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  1. #1
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    Coupon sites, help me understand
    How do you affiliate managers handle the coupon sites that a merchant can provide coupon for but not thru an affiliate program. These Coupon sites do their own tracking and take commission for each redemption.


    Now users that redeem the code come thru affiliate sites and some do not...so now the merchant is paying the commission to one of his affiliate sites since he and affiliate is a memger of cj....and also to the coupon site.

    I spoke to the folks that run this very popular coupon site and they said that they provide tracking code (and will provide their programmer to help install it) that will skip over the affiliate tracking if it is a coupon order so you dont have to pay double commissions.

    I was very surprized to hear this and I know it is against CJ policy to manipulate cookies etc....bad bad bad...so how can these coupon sites get away with doing this? Because I am sure some merchants are using this code....and given the fact that this coupon site is huge.

    thanks
    Looking forward to your thoughts

  2. #2
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    What?

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    I am totally confused. Can you explain it better please?
    Are you saying a coupon is given to a site, and they get credit for all redemptions.
    But others that are affiliates are also posting the coupon so you end up paying for the coupon and the affiliate commisson?

  4. #4
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    No clue to what your asking. Can you possibly re-phrase your question?

  5. #5
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    ok, sorry for the confusion. will explain.

    A merchant is an advertister on cj.com. This merchant is also signed up for a coupon site as an advertister. This coupon site is not an affiliate of the cj.com so they bill the merchant directly for all redemptions.

    so now naturally visitors will pass through this merchants affiliate sites before settling in to this coupon site, get the coupon code, and then redeem at the merchant site, so yes, the merchant now pays the commission to cj and to the coupon site which is fine and thats fair.

    BUT...this very very popular coupon site offers to its merchants, some tracking code that can be added to the thank you page that will skip the cj tracking and just process the coupon if the user entered in that coupon code tc. They do this because merchants dont want to pay the dual commissions, and they say it is legal and fair etc etc. I am just shocked that they can think this is the case.

    just curious what you folks think.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Not sure I'm getting this, but it sounds like one of those 'cash back' or 'incentive sites' that lets 3rd parties (i.e. forum members) do the work of entering their coupon content.

    CJ deals with cookies.
    So someone enters the site, gets the coupon code, and since they are a member of the cash back program, they enter the merchant site with that specific tracking code (which overrides any previous cookie).

    Is that what you're talking about?

  7. #7
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    with their special code, cj cookie is never placed.

    coupon site is giving out special code to merchants that does this:
    given their exclusive coupon is 'specialcoupon'

    if coupon code is 'specialcoupon', then
    coupon site gets credit
    else {any other traffic that does not use coupon}
    cj affiliate tracking line is processed

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Many coupon sites mask the actual CJ link code.
    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.

  9. #9
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    If it's an exclusive coupon, only offered to that one coupon site, then you maybe you can reverse transactions if someone elses cookie was set or something?
    But for them not being a cj affiliate of that store to be able to remove someone's cookie like you said, that's VERY WRONG, and they should be outed so we can take appropriate action, and report to CJ compliance dept so they can figure out the problem!

  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    how can these coupon sites get away with doing this? Because I am sure some merchants are using this code....and given the fact that this coupon site is huge.
    I would expect that they're not doing it by messing with the cookie itself.

    Codewise, technically speaking--
    To trigger a commission via most affiliate programs, a merchant-side tracking code is placed on the merchant's order confirmation page (the "thank-you page"), or some similar page that comes up after the payable action is completed.

    Based on the fact that the coupon site needs to provide other code to the merchant *and possibly a programmer* I would figure that the coupon site is actually setting it up so that the page with that code is never shown--instead, directing coupon users to a new, *different* confirmation page (one with the couponer's trigger on it). So, it's probably not removing the cookie. It's simply keeping it from being triggered.

    Whether this is within the TOS, I'm not sure. I haven't looked at CJ's merchantside TOS in ages, and they're prone to changing things around fairly often.

    But IF I'M RIGHT (and I don't know that I am, since I haven't seen this couponer's offer)--it's probably allowable, at least for now. IF CJ and the others are made aware of the next point, even they may decide that it's BOGUS and change their terms, possibly fast!

    Parasitic?

    What's parasitic about it--in its most probable implementation--is that, even if the coupon site is NOT the Link Clicked Last, there's nothing to erase their cookie if an affiliate site's link is clicked--CJ can't overwrite the cookie of an unrelated company. So, if the buyer has EVER visited the coupon site during the duration of the coupon site's cookie, the coupon site is going to get the commission because there's no way for affs to get rid of it.

    One thing that could make it nonparasitic that I can think of, is if the provided code actually can determine which cookie was set last. I do not know if this is possible, since the affiliate cookie comes from a different company than the couponer's cookie. I *think* sites canNOT crossread cookies. But I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

    I thought of one other way to do it nonparasitically. If the coupon site's cookie has an extremely short duration, it would be fair to assume they were indeed the Link Clicked Last and deserve the commission--for MOST of the sales. The question for this is, how long of a cookie is it? But even this leaves room for it to parasitize commissions from customers who check out several sites within a few minutes--which I have found is way more common that I would have figured on if I was just guessing.

    Chances are, it's parasitic, either by design, or just them not even thinking of all the implications. But there is a microchance one of the above conditions are in place (most likely the second one).

    In any case, the networks would lose money from this too--the couponer's commissions are made outside of the network system. I think this fact may make the networks suddenly very interested in investigating.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador
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    I think I know what site you are talking about. Here's what it looks like to me...for some merchants, they do not use standard affiliate links (like CJ) because they have a private agreement in place, along with their own exclusive coupon code. There may be a few merchants on this board that work with them, and maybe they will address the question.

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