LiveJournal Accused Of Redirecting Links, Swiping Affiliate Fees

from the trust-issues dept

You may or may not remember, many years ago, that one of the "tricks" used by adware was to hijack affiliate fees. Basically, the way it would work is that the adware would watch where you were clicking, and if the URL was for an online store that had an affiliate program or affiliate link, the adware would swap in its own adware account info, allowing the adware company to collect the affiliate fees rather than the company/individual who actually earned it. Sneaky.

However, now there are some claims that popular blog/community site LiveJournal is doing the same thing itself. Shawn Tutt points us to a story claiming that LiveJournal is redirecting outbound links from users such that they appear to strip any affiliate codes and add LiveJournal's own affiliate codes to a long list of popular e-commerce sites. It's hard to think of a better way to piss off a bunch of your own users than to replace their own affiliate codes with your own. Once people started complaining about this, it looks like LiveJournal stripped out the code. Still, it does raise some really big trust questions about LiveJournal, if it thought this was a good idea in the first place.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    discojohnson, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 10:03am

    less nefarious

    on links that did not have an affiliate code, inject your own. leave those that had one alone. i wouldn't mind a setup like that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 10:11am

    StackOverflow

    The popular programming help site StackOverflow.com does this as well, but before they started they asked the users about it and got approval from most of the larger contributors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Rob Wynne, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re: less nefarious

    on links that did not have an affiliate code, inject your own. leave those that had one alone. i wouldn't mind a setup like that.

    That was allegedly what the code was supposed to do, but it was poorly implemented, according to someone at Livejournal. (I can't find this immediately, it was buried in a comments thread.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Luci, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    Addendum

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Luci, Mar 5th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Addendum

    (Frickin' hell!)
    *AHEM*

    From the vichan.livejournal.com link provided in the article:

    '[info]marta has posted some information saying the code was supposed to add "this link came via lj" affiliate info to non affiliated links -- the link would go to exactly the same place it was supposed to, but there would be information added saying that the link had come via LJ -- which makes a lot more sense (and sounds thankfully less sinister) than hijacking people's links and taking them to advertisers, but didn't work as expected. It's still being scrapped.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    David Gerard (profile), Mar 6th, 2010 @ 3:27am

    Amazon is Not Amused

    http://shatterstripes.livejournal.com/1067252.html?thread=9179636#t9179636

    Quote from thread:

    "Amazon replied to me with a form letter. The summary is:
    . Thanks for telling us.
    2. Anybody who lost revenue (or believes they lost revenue) due to affiliate hijacking should let us know via the Associate Program contact form. We'll fix it.
    3. We Are Not Amused.
    4. And for obvious business reasons, we can't tell you exactly what we're doing. But thanks for the tip-off, we're probably doing something. Maybe.
    hich is pretty much what I expected, although #2 was a bit of a nice surprise."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Unbelievable if this was any other industry there would be legal action. I've used them before for my groom wedding speech site but I'll think twice now. I've heard these tales before but naively did not believe them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2010 @ 7:54am

    Hmm that's weird - I've used them in the past but never had anything like this ever happen to me! I hope it's sorted out soon because I really love livejournal and I find it hard to believe that they been involved in shady stuff like this. John from mother of the groom dresses

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Paul, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 4:22am

    ...

    "How can we piss off our users today?" "I know, let's convert all their affiliate links to our own..." "Jim, you're a legend, have a raise..." *facepalm*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Perth Limousine Hire, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 7:30pm

    LiveJournal Accused Of Redirecting Links, Swiping Affiliate Fees

    Hi admin.
    This accusation to LiveJournal is definitely untrue and no basis!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Canvas, Sep 21st, 2012 @ 8:26am

    The truth will prevail ...

    but it will be better that it prevails at the right time

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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