If you use or are about to use ClickBank to sell your products or to try to make a living as an affiliate you need to read this. I’ll be upfront here … I don’t like officious organisations that are too big for their boots and I really think action needs to be taken against organisations that have unreasonable and unrealistic terms and conditions. In this case I’m hoping that Clickbank are not too big for their boots and will be reasonable because in my opinion (and that of others ) I think they do have an unreasonable and unrealistic term and condition which they need to change in order to keep up with the times. The article that has caused me to put this post out there is Is Clickbank Scamming Affiliate Marketers? by Len Thurmond and I urge you to read it in full to understand the full implications to your business. The focus of the argument is that one of Clickbank’s terms says that before they will pay you any money you are owed, you must have made at least five sales from 5 different credit card numbers, and have two different payment methods (either Visa, MasterCard, or PayPal) … and multiple Paypal sales don’t count towards your 5 different credit card numbers! – and it gets worse!!! – read Len’s article on how Clickbank can take money from your account if you fail to meet this requirement. Years ago when I was starting out with ClickBank I struggled to get those five sales with five unique cards but I did get there … eventually. These days it’s not going to be that easy for those starting out as Mastercard isn’t as popular as it was and in the online world, these days PayPal is a (if not the) dominant payment force. In the interests of fairness it has to be said that once you do meet these requirements Clickbank do pay out on a regular basis and have been more reliable than some affiliate programs I’ve used. I also understand Clickbank’s reasoning and I quote from their Customer Distribution Requirement This requirement is in place to help prevent Affiliates from abusing the ClickBank Affiliate program by using their accounts for the sole purpose of fraudulently collecting rebates and/or discounts on their own purchases. But surely technology and PayPal’s own anti fraud measures mean that Clickbank can and should now review a condition that existed when they started out, has served it’s purpose and that can be improved without detriment to the company. I may be wrong but verified PayPal accounts are tied to real people and banking accounts. PayPal accounts are funded from unique credit and debit cards as well as banking accounts so why can’t (or won’t) Clickbank class PayPal sales as unique and allow them to count towards those five unique sales? What do you think?
On June 7, Cisco Systems’ Web-tracking subsidiary, ScanSafe started tracking the affects of a new web attack that has been described as the “worst since a large number of WordPress-based sites were hacked in April,” by Andre DeMino, a co-founder of the Shadowserver malware-tracking group. Some sites are totally compromised while others only have small sections affected. Security researchers at this point are still unsure how the attacks work, but they think that hackers are using an SQL injection attack to run database commands, which then allow the hackers to install malicious HTML which then redirects victims to another malicious Web server. This server attempts to load software on Web visitors’ computers which if successful give the criminals a way to remotely control their victims’ computers. The team at Sucuri.net have so far found that all of the infected sites appear to be using the Microsoft Internet Information Services Web-server software running with Active Server Pages. “The SQL injection attacks that allow the systems to be compromised are occurring due to vulnerabilities in third-party web applications and do not demonstrate vulnerabilities in Microsoft software,” said Microsoft spokesman Jerry Bryant via e-mail : Source The third party applications that Microsoft refer to appear to be servers running supplementary services such as advertising. Often, hackers get limited access because they break into a partner site — an ad company, for example — that is allowed to post on certain parts of the larger company’s Web site. HP and Microsoft have released a free tool called Scrawlr that helps users check their Web sites for SQL injection vulnerabilities. SophosLabs is adding detection for this SCRIPT injection as Mal/Badsrc-C. While many marketers use linux based hosting systems and are not directly affected at this time it is a timely reminder to make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to secure and back up your site files and databases on a regular basis. WordPress users can follow the Triple “P” Of WordPress Security advice or Top 5 WordPress Security Tips You Most Likely Don’t Follow It might not be your site that gets hit directly but if you are pulling content from somewhere else you may at some point be affected by attacks like this. UPDATE: While the post above outlines how the servers might be attacked, web users should update Adobe Flash Player ASAP and take extra care when using Reader and Acrobat. In an advisory Adobe said “Adobe has released a product update to Adobe Flash Player to resolve the relevant security issue. For more information, please refer to Security Bulletin APSB10-14 We expect to provide an update for Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.3.2 for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX by June 29, 2010.” For more info on the vulnerability see CVE-2010-1297
If times weren’t hard enough American FTC have decided that in some cases it’s wrong to review products and to implement a fine of upto $11,000. Until now online promotions via blogs were not covered by any guidelines and this worried some consumer groups. The issue being that the links between the products being reviewed or talked about, the publishers (companies & individuals) and the companies selling the products was not transparent. i.e. if I reviewed ‘product A’, I didn’t need to tell anyone that I was an affiliate for that product and I would get a commission if my reader bought that product through my link. I understand that it was a 30 year old law that has been updated, in order to get in touch with the times and I can appreciate a need to protect web users but all so often laws are implemented by people who have read reports but have not a clue how the web works or how to implement the said changes. These changes come into effect on December 1, 2009 and you can read for yourself the FTC Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials: What struck me was that everyone in the Internet Marketing business is going to be affected when I read this. “Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.” The new policy will also apply to Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and other forms of new media advertising.
Today is the first anniversary of the collapse of Lehman which as we now all know was the catalyst for the world wide recession we have all had to endure. Vast sums of money have been pumped in to support and bail out financial institutions and other big businesses which has supposedly made the effects of the financial collapse less than they could have been but at what real cost? Last night I watched a report from the BBC’s Robert Peston where he said that level of UK support has cost each of us in the UK £43k (we’ll be paying that for years to come) and in his interview with Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday, the world-wide figure equates to $2000 for every person on the planet. Given that huge numbers of the worlds population struggle on less than a dollar a day and we have global issues with water and climate I personally still struggle to come to terms with having had to support banks and businesses that should have known and done better. I know in the grand shape of things I’m a no-one but I can’t help but wonder if our world leaders have missed a big opportunity to really straighten things out more effectively. Banks have been ripping us all of for years with unreasonable charges and less than adequate services while hiding behind their terms and conditions. And still the dinosaurs at the helm of these once respected institutions deem it appropriate to pay themselves vast bonuses. One thing that they all seem to forget is that these days having money does not equate to having power. The real power these days is having power or energy. Ask yourself where these practicing dodos would be if they didn’t have electricity 🙂 I also feel that our leaders have also missed the boat by supporting car manufacturers and other ‘dirty’ industries in the way they have. I understand that we need these companies for transport and jobs but surely …. our climate should have taken a much higher priority. From my viewpoint rather than pander to ‘dirty’ motor manufacturers we would have all been far better off if our ‘leaders’ realised that the majority of the ‘voters’ knew how bad things were and had the balls to make the big changes needed. Rather than heading for ‘as close to old business as usual’ why didn’t they think outside of the box. Why didn’t they opt for something radical like saying “OK. There’s a big problem so lets make a massive changes no we have the opportunity”? There may be green shoots of recovery on the horizon for some but the damage for many has been done. I sure that as time moves on and linked data technologies improve that person on the street will have the last laugh. The internet is a wonderful thing, it’s amazing what you can find out if you look hard enough. We are not out of the woods yet but…