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  1. #1
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    Is this ethical?
    Lets say I have a site that uses a datafeed to display and promote women's clothing at Target.

    Now, assume Monday morning a 'wife' clicks on my site, sees something she likes, ends up clicking over to Target, but decides against buying. A Target cookie was set on her computer when she clicked over to Target.

    Later in the day, the husband gets home from work, and goes to Target.com to buy a new television. He was planning on buying this item for a few days and finally got around to doing it.

    Now, I just got a commission from Target for his purchase, even though he never went to my site, and I had nothing to do with his purchase.

    Is this ethical?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador IOWNIE's Avatar
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    yes

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It doesn't have anything to do with ethics. It's just pure coincidence. You didn't do anything unethical.

    I should point out that this situation probably happens far less than the opposite situation. Consider any of these senarios:

    1. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). Six months earlier, little Johnny had downloaded a cool screensaver with a parasite in it. The parasite overwrites your link. No commission for you.

    2. The husband researches TVs on your web site at work (and clicks through so a cookie is set at work), then that evening when he gets home he goes directly to the merchant web site and buys from home (where he has no cookie). No commission.

    3. The wife found some shoes through your web site (and clicks through so a cookie is set there). She doesn't buy right away, though. The husband comes home and clears the cookies. The wife goes back to the merchant's site the next day and buys. No commission.

    4. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They call in the order. No commission (with most merchants).

    5. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They go to the brick and mortar store and buy it. No commission.

    6. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They sign up for the merchant's newsletter. The next day, they get a newsletter, click through, and buy something. With many merchants, this will override your commission.

    7. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They don't buy right away. They aren't smart enough to bookmark or type in the merchant domain when they are ready to buy, so they type it into a search engine. A cybersquatter or trademark poacher is the top listing and they get the sale. No commission for you.

    8. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They order, but enter a coupon code or catalog code from a catalog they had sitting around or are an existing customer. For some merchants, this will override your commission.

    Why are you worrying about the few rare situations where you might get a sale that you weren't responsible for? Unless you have thousands upon thousands of sales, it's unlikely it will ever happen. In the meantime, you'll probably have dozens or hundreds of commissions that you should have received credit for that you don't.
    Michael Coley
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  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Oh my gosh Michael, it's a wonder we ever get paid : )

    Your post certainly does point out the hazards facing affiliates. And, unfortunately, I can think of other situations for a valid cookie is unfortuately overwritten.
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die
    to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there
    isn't and die to find out there is.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Michael,

    After your post, I am currently looking through the help wanted ads in the local paper. Although it is rather hard to read through all of these tears!

  6. #6
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettylou
    Michael,

    After your post, I am currently looking through the help wanted ads in the local paper. Although it is rather hard to read through all of these tears!
    And he only posted just about 10% of the reasons of how we can lose some sales.

    Image if he listed another 10% more of the reasons, many newbies would be asking for their money back from those "Make Money Online" eboks vendors.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Ah, what an encouraging thread for a Monday morning. (Great sarcasm intended.)

    Unfortunately, I'm REALLY looking at the help wanted ads, tears or not, as I just found out over the weekend that a good source of ongoing income from one of my ongoing projects has come to an end.

    Yes, I am once again starting to look for one of those nasty things -- a J*B, that is.

    Anybody got an ideas they wanna share as to how I can quickly start making about $500-$700 a month at this odd racket??

    Seriously.
    Generate more fake news.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Sheesh! Let's see, where is that "Ignore these threads" box...



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  9. #9
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    It doesn't have anything to do with ethics. It's just pure coincidence. You didn't do anything unethical.

    I should point out that this situation probably happens far less than the opposite situation. Consider any of these senarios:

    1. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). Six months earlier, little Johnny had downloaded a cool screensaver with a parasite in it. The parasite overwrites your link. No commission for you.

    2. The husband researches TVs on your web site at work (and clicks through so a cookie is set at work), then that evening when he gets home he goes directly to the merchant web site and buys from home (where he has no cookie). No commission.

    3. The wife found some shoes through your web site (and clicks through so a cookie is set there). She doesn't buy right away, though. The husband comes home and clears the cookies. The wife goes back to the merchant's site the next day and buys. No commission.

    4. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They call in the order. No commission (with most merchants).

    5. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They go to the brick and mortar store and buy it. No commission.

    6. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They sign up for the merchant's newsletter. The next day, they get a newsletter, click through, and buy something. With many merchants, this will override your commission.

    7. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They don't buy right away. They aren't smart enough to bookmark or type in the merchant domain when they are ready to buy, so they type it into a search engine. A cybersquatter or trademark poacher is the top listing and they get the sale. No commission for you.

    8. One of them finds something through your site (and clicks through so a cookie is set). They order, but enter a coupon code or catalog code from a catalog they had sitting around or are an existing customer. For some merchants, this will override your commission.

    Why are you worrying about the few rare situations where you might get a sale that you weren't responsible for? Unless you have thousands upon thousands of sales, it's unlikely it will ever happen. In the meantime, you'll probably have dozens or hundreds of commissions that you should have received credit for that you don't.
    All very good points! I too can think of quite a few more to add to this list.

  10. #10
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Then add them. I'd be interested in reading them as I never even thought about a lot of the points that Michael listed.

  11. #11
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    Sheesh! Let's see, where is that "Ignore these threads" box...
    I know, thinking about this is kinda stressful.
    Off topic- Boomers, I giggle every time I see your icon. I really enjoy your sense of humor!

  12. #12
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProWebAddict
    Then add them. I'd be interested in reading them as I never even thought about a lot of the points that Michael listed.
    Most of mine don't relate to all affiliates, only those promoting ebay. But OK, here are a few of them:

    Ebayer finds an auction to bid on through your links. Auction ends in 10 days. Auction gets placed on the watch list until the last day. You don't get commission, because ebay's cookie only lasts 7 days.

    Ebayer finds an auction to bid on through your links. Ebayer uses snipe software to place the bid. You don't get commission for the sale.

    Ebayer clicks a link from your site. Goes to ebay, clicks one of their yahoo "sponsored links" and ends up making a purchase on an off-ebay site. Ebay benefits, the customer benefits, and the advertiser benefits, but you lose the commission.

    Also, some browsers can be set to clear cookies every time you shut down...

  13. #13
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by writerguy
    Ah, what an encouraging thread for a Monday morning. (Great sarcasm intended.)

    Unfortunately, I'm REALLY looking at the help wanted ads, tears or not, as I just found out over the weekend that a good source of ongoing income from one of my ongoing projects has come to an end.

    Yes, I am once again starting to look for one of those nasty things -- a J*B, that is.

    Anybody got an ideas they wanna share as to how I can quickly start making about $500-$700 a month at this odd racket??

    Seriously.
    Sorry your project is at an end. Good luck with your j*b hunting. I hope new and interesting doors will open for you!

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Bummer, I couldn't find the "Ignore these threads box"!
    Quote Originally Posted by amysolovay
    I know, thinking about this is kinda stressful.
    Off topic- Boomers, I giggle every time I see your icon. I really enjoy your sense of humor!
    Thanks. I believe it was ProWebAddict who said one day that every time he saw my username it reminded him of lady's underwear. So I pass the credit to him for the new tag line and avatar design idea.

    Another eBay cookie burned; if the shopper views an eBay product (on eBay) hosted by Auctiva (SP?) or some other auction management service and clicks a widget on the listing that cycles through the seller's other items, there is a good chance that the cookie will be overwritten by Auctiva's affiliate cookie. They don't offer their free service for free ya know.
    Last edited by Boomers; March 24th, 2008 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Puctuation



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  15. #15
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    Bummer, I couldn't find the "Ignore these threads box"!

    Thanks. I believe it was ProWebAddict who said one day that every time he saw my username it reminded him of lady's underwear. So I pass the credit to him for the new tag line and avatar design idea.
    Hahahaha!

    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers

    Another eBay cookie burned; if the shopper views an eBay product (on eBay) hosted by Auctiva (SP?) or some other auction management service and clicks a widget on the listing that cycles through the seller's other items, there is a good chance that the cookie will be overwritten by Auctiva's affiliate cookie. They don't offer their free service for free ya know.
    Yep. Vendio, too. And possibly others. There are lots of auction management services out there that might also be doing this?

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador bettylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    Sheesh! Let's see, where is that "Ignore these threads" box...
    This one made me laugh out loud.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Firefox Adblock...
    Here's another one. This just reared it's head here today. I kept wondering why the AdSense ads and eBay Editor Kit listings were not displaying on our main site on the development workstation computer here today. I realized that the Firefox Adblock plugin was removing them from the displayed page. Yet another reason for using text links.



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  18. #18
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    Michael, you forgot the one where the user adds the item to the cart to buy later, then magically gets a 'reminder' email about the cart items, clicks that and cookie is overwritten.

  19. #19
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was just coming here to add that one. You beat me to it!
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  20. #20
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Code Monkey - if you were walking down a crowded street and saw a $100.00 bill laying on the ground, would you walk on by or pick it up and claim it?

    I'd pick it up and claim it so fast, bird's heads would spin.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    Code Monkey - if you were walking down a crowded street and saw a $100.00 bill laying on the ground, would you walk on by or pick it up and claim it?
    I'd pick it up and claim it so fast, bird's heads would spin.
    Years ago Sandy and I were taking a weekend away over at the quaint little picturesque coastal town of Astoria Oregon. We were walking down a street and there was no one around. Right in the middle of the sidewalk was a folded bill. I picked it up and didn't say anything, just cupped in in my hand. When we got around the corner I unfolded it to find that it WAS a hundred dollar bill. We surveyed the situation and saw that where I had picked it up was right square in front of the entrance to a very rough seedy looking Indian bar. So I went in, held up the c-note and yelled, "anyone loose a hundred?". NO I DIDN'T! ARE YOU NUTS?!? I pocketed it deciding that we kept some Indian from getting drunk and it covered our hotel charge for the night.

    Ok, I have to say something about cookies. What about those people (like me) who have their computer set to ask for authorization for all unrecognized cookies and block them at will?



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  22. #22
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    A few years ago Sandy and I were taking a weekend away over at the quaint little picturesque coastal town of Astoria Oregon. We were walking down a street and there was no one around. Right in the middle of the sidewalk was a folded bill. I picked it up and didn't say anything, just cupped in in my hand. When we got around the corner I unfolded it to find that it WAS a hundred dollar bill. We surveyed the situation and saw that where I had picked it up was right square in front of the entrance to a very rough seedy looking Indian bar. So I went in, held up the c-note and yelled, "anyone loose a hundred?". NO I DIDN'T! ARE YOU NUTS?!? I pocketed it deciding that we kept some Indian from getting drunk that night and it covered our hotel charge for the night.
    I never question a gift from the universe, just accept it graciously and say thank you.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  23. #23
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    Years ago Sandy and I were taking a weekend away over at the quaint little picturesque coastal town of Astoria Oregon. We were walking down a street and there was no one around. Right in the middle of the sidewalk was a folded bill. I picked it up and didn't say anything, just cupped in in my hand. When we got around the corner I unfolded it to find that it WAS a hundred dollar bill. We surveyed the situation and saw that where I had picked it up was right square in front of the entrance to a very rough seedy looking Indian bar. So I went in, held up the c-note and yelled, "anyone loose a hundred?". NO I DIDN'T! ARE YOU NUTS?!? I pocketed it deciding that we kept some Indian from getting drunk and it covered our hotel charge for the night.

    Ok, I have to say something about cookies. What about those people (like me) who have their computer set to ask for authorization for all unrecognized cookies and block them at will?

    Good point about the cookie blockers. Plenty of 'em around.

    LOL @@ "NO I DIDN'T! ARE YOU NUTS?!? I pocketed it deciding that we kept some Indian from getting drunk"

    Once I discovered a $10 bill in the parking lot at the bank. I walked into the bank and asked everyone in line if they'd dropped it. I got the same response you did- people thought I was crazy for even asking.

  24. #24
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    Code Monkey - if you were walking down a crowded street and saw a $100.00 bill laying on the ground, would you walk on by or pick it up and claim it?
    I'd pick it up but I wouldn't keep it. I wouldn't be able to because I'd feel like someone was watching me...either God, or one of those tiny video cameras that they have hidden everywhere.

    Besides, I'd hate to pocket someones rent money.

  25. #25
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReallyBigGuy
    Michael, you forgot the one where the user adds the item to the cart to buy later, then magically gets a 'reminder' email about the cart items, clicks that and cookie is overwritten.
    Ack! As a shopper I haven't yet been on the receiving end of an emailed reminder. But, it reminds me of a related problem I have had.

    Once I loaded up a shopping cart full of stuff- all small-ticket impulse buys. Was all set to check out, then realized that husband had the credit card with him. Had to wait 'till he got home. By the time he got home, all the stuff in my shopping cart had vanished. I thought it over, decided I didn't want the stuff bad enough to spend another half an hour or more trying to fill the cart back up. The merchant lost the sale. In this particular case, I hadn't been referred by an affiliate, but if I had been the affiliate would have lost a commission too.

    So this brings up an interesting point. You might lose commissions if your merchant doesn't have a "Save cart" function, and you might lose sales if your merchant DOES have a "save cart" function if they email reminders. Wow. Bummer.

    (Not all merchants will email reminders though...)
    Last edited by Amy_S; March 25th, 2008 at 02:58 PM. Reason: clarity

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