P2P file sharing giants such as Morpheus, Kazaa, and LimeWire have been caught red handed. An article by the New York Times illustrates the seriousness of the dealings of these companies. Third-Party software bundled along with the popular file sharing mediums has been found to divert sales commission from legitimate websites when users purchase from sites like Amazon.com, or eToys.com.
"There is no cost to the customer, but those who run small Web sites that funnel sales to the big merchants say that they are being hurt. "It's painful when someone walks in and takes sales right from under me," said Shawn Collins, who runs a number of sites that feed customers to Amazon and other merchants. "I probably saw a drop-off of 30 percent in income for the past six months."Patrick Toland, a vice president for sales and marketing at TopMoxie, one of the involved companies, stated that the profits diverted were "miniscule". Miniscule to who? A vice president, or an independent website.
"In many versions of the software, a purchase will look as if it was made through the software maker's site even if the shopper came in through another site that has its own affiliate agreement with the online store in question. Those affiliate sites include small businesses and even charities that use affiliate links as fund-raisers."
More information @ The New York Times