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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    November 23rd, 2009
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    Blank "Page Banner was Clicked From:" - Tracking referrals
    Hello Everyone!

    We are currently a merchant with SAS and have been noticing a trend with a few affiliates. Several affiliates seem to always have the field "Page Banner was Clicked From:" blank. First, we're wondering what affiliates might be doing to prevent this field from being populated. Two, why would an affiliate want to mask this information? Three, what can we do about it?

    Any help in figuring this out is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Greetings,

    Take a moment and view the following Wiki entry!

    Referrer hiding

    Most web servers will maintain logs of all traffic, and record the HTTP referrer sent by the browser for each request. This raises a number of privacy concerns, and as a result a number of systems to prevent servers being sent the real referring URL have been developed. These systems work either by blanking the referrer header or by replacing it with inaccurate data. Generally, internet security suites blank the referrer data, while web based servers replace it with a false URL, usually their own - of course, this raises the problem of referrer spam. The technical details of both methods are fairly consistent - software applications act as a proxy server and manipulate the HTTP request, while web based methods load websites within frames, causing the browser to send a referrer URL of their website address. Some web browsers give their users the option to turn off referrer headers.
    Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_referrer
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    missing referer can also happen when the shopper comes back to your site via their browser history or even a pasted email link. If it is consistent for only a few affiliates, they may be redirecting or cloaking their links, maybe you could ask them?

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
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    November 23rd, 2009
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    2busy, thanks so much for the response. I've asked affiliates, but have not received a response and it continues to happen with each of their transactions. I did a bit of research through SAS help center and did find out there are legitimate reasons for this field to be blank. It's not so much that the field is blank that concerns me, it's the fact that it continues to happen on every transaction for two particular affiliates. The lack of response doesn't help.

    You mentioned redirect and cloaking, what are the reasons an affiliate would do this?

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I can't answer why they are doing it but redirects are common with PPC ads, and a good number of affiliates use cloaking for appearance/ shopper confidence. Redirecting is also a means of cloaking. There are many threads at ABW that cover these topics, it may help to use the Search and read through the "Becoming a Merchant" forum here.

  6. #6
    Full Member suzie250's Avatar
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    They could also be cloaking the urls.

    I use a redirect plugin for Wordpress called Pretty Links. It makes the urls look like www.mysite.com/whatever-I-put-here instead of the regular affiliate link. Those links do not show the referrer.

    It makes the links look better but it bothers me somewhat that it's not passing the referrals. I, too, like to see where the click originated from. As long as I use the cloaked link on one page, I will know where it came from, but if it's a sidebar link on every page, I'll never know.

    It is against EPN's TOS to not pass the referrer. I'd imagine in the future that might become more of standard for other merchants.
    Last edited by suzie250; January 11th, 2010 at 02:26 PM. Reason: clarity
    I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Bud Lite than Kay.

  7. #7
    Member KirkMcD's Avatar
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    Why hide the referrers?
    There are a couple of common reasons that haven't been mentioned.

    • They are doing PPC and don't want you to see the keywords that they are using.

    • They don't want you to see how they are marketing your items, so that you don't take their ideas and implement them.

    • The links are on a secure site (https).

    • They are doing something that breaks your TOS and are trying to hide.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    November 23rd, 2009
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    KirkMcD, thank you. Your reply has been very helpful.

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