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  1. #1
    CPA Network Rep
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Pixels, Merchants and Affiliates
    Hi all,

    I wanted to post a couple of question to gather your opinions from different angles.

    Question #1

    As more merchants and networks come online in the next several years, how are you protecting yourself from merchants and advertisers skimming your commissions?

    As more and more affiliates are generating their own list and small partner networks, we are being asked to place pixels to track their users. In addition, they simply may just want to ensure that their number match the merchant or networks numbers. A majority of these affiliate pixels are tracked with different systems and creates logistical nightmares.

    Question #2

    Do you foresee and standardization or software to make this easier for the merchant affiliate integration in the near future? If so, What?

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    New York
    Some really good questions there Wade!

    As an affiliate the only "protection" I can see at present is two fold:

    1) to ask merchants (who run multiple programs) what de duping system they use - if it's manual, it's waaaaay tooo much work and I'm sure commissionable sales get lost this way, and if it's automatic ask specifically how they do it.

    Outside of ABW I also have cart software and do usability consulting and I've always set up scripts that carry forward the network in the headers and then in the thank you page show the corresponding 1x1 for the cookie.

    2) Test purchase your merchant with the respective cookies and see if it tracks.

    As for the standardization ... the system I implement is simple and standard technology, I think we [as affiliates] need to ask the right questions and do some testing our selves but an internet wide SOP for multiple network or network and in-house programs would be great and should be in place.

    I mean, look at blockbuster for example ... they are on how many networks? I seriously doubt a 100% accuracy there.

    Once again really good question.
    Continued Success,

    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    West Coast USA
    We run an INDEPENDENT program and BDS is also on SAS.

    I found it to be a management nightmare.
    We paid the Hster to specify a solution and put our programmers to work.
    Brian was helpful.

    I'm not a tech person but the problem was solved.


  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Work with the givens.
    Merchants NEVER miss a sale... period. The buyers make sure of this 100% of the time.
    There is no real merchant incentive, other then wanting the targeted traffic to continue, to pay 3rd party commissions on booked sales.

    Affiliate Managers are tasked by the merchants to make sure only those following the TOS rules get paid on cookied referral sales. Merchants could give a rats ass if network tracking is broken or multi-network cookies trash the affiliate cookie tracking into their shopping cart. This is good for merchants as it reduces their commission exposure on shopping cart sales.

    Diversion of commissions going to BHO interlopers, e-mail spammers or cookie stuffers is 100% the responsibility of the AM. Most AMs (3rd party hired guns) do a poor job of monitoring the cookie/click cheats if they are primarily judged by the volume of sales credited to their affiliate sales force. If the AM is a merchant employee then they are more open to pressures from management bosses to reduce commission exposure by using diversion tactics, house cookie washing, merchant SEM and direct sales enticements to existing customers.

    To me the new affiliate aggregrators, called CPA networks, operate on the attitude ...we don't need no stinkin rules. If we have them ...we don't enforce them unless publically exposed. Same rule applies to the BHO infestation and re-infestation game with an overlap of playas.

    Only possible cure is to eliminate any merchants ability to NOT report referral sales. Remove conflicting or competing network cookie collisions during checkout. Eliminate direct to merchant PPCSE or auto-redirects from natural SERPs by making it illegal to set a cookie without a physical click from an affiliates actual link code. Above all never allow a BHO to get a valid network cookie ID directly, or through a CPA aggregrator. If the merchant is publically exposing their ecatalog to it's natural conversion ratio, they will be careful to who gets to send referral cookied traffic.

    Those merchants -AM's and affiliates tiring of the existing networks smoke and mirrors spin on trust issues require a different network model. Is the time right for something different for those willing to work under a Safe Haven Network model?
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  5. #5
    CPA Network Rep
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005

    Those are very good points. I believe some of the issues that you discussed are actually discussed in a recent thread on ABW "Affiliate Managers: the down fall for AM." whereby there are some opinions about the AM's reporting less commissions and higher sales from the merchant to make their dept shine better. However, this is short term thinking. Obviously, the more money passed down to the affiliates they will promote you longer. Futhermore, honestly reporting back to affiliates if there are descrepencies will create trust between to two parties. Bottom Line, everyone makes out better with long term profitabilty, if you strive for honest reporting.

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