In Trouble from an Affiliate Spamming - Please Help

39 replies
I would like to know how other marketers have handled similar situations.

My hosting company has sent me a dreadful warning. One of my sites has been reported with spamming complaints. They sent me the offending email. It was not my email nor from my email address. I checked out the link in the spam email and it went to one of my old products. Sure enough...there's my picture and domain name. It quickly dawned on me that an affiliate is spamming.

So, I'm hoping and praying that my domain hosting company believes my word.

Here's the questions:

1. What else should I do? They've requested that I verify that I had permission to email this person. But he's not on my list. So I can't prove anything. I didn't send the email.

2. Secondly, if I get through this mess without getting my domain name confiscated, where do you marketers suggest I host my domain name. I want to move it. I don't want my domain name held for ransom every time. I think the domain hosting company that I'm with is known for holding domain names ransom for large fees after spam complaints.

3. How do you best track affiliates and make sure they're not spamming. How do you keep a handle on this?
#affiliate #spamming #trouble
  • Profile picture of the author GAVROCHE
    Try to contact SPAMCOP dot NET. Probably they will solve the problem.

    Where is hosted your webpage? Please PM me.
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  • Profile picture of the author tankeroo
    I may be wrong here, but if they got a spam complaint, that means that the offending email was sent in as a complaint... That meand thatthey should know where that email was sent from. If the sender used proxies, they'll never trace it, but it would be proof that YOU didn't send it! Do you use a mailing service like mail chimp, or constant contact? That would be my first line of defense: You: "I'm 100% CAN SPAM compliant! Double Opt In only, I PAY to send my email so that I can't be accused of THIS!" It bites, but you can't control affiliates, unless you know who they are and where they're emailing from. WAIT! They CAN find out!!! If someone buys through the link in the email, you'll immediately know who sent the email!!!! Contact them, ask for the offending email, buy the product, see who gets credit for the sale, and hand them the person's contact info! I would then report them, here, there and everywhere!
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    Well I would try to explain the situation to them, if possible. Any hosting company worth their salt knows about affiliates and that you can't control what they do but it's going to be up to how convincing your argument is and their policies.

    Good luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      I hope you get your hosting company to see sense, but the big lesson you should learn here is to never use the same company as both your domain registrar and your host. It is way too easy for them to hold you to ransom.

      Martin
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      • Profile picture of the author AshtonPereira
        I don't know much to help you really, but what I do suggest is that once you can SOLVE the issue, to use separate webhosts where ever possible for different chunks of your sites. This will eliminate "ALL" your sites going out for any unforeseen circumstances such as this one.
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      • Profile picture of the author laurie390
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        I hope you get your hosting company to see sense, but the big lesson you should learn here is to never use the same company as both your domain registrar and your host. It is way too easy for them to hold you to ransom.

        Martin
        So, is that why people say you shouldn't have your domain at the same place as your hosting? I never knew why that was.
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        • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
          Originally Posted by laurie390 View Post

          So, is that why people say you shouldn't have your domain at the same place as your hosting? I never knew why that was.
          Because you never want all your eggs in the same basket
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      • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
        And I bet we're talking Godaddy!!!

        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        I hope you get your hosting company to see sense, but the big lesson you should learn here is to never use the same company as both your domain registrar and your host. It is way too easy for them to hold you to ransom.

        Martin
        Edit, I see we were talking Godaddy

        I still have a number of domains with them because I never got around to moving them but I'd never reccommend them to anyone because of their dirty tricks etc in this type of situation

        Namecheap are excellent, I've never had any trouble with them
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  • Profile picture of the author EvcRo
    Tell them to prove that you send the spam emails from your hosting account. If they shoot down your site be happy, hire a lawyer and get a lot of money as damage.

    I can send spam emails advertising any site, can those sites be held responsible ? its a non sense.

    Probably you use a smaller hosting company as the bigger ones who have legal department know its a stupid not founded move that can cost them money if the client is pissed enough.
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    • Profile picture of the author RevenueGal
      No, I use a separate registrar for my domain name. And I actually use two separate hosting companies for my sites. So, if some sites are down, at least my others are going in case of hosting problems.

      And no, I'm not using any "freebie" autoresponder. Of course, I didn't send the email to begin with.

      Update: My domain name hoster has contacted me and said that I'm still responsible.

      I have two options. Either pay $199 for them to "clean up" the spam complaints and then I would need to set up an abuse@ for my domain name and they would send future complaints there to deal with and I would have 5 days to deal with future complaints before being charged.

      Or, number two I can transfer to another registrar, but I have to pay $75 for them to release my domain.

      **I remember reading a conversation long ago among marketers who used certain registrar companies for their domain names because they were more understanding of marketers and knew the challenges they faced.

      Where do you all host your domain names? How have you dealt with with matters of spamming affiliates? Of course, you can ban them, but, how do you protect yourself further?
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      • Profile picture of the author bretski
        I'm kind of confused. It doesn't appear that you actually spammed anyone and I don't know how you could be held accountable unless the person who did the email used your domain name to send the email.

        I mean, if I wanted to trash my competition and this was true wouldn't it be as simple as spamming an affiliate link to their offer?

        Maybe this is an aspect of ICANN that I am not familiar with but common sense tells me that you can't be held responsible for what a third party does other than to hand over the name of the affiliate if they are found to be spamming... with a court order, of course. This is just common sense to me but often common sense doesn't have a place in courtrooms, laws, politics, lawyers minds or judges minds.

        I'd just be weirded out and felt as if I was being "shaked down" by a hosting company or domain registrar. $200 to "clean up" spam complaints? Sorry... it just sounds like a scene out of Pulp Fiction. "I am Mr Wolf... I understand that the clock is ticking?"
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        • Profile picture of the author RevenueGal
          Originally Posted by bretski View Post

          I mean, if I wanted to trash my competition and this was true wouldn't it be as simple as spamming an affiliate link to their offer?
          I was thinking the same thing! lol


          Again, my domain's registrar company is separate from my site's hosting company. So, my website files are all safe. It's the registrar company saying that I have to pay $75 for them to "allow" me to transfer my domain name to another registrar if I don't want to pay the $199 fee to settle the spam complaint issue.

          I'm thinking about simply paying the $75 to transfer to another registrar, but I'm wondering where the BEST place to transfer to?? No suggestions??

          *It's under the authority of Go Daddy. (I don't know if I should be stating names, but I'm just hoping to see if other's have had dealings with them so that i can solve this issue quickly as possible.)
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          • Profile picture of the author bretski
            GoDaddy is trying to rail ya? Are you sure that the emails are coming from GoDaddy and it's not a spoofed email or something? Maybe try transferring the domain yourself? Have you actually called GoDaddy to ask them WTF is up? This whole thing sounds like a scam to me... keep me posted!
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            • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
              Originally Posted by bretski View Post

              This whole thing sounds like a scam to me... keep me posted!
              Nope. They do that. If there is a spam complaint they screw the domain owner... That's why many IMers hate them
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              • Profile picture of the author bretski
                Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

                Nope. They do that. If there is a spam complaint they screw the domain owner... That's why many IMers hate them

                Thanks for the heads up and I'll be packing my stuff up over the weekend.

                That's freakin' extortion! "Mighty nice website you have there... would be a shame if sumptin' were to happen to it... such as it getting a spam complaint or catchin' on fire. Websites can be a might bit flammable dis time a year. But for a fee we could tidy this up for you and if not? Well, I'm jus sayin'..."

                As far as spam and GoDaddy... how many times do I get junk emails from them with misleading subject lines about a site in danger of expiring. I open the crap up and it gives me no information on what site is expiring but there's Danika Patrick or some scantily clad tart with a discount offer if I renew now for two years... and all the freakin' junk you have to bypass to renew a domain! Their shopping cart is like a mine field!
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  • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
    Wait..

    You need to pay $75 to transfer yoru domain name? So they are the registrar and web host of this domain name?

    Isn't that a "ransom" situation. As well, you cannot be held responsible for people spamming your link...

    That's a pile of bull.

    Caleb
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    I am confused... A hosting company cannot do anything with your domain if you change the DNS servers at your registrar to point to another host.
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    • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      I am confused... A hosting company cannot do anything with your domain if you change the DNS servers at your registrar to point to another host.
      That's what I was thinking Istvan, so if they haven't taken her site offline yet (which usually they don't if a response is received in 2 business days or something like that), then you can just move to a new host.

      Personally, I received a lot of abuse notices of "spam" and things of that nature, as a web host, and never once did we shut an account down overnight for that kind of thing.

      An affiliate spamming your domain name, does not make you liable, it makes said affiliate liable. Did they send you a copy of the complaint they received?

      Caleb
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Actually, under the new FTC guidelines a vendor IS responsible for her affiliates' behaviour, spam, misleading ads etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      Actually, under the new FTC guidelines a vendor IS responsible for her affiliates' behaviour, spam, misleading ads etc.
      That would only apply if any of the points were in the USA, aka the affiliate is from the USA, the receiver is from the USA, or the domain is registered in the USA.

      If none of those are correct, then technically that would not apply.

      I'm not saying this to be all "I'm in Canada and I'm awesome" like you'll all assume, I am just saying it's situational on whether an FTC ruling would actually apply in every case.

      Thanks Istvan for pointing that out, since I do a majority of Business in the states, this is one of those things that I have to watch for (The FTC), which is why I try to keep up with ALL their rulings

      Caleb
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    • Profile picture of the author laurie390
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      Actually, under the new FTC guidelines a vendor IS responsible for her affiliates' behaviour, spam, misleading ads etc.
      Kind of makes you think twice about opening things up to affiliates:-)
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    • Profile picture of the author EvcRo
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      Actually, under the new FTC guidelines a vendor IS responsible for her affiliates' behaviour, spam, misleading ads etc.
      Talking about stupid inapplicable laws. Just doors opens to abuses like godaddy's.
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      • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
        Originally Posted by EvcRo View Post

        Talking about stupid inapplicable laws. Just doors opens to abuses like godaddy's.
        Wrong order... GD has been doing this for many, many years - way before you ever heard about FTC
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        • Profile picture of the author Tim3
          Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

          Wrong order... GD has been doing this for many, many years - way before you ever heard about FTC

          ...Yet they are still recommended in nearly every course and ebook on the net, with almost everyone blissfully unaware of their sharp practices.

          But I suppose they need to make up for the amount of money they lost through the CEO shooting elephants for "sport".
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          • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
            Originally Posted by Tim3 View Post

            ...Yet they are still recommended in nearly every course and ebook on the net,
            Written by ignorants...

            And on the WF forums everybody will recommend you hosting at Hostgator because they pay very nice, fat commissions, LOL
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            • Profile picture of the author Tim3
              Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

              Written by ignorants...

              And on the WF forums everybody will recommend you hosting at Hostgator because they pay very nice, fat commissions, LOL

              Many a true word spoken in jest Istvan.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    It's under the authority of Go Daddy.
    If I was a betting person I could bet it was them... That's why no IMer should use them ever: because of "tactics" like this.

    Many people suggest namecheap.com as a good reliable registrar.
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    • Profile picture of the author RevenueGal
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      If I was a betting person I could bet it was them... That's why no IMer should use them ever: because of "tactics" like this.

      Many people suggest namecheap.com as a good reliable registrar.

      I'm grateful for the tip. Thanks. So you've used namecheap without problems?


      *Any other marketers have good suggestions for where to move my domain names?
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Yes, I am using them for several years now and never had any problem. I also used name.com.
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    GoDaddy stikes again! I really need to stop being lazy and setup my leavegodaddy.com or godaddywatch.com site w/ these stories.

    Any competitor or pissed off client can cost you downtime, money and a lot of headaches. For that matter, they could for the affiliate too. They could easily spam or make a report with fake spam.

    -g
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  • Profile picture of the author tinytot11
    I use 1 and 1 for my registrar and HG for hosting. Never had any problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author paintbrush4u
    I hate to be in your shoes today... and I want to follow this thread too ...
    Wish I could help..
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  • Profile picture of the author Coby
    Wow! I never knew this about Godaddy... I have over 25 domains hosted there :O

    Will be moving those to my namecheap account asap!

    Thanks for the tip! Hope it works out for you!
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    • Profile picture of the author donhx
      Originally Posted by Coby View Post

      Wow! I never knew this about Godaddy... I have over 25 domains hosted there :O

      Will be moving those to my namecheap account asap!

      Thanks for the tip! Hope it works out for you!

      It's all there in the GoDaddy Terms of Service. One person's "extortion" is another person's "policy."

      You really didn't think they made money off the low hosting prices they offer, did you? This kind of "policy" must be a major revenue stream for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
    NameCheap although a registrar that I personally use, the best registrar for me has always been by far Domain Names, Web Hosting, and SSL Certificates | Name.com

    Caleb
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel44
    Hey Revenue Gal, I have had dealings with GoDaddy before (after getting involved after a client of mine was having issues.) PM me and I will see if I can help you.

    Daniel
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    • Profile picture of the author RevenueGal
      Originally Posted by Daniel44 View Post

      Hey Revenue Gal, I have had dealings with GoDaddy before (after getting involved after a client of mine was having issues.) PM me and I will see if I can help you.

      Daniel
      Thanks, Daniel...I've already let them know that I'm moving...and so the process has begun. I'm chalking it up to yet another lesson learned. You never quit learning...it seems.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Allen
    You see, in GoDaddy's book it's ok to shoot elephants but you will be fined if your affiliates use spam!
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  • Profile picture of the author GAVROCHE
    Some companies with positive reviews from users:
    NAMECHEAP.COM or GOHOSTONLINE.COM in US,
    NETFIRMS.COM in CANADA

    IT IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE THE DOMAIN OR HOSTING IN USA AND THE OTHER ONE IN CANADA,UK OR OTHER COUNTRY. USA and CANADA is my pick.
    IT IS CALLED "SPREADING THE RISK POLICY"

    Second, NEVER have all domains on the same host - because of potential technical problems and potential policy changes.


    I
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