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The coming evolution
Messer reports that most affiliate users of the technology in the LinkShare network have signed LinkShare’s addendum and modified their software accordingly. But at the end of the day, the effectiveness of either the Code or addendum approach depends on whether affiliates who use adware and plug-ins actually toe the line and the extent to which violations have consequences.
The industry has taken steps to guide the use of the new shopping applications in a way it believes will protect the overall integrity of the affiliate marketplace, which has become a highly valued marketing channel for e-retailers. But the marketplace has its own voice. If retailers and consumers ultimately experience more benefits than drawbacks in using any of the current generation of tools, they’ll likely do so; if not, they won’t. And that experience will shape the evolution of future such applications.
“We do expect this to evolve,” says Gerace. “And we’ve said, conduct yourself in a fair and ethical way in your business practices, whatever the underlying technology is.”