Well, this is interesting…
Commission Junction, arguably the world’s leading payment network for e-commerce traffic, has permanently banned one of its largest “loyalty” programs, according to CJ officials.
The affiliate is Shop At Home Select, a subsidiary of the Belcaro Group of Greenwood Village, Colo. The company promises small rebates on Web purchases consumers make while using the Shop At Home site or its memory-resident software.
I wrote on Sept. 13 about complaints that Shop At Home software was silently installed to users’ PCs when some associated Web sites were visited. Computer experts also accused the company of keeping commissions that were automatically generated — even if a user had never registered and therefore no “rebate” could be issued.
The story behind Commission Junction’s action against Shop At Home provides a fascinating look into a rarely seen world. It reveals an ongoing war between “loyalty” programs — which install monitoring software on users’ PCs — and e-commerce merchants that want to pay only for genuine traffic they wouldn’t otherwise receive.