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Old 08-18-2001, 07:28 AM   #1
WildComputer
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Harith, I know you are Brian Clark are directors of the Affiliate Union, http://www.affiliateunion.com/ - so I would like to suggest that you consider adding a clause to the certification criteria which explicitly forbids traffic hijacking/diversion of this type.

An additional thought is that there are merchants who are not in a position or don't want to or agree the full Affiliate Union certification criteria, but who would be able to agree to at least a basic standard of decency (no spamming, paying their affiliates, etc.), and this presumably includes not-hijacking from affiliates. There should be a way to bring these people/companies in.
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Old 08-18-2001, 08:12 AM   #2
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Sunil

"Harith, I know you are Brian Clark are directors of the Affiliate Union, http://www.affiliateunion.com/ - so I would like to suggest that you consider adding a clause to the certification criteria which explicitly forbids traffic hijacking/diversion of this type."

Actually neither Brian, nor I or any member of the Affiliate Union Board can add (or modify) anything to the AU Certification Standards. But of course, Brian and I as members of the AU group can suggest such addition to the AU group and see what happen.

The reason is that the Affiliate Union work is based upon the "open standards committee" tradition of the Internet.

First members submit suggestions to the group. Then we discuss the suggestions. If a decision is needed then we create a poll and vote. The results of the poll decide whether an issue to be adopted by the AU.

Actually I have posted yesterday a message to the AU group about the scumsoftware with some references. Geek talk was one of them, of course.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/affili...n/message/1560

Sunil!

You are also most welcome to suggest the same to the AU group. It doesn't take more than few seconds to join the AU group and then post your suggestions.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/affiliateunion

We love to see people like you among us


Have a great day,


Harith
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Old 08-18-2001, 02:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: AffiliateUnion

Hi Sunil

Many thanks for asking.

My friend on the AU Board, Wayne Porter is on his way to reply to your questions. He has registered to geek talk and waiting to receive confirmation. Have no idea how long that may take.



All the best,

Harith
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Old 08-18-2001, 05:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: AffiliateUnion

Sunil

It seems Wayne hasn't received the geek talk confirmation email yet. So here I go answering your questions.


============================================
I would imagine the intent of this rule is to avoid extraction of
traffic from affiliate's web site without compensation to said affiliate and/or without affiliate's knowledge.
============================================

As to item 1(a) .

In a performance relationship there is no justification for requiring an affiliate partner to run a non-commissionable link to participate in a relationship. If affiliate partners choose to do so they may, but this is not an industry best practice nor is it a wise practice by affiliate partners. Since all activity is compensated for on a performance level it is unfair to demand partners carry
non-commissionable links or logos as terms of an agreement. A year ago, when this was drafted as part of the AU standards this was a more common practice. Natural market dynamics have eliminated alot of this activity.


==========================================
An affiliate provider/network or merchant, who advertised on,
facilitated, participated, or profited from software/services which add links to web sites' content with the site owner's consent, such as TopText would presumably not be in compliance with the intent of this rule. Please raise this issue with AffiliateUnion.
=========================================

The AU Board shall consider soonest a text submitted today by an AU member to be included in affiliate agreements.

<quote>

Affiliate agrees not to use any predatory advertising methods in the promotion of the merchant products, services or affiliate
program. Predatory advertising is defined as any method that creates or changes links or banners on web sites without that web site's owners expressed permission. Participation in predatory advertising programs will be cause for affiliates immediate termination.

</quote>


The procedure to handle this matter shall be as I described in my previous post.


==========================================
This is slightly off-topic, but there are merchants (and presumably
affiliates) who agree with the broad aims of AffiliateUnion (i.e. fair
and ethical business practises), but don't necessarily buy in to the
concept of a third (or fourth in the case of networked programs) outside party having input into what they see as their private business relationships. These merchants/affiliates are NOT the enemy, many are potential allies on the TopText-issue.
=============================================

As you know, the Affiliate Union AU is a joint effort of affiliates, merchants, affiliate managers/advisors, affiliate directory editors and affiliate program networks.

The goal of the AU has never been to control or dictate how a merchant or an affiliate partner runs their business. For example, the AU does not dictate that payment terms should be Net 30 days ONLY that the merchant discloses their terms fairly and openly and addresses how payment might affect webmasters on a global scale.

Another example is that the AU does not dictate what cookie methodology or length of time a merchant should set in a performance relationship. While it is becoming a best practice to set a minimum of seven days, merchants are free to set this where they wish. However, the AU only asks that merchants
openly disclose the time and duration of cookies and how the commissionable process is tracked.

The AU is solely about disclosure and preparing guidelines for open disclosure. If you review the AU guidelines you will see there is nothing that regulates or attempts to invoke control over someone else's business- only that they openly disclose in their online contracts how they will conduct their business. AU certification is in no way a seal of approval about the quality of a program, it would only certify that a merchant has meet the
minimum requirements of full disclosure so that potential partners can make an informed decision.

Here is a snip of the AFFILIATE PROGRAM CERTIFICATION CRITERIA of AU:

http://www.affiliateunion.com/drafts09112000.html

"Affiliate Union has taken on the mandate of delineating the areas of disclosure that enable a potential affiliate to have the information necessary in order to make an informed decision as
to whether or not a particular program may be right for his/her business purposes. The Union has made every effort to avoid mandating particular quantitative requirements so as not to
dictate business terms to merchants. Affiliate Union does NOT make qualitative judgments regarding the value of any particular program, and certification does NOT imply any endorsement whatsoever of the certified program. It ONLY confirms that the agreement, as submitted to the Union, has met minimum disclosure requirements."


I hope this answer your questions

All the best,

Harith

Last edited by harry; 08-18-2001 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 08-18-2001, 05:46 PM   #5
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Harry, Steve is the only person who controls registration procedure on this forum, so I am not able to expedite Wayne's admission except insofar as to bring it to Steve's attention

Two specific questions:

1. Your new text submitted addresses the question or predatory advertising by affiliates - what about predatory advertising by merchants (including on to their own affiliates sites) and by affiliate-networks.

2. Does a merchant or affiliate-network who participates in predatory advertising violate your existing rule against non-Commissioned links?

On the specific definition of predatory advertising, you may wish to consider a wider definition to avoid loop holes. Perhaps to exclude popups designed to cover banner ads (Gator-style), and alterations/additions to text/images

Finally on the rules, procedures and goals of AffiliateUnion, I realize that I opened this subject up, but except in so far as it overlaps with Ezula TopText and similar, it is somewhat off-topic for this thread, so we do need to as much as possible keep that in separate threads.

Thanks for your understanding + help
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Old 08-18-2001, 06:03 PM   #6
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Sunil

Thanks. Shall bring your remarks to our list for discussion.

And return to fightback on that ugly scumsoftware.


All the best,

Harith
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Old 08-19-2001, 03:00 AM   #7
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Sunil,

>>>>>>>>>>>
1. Your new text submitted addresses the question or predatory advertising by affiliates - what about predatory advertising by merchants (including on to their own affiliates sites) and by affiliate-networks.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I think this is something that will certainly be covered. Predatory advertising raises some fundamental issues about digital rights and copyright law which would put a program on shaky legal ground to begin with.


>>>>>>>>>>
2. Does a merchant or affiliate-network who participates in predatory advertising violate your existing rule against non-Commissioned links?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Probably not. That particular segment was to address the companies that were mandating affiliates run logos or other brand awareness images without paying partners for this privilege- a practice I was particulary disgusted by.

Keep in mind the primary goal of the AU is to demand disclosure of business agreements. No one is mandating how a merchant runs their business only that they fairly and openly disclose their terms.

I am sure all seasoned GeekTalk vets have been burned one time or another by crappy agreements. If large forces of affiliates exert pressure on merchants for better agreements- it will happen.

Also many merchants do not have any clue what a good agreement is because their thought processes are so merchant-centric. There agreements are often drawn up by lawyers who are paid to protect their clients to the nth degree. They have no inkling about the revenue sharing industry, let alone cookie methodology, tracking technology, or a global perspective on marketing. Many merchants have reported to me that they found the AU guidelines very helpful because they had no real resource to use when trying to draft a good agreement.



>>>>>>>>>>
Finally on the rules, procedures and goals of AffiliateUnion, I realize that I opened this subject up, but except in so far as it overlaps with Ezula TopText and similar, it is somewhat off-topic for this thread, so we do need to as much as possible keep that in separate threads.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I agree Sunil but I wanted to make one pertinent side note. I am 100% against any sort of poaching or predatory advertising, but it is interesting to see how a global threat is drawing communities of affiliate partners closer together to defend their turf.

One of the biggest challenges in the affiliate space is the diversity of sites, forums and types of affiliate partners. With this issue, as in the case of any "blurred" market dynamic, it appears that we will all have to band together to take up a real defense against efforts like Ezula.

I firmly believe Ezula will crash and burn hard. The net effect will be affiliate partners and communities working together more closely in the future and rethinking how we treat digital copyrights. A silver lining in every dark cloud perhaps.


best,

Wayne Porter

AffiliateUnion.com
Board of Directors

AffTrack.com
V.P. Product Development

Contact Address: wayne@afftrack.com
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Old 08-19-2001, 12:22 PM   #8
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Hello,

I will have to agree with Wayne in most of his post, I am sure that we will be adressing this very significant problem in the AU.
Bear in mind that the AU was created not to tell merchants what they should do in their business, simply to provide a fair agreement to its affiliates.

Like Wayne states; Ezula will dissapear, hopefully sooner than later. We all have to expect that technology will be used for good and evil purposes. But as the saying goes,in the end "Good will triumph over Evil"

Rita Kershaw
AffiliateUnion.com
Board of Directors.
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Old 08-21-2001, 10:19 AM   #9
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Hi All!

FYI.

The following is the text of today message to the Affiliate Union Goup suggesting adding a new criteria to the Affiliate Union's AFFILIATE PROGRAM CERTIFICATION CRITERIA.


All the best,

Harith Al-Jibury
Affiliate Union
http://www.affiliateunion.com


================================================




Subject: [affiliateunion] New Criteria/ AU Merchant Certification Criteria

Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 16:53:03 +0200

From: Harith Al-Jibury <danex@vip.cybercity.dk>

Reply-To: affiliateunion@yahoogroups.com


Hi Folks

I wish to submit the following new criteria and ask to be added to the Affiliate Union's AFFILIATE PROGRAM CERTIFICATION CRITERIA

http://www.affiliateunion.com/drafts09112000.html

--------------------------------------------------
NEW CRITERIA:

- Merchant and affiliate agree not to use any
predatory advertising methods in the promotion of
the merchant products, services or affiliate
program.
Predatory advertising is defined as any method
that creates or changes links or banners on web
sites without that web site owner's written
permission.

Examples of predatory methods would include
product or software now in existence or created in
the future who's purpose is, in whole or in
part, to steal traffic from a third party site or
to evade the payment of commissions to the
rightful referrer.
--------------------------------------------------

We are going to follow the usual procedure that we
have always followed when submitting a new
criteria.

- First, we discuss it and see whether it should be modified

- Create a poll and vote. Based on the poll's
results, we shall decided whether the new criteria
to be adopted by AU and added to the current
AFFILIATE PROGRAM CERTIFICATION CRITERIA

http://www.affiliateunion.com/drafts09112000.html

I wish to ask all of you to participate in this important process. Many thanks in advance.


God bless the Affiliate Union AU.


Harith

==============================================
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Old 08-22-2001, 05:32 PM   #10
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Hi Folks

Updating the thread.

The suggested criteria mentioned in above post was discussed lively yesterday by the the Affiliate Union members, and suggestions were submitted.

We have reached to a new text to the suggested new criteria:


--------------------------------------------------
NEW CRITERIA:

Merchant agrees not to use any predatory
advertising methods designed to generate traffic
from sites they have not contracted with in the
online promotion of the merchant's products,
services or affiliate program and agrees to
prohibit their affiliates from such predatory
advertising methods.

Predatory advertising is defined as any method
that creates or overlays links or banners on web
sites, spawns browser windows, or any method
invented to generate traffic from a web site
without that web site owner's, knowledge,
permission, and participation.

Examples include, but are not limited to, keyword
parsing browser plugins such as TopText and +Surf,
banner replacement technology such as Gator,
browser spawning technology that is not web site
dependent.

Banners or links that are changed pursuant to a
pre-determined arrangement between the merchant
and affiliate to automatically update materials
on the affiliate's site shall not be deemed a
violation of this section as long as there is no
change in the tracking and crediting of the
previously agreed upon commissionable event.
--------------------------------------------------


I wish to underline that the above text is not a final one as its still subject for further discussion and suggestions by the AU members.

Shall keep this thread posted on progress.


All the best,

Harith Al-Jibury
Affiliate Union
http://www.affiliateunion.com
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Old 08-27-2001, 03:19 PM   #11
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Hi Folks!

Updating...

The Affiliate Union has just created a poll and asked its members to enter their vote regarding adding the below mentioned new criteria to the Affiliate Union's AFFILIATE PROGRAM CERTIFICATION CRITERIA (as per Draft of September 11, 2000)

http://www.affiliateunion.com/drafts09112000.html

--------------------------------------
NEW CRITERIA:

Merchant shall disclose their use of any
predatory advertising methods designed to
generate traffic from sites they have not
contracted with for the online promotion of the
merchant's products, services or affiliate
program and whether or not they prohibit their
affiliates or anyone else acting on behalf of
merchant or their affiliates from using such
predatory advertising methods.

Predatory advertising is defined as any method
that creates or overlays links or banners on
web sites, spawns browser windows, or any method
invented to generate traffic from a web site
without that web site owner's expressed, written
permission.

Examples include, but are not limited to,
keyword parsing browser plugins such as TopText
and Surf+, banner replacement technology such
as Gator, and browser spawning technology that
is not web site dependent.

Banners or links that are changed pursuant to a
pre-determined arrangement between the merchant
and a publisher or affiliate to automatically
update materials on the publisher's or
affiliate's site shall not be deemed subject to
this section as long as there is no change in
the tracking and crediting of the previously
agreed upon commissionable event.
---------------------------------------


All the best,

Harith Al-Jibury
Affiliate Union
http://www.affiliateunion.com
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Old 08-31-2001, 05:48 PM   #12
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Hi Folks

I wish to announce that the new criteria (mentioned in above post) of the Affiliate Union's Affiliate Program Certification Criteria has been approved by 94.12% of the AU members who had entered their votes in the poll. All the AU members have had a chance to enter their votes.

You can view the Affiliate Union's Affiliate Program Certification Criteria including the new criteria (5. k) :

http://www.affiliateunion.com/drafts09112000.html


All the best,

Harith Al-Jibury
Affiliate Union
http://www.affiliateunion.com
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