Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
When I was a child, my school would have fundraisers that involved us going door-to-door to sell magazine subscriptions (magazines were glossy, soft-cover publications that would be mailed to a subscriber’s house on a weekly or monthly basis). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was right in the middle of an affiliate marketing scheme. The magazine companies had products they wanted to sell. Schools had the ability to sell these products. And for every subscription sold, the magazine companies gave a slice of the proceeds to the school. (In this example, there’s actually a secondary later of affiliate marketing; the schools effectively outsource the actual selling to the students, in exchange for prizes that come with meeting certain sales figures.)
You will market Local Associates Products to Amazon customers only at those locations and through those methods by which you customarily conduct your registered business. Solely with respect to the Local Associates Program, and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Participation Requirements, you may include Special Links in written physical and digital materials (including email) which are displayed, distributed, emailed, or offered to customers, clients, or third parties with whom you have a preexisting relationship; provided, that such written physical and digital materials are in compliance with the Associates Program Operating Agreement, the Trademark Guidelines, and the Amazon Brand Usage Guidelines. Upon our request, you will provide us with representative sample materials and written certification that you have complied with the foregoing. We will specify the form of, and content required in, that certification in any such request. Any failure by you to provide the certification in accordance with our request will constitute a material breach of this Local Associates Policy. For the avoidance of doubt, (i) for the purposes of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and any similar or successor legislation (CAN-SPAM), you are the “Sender” of each email containing any Special Links, (ii) for the purposes of the Communications Act of 1934 as amended by Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and any similar or successor legislation (TCPA), you “make” and “initiate” each text message containing any Special Links, and (iii) you must comply with CAN-SPAM, TCPA and marketing industry standards and best practices for all emails, texts, and other messages relating to the Local Associates Program. Amazon may revoke the offline marketing permissions granted in this Section 3 at any time in its sole discretion by providing written notice to you.
The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter. Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.