Home :: About InfoWorld :: Advertise :: Subscribe :: Contact Us :: Awards :: Events
InfoWorld HomeNewsTest CenterOpinionsTechIndex

E-Business Secrets

Commission networks plan to meet in New York on Nov. 7
An attempt to foil commission poaching

By  Brian Livingston November 05, 2002  

Representatives of online networks that funnel commission payments from e-commerce merchants to numerous affiliate sites will meet in New York on Nov. 7, according to the meeting's facilitator, to discuss "shopping plug-ins" -- small software programs that are called "stealware" by detractors.


The man running the meeting will be Wayne Porter, vice president of AffTrack.com, a data aggregator that analyzes revenue for some of the largest e-businesses. AffTrack doesn't fit the definition of a merchant, an affiliate, or a commission network, which is one of the reasons Porter was selected to chair the meeting, he said in an interview.

Commission Junction, LinkShare, BeFree, and Performics are the largest networks that will be represented at the New York meeting, Porter says. In addition, he indicated the following representatives of shopping plug-in and customer-referral sites will attend:

-- Patrick Toland, TopMoxie.com

-- Paul Nichols, eBates.com

-- Tim Storm, FatWallet.com

-- Farhad Mohit, Bizrate.com

E-commerce affiliates typically earn a commission of 5 percent or so when visitors click a link and buy something at a merchant's site. I reported in E-Business Secrets on Oct. 2 that many affiliates are extremely upset by plug-ins. Such programs were quietly installed on millions of PCs when users downloaded music-sharing programs such as Morpheus, Kazaa, and LimeWire. Some plug-ins automatically generate a commission for their owners every time users buy something online. In other cases, software switches tracking codes to redirect legitimately earned commissions from the referring affiliate.

One of the earliest advocates of a "summit conference" on this subject -- Shawn Schwegman of Overstock.com -- proposed in September that the meeting should include one or more members of the press. Porter, however, declined my request to attend the meeting as an observer for InfoWorld, citing a lack of space.

In a statement, Porter said the group "will not issue final conclusions or documents on November 7th." Instead, he said, the goal would be "drafting a document codifying industry standards and best practices and publicly releasing that document by the first of December."

In a future issue of E-Business Secrets, I'll give you details on any such guidelines -- as soon as I can find out what they might be.

Meanwhile, read up on Schwegman's original proposal and a gaggle of follow-up comments at an affiliates' forum called "A Best Web": http://abw.infopop.cc http://bri.li/4e73

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Why didn't someone invent this before? Imation claims it has the world's first USB device that reads and writes all kinds of flash memory in a single slot.

For those on the go, those memory types include (take a deep breath) Compact Flash types I and II, Memory Stick, MultimediaCard, SecureDigital, SmartMedia, and IBM's SmartDrive. That should handle any camera or other electronic gizmo you may be carrying around.

The Imation FlashGo Reader/Writer is powered off the USB port, so you don't need to carry a transformer. It lists for $59.99, but Tiger has it for the best price, less than $50: http://www.tigerdirect.com http://bri.li/7583

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Jesse J. Garrett, a co-founder of the Adaptive Path consulting firm in San Francisco, has put his knowledge of interface design between the covers of a book: "The Elements of User Experience."

Garrett makes you decide what you WANT to do before you decide what you CAN do. For example, he helps you walk through five stages of decision-making for your site: Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, and Surface. Each stage must be completed before the later stages can finish. If you're not sure why you'd go through these stages, this book is exactly what you need, ready or not: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/0735712026

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


1. E-greetings "sneakwrap" virus continues to make news around the Net: http://www.infoworld.com http://bri.li/43b

2. Ready for the holidays? Online growth zooms again as retail stores lag: http://www.businessweek.com http://bri.li/823

3. Follow your customers: Game consoles are outselling PCs 3-to-1: http://cyberatlas.internet.com http://bri.li/c0b

4. A simple task-management system can cure you of the "Webmaster Blues": http://www.infotoday.com http://bri.li/ff3

5. Find out how you're hit by the stupidest Internet laws of all time: http://www.aotc.info http://bri.li/13db

6. If you have the "perfect page," which search engines agree?: http://www.searchenginewatch.com http://bri.li/17c3

7. Change is in the air -- 101 things Mozilla does that IE 6.0 cannot: http://www.xulplanet.com http://bri.li/1bab

8. Coders: Check this extreme user interface (requires JavaScript): http://www.pagetutor.com http://bri.li/1f93

9. Here's another wild developer trick -- design your own evil clown: http://www.scottsmind.com http://bri.li/237b

10. Test your memory and witness an intriguing display of Web graphics: http://www.zefrank.com http://bri.li/2763

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


In a hilarious twist on those "Switch" commercials from Apple, the folks at iFilm bring you a great spoof. The 43-second clip features a long-time Mac user who's a little, um, under-whelmed by the latest "upgrade."

This site mercifully doesn't load any audio or video until you click the big Play button. Like all iFilm offerings, a brief ad runs for a few seconds before the main attraction. But I think you'll find it's worth the wait. (Warning: They don't seem to be able to shoot these spoofs without using some naughty language.) Check it out at: http://www.ifilm.com http://bri.li/c3a3

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

E-BUSINESS SECRETS: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld contributing editor Brian Livingston: http://SecretsPro.com

Research director is Vickie Stevens. Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/0764534939

Windows 2000 Secrets: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/0764534130

Win a gift certificate for a book, CD, or DVD of your choice if you're the first to send Brian a Top Story or Wacky Web Week he prints. mailto:Brian@SecretsPro.com

Brian Livingston is publisher of BriansBuzz.com. Send tips to him at brian@briansbuzz.com.

  More Brian Livingston columns
  Join a discussion on Brian Livingston's columns

Verity Ultraseek - FREE CASE STUDY on The Johns Hopkins Institutions
- Nearly a thousand internal and external websites - Hundreds of different file formats - An extended education and healthcare system with a world-renowned university, hospitals and research centers Read the FREE case study on The Johns Hopkins Institutions and find out how Verity Ultraseek brought all this together.

HP - Need Power? Powerful HP Workstations at PC Prices.
enKoo - Web access your PC & servers. Scalable & failover appliance.
Verity - New Verity Ultraseek Features Web Services Interface!
VMware - FREE 30-day trial of VMware Workstation 4 click here!
Toshiba - Click her for chance to win a Toshiba(R) portable DVD player!

Intuit Track-It! Help Desk Software - Intuit IT Solutions provides Track-It! - the leading help desk software solution for call tracking, problem resolution, employee & customer self-help, remote control, asset management, LAN/PC audi...
Mid-Market CRM Made Easy with Oncontact - Oncontact offers customer relationship management (CRM) systems for mid-market companies. Build stronger and more profitable relationships with your customers. Click here for more info.
Free unlimited online meetings for 14 days. - WebEx online meetings and web conferencing solutions: Meet colleagues online, host web events, train your staff, provide live support. Try us free for 14 days.
Rackspace-The Managed Hosting Specialist - Rackspace offers Managed and Application Hosting with customizable and scalable solutions. 0% downtime and a hardware replacement guarantee.
Block E-Mail Spam at Server Level - Block all spam at e-mail server level with GFI MailEssentials. Also adds other tools to your mail server such as e-mail disclaimers, e-mail archiving, auto replies and more. DLD trial today.

 HOME  NEWS  TEST CENTER  OPINIONS  TECHINDEX   About InfoWorld :: Advertise :: Subscribe :: Contact Us :: Awards :: Events 

Copyright © 2004, Reprints, Permissions, Licensing