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[WARNING] Clickbank and Amazon Cracking Down On Mis-Selling Today (6th November)

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Scritty, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    Today I wake up to two emails, one from an Amazon one from Clickbank. Both telling me to adjust advertising and product testimonials to better reflect the products or services I'm selling. In the case of Amazon my account the email was sent on the 4th and got stuck in my junk mail - a day later and they have already suspended my account until the changes have been made. Then they will "review"...

    I checked and the banner on my site (which sold lawn-mowers FFS) was misleading. The model had changed and the image I displayed in the text showed an older version with a metal grass collector that has now been replaced by a plastic one.

    I contacted Amazon support and they are cracking down apparently BIG TIME on mis leading advertising. The email reply states that November sees them embark on a hurge purge of those they think are mis-selling items in any way.
    Now this is something I'm normally frikking careful about. The product link itself is of course a feed direct from Amazon, and the product name is almost the same (now has a "T" on the end of it) and it got me thinking.

    Here is where some research into affiliate responsibilities and sales have taken me. Bear in mind that I got both of these warning since the 5th of November 2013 (the last 36 hours). The Clickbank site is one of my old MFA ones and is 4 years old. Never had anything like this before.

    So I did some digging....

    Even as an affiliate you could fall foul of various international trades description laws if your sales or review copy does not reflect the product as it is sold.
    If you have any pictures of the product on your site, perhaps embedded in your sales copy, make sure they are accurate and of the exact product or model being advertised. A quick scan through sites that are selling at Amazon affiliate to see this rule being broken routinely.

    Watch your images and headlines
    . While the affiliate ad block is indeed of the product (this is the image that Amazon presents via the affiliate code or plugin), quite often associated images put there by the webmaster while designing the site will not be of the product in question and in some cases could be construed as being misleading. Depending on where you are and where in the world the product is being sold from, there is the possibility that you could be open to legal challenge if a customer decides to challenge claiming a misleading sales campaign has been used to entice them to buy the product.

    Make fair comparisons.
    Particularly in the United States the last two years making claims of success at a ?ratio?, ?percentage? or exact cash sum or productivity level can be challenged openly. If your website states that a particular product you are selling will increase somebody?s income by 200%, you will need to provide proof that that is the case, and that is the case in all cases. Word your sales pitch carefully. Terms such as ?Up to? [as in ?Can improve your performance by up to ...?] Provide examples. Do not exaggerate performance statistics or the abilities of the product you?re selling in comparison with others that do a similar job. You may not only fall foul of the customer but also the manufacturers and retailers of the competing products may also have legal recourse. It will be you as an affiliate that get a ?cease and desist? order and possibly, in the worst case, a trip to court to explain yourself.

    Testimonials. Don?t make them up. Keep a record of every testimonial you use and also how and when you received them. Whether by e-mail or whatever method. Keep on file with as much traceability as you can. Obtaining testimony or short positive reviews is a relatively easy thing to achieve if the product you?re selling is any good.

    I considered the possibility of going into specific legal detail and making this a much longer post. But despite the unification efforts being made over the last five or six years to come up with a common distance and Internet selling law which covers everybody in the world, it?s fair to say that, at the moment so much depends on where you live, where your customer lives and where the manufacturer and retailer of the product you are an affiliate seller of is based, works or sells from.

    It can be incredibly, complicated if all of these locations can be separate. You could live in the UK, the company who acts as a middleman for your affiliate selling could be based in the USA, the goods can be dispatched from India, and manufactured in China.

    It might be tempting to consider that this level of confusion and obfuscation would lend some safety to you as an affiliate. Making it very hard to any legal action to be taken against you as it would likely need to unravel through both international and national laws which, at the moment are not unified and often contradictory.

    However, if one of your purchasers who earns you commission lives in the same country as you, and has been directed to the product via your affiliate site or link - and can prove that this was the case ? while also showing that the information you provided is misleading - then that position is far simplified for anybody looking to take legal action.

    And it will be you, the affiliate that may well be the first recipient of the dreaded notice of legal action or court order.

    This isn?t to try and discourage people from becoming Internet affiliate marketers. It?s a great career. And with simple precautions such as dating your reviews and thinking about your sales copy carefully there should be no problem. But I?m guessing if you?re reading this and have scoured the Internet looking for products to sell and seeing how other marketers do it you?ve already come across many examples of these errors.

    I'm not preaching to people here. Market however you want. But two emails inside a day and a half? - The first two like this I've ever had in years as an affiliate made me think this might be an area they are tightening up on and thought I'd let most of you guys know.

    Some of the meat of this article is not new... the specifics are.

    Scritty
     
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  2. antichrist

    antichrist Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    You mean to say... I have to use REAL testimonials?

    Something tells me that will probably not happen. Good write up none the less.
     
  3. silvermember

    silvermember Regular Member

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    Nice thread mate, of course the company's have to protect there goods from getting spamy etc.
    I have worked last year for a 100 year old Company they to fuck all to protect there Copyright!!! no playing games with them - they actually implemented an IT section for this on its own to search for infringements!!!

    regardless they have money and power to hunt you down easily :hitwithro
     
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  4. johngray32

    johngray32 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the heads up mate.

    Fondly remember the days when none of this was relevant and affs just did as we wanted - guess it had to end somewhere though
     
  5. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    That's exactly what I think is happening here. They have developed a crawl/search finction and are going through sites checking for those with testimonials, images other than the ones brought down by the affiliate feed and other stuff, then checking to see if they are within sales laws and their TOS (which normally include some pretty specific sales rules)

    No proof of course, but the conversation I had with the affiliatre manager suggests that this is something big and new they are just rolling out, and 2 emails inside 36 hours when I've never had one before? Might be coincidence - but might not.

    Scritty
     
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  6. Asif WILSON Khan

    Asif WILSON Khan Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Thanks for the info. Informative as always.
    Time to check some sites.

    Cheers
     
  7. binaryking

    binaryking Regular Member

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    Nope Nope Nope, I will continue to write fake reviews, fake testimonials,... :) That's how I make a killing, yes, this is a blackhat forum. I don't promote amazon though.
     
  8. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    Not saying you shouldn't - just saying they might be clamping down

    Fore warned is fore armed :)

    Scritty
     
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  9. phrozn

    phrozn Registered Member

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    Thanks for this. I actually use software that syncs my affiliate webpages with Amazon twice every 24hrs to ensure I meet their 24hr mark. Just incase one fails, the other meets it. I havent heard of them cracking down like this, but I appreciate the heads up!
     
  10. Asif WILSON Khan

    Asif WILSON Khan Executive VIP Premium Member

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    What is the name of the software or is it a custom script?
     
  11. viruwest

    viruwest Newbie

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    Yeah I think were gonna see a lot more of this as things get more stricter!
     
  12. Kreylar

    Kreylar Newbie

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    I bet they get a lot of complaints about items not matching descriptions from people who bought products without paying attention to the information on their page itself. Makes sense that they are cracking down. Means I'll have to go back over my own advertisements with a fine-toothed comb and make sure I don't have any issues like the one you detailed above with my Amazon pages.
     
  13. ipodtouchhackerisher

    ipodtouchhackerisher Senior Member

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    Damn the online game is changing. Everything is getting more and more complicated.
     
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  14. calebmann

    calebmann Power Member Premium Member

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    This is actually a pretty smart move on behalf of Amazon and clickbank. Helps mass spamming etc. Maybe it will force people to use their brains.

    Posted via Topify using Android
     
  15. ipodtouchhackerisher

    ipodtouchhackerisher Senior Member

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    I do completly agree with you there. We will have to wait and see what they decide to enforce.
     
  16. Scritty

    Scritty Elite Member Premium Member

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    Well this might also be the case.
    I beleive that by law they are supposed to ensure that no-one spams on their behalf - the have a care of duty to ensure that those they pay don't spam or whatever.
    But that's been the law for years and years - and let's face it, they've never even looked like giving a shit about it before.

    Wonder what's changed?
     
  17. V

    V Elite Member

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    thanks for sharing the info with us....too bad that u learned it the hard way, sorry for ur account bro!
     
  18. Paper-Boy

    Paper-Boy Elite Member

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    Welcome to the internet!

    Change has been a part of IM. If you haven't been accustomed to this then I don't know what to say to you..........
     
  19. victor1234

    victor1234 Registered Member

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    nice post thanks for the warnings

    did amazon buy clickbank and i miss that or what.
     
  20. benarata

    benarata Junior Member

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    Looks like you need something like this at the bottom of every product page on your site so you can show a stock pic of a top of the line model and advertise an entry model just like the car dealers do in the news papers:
    Engine Disclaimer: The engine horsepower information is provided by the engine manufacturer to be used for comparison purposes only. See your local Cub Cadet Independent Dealer for warranty details.
    Pricing Disclaimer: Posted price is manufacturer's suggested sale price. Models and pricing may vary by location. Taxes and delivery not included. Use of low rate promotional financing may affect your purchase price.
    Image Disclaimer: Image may not reflect dealer inventory or unit specifications.
    Specifications Disclaimer: Specifications subject to change without notice. Images may not reflect retailer inventory and/or unit specifications.
    Operator's Manual Disclaimer: The operator's manual posted is for general information and use. To ensure the download of the operator's manual specific to your unit, we require a model and serial number.