Mastercard Brand Image rules

We’ve recently been required by billing companies to end our relationship with several affiliates due to non-compliance with Mastercards brand image rules.
These ‘rules’ are now forcing us into the role of policing all affiliate websites and making sure that they are compliant with these rules. If we accept monetizable traffic from anyone, we are responsible for making sure that the source of the traffic is also compliant, or risk having our ability to accept mastercard removed…
As a result, we’ve had to do a major purge of non-performing accounts and accounts that don’t identify a source for the traffic.
The affiliates that were at issue were engaging in ‘transaction laundering’ where they were also giving access to some kind of VIP section when they verified the sale to our website, but we were also warned at the same time that we have to monitor for unacceptable content/text on the sites as well…

What do affiliates have to do with Mastercard?! I don’t see how affiliates could be responsible for a payment system that is completely independent of their sites.

That is the key part. For example if you took a dad and son site and said in a blog they were ACTUALLY dad and son, we would have to ask you to change it (and ban your traffic if you didn’t).

I understood. It would probably be more profitable for small sites to terminate their affiliate relationships than to deal with all these rules, just like Belami did. In short, another batch of sad years for the industry.

Or, in my example, just don’t tell lies about what the content is, then everything is good.

and also be careful about what you post on your site!
Anything that involves coercion or not free consent is also in breach of the rules. I’m afraid that there are soon going to be a lot of sites changing website names and altering their content quite soon, not because there is anything wrong, but purely because they will need to bring themselves into line with these rules.

I posted this mostly as an indicator of the ridiculousness of some of the hoops we have to jump through these days. Mastercard → biller → paysite → affiliate. how the hell can what an affiliate posts on their site impact the brand image of Mastercard? It is all just another excuse to obfuscate their anti-adult bias with ‘rules’ that can mostly only apply to our industry.


What are the rules, what needs to be avoided?

LOL, If you think they will explicitly tell us!
“No search terms or marketing partners can give the illusion that the content they are marketing will contain child exploitation materials or depictions of non-consensual activity.”

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As above, they will never tell you. There is also a list of words we can’t use in scene descriptions, I say it is a list, but they will never actually supply you with it if you ask, it is just added to each time they scan our sites (and I mean scan automatically at random with a bot - not a manual review - if we have one of them we know we are in for some pain) and tell us we are in breach. This is the shit which site owners have to deal with every single week that affiliates don’t see. Filming content is the easy bit.

I could probably write a book, but basically be sensible, don’t advertise something falsely (for example a real dad and son). Don’t ever suggest something is not 100% consensual either directly or implied (eg ‘he had some alcohol then we had sex’). Variations of words are a no-go for example [email protected] and f0rces.

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Is the words they look for only in relation to your own content? Or for example, can the words not be used at all no matter where it’s used. I mean for example you might have a list of posting rules that uses “forbidden” words. Or you something in a description of a link to a blog (non paysite).

As I was reading this thread I was wondering about how banner ads would be handled that appear near unrelated content.

For example if my forum site had a clearly fictional story that would not pass MasterCard review if it were on a paysite and there’s a banner to a sponsor next to the story - is that a problem? If the rule is…

“No search terms or marketing partners can give the illusion that the content they are marketing will contain child exploitation materials or depictions of non-consensual activity.”

The story isn’t “marketing the content” the way a blog post or tube video markets content. So the content being displayed says nothing about the banner ad and things are OK. Agree?

But then there was this comment which makes things sound more dire…

“If we accept monetizable traffic from anyone, we are responsible for making sure that the source of the traffic is also compliant, or risk having our ability to accept mastercard removed…”

That makes it sound like my entire site has to be MasterCard compliant if I’m sending monetizable traffic. That’s a huge hurdle with social media sites like forums.

For a while now I’ve separated my sites by the type of content - so sites with affiliate content, sites with user generated content, etc. Sounds like if things get bad I may need to take banner ads off the sites with user generated content. But those sites could presumably push traffic to sites with just affiliate content which could then push traffic to sponsor sites.

I should also mention there’s a thread about this on started by Cathy @ SegPay…

But XBiz is more hetero focused and their idea of affiliates is the major tubes where they do uploads (so they generally control the text). But the thread does give some good background detail.

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We just went through a similar ordeal with Mastercard where we had to answer for an affiliate’s fraudulent behaviour, using our banners on top of file downloads for Japanese “rape” videos. Looks like we will have the similar task of having to comb through all the affiliate sites and close down accounts that violate the Mastercard rules.

I’m guessing the same rules do not apply to Amazon and no one there is required by MasterCard to review every eBook they publish for any mention of anything that’s not consensual.

And where is that line drawn?

Could NetFlix lose payment processing if they depict something in a movie that MasterCard doesn’t like?

I’m guessing not, because as we all know, this is actually about asserting control over one specific arena of media creation that these companies deem to be “dirty”.

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That is a good question. At some point, should we as an industry consider just boycotting Mastercard and start a public campaign against them if they continue to impose their “morality campaign” against us?

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The whole industry already boycotted Pornhub, Xvideos and Xhamster :smiley:
I mean, only few companies will do that, but most will comply or will get rid of affiliates or switch off MC for affiliates.

The worst part here is that MC pushing these who produce and always comply to the rules.

Our latest Fiasco with the Mastercard/billing police was to prove that a mark on the outside of a bum of a guy was not “scat”… You cannot imagine our reaction to “you need to remove an item of content or crop to remove the scat from the image” was… (not to mention on a 4 year old scene thats been reviewed by them many times before)…

Like all above have said its a constant fight to prove compliance these days, we have to follow rules which are so vague intentionally so they can move the goal posts whenever they like. Banned word lists you will never get to actually see, as well as the theme of this thread with ensuring compliance of all promotion ect… Its a bit of a nightmare

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Ouch! That hurts when a well-established, respected, and ethical network has to dance to vague rules that change with the winds. I was one of those accounts purged, though I doubt I have done anything as heinous as try to trick a visitor.

As a consumer, I always used Visa over Mastercard. Most of the banks I have dealt with issue Visa debit cards. Do you hear Visa making this kind of noise? Would it really be a huge issue if you didn’t accept MC? There are so many other methods of payment these days.

As an affiliate, I have always felt that it is my job to try to present the paysite to the visitor in an honest light. I try to use the text I am given, and if none is given I try to use the same spirit. When I make my galleries, I promote only the one sponsor. For example, on my BelAmi Online galleries (or any of my sponsors), I only have text links and banner ads for that one site. I never add in other sponsors like dating services or items like sex toys. The visitors don’t see that on the paysite, so why should it be on the gallery?

Sometimes there is a good reason an affiliate hasn’t produced a sale. I get stretched so thin at times that priorities get out of line which means I don’t build and submit as much to the few link lists that are out there. Does that make me a bad affiliate? I do still send traffic, which means someone is seeing what I have produced and clicking through.

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I don’t think it is a matter of “good affiliate” or “bad affiliate”. If we have to spend time monitoring our affiliate’s websites it costs us money, and a lot of affiliates means a lot of costs…