I received the following email today from KowaBunga. There was also a version of the letter to KB clients that currently have 180 Solutions in their program.
Great to see more folks in the industry taking a stand.
We at KowaBunga!, in a continued effort to ensure our merchants are running the most profitable affiliate programs in the industry, want to alert you to an important issue. 180Solutions, also known as MetricsDirect, has been signing up to several of our merchant’s programs as an affiliate. Though they do not appear to have yet enrolled in your program, we wanted to give you more information about them for future reference.
This affiliate/company has recently been exposed as engaging in possibly fraudulent activity. A complete analysis of their business practices is here:
In summary, this company encourages users to install software on their computers, often in exchange for mp3 downloads or other incentives. This software, once installed, will track the user’s browser activity and, most importantly, will attempt to take credit for any hit to your web site, regardless of how the visitor finds your site. In this scenario you are rewarding this affiliate for a commission even if the visitor actually found your site through another affiliate, or even if they simply typed your domain into their browser. We believe that these practices not only cheat your other affiliates, they cheat you directly.
If this affiliate does sign up for your program in the future, our best advice is to contact them directly and confront them with this information. We would also encourage you to let us know what response you receive from them and what action you do take, as this will help us form policy on our end with respect to new merchants and affiliates in our Kolimbo network. If they assert, for instance, that their practices are not unfairly drawing revenue away from your other affiliates and/or advertising budget, we can work with you to test this assertion. In any event, we again encourage you to keep in touch with us about this matter.
CTO of KowaBunga! Technologies