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  1. #1
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    *I was not sure if this should be posted under Fraud, Share a Sale, or here but it really is a question addressed to the general affiliate community so I will post it here. If this forum is not appropriate, I apologize.

    I am in the process of setting up as a merchant through Share A Sale and after talking with them over the phone I have come to find that because of our internal tracking procedure we will be forced to set a session-only (0 day) cookie. Is cookie duration of standard importance regardless of the product being promoted? The sole purpose of our website is to generate qualified home mortgage leads which as a business model typically generates very little return visitors. In this case, does cookie duration truely matter to the same extent as it would for say, an online bookstore?

    Another thing that has come to mind recently and something I would definately like to hear more input on is this. Wouldn't the benfits of extended cookie duration be offset by other negative effects it brings? Say for example there is an affiliate in the network who generates tons of traffic yet they use highly uneffective means to do so (bad creative, blind clicks, etc.). We will call them affiliate A. Affiliate A is quick to promote an offer that another affiliate eventually decides to promote as well. We'll call them affiliate B. The difference is affiliate B takes the time to setup proper product description and basically pre-sells the product. Unfortunately while affilate B is busy optimizing the campaign, affiliate A is busy getting his affiliate ID placed in a cookie that gets set for 365 days on all of his traffic. Allthough he has very low conversion rates due to bad promotion, he can sit back for the next year and watch the checks roll in on the productive traffic affiliate b spent the time to optimize and qualify.

    Perhaps I lack some understanding of the technicalities but if the scenerio above is even somewhat accurate then as an affiliate I would be much more cautious of excessive cookie durations than I would those of a 0 or 1 day cookie. At least with the session only cookie I know that I get credit for the traffic I send and not some unproductive affiliate who just so happened to get the visitor to the site first with no regard for the quality of traffic. In any case, any input the forum could provide would be a great help.

  2. #2
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    In your example b should get the sale since it's usually last cookie (last affiliate) gets the sale.

  3. #3
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Personally, I avoid ALL zero cookie merchants

    But you can try it at zero - and see the response

    or

    you can check out your competition (simply click their "Join Our Affiliate Program" button) to see what they offer - and you'll know what you're up against

    Also, none of us "set a cookie and sit back and relax and wait for the money".

    Most of us work 23 1/2/7/365. Always tweaking. Always improving. Always testing.

    Not only do we have to be good at what we do... we have to do it better than the 1000s of other affiliates if we want the commission

  4. #4
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    FYI: It's 3am Vegas time right now. I can state that I am not realing relaxing and waiting for my money. I'm tweakin' - trying to beat out Trust!!!

  5. #5
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Looking at a set of stats for a merchant when I can see the cookie date shows that around 20% of purchases were made "in session", 20% on the same day in a different session, 20% the next day, 20% the same month and 20% longer than a month (this particular merchant has 999 day cookies, I have another one with a 9999 day cookie).

    Now, those are just for just one specific merchant with a very specific type of product, and results would vary, but it shows how few people buy in the same session for this product.

    A typical length of cookie is 30 days, and this is probably the minimum "fair" amount because it means that if the affiliate refers the visitor who has a look and comes back a week later to the merchant to buy the product, then it's still because of the actions of the affiliate.

    And yes, the last set cookie claims the commission, so in your example Affiliate B would get the commission. No, it's not a daft question at all, because parasitic applications *do* work in a similar way, except in your example, Affiliate A would do the first referral, but Affiliate B would actually drive the visitor to the sale, however Affiliate C intercepts the commission through a bit of software on the customer's PC. Something to watch out for.

    Oh yes, there's also a "one time" cookie which "deactivates" after the first sale and and other cookies that pay commission for the life of the cookie.

    Obviously I'd like a 9999 day cookie with unlimited referals, but I think the minimum should be a 30 day cookie. I can't think of many merchants that I use with a 0 day cookie apart from Amazon, and they compensate a little because visitors will tend to buy a range of products at the same time.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  6. #6
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    Ok, so it seems I did have a slightly inaccurate idea regarding who gets credit on the cookie in most cases. There are however other instances in which the first affiliate to drive the visitor retains credit regardless of who generates the click. However, that is something you see mostly in adult programs.

    So am I safe in assuming that most affiliates consider the importance of cookie duration to be a factor accross the board, regardless of the product? Are there any alternative benifits a program could offer that might persuade affiliates to promote a program regardless of cookie duration? For example, higher payout, affiliate referrals, compelling creative (banners), perhaps dedicated affiliate managers to help achieve success in your efforts. I get the feeling from reading this forum that if you have a session only cookie your offer has to be fairly outstanding in order for affiliates to consider running it. If that is so, what are some other features that might convince you to overlook the session-only cookie?

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