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  1. #1
    Internet Cowboy
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    Thumbs down This is even worse than a parasite!
    A few months back I had a merchant contact me and make me a side deal including larger commissions if I would promote their goods more aggressively than I currently was. I made the deal. It did not involve exclusivity.
    Well, a few months after promoting them considerably stronger than I had been I am upset to tell you that they are, and have been, totally screwing me and all their other affiliates.

    I made a test purchanse with them because their closing ratio was low. I wanted to see if it tracked. It tracked perfectly and they even paid commission on shipping, which I thought was odd. I confirmed that with them and they said that they do indeed pay commission on shipping.

    Well, this morning I got an e-mail advertisement that is sent to all customers. Since I made the test purchase, I am now also a customer. I got to thinking about the effect of that e-mail ad on my cookies and lo and behold, clicking the e-mail add overwrites my 90 day cookie.

    This merchant is sending out e-mail advertisements to their customers that blatantly overwrite the affiliate cookie with what appears to be another affiliate code. Before you say it, NO the e-mail was not from an affiliate, it was from the merchant. I figure the merchant has affiliate accounts set up just for this purpose.

    Hopefully this merchant will come to this forum and speak up for themselves instead of hiding their head in pure shame.

    Lesson learned? If you are spending any money or time promoting a merchant, do a test purchase to A) check their tracking and to B) get on their mailing list so you can defend your cookies.

    SHAME ON YOU MERCHANT.....you know who you are!!
    Last edited by UncleScooter; April 24th, 2005 at 03:23 PM. Reason: spelling


  2. #2
    Affiliate Marketer Rogi's Avatar
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    If this merchant doesn't own up in X amount of time, will you be releasing the merchant name on this forum?

    Reason I ask is that..... I feel that slowly but surely we are starting to rid the problem of Parasites, and as has been mentioned on ABW before, there will always be ways in which we are being scammed out of our money. Perhaps this is something that other merchants may catch on to and use, so let's not let it get that far and stop them before they even consider it.
    I don't want us to someday cure the internet of parasites, then find we have another problem just as big, etc.

    If you release their name, we can email them (many affiliates can email them) complaining about it and make them change it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogi
    ...will you be releasing the merchant name on this forum?
    No I will not. What I WILL do, is wait some time to get some feedback. Heck, this might be normal operating procedure and I just didn't know it.
    Based on the feedback I get here, I may send a link to this forum to the merchant and give them an option to out themselves.
    If the AM wants to be a MAN and stand up and take his lumps and represent himself, he will be able to. If he chooses not to do this, that only proves that he is a wuss and prefers to hide behind his tricks.
    I also have not heard back from the merchant at this time, although I cannot imagine that there is a valid or even tolerable argument for these actions.


  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Cookie washing by merchants, especially using 3rd party e-mail firms (often affiliates too), as a big threat to all, but the B-a-HO's. Out this one as a severe warning to any merchnat planning on using this to limit commission exposure
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  5. #5
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    It was indeed a third party email firm that sent the mail. I would expect that they have an affiliate account and collect on the sales resulting from the e-mails.
    This merchant claims to take an aggressive stance against parasites. I told them they should allow all parasites in their program so they can work together to rob their honest affiliates. No sense in acting honest of you are NOT honest.
    I am really p!ssed about this.


  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Cool
    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    It was indeed a third party email firm that sent the mail. I would expect that they have an affiliate account and collect on the sales resulting from the e-mails.
    This merchant claims to take an aggressive stance against parasites. I told them they should allow all parasites in their program so they can work together to rob their honest affiliates. No sense in acting honest of you are NOT honest.
    I am really p!ssed about this.
    I have some merchant's like Computer Geeks, which for the life of me, I can't fathom how they can't report real click throughs or convert targeted computer traffic. They play e-mail games to the max. I cross this off as they're being part of the least trusted network ...Befree. Then some like Generic Gifts, who have the creatives necessary to drive targeted product traffic, can't convert 1 in 1500 clicks. Maybe they do cookie washing mailers.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  7. #7
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    Buy something from them, or just sign up if you can, and you can tell for yourself.
    Although I am not getting rich off of Generic Gifts, I think they are probably more straight up than that. She seems pretty affiliate-minded. There are people out there looking for that GG stuff, but I can't seem to find 'em, probably because I haven't spent much time tracking them down.


  8. #8
    Chick with Brains Tracy's Avatar
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    First, as a general rule, I always sign up for merchants mailing lists to see how often they are contacting customers, and what they are promoting.

    While I don't agree with sending emails solely for the purpose of overwriting affiliate cookies, I do understand that the reason merchants pay us to send them customers, is so that they can increase their customer-base.

    I was asking one merchant about eBates to try and understand why the merchant did business with them. The merchant pointed out that in the long run, eBates doesn't pay off because the people who want the rebates always go back to eBates' site to drop the cookie before making a purchase. This is counter-productive to the merchant's goal of developing customers that come back to their site directly to shop.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy
    While I don't agree with sending emails solely for the purpose of overwriting affiliate cookies, I do understand that the reason merchants pay us to send them customers, is so that they can increase their customer-base.
    Agree 100%. BUT, they do have somewhat of a 'contract' with us for 90 days. Another affiliate link can void that 'contract', but should the merchant be able to void it for the remaining 89 days after the customer has been sent to the merchant site? I think not.
    The links in an e-mail do not automatically overwrite cookies. They must be coded in such a manner as to overwrite the cookie. In the absebce of any cookie-manipulating coding, that click would be no different than the user typing in the URL to the merchant, which would have no affect on my cookie.


  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    UncleScooter - your merchant should talk to Andy Rodriguez about how to do it right!

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=56816

  11. #11
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    So, after 156 views is this all the response there is to this thread? Are affiliates supposed to sit back and keep their mouths shut about merchants who are basically stealing from us by overwriting our cookie?
    If a merchant advertises a 90 day cookie, should we not expect that barring a click on another affiliate link that would refresh the cookie with the new affiliate's code? At that point, it is the next affiliate in line that gets screwed.
    Will that one be you?


  12. #12
    pph Expert! Gordon's Avatar
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    So, after 156 views is this all the response there is to this thread?
    Just out the assole but be certain of what you say.
    One day parasites and their ilk will be made illegal, I bet a few Lawyers will be pissed off when the day comes.
    Mr. Spitzer is fetching it nearer

    YouTrek

  13. #13
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    overwriting cookie
    UncleScooter,

    So, after 156 views is this all the response there is to this thread? Are affiliates supposed to sit back and keep their mouths shut about merchants who are basically stealing from us by overwriting our cookie?
    I think that most of the folks viewing this thread are like me, absorbing the information, and filing it away for future use. I'm not advanced enough to dissect a cookie to see if it's being overwritten.

    I read the posts by more knowledgable people like yourself, and follow examples when they are provided. As far as responding to this thread, I'm probably more like the majority...we don't jump in because of lack of technical skills.

    Don't think for one minute that posts like this from concerned affiliate members aren't appreciated...they are! (More than you know)

    If I can't positively contribute something of value to a discussion, I read and try to learn, so that when I DO understand completely what you're referring to, and how to contribute valuable input, I will.

    Until then, I'll keep my mouth shut. I don't want to throw an important discussion off-track by chiming in with dumb questions. Or would you rather have semi-learned people like myself chime in just to say "thanks" or whatever?

    So you more learned folks will feel that your efforts are appreciated?
    "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't...You're right!" -Henry Ford-

  14. #14
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Is it Overstock?

    Just asking because I promoted them quite a lot before Christmas and bought a present for the hubby myself. Now I am getting emails all the time about their specials, etc..
    Ebudae


  15. #15
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    I can see both sides.

    The merchant pays you for the sale you send...so far so good.

    Then the merchant sends an email advertising more stuff. They're
    doing your job for you (in their mind at least). If the customer buys
    from that email, why should they pay you? You didn't lift a finger to
    create THAT sale.

    If the customer goes back to your site, clicks on another product link
    and buys, then the cookie is restored and you're paid again.

    In a perfect world the merchant could tell you about the sales, specials,
    and so on and you would email YOUR list. But you haven't collected the
    names of the customers who end up buying from them, so you can't do
    tickle advertising for their customers...just your own customer base. They
    need to communicate with their own customers and do upsells. They feel
    they shouldn't pay you for work you didn't do -- no value added on your part.

    I know it sounds cold of them -- and maybe overly sales aggressive if you know
    what I mean, but can you blame them? But I know, I know -- you would LOVE
    to be aggressive too, but aren't on the inside where you could know what things
    to push, what the clearance items are, etc. It really does have to be them that
    do it.

    Still, it doesn't SEEM right. In their mind, you sold an item and got a commission on
    THE item, the one thing they buy.

    But in your mind, you sent a *customer* not a sale. And you want tibs on anything
    they buy in 90 days (even if you don't do much of the work) because ... and here is
    the key from you point of view... they wouldn't HAVE that customer to email
    if you hadn't sent him to them. They need to respect that.

    Would they rather not have affiliates introduce new customers to them? Because that
    is what will happen if they keep on. Then they can do "new customer acquisition" along with upsells or follow-on sales or whatever you want to call it and see how easy it is... (not!)

    Wesley

  16. #16
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    I don't know much about cookie-overwriting either but grow very suspicious of Merchant emails that state "You must click a link in this email to get this offer."

    I find these Merchants tend to be highly competitve against their affiliates. The offers in this type of email tend to be much better than those given to affiliates to offer.

    I think what's happening is - we are not given any sort of credit for "leads" except by those Merchants offering bounties.

    I'm starting to focus on those companies who a) offer bounties for leads and b) give at least equal offers to affiliates (to promote) as those contained in their newsletters.

    For those posters who understand cookie-overwriting, perhaps you can tell us what to look for?

  17. #17
    Internet Cowboy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick K.
    I'm not advanced enough to dissect a cookie to see if it's being overwritten.
    Rick,
    This really doesn't require advenced knowledge. Firefox provides a nice little window under the Tools menu where you can view cookies, their contents and their expiration date. That is all I am using.
    This is an indie program, so their cookie is their name and is easy to find. FYI, it is also a program who is on CJ. They recruited me in to their indie program away from CJ, that is how they were able to pay me a higher commission. I think that is a violation of whatever agreement they have with CJ.


  18. #18
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Let's take Tigerdirect as an clarification example. I used to send them 3000/clicks per month and averaged 26 sales when Andy ran their program clean as a whistle. He knew then, and now, that it is 20 times easier to sell into an existing customer base then the general public. Scraping 26 customers/month, plus targeted referral traffic e-mail signups on 3000 other clicks ( then multiply by 10,000 affiliates) builds a targeted mailing list worth millions in annual sales.

    That mailing list in the hands of a TD affiliate, offering to e-mail the list daily/weekly for 49.95 a month is a cookie washing NUKE BOMB and commission gold mine for that affiliate operation. That same list in the hands of a shady merchant, or 3rd party AM firm, is also a Cookie Washing Nuke Bomb is it sets a HOUSE ACCOUNT network cookie overwriting any affiliate cookie on the e-mail special receivers system. One or 30 merchant mailings with coded overwrite link(s) turns that merchant effectively into a session only perp like many others. Only the BHO's aren't really effected by this as they too e-mail cookie washing/resetting links to members daily.

    None of this can occur under the Safe Haven Network model I laid out at www.ecomcity.com/safehaven-network.htm as any merchant or affiliate abusers get booted.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  19. #19
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    wordlink - Then the merchant sends an email advertising more stuff. They're
    doing your job for you (in their mind at least). If the customer buys
    from that email, why should they pay you? You didn't lift a finger to
    create THAT sale.
    You got that wrong.
    1- If the merchant sent an email it's because you directed the customer to them, they did collect the email but they were unable to close the sale.
    According to your agreement the customer is yours for a period of time. (cookie duration)
    2- Their email is just an other way to close the sale, they are not doing your job but finishing their own job. Now if they overwrite your cookie, they are STEALING your commission.

    They don't have to overwrite affiliate cookies in sending an email. If there is no affiliate cookie, they are getting the sale without paying commission. If they feel they are paying too many commissions, it's because they are not doing their job in checking their relationships. Most of the time these SCUM merchants have parasites for affiliates.

  20. #20
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    Very good point. I was thinking totally in terms of upsales after the initial one. I was leaving out where they merely harvested an email address and had to try more than once to close it.

    I have to agree also with the other posters who pointed out that affiliates are not given the same (or as good) offers to promote. The truth is, they would be wise to hand over such tasks to you guys because you are way better at doing your business than they are, apparantly.

  21. #21
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Oh so true ..."Most of the time these SCUM merchants have parasites for affiliates."

    The idiots think their cookie washing links will negate the BHO hijacking ...ROLMAO. There house account or e-mailing partners overwriting cookie gets whacked upon the first BHO partners popup. Moral of the story is it kills all legit referral cookies on shoppers systems who don't have BHO partnerships, or triggers a hijack attempt by a competitor using a BHO. It is a bad practice as it targets legit cookies in all senerios killing any meaningful conversion ratio stats for a domain bound affiliate.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  22. #22
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    This merchant has come out openly AGAINST parasites, even in the Merchants Against Parasiteware forum.
    Unfortunately, the merchant is its own parasite, which really hurts because I thought their AM was one of the few AMs out there who was TRULY on the side of the affiliate. I have had several lengthy phone calls with this AM and have spent my time educating him on affiliate marketing from the affiliate perspective only to be stabbed in the back by him in the end.
    I have left messages and sent several e-mails to this merchant regarding this issue. They are in the Pacific time zone so they should be scrambling to find a way to spin this right about .......NOW.
    I can't wait to hear their side of the story.


  23. #23
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    Spoke with the AM
    He didn't know that adding another referral code to the URL on the links in the email would overwrite existing affiliates' cookies.

    At best, his inability to know what the hell he is doing has cost me and all of their other affiliates a lot of money.

    You be the judge.


  24. #24
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    He didn't know that adding another referral code to the URL on the links in the email would overwrite existing affiliates' cookies.

    At best, his inability to know what the hell he is doing has cost me and all of their other affiliates a lot of money.

    You be the judge.
    Uncle,

    Tell him I will give him a free one hour consultation, pro bono as a public industry service to be sure he knows the basic AM 101 rules. He can ask me anything he wants and I will run dowm basic AM 101 stuff.

    We all started somewhere, I don't forget where I came from... I don't mind giving back to the industry that has given me so much...
    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

  25. #25
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    That's nice of you Andy. Unfortunately, he has cost all of his affiliates money because he is inept.
    He needs to write some checks to his affiliates along with taking your free class.

    PS: Nice szul sale Andy! I saw the post.
    Last edited by UncleScooter; April 25th, 2005 at 04:09 PM. Reason: added PS


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