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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Please critique this as a possible best practices entry and provide comments if you have any.
    ==============================================
    There is much confusion in affiliate marketing among new affiliates regarding cookies.

    Most networks / merchants utilize a cookie to give an affiliate credit for sales made. Cookies are usually placed on the persons computer who clicked your affiliate link by a network but some merchants also set cookie(s) as well.

    Cookies have specific properties that dictate the value of them. These properties are cookie duration and the amount of times you will get credit for a sale. The longer the cookie duration (usually specified in days) the more chances an affiliate has to make a commission. The shorter the cookie duration the fewer chances you have to make a commission from a sale. Consider that many shoppers do not click on a link and immediately make purchase. They may be trying to find something but have to wait until payday (lets say 8 days away) before they actually make the purchase. In this case (a sale was made 8 days after the visitor had the cookie set) you would only get credit for a sale and make a commission for merchants that had a cookie duration longer than 7 days.

    With this in mind, it's a best practice to avoid low cookie durations as they tend to result largely with the merchant recieving brand awareness, customers and income from your work while you get nothing in a great number of cases.

    Cookie duration is in part confusing because of different networks terminoligy regarding it.

    Specifically, differing networks use various terms regarding cookie durations:
    *) Befree uses "return days" (lower return days is not better "despite you possibly thinking it may be to your advantage because it would reduce refunds" - that isn't the case).
    *) Linkshare uses the term Return Days as well.
    *) Commission Junction using the term "Action Referal Period".

    Carefully pay attention to all the terms a merchant offers (cookie duration, commission rate, and the number of times you get credit for sales made on a cookie).

    There are many great merchants who set respectible terms that will reward you generously for your efforts in marketing them but unfortunately there are also many of them that are happy to take advantage of your lack of your knowledge in order to gain free advertising, brand awareness, and customers where they pay you a small commission on only a small percent of the orders that are obtained from your marketing efforts.

    Providing marketing to merchants that largely takes advantage of affiliates sets a dangerous precident for the long term viability of affiliate marketing that could reduce competitiveness among merchants. We do not want merchants reducing cookie durations or commission levels because many affiliates are unknowlegable and still promote their programs.

    By you choosing not to be taken advantage of, the merchants with poor terms will have fewer sales and worse results in their programs which will hopefully encourage change in the future with them needing to provide better terms to be more competitive to get affiliates to promote them.

    When I was new, I thought it would be great if is was approved and could call many of these well known programs "my partners". Many of these type companies have the worst terms and it's likely because many people think just as I did. The results I recieved from these supposidly well known, well respected companies was worse than pitiful.

    Just say no to low cookie durations.

    I'll also suggest it's another best practice to email the affiliate manager any time you look at a programs terms and find it unacceptable and pass on them.

    Letting these merchants know "first hand" that many affiliates are not providing marketing coverage due to what is percieved as unacceptable terms will likely have long term impact on a merchants desire to offer better terms.

    ===================================
    Great News - we can now support ebates and pp merchants - they are cleaning up their act and I'll bet it'll be a long time before we see another clip of ebates overwriting affiliate links.
    ===================================

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    Forgot to link Poon
    http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=frm&...9&f=3766078225

    So you know who to email.

    I work in lounge pants

  3. #3
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    Is it really necessary for us to add each merchant with crappy reutrn days to a forum such as the link you provided?

    I'm all for encouraging positive changes in our industry but terms can change easily and I feel this implementation leaves alot to be desired and is overkill. So what hapens when they improve their program and offer a two day cookie? Do you remove them from the list, update and then say they are OK to do business with? I don't think so.

    For me personally, I felt like the best pracrices forum would be more along the line of providing topics as illustarted above that do mucy more than just repeat a term that is already listed by the networks. The 1 day cookie forum does nothing to educate affiliate concernng why 1 day cookies are an issue or help them avoid the traps that have been set by these type of merchants.

    I have no problem with the 1 day cookie forum being listed but feel it will ultimatley lead to confusion, mis-information and does little to address the real issues.

    ===================================
    Great News - we can now support ebates and pp merchants - they are cleaning up their act and I'll bet it'll be a long time before we see another clip of ebates overwriting affiliate links.
    ===================================

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    Yes, much better to have 6-10 paragraph posts just talking about doing something.

  5. #5
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    It is too long. Cut it down by 70%.

    The problem with naming names is that an affiliate might be doing really well with one merchant who happens to have a short cookie. Seeing the name on the list makes him/her think a short cookie is not so bad after all.

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    To add creedence to Poons observations. Long ago even the incent sites (coupons/rewards/points) were affected by the cookie duration periods. They were designed to garner SE keyword positions and incent the shoppers to bookmark them for additional savings. Most made their side money by selling e-mail addresses and privacy info to their duper partners but shoppers wanted more meat in their bookmarked choices. Creatives like mini-showcases, individual product displays and better landing pages evolved as the model.

    Problem was the darn merchants/networks NEVER divulged the return shopping days, which mostly was set at ZERO or 1 day. New merchants seeking active recruits started offering 30-45 days as an enticement. The advertising mindset of AM's hated conversion stats -cookies -landing pages deeper then page one, as everything up to 2001 was about branding, Eyeballs and IPO's.

    This duck had enough and when the .com bombs brought in millions of un-paid commissions into the flaming rants we demanded transparancy. The advertising mindset of the networks just spun us some smoke and mirrors including the domain bound incenters adding other creatives to their mix.

    They came the betrayal of trust. The networks bought into the Dupers/incenters/spammers reach proposal endorsed as best practice by the DMA/IAB gorrilla marketers. Incubate and test the best way to overcome Zero/1 day cookies by launching BHO's who refresh cookies on every popup. They also earn commissions on non-commissionable activities allowing the networks to take cut on double dips as a fencing fee. Standard coverup term is CHOICE. Enduser choice...even if they are duped. Affiliate Choice as to who you partner with ...

    Incidently all Dupers ( affiliates posing as merchants) and BHO's are affiliates NOT merchants. So this all falls under Poons quest to setup an ABW "affiliate's best practices" forum. The sleezy practices of affiliates is what gives us a bad rap with the shoppers SE's and real converting merchants.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    I edited just for the Poon. I'll leave you guys to just posting and talking about doing stuff, keeps you from actually doing something.

    I work in lounge pants

  8. #8
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TrustNo1®:
    I edited <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    A shame indeed!

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli
    </font></p>

  9. #9
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    @Jimbo - I'm longwinded as crap but tried to cover the bases more from a newbies standpoint. If it can be made more consice and still cover the points that would be great. Give us a revised edition to consider .

    Looking at ecoms post triggers another thought which is that parasites are uneffected by zero day cookies at they intervine and set a new cookie each time a shopper visits a site. Much of a parasites success depends on non parasitic affiliates work in sending shoppers to a merchants web site where they quickly overwrite the cookie that was just set on our behalf.

    This is another reason why we should not IMO provide marketing coverage and branding to merchants with crappy terms. I would guess the correlation between pp merchants and 1 days cookies is very high. If merchants are left with only paying commissions to parasites from visitors who went directly to thier site it only cuts further into their profits and illustartes the need for them to make changes. It's very likely that the more we provide marketing for merchants with crappy terms, the more income we provide to parasites as well.

    Low cookie durations in conjunction with merchants partnering with parasites is an even more dangerous condition.

    This area of discussion is another candidate for a topic that should be openly covered in the best practices area IMO.

    ===================================
    Great News - we can now support ebates and pp merchants - they are cleaning up their act and I'll bet it'll be a long time before we see another clip of ebates overwriting affiliate links.
    ===================================

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jimbo2002:
    It is too long.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I have a short attention span myself.

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