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Hijacking affiliate links 
4th-Mar-2010 02:32 pm - Hijacking affiliate links
Skittish Eclipse
I've been given a heads up that has done some excellent sleuthing and investigation into hijacked LJ affiliate links:

What is LJ doing to my links?
What is LJ doing to my links? Part 2
What is LJ doing to my links? Part 3

Expect this post to be update through the day as I find out more and come up with a good summary.

ETA: No good summary, but I feel like I should say code got taken down, etc etc, business as usual.
Comments 
5th-Mar-2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
*sigh*. actually it does include that, it says "included but not limited to". they mean affil links as well, they mean any profiting off the site. again:

Engage in commercial activities within LiveJournal or on behalf of LiveJournal without prior approval. This includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:
Displaying a banner that is designed to profit you or any other business or organization; and
Displaying banners for services that provide cash or cash-equivalent prizes to users in exchange for hyperlinks to their web sites.

moral issues aside, the point i am bringing up is that legally regarding to everyone posting here about affil links, lj is perfectly entitled to suspend all of your journals. you agreed not to engage in ANY commercial activities when you signed up. regardless of the moral issues, which only really exist according to your own personal morals, morally i see nothing wrong with any of this, excepting possibly a bit of shadiness in not addressing the code first since it appears to have caused runtime issues on some people's machines. some people take lj to be some sort of safe harbor sacred internet diary site, i see livejournal for what it actually is, a business designed to make money regardless of the feelings of the users. ymmv, etc.

now, if you want to leave lj because they morally offended you, fine, it's your life. but actually, morally, the ones who are trying to cheat lj and circumvent the tos are morally in the wrong.
5th-Mar-2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
Restating your interpretation with the word "morally" inserted several times isn't going to make it any more convincing. But see my other reply. If Livejournal's interpretation of the TOS were the same as yours, then they wouldn't have acted as they did.
5th-Mar-2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
you are the one who is trying to bring morality (whose? yours? mine? societies? livejournals? who on livejournal? do you speak for everyone?) into an argument that should be specifically about whether a service was legally entitled to act in the manner they did. morals really have nothing to do here, but if you want to bring morality into it, the ones in the wrong are the ones trying to lie and cheat an agreement they digitally signed. you are welcome to your own interpretation of morality of course, but going by societies contractual morality, if you contractually agree not to behave in a certain manner somewhere, and then act in precisely that manner while trying to cheat someone, then you are morally in the wrong. by any societies definition. not reading an agreement is not a defense.
6th-Mar-2010 02:56 am (UTC)
http://community.livejournal.com/no_lj_ads/87066.html?thread=2117658#t2117658

Sums it up for me.

It's our content, they say themselves they have no right to mess with it, they messed with it anyway, clearly violating their own TOS, so yeah, you could definitely win this case in court, if you wanted to.

The heck with the other parts of the TOS, the heck with affiliate money being made by a relatively small sub-set of LJers....all LJers, whether making money off their LJs directly or indirectly - or not - got their LJ content interfered with, changed, and rewritten, by LJ.

You can argue about how much anything was changed, but how about this, Your Honor, if it may please the Court: "I added links to my content myself. Those links are part of my content but in violation of their own TOS LJ rewrote those links to point to links of their own choosing that made money for them regardless of whether or not I made a dime off any of those links myself - which in my case, I didn't."

Hmmmm.

foxfirefey knows I'm just chomping at the bit for this one. LJ's overuse of and their hiding behind never-ending, ever-expanding chunks of legalese is infuriating, and in this case, literally indefensible.
6th-Mar-2010 03:21 am (UTC)
Well. I can't say LJ's hiding behind any chunks of legalese or anything, since no legalese from LJ has been put forth, although people are certainly discussing legalese in LJ's stead. All LJ's done is gone "whoopsie" and retracted. I don't think there'll be any legalese from them unless somebody sues, and I doubt that'll happen.
6th-Mar-2010 03:53 am (UTC)
By legalese I meant their TOS.
"unless somebody sues, and I doubt that'll happen"...Right. :) Oh and my Enter key just stopped working so forgive the formatting...
(no subject) - adnar_el - 2010-03-06 03:24 am (UTC)
6th-Mar-2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Well, this issue only came up yesterday and I'm not sure if the staff member (bluemeringue) that prepares the news updates had time to change course.

And really, this hasn't been that big of a blow up as far as LJ blow ups go--if it was, the birthdays wouldn't be more than the complaints.
(no subject) - adnar_el - 2010-03-06 04:14 am (UTC)
7th-Mar-2010 08:33 am (UTC)
Well, I've been pretty much an LJ bitching analysist since about 2006, so I've seen bunches of patterns of LJ being sneaky and it getting found out and the pitchforks being grabbed. This one isn't ranking too high--one reason might even have to do with some of the people who originally would have done so having decamped mostly to other places already. (Some people continually get upset and complain, but never really leave or stop complaining in news.) Like you, one action or another they found out undermined their trust.

Another reason it didn't get too has to do with how fast the issue was taken care of from when it first started hitting ground zero. People didn't have a whole weekend to work themselves up before they heard from staff and the code started getting remove--they didn't even really have a whole day. That helps prevent further flagration a lot.

The staff you're hearing from is staff that *does* care, and this wasn't their decision or fault. LJ can be so dysfunctional about the way they implement these things sometimes it seems, it's quite possible those staff members didn't even really know or realize it was going on until it blew up.
6th-Mar-2010 05:00 am (UTC)
"Included by not limited to" is necessarily that important in this situation. To me, the important words are "commercial activities." You seem to think that it's clear and obvious that anyone would agree that supplying affiliate links is "commercial activity." I'm not so sure that's the case. Even if it were, if you give me an hour, I cam come back to you with easily a thousand pages of cases where a court found that what the drafter of a contract found to be clear and obvious wasn't.

I'm not arguing that the people who lost money due to this should be reimbursed. I'm not saying that LJ was legally prevented from doing this. I'm sure their TOS easily cover doing this, making extra revenue from users who use their site clicking links that were hosted on their site and provided by other uses of the site.

I think it was a really stupid idea, though. I was personally on the fence about paying for a second LJ account or giving the money to another service. Care to guess which way I'm strongly leaning now?
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