A lot of the time, detecting potential bad actors in the affiliate world can be hard: these guys are smart, and it’s in their best interest to hide (and hide well) from brands, affiliate managers, and honest affiliates.
But sometimes they come right to you.
We’ve been hearing recently that someone had been aggressively marketing an adware platform to numerous people in the affiliate industry--including, ironically, a lot of folks who work on the front lines of affiliate compliance and who have little patience for adware. We managed to get our hands on a copy of the message:
Whether adware is or isn’t inherently negative for brands is a subject that’s up for (heated) debate, but we at BrandVerity do tend to think that adware is bad for merchants and affiliates, as it is often deployed to steal legitimate commissions from both. Proponents of adware--including many networks and affiliates--will feel differently. For them, as long as a user opts-in to having the program installed on their machine, the adware is a legitimate form of advertising.
That said, regardless of the larger legal or ethical considerations associated with using adware, in this case, the use is definitely not legitimate, as the suggestion is to bundle the platform with other software downloads. As we’ve mentioned before on this blog and in our Branded Keywords Report, this kind of bundling--where a consumer thinks they’re downloading free, reputable, software, and gets more than they bargained for--does no favors to either brands or customers.
We’d love to know if you’ve experienced this kind of outreach and how you responded. Let us know in the comments below or contact us at BrandVerity!