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  1. #1
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    2. Tracking Enhancements to Active Registrations, Bids and Buy-It-Nows

    ValueClick completed its acquisition of Commission Junction (CJ) in December, and the combined CJ and BeFree program for eBay will operate exclusively on the CJ platform. eBay took this opportunity to conduct an audit of the CJ and BeFree tracking systems. Based on our review, we will be implementing a more efficient tracking infrastructure, which will roll out with the price increase on February 1, 2004.

    The new system will address a tracking inefficiency that resulted in potential double counting of ACRU, Bid, and BIN activity among affiliates. The double counting occasionally caused affiliate activity to be counted by both the CJ and BeFree platforms and potentially another one of eBay's partners like MSN. As such, beginning in February you may see either see an increase or decrease in the number of ACRU, Bid and/or BIN transactions reported.

    Our data suggests that the decrease will vary depending on the business models that you deploy. Affiliates with very targeted campaigns (e.g. algorithmic search and niche sites) were least affected with this reporting upgrade, because they operate in less competitive areas on the Internet. For example, if you have a niche site dedicated to "guitars" that sends traffic to eBay's guitar pages via music banners, it is less likely that a prospective eBay user will subsequently click on an eBay link from another affiliate causing your cookie to be overwritten. In this example, the affiliate has targeted a very specific web demographic that takes users to eBay at the moment when they are most likely to become an ACRU.

    Business models with less targeted campaigns that may populate the web with large volumes of ads (e.g. pop-ups and product downloads) are impacted more heavily by this tracking upgrade. For example, if you distribute an eBay pop-under each time a collectibles or antiques site is visited, it is more likely that another affiliate will take credit for the ACRU since less targeted ads are less effective at getting users to bid or use BIN - although they do get users to visit eBay.

    ==================

    They know about, they approve it. Setting cookies with indirect action. This is just lousy. To hell with ebay, this makes their program nothing but a contest of who can spam the end user the most.

    Chet

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Chet:

    Thanks for reading the fine print on this. As usual, you're analysis is right on target.

    Karl Smith >>> phillyBurbs - Your Internet Starts Here
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    Beware Parasiteware! It is stealing your money! >>> click here to learn more

  3. #3
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    - - - - -
    They know about, they approve it. Setting cookies with indirect action. This is just lousy. To hell with ebay, this makes their program nothing but a contest of who can spam the end user the most.
    - - - - -

    Nice catch. So they apparently condone popunder ebay pages. Perhaps we can talk an eBay rep into looking at this thread and reviewing the practice?

    I mean, surely they don't want 100,000 websites popping their pages every time a surfer arrives. Can you imagine how po'ed people would get?

    - - - - - - - - -
    I will FOCUS on my goal, and I shall NOT be denied.

  4. #4
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    I wrote them an email. Pointing out - that they themselves admit that these practices do not drive quality traffic, but instead just steal the cookies of honest hard working affiliates that are working to promote their brand.

    Bizarre, they can see that type of advertising doesn't work, yet they allow it at the detriment of advertising that does work.

    Chet

  5. #5
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    I emailed them as well, asking them to drop by. Unless they are intent on becoming the 'X10' of auction houses, they really need to nip this practice in the bud.

    - - - - - - - - -
    I will FOCUS on my goal, and I shall NOT be denied.

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    EXCELLENT point to make to them. Very constructive and thought provoking.

    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    And in that same E-mail, they brag about how an affiliate earned over $1,000,000 in individual earnings in a single month.

    Wonder how they did that...

    Probably pulled every dirty trick in the book to do it, and eBay is more than happy, apparently, to let them do it!

    Andy

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  8. #8
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    Sadly, in order to compete, I must now consider using a popunder to set cookies to all my visitors.

    Ralph

    http://www.hockeydb.com

  9. #9
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    The message from eBay says that their changes will decrease the take for popunder artists. I would have preferred seeing them talk about tarring, feathering and running such merchants out of their program on rail than simply trying to discourage the practice, but the message is somewhat positive.

    It some ways it is good that large programs like eBay and Google try to set policies through their algorithms rather than trying to judge their affiliates case by case. Such even playing fields are often more conducive to small affiliates. Unfortunately, the price that such programs are willing to pay for traffic will be determined by the quality of the worst affiliate procedures.

    CrassCommercial.com

  10. #10
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    It's not hopefull at all; they aren't making the change to discourage sites that use popunders, they're making it because some transactions were double-counted. They've determined that the sites that will see a decrease are those that use popunders.

    One affiliate is making so much money from this scheme that he's taken out a popunder campaign at Burst Media. Think about how much popunder campaigns sell for, and you'll figure out what CPM he must be earning.

    I agree that this is a scummy way for eBay to do business, but they've made their rules, and the bottom line is that other affiliates serving popunders decreases the cookie span to effectively 0 days instead of 30.

    I'm going to try it for a while, since it has now been permitted, albeit implicitly.

    http://www.hockeydb.com

  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    quote:
    They've determined that the sites that will see a decrease are those that use popunders.



    quote:
    I'm going to try it for a while, since it has now been permitted, albeit implicitly.



    Since they figure the popunder-runners are going to feel the most bite with the change, I'd think you'd be MORE hesitant to try it with them, even if they allow it.

    ~Cheapskate merchants need not apply

  12. #12
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    No, if popunders are allowed, then first, I'm leaving money on the table by not running them, and second, I'm losing money because if someone clicks on my eBay link but decides to register later, there's a chance that they'll get a popunder from someone else's site, meaning that I'll lose this transaction.

    If I run popunders, I can only make more money, I can't make less. I just won't make as much as I would have made before they made this ambiguous tracking change.

    Ralph

    http://www.hockeydb.com

  13. #13
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    Actually, I still don't agree that people should be able to cookie people this way. Picture the ultimate way to do this -- an eBay seller either popping up the window himself (which may not be possible, I've never tried it), or the seller putting a "click to view a larger image" link on his site that pops up the window.

    That seller would get 5 cents for every bid placed on his auction, perhaps more. And that would effectively negate any work done by affiliates.

    Then again, I don't see why eBay would care that much -- after all, they are already taking away all Canadian-based registrations by spiriting those users off to the eBay.ca site.

    Ralph

    http://www.hockeydb.com

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