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Policy on affiliate links...?
04-07-2005, 01:28 AM
Post: #51
Policy on affiliate links...?
I second Artgeek's comment: those referred don't miss out on anything; maybe they know about the referral and maybe they don't, but they needn't really worry about it unless they deliberately want to be referred by a specific person, in which case the referral field in the sign-up form can be used -- and I expect it to take precedence over any cookies the user might have lying around.

If ever there would be somebody to complain about this cookie-based system, it might be those original referrer (by cookie) that miss out because the user deleted his cookies (by regular habit) and thereby lets another guy get the referral because the first cookie was lost.

Or the one to complain would be DreamHost itself because users are greedily grabbing the referrals when the customers weren't really referred by them but by DH's marketing efforts in the first place. If that's the case, DH would smartly redesign or withdraw the referral program altogether. But they've kept the referral program open and even increased the stakes to a lot of money, so this will surely lure some souls -- me included. Perhaps reducing the reward to $9.95 would be smarter, but I don't have enough marketing insight to judge this.

Some users of this forum (and wiki) have been around long enough to provide just the right insight to those newbies that need answers on quirky questions. What's wrong with letting these users share their wisdom - Nothing. What's wrong with letting these users benefit from their wisdom by the rewards program?

Jason/user919 asks for the least possible amount of regulation, and I second that. Jeff notes that one of the purposes of the forum is to give new customers an unbiased source of information -- how can it be unbiased when it's populated with a) happy pro-DH fans as well as b) unhappy con-DH ex-users? We know that you send people to the forum for help, not for referrals, and we do provide the help as best we can. Is it a big thing that we do so by the referral links that DH offers?

I say: keep the referral program, and don't ban referral links in the forum. (In the wiki, it might be different because anyone can edit other people's contributions and add _their_ referral link instead -- that would be questionable.) Ultimately it is DH's decision, about forum policy and about the rewards program, but I don't see it as a Bad Thing in any way. If you must, the best way would be to require referral links to be marked as _being_ referral links, but still don't limit their use.

TorbenGB
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04-07-2005, 03:41 AM
Post: #52
Policy on affiliate links...?
Quote:Text without hyperlinks probably skirts the intent, as I'm sure you know. I am well aware of your creativity and adaptability. ... Hotlink, coldlink, text available for copy/paste - it's all the same to me. No need to point fingers; I think it's a “good thing,” remember? Still do. :-)

No, no, don't get me wrong; I'm not pointing fingers: i'm only giving due credits to people who inspired me in the first place. Big Grin And yes, it's a good thing; I wouldn't have done it if it was *that* bad, right? Wink

But I must respectfully disagree with the saying that text WITHOUT link is the same: we are talking about affiliate LINKS here, are we not? That's exactly why even the strictest forums which forbids affiliate links allow them. To be frank, as a moderator at one of those million web hosting related forums (one which has been made relatively more famous partly for the "hiding chicken" imagery), I am quite aware of how that line is drawn, not just by me, but by most others in the industry, esp. when they (text w/o links) are in the signature. Wink

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04-07-2005, 03:51 AM
Post: #53
Policy on affiliate links...?
I DO think referrals should be banned in the Wiki except for personal pages (The ones for each user, I don't think a limit should be put on those pages other than referring to other hosts.)

I understand wanting unbiased opinions, and hoping removing referral links would help that. I don't recall seeing alot of "I love Dreamhost, they are perfect" posts recdently that I would expect if people were just pining for the referral. I also understand you want to remove even the aire of impropriety. I do think limiting the links to Sigs, and Labeling them as affiliate links would be a good compromise.

You may want to extend the length of Signatures a little bit if you do though, they are awefully limiting (mine is at the limit as an example).

Jeff Thank you for responding. When I received the
"Glad to hear that everything has been resolved." I was pretty po'd. There are a couple resons I prefer POP3 over IMAP (Keep in mind I'm 'Old School" and a Luddite). But the fact is it does work. And Other than the 2 months I've been with Dreamhost it's worked perfectly. And I got no feedback that the tech ever looked at the bad email, nor did I have the patients to wait for the next bad one to roll around. Dreamhost does need to, and I know they are, work on their email system.

-Jason

I40.com - Home Page
MP3Mystic - Personal Streaming Music server.
(Neither of these sites are still hosted at dreamhost)
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04-07-2005, 03:54 AM
Post: #54
Policy on affiliate links...?
I guess I have said this in another thread, but allow me to say it again here.

The accusation that people with affliate links in their posts or even this forum collectively is biased is really made on a shaky ground. Like Jeff said, except for those whose primary or sole incomes rely on DreamHost's profit (that would be their employees or shareholders), all others here are directly affected by DreamHost's performance level.

First, if DreamHost really sucks that much, OUR websites (esp. those use it for business and not leisure) suffer. (That's also why you sometimes see me complain a bit.)

Second, the 97 days money back guarantee makes it that if their service is that poor, we referrers will NOT get any rewards after all. So what's the point of giving biased comments? Remember, there are dozens other hosts rendering equally or even better referral commissions every few blocks down the road!

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04-07-2005, 06:37 AM
Post: #55
Policy on affiliate links...?
Quote:I like to help people get good results. Of course the reward factors in as well, so if you were going to take away that benefit from me, would I keep up this philantropy?
Of course you would: you'd keep up this phiantropy in return for that priceless warm and fuzzy feeling that you have helped someone. It works for me. ;-)
Cheers,
marsbar
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04-07-2005, 07:23 AM
Post: #56
Policy on affiliate links...?
I do believe you're right! Proof: I'm active in other fora as well, where there is no monetary rewards system.

TorbenGB
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04-07-2005, 09:26 AM
Post: #57
Policy on affiliate links...?
Quote:
Quote:What was the original purpose of the referral reward? It's to reward the people pimping Dreamhost.

No, primary purpose is to increase DH customers and business. Means is by giving incentives to pimp (or play).

So the incentive for signing up with Dreamhost is getting a ticket to play referral money free-for-all? Now that is progressive! Gambling and webhosting combined; defining new directions in hosting business!

I suppose it provides incentive for old timers to point newbies to Dreamhost, too. Gotta provide the balls for the croupier for the roulette wheel. And the house wins every time.

Sucks for you if you don't like gambling though. But such is life I suppose. Play those newbies. Make them feel like the pawns they are. That'll make them feel welcome, and you get a gambling fix without any risk for yourself. Win-win scenario if ever there was one.
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04-07-2005, 12:18 PM
Post: #58
Policy on affiliate links...?
Quote:Jeff Thank you for responding. When I received the
"Glad to hear that everything has been resolved." I was pretty po'd.
There are a couple resons I prefer POP3...

Thanks for the well-reasoned response to my response. :>

All things aside, I can understand your frustration given the circumstance, as you had not had these POP3-related problems with other providers.

Technically, I'm pretty sure this is mostly a case of our specific mail server having problems with malformed email headers that come in to POP3 email accounts, a problem that has become more and more of an issue as spam/viruses have become increasingly common. Given that POP3 has largely fallen out of favor, most server development these days has been related to IMAP, so aside from switching mail servers (which we are unlikely to do any time soon) I don't think this will be resolved in the way you would have hoped for. For that reason, and a number of others, we've been recommending IMAP usage instead whenever possible.

I am a bit curious, though, as to why you prefer POP3. I'm old school as well, but IMAP as far as I have seen has no drawbacks compared to POP3, aside from the fact that there are some - increasingly few - email clients that don't support it (ie. Bare Bones Mailsmith, an otherwise great client).

In any case, this all seems like a bit of a misunderstanding... While I realize that you're probably not using your account for much at this point beyond being FTP back-up, if you have any more specific support response 'quality' related concerns about DreamHost please feel free to contact me at jeff_at_dreamhost.com (not normal support inquiries, though - it'll almost certainly take longer to hear back from me, and I usually don't work during weekends at all).

This offer extends to everyone else too, BTW. I'm the resident "Quality Control" guy here, and have a reputation for thwacking support techs over the head with 'suggestions' if I see sub-par responses (I'm known for being a bit of a nag). I can't guarantee that I'll side with or agree with you in every case, but I can guarantee that I'll listen.

- Jeff @ DreamHost
- DH Discussion Forum Admin
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04-07-2005, 12:31 PM
Post: #59
Policy on affiliate links...?
Quote:I am a bit curious, though, as to why you prefer POP3. I'm old school as well, but IMAP as far as I have seen has no drawbacks compared to POP3, aside from the fact that there are some - increasingly few - email clients that don't support it (ie. Bare Bones Mailsmith, an otherwise great client).
One key downside, far as I am concerned, is speed. With POP3 you download the messages once to local machine, and then they're at your disposal at local filesystem speeds. With IMAP, while there's all sorts of caching going on, the mail client still defers first and foremost to the server. If you've a slower link that difference can make accessing messages noticeably slower.

Mind you we're using IMAP ourselves and love it to death. But IMAP represents a paradigm shift in comparison to POP; one's client-side storage and one's server-side storage. I do not think it's entirely fair to say one is complete replacement for the other.
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04-07-2005, 12:41 PM
Post: #60
Policy on affiliate links...?
Quote:Obviously they are not "the same," but we are approaching discussion
of what the definition of "is" is.

Uh-oh! Don't want to go down that path. :>

Quote:Copy/paste of your text non-link slips 'em a referral cookie just as well as
clicking a link does (or at least 2 of 3 did last I checked).

I think the main concern, in this instance, is that when clicking on a link it's not always obvious what the link is, particularly to those who are new to web hosting or the concept of affiliate links. Even a non-linked URL isn't entirely obvious ("what's an r.cgi?"), but in theory is at least a bit more noticeable. I'm not advocating removing the ability to link here, though, so this is all kind of academic. :>

I agree with you 100% on one thing you mentioned earlier - there is no such thing as 'unbiased' - and it was a poor choice of word on my part. What I really meant I suppose is more along the lines of 'biased only by their personal experiences with DreamHost services' - which, to a reader, is a useful bias. For people who are come here with that expectation, unlabeled affiliate links do seem counter to their interests, wouldn't you agree?

Every forum or other online community has a different purpose, along with a different set of expectations. Posting affiliates in forums where such activity is disallowed - either because it cuts down on the signal to noise ratio, or interferes with the purpose of the community (ie. relatively unbiased hosting reviews at webhostingtalk.com) - is not allowed. While we do provide the ability to post Rewards links in different places, ultimately you must consider the context of where you are posting it and/or follow the rules set down by the administrators of those places.

What I'm proposing is that the context of this forum (and the wiki, kbase, etc) is such that affiliate links carry with them a set of problems that do not exist in other contexts, and that modifications of some kind should be considered.

- Jeff @ DreamHost
- DH Discussion Forum Admin
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