No More Smart Tags

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We, the undersigned petitioners do hereby give notice that we are more than dissatisfied with the new Smart Tags technology. We think the Smart Tags technology is intrusive and an abuse of monopoly, and demand a firm answer on the future plans for use by Microsoft.

Smart Tags, as explained on Microsoft.com
(http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/preview/smarttags/default.asp) are "a feature of Internet Explorer that add smart links to pages you view. Smart Tags enable real-time, dynamic recognition of content on Web pages and offer you relevant options as you work. By hovering and clicking on these smart links, you can get access to additional information or perform convenient Web tasks."

We, as merchants, affiliates, affiliate solution providers, and other interested parties, have concerns about the implications of Smart Tags on affiliate marketing. Smart Tags threaten to dilute the effectiveness of affiliate links, where a merchant pays a commission to an affiliate for generating clicks, leads, or sales from a link located on the affiliate's site.

Further, Smart Tags will usurp traffic from affiliate sites, as site visitors click for the 'additional information' offered by Smart Tags, which comes with little or no indication of whether that information was supplied by the site owner, Microsoft, or some other source.

It was encouraging that Microsoft dropped the Smart Tags feature from the final release of Windows XP, but it leaves us very wary that Microsoft has been adamant about the point that Smart Tags may very well be included in subsequent versions of Windows XP.

As stated on CNET.com on June 27, 2001 (http://news.cnet.com/news/0-
1003-200-6399150.html): "At this time we just don't believe it's going to be ready when (Windows XP) ships in October," Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said late Wednesday. "External feedback" was one of the factors that led the company to remove the feature, although he indicated it could be resurrected in later versions.

We the undersigned, demand a firm answer on the future plans for use of Smart Tags by Microsoft.