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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador CDC's Avatar
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    I don't want to post the url here just yet but I came across a search engine listing for a site that when you click on their link you're taken to a page on their site and then automatically redirected to the merchant. I took a look at the source and the auto-redirect is a java script that adds an affiliate tracking code in the process.

    Is this "legal" or cookie stuffing?

    CDC
    I can't complain but sometimes I still do...

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    CDC,

    I think there is still a grey area here somewhere. Awhile back we were talking about sites that were 'cloaking' etc. Obviously, that is a bad thing. Some sights may register a domain name that is relevant to the merchant and do a simple re-direct to the merchant site. The answer I got was that this was more acceptable as these sites would not show up in the SERPS anyway. I think what you are seeing may be a cloaked site though and if so, I think that's a bad thing.

    Anyone else?
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  3. #3
    Merchant Linda's Avatar
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    That type of action is cookie stuffing according to Todd in this thread -
    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?q=Y&...=288108409&p=3

    quote:
    Another expample would be same publisher X instead of buying keywords begins opening new windows (pop unders) when people visit certain sections of their site (without requiring visitors to actually click on links) that set cookies (forced clicks). Publisher is contacted and told to stop or they will get deactivated.

  4. #4
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    According to the way CDC explained it, they
    are not opening a popup or popunder, but
    are redirecting to the merchant's site in the
    same window, so the visitor is taken to the
    merchant's site in the same window. As long as
    the visitor is going to the merchant's site,
    I don't see that as a problem, as long as they
    are not trying to set the cookie in some
    invisible way without the visitor going to the
    merchant's site.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    Wayne,

    I see what you are saying but wouldn't they have been cloaking to have got a simple re-directed page into the serps? Or is that not a problem?
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  6. #6
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    It could be cloaking, I wouldn't know without
    seeing the link. But the question was asked
    if this was cookie stuffing, I don't think this
    is a cookie stuffing issue. The cloaking could
    be a problem, but that is a different issue.
    Most search engines do not condone cloaking.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador CDC's Avatar
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    I cannot figure out how they're getting SE traffic but they were several positions higher than me on Google for a significant keyword. Somehow the nearly blank page I found was getting a PR3.
    However, they're not using pops of any kind so I guess it's OK.
    Now I'm glad I didn't post the URL. I wouldn't want to lynch someone for no reason.

    CDC
    I can't complain but sometimes I still do...

  8. #8
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    1) It is a forced click (ie cookie stuffing) since the end user did not actually click on the affiliate link
    2) It is a violation of CJ's revised COC as of Aug 2004.
    3) If you want to report the infraction, you can do so through AAQ at CJ. You should provide them with as much information as possible.
    4) Whether or not cloaking is involved has nothing to do with a violation of CJ's COC/PSA. That's a Google issue.

  9. #9
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    Not related to what happened here, but what if
    someone is advertising in the pay per clicks
    and using their affiliate link to go straight
    to the merchant's site. This would not be
    cookie stuffing since they are using their
    affiliate link, would it? What I have a problem
    with, is when someone sets a cookie without the
    visitor even going to the merchant's site.
    (And the adware programs that popup the same
    site thus overwriting the cookie to get credit).
    There are some software programs being sold
    which allow you to do this, and many top
    marketers are recommending affiliates to use
    these programs. I even know one top marketer
    that sets multiple affiliate cookies from the
    same page without the visitor even seeing
    the merchant's sites.

  10. #10
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Since it's the actual aff URL for the PPCSE listing and it's the aff link being clicked on, then it is not a forced click or cookie stuffing. Some individuals Merchants may or may not allow for this type of linking however, so it's best to know the Merchant's policy also. But it's not a technical forced click.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    Kellie,

    I agree entirely. I just think cloaking to gain an advantage in the SERPS and then stuffing a cookie off of those results is even worse I think. IMO of course.
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    I agree this is a very grey area. I have a niche merchant who allows redirects via popups. After the COC changes I contacted the merchant and asked him if it was still OK to redirect. He said I could still redirect but it would be at my own risk. I'm not taking any chances so I removed the redirect to that merchant. I still believe popups to be an effective way of advertising, now I'm sending that traffic to my merchants competitor, who happens to be an independent. My competition who are also affiliated with this merchant still continue to redirect via popups.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    jjjay,

    Never mind. oops, sounds mean now that I read it. I understand what you're saying but...
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  14. #14
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Well, if it isn't cloaking and the page comes up as a natural search result, I don't see any difference between this and paid results except that it is cheaper and somehow, more clever.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    Ssanf,

    I agree with that to... now, if you can tell me how a page with NO content and a re-direct ranks for good keywords WITHOUT cloaking, you'll be my hero
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Swampy_Webber:
    jjjay,

    Don't you mean it's a successful way of assuring you get YOUR cookie set on all of your visitors computers?

    My content is a 100% match of the merchants product. The merchant wanted as much exposure as possible, he allowed this kind of advertising, my competition also promotes the merchant this way. It was a fair playing field. I have since removed the links in accordance with the COC, my competition still redirects.

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador
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    Using popups to open the merchant's site is
    cookie stuffing to me, if the visitor hasn't
    clicked on an affiliate link to open that
    popup. You are putting the cookie on that
    person's computer whether he intended on going
    to the merchant's site or not.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    Wayne,

    That is basically what I started to post above myself... Maybe you just worded it better
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    This topic was also covered in the following thread,

    http://abw.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=tp...89&m=971108107

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    After reading the thread that JJJay posted, I see the point. Poping under a merchant window on a merhcnat page does make marketing since. They clicked a link for information about the merchant on your site. If you went directly to the merchant, you would simply be closing your window and setting the cookie. This way, both windows stay open. That said, I have to admit for once (unlike the political forum) I have been swayed. I think, given the example in that other thread, popping a window while leaving your page open would be no different then what I guess most of you do anyway when a visitor clicks a product for more details.

    Jjay, thanks for the post

    Edited to add - I still think that although cloaking is not a cj or linkshare or any program's problem directly, it is an unethical way to beat a legitimate site out of their commisions! And, those types of cookie stuffers should be considered a violation. Again, just my opinion.
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador JJJay's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Swampy_Webber:
    After reading the thread that JJJay posted, I see the point. Poping under a merchant window on a merhcnat page does make marketing since. They clicked a link for information about the merchant on your site. If you went directly to the merchant, you would simply be closing your window and setting the cookie. This way, both windows stay open. That said, I have to admit for once (unlike the political forum) I have been swayed. I think, given the example in that other thread, popping a window while leaving your page open would be no different then what I guess most of you do anyway when a visitor clicks a product for more details.

    That is basically what I started to post above myself... Maybe you just worded it better

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    Ok, ok... Just don't rub my nose in it!
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador
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    If you want the merchant's site to open in a
    new window, you can just use a regular link
    with target=new. The reason people use popunders
    is to set the cookie whether the visitor has
    any intention on visiting the merchant's site
    or not. And if you allow people to use
    popunders to open the merchants site for the
    same product they are advertising on their page
    (for the main purpose of setting the cookie),
    then how can you not allow Adware to do the
    same thing.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    Wayne,

    That is exactly what I thought. But, read that thread. An interesting example. The visitor does click on a link for information about the merchant. The site just provides there own information as well as that of the merchant's. Popping under or over, I still think there is a very fine line we are walking when you look at it that way. This isn't something I do right now but I do open my merchant's sites in a new window quite often. It's really the same thing. If I popped without a visitor expressing interest for the sole purpose of setting the cookie, that would be a problem, but imagine it this way -

    I have a section on widgets from widgetcompany and when you click for more information, I open up the widgetcompany's website. Now, one day, I add more content about widgets to my site. I still open their site but also open up my own new widget page and (not wanting to lose traffic) make sure my site is in the foreground. Now tell me you wouldn't handle it that way?
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador
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    If the visitor has to click a link to open
    that popunder and knows they are going to the
    merchant's site, then I see no problem with
    that. I don't ever see that happening though.
    I see the merchant opening a popunder from
    their page without the visitor having to click
    on an affiliate link to open that popunder. The
    only reason people use popunders is to set the
    cookie. If you use a regular link with
    target=new, the visitor HAS to click on that
    link to go to the merchant's site and set the
    cookie.

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