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  1. #1
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    Rhea's Avatar
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    Angry Fetchback and the 0-Day Cookie
    If you're a merchant who uses Fetchback (or a similar service) and you claim to have a 30 day or 45 day or whatever day cookie, aren't you really lying to your affiliates? Doesn't the use of Fetchback effectively turn the cookie I set on the visitor's computer to zero days? Because if that visitor doesn't buy during the initial session, but later sees a Fetchback driven ad, should they then decide to buy, I'm guessing that my cookie is either overwritten by Fetchback or by the merchant.

    I read Fetchback's TOS FetchBack - The Retargeting Company and I can't find any information that addresses this issue.

    Perhaps one of the merchants who uses Fetchback can explain how it affects the affiliate cookie.

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    In essence the visitor has left the merchant's website and your cookie is still good, until another source drops a cookie - whether it's the merchant's PPC ad, another affiliate, or a service like FetchBack. Last cookie still wins...

    Oh, BTW - You do realize that FetchBack is owned by GSI Commerce aka PepperJam aka eBay...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  3. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Moved to a better forum.


    If you want an alternative speak to MediaForge, a Salt Lake City company competitive to FetchBack, they have a different tracking method.

  4. #4
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    In essence the visitor has left the merchant's website and your cookie is still good, until another source drops a cookie - whether it's the merchant's PPC ad, another affiliate, or a service like FetchBack. Last cookie still wins...
    Only if the last cookie is another affiliate cookie and that other source is another affiliate unless you believe that deduping (what an insidious euphemism for ripping off affiliates) is a legitimate practice. Based on this thread from '09, I'm still not convinced that the majority of networks and affiliates are willing to accept it. The lack of disclosure/acceptance and "interference" with affiliate cookies makes the practice of overwriting affiliate cookies by non-affiliates channels a violation of network TOS and negates affiliate cookie durations.

    Merchants need to find other ways to fund their additional marketing channels. Merchants only pull this crap with affiliates because they think that we're powerless to do anything about it, I bet ya they pay Google for every click.

    -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

  5. #5
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    Only if the last cookie is another affiliate cookie and that other source is another affiliate unless you believe that deduping (what an insidious euphemism for ripping off affiliates) is a legitimate practice. Based on this thread from '09, I'm still not convinced that the majority of networks and affiliates are willing to accept it. The lack of disclosure/acceptance and "interference" with affiliate cookies makes the practice of overwriting affiliate cookies by non-affiliates channels a violation of network TOS and negates affiliate cookie durations.

    Merchants need to find other ways to fund their additional marketing channels. Merchants only pull this crap with affiliates because they think that we're powerless to do anything about it, I bet ya they pay Google for every click.

    -rematt
    What I'm saying is it happens. Just because an affiliate sends a visitor doesn't mean their cookie is THE cookie. If the same visitor later sees a banner ad, ie: FetchBack, clicks on it and completes a purchase; I'm saying the affiliate is NOT going to get commission for the sale. The affiliate's cookie is dropped by the network - the FetchBack cookie will not be...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  6. #6
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    ...read the thread referenced above...

    -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

  7. #7
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt View Post
    ...read the thread referenced above...
    I did in 2009. Read most of it again earlier. Spot read it again just now.

    I'm still unclear what your point exactly is when you said "unless you believe that...ripping off affiliates... is a legitimate practice."

    Unless your use of "you" was not specifically directed at me, I assumed it was since you quoted me. I don't believe ripping off affiliates is a legitimate practice. Doesn't mean it's not happening...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  8. #8
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    How about "unless ONE believes..."

    Better?

    -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

  9. #9
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Yeppers, thanks. I agree with you...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  10. #10
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    I've been offline for a couple of days due to a bad router cable.

    Convergence, I failed to make my point in my original post so I'm going to do that now.

    What Fetchback does that I find so objectionable, that I would describe it as "cheating" on the part of the merchant, is they set a cookie at the time *my* visitor arrives at the merchant site, and they then actively pursue that person/computer as they visit various sites on the internet, whether they're shopping or not. This differs from the traditional ways in which affiliate cookies are overwritten in that:

    1) the visitor is acquired by Fetchback at inception of my cookie
    2) the visitor is actively pursued

    Quite different from my cookie being overwritten because a visitor chose not to make a purchase when my cookie was active, but later chose to search again for a product and made a purchase from another site where my cookie was overwritten.

    I hope I explained that adequately. My sinuses are in an uproar. >honk<

  11. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Yes, several cookies are dropped at the time your visitor comes to the merchant.

    Yes, the cookie dropped by FetchBack will trigger the FetchBack banner to show when your customer, who left without purchasing, in attempts to get them to make a buying decision.

    Yay for the merchant and fetchback - not any good for the affiliate.

    So yes, if the visitor is checking say their Yahoo! mail, that merchant's banner will be showing ad nauseum. As rematt pointed out in the 2009 thread, it's another marketing channel. And yes, in effect, can make your cookie a zero day cookie if the visitor buys the same day after clicking on the FetchBack banner. If the visitor clicks on it 15 days later, your cookie is a 15 day cookie, and so forth.

    Bravo for FetchBack and other services like them. Clever. Boo on the merchant for diluting their marketing efforts where each one is not complementing the other, but slitting each other's throats.

    Unfortunately, for most merchants, affiliate programs are not their main marketing channel. Many merchants have many channels with different personnel running each. Each "department" has to show numbers to justify their existence.

    As affiliate's we can call out / discuss each merchant that uses such services in order to gain attention to how that effects their affiliate program. Get their AM/OPM into the thread. Argue our cases. If it's not made "public" it's going to fall on deaf ears...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  13. #12
    Troll Killer and best Snooper!
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    I have no problem calling out the merchant. This is a company I've been an affiliate of for many years. They use an outsourced OPM firm which I've found to be very responsive and helpful in the past.

    If anyone can recommend "cleaner" alternatives to calendars.com and dogbreedstore.com I would very much appreciate it.

  14. #13
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Yes, the cookie dropped by FetchBack will trigger the FetchBack banner to show when your customer, who left without purchasing, in attempts to get them to make a buying decision.

    Yay for the merchant and fetchback - not any good for the affiliate.

    So yes, if the visitor is checking say their Yahoo! mail, that merchant's banner will be showing ad nauseum. As rematt pointed out in the 2009 thread, it's another marketing channel. And yes, in effect, can make your cookie a zero day cookie if the visitor buys the same day after clicking on the FetchBack banner. If the visitor clicks on it 15 days later, your cookie is a 15 day cookie, and so forth.
    From a biz POV, it's certainly understandable that services such as FetchBack are implemented. I saw one merchant's sales drop considerably when they started using them. Higher priced items are generally the ones that consumers may take more time to think about...they may not even make it to the shopping cart.

    Getting these potential customers to return is a top merchant concern. However, the lowly, original affiliate referrer is reduced to being a free advertisement site...driving traffic that feeds this new technology.

    The only thing I can do now is start removing those higher end price points that I know require a little more thinking about on the consumer's end.

    My question is: do AMs & OPMs really care as long as their numbers show they're doing their job? What incentive do they have to change?

    After all, there's always newbie affs who know zippity do dah squat about these types of situations, join a program & start promoting big price points with dreams of luxury homes, cars & island vacations in their future...& wonder why they never score a sale.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  15. #14
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I see this as a win if the retargeting doesn't trump the affiliate cookie. It seems the merchant needs to be sophisticated to understand how to only pay the one channel. If retargeting didn't trump affiliate cookies and increased conversion by bringing the consumer back then its a win-win.

    Affiliate programs almost need a unique URL so they don't conflict with the rest of the company's marketing but of course they would still blame affiliates for everything!

    Its amazing how many merchants I have worked with or talked to who are looking for more marketing channels but have no efforts on increasing conversion. One agency locally was able to use the Adobe/Omniture Track and Target to increase site conversion from 1% to 4%. That means existing affiliate traffic just got a 400% increase in commissions.

  16. #15
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    That's one heckuva big "IF"...and how are affs supposed to know if their cookie was overwritten? There's no way to know except they see their commissions inexplicably drop.

    In general, merchants aren't sophisticated. Quite normally, all they care about is their bottom line & how to increase it. Most of this stuff is over their heads and quite frankly, if their conversions increase, who cares if aff cookies are overwritten?

    While some of these retargeting firms may play nicely, there's easy $$$ that can be added to their coffers if they overwrite an aff cookie. Does anyone think merchants or these firms lose any sleep over this?
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  17. #16
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I think they need to be called out. As an affiliate if my conversion was dropping I would be asking some direct questions. I spent an hour on the phone Wed. with an affiliate who was using pay-per-view and had 13 clicks with 800 impressions. When he described the target demographics I felt it was off target. I gave him some other ideas and historical data. The merchant is not retargeting and did not change the site.

  18. #17
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    I read Fetchback's TOS FetchBack - The Retargeting Company and I can't find any information that addresses this issue.

    Perhaps one of the merchants who uses Fetchback can explain how it affects the affiliate cookie.
    Rhea, I think #8 Confidentiality may address this. Excerpt from first item:
    ...Under this Agreement, the term “Confidential Information,” and variations of that term, will be defined to include information related to marketing, business, technology, strategy, [my emphasis] the terms of this Agreement, and/or the like, that is not generally known or available to the public and has been marked (if disclosed in writing or tangible form) or identified (if disclosed verbally) as confidential by the disclosing party.
    I bet my bottom dollar that overwriting aff cookies would be considered "confidential."
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  19. #18
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Did a little research, emailing...whether or not Fetchback et al overwrite aff cookies is still unknown.

    I think that I do have a little better understanding about a merchant's biz development team and AMs/OPMs not necessarily knowing what, why or how the other is doing...& never the twain shall meet in many cases.

    The affiliate channel is just one of many for some merchants. Think like an octopus...it's the way a merchant has to operate to succeed online.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

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