I See Stupid People….?

This is a guest post by a long time friend, business partner and an all around “PAB” (if you do not know – ask me), Chris Kautz.  Often referred to as the “Affiliate Slayer” his morals and ethics are never questioned. So when an event occurred today – he went on one of his famous rants. Continue reading for a cheap laugh.

Ok so I really don’t see dead people, it’s just a well known quote from a Bruce Wills flick a few years back.  I am sure some of you youngins in the biz might not know what I am referring to, your problem. Get over it.   Anyway the whole purpose of this tangent/rant is to discuss the question as it relates to our upstanding and honorable industry, can dead people fill out applications/leads?   Hmmm…… that is a difficult one no matter your beliefs.

Let’s look at this “hypothetical” situation that happened earlier today.    I guess somebody in heaven was interested in finding out more about an education in the arts and decided to fill out and application one of our great edu offers.   I guess anything is possible, but somehow the advertiser has taken it personally.    So should advertisers be liable for such a lead, do they have a right to be ticked off and scrub a few leads?   Should affiliates bear the burden and liability of a consumer being stupid in filling in their Uncle Earl’s info since he or she was just curious about a particular offer and didn’t want to be contacted directly?  This is assuming the affiliate didn’t send the “fraudulent “traffic to begin with.     All parts equal and to remain fair and balanced, this is also assuming the advertiser didn’t make up this scenario to provide a reason to scrub a few leads, thereby adding to their bottom line.

So let’s assume that both the affiliate and advertiser are doing their jobs in a legitimate and respectful manner.   Whose fault is it that a dead person filled out an application? The dead person? Here is how this “hypothetical“scenario plays out, a call center immediately calls the number listed on the form, asking for dear ole Uncle Earl, his widow answers and breaks into tears and frustration anger etc.,   The advertiser wants a chunk of meat from the publisher responsible for generating this lead as they feel their brand is tarnished and will potentially gain some bad press.    The publisher responds thoroughlyconfused as they are an emailer and can’t control who fills out an app or what they put.

So responsibility lies with both the advertiser and the affiliate.   The advertiser has a duty to have the proper validations in place to minimize post pixel scrubs.     The publisher has a duty to take precautions that they are promoting any campaign within the parameters and guidelines set forth by the advertiser.   They can only control what email address they can deploy a campaign to as well parse out any unsubscribes listed on the campaign’s suppression file.   Advertisers need to realize this is the performance based marketing arena and they have a responsibility to be fair to those affiliates who promote their campaigns properly and ethically.   Affiliates have a responsibility to do the same as advertiser are putting themselves on the line with their reputation and trusting publishers to carry out their online marketing initiatives in an upstanding way.    If we all work together on both sides of the industry, such scenarios will be once in a blue moon, but until that happens, this will remain an ongoing virtual battle.   Can’t we all just get along……………..?


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About the Author


Ricky Ahuja is the serving as the VP of Marketing for ClickSyndicate.com and provides strategic corporate and functional marketing consulting services to early stage companies.


  1. It’s situations like this that make our industry more entertaining. At the very least it is a good story to tell. There are no guarantees that the consumer isn’t going to do something stupid and advertisers need to be aware of that.

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