Oh no! we are liable for our affiliates...that's not fair...

20 replies
As some lawyers have confirmed vendors are liable for what their affiliates are doing...honestly i don't find it fair because vendors cannot control what every single affiliate is doing...there are some vendors who have thousands and thousands of affiliates...don't really like the idea of being sued or getting into trouble because an affiliate made something he shouldnt have done...that should be his own problem...i cannot control everything...how the big guys with lots of affiliates deal with that?
#affiliatesthat #fair #liable
  • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
    If you have enough affiliates for this to be a concern, I would suggest talking to a lawyer who is skilled in this area. However, I would think that if you covered your butt in your affiliate agreement or TOS, that it would at least mitigate the damage.

    Make sure your TOS states what is not allowed and that you will terminate the account of any affiliate who breaks this agreement. And follow through on that, of course.

    Set a Google alert for the name of your product and make sure to check up on what affiliates are doing. That should help you catch a lot of tactics that might get you in trouble.

    The law is more to stop the blatant crap and if you can show that you've taken every reasonable precaution to train your affiliates properly and to monitor their activities as much as possible, this will usually be enough to CYA.

    Tina
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

      If you have enough affiliates for this to be a concern, I would suggest talking to a lawyer who is skilled in this area. However, I would think that if you covered your butt in your affiliate agreement or TOS, that it would at least mitigate the damage.

      Make sure your TOS states what is not allowed and that you will terminate the account of any affiliate who breaks this agreement. And follow through on that, of course.

      Set a Google alert for the name of your product and make sure to check up on what affiliates are doing. That should help you catch a lot of tactics that might get you in trouble.

      The law is more to stop the blatant crap and if you can show that you've taken every reasonable precaution to train your affiliates properly and to monitor their activities as much as possible, this will usually be enough to CYA.

      Tina

      OR, stop being a Vendor with Affiliates...

      It is part of your cost of doing business...

      You must be prepared to enforce proper advertising of your product, and if you are not willing, you need to adjust your business model to eliminate that threat to your business...
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      • Profile picture of the author secrets2010
        Originally Posted by tpw View Post

        OR, stop being a Vendor with Affiliates...

        It is part of your cost of doing business...

        You must be prepared to enforce proper advertising of your product, and if you are not willing, you need to adjust your business model to eliminate that threat to your business...
        Yes I guess that would be the safest way to go...but even if you are only an affiliate you are also taking risks...so i guess if we want to eliminate all threat to our business...the best way is quit internet marketing and work for someone else...
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        • Profile picture of the author rts2271
          It happened to Captain Kirk in Star Trek 6. He had to go to a penal colony because of the actions of one of his affiliates.

          If it can happen to Captain Kirk it can happen to you. Know how your products are marketed.
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  • Profile picture of the author christopher jon
    Then vendors / sponsor / affiliate programs need to take more control and oversight of who they accept into their programs.

    Affiliates wont like this since they will have to jump through more hoops to be accepted and affiliate programs wont like it because it will create more work for them but in the end it will weed out a lot of the garbage sites and reckless affiliates.

    But, it will benefit the average surfer, improve the tarnished name of internet marketing and benefit webmasters who are running quality sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
    Originally Posted by secrets2010 View Post

    As some lawyers have confirmed vendors are liable for what their affiliates are doing...honestly i don't find it fair because vendors cannot control what every single affiliate is doing
    That is their problem. Vendors can most certainly control what affiliates are doing - or drop them.

    One particular program I'm signed on with makes me submit my website, put that I am a sales person for that company on my site, and had me sign a contract as well. If I don't follow the rules, I don't get paid.

    If they have hundreds or thousands of affiliates, then they must be making enough to have someone to monitor the affiliates. If they are not making any money, then their affiliates must not be too good to begin with and should be dropped.
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    • Profile picture of the author secrets2010
      Also I think 10% of affiliates (the called superaffiliates) will make 90% of the sales...and 90% of affiliates (newbies) will make 10% of the sales...

      So I don't think is worth taking the risk of letting that 90% of affiliates promote our products...why sites like clickbank and others don't allow me to approve myself the affiliates? and why the big guys with supperaffiliates on board open their affiliate program to anybody...some of them don't use clickbank so they could aprove the affiliates first...
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      • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
        Originally Posted by secrets2010 View Post

        Also I think 10% of affiliates (the called superaffiliates) will make 90% of the sales...and 90% of affiliates (newbies) will make 10% of the sales...

        So I don't think is worth taking the risk of letting that 90% of affiliates promote our products...why sites like clickbank and others don't allow me to approve myself the affiliates? and why the big guys with supperaffiliates on board open their affiliate program to anybody...some of them don't use clickbank so they could aprove the affiliates first...
        I do not use Clickbank to sell any products, but I do believe you can "hide" your product from the MarketPlace which would then allow you to recruit affiliates yourself.

        As for the other part of your statement, if you do not allow the 90% to try, where do the next group of super affiliates come from?
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  • Profile picture of the author Tom Goodwin
    Originally Posted by secrets2010 View Post

    As some lawyers have confirmed vendors are liable for what their affiliates are doing...honestly i don't find it fair because vendors cannot control what every single affiliate is doing...there are some vendors who have thousands and thousands of affiliates...don't really like the idea of being sued or getting into trouble because an affiliate made something he shouldnt have done...that should be his own problem...i cannot control everything...how the big guys with lots of affiliates deal with that?
    It is no different than out in the real world. If you hire someone to do something for you, and in the course of their duties they do something bad, then yes, you can often be held liable for that action. Also, of course, you could be held negligent in the hiring of the employee or whatever. As in affiliate marketing, you could also be held negligent in the hiring or monitoring of your affiliates.

    Tom
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    • Profile picture of the author WildGale
      I'm in the health/nutrition niche and the health claims for supplements is a big issue. Big companies, in particular, pre-screen based on the web owners approach and then bird-dogs it after that.
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  • Profile picture of the author jazbo
    As with everything, these people only have the resources to go after the big players and those who are outright scamming people.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Originally Posted by secrets2010 View Post

    As some lawyers have confirmed
    Do you have any evidence that supports this claim?
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  • Profile picture of the author secrets2010
    Originally Posted by Chris Kent View Post

    Which lawyers?

    Affiliates are not employees. Therefore I don't see it as clear cut that vendors are responsible for their affiliates.

    Also, Clickbank require vendors to agree to indemnify Clickbank from any legal action. Is this agreement worth the digital paper it is written on? It has never been tested in court but don't forget that Clickbank are the legal seller: they take the payment from the customer and facilitate delivery of the product. They also pay VAT to overseas tax authorities. In my own non-lawyer point of view, I don't believe that their indemnification blurb would stand up in court, it's just a protective measure.
    Well with clickbank they wouldnt be my affiliates but with paydotcom for example i would be the retailer and they would be my affiliates..thats what stated kindsvater on this thread:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ales-page.html
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Originally Posted by secrets2010 View Post

    As some lawyers have confirmed vendors are liable for what their affiliates are doing.
    Hold your horses ... what lawyers are you talking about?

    Here's the skinny:

    There can be circumstances where a merchant is liable, but the more common situation is no liability for independent contractors. Especially if your legal terms are setup right and you properly and promptly respond to complaints.

    There are an infinite number of scenarios so don't try and sweep too broad of a brush.

    - You'll note on that other thread there was no discussion by me about potential liability for "your" affiliates.
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    • Profile picture of the author secrets2010
      Thanks for the answers

      How could I monitor what my affiliates are doing?

      If the affiliates links included my domain I guess I could do a search for my domain on google so I can see where my affiliates are posting their affiliates links...but with clickbank that would be impossible...because I wouldnt have idea of the different hoplinks that are created...and how would work with payspree or rapbank?

      Thanks again
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      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        Originally Posted by secrets2010 View Post

        How could I monitor what my affiliates are doing?
        You mention a search. You could check your traffic logs to see referral pages. But ultimately you cannot monitor everything nor would you want to spend the time repeatedly doing so.

        Instead, you set forth "do nots" in your affiliate contract so presumably you know what affiliates are not doing. You're an IMLC member so you have a sample contract. While that agreement of course by itself does not prevent a rogue affiliate, what does is to warn and/or terminate rogue affiliates if you become aware of improper activity either through your own monitoring or due to a complaint.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Do what Ray Kroc did! If a LARGE number of orders come from a certain place, CHECK THEM OUT!

    Too many claim things are legal when they aren't, like one guy here advocating hacking peoples phones to tap their lines, etc. He said THAT was LEGAL!!!!!!! If you spell out that such things AREN'T legal as far as you are concerned, they can't claim innocence.

    And look what happened to Ray Kroc! He checked out a customer because they bought an incredible number of his mixers. He walked away with the exclusive rights to franchise their business. Their name, in case you haven't heard? MCDONALD'S! Yep, the world wide hamburger franchise. You NEVER know, you might learn something.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author aspiepower
    And this is one of the reasons I am an affiliate - and don't produce products

    It's simpler.

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