Archive for 'affiliate sites'

Doing my community duty and giving you a head’s up to something I came across today. I was contacted today by a sex toy retailer that I use as a sponsor for some of my affiliate sites. They were switching tracking programs and moving to Webgains.com, and I had less than 24 hours to swap out my links. I hurried over to the signup page on Webgains and their TOS was displayed part way through the process:

Webgains

The highlighted portion of the TOS was my concern. Let’s review the two main hiccups.

Pornography – I know quite a few sex toy blogs also feature porn site advertisements. (And why not? Sex toys and porn go together so well!) If you have porn clips, porn sidebar ads or anything else deemed ‘pornographic’, you’re violating this TOS. If you have sexual images of yourself using said toys, this may be considered pornographic.

Obscene – What a huge grey area this word is! In the past I’ve seen this language in a TOS used to violate sites that have full frontal nudity and sexual imagery – even erotic texts.

Nevermind “offensive“. Anything can be offensive, can’t it?

So what happens if you violate a TOS on Webgains?

Webgains 2

Pretty self explanatory. You’re booted out of the program with zero obligation for Webgains to send you any unpaid funds it holds. (This is a common clause in most affiliate program TOSs, by the way.)

At any rate, if you planned on joining Webgains you may want to keep this in mind. I did get in contact with the sponsoring program to discuss my concerns with this TOS. I was told “you will be fine – Webgains have said they will push through all account requests that come through…”, but I’ve heard this song and dance before. Shortly afterward, Webgains did email me directly, reiterating the fact that they would “ensure that [I was] accepted onto the network”. My worry isn’t getting into the program – it’s staying in it and getting paid, even with the pornography and obscene material on my sites!

While they did mention that  “they are in the process of updating [their] TOS to allow more flexibility for […] our adult publishers”, I know that these TOS changes can certainly take some time, especially when lawyers are involved. I’ve asked them to let me know when this TOS change is in place, and will update this post accordingly.

 

June 10, 2014 – UPDATE: After being contacted once again by Webgains asking me to swap over my links I emailed asking if the TOS was now allowing pornographic materials. The affiliate manager confirmed that this is the new language in the TOS.

“5.4.         You warrant that the affiliate website does not display or transfer any material which is obscene, racist, offensive, defamatory, threatening, blasphemous or in breach of any third party Intellectual Property Right(s), provided that websites and campaigns that include pornographic or adult content which is not obscene are permitted but only where affiliate’ products and/or services are also categorised as pornographic or adult content, but not obscene, and only such affiliates are permitted to join such programs with such advertisers.”

I then asked for clarification as to what the word ‘obscene’ means to Webgains, and got this reply.

“So obscene for us is the following; under-age content, racist, offensive, defamatory, threatening or blasphemous.”

It appears Webgains is now allowing websites with pornographic materials, but with a few catches. First, you can only use your ‘adult’ sites to promote ‘adult’ products. You cannot use your adult site to promote ‘mainstream’ products. This might get iffy when it comes to items like lingerie and performance-related pharmaceuticals, as they straddle that adult / mainstream divide. But, for purely sex toys, I’d look at this updated TOS and be comfortable using them.

Read The Fine PrintIn the last week, I’ve had a series of unrelated discussions that all seem to go back to the topic of an affiliate program’s TOS, or Terms of Service. These interactions have hammered home the importance of actually reading and understanding these documents and not just clicking the box at the bottom of the wall of text. One series of discussions was with an affiliate program in the making, and wanted my input on their TOS. The other was in relation to a very well established affiliate program that I had recently joined.

TL;DR version – read your TOS, and even if you get the OK from a program to go against the TOS, don’t. You’ll be screwed. 

We all are aware of the selective enforcement of these documents at times (as the case with WordPress’s freehosted blog service and their view on adult materials). While a program may be “unofficially” allowing a TOS to be broken by not enforcing it, there usually does come a point where that document is enforced, resulting in anything from a minor annoyance to the full fledged shutting down of your web site. This was the issue I was faced when joining this already established program, taken to another level.

Keep going…I want more…

After some rather…intense…twitter discussions on the recent actions by Blogger and WordPress in relation to hosting adult content I thought I’d put a more positive spin on things. After speaking with John D Stories, he reminded me that there is a lot of actual ‘good’ to come out of this whole thing. So in typical blogging style, I’ve decided to throw together a top ten positive results that I feel will come out of the mass adult exodus from those two services.

Hosts that do support adult materials will get a boost in their signups and sales. In a free market system, if you don’t like a given service provider, you head on over to one that you do. I would imagine that Blogger and WordPress are now losing blogs by the thousands. I would also imagine that the majority of those leaving wouldn’t be simply dropping their blog for good – they are either moving to an adult friendly freehost, or spending their money with a company that does support their desire to write about adult themes. These adult-friendly hosts are now benefiting from the moronic move that was made by their largest competition.

Keep going…I want more…

 

This blog post is in response to the (It Girl. Rag Doll) Podcast called “First they came for the pornographers“. I was going to originally leave this as a comment, but it got too long to flood the lovely ladies’ page. Go check out the podcast in full! 

Great podcast Harper, Molly and Signs. When this whole thing blew up a few weeks ago, I’ve got to say I’m one of those people who didn’t run around thinking the sky was falling and that the “Pornocopolis” was upon us. I think there are three issues that you all touched upon that I think should be discussed more – the rights of a ‘private’ company (ie Google/Blogger, WordPress, Yahoo/Tumblr, etc.) to run their business as they see fit, the issue with using freehosts at all, and government censorship. This turned into a huge post, so I’ve put it up on my own blog.

Keep going…I want more…