FTC makes moves against CC trials and negative options pitches
The WHAT THE AFF Insiders FB Group is just a few days old, but the hot stuff has already started rolling out.
An important FTC lawsuit against CC trials and negative option pitches. With many affiliates promoting these offers, this could affect you!
So, if you want to get a bite of some freshly baked news, we really suggest you to have a look at our referral program to get access to our Insiders group.
For now, let’s move onto the auto-subscription offers post.
Around a month ago, we featured a post on how Mastercard introduced regulations against misleading CC trial and auto-rebills offers.
It was a hard blow for affiliates promoting this stuff, but now there’s more. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took a series of actions targeting deceptive online “free-trial” offers that tricked consumers into enrolling in negative option plans.
This time the defendant is Gopalkrishna Pai and the eight companies he owns and runs.
The products were sold in pairs through websites and offered consumers the chance to get them by just paying the shipping.
Seems like a great deal, right? Not really – The unfair part is that consumers were automatically charged full-price for the products, as well as for monthly auto-shipments, unless they cancelled their order within 14-15 days.
The FTC accused the defendants of charging more than $90 per month. Additionally, they went on to charge consumers for additional products without their consent.
Many consumers that did try to cancel their enrollment in the auto-ship plan found it very difficult to do so, and they then had to deal with poor customer service when reaching out for help.
The Crew’s Take
This is good news for consumers but not for the people promoting such products.
That Mastercard update was an alarm bell to watch out for this kind of products. Now that the Federal Trade Commission is also going after these misleading offers, it will be even harder to push free trials and auto-subscription offers.
Be warned – Marketers that only promote these misleading offers should start to put their eggs in other baskets.
Why your ecomm should join Pinterest. The social network now trains its eyes on Germany
The Pins social released a bunch of updates to encourage its users to buy more. They’re well worth a look, and your ecomm could take advantage of it!
Plus, it looks like the website has set it eyes on the German market.
Pinterest improving its shopping experience
Pinterest isn’t as big as Instagram, but when it’s about shopping it really has the juice that every e-commerce is looking for.
With due respect to Instagram, people go on Pinterest with a shopping mindset and open to discovering fresh new products. That’s exactly why this social platform is becoming a channel of choice for product promotions and marketing.
Taking advantage of this momentum, Pinterest is releasing new features to improve the shopping experience on its platform.
What is in the pot?
- Shop a brand: A new section for brands. Pinners will now be able to dive into a brand’s catalog by clicking “more from [brand]”.
- Personalized shopping recommendations: Users will start to see shopping ideas related to the Pins they save, in order to match a user’s taste and style. Yet, this will work only for categories like style, home, beauty and DIY (home decorating activities).
- Catalogs: Brands can now upload their full catalog to Pinterest and easily turn their products into dynamic Product Pins, which means more shoppable Pins across Pinterest.
- Shopping Ads: These were launched a year ago. But Pinterest is now making Shopping Ads available to all brands. Once products are uploaded to Pinterest, brands can easily promote them with Shopping Ads.
- Shopping search: With more in-stock Product Pins, there are more products to search. And when users search, shopping results will appear in their feed.
The Crew’s Thoughts
These are nice updates to help you scale your biz on Pinterest. You can easily promote your products with Shopping Ads.
The Catalog feature allows you to upload your catalog to Pinterest, giving your prospects the chance to have a deep look at your items without leaving the website.
All these new features, Pinners’ buying mindset and the fact that Pinterest isn’t yet as saturated as other platforms make it a juicy channel to grow your e-commerce.
New languages option
After the addition of the French language, Pinterest has now added the option to target German users. Moreover, the social network even published some job openings for the German market.
It’s still unofficial, but these moves lead us to believe that Pinterest is now setting its eyes firmly on the German market.
However, they haven’t made any official announcements about it, so how do we know this?
Timotej Gračner shared it in the WHAT THE AFF Insiders Group. Want to join us? You know what to do!
Get the best of Voluum as low as $44/month, starting today!
For you ladies and gents that know Voluum’s capabilities, we can just let you know that there’s a new Entry Plan at $69/month or $49/month on an annual contract. And as one of our valued readers, you can get it at $62/month or $44/month.Neat, right?
It also includes a new Offers Marketplace! This allows you to find, filter, compare and apply to run offers from top networks from inside your Voluum account!
You get all of Voluum’s essentials for reliably tracking and optimizing your performance campaigns. It’s a plan crafted based on the community’s feedback. You can sign up or reactivate your account right here. It includes the special WTAFF reader pricing!
If you are not familiar with Voluum… Let us tell get you up to date!
It’s the first software-as-a-service tracker for performance campaigns, built by an affiliate for affiliates. It was launched over 5 years ago and since then, it has been many marketers’ preferred solution.
We actually don’t know anyone who started affiliate marketing more than 2 years ago who didn’t try Voluum.
In these 5 years, they’ve built a one-stop platform to easily find new offers, promote them and optimize campaigns. Here are just some of the main features affiliates like in Voluum:
- Automatic optimizer using Traffic Distribution AI – less time spent optimizing and refreshing campaigns, let the machines do the work!
- Dedicated tracking domain with an SSL certificate – which can boost conversion rates by up to 400% depending on traffic source! (available on the Entry Plan)
- Anti-Fraud Kit – which helps you easily identify bot traffic, block it and provide proof to ask for a refund from your ad network, in some cases.
- Voluum Mobile App – allows you to track and get notified about important changes on the go. (available on Entry Plan)
- Custom Notifications – let your tracker notify you when important changes need your attention!
Voluum’s cloud-based system ensures easy setup and data safety, plus super-fast 5ms redirects. You will also get special Customer Care services to support migrating from other solutions, onboarding, live webinar and 24/7 chat management.
For you WHAT THE AFF readers, Voluum has prepared a special discount. Up to 60% off on your plan of choice (Entry, Basic or Advanced plans) and free dedicated onboarding!
Check out all the plans right here. Then sign up with Voluum to track, manage and optimize your campaigns in one place!
New Amazon launches: Project Zero and Sponsored Ads for AmazonFresh
Last week, Amazon made two new feature announcements. First, they are aggressively looking to fight fake products on its platform. At the same time, they are also expanding their advertising business to AmazonFresh.
Project Zero to fight fake products
Looking to reduce the volume of counterfeit products on its platform, Amazon has announced the launch of Project Zero.
Currently, it’s an invite-only program for Amazon sellers. But what exactly is it?
Well, it’s a three-pronged attack on counterfeit products that allows brands to enable automated protections, gives them a self-service removal tool and implements a product serialization process to fight against fake products.
Powered by machine learning tech, it scans more than 5B product listings and product updates daily. As per Amazon, automated protections have proactively stopped 100 times more suspected counterfeit products when compared to taking action solely based on manual reporting from brands.
Self-service Removal Tool
With this new tool, brands no longer have to report fake products to Amazon and wait for actions to be taken. Brands will be able to remove such product listings on their own, without having to actually report the fake product. Also, this information is then fed into its automated protections platform to inform future actions against potential counterfeit listings.
Unique codes are given to brands which are placed on each unit it manufactures. When a customer orders a product which includes a serialization code, Amazon can scan and verify the authenticity of the purchase.
Amazon is clearly being more proactive in the battle to stopfake products being listed and sold on its website. With the launch of the above tools, Amazon has automated the whole process to make it more efficient, and at the same time offered more control to its sellers.
‘Sponsored products’ for AmazonFresh products
Moving on from Amazon’s new support tools for sellers to its huge $3.5B advertising business.
In its latest move, Amazon has expanded Sponsored Products ads to its AmazonFresh e-commerce platform in the U.S. The ads can appear within Amazon’s regular search results, product details pages as well as within AmazonFresh’s search results.
Here are more details about it:
- Advertisers will have the option to target their audience based on keywords.
- Advertisers will be charged when people click on the ads, even if they do not purchase the product.
- The ads will only be shown to people in the U.S. who are eligible to shop AmazonFresh.
With this latest move to expand its ads to food products, Amazon is targeting rival giants like Walmart, Kroger and Target that also operate grocery delivery and advertising businesses.
And as per Trevor George of Bluewheel Media:
“Brands who start advertising now will get the lowest CPCs in history. First brands to advertise will benefit from it. Not to mention, there is greater potential for scale over brands who wait to pounce on this chance.”
Facebook doesn’t use your phone number just for security
A new conversation is taking place on Twitter. Ignited by Jeremy Burge, who warns that when logging into Facebook we shouldn’t use our phone number for the 2FA (2-factor authentication).
Because, apparently, FB doesn’t use this information only for security reasons. It also shares it with advertisers.
The social network always claimed that adding a phone number for 2FA was for security purposes only. But now there are claims that it can be searched.
Even if you don’t include your number on your profile, Facebook harvests it from your 2FA and lets advertisers target it.
Your phone number is used for usernames, authentication, advertising targeting and geolocation. Basically, Facebook is doing the opposite of what it sustains: They use your number for targeting purposes.
Not only, but FB is also trying to sync all your data between all their different services: FB, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Jeremy sustains that the final goal is to sync all of your info from these apps under one simple piece of data: Your mobile phone number.
Not sharing your number with Facebook? It doesn’t matter. If one of your friends allows Messenger or WhatsApp to access their contact list, Facebook will harvest your mobile number.
Many people retweeted the thread accusing FB and recommending that we delete it. If you want to join the discussion, or just want to check how Jeremy gathered all this info, head here.
Tipping Option to pay creators with real money on Reddit
Reddit is testing out a new option which would allow its users to offer real money ‘tips’ to content creators, providing a whole new motivation for creative Redditors.
Strangely, this tipping feature is active in just a single subreddit and only one user on the entire site, best known for creating the Hell in a Cell meme, can cash in.What a crazy way to test a new feature and make someone rich, lol.
During the test run, anyone subscribed to the subreddit can offer a cash tip to shittymorph by clicking a “tip” button that appears on all of his posts. After choosing to tip, users will be presented with recommended increments of $3, $5 or $10 — though they can set a custom tip up to $100. A box where users can enter their credit card information appears below that, and the transaction will be processed by Stripe.
For a $100 tip, $78.50 would land in shittymorph’s pocket. $18.50 would go directly into Reddit’s pockets and Stripe will take $3 for handling the transaction.
Previously, other platforms have already experimented with this creator tippingstrategy. Twitch has ‘Cheering’, YouTube has ‘Super Chat’, while Facebook added a tipping option for gaming streamers last year.
Well, it’s crazy to experiment feature on a single user on the entire site. However, Reddit says it’s a small test to see what users think, and what problems might arise, before the test pool gets broadened for more real-world responses.
Reddit will no doubt be weighing the pros and cons of it in the coming months and decide whether this feature deserves an expansion or if it should be reduced to ashes.
Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.
Messenger: Join the dark side
Things are about to get dark and gloomy for Facebook users.
Well, not literally! It’s just an update FB promised its users during the last developer conference.
And no mortal can simply enable it by just tapping on the Settings menu. You will have to rely on an easter egg to switch to the dark mode. An easter egg which involves sending an emoji.
Okay, Goth-talks aside. If you are curious and want to test it out, here’s what you need to do:
- Open the Facebook Messenger app on your phone. (Preferably on a half moon night)
- Send a moon/crescent emoji to anyone.
- Tap on the emoji repeatedly, until you see the half-moon animation flying all over your mobile screen.
- Once you do that, you’ll get a message indicating that you’ve unlocked the feature, and you can enable dark mode by tapping Turn On In Settings.
Alternatively, you can tap on your profile picture, and turn on the dark mode toggle from the settings page.
Well, we are not sure about the feature itself but surely that’s a fun way to enable it.