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Member #1
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Discussion Starter #1
This is a warning to anyone considering Axiom Speakers.

Today I received a post on my website extolling Axiom speakers. Unbeknownst to me the person, who was pretending to be a private Axiom speaker owner, was in fact an affiliate of Axiom.

The poster embedded an affiliate link into the URL, therefore the poster would receive a commission on anybody who clicked on the link and bought from Axiom.

I contacted Axiom, thinking that they would ban the affiliate and was told that "Our affiliates have been very successful with reviews and posts in other message boards such as the one you saw" and actually applauded the posters ingenuity.

Just letting you know that the member was banned and so will anyone else who engages in such activity.

Regards,
Hugh

Frankly I think this is a deceptive way to sell product and I caution anyone considering these products to remember where they heard about them.

The forums in my mind are a place for unvarnished feedback not disguised sales pitch.
 

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Way to go Hugh. I applaud your actions.

As you know, I have mentioned in several of my posts how I think advertizing has gotten out of hand. This is a prime example of such devious, Machiavellian behaviour.
 

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To bad Axiom has to be tied to this sort of publicity.

I have heard nothing too terribly bad about their products, but now I can see through the fog and hold a different opinion for their marketing strategies.

I will no longer include axiom in my list of referals,

Angstom Trinities, anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I received this additional response from Axiom.

Hi Hugh;

Actually, affiliate 1134 does own our loudspeakers, so if he posted a review
of them it was quite legitimate. We have very, very few affiliates who do
not already own our speakers - it's sort of a 'refer-a-friend' package in
our estimation, and theirs. It looked like your website also had affiliate
links?
my reply.. I have left out the persons name

I don't have affiliate links and if I did I would put them in a position so that it was clear to the reader that it's an advertisement and not a testimonial from a satisfied reader with nothing to gain. To suggest it was a Refer-A-Friend is disingenuous. I take recommendations much differently from someone who is trying to sell me a product than from someone who is a friend.

In my opinion it was a blatant attempt to cash in. Your affiliate hid the affiliate link in the URL in a grab for cash. It was pure advertising and no attempt was meant to disclose it. In fact they attempted to hide it.

In addition, you violated the rules of our site http://www.digitalhomecanada.com/forums/profile.php?mode=register that clearly state Commercial Posts (posts selling goods and services) are not allowed on this board!

Your exuberance in your answer suggests that you find this practice acceptable and encourage people to break the rules of conduct. You're welcome to run your business in whatever fashion you chose but frankly I think it's wrong.

I have altered the offending link on my site to drop the affiliate link, banned your affiliate and informed my membership of Axiom's business activity on the site. I will let them decide if they think your actions are valid or not.

I have 15,000 to 20,000 home theater enthusiasts who come to my site every month for truthful information. The number of visitors is growing significantly each month and I'd like to think it's because they're getting the straight goods. They recognize that advertising is part of the site and when companies want to advertise then we have advertising banners and buttons available and it's clear to my readers that it is an ad.

Hugh Thompson
 

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I'm 100% in support of your actions, Hugh.

I know the speaker business is tough, but to pay people to extole the virtues of their speakers - not even caring whether they own them or not - is a new low.
 

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Thank you for pointing this out to us. When you contacted us it was not
made apparent that the affiliate in question had violated your rules by not
posting in the sales section of your site. We have since heightened our
rules and policing of this issue in accordance with proper practice. Since
virtually all of our affiliates start out by purchasing and loving our
products we are desirous to keep it on a most professional level of conduct.
Please accept our apologies for this incident and our gratitude for noticing
it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well this is a first, I am resurrecting a thread that is over seven years old!

The reason I am doing this is because of some recent events on the Speaker forum where I was slammed because I shared my belief that Paradigm Reference V5 speakers were preferable to Axiom speakers. I also commented that a fairer comparison in pricing with the V5's was the Axiom real wood speakers since it was more of an apples to apples comparison.

After posting on the forum, several new members (that I quickly learned were Axiom devotees posting on the Axiom site) and one older member who frequents the Axiom site started posting some very rude things on this site (since deleted) about me.

Whenever a first time poster gets on the site and blatantly promotes a product/service and is being confrontational, its usually a dead give away they have a particular interest in promoting that product. It's not always the case but after seven years, you pick up on these things. ;)

Anyway, I banned these users from this site and the result is that I have taken a sound (no pun intended) beating on the Axiom website. Much of what is being said on Axiom's site is nonsense since I simply did not say many of the things they quote me as saying. Once again, one of the joy's of having a website.

Regardless, I was intrigued to learn from one the Axiom posters was that I had a "hate on" for Axiom. The evidence used was this thread from over seven years ago.

I had forgotten this thread but after reading it again today, I realized that it was the actions described in this thread that led to the following rule on Digital Home long long ago.

No Commercial posts and links are allowed - Commercial is anything that is not a personal website (i.e./ has a registered domain) or has any types of ads on it. If you are in doubt about what is okay and what is not then contact the moderator of the forum or the administrator prior to posting. Posting links containing affiliate codes will result in the thread being deleted and the immediate banning of the poster.
This rule was put into place to protect users from falling prey to dealers and affiliates posing as "regular people" and pushing products for their commercial gain. Since that time, our spam filters routinely stop several of these types of posts on a daily basis but back then it was all manual.

Interestingly, I had forgotten about this incident and this thread until it was used against me by the folks on the Axiom website but since it will come up in weeks to come, I thought I would bring it forward with my comments.

Spammers and Retail links

Digital Home makes every effort to prevent our members from spam and misrepresentation hence why we delete reviews embedded with affiliate codes on our site. It is my belief that when you post a glowing review and then have users click through on an affiliate link, then you are essentially being paid for that review.

For the last several years, we have also added company's that engage in such practices to our spammers list and encourage users to avoid buying the products and services of these companies.

In the intervening years, we have implemented some strong anti-spam rules that forbid retail links in the forum (except the shopping forums) in order to weed out the spammers.

I have resurrected this thread because I wish to counter the notion that this thread proves I have a "hate-on" for Axiom Audio speakers.

My recent remark that I thought Paradigm Studio speakers were superior to Axiom speakers was a personal opinion based on my recent experience listening to Axiom, Paradigm, PSB, and other manufacturers speakers and had nothing to do with this thread.

Whether you believe that or not is certainly your opinion but I feel it important that my side of the story is heard.

As far as I am concerned this is a dead issue and I will not respond to any further questions/comments therefore I am leaving this thread closed (as it has been for almost seven years!)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ian Colquhoun President & Chief Engineer at Axiom Audio has sent me a long email after I asked that Axiom delete the thread trashing me on their site.

In a nutshell, Mr. Colquhon has told me that he would not delete the postings from the Axiom website. In addition, he has told me that Axiom's practice of posting reviews on websites with affilate codes embedded in them is perfectly acceptable. He calls the practice benign.

Once again, Mr. Coquhon and Amie Coquhon do not understand is that I find the practice of a commissioned salesperson giving a glowing review of a product and then embedding a hidden affiliate link to be deceitful.

The fact that the commissioned salesperson (aka: affiliate marketer) may or may not own Axiom speakers is irrelevant. I believe that if the poster of the glowing review does not disclose the fact they will earn money if you click on the link and buy something, then the review is unethical.

Regardless, I can live with the fact that Axiom Audio and I fail to agree on the dark side of using affiliate marketing to sell speakers on the web. In addition, if Axiom does not wish to delete the comments trashing me from their website, then there is little I can do.

Frankly, I had closed the books on this event and had no intention of responding to the email until I was told by a member that Mr. Colquhon had published the email on the Axiom Audio website and embellished it with the comment that I "hate Axiom."

As I said in my previous post, I have never said "I hate Axiom" and I have never said that I have a "hate on" for Axiom.

Once again, I feel I must defend myself. The following post is my response to Ian Colquhoun President & Chief Engineer at Axiom Audio
 

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To Mr. Ian Colquhoun,

In your email to me that you have reproduced on your website, you start off by saying "I think I should start by clarifying that none of the people who have posted on this thread on our message board are Axiom employees." Sir, I respectfully submit that the fact you have posted on that thread calls into question the veracity of your statement.

In that thread, you say "It is disheartening that Hugh hates Axiom so much". I really wish you could tell me where I said "I hate Axiom". Once again, you and the people on your site quote me as saying things, I simply did not say. It was one of your affiliates/employee/members (username HAY) that said I had a "hate on" for Axiom.

You have magically transformed words posted on your forum by one of your affiliates/employee/members into "Hugh hates Axiom so much"

Ian, you really need to get your facts straight. Do you think that if you and your sales people and members say "hugh hates Axiom" or "hugh has a hate on for Axiom" enough that it will somehow mean that I actually said it?

In your email to me that you posted on your site you say you wish to put the current animosity into the past yet your decision to post the fact that I asked you to remove the thread, the fact that you posted the false comment that "hugh hates Axiom" and the fact that you posted your email to me on your site shows that you have no desire to put your animosity in the past.

As far as comments on my site, I am not sure how you can comment on posts that you never read. We remove spam posts, such as the one originally posted by one of your salespeople, from our site. We also remove posts which insult other members. Our forum has zero tolerance for insulting other members. The posts by your members were insulting and removed so again, I don't know how you feel you can pass judgment.

So you understand how our forums differ from yours, if our members were to engage in a thread that was insulting to you personally and calling you out by name, it would be removed immediately because it’s not the type of blood sport that we wish to engage in. It is called trolling. Most reputable forums, including ours, do not allow it.

Hugh Thompson
Digital Home Canada
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In post #7, I said I would leave this thread closed as I consider this a dead issue. Unfortunately, Mr. Colquhoun went and posted on the Axiom site leaving me no choice but to respond. Once again, I hope this issue is dead and the thread will remain closed.

If you wish to discuss the practice of posters using affiliate codes on our site then please do so in our Members Feedback Forum.
 
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