October 18th 2017
By Mike Flaminio
Fast Company has a deep dive with a recent lawsuit filed by online mattress seller Casper and review sites.
Email were disclosed in the lawsuit, including this from Casper CEO Philip Krim:
"As you know, we are much bigger than our newly formed competitors. I am confident we can offer you a much bigger commercial relationship because of that. How would you ideally want to structure the affiliate relationship? And also, what can we do to help to grow your business?"
Essentially as Casper grew, they tighten up the affiliate programs. As a result, online reviewers not only stopped recommending Casper mattresses but actively encourages readers/viewers to look elsewhere, presumably to mattress brands offering big spiffs.
In one email I saw, an unscrupulous mattress reviewer said companies regularly approached him offering to "buy" top placement on his site; so long as the reviewer liked the mattress, he'd happily negotiate a price. "Honestly, the FTC has to step in at some point and make review sites divulge what they are paid for each bed or brand," Nest Bedding's Joe Alexander, told me. "This industry is a freight train out of control."