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  1. #1
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Question Need Help - Undergoing a Major Redesign - (long)
    I am doing a new database for one of my main sites. I am not very good at doing anything when it comes to "stuff" like scripts and coding, etc. but somehow I am still managing to make a living - go figure. There is SO much info. out there - the do's, don'ts, bad, good - that it has finally reached a point where I am at information overload. But I have to make improvements so I keep reading, absorbing, downloading, paying for junk, to make this site better.

    With that said -- I have come up with a list gathered mostly be feedback from this board, which I want to incorporate in the new design of this particular (affiliate) site.
    The Plan -

    Currently - I have direct affiliate links that go from the site to the merchant site.

    Change - I am going to add cloaked pages (excuse me if this isn't the correct term) to all of my links using this code in a separate html page with the Meta stuff filled out-

    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"><HTML><HEAD><script>window.status=' ';</script><title>&nbsp;</title></HEAD><FRAMESET border=0 rows="100%,*" frameborder="no" marginleft=0 margintop=0 marginright=0 marginbottom=0><frame src="http://service.bfast.com/bfast/click?bfmid=xxx&siteid=xxxx&bfpage=home" TARGET="_top"" scrolling=auto frameborder="no" border=0 noresize><frame topmargin="0" marginwidth=0 scrolling=no marginheight=0 frameborder="no" border=0 noresize><body></body></FRAMESET></HTML>

    This will have to be done to each link (1,000's) but it will create a frame around my site and not expose the affiliate links. I plan on naming the pages with the database site ID code which means when someone goes from my site to the merchant site - the url that is displayed will be -
    http://mysite/101.htm (for example)

    My question is - Does anyone see a problem with this coding that could cause tracking problems with CJ, Linkshare, Shareasale, or BF?

    Currently - I have no popups or popunders on this site. I am doing away with all the roach crawling, zit popping, and free screensaver stuff offered by clixbank and other popular type programs even though I've been told it helps legitimatize
    the site. I am going only with content, merchants that sell merchandise, and links to the mdse., and the merchant sites.

    Change - Add a small popup duplicating the product info. and the link. This is a feeble attempt on my part to help reset cookies that possibly my site visitor may have on their computer.

    My question - Is this a naive attempt to salvage a sale and a waste of time?

    Currently - I have no coding to break out of other site's frames.

    Change - Add this code -
    <SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT"><!--
    if (top != self)
    top.location.href = location.href;
    //-->
    </SCRIPT>
    to the main templates and cloaked pages I upload.

    My question is - Will this code also destroy my cloaking code - causing the visitor to break out of my frame?

    Currently - This is an asp site (does that make sense?)

    Change - I don't know - should I change it? Is php better? It seems easier to work with on my end not knowing much about anything

    Lastly - am I wasting my time doing all of this and should I just leave it all alone?

    Anything else I should consider doing that is a no-brainer that I am missing?

    Thanks to anyone who has time to give me some feedback.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  2. #2
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Typo = Change - Add a small popup duplicating the product info. and the link. This is a feeble attempt on my part to help reset cookies that possibly my site visitor may have on their computer.

    What I mean is -- reset a cookie from a parasite that my visitor may have on their computer.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    There are several problems with framing like you describe:

    1) If you frame pages, IE6 might not let merchants set cookies if the merchant doesn't have a compact privacy policy set up correctly. This could impact customers (shopping cart might not work) and affiliate tracking.

    2) Some merchants don't allow this.

    3) It's easier to get accused to cookie stuffing when you do this.

    4) Search engines don't like these "frame" pages.

    5) You could create customer confusion. When they check out, they won't see a "lock" icon. When they have problems, many will contact you instead of the merchant.

    6) It makes scrolling harder.
    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

  4. #4
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Thanks Michael. Well that doesn't sound too good. How do people cloak their links if this isn't it?
    Also, what makes it look like cooking stuffing?
    It sounds like the biggest problem are the frames... correct?
    Thanks
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Yes, the frames are the biggest problem.
    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

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann
    Typo = Change - Add a small popup duplicating the product info. and the link. This is a feeble attempt on my part to help reset cookies that possibly my site visitor may have on their computer.

    What I mean is -- reset a cookie from a parasite that my visitor may have on their computer.

    Yeah, or any affiliate who has it set... how will you tell if a parasite has set the cookie or an affiliate? This is cookie stuffing and last i checked, violates the tos of many programs.

    it is stuffing because you are using the popup to reset a cookie - yes?
    Last edited by chetf; July 2nd, 2005 at 11:14 AM. Reason: slow typing....

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I prefer to hold my merchants feet to the conversion ratio fire by playing no tricks with the network generated link codes. They get no excuse to deflect their responsibility to convert targeted physical click traffic.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  8. #8
    My Coffee's Cold, Go Figger
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    How does one Stop parasites?

  9. #9
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chetf
    Yeah, or any affiliate who has it set... how will you tell if a parasite has set the cookie or an affiliate? This is cookie stuffing and last i checked, violates the tos of many programs.

    it is stuffing because you are using the popup to reset a cookie - yes?
    I guess I don't know what cookie stuffing really is.
    So let's say, someone comes to my site from a search engine:
    - click on a product that they want -which is my affiliate link.
    - they go to the merchant site from my affiliate link.
    *at this point a parasite on the visitors computer drops their cookie over mine and I lose the sale.
    - Then my popup comes up with my link and product info. as a way to salvage the sale and over set the parasite cookie.

    How does that hurt another affiliate? The person has not left my site. If they do - the popup goes away.

    It's the last cookie placed that gets the sale correct?

    I'm just trying to find solutions to all the sales going to the parasites - not hurt other affiliates. There is plenty to go around without doing that. I just don't see how it would - I don't understand the inner-workings.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  10. #10
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    I prefer to hold my merchants feet to the conversion ratio fire by playing no tricks with the network generated link codes. They get no excuse to deflect their responsibility to convert targeted physical click traffic.
    I've been trying to do that without success. I am looking at one merchant right now - no impressions - 430 click throughs - no sales - I'm tired of it.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  11. #11
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    I prefer to hold my merchants feet to the conversion ratio fire by playing no tricks with the network generated link codes. They get no excuse to deflect their responsibility to convert targeted physical click traffic.
    What kind of things do you say to them? Maybe I am not being strong enough with them. Take this steak site that I have not received a single sale from and over 400 click-through during father's day week - I have a hard time believing no one bought anything. Their prices are competitive, they are know nationally, and they were offering free shipping.

    But what is my argument? What do you say to the merchants to get them to uphold some level of responsibility? Any example would be welcomed.

    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  12. #12
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    "However, some affiliates use "cookie-stuffing" methods to cause affiliate merchants' tracking systems to conclude that a user has clicked through a tracking link (and to pay commissions accordingly) even if the user has not actually clicked through any such link. If the user subsequently makes a purchase from that merchant -- immediately, or within the "return days" period specified by the merchant's affiliate program -- the affiliate then receives a commission on the user's purchase."

    http://www.benedelman.org/cookiestuffing/#examples

    After reading that I still don't get it. I'll take everyone's word that what I described is cooking stuffing but I don't understand why. It's not like I'm saying some script would be in the popup that automatically sets a cookie or something. I am saying if they click on my affiliate link on my site - regardless of if it's in a text, banner, or popup link once they've gone to my merchant page and clicked through. But I'm not interested in doing that at all so I guess I'll just go back to the drawing board.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  13. #13
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    Why don't you just set up a mysql database of your links, then code your page so it pulls up the link from your database with the afsrc=1 code added? That way it will hide your links and will be easier to maintain. I'm not great with databases, but it sounds like a better solution than frames.

  14. #14
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    It's a time issue because I don't know mysql. I've been using access for years. I think what I am going to do is hire a local college student to come up with something similar to what you are suggesting. The programs that I've looked at that I think I could learn are too expensive - because I'm not sure I'll really be able to do it. In the meantime I guess I'll just accept that at least 50 percent of my income will go into the pocket of parasites.

    I have to say though - in regards to being told I'm 'cookie stuffing' then when I question it with the information I've learned from things posted at ABW - noone comes back around to explain why I'm wrong in how I'm interrupting it. Kind of hit and run in my opinion. But I'd rather come up with a different solution such as what you've suggested than risk the other.

    Thanks,
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  15. #15
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Leann, I think the 50 percent number is way too high, and any sort of changes will have a minimal impact on parasites. That's just my opinion though, and I have nothing (except years of experience) to back it up.

    As for cookie stuffing, I'm not sure if what you were thinking about doing would be considered cookie stuffing or not. The description is pretty vague. It's best to avoid "all appearance of evil", though.
    Michael Coley
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     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

  16. #16
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    I agree with Kip.... you could/ should create a database of your links and use a redirect that calls your link from the database as the customer clicks to the merchants site.

    many of us are doing this with php and I'm sure you can do the same with asp...

    but what ever you do stay away from frames for all the reasons MC says plus frames confuse the SE bots as well... which could impack your rankings in the SEs....

    Joe
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    that's my2cents, 'cuz I'm a legend in my own mind....

  17. #17
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    something else you mite concider is use a jump script... search HotScripts for a asp version...

    I recently converted an static site it redirects because the merchant affiliate code contained my real email address and the email address was being ed

    Joe
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    that's my2cents, 'cuz I'm a legend in my own mind....

  18. #18
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by my2cents
    many of us are doing this with php and I'm sure you can do the same with asp...

    Joe
    I've been looking at php. It doesn't look too impossible to learn. Maybe there is hope..lol.

    I'm glad I posted my 'big' plan here though before I spent all that time doing it. I wonder why so many of the affiliate books suggest cloakers and all if they are so high risk? I have one book that I bet is probably one of the most popular books on the subject of running affiliate sites and the writer is so strong about cloakers/cloners that she said within 48 hours she saw her commissions jump dramatically. I signed up for the weekly newsletter from the same author and she still pushes the idea so it isn't like her book is dated. I tried to ask her about it but - of course - you can't email her questions.

    Thanks for the feedback.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  19. #19
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Cloaking links is a good thing. Framing it like you were going to do isn't.
    Michael Coley
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     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

  20. #20
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Thanks Michael, for the good information.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

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