Clickbooth Sure Enjoys Plagiarizing

April 4, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz

People have been copying me for years, ever since I started blogging. I’ve had dozens of people copy of my logo, try to make clones of some of my sites, and copy various ideas I’ve come up with over the years.

This has never bothered me too much because it will naturally happen when you’re a blogger, especially in the make money online niche. But when a big company completely copies me, it really pisses me off.

The Affiliate Marketing Challenge which I ran on my blog from the summer of 2008 to the end of the year, which then transitioned into PublisherChallenge, was the target of many copycats. I can understand this, since it was a great idea and is a good business model, and again people will naturally copy what works. I can recall close to a couple dozen bloggers who completely copied my Affiliate Marketing Challenges, including a few big affiliate marketers/bloggers.

MotiveInteractive actually copied me and ran a competition with Zac Johnson. However, I didn’t mind too much since Motive did contact me before they ran with him saying they wanted to run a competition with me, and later did run a big one with PublisherChallenge last month.

So, to date I’ve pretty much let the copycats roll off my back since PublisherChallenge still holds the biggest competitions and gives out the best prizes.

Get some Originality, Clickbooth

That is, until I received an e-mail yesterday from Clickbooth announcing their “CB Ultimate Internal Referral Contest”. Now, their contest is a big strange, in that it appears to award the prizes to the referrers instead of the publishers, but the fact is that Clickbooth obviously copied my now-famous contest promotion poster (I say now-famous since close to a dozen people have copied it…) with their pumpkin-head clone:

94

95

It’s interesting how it’s even the same height and width as mine.

I let that go though. What really pissed me off is that they completely ripped my terms word-for-word and used it as their terms.

Here’s the terms I have on PublisherChallenge:

96

…and here’s the innovative unique writing that Clickbooth came up with from their legal department:

97

Oh wait, that looks mighty similar too. Wait a second, isn’t that word for word?

Now, some people will say that’s not really plagiarism since those are terms and not really content, and that it’s not very much. But that’s the whole point – why can’t Clickbooth, a large affiliate company making millions upon millions, afford to come up with their own stuff? It’s just annoying.

Their Contest is a Joke Anyway

I don’t get this. They go to all this trouble copying me, only to run a stupid contest. Check this out:

98

So, publishers already receive a normal 2% referral commission. Therefore, Clickbooth’s sole incentive for this contest are the prizes they’re giving out in lieu, no doubt, of the 2% commission.

If you look at the prize payout in their Pumpkin Man image above, you’ll see some of the prizes are:

  • $2,500-$4,999.99: X-Shot
  • $5,000-$9,999.99: New 4GB iPod Shuffle & $15 iTunes Gift Card
  • $15,000-$19,999.99: 80GB PS3 + Guitar Hero: Metallica

Now, the X-Shot costs $30, the iPod and gift card comes to $95, and the PS3 + Guitar Hero come to $450.

Using only the 3 examples above, if we take the normal 2% referral commission of the the median of each price range and compare it to the value of the prizes we get the following table:

 


Price Tier Incredible Prize Value! Normal Referral Cut
$2,500-$4,999.99 $30 $75
$5,000-$9,999.99 $95 $150
$15,000-$19,999.99 $450 $350

So, for 2/3 of the sample tiers I looked at, you’re actually losing out if you enter this competition! You would have been better off with the normal 2% instead of their special “prize”.

Even in the 3rd case, you’re only getting a tiny bit more than if there was no contest at all.

I’m sorry Clickbooth but you really don’t know how to run a contest.

Plagiarist and a Hypocrite

Clickbooth already has a bad reputation in the affiliate marketing scene and is infamous for being extremely litigious, throwing out lawsuits and C&D’s here and there when anything bad is said about their company. I wonder if I’ll get one.

It seems that they can throw lawsuits around but are innocent from ripping off creative and content?

All They Had to Do Was Ask

The sad part is that all Clickbooth had to do was ask me if they could run a competition on PublisherChallenge. In two months I could probably have sent them a hundred referrals generating an extra $100,000 in commissions.

Although the truth is that I probably wouldn’t even if they did ask since I do not like this company. They are very shady and have such a bad reputation in the industry its surprising they haven’t gone under yet.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: April 4th, 2009 under Affiliate Marketing  

59 Responses to “Clickbooth Sure Enjoys Plagiarizing”

  1. Gyutae Park says:

    lol, nice! You know you hit the big time when companies are copying you… The orange CB man kinda looks like you too.

  2. shreedhar says:

    Hi Cruz,
    I do really visit your blog often for some good info, but never even thought of such crude methods.Well its really foolish for such networks to do such dirty work.There are millions of artists out there waiting for an oppurtunity to showcase their work, and its a good oppurtunity if the network really want to excel and have credible exposure by availing such people to do the designing for them instead of dropping to such cheap levels.
    regards
    shreedhar

  3. Lorenzo says:

    Dude get over yourself.

    You say your getting into AM, you should expect that. Everyone copies everyone.

    Big whoop.

    There are no better things to write about then copied terms and conditions ha?

  4. Matt says:

    The orage image looks nothing like your one. I’d actually go as far as saying it looks better.

    Dodge they copied your terms tho.

  5. I frequent a few sites and notice a lot of plagiarism and copying or ideas for articles. it seems to be the way most sites operate.

    In one way, imitation is flattery, but with the logo of you, I do not see any real resemblance. With the terms, yes, they did copy you word for word but really, like you said, they are terms…how many ways can you come up with a short but clear set of rules?

    I can understand your frustration, but in a way, you did give their contest (which I for one did not know about) some coverage. Let them do your thing and continue to raise your brand higher until your surpass others.

  6. KushMoney says:

    Tyler no need to get pissed off. Its part of business my friend. Keep doing what you do and let nothing stand in your way.

  7. I’ve been attending some personal development seminars lately that have really helped out to understand my frustrations. What may help here is to look at the fact that they are copying you and really ask yourself:

    – Where in my life have I copied what works from others?
    – Where in my life have I been unoriginal?
    – Where in my life have I been lazy?
    – What’s great about them copying me?
    – What would I not have in my life right now if people didn’t copy me?

    If you just humor yourself and actually sit down and write out even just 5-10 answers to each one of those questions, you will neutralize your frustration with this type of thing happening and hopefully stop attracting it in your life.

    The law of attraction says we attract whatever we’re most emotionally charged about, and obviously think type of thing really irkes/frustrates you.

    Just an idea.

    -Paul

  8. Wow Tyler! Have to say I’m a little surprised you would toss Motive in the mix here, after we paid for advertising on you blog for a year and ran a contest on your site. So mentioning us on a post where you call out “networks” is harsh. Anyway, look at this as a compliment, that people would “copy” your ideas. You may also want to consider that you were not the first person to use a contest, avatar, prizes to promote affiliate marketing its been going on for many years it’s a very common marketing tactic. But I do thank you for using our referral link in the post :)

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      That’s exactly why I mentioned Motive, Brendan. You guys were actually in contact with me and offered to run a contest with me before you ran one with Zac.

      Clickbooth never contacted me, yet they still felt the need to obviously create their promotional material from PublisherChallenge and my blog.

      I’m not angry or jealous that they didn’t contact me because I would have turned them down anyway. But I do get angry when people copy my stuff ver batim.

      • No one should rip off copy, images and yes that does include terms and conditions, that is never cool and unfortunately it happens all the time. I have had to fight companies that have tried to rip off everything from our corporate site copy to our logo and even name! When i was a website owner I even had a top airline publish a travel guide for a vacation destination that I wrote an online guide for – they took my site word for word and put it in the seats of all their airplanes! Yup I was shocked when i flew on one of these planes to see my hard work completely ripped off. I agree 100% no one has the right to take your work. I don’t doubt someone took your copy and used it, again not cool and i know how that feels. I just found it unnecessary to throw us into the mix here, and as I mentioned your post makes it sound like you were the first to every run these types of promotions and that is not the case. However you do a fine job at running them and no one can argue that.

      • Zac Johnson says:

        Tyler, I’m very saddened you linked to WinningTheWeb instead of my actual contest post. Haha, jk!

  9. Tyler Cruz says:

    I must say that I’m very surprised you guys don’t see the obvious “resemblance” of the two images.

  10. Simon says:

    Copying terms is still plagarism.

    You may have paid a lawyer/ attorney write the terms, that’s stealing.

  11. Mike says:

    Seeing how the majority of the comments shrug off a network copying and pasting Tyler’s work is shocking.

    Affiliate Marketing has always had a shady element, but it seems to be dominated by the lazy, underhanded, and just plain stupid these days.

    Personally, this pisses me off. I won’t be doing any work with ClickBooth. If they feel it’s okay to steal someone else’s work, then they’re encouraging their affiliates to do the same. As someone that works hard on campaigns that I build, I would like to extend a middle finger to ClickBooth.

    Additionally, I personally don’t like to work with thieves, because eventually they will do what comes naturally, steal from you.

    Actions like these, plus with the state of Connecticut looking to prosecute you fools that were running the fraudulent Acai Berry blogs, many of which were copy and pasted, needs to be a wake up call for this industry.

    ClickBooth taking actions like this sends the industry steps back, when it desperately needs to be leaping forward.

  12. Karl Hadwen says:

    Prizes, Prizes, Prizes Looks great

  13. Welcome to Internet/Affiliate Marketing. Copying is nothing new in this industry. Get used to it.

  14. Eric says:

    Hey Tyler,

    I’m Eric, Clickbooth’s new Social Media Manager. Since I jumped on board, one of our goals for 2009 was to start doing a lot more contests. Not only to motivate new publishers to work hard on improving their affiliate marketing skills (while winning some cool prizes in the process), but as a way to start building relationships with all the new and existing bloggers and affiliate marketers in the industry, including you.

    I know we’ve been wanting to work with you for quite some time,  but that its been kinda hard trying to get a hold of you. Ashlee said that she tried calling you multiple times as well, but wasn’t able to get through either. However, you’ve always been at the top of our list of super affiliates we want to work with and we would still love to work something out, if you are open to it. :-)

    As for the contest, the reason we started off with THIS type of format is because we received a lot of feedback from our publishers saying they wanted it this way. So we listened to them, and created it. Our legal department then sent us over a TOS for us to use which looked pretty standard. Any similarities were unintentional, and if you would like us to change them, I have no problem doing so.

    With that said, I really hope we can find some ways to work together in the future and I’d love to get on a call with you and figure some stuff out.

    All the best,

    Eric

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Obviously I don’t hold some exclusive right to holding performance-based competitions. What angered me here was that my creative (both imagery and textual) were obviously directly copied.

      I expect this sort of thing from individuals who are too lazy or indifferent to copying/stealing from others, but not from a big company such as Clickbooth that has their own design team, legal department, etc.

      In response to “Any similarities were unintentional” – I’m sorry, but I’m sure you’ll agree that the terms were obviously copy and pasted from my site and the image was based directly on my design.

      Anyhow, regarding the phone call: I do not answer the phone from unknown numbers as the majority of the time they’re advertisers, and so I screen the calls on my voice mail. I never received any e-mails or messages left on my voice mail from Clickbooth.

      Unfortunately, I do not want to open a dialogue. As stated in my post, I do not like the way Clickbooth conducts itself, and copying my stuff is not a good way to introduce yourself either.

    • Paul B says:

      The images, it’s fair enough to base one image on another I see no problem with that.

      It’s the terms that get on my tits. Some people (including me in the past) have spent thousands of dollars on getting legally substantial terms & conditions (legal opinions) from lawyers for elements of our business. When YOU do a copy and paste of it you are stealing. A kid in some middle of nowehere country may get away with it but for this to come from a large north American corporate is bullshit. Whoever in your legal team “lifted” those terms needs sacking.

    • DotDriven says:

      “super affiliate”….lmao. Tyler can barely be considered a beginner affiliate!

  15. jason says:

    lol tyler your so full of yourself its pathetic. pull your head out of your ass for 5 seconds.

    first of all you make it seem like you were the first person to ever do these contests well wither you want to believe it or not since your head is so far up your ass, you weren’t the first person so quick acting like every affiliate contest is now somehow copying YOUR idea when in fact its nothing new.

    and the design of there contest looks nothing like yours the only thing i see remotely similar is probably the hand on the side pose and thats not even that similar.

    the terms are terms theres only so many ways you can write up terms they could of copied you but its 2 paragraphs, if your crying about this then ill give you a hint. stay away from affiliate marketing.

    and when you say there contest is a joke i never laughed so hard in my life. your the biggest hypocrite ive ever seen. you should look at your past competitions especially the one where the 2-5,000$ prize was a itunes gift card or some shit. LOL….

    I wish i could come across you down a back alley and do the world a favor and punching you in the face for being such a ignorant douchebag.

  16. Drake says:

    I’m rather surprised that none of you commenting here honestly do not see the major similarities in the images. Furthermore, I could probably think of 10 different ways to word the terms while looking totally different than Tyler’s terms. ClickBooth is a rubbish company. I’ve had problems with payments in the past and I’ve never looked back. I hope they burn.

  17. smashill says:

    Well it is inspired by, that’s for sure, but it’s not a complete rip off, but you can see where their idea was coming from. The fun part is that the design is worse than yours. You had such a great idea with the contests, it was pretty clear that you had to be ripped off sooner or later.

  18. Tyler some time i feel you pamper yourself too much. if you thinks you are the first human on this planet who have developed and discovered these sort of contests then i would advise you go and take a nap.

    Should i also reveal from where you have got your “fingering” mascot idea?

  19. Jigsaw says:

    It looks very similar, but what can you do? I had problems with copying my ideas/projects before, but not by big companies.

    One thing is positive – you know that you are really good.

  20. That sucks man! I was accused of coping once and it hurt an online friendship. That sucks too!

  21. I would never copy, BTW, orginal content is the key to success!!!

  22. Konrad says:

    Eh, so they copied a line from your terms. Big whop. Or are you going to claim you invited “contests”?

  23. Jared says:

    Tyler, seriously? Maybe you should just give up affiliate marketing, you are not getting any sympathy from anyone. ClickBooth sucks, but wow, they are running a contest SIMILAR to yours, does every network need to ask you now before running a contest now? Terms are similar sure, but terms across every affiliate network are similar as well. Stop crying.

  24. DotDriven says:

    This is an f’n joke right? Is April Fools day on a different day up there in Canada?!

    Tyler, you’ve always been somewhat of a self absorbed ass and known to throw silly tantrums but this is pathetic.

    First of all we all know you are far from the first person to run an affiliate challenge…you even trying to claim someone copied that idea from you just shows how stupid you are acting. I mean you did take part is affiliate challenges on other sites before you started running them right. Because I do remember that. So did you steal the idea from them?

    And to whine about your “prize image” and that you invented the idea of putting up a picture of all the prizes is stupid as well. Yes, it might have a similar format but how many ways can that really be formatted. I’m sure with a little searching we could all come up with some that were made before any of yours that look close enough to claim you “stole” the idea.

    Were you the first person to have a poker site/forum? First to have a blog about “making money online”. First to have a mascot image? Let me guess, you invented the internet too right?

    Look at it this way, Tyler, you were lucky that you have an ok amount of noobs that read the blog and were willing to sign up under you. From then on you didn’t do anything the smart way. Closing out publisherchallenge was an idiot move and if you don’t think others will end up doing their own contest instead of running them through your site then I guess you will realize that eventually. You should have made it open to any affiliates (not just your referrals) from the start and by doing that you would have had more support and made more money for both you and the networks (and challengers).

    I hate to say it but as arrogant as you are so often, it’s kind of fun watching you shoot yourself in the foot sometimes. You just seem to be doing it more and more lately. Giving up what made your blog worth reading with real content and filling it up with only your spammy contest and then when that is supposed to be off the site you spend the rest of the time posting about publisherchallenge. Nothing that made the blog worth reading is still here at this point. Besides watching you dig holes and burn bridges.

    Just to be clear, I was never one of those “tyler haters” and found the site on my own. Your arrogance and whiny attitude is what has turned me off, not others opinions.

    Keep it up though. I’m sure someone respects the arrogance and whining.

  25. I’m glad you got to expose them. Too many bloggers decide to ignore this stuff. And that means that other people think it’s fine to plagiarise others.

  26. Yeah, it sucks when people copy things directly but I probably wouldn’t have made such a big stink about it. It happens all the time and the time you spend on this kind of stuff would be better spent on building your network of sites… This is exactly the kind of thing that could eat up your time and cause you to lose focus is all I’m suggesting…

  27. 90s Music says:

    Well, put simply, PWNED. They might have stolen your design but honestly, you’ve torn them apart here. First, showing the silliness of their contest, and second, but completely calling out their ad.

    It’s a shame what they did to you but I think this will go a long ways to making things even.

    • Oh, totally says:

      Haha, yeah, “even.” He sure showed Clickbooth. They’re just going to wake up tomorrow and do another 400k in business, just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.

      Totally owned.

  28. Eh, not much you can do here, Tyler. Just keep your head up and move on. Spend your time coming up with original ideas and let others waste their time trying to emulate you.

  29. Funny Quotes says:

    Their banner thing for it does look really similar to yours, except your prizes are definitely a lot better than theres. You definitely did have a good idea with it though so I can see why they’d want to copy it.

  30. Brad Burnie says:

    keep doing what your doing Tyler!
    If it works keep the wheel rolling.

    There are law firms deicated just for internet copyrights/trademarks. It’s worth it to look it up. And maybe give them a test spin. So WHEN you REALLY do need to protect your content you know the process.

    -brad

  31. Wow – I could let their banner pass, as it does have some originality, but the copying of legal material… that’s just low

  32. Sports Bar says:

    I’m not suprised by Clickbooth’s actions, they are a bunch of amateurs. They are so shady…I stopped using them long ago. Never again.

    Thanks for a great post.

  33. Cocacolya says:

    punish ‘em Tyler….thou they work as they can

  34. WOW That seems pretty similar.

    The logo differs enough but the terms are pretty close.

  35. sahil says:

    The orage image looks nothing like your one. I’d actually go as far as saying it looks better.

  36. Wow this is interesting.

    Now, we are a web design and development company, and I will be honest and say we have had several if not over 100 request to make a mascot that is closely resembles yours.

    Now, we don’t have a mascot designer, but I congratulate you on your success, I know it is frustrating when this type of thing happens, but must feel good at the same time.

PeerFly

Leave a Reply