1) North Carolina woman gets $9 million in alienation of affection case against mistress of her husband. Husband has to pay divorce settlement, and his girlfriend has to pay $9 million? What is going on here? To all scorned women: your HUSBAND committed the error, not his girlfriend. Make HIM pay. Besides, if you make him pay, sympathy is on your side. If you make them both pay, you’re just a vindictive bitch lusting after money and everybody can see that. And really, is your relationship worth $9 million plus the divorce settlement? In this particular relationship, I extremely doubt the couple could have made $9 million during a lifetime together. Regardless whether or not the couple could have made that money, can a jury put a pricetag on how much financial damage an outside party can do on a relationship? What a can of worms. For me, this is about abrogation of responsibility… I’ve ranted on about this before, but it’s time for people in our society to take personal responsibility for things and lay less blame on outside parties. Stop suing everybody under the sun for a payday! Is that what the law is for? If your relationship fell apart, that’s between the husband and the wife. Can you sue a pretty girl for making sheep eyes at the husband? She led him astray; this doesn’t mean she gave up the goods. And what degree of “giving up the goods” is considered alienation of affection anyway? Anyways, this rant is aimed squarely at NC, HI, IL, NH, MI, NM, SD and UT. Get rid of those archaic laws from witch-burning days. Your stupid legislatures should have done that long time ago. Yes, the greedy woman benefited… but blame should be put on those DIRECTLY responsible.
2) Integraclick listed as one of America’s fastest growing companies in 2009 by Inc. magazine. They listed something like $900+ million in revenue during 2009 (according to Inc., dunno if true or not but I assume so), and a good portion of that are due to rebill offers. They even posted about it last year, remarking that “it’s safe to say that continuity programs aren’t going anywhere any time soon.” And then December 1 happened. FTC released additional marketing guidelines that went into effect on that day. These guidelines banned merchants from using deceptive billing practices, affecting a large number of merchants and a sizeable portion of the Integraclick portfolio. The affected merchants typically ran a health or beauty offer (colon cleansers, teeth whiteners, diet pills, etc.) that offered free or low cost trials and automatically billed users once the free trial period ends. The offer typically had little to no or wrong contact info so cancellation was almost impossible, and sometimes involved extra charges that users needed to opt out of – except they were never aware of that fact. Regardless of how hard it was, the credit card companies weren’t happy with the fact that so many of the charges through these merchants were charged back and they received neverending amounts of complaints from consumers regarding fraud, unfair fees, unethical practices, etc. The banks and credit card companies began yanking the merchant credit card processing accounts for many of these rebill merchants during early 2010 and many of these guys shut up shop and flew the coop with whatever cash they still had, leaving unpaid bills to affiliate networks stretching to the millions of dollars. The affiliate marketing industry still hasn’t felt the full effects of this catastrophe, and it seems likely that 2010 will be a bad year for any company that relied on rebill offers for success in the past. It is even likely that listed high revenues for 2009 may now turn out to only be wishful thinking, and full of accounts receivable from merchants who no longer exist, are unwilling to pay or will never be able to afford it. Back to the original point: continuity programs did go somewhere, and real soon. The Bad News Bears happened. Thank goodness that IDzMedia didn’t do too much in those areas. It must be playing havoc with a lot of those search marketers that built up portfolios of keywords on those rebill health and beauty offers!
3) Other companies blackening the reputation of Content Unlockers as a strong advertising model. This is a recurring gripe, made worse by the fact that advertisers are beginning to get pissy. Due to lax oversight of publishers – ahem, the practice of immediate acceptance of any and all publishers, including porn, black hat, warez and intentionally illegal websites – a lot of unacceptable traffic gets sent to offers by these other gateway companies. We use the term “gateway” here to mark a difference from our Unlocker product. Many of these offers were initially used by IDzMedia before being poached and used by everybody else. However, the quality of the additional volume from everybody else is so low that advertisers have begun to baulk and take action. In the past few weeks, several important advertisers have yanked placements from major gateway companies. While we have not been affected, it’s hard to be the only one with ethical practices while everybody else breaks the law willy-nilly. We have been lucky that our carefully built reputation has prevented us from losing accounts, but it’s a pain to continually offer apologies for this niche. With all the building issues, we have to prove that we’re not doing what the others doing – and that requires a lot more patience and communication than we’d otherwise have to do. The one nightmare scenario is that the advertiser gets sick of dealing with the quality issue and removes the offer entirely from the social media incent space. Then, everybody gets punished regardless if they had a hand in it or not. And we are going down that road. It is time for agencies to demand better practices from its client affiliate networks and so on down the line. People like us VET all our traffic so it tends to be of better quality; this is how we can maintain great offers, high conversion rates and continue paying all our affiliates. All the others do not vet and thus don’t know their traffic until it’s way too late; these guys scrub like crazy, yank payments randomly, have irresponsible payment schedules and flood advertisers with so much bad traffic that it always gets noticed. These guys turn the industry into a giant Ponzi scheme, which it should NOT be. How shortsighted. Huge profit now, and then you can fly by night when you’ve made the area radioactive.
Semi-related issue… spoiler alert: CPA * CR should equal EPC? Then why don’t stats at some major gateway companies fit that simple mathematical formula? Perhaps someone should pay attention to what’s being inflated.
4) Assassin’s Creed 2 with its stupid Internet connection requirement, and online saved games. I like single player games because I don’t have to rely on being online. I have DSL and Clear, and both are fast enough but they periodically cut off for a few seconds and then come back. That’s not called a constant Internet connection. I don’t need that hassle of being logged off and on many times while I’m playing. Besides, what if I’m in the middle of nowhere and want to play? I can’t use the game in a secluded spot with bad Internet because some ass decided this model was the way to go? What if I’m traveling and like a bit of gaming? What about that 30% of Americans with NO broadband Internet connection? Biting off your foot to spite your hand. I also like to have my games saved on my computer. This way, I don’t have to rely on some servers of some company that could tank any time and thus lose all my saved games. Not to mention the fact that if Ubisoft went bankrupt, I would no longer be able to play the game at all. Also, your first few weeks and SO many reports of servers being down, DDOS attacks, etc etc. Well, DDOS is a fact of life… but what kind of impression does that make if your first time noob buyers can’t freakin play the game because of your DRM? You lost that guy forever. Yes, you need to make up for expensive development costs by limiting piracy. But great, you happened to lose all the people that might have bought it anyway… and you for sure made the fanboys mad, who happen to drive a lot of game sales for violent videogames. These are the guys who make a choice every day whether to download or to buy, and buy when they think it’s worth it. You have to persuade them to make that choice, or they won’t. Console manufacturers must be pleased though. All those fanboys who didn’t care about the DRM issue enough to totally boycott Ubisoft went immediately to buy it for the 360 and other consoles. Stop driving PC games to consoles, because the response time blows and controls are just not as tight! I hate consoles. I’m playing ACII on a console and it’s annoying. I WOULD buy it for PC but this DRM crap is making me not buy it… and it’s painful.
Personally, I believe this kind of DRM is illegal. You CANNOT sell the game secondhand, which is the prime requirement of retail law. Amazon actually delisted all used copies of ACII on sale because they won’t work with their new owners. Gay.
Also, here’s a post from Xarkezeth on GamesOn.net:
“I just thought I’d register to say that, in compensation for downtime for PC users of Assassin’s Creed 2, they’re giving us free access to the DLC. Which was already included in the PC release anyway. Stunning.”