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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Todd. As I said earlier Xmas is around the corner and some of would like to start very soon. It does not make sense to promote merchants who have 7 day cookies. You lose the sale if someone goes back two weeks from that day and buys something.
    Please explain cookies and why merchants use short days.
    Gerry

    Where Do You Want To Be Tomorrow?

  2. #2
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Although I agree with your logic and do feel that advertisers should set cookies for greater than 7 days, our network-wide data shows that 99% of sales occur within 7 days of the click for most advertisers.

    CJ encourages advertisers to set higher cookie lengths. In the end, this is the advertiser's decision. I suggest you contact your advertisers and encourage them to set longer cookie lengths.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  3. #3
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Attached is a graph for sales that occurred on 18 Apr. 2002 - the graph illustrates the time difference between clicks and sales. This advertiser has a 7 day cookie. As you can see over 90% of the hundreds of sales for that day occurred within the first few hours of the clicks. After the first day, only 5 sales occured. This is typical graph for a retail sales advertiser.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  4. #4
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    Now, that's very informative. Thanks. Only you can show us accurate "network-wide data". So, to set the cookie at 45 days doesn't cost much for a merchant, but it does a lot to trust him. I don't work anymore with merchants who set their cookies at less than 15 days. Under that it's a waste of time. It shows the merchant is not serious. I remove all my links when they decrease the cookie lenght.

    It's not the big that eat the small... it's the fast that eat the slow. Jennings & Haughton

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Tom ..I can't believe you'd insult our intelligence by presenting this clap trap graph leading ABWers into thinking product merchants close 99% of their sales on the first click. What a bunch of hooie you management types come up with to lay down a PR smokescreen. Who was your merchants example ..some one shot click to a "lead program"! Nobody, but the real lame surfer, ever goes back to a lead merchant after the first visit to signup. The 5 during the next 7 days probably left their e-mail address on a incomplete signup form or e-mail flyer form and got enticed into returning.

    If your firm on this stat then I challenge you to impose a minimum 30 day return cookie days on all your merchants, since it makes absolutely no impact on your merchants commission payout. Your savvy merchants who know they can't afford the 30 day cookie will tar and feather your butt. Why ever would most of your dead pool merchants all lower cookies just before they drop out and all your best EPC product merchants raise their cookies to increase sales.

    Why did IBM publish from their own internal cookied sites sales stats for all of Y2000 that it took on a average ..7 visits.. from anyone who purchased a part ot system from them. Let's be honest Tom and put away your phony charts.

    Want to do something for us to compliment your easily fudged EPC figure? Then publish each merchants average number of clicks to produce a sale based upon their entire affiliate pool's monthly stats. Total affiliate tracked clicks divided by total net reported sales. This way the new merchants who perform, as well as the crooks sneaking into your network to fly under the EPC radar for 4 months, get something to use and recruit affilates.

    WebMaster Mike

  6. #6
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    excellent info, Todd.

    But there's no way to track how many sales happened after the cookie, right?

    "The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes." -- Holly, from Red Dwarf

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    Todd thanks for that graph, now go ahead and pull the graph which shows the percentage of subsequent sales, by that I mean all sales made after the first sale has been recorded. Since all merchents ARE ALLOWED to turn the cookie off after the first sale, I'd be interested in know how much money I'm losing!!!

  8. #8
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    I'm certainly prepared to believe the figures, but averages do mask a lot of variation. There's a heap of difference in "buying" behavior between a paperback, a vacation, a free horoscope and a $1500 PC, for example. The long duration sales can get masked in the averages by a lot of impulse and quick "buys".

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Todd's stats are pretty accurate. I ran some stats on our program and 92% of sales were completed on the first click-through, 5% within two days and the remaining 3% over a period of 30 days. I know this since we have internal tracking systems that monitor this. But as everyone is saying, there is no reason why the cookie length should be so short. If an affiliate sends a qualified customer, regardless of when they make the purchase, the affiliate should receive commission. That's why our cookie length is 365 days and repeat commissions for one year after the click-through. Our affiliates are partner's [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Akiva Bergstrom
    Business Development
    akiva@essentialapparel.com
    800-556-2937 ext 751
    www.essentialapparel.com

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Akiva,

    quote:
    But as everyone is saying, there is no reason why the cookie length should be so short. If an affiliate sends a qualified customer, regardless of when they make the purchase, the affiliate should receive commission. That's why our cookie length is 365 days and repeat commissions for one year after the click-through. Our affiliates are partner's


    WTG - [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] It's also nice that your taking the time to give your input. It makes it nice to hear from a merchants point of view. Thanks!

    Affiliate Programs That Kick Major Butt

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    quote:
    But as everyone is saying, there is no reason why the cookie length should be so short. If an affiliate sends a qualified customer, regardless of when they make the purchase, the affiliate should receive commission. That's why our cookie length is 365 days and repeat commissions for one year after the click-through. Our affiliates are partner's


    Thats great to hear especially the "repeat commissions for one year after the click-through". The least a merchant can do is to pay on ALL sales made during the cookie period.

  12. #12
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    OK, proof is in the pudding. Here is a graph for a different retail advertiser with a 45 day cookie period. Graph is for sales on 17 June 2002. Sales maxed out at 100% in less than 48 hours.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Todd,

    Thanks for the graphs - stuff like this is really appreciated out here in the trenches.

    These are only two graphs and I'm sure there are others that show sales 20-30 days after a click. Yeah, it may only be one or two sales that far out, but if is my sale, I sure would be upset if I did not get it. My number of return visitors is growing and growing. I want them to come back and buy that thing-a-ma-bob and I want the credit for it. I'm working hard to get people to come back.

    Ron
    7 Days A Week Marketing

    "Keep your hands out of my cookie jar!"

  14. #14
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    >>that 99% of sales occur within 7 days of the click for most advertisers<<

    I hate to pitbull this given I really believe the cookie issue is over-rated in most cases, but shouldn't the actual stat be "99% of sales that occur within the COOKIE DURATION, occur within 7 days of the click"?

    Because you don't have means for tracking sales after the cookie, right?

    While I think it's pretty safe to assume that sales trickle to nothing on small items, larger items may not have that same pattern. The graph for items where the *majority* of purchases take place 60 days AFTER the click, could easily look the same as the above if the merchant had a 45 day cookie.

    Do merchants have access to those graphs for their own accounts?

    "The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes." -- Holly, from Red Dwarf

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Merchants do not have access to those graphs or any graphs other than what affiliates can see (EPC and chargeback %).

    Akiva Bergstrom
    Business Development
    akiva@essentialapparel.com
    800-556-2937 ext 751
    www.essentialapparel.com

  16. #16
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    OK so if I send a Day 1 sale to a merchant with a 90 day cookie that deletes my cookie after the first sale without telling me - I lose 100% of my future sales throughout the rest of the 90 days that a cookie is supposed to be there. Right?


    Hmmmmm.........


    Truth in advertising cookie lengths is still not being addressed. CJ/Merchants need to post the fact if they delete cookies after the first sale. It is false advertising and morally wrong by not telling affiliates that they are deleting their cookies after the first sale in my opinion. It is a simple thing for CJ to add.


    Larry Wentz
    www.AffiliateNetwork.org
    www.MultipleDomainHosting.net

  17. #17
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    Todd,
    Appreciate those graphs. Can you post a graph for high ticket items like consumer electronics? Thanks.

  18. #18
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    I don't have this data for every advertiser. These are custom requests I do for certain advertisers. I did found an interesting graph for a retailer with 90 day cookies and keep=yes for the cookies.

    As you can see, the sales max out in less than 4 days.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    Todd when will CJ be adding the feature which allows publishers to see wheter a merchant deletes cookies after the first sale or not? I am 100% against the keep=no feature being enabled in the first place, it just shows where CJ's loyality lies.

  20. #20
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    quote:
    Todd when will CJ be adding the feature which allows publishers to see wheter a merchant deletes cookies after the first sale or not?


    I think this feature will be released in the Fall or Q1 2003. It will allow advertisers to control the keep functionality from the CJ interface instead of hard coding it in the tracking. This means it will be easier for advertisers to change their settings (no need for technical resources).

    quote:
    I am 100% against the keep=no feature being enabled in the first place, it just shows where CJ's loyality lies.


    As you can see above, even with a 90 day cookie and keep=yes, sales drop off after 4 or 5 days. Most customers do not buy more than once within a certain date range. I think it is short sightedd to have a policy that you won't work with an advertiser unless their cookie period is greater than X day or that their cookies are set to keep. I think the data I provided shows that most advertiser are paying publishers for all sales generated.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

  21. #21
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Would be nice to get the input from TigerDirect and Overstock the 2 most trusted merchants participating at ABW. Overstock had ZERO cookie days at BeFree and upped that to 14 days at Linkshare. Overstocks AM Shawn says their sales are rockin at LS and upper management is taking real notice of the amount of sales driven through the affiliate sales channel for the first time.

    TigerDirect before Andy also had Zero cookie days at Befree before Andy came on board in July 2001. He has upped those cookie days twice after negotiations with management with increases in affiliate channel sales of 800% after those moves. You can bet your next paycheck Tom that these two network newbees write more monthly checks to affiliates than the other major merchants and little guys who have been there for years. You know the real commission impact to a product merchant who ups his cookies at CJ with return sales active, since your merchants lobbied you to get the "turn off cookie" button after first sale installed.

    Want to bet real impact stats could be had if someone could talk Walmart and Dell into trying 30 day active cookies for 60 days. The cookie issue, and keeping it turned on after first sale, seperates the pure play advertiser from the serious merchant looking to build a secondary sales channel....period.

    WebMaster Mike

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Todd. Thanks for the answer,sorry for opening a can of worms. But this is where this whole affilate concept is wrong and unfair to webmasters.I don't know how much of a background you have in retailing, I have 40 years.Selling on the internet is retailing and all the principles of good retailing still apply. I had a number of Rep's selling products for me at a 10%. Sometimes they would not sell anything to a customer the first time they made a pitch. On many ocassions they would close a sale a couple of months later. So would this mean I should have withheld their commission because they did'nt close before a certain date(cookie)?
    Customers like to browse around looking for the best deal and then make a puchase.Many retailers put out flyers with the date that specials end and that is similar to a 7 day cookie,you don't get those specials after that.Some of us would like to promote Xmas early so possible customers can browse around to see what is out there, and then hopefully come back and make a purchase. If this is the case with cookies,I will not add any merchants without at least 90 day cookies. Basically what the merchants are saying,we do not want browers.
    We are all working for commissions,in most cases under 10% and should be paid even if the sale occurs 45 days after.It's up to you Todd to relay this message out to the merchants,I don't have the time to email each one.Sorry for the vent job.
    I truly believe that if a merchant cannot put out at least a 95 day cookie then they do not belong in these programs, they are just using our sites as resources and launch pads.
    Gerry

    Where Do You Want To Be Tomorrow?

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    quote:
    As you can see above, even with a 90 day cookie and keep=yes, sales drop off after 4 or 5 days.


    Todd,

    These graphs are just three merchants at three different times. Surely there are some graphs that show sales at 5 days, 10 days, 30 days?

    How do we know that this is representative of all merchants. What we really need to see is a graph of ALL merchants combined that have the same cookie duration (of at least 30 days).

    Sorry to be critical here, but I've worked with statistics for years and know that you can make any graph look good if you find the right numbers to put into it.

    But I do appreciate your efforts to communicate this type of information to us Todd.

    Ron
    7 Days A Week Marketing

    "Keep your hands out of my cookie jar!"

  24. #24
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    I hope you don't mind my post, but Webmaster Mike asked that I pop in and offer my opinion on this matter. With that said...

    quote:
    Would be nice to get the input from TigerDirect and Overstock the 2 most trusted merchants participating at ABW. Overstock had ZERO cookie days at BeFree and upped that to 14 days at Linkshare. Overstocks AM Shawn says their sales are rockin at LS and upper management is taking real notice of the amount of sales driven through the affiliate sales channel for the first time...
    -Webmaster Mike


    Thanks, Mike. The last time I analyzed this data was for the month of April. I found that 80% of our affiliate-generated sales came from the same day, while the other 20% came from day 2-7. After the 7th day, there seemed to be no sales to speak of. I used an entire month’s worth of data in my analysis.

    As a Merchant, I think 7 days is a minimum. Based on my analysis, anything beyond 7 won't impact affiliate commissions. Nevertheless, I increased our Return Days to 14 just in case. When I took over our affiliate program in February of this year, I spoke to as many affiliates as I could to find out what they thought about our program – both good and bad. Everyone mentioned Return Days as the biggest improvement that needed to be made, so we responded with an increase from same day to 7, and shortly thereafter I bumped it to 14 days.

    Now, some Merchants will argue that they are giving away a commission when they could be keeping the cash. This is the wrong way to approach this issue. Affiliates are very much like commission-only sales people. To deny them payment on a sale that you would not have had without their help is like asking for people to work for free, and those Internet days or over. The main event for Merchants is not to try to stiff affiliates out of hard-earned cash. The main event is to incent the hell out of your sales force so they have a vested interest in selling for you, and in return they will sell you more.

    Of course, our numbers might be a bit higher than other Merchants because we send marketing emails weekly (and sometimes more) to our subscriber base. If an affiliate sends us a visitor who subscribes to our newsletters, we immediately begin marketing to that visitor. 14 Return Days ensures that affiliates get credit for sales generated from our marketing emails, so we basically assist our affiliates with converting the traffic, and pay them for it.

    Why? Because affiliates aren’t stupid. Merchants are constantly re-evaluated by affiliates. I want Overstock.com to have an affiliate program that everyone is raving about, and Return Days are the first of many steps that must be made to achieve this goal. The more my affiliates make, the higher my conversions, the more affiliates will begin pushing Overstock.com products, and the higher my sales will soar.

    To me, it’s simple – No less than 7 Return Days. Period.

    Thank you for allowing me to supply my opinion,

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

  25. #25
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    Todd, what product category were those merchants in? I buy plenty of small items (books, cd's etc) on impulse, but if I am buying a PC or a Hi-Fi I will shop around A LOT. So the sale might not get made until 30 days or more for a big purchase like that (which I might make only once every 5 years for each product). Also ( a bit of an extreme example I know!) but I recently ordered a hi-fi from a useless merchant who still hadn't delivered the goods after 2 months! So I went back to another site which I had looked at 2 months earlier when shopping around and ordered the hi-fi from them (they delivered in 3 days by the way) [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Bottom line is I think an affiliate should get their commish for a sale whenever it takes place - 45 days is a good benchmark, 90 is even better and 365 is GREAT! Even if an affiliate only loses 1 or 2 % of all their sales due to short cookie lengths, that can still be hundreds of dollars of commission on big ticket items like electronics/PC's.

    Finally, just a quick point for Shawn - while I agree 100% with mostly all of what you said above (and you are doing a fantastic job with the Overstock aff prog). Just one point re the newsletter thing: Yes some people might buy from the first promo email they get, may more may not buy until they have had a few emails from you. (To get a 'feel' for what you offer or when they see something which is exactly what they want, etc - I know I buy products from merchants newsletters when they have sales and offers, often months after subscribing). So in that case if its their first purchase an affiliate should get something - as the affiliate 'introduced' the customer to the merchant initially. One way might be to connect/tag a newsletter subscriber to an affiliate id or code when they subscribe, if this is practical? Alternatively, some merchants pay the usual % per sale, but also pay a small amount (from 10c to 50c) for somebody who doesn't buy anything but signs up for the newsletter or requests a catalogue. Again, from my own experience, when I visit a site for the first time I often think, 'yes, nice store' but might not have time or see anything I want right then - so I subscribe to their newwsletter to 'keep informed about promotions and offers'....etc

    Just a few thoughts to add to an interesting thread, anyway. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Have a good weekend, all.

    [This message was edited by mellowmark on August 30, 2002 at 02:08 PM.]

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