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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    I posted this in the big thread, but figured I should make a separate thread for anyone interested.

    If you want to check to see if a site is setting affiliate cookies without a click, here's a manual way to do it:

    1. Clear your cookies.
    2. Enable popups if you have them disabled.
    3. Go to the suspect site.
    4. Browse their site, but don't click on links.
    5. Check to see what cookies (if any) were set.
    6. Determine if those cookies are affiliate cookies (some may just be impression-tracking cookies).
    7. (Optional) Look through the source on their site to see how they did it.

    A few warnings:

    1. Some ad and affiliate networks set IMPRESSION tracking cookies. Don't mistake those for CLICK tracking cookies, which are the ones you're looking for. I can't really tell you how to tell the difference--you'll need to figure it out on your own. Look at cookies set by a legitimate affiliate's site with a banner to see what your impression cookies look like. Look at cookies set by an affiliate link to see what click cookies look like.

    2. If you don't want to delete all your cookies, one option is to install another browser and just delete your cookies for THAT browser. Mozilla is a good one, as you can easily view your cookies in it.

    3. As these thieves get more creative, it's going to be harder and harder to catch them. I'm not going to talk about methods here, but would be glad to talk with any merchant (or Poon) who is curious.

    4. The EASIEST way for merchants to identify affiliates who might be doing this is to look for ones with VERY low conversion ratios or EPC's--often 20x lower than average or worse. As I said before, not everyone with low conversions is doing this, but everyone who is doing this will have low conversions. Identifying high-click, low-conversion affiliates will give merchants a list of affiliates to review.

    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    January 18th, 2005
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    2. If you don't want to delete all your cookies, one option is to install another browser and just delete your cookies for THAT browser. Mozilla is a good one, as you can easily view your cookies in it.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You can also change your cookie path temporarily to somewhere else. "Settings" button in IE.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>3. As these thieves get more creative, it's going to be harder and harder to catch them. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Theives are not the only ones developing inovative technoligies. The game has changed and it's going to be much easier to detect them going forward.

    It doesn't matter if you're an affiliate, a merchant, a network, or even a parasite - manipulations on a cookie can be easily identified - the proof resides right their on your computer. Time will surely expose more manipulations - not less.

    ** Have you asked for change? **

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    For cookie testing, I alway use mozilla and make it prompt me to accept any cookie, you at that point can also view what information it is setting.

    Just make sure to reject all the cookies, otherwise repeat sources will not prompt you again.

    Chet

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Chet, the only problem with that is that you cannot keep it as default - there are so many cookies on websites these days, that I would be getting the alerts on almost all pages I visit.
    It is a good way to see the cookies, though.

  6. #6
    Newbie
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
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    Zone Alarm is great for a real quick cookie check. Even with their free version.

    I turn the announcements off if I know where I'm visiting, but turn it on when looking around.

    SandraR

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