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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Do Linkshare links expire and stop tracking? [Old Walmart Links Did.]
    Since late 2006, I have been creating links for Walmart using the format described here:

    Can not get Walmart product links - ABestWeb Affiliate Marketing Forum

    The domain was changed to linksynergy.walmart.com a few years ago but other than that, no changes to the format of the links.

    They stopped tracking on Feb 1, 2011. All of them stopped tracking.

    I did 2 test orders at different times in Feb, neither tracked. I re-built a few links from the linkshare interface and did 2 test orders, both tracked.

    I have hundreds of links and would love to be able to just swap out the offer id with a search and replace (if that makes sense) or some other similar type of edit.

    I have contacted Linkshare but am going on a few weeks now without much assistance.

    Help! Anybody got a quick fix for me?

  2. #2
    Full Member Lanny's Avatar
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    @CathyM - great topic - I believe many do expire
    @CathyM - This is a GREAT topic. Thank you for bringing this up! Yes, I believe many LS Links DO expire.

    Question: How can one determine, by looking at the HTML Links, whether or not they expire, and, if they do expire, on what date?

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Lanny, thanks for your interest in the topic and questions. I really need an answer. I am hoping the Linkshare Moderator will pick up and reply or someone at abestweb that may have the info.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador LinkShare Moderator's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I will try and find out internally. From my understanding if/when deep links expire LinkShare links should still technically go to at least the home page and tracking should not suffer.

    However as you pointed out since the Walmart links are formatted differently so they may not work the same.

    --Ranae

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Ranae,

    I just sent you a PM with more details on my situation. The links still go to the correct product pages at Walmart and there is no indication that they are not working. They just don't track. That means Walmart is still getting the sales, but neither I or Linkshare are getting the commissions.

    Cathy

  6. #6
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Thanks, Cathy, I may never have known.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    AffiliateHound, do you use that old format? If not, you're probably not affected.

  8. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    I haven't actually checked yet, but I do have old Walmart links scattered around two or three sites.

    For the past couple of years (or more), new Walmart links I have added were built using the Walmart Link Generator found here, not through the LS interface.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    I have not been able to log into the Walmart affiliate site for a few months now. I was told that it was no longer supported (I would have to dig out the old email to give you the exact wording). Since I can't log in now, I am not sure but I think that probably was/is the format that Randy Almond first gave us in 2006.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    I received an answer to questions from my contact at Linkshare:

    To confirm: LS Links do not expire, nor do they stop tracking.
    The Offer IDs do not stop tracking either.
    I can only presume that this is a glitch, my wording.

    I am told that I will have an answer shortly as to why my test orders did not track.

  11. #11
    Full Member Lanny's Avatar
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    Some Banners and Text Links do expire
    I need to clarify my first response to this thread, which I do believe is an important thread. I refer to regular Banners and Links.

    Too tired to check this out now, but I will try to do so, Friday morning, on the LS Publisher interface.

    Earlier today, after I saw this thread, I did send an email to the AM I work with the most and her reply is that she is also interested in this topic.

    If my memory has not failed, completely, I believe there are some links that I have used (Banners or Text) that have expiration dates of 2012 or 2014 or something, that as we get closer to possible expiration, I should be looking into, so now is the time for me to be looking into this.

    I believe there are others that do not have expiration dates, such as Search Boxes.

    My belief is that some LS Banners and Links *do* have expiration dates.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    I believe there are some links that I have used (Banners or Text) that have expiration dates of 2012 or 2014 or something, that as we get closer to possible expiration, I should be looking into, so now is the time for me to be looking into this.
    Yes, I am looking at Wal-mart banners in the interface and they do have a start date and an end date. The end dates for many of the new ones are 7/30/2011.

    Now I believe that my contact is saying that the end date is not an expiration date and that the links still track. I just figured out a way to test the end date:

    There are some with an end date of 2/26/2011, the Healthy Living banners. I am getting a copy of these links and will test them now and then again in a few days to see if they track.

    I have found that it is easy to place a Walmart order and cancel it and both the order and cancellation show up if the links are tracking. Just have to wait until the next day to see the sale and cancellation.

    Walmart is a very important merchant for me and I need to get resolution. My sales went to $0 on Feb 1 and it is now 3 weeks later.

  13. #13
    Full Member Lanny's Avatar
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    LS Banners/Images do have expiration dates
    It is my belief, at this time, that all LS Banner/Images have expiration dates.

    Links > Get Links > Advertiser > (insert name of LS Advertiser) > Banner/Images >
    02/27/2007 02/28/2012

    The above Banner, very important to me, will expire in one year. Plenty of time for the AM to resolve that. :-)

    I checked several of my LS Advertisers and this seems to be the case, for each of them, with regard to Banner/Images.

    There are some other Banners I need to check, but those are not as important for me as the one above. CathyM: Thank you for the "heads up"!

  14. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    From my understanding, links on LinkShare should normally continue to work (likely going to the home page rather than a specific landing page) and track even after the expire.

    You have to keep in mind that tracking on LinkShare (and any network that relies primarily on batch reporting, plus pixel tracking merchants that are on multiple networks) relies on both the merchant and the network for tracking to work properly. If either side breaks, it doesn't track.

    In this case, I think it's likely that the old format of links aren't passing the right parameters to Wal-Mart's web site to tell them to track any resulting orders as affiliate sales. They probably updated how their tracking works and updated the new links to follow the new rules, but missed the old links.

    If you take one of your old links and rebuild an identical new link, they run both links through a redirect tracer (like Rex Swain's HTTP Viewer) and look closely at the parameters, I think you'll find the problem. Feel free to PM me an old and new link (that go to the same page) if you'd like me to look at it.
    Michael Coley
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Thanks for the offer of assistance Michael. PM sent.

  16. #16
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Okay, I took a look at the links Cathy sent me, and here's what I see:

    Broken Link

    http://linksynergy.walmart.com/fs-bin/statform?id={affid}&offerid={offerid}&bnid=639&subid=&search_query={query}&search_constraint=0&dest=9999999999

    This redirects to:

    http://www.walmart.com/reflect.gsp?search_query={query}&search_constraint=0&dest=9999999999

    And finally to:

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/search-ng.gsp?adid=0000000000000000000000&dest=9999999999&search_constraint=0&search_query={query}

    Notice that there's nothing that passes the affiliate information (or ANYTHING trackable) on to Walmart.

    The linksynergy.walmart.com is a LINKSHARE domain, even though it might look like a Walmart one. If you look up the IP address, it's the same as click.linksynergy.com. Presumably, the cookie set on ".walmart.com" will be less likely to be blocked or deleted, which is why they use this domain. The problem isn't with the domain, though, because the working link uses the same domain.

    Working Link

    http://linksynergy.walmart.com/fs-bin/click?id={affid}&subid=&offerid={offerid}&type=10&tmpid=273&RD_PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fsearch%2Fsearch-ng.do%3F&RD_PARM2=search_query%3D{encoded_query}%2526ic%3D48_0%2526Find%3DFind%2526search_constraint%3D0

    This redirects to:

    http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?wmlspartner={affid}&sourceid={ls_click_id}&search_query={query}&ic=48_0&Find=Find&search_constraint=0

    Notice that this one passes the affiliate ID and a click ID.

    Since this appears to be entirely on LinkShare's end, I suspect that they are the ones who should be able to fix it. It looks like they have the "click" links working properly, but need to apply the same logic to the "statform" links.
    Michael Coley
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  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    If you take one of your old links and rebuild an identical new link, they run both links through a redirect tracer (like Rex Swain's HTTP Viewer) and look closely at the parameters, I think you'll find the problem. Feel free to PM me an old and new link (that go to the same page) if you'd like me to look at it.
    I do not what to take this thread off topic since I find it very interesting. I been playing with this tool at rexswain with a few CJ links and SAS Links. Everything looks ok on the CJ Links but does not appear to work on SAS Links. It shows the last page being reached is

    shareasale dot com/linkerror.html

    My sas links are going to the merchant page but I do not understand why CJ links show merchant as final page and SAS shows an error page as the last page when I use this Tool ????
    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!!

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Thanks so much Michael. I really appreciate your help. I have passed a pointer to your post to my contact at Linkshare.

    Unfortunately, the clock is ticking and it is now the week-end so I probably won't get any help from Linkshare soon. I am now spending time either replacing links with the new code or removing links. It is faster to remove than replace, so I am only replacing the ones that are high $ for me.

    I am on vacation in New Zealand, having a wonderful time, on the North Island (not near the earthquake). Trying not to spend too much time on affiliate marketing until I return to the U.S.

    Anyone else who has old Walmart links might want to check the format.
    Last edited by CathyM; February 25th, 2011 at 08:06 PM.

  19. #19
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    I do not what to take this thread off topic since I find it very interesting. I been playing with this tool at rexswain with a few CJ links and SAS Links. Everything looks ok on the CJ Links but does not appear to work on SAS Links.
    Feel free to PM me the link, but keep in mind that simple single-network pixel-tracking merchants don't need parameters passed. The cookie gets set on the network site and the network tracking pixel is displayed on the confirmation page, triggering the tracking on the network site.

    Quote Originally Posted by CathyM View Post
    I am on vacation in New Zealand, having a wonderful time, on the North Island (not near the earthquake).
    Very nice! New Zealand is on our Bucket List, and we are tentatively planning a family trip there (and several other locations) sometime in the next few years. It's supposed to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
    Michael Coley
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    There is a Firefox tool that gives you that information also, it is LiveHeaders and is at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/fir...-http-headers/
    It has helped me find out what's happening on some puzzling links. I have used the Rex Swain tool also, they are very similar in function.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Back in town and had time to work on this. Thanks for everyones help!

    With Michael's diagnosis and the Rex Swain tool, I was able to figure out a way to mass edit my old links and convert them to the new format. They appear to work, I can see my affiliate id being passed.

    Yesterday, I did the test I mentioned above, taking an expired Walmart banner link and doing a test order. It did track. So as Linkshare stated, it does show that expired links still track. My problem with old Walmart links is not expiration but something caused the old format to no longer work.

    I like the saying, "Trust, but verify." I think it applies to affiliate marketing, when something doesn't seem right, a test order to verify is important.

  22. #22
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    HI Linkshare moderator , we have all the big vendors from Linkshare and Cj just don't get it why Walmart never accepts us we have all the biggies like Overstock, Target, Macy, Sainsbury, Homedepot all our site is for Homedecor for the US market please could you accept us Account ID 2511352 .

    Regards
    Rajiv

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador LinkShare Moderator's Avatar
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    Hi rajiv,

    I can't be 100% sure why you wouldn't be approved into their program because it is a decision that their team makes. Have you tried to reach out to them via email?

    --Ranae

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