - see ReveNews for more on that).

OK. First of all, these products are end user downloads. This means a person (the end user) has elected to use the product because they feel it provides them with some value. Just like I can choose to not accept cookies on my browser (which could prevent tracking of some commissions), I can also decide what to install on my browser/computer. That is not a good thing for these companies because their success relies on distribution. Not only on distribution but more importantly, on user retention. That means if someone downloads it, they must like it enough to continue to use it for it to have a chance of adversely affecting publishers' commissions. In my opinion, these are two strikes against the potential success of these companies. Their entire business model relies on distribution and providing a value proposition strong enough to retain their users - this is expensive, time consuming and not that easy.

Next, whether CJ or any other performance based network (BeFree, LinkShare, Performics, etc.) is involved or not, is not really the issue. This will not curtail distribution efforts and direct ad sales by these companies. Most of them do deals directly with the advertisers (CPC). If it is a CPA deal, advertisers could use their affiliate programs to track the results but they could also do side deals and track them in-house. This means that advertiser dollars will still go to these companies whether CJ cuts the check or the advertisers do it themselves.

Thirdly, some publishers have illegally used their affiliate links to buy keywords with these companies (this is also done at GoTo by some publishers but is not looked down upon). If they do not have permission from the advertisers to do this, their commissions will be reversed and they will get kicked out of the network.

CJ does not want to prevent publishers, including the publishers here at GeekVillage, from earning money legitimately. At this time, what these companies are doing is legal. Many publishers want to put a stop to these forms of advertising. I suggest they pressure the merchants advertising with these companies and the companies that distribute the downloads. This is the only effective way to stop them. These companies have investors and a business model they believe in and are not likely to change what they are doing. The only way to pressure them is to go to the source of their revenues and distribution. CJ is not the source of their revenues, the advertisers using them are.

I hope my perspective is clear. I feel that CJ and other ad networks are being unjustly blamed for something that we have little control over (if any). Again, this is just my two cents.

Please feel free to post this at GeekVillage where you think it is appropriate.

Best regards,

Todd Crawford

---end of email------

Your thoughts please?

08-31-2001, 07:54 PM
Your thoughts please?

Double speak, clearly defending the legality of what they are doing.

He is just trying to hold the line until a lawsuit is filed.

09-01-2001, 05:00 AM
I find it quite interesting that everyone is talking of law suites..Do you think that these companies are 1 man bands working out of a bedroom? probably not..

they most likely have lawyers who have been through the legalities of what they are doing for many months. If they knew they would be taken to court, why would they release their software?

09-02-2001, 03:53 AM
Thanks to Steve and Todd for publishing this email exchange to the attention of the geeks.

When it comes to the use of predatory advertising, I think that affiliate program networks are finding themselves in a position which they weren't prepared to deal with in urgent manner.

What complicate the situation more is the fact that some merchants/advertisers who were/are engaged in predatory adverting weren't aware of the implications and consequences of such advertising methods. They should have the benefit of the doubt to have time to decide on this issue.

Its my firm belief that the grassroots movement to inform the public about the consequences of predatory advertising is winning ground by attracting to its side merchants, advertisers and networks. Collaboration is the best way to deal with and resolve this matter, IMHO.

Publishers do understand that it mightbe difficult and require some time for merchants, advertisers and networks to pull out of long-term agreements which directly or indirectly involve predatory advertising. And publishers do know that possible legal procedures take time..mightbe very long time.

Meanwhile, the least merchants, advertisers and networks can do is:

- Disclose to the public their use of predatory advertising if its the case.

- Publish a public statement to the effect whether they intend to use/accept or stop using/not accepting predatory advertising in future.

This shall allow publishers to make a qualified decision about the faith of their relationships with such merchants, advertisers and networks.

All the best,


09-02-2001, 04:13 AM
Originally posted by steb
they most likely have lawyers who have been through the legalities of what they are doing for many months. If they knew they would be taken to court, why would they release their software?

Obviously gator was prepared, they are suing IAB


I can see a lot of sparks flying over this. We just need to keep pushing and fighting to stop it.

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