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"Are They Stealing Your Commissions???"

By A. T. Rendon
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2004

First it was “Smart Tags", and they came onto your web site and using your “Keywords", they stole your visitors.

Now these same FREE software people have managed to legally steal your affiliate commissions!!!

It might be legal but it certainly smacks of theft and of being just plain WRONG!!!

These online services are using their FREE software to include within the bundle, a new type of software that will divert your earned commissions into their own pockets.

We will call this type of software - Theft-ware.

With this software, commissions that should go to you when you provide someone like, Amazon, (http://www,, a visitor via a link on your web site, the software makes it appear as if the FREE software provider is the referring link rather than you.

This Theft-ware software, which apparently is currently being made and distributed by about 15 companies, is said to be perfectly legal, because they make users agree to this THEFT of commissions within the FINE PRINT, which we all never read in accepting the use of FREE software online.

Worst of all, and typical of these sleazy businesses, is the fact that the average user of their FREE software is totally unaware that this Theft-ware software is operating on their computers.

If you have downloaded any FREE software from Kazaa, of the infamous “Smart Tags" scandal, Morpheus,, BearShare, SaveNow, LimeShop, BuyerSport, TopMoxie, or LimeWire, just to mention a few of these modern day pirate, then you may be losing money right now!

Some affiliate estimate that they have seen a drop of 50 percent or more in their commissions and we are just now learning why.

The deception is simple for these companies.

It all starts when you or I as consumers download FREE software from the Internet with the belief that it is going to help us swap music, photos or other files, or to find the best bargains online.

As you go through the process to install the FREE software, the little window will innocently enough ask you to show support for their FREE software if you will shop through an affiliate program.

What you and I as consumers are not being made aware of specifically is that when you click, “I Agree", our computer is then branded electronically.

From that point on, all future purchases you make online will be made to appear as if made through the affiliate link of the FREE software distributor even if it was not.

This same FREE software thus cancels a purchase made through YOUR AFFILIATE LINK by making it appear as if it was made via the FREE software's affiliate link.

It is conservatively estimated that the Theft-ware distributors, including Kazaa, Morpheus,, BearShare, SaveNow, LimeShop, BuyerSport, TopMoxie, and LimeWire, have had their Theft-ware software downloaded by close to 100 million unsuspecting Web surfers, who thought they were being treated to a great FREE piece of software.

The affiliate market online is estimated to be a $100 billion enterprise so one can only speculate that these pirates have stolen millions of dollars in commissions already!!!

Amazon, and a few of the larger affiliate network sites, have blocked some of these pirates from profiting from this deception.

However, this problem is HUGE.

We can remove programs from our computer but even so, the FREE Theft-ware program may REMAIN on your computer even after the original FREE software is deleted.

This is a pervasive deception!!!

The companies distributing this Theft-ware FREE software argue that when a consumer clicks, “I Agree", thus giving their legal consent to the terms of the agreement for use, when they then download the FREE software, they are SOL, sh*t out of luck!!!

[ Please excuse the apparent language. :-) ]

Technically, it might be legal but do you think this is fair?

Personally, I feel that the deception speaks for itself.

Yes, it may be legal to deceive consumers into clicking, “I Agree", by hiding your intentions within the FINE PRINT of the agreement but even a child could discern that doing so is WRONG.

And, quite unfortunately, there may not be any easy remedy to this nightmare.

Certainly, as consumers, we have the right to REMOVE ALL Software made by the offending companies from our computers And further refuse to ever deal with these companies ever again.

To remove software from your PC, do the following:

Click the Start button. Scroll to Settings. Highlight and Click: Control Panel. Double-click on the Add/Remove Programs. Click on the Name of the Software to remove. Click Add/Remove. Close the Add/Remove window. Close the Control Panel window. And, you are done.

But, since the Theft-ware part of the FREE software may remain on your computer even after deleting it, we are ALL going to have to keep our eyes and ears open for a viable solution that should come shortly from the Internet at large.

About the Author
A.T.Rendon is an entrepreneur and published writer. Subscribe to our FREE Business Classifieds Newsletter & receive FREE online access to our ENTRY Protected "FREE Submit To Over 3.1 MILLION FREE Ad Sites - DAILY!!!" Visit us at: (


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