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  1. #1
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    Account Inquery Email
    I am a newer member to the GAN. I got an email today. I sent a reply but I am looking for some clarification.

    This is what the email said:
    It has come to our attention that one or more of your websites is
    generating invalid clicks (e.g., forced clicks or cookie stuffing) for
    Google Affiliate Network advertisers. For example, pages such as
    (link example here) force a click to the
    (merchant page that I created the link to).

    This behavior is considered a violation of the Google Affiliate Network
    publisher policies
    (http://www.google.com/ads/affiliaten...-policies.html)
    and is grounds for disabling your account if not corrected immediately.

    Here is the reply that I sent:
    Please help me to resolve this right away. I am confused and I do not want to be removed from your program, I have just recently been accepted.

    The link that you supplied is not a page, it is my affiliate link in an anchor link attached to an image ad which is on a page filled with informative and useful, unique content. Am I not allowed to do that? Please help me to learn and understand.

    ************
    Any input here would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I would try loading the page with the Firefox Live Http Headers add-on just to see if there is anything you might be missing. It would show you what's actually being loaded. Maybe disable your cache while testing it to see it as a fresh user would.


  3. #3
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    This was their reply:
    As we mentioned in the message below, when we visit:

    http://myLink


    it does indeed drop this cookie:

    cc_click21000000000127885 =
    2vnxmAXN3lMcElpTKIzCFpsqn0BHP42D0B5ipcKwg8LWO1iZstdY8RPT3VI82FUjQWzHiJotX4qLxOGi0THwNmnfBuFZjHWOyi6BEdgjAM7qlxsGrU3nIB2rUyQpzeixc2d78HDBebIm1wJTvw4mhUcEwgqhxYKVpolXamk0SAl4sGd08HpS2WU5Qrz2nxcADSeQDBmbxBGV0THwNmnfBuFZjtWzyR6oErgmLWOKigsHd08HPNKWU5QZz2lMsGhUcRDgeL9O2p4ebMSqVJoGDzeL


    Usually, this is a result of a simple coding error. Nonetheless, we must
    ask that it be corrected in a timely way.

    ******

    I don't know anything about cookies being dropped (I am typically the type that just eats cookies), but doesn't an affiliate link use cookies and is that not the point of them?

    Does GAN not allow the use of the Pretty Link plugin? Could that be the issue?

  4. #4
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Does GAN not allow the use of the Pretty Link plugin? Could that be the issue?
    If they are pointing to a specific cookie then it should be fairly easy to see what in your set up is adding it. Did you try Live Headers yet?


  5. #5
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Powell View Post
    If they are pointing to a specific cookie then it should be fairly easy to see what in your set up is adding it. Did you try Live Headers yet?
    I don't have any idea what that is, LMAO. I am going to find out.

    UPDATE: OK, I have it now what do I do with it?

  6. #6
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    PM me if you think I can help. I love a techno mystery way more than writing articles.


  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Live Headers shows you all communications passed between servers when you open a URL. If a cookie is set you will see it and what triggered it.

  8. #8
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    Well, I have rebuilt all of my GAN links (that I can remember -hope I got them all) to make sure that nothing was out of place. I did find one error so perhaps that is what they needed. I replied to them and hopefully that will be enough. If not, well I guess I will just cross that bridge when I get there.

    Thanks to everyone who helped me learn today about cookies and Live Headers! If anything, I have more knowledge with which to work with.

  9. #9
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    UPDATE: It was not enough. Here is their reply:

    We're still getting a cookie. Further checking shows the problem to be
    that you are framing the advertiser's site within your own site.

    What does it mean to frame other people's content?
    When a website displays someone else's website within a frame or window on
    their own site, this is considered framing content. Placing Google ads on
    such pages is strictly prohibited.

    *******

    I guess it IS the Pretty Link Plugin. Or at least the way that I have it configured. Back to the drawing board.

  10. #10
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    ok, part of the problem appears to have been that I had one of the settings in Pretty Link set to cloaking. I changed them all to 307 redirect. But even that has not gotten rid of whatever the issue is. Here is the latest reply from Google:

    It seems as though a cookie is still being dropped without user
    initiation.

    The name of the link that is causing the issue is
    "Green-Mtn-Spec-Reserve". Hopefully this information helps you track down
    the exact problem.

    Thanks, just let us know when we can check again.
    *****

    Here is my update and reply to them:

    REALLY? I was hoping because I had not heard back from you that this was resolved. I did not see any cookies being dropped after the last fix or see any frames. Prior to the last attempt, I did find an error that I had. A setting had been set to "cloak" my links. I changed it to a 307 redirect.

    Since the receipt of this email I have changed ALL my link settings. I have no more settings anywhere set to cloak anything. I also deleted the link in question and created an entirely new link with a different name. Lord, I hope this is the last check, I am about out of ideas.

    Can you please check one more time. I have posted my dilemma on a few forums for help. No one has come up with anything else to try and are all rather confused as to what is going on. We really thought that we had it this last time. Please let me know if we got it this time.

    Thanks for working with me.

  11. #11
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    You could post the link/site** and let people take a look, probably be able to figure it out pretty quickly.

    **if it's a case of wanting to keep the site private, understandable.

  12. #12
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    You could post the link/site** and let people take a look, probably be able to figure it out pretty quickly.

    **if it's a case of wanting to keep the site private, understandable.
    Well, the link in question no longer exists but if I get a reply that something is still amiss I will do that. I don't care if people know my site. Heck, maybe I will actually convert something! LOL.

  13. #13
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    Here is the latest from Google:
    Everything looks fine, you're all set!

    Thanks for working with us to get this issue resolved.
    *****

    Boy, am I glad THAT is over. So the lessons are:
    1. GAN does not allow cloaked links
    2. New plugins settings should be checked once you think you know how to use the plugin
    3. Google will be patient as long as you maintain daily contact and updates
    4. Forum resources are invaluable

    Thanks all for your help!

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    What do you mean by "cloaked links" ??

    Something like a link on your site that uses a database to store the affiliate link such as:

    yoursite\link.htm?id=123

    ???
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  15. #15
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    What do you mean by "cloaked links" ??
    This is best answered by referring you to Google. Search cloaked links and research the meanings on your own for the best and most complete definition and explanation.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildAmbitions View Post
    This is best answered by referring you to Google. Search cloaked links and research the meanings on your own for the best and most complete definition and explanation.
    Sorry I was not really clear, I understand what cloaking is, I was just looking for your understanding of it. I know alot of affiliates use cloaking and I have never heard of a network ever having a problem with it. My difinition of cloaking is the example I used above were the affiliate link in stored in a database and I send a ID to one of my pages that redirects the visitor using the affiliate link.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  17. #17
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    What you describe would not "technically" be cloaking and is 100% acceptable provided that the redirection does actually reveal the affiliate link upon entering the merchant site. It is what I thought that I had been doing.

    In reality I had somehow selected a setting so that the affiliate link was never revealed even after landing on the merchant page.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    ok, that great from my point of view. I glade you worked it out with GAN,

    I to find them great to deal with if you willing to work with them they will work with you to resolve the problem. My rule is that if a merchant/network says I doing something wrong, I ask them to tell me what wrong and I will fix it right away or ask them what I have to do to make it right if I am not sure. So far in the last 6 years I have been able to resolve any problem I have had without a fireworks on either site.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  19. #19
    Full Member WildAmbitions's Avatar
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    I agree for the most part. First impressions are still most important.

    IMHO, Google tends to come across threatening at first. Instead of getting the impression that they are willing to work with you their first correspondence is often only an ultimatum. Without much time to find a resolution.

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