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  1. #1
    Newbie opalepatrick's Avatar
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    Passing referer including keywords to merchant
    I understand that when doing PPC programmes, the referer can be passed in the header, including the source of the click and the keywords searched. (I use a php tracking script and pass the click using header("location: $sourcelink");

    Now my understanding is that networks do not pass on this information to the merchant and in some cases penalise the affiliate or cancel commission if they cannot see the clicks source.

    My questions are:

    1. What is a legitimate way to not pass this information if going direct to merchant.
    2. Is it true that networks do not pass this referer information.

    Personally, I do not want to pass what is commercially sensitive information to anyone. I am sure that networks and merchants have my best interests at heart but just in case, I would like to mitigate the temptation to subvert my campaigns.

    Interested to hear from networks as well regarding their policies (is it in the small print anywhere?)

  2. #2
    Newbie opalepatrick's Avatar
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    I am surprised that there hasn't been a single reply to this question. Now that could be because it is a stupid question, or, it has been answered many times elsewhere and I haven't found it, or, because it isn't clear, or, because affiliates think it is unimportant (unlikely). Anyway, if someone can give me a clue as to which it is, that would be great.

  3. #3
    Member vicjg's Avatar
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    The referer request header is filled on the client side. You really don't have any control over what information is passed to the destination by the client's browser.

    Some security settings actually block the referer header from being filled at all.

    So...

    I don't think any merchants are using the lack of a referer header to cancel commissions. Its not always 100% accurate, it can be easily manipulated on the client side, and in some cases blocked all together.

  4. #4
    Newbie opalepatrick's Avatar
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    Thanks for replying :-)

    That is good to know. So then if anyone can give me a clue as to how to remove any search terms from the header, that would be great.

    Thanks

  5. #5
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opalepatrick View Post
    That is good to know. So then if anyone can give me a clue as to how to remove any search terms from the header, that would be great.
    Quote Originally Posted by vicjg View Post
    The referer request header is filled on the client side. You really don't have any control over what information is passed to the destination by the client's browser.
    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  6. #6
    Member vicjg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    -rematt
    Good answer

  7. #7
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    I never pass anything like traffic sources or keywords to networks or merchants.
    no way a network/merchant can cancel commissions for not passing such data.

    Using a landing page allows you to collect all this data for your own stats and send the visitor to the product/offer without the network/merchant knowing where he came from.

  8. #8
    Newbie opalepatrick's Avatar
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    Thanks MoreBeer,

    So when you refer to a landing page, do you mean something that has some html on that resets the headers? At the moment my landing script is pure php and therefore passes the original headers. I originally did this because I wanted the pass to be seamless, but I am beginning to think that it might be better to have a 'proper' page.

    By the way I thought vicjg's answer was good as well. Obviously, I should have been more explicit in my reply, rematt, and indicated that it would be good to find a solution to a vexing question. As stated in my original post (thought it was clear)

    Personally, I do not want to pass what is commercially sensitive information to anyone. I am sure that networks and merchants have my best interests at heart but just in case, I would like to mitigate the temptation to subvert my campaigns.

  9. #9
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    a landing page can be pretty much anything you want.

    You can use it to gather stats to optimize your ppc campaigns and to set the user in buying mode explaining how amazing the product is ( supposing you're promoting a single product, but, as I said, you can do whatever you want with a landing page ).

    If you don't want to pass info to the merchant/network you can setup some kind of tracking system where you collect keywords and all you need, and assign a unique tracking ID, this way you will be able to see what is actually converting and what not.

  10. #10
    Newbie Dave123's Avatar
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    If you're looking at altering request headers, I'd first caution you to make sure you really need to. Use a tool like the TamperData plugin for firefox to inspect your headers. I could be wrong, but I don't think search terms are naturally persisted across header requests. So, if I click from google to your site, the referrer may have those terms. But If I then click on a link on your site, I'd be pretty surprised if the google search terms were in the second request at all.

    I've seen back-to-back 302 redirects not update the referrrer URL, but not subsequent links. The web don't work that way, out of the box.

    Can you clarify what you want to to do?

  11. #11
    Member esnagel's Avatar
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    If you use a 1-second delay on a meta-redirect, you won't pass the real referring page's URI, complete with keywords, etc. Everything else I've tried does pass that info, but something simple like:

    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="1;url=http://www.urlhere.com/">

    will keep it hidden. Of course, some users don't allow meta refreshes, so give them the link on the page to click if they have to.

  12. #12
    Newbie Dave123's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    opalepatrick - correct me if I'm wrong here, but if you're using a script that SETS the location header to the source link, as in

    header("location: $sourcelink");

    then you're essentially stuffing the header with the link, artificially persisting it from click #1 to click #2. Your second click is setting the LOCATION to appear as though its the first click's URL (with all the search terms on it).

    If your scenario is similar to my previous post (click from google to your site, then from your site to aff network), then default behavior is that the network will not see the header from the first click. I just tested the default behavior with TamperData and Firefox to be totally sure.

    You may need to revise your link tracking script to record the click without altering headers.

    I hope that's helpful to you. -- Dave

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