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  1. #1
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Thumbs up The Truth About Affiliate Cookies
    Did you know most merchants wipe out your affiliate cookie when they send their newsletters?

    Once your visitor buys something or enters their email at the merchants site, your cookie days are as good as over. Szul doesn't feel that is very fair to you and we are doing something about it.

    Szul's new 365 day cookie.

    Starting next month, once you send us a visitor that buys something on our site, gives us their email or enters our sweepstakes, we will internally hard code that email to your Link Share affiliate ID. Then for the next 365 days, we will pay you commissions on any sale that gets ordered using that registered email. That email will be hard coded to your Link Share affiliate ID for 365 days. That means that even when we send out newsletters, instead of your cookie being overwritten, you will earn commissions on your 365 day cookie. We see you as our marketing partners, we want to treat you as such. New creative will be released in the next few weeks to help you start setting your new 365 day cookies with Szul.com.

    If you are not a member yet, you can join here
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  2. #2
    ABW Veteran jc101's Avatar
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    Cool
    Awesome Andy. Will have to promote Szul more now!

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Major move the show you value affiliates who target/filter/forward jewelry customers your direction. Wish the other ABW merchants would all come clean and tell us if their e-mail harvesting from affiliate traffic results in millions of referral cookies being washed if their promo e-mails contained house cookie wipers or some e-mailing service coding their own affiliate ID's as a free outsourced service. Great PR for those few merchants NOT performing cookie washing e-mail and PPCSE campaigns.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  4. #4
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    This is way cool I often wondered about the cookie when I got a newsletter.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  5. #5
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyfalcon
    This is way cool I often wondered about the cookie when I got a newsletter.
    I've recieved a few email inquiries into this already, let me clarify....

    Most merchants do this IMO, and only if you (your referred visitor) "clicks" any link on that merchants email.

    There is plenty of proof on this practice on the web within the TOS of merchants, you need to read the fine print.

    You think most merchants that serve a pop up on their site once it's clicked isn't overidding your cookie? Think again...
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    This sounds like a good idea on the surface, but there are many scenarios where it could generate less than desirable results.

    Consider this example:

    A freebie site promotes your sweepstakes signups. A big freebie site might generate tens of thousands of sweepstakes signups, but very few sales.

    Next February, another affiliate might start doing some very high-dollar targeted PPC bidding and generate dozens of high-end jewelry sales for you. But if any of those shoppers had signed up for the sweepstakes through the freebie site, the affiliate who generated the sale won't get credit?
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  7. #7
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Michael,

    The last "affiliate referrer" rule still stands. We will not take that away from our affiliate partners. We are just taking the merchant away from the mix for 365 days.

    For example:

    Any site sends us a visitor which buys, enters sweeps or enters email to get our newsletter. That visitor / shopper belongs to that site for 365 days for commission purposes -

    however, if another affiliate site sends us a visitor / shopper using that same email / account the last referrer rule still applies.

    The new 365 day internal cookie is best represented in this manner:

    You send us a visitor, they don't buy now but enters their email for whatever reason. We are going to market to that visitor as we always have with emails etc. Most merchants have an email marketing program. If that visitor comes back to our site either directly or through our marketing efforts, without visiting another affiliate link, we will pay you commissions with the 365 days.

    Remember, we are going to be marketing to that visitor on your behalf ...
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Perfect! I'm glad to hear that the cookie wins out over the stored affiliate ID.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager mwkennedy's Avatar
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    Andy,

    I very rarely get into these discussions on ABW because they always seem to go south in a hurry rather than a professional exchange of ideas. However, your comments above rubbed me the wrong way as an AM and I felt obligated to respond. So please oblige me for a second...

    I see this nothing more than a scare-tactic sales pitch...And I believe it's comments like this that cause the most damage and distrust in our affiliate marketing community.

    In our program (as an example), which I believe is very similar to MOST programs, we distribute email and push onsite pop-ups to help convert new or existing customers. Any "action" from those marketing methods are written into our first-party footsmart.com cookie...they in no way, shape, or form, touch our affiliate tracking cookie.

    So if an affiliate pushes traffic to us and we are able to combine our efforts in converting that visit into revenue, the affiliate still gets credit and his/her commission. My guess is THIS is the norm.

    Is what you claim...possible? Yes -- no question. And I'm even sure that it has happened in the past. However, as AM's, we have sales projections and goals that we're responsible for hitting. If sales aren't attributed to my affiliate mktg program (that should be), I don't get a wink and a slap on the back from our management team. And, quite frankly, if my mgmt team had that expectation of me, they'd have to find a new AM.

    That's my two cents. My apologies for intruding into your forum...I just felt compelled to comment as one of the AMs that tries to do things the right way.

    Matt Kennedy
    Affiliate Marketing Manager
    FootSmart

  10. #10
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Matt,

    First of all, welcome to my forum. You don't need to excuse yourself form posting here.

    Second, I welcome your comments on thic topic and would also welcome any other AM to come forth and post in this thread. This is something we have needed to expose and have out in the open for the longest time.

    Szul is talking about it and stating it's policy. This is not a "scare-tactic", I have personally witnessed it being done. And yes, you are correct, any AM worth his salt would be gone.

    I am no stranger to ABW and being in the kitchen. I welcome every single AM that is active or lurks in ABW to this thread and post your "newsletter cookie results" when you market to the exisitng merchant database.

    This is a a topic that seems to have hit a nerve, I have recieved many emails since this was posted, i even have a popular AM conducting a "blind' poll on his forum.

    Listen Matt, this is isn't about you or other ethical merchants, this is about the merchants that do not care about their affiliates, don't care about their AM's that are in the line of fire and only see the affiliate program as a way to advertise without regards the relationships we build. I know, i've been there.

    As to the affiliate that sent me the email on lifetime cookies, please read the posts in this thread. The 365 day cookie only applies to the merchant, in this case Szul will credit that customer with the 365 days, unless another affiliate brings in the 'same' customer. The last referrer rule still applies...

    Let's keep this topic focused and clean, any deviations will be deleted form this thread. We can have a discussion, cause change and make affiliate marketing better for all.

    Matt, thanks again for your comments, you are welcome anytime.
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  11. #11
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    Matt - I see this nothing more than a scare-tactic sales pitch...And I believe it's comments like this that cause the most damage and distrust in our affiliate marketing community.
    Matt, affiliates have the right to know what's inside an affiliate program. I'm glad FootSmart and Szul don't overwrite cookies but it's not the case with many programs and you can't find a word about this practice in the affiliate agreements. I believe the damage and distrust are done by AMs hiding the truth. Andy did a lot to educate affiliates and networks, sure he has his own way to do sales pitches, but there's nothing wrong. One day or and other, all affiliates including newbies are going to discover the truth about how their cookies are overwritten and they are not going to be happy.

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I haven't done an extensive study, but from my experience, somewhere around half of affiliate programs do overwrite affiliate cookies when visitors return through newsletter links. It's a fairly common practice in the industry. It's refreshing to see affiliate managers who are willing to make sure it doesn't happen in their program.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  13. #13
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    AM's either outsource their newsletter specials or run them in-house. Either way they develop the content and link coding including the affiliate cookie overwrite part. Any AM worth their paycheck has a desk chart showing all the various ways sales commission cookies are written ...and over-written. In the case of cookie overwrites they know if it's done by preferred partnerships or with house account cookies....especially if their commission bonus is based upon affiliate channel sales.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  14. #14
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Well, 4 hours later and only one merchant has chimmed in...
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager mwkennedy's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    My objection wasn't as to the claim that this does happen. My objections came to Andy stating that MOST programs do this. I simply don't believe that MOST AMs are malicious enough to purposefullly do this.

    Andy, could you send me an example email where this occurs? I would like to see this with my own two eyes.

    Thank you.
    Matt

    Matt Kennedy
    Affiliate Marketing Manager
    FootSmart

  16. #16
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwkennedy
    I simply don't believe that MOST AMs are malicious enough to purposefullly do this.
    Most AM's aren't, but then again most AM's don't have a clue or a choice in the matter.

    Also, who does the AM work for? A very common phrase heard at board rooms is "Who signs your checks?" and "Who do you work for?"

    C'mon, look at the numbers, let's be real here.

    Andy, could you send me an example email where this occurs? I would like to see this with my own two eyes.
    Matt, call me and I will give you examples. I have videos currently being done...
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  17. #17
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    My guess Andy is smart enough to know the more aggressive an affiliate enabled merchant is at shoving a "e-mail signup form" in front of a referral, the more likely they are to use house cookies to wash out return days.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  18. #18
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Matt off the top of my head TigerDirect and Ebay comes to mind. And not just with their email blasts but their other avenues of advertising as well. At least they state such in their TOS if the affiliate takes a read (as they should). Then there was the recent incident of an AM stating publicly that not only did they do it but most other Managers they knew did it also (a statement later retracted). I've had more than one manager tell me privately that indeed it is a common practice. I have no first hand knowledge to the true extent.

    Coley indicates he feels that about 50% of his Merchants engage in this practice. I know from talking with affs, their perception is that it is a fairly common practice. So for Merchant's like yourself and Andy who don't engage in such behavior, it's probably a positive thing to let your affs know that is the case and is probably much appreciated by the affs.

    I wouldn't recommend Merchant's making the claim unless it is indeed true since it is something that is too easy to check for.

  19. #19
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It could be more or less than 50%, but there are definitely many out there that do it. I suspect that most affiliate managers have no clue, but others probably do know.

    As for merchants that do it, check Performics merchants. Many of them appear to be using Performics links to track their results from newsletters, etc.

    To me, it's not a huge deal. I try to generate as much urgency and immediacy and possible so I don't have to rely on a cookie. I realize that if I don't make the sale right now, the odds that people will come back and buy later (even if my cookie doesn't get erased or replaced) is fairly small. But it's still nice when merchants do everything they can to give affiliates confidence that they'll get credit for their sales. This is even more important with high-ticket items (like jewelry!) as the buying cycle is longer.
    Michael Coley
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  20. #20
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Well for those of you that think this was a "sales pitch" ...

    Here is another merchant that will not overwrite your cookie with any of their marketing materials or marketing efforts.

    ReStockIt.com - will not overwrite your affiliate cookie, will not use their affiliate program to run newsletters or promotions.

    Our 120 day cookie is valid for a real 120 days. You now have it on web ink, take that to the bank.

    There are a few competitors in this vertical, let them state their affiliate cookie duration policy and you determine for yourself.

    Sales pitch or reality check?

    You decide !!
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  21. #21
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    Hello,

    I want to start by thanking everyone for their input. I think there are several opinions on how this works but like Andy said, this is something that Szul.com has decided to implement. We are extending the cookies and the commission allocation because previous to this, our email tracking did in fact override Affiliate Cookies. I'm not sure how many merchants engage in this but I can tell you that I have evaluated our technology and processes against many other merchants and I am confident when I say that this happens a lot among merchants. And even if some merchants do have tools to preserve your cookie, it still may only be for a 30/60/90 days. But in any case, we are not going after the policies and processes of other merchants, we are simply notifying our affiliate community that this will not happen on Szul.com moving forward.

    Within a couple of days, we'll send out the links that will incorporate this new policy. We acknowledge the sales cycle and the nature of Jewelry Purchases and we also value affiliate efforts and are making every effort to properly reward and allocate sales revenue.

    Also, I know there have been some questions in regards to the "Last Referrer" policy. If a direct sale comes in from an affiliate, and that customer happens to have also registered an email address from another affiliate at an earlier date, the Last Referrer Rule applies. The affiliate who pushed the sale gets the commission. The system works in a way, where if the order is linked to an affiliate upon purchase, the email address is not queried against our database log of "affiliate registered emails." If the order comes in with either no referrer or it comes in under a marketing email which we send, then we will query the email address and give the affiliate who "owns the customer/email" the appropriate commission.

    We think that this can be a great tool in the off-season when traffic may be high but sales conversion is typically lower. With this tool/policy affiliates can feel confident that the traffic that's pushed in the off-season is still valuable and will be rewarded during busier seasons and subsequent email marketing. We also know that consistent email marketing is a great converter and thus we want to give affiliates the ability to benefit from it and give an incentive to push users to register for newsletters etc.

    We welcome everyone's input as we shape and launch this campaign. Thanks for everyone's participation in the program. We are growing at a phenominal rate and we owe the majority of it to our dedicated affiliates.

  22. #22
    ABW Veteran jc101's Avatar
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    Affiliate cookies
    Did you know most Adware and spyware removers wipe out your affiliate cookies when there consumers/customers scan there computers?

    Andy this wasn't meant to infringe or disagree with your post. it's just that alot of people don't understand how this is hurting us. With Adaware (from lavasoft) selling there software in North America. This could kill alot of affiliate businesses ( especially those who live in North America. What are your thoughts on this? and do you think they will come up with a better technology for the affiliate industry?.

  23. #23
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    will not overwrite your affiliate cookie, will not use their affiliate program to run newsletters or promotions.
    Andy, just to clarify here, what you're referring to is Merchants using Affiliate tracking for inhouse and outsourced emails and other services (such as cart recovery systems), for example Second Bite?

    Or do you mean merchants distributing newsletters to affiliates that purposely have tracking pre set to give credit to the merchant not the affiliate who sends them out?

    Cheers

    Chris
    Last edited by Chris - AMWSO; April 15th, 2005 at 01:05 AM.
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  24. #24
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris - AMWSO
    Andy, just to clarify here, what you're referring to is Merchants using Affiliate tracking for inhouse and outsourced emails and other services (such as cart recovery systems), for example Second Bite?

    Chris
    Not sure about Second Bite, not too familiar with them. But yes, i mean Merchants using aff tracking software, mainly indies to send our newsletters to fresh database records in an attempt to overide the original affilaite cookie, therefore, in effect voiding their "TOS" cookie days....

    Some are even deploying merchant owned "affiliate sites" and use the affiliate program to track their own in house sites...

    C'mon, we have over 480 views on this thread, how many of those views have been merchants lurking?

    How many have posted?

    Why the taboo?

    Again, I invite any merchant to state their position on their email marketing effects on the affiliate cookie.
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
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  25. #25
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    I don't pay much attention to return days. If I didn't get 'em to buy on the first try, or they don't come back to my site to find the item the next time around, then I didn't do my job, IMHO.

    - Tim
    Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

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