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Monday, April 08, 2013

uTorrent Chrome Extension Changing Affiliate Tracking

I just installed the new uTorrent Chrome Extension v3.2.1 for a trial run:

I noticed that this extension was changing the affiliate tracking for every Amazon.com purchase.  When I disabled the extension, the redirect to their "tag" went away.  I can't believe Chrome would allow an extension to do this unknowingly to an end user.

Here's what I mean:

When I visit Amazon.com with an affiliate tag:


The uTorrent Chrome extension changes it to this (r601000010-20):

Notice the "tag" querystring, which is Amazon's way of giving credit to affiliates for bringing customers to their site.  My guess is that uTorrent will make a killing doing this.  I imagine that they're not only doing it for Amazon, but also for all other affiliated sites.  They will probably make hundreds of thousands from unsuspecting users.

Anyways, I've gone ahead and disabled this extension.  Instead of using their chrome extension, it may be wiser to just use their web interface: https://remote.utorrent.com/

Or better yet, stay away from torrent downloading.

UPDATE June 24, 2013
I just saw that Amazon update the terms and conditions of their associates program:

"7. Except as agreed between you and us in a separate written agreement referencing this Participation Requirement, you will not use any Content or Special Link, or otherwise link to the Amazon Site, on or in connection with:

a. any client-side software application (e.g., a browser plug-in, helper object, toolbar, extension, or component or any other application executable or installable by an end user) on any device, including computers, mobile phones, tablets, or other handheld devices;"

This is surely in response to uTorrent creating this chrome extension.  I'm sure that they were making a killing on this.  But I hate it when I get tricked into something, which was their intention.