Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    August 4th, 2010
    Posts
    2
    Question Newbe curious about "lifetime" cookies
    Hello all,

    In that I am fresh to this topic of affiliate networks, I have some questions that maybe you folks can help me on.

    The back-story is that I recently began the sign-up process for ShareASale believing that the questions I had about defining the commission structure would be resolved as I worked my way through the sign-up forms. But, I was wrong.

    Oh, let me back up... I fall on the merchant side of the equation.

    So anyway, perhaps I am not far enough into the process, but I am being asked about the commission percentage we have in mind. This is where I got stuck.

    My questions are:
    1) Does SAS have a way to define a permanent commission status on a given customer? What I mean by that is, when a customer buys a product as a result of an affiliate's effort, is there a way to "tag" that customer as "owned by" the affiliate, such that in the future, should the customer ever come back and buy anything else (whether a replacement of the original product, or an additional product), the affiliate will receive credit for that sale, even if the customer came directly to the site?

    2) Is the above the same as a "lifetime cookie"?

    3) Can a structure, as described, be combined with other incentive parameters, such as, 2-tier and/or ramping commission rates for volume?

    I am not sure if my terminology is translating as intended, but hopefully I am making sense. Many years ago we began an internal program we call "customer ownership" that is basically what I described. But it was for a small-scale application. We are now intending to initiate the affiliate program, and the original thought was to structure it in a similar fashion. If that is not possible, that's okay. It just means I have to rethink how the percentages are going to work.

    Thanks in advance for any clarification.
    -Bill

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    4,889
    A lifetime cookie will get you part of the way there but they're only good until the user deletes them so it's a permanent solution. You could flag them internally and make manual sales to affiliates each month.

    This can sound good on the surface but isn't without issues. First, the general rule, how SAS is setup now, is that the last click gets the sale. If Affiliate A gets the original sale and the customer comes back in 6 months by clicking on Affiliate B's link then Affiliate B's cookie is set with SAS overwriting Affiliate A's cookie. Now the dilemma: Who gets paid? They can both claim the sale and they both referred that customer to you.

    Another issue could be that this type of setup attracts cookie stuffers (get as many clicks as possible and lock that user out for anyone else). Cookie stuffing is not acceptable but they're out there. They can be found and removed but each one comes with a time requirement to investigate, document and remove.

    You could say the customer belongs to the first affiliate as long as the customer did not have another affiliate's SAS cookie on their PC. But this could be hard to manage too and will need some order checking for each sale that comes in to see who gets the sale.

    Just something to think about.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  3. #3
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    17,708
    A lifetime cookie really means the life of the cookie on that computer until the computer user clears their cookies. Some people never clear cookies and always use the same computer, so a lifetime cookie would "stick" in that case.

    The other alternative is to have that information stored with the customer on your site and you can use the Shareasale API to continue to credit sales (as in recurring commissions) or that you manually credit sales to the affiliate.

    However at some point if that customer comes in to your site through a second affiliate, that second affiliate gets credit for the ensuing sales.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  4. #4
    Newbie
    Join Date
    August 4th, 2010
    Posts
    2
    Greg and loxly, Thank you. That helps... well, sort of.

    My initial reaction to Greg is, "Yikes". I hadn't even taken into consideration fraudulent behavior.

    And to loxly's point about keeping it internal, that is actually what we currently do, but I am not yet sure what an operational challenge it will be if the number of customers and affiliates gets huge.

    Actually, I'm not concerned about the customer side. I was thinking though that it would be substantially easier to manage the relationship with the affiliates by utilizing something like the SAS service. I might need to think of this in stages.

    Our in-house database was designed to allow the association of a "rep" for each customer, which has worked great for more than 10 years. But as I mentioned in the opening note; our counts were fairly small, and since we control the environment, it was easy to automate it. Unless we have an automated function or API between SAS and our system, I am not sure we will be able to keep up with it. In fact, the whole purpose of us going with the affiliate program is to increase volume to the point that I know we couldn't do it unless it was automated.

    I'm not quite sure what to think about the issue that Greg spells out with the timing of affiliate A and B, and the dilemma of who gets paid. Up to now, we haven't had those issues. We mainly have doctor clinics defined in the "rep" column, and I have not yet heard of them wrestling in the hall over who was last to recommend one of our customers.

    So, as long as I am here, what do affiliates feel about this? What does affiliate A think about the "fairness" of affiliate B benefiting from a customer who may have reordered a product through affiliate B's link after having originally ordered through affiliate A's efforts? Is this something that affiliates figure just evens out in the long run?

    I suppose we don't have to think in terms of "lifetime", but it is quite ingrained here as what we consider fair. We do a pretty good job of retaining our customers for many years, and as products may come and go, we have simply always felt the original "source" of the customer should benefit when the customer tries new items. However, I see that in this new-to-me model, there are some complexities that are more challenging. Especially this "cookie stuffing" thing. Up to now, the only thing I knew about cookie stuffing is the accelerated action I employ before my girlfriend catches me with the holiday desert platter on my lap.

    Okay then, thanks again for your comments. You've certainly given me something to think about. Jeeze... and I thought this would be a breeze to set up.

    -Bill

  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    17,708
    Affiliate programs are never a "breeze" to set up correctly. Affiliate A knows that if he doesn't do his job then Affiliate B can be the one to bring the customer back a second time and Affiliate C might do it the next time, and then back to Affiliate A.

    Greg and I posted at pretty much the same time, he has some great points about cookie stuffing.

    The reason you go with a company like Shareasale is to try and keep the tracking fair, and keep the bad guys at bay. If you are setting up such a system inhouse you have a lot of variables to consider, that are things that a consultant and networks like Shareasale have already figured out.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 21
    Last Post: March 16th, 2009, 03:41 PM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: July 29th, 2005, 01:51 PM
  3. Datafeeds & Google: bad "news" - Are you a "thin affiliate" ?
    By heisje in forum Programming / Datafeeds / Tools
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: June 29th, 2005, 08:52 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •