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  1. #1
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    Can somebody please explain why Linkshare's code for 468x60 (i.e. the most common industry-standard banner size) also includes HTML for a 1x1 pixel graphic for some kind of tracking purpose?

    Since the banner is a graphic why have another graphic for the tracking? If it's just "to have it load faster and hence count more impressions" then that's a pretty ridiculous requirement IMO!

    I've been dropping the 1x1 pixel graphics since they are not compatible with the (very standard) ad rotation package I'm using - unless a site is using SSI or PHP or similar to do HTML inclusion, the current Linkshare code won't work for ANY banner rotation package.

    But I see that my impressions are not being counted, only my clicks.

    All this seems a bit archaic - can somebody at Linkshare look into this?

  2. #2
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    I think you'll find that banners from affiliate networks that track your impressions all include a 1x1 tracking pixel. This pixel has your unique code in it so everytime it is displayed the affiliate network will know to count another impression for you. Many people find this important because they use stats to see which types of advertising are working best for them.

    The tracking information cannot just be included in the banner image because then the ad network would have to make a copy of the banner image on their server just for your use. Instead they just have one of each banner that all affiliates use, and individual tracking pixels to indentify each individual affiliate. To avoid this some affiliate programs make you put the banner on your server, so you can figure out how to track the impressions. Alternatively they may serve the banner and just not give you the option of impression tracking (ex- Allposters)

    The tracking pixel is very important in tracking impressions, and I'm sure many stat-addicts would not be able to live without it.

  3. #3
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    Well, CJ manage the tracking quite happily without resorting to a 1x1 pixel "crutch" so it clearly is possible.

  4. #4
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    You can interpret the query string on any image served by a program...of course to make that program work, all of the banners would have to served by linkshare servers. Having a separate 1x1 pixel means the banners could be served off other servers.

    I actually like the fact that they don't track usage on all images...I've worked with clients that have privacy concerns that don't want an advertiser tracking their user's activity.

    It seems to me that all that matters is how many users you get the merchant and how many convert to sales. But you might want to check with the merchants. It think they get suspicious when they see a lot of clicks with no impressions.

    Missoula - Short Stories

  5. #5
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    > Well, CJ manage the tracking quite happily without resorting to a 1x1 pixel "crutch" so it clearly is possible

    It seems CJ hosts all banner links themselves, and can therefore determine impressions without a 1x1 pixel trick. It's "smart" for CJ to do this because they can rack up serving fees.

    However, CJ does not host product links for advertisers. For example, I pulled a TowerRecords product link and here's the code (somewhat modified):

    a href="http://www.qksrv.net/click-xxxxxx-xxxxxx" target="_top"

    img src="http://a1348.g.akamai.net/f/1348/1216/1d/photo.towerrecords.com/coverart.asp?S=1526660&X=178&Y=244" alt="Matinee Idol/ Frank Capra's American Dream"

    img src="http://www.qksrv.net/image-xxxxxx-xxxxxx" height="1" width="1" border="0"


    Note that this last line is a 1x1 pixel. It's the only way to capture impressions when the image is not served by CJ.


    It seems LinkShare and BeFree allow merchants to serve their own banners, so when they do, LS and BF put in 1x1 pixel code. When LS or BF are serving, no 1x1 pixel is needed.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador LinkShare Moderator's Avatar
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    A few of you have already answered the initial question, but I want to reiterate that the 1x1 pixel allows LinkShare to track the impressions you generate when we do not serve a merchant's image. You'll note that there is no pixel within the code where the images are served by LinkShare. If you remove the 1x1 pixel from your linking code, we cannot track the impression activity, and they will not be reflected in any of your LinkShare reports. (Note that all click-through and sales information will still be tracked appropriately.)

    Best,
    Sarah

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the explanation about the 1x1 pixel, LikshareMod. I've been brain-dead about the affiliate links code, always cutting and pasting without alteration.

    So now the brain cells are starting to stir, and that's dangerous, you know [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] It leads to some more questions ...

    (1) One thing I've always wondered is that if our webpage winds up in some cache, like the Google cache, or AOL, how the link still works so that we get credit. Would you please elaborate on that? I guess it doesn't matter what URL the link is being followed from, as long as it's got our affilate code in it, right?

    (2)Are the caching servers out there open to abuse whereby someone can hijack our affiliate code as it's being served from the cache server and replace it with their own?

    (3) Do 1x1 pixels served from a caching server get reported the same as those served from their native host, just as if they were served from the native host?

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador LinkShare Moderator's Avatar
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    Hi Whiznot,

    Links should track correctly regardless of being served from the cache server or origin server. Caching merely copies objects (HTML pages, images and files) so that if called again, the copied version would be served instead of requesting the object again from the original server. If your affiliate ID is present in the URL when the user clicks through, then you should receive credit for any ensuing sales. Additionally, regardless of where the information is being served from or cached to, the 1x1 pixel will be counted every time that banner is displayed.

    In terms of altering the affiliate code that is being served from a cache, it would be difficult for such changes to take place since there are rules which prohibit the alteration of cached objects. We are not aware of any technologies that would alter objects, specifically affiliate codes, at this level.

    Thanks, and I hope this information is helpful.
    Sarah

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