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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    In all the crashes and all the maintenance periods at CJ, I have never once heard them say that tracking had been affected. Now, with crashes, hackers, etc., how is that possible? We all know that sites go down and we can't get access to them. We know that computers crash. Would that not be true with CJ? How is it they can alway say tracking has not been or will not be affected?

    Has anyone every heard them say once that tracking was affected? Just curious.

    Ron
    7 Days A Week Marketing

    "Keep your hands out of my cookie jar!"

  2. #2
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    No, but this time they aren't even claiming to have the correct tracking.

    A move toward honesty? Perhaps. Or, are they just tired of people laughing at that?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

    I'm SO wrong! Just saw this.
    quote:
    The downtime will not affect tracking or the recording of transactions


    Wahooo! We're not affected again. Feel like I have been infected.

    The Wolf Credo: Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack. Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between. Share your affections. Voice your feelings. Leave your mark.

  3. #3
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    The maintenance and crashes you see at CJ are on their account management systems. Uptime and your access to your affiliate interface is important, but not critical.

    For any business responsible for keeping tabs on financial transactions for third parties, tracking IS critical. Whether it's Visa or it's CJ, these systems CAN'T go down.

    So, tracking operations are done on much more robust, load-balanced, distributed systems (at least we'd CJ's are) -- many, many of them, in more than one location. A very expensive setup.

    It's of course too expensive to apply this to the affiliate interface which is why you see downtime there but no downtime for transactions.

    Merchants will tolerate downtime in service level agreements on the management interaces but not for transaction systems.

  4. #4
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    *******ALERT****** Tracking hs been affected.

    A dozen of our tracking server hamsters called in sick today so no hamsters to run the wheels. Rest assured that we will accurately track and record all transactions. These darn hamsters will run twice as fast tomorrow to make sure. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]

    Don't Worry Mama, It Won't Get Freaky!

  5. #5
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    You can imagine that they have the best tracking tools on this planet. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    And they cant afford to say that the tracking was affected.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    quote:
    You can imagine that they have the best tracking tools on this planet.

    And they cant afford to say that the tracking was affected.


    I guess that is my point. Even if tracking was affected, even for a few minutes, they would not tell us. It is in there best interest not to put out bad publicity.

    My question would be, and I simply ask this out of curiosity of most affiliate program, isn't it possible that they do go down and tracking really is affected? I would even think a big company like CJ would be affected. After all, look how many times their web site has crashed lately. If they could make sure the tracking function is working, then would not the site allways be working too. My guess is they can't do either. One does wonder how many times tracking really is affected. Just a couple of weeks ago many here at ABW were reporting it was not tracking properly. Did any of you ever see the sales show up for this period, and if so, were they the type of numbers you usually see in a day?

    Ron
    7 Days A Week Marketing

    "Keep your hands out of my cookie jar!"

  7. #7
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    With the largest group of members affected by the tracking failures, Affiliate Networks will soon need to open their tracking code sources to regain the trust of their affiliate base.

    But since CJ is NOT an affiliate network, we are on our own. Take the faulty tracking or move on to something else. Everybody knows this and nobody can do a thing.

    - BluesX

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    BluesX,

    Yeah, I know. Just sitting here bored and the mind gets to thinking of things. I've sure we've visited this topic enough by now, but it would be nice if when we all know tracking HAS been affected, we'd here something from CJ about it and what has been done to make sure it does not happen again.

    I'll continue to put this on my Christmas wish list, but like that Ski Condo I want, I probably won't get it. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    Ron
    7 Days A Week Marketing

    "Keep your hands out of my cookie jar!"

  9. #9
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    Fowler is correct. Tracking is probably unaffected by the changes being made. This is because CJ's application, like all business in the transactions game, is divided into components. The system www.cj.com is one component. The system www.qksrv.net is another component. Think about your credit card. I do my banking online and can generate detailed reports on all my credit card transactions. Unfortuantely the online banking computers go down every few days. When that happens it does not mean I cannot use my credit card.

  10. #10
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    I'm with fowler and mac on this one -- the two systems are separate... and I have yet to see evidence that while the management interface/reporting system is down, tracking is affected.

    "The only thing that helps me maintain my slender grip on reality is the friendship I share with my collection of singing potatoes." -- Holly, from Red Dwarf

  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    What Cedric said.

    As for this:

    quote:
    Just a couple of weeks ago many here at ABW were reporting it was not tracking properly. Did any of you ever see the sales show up for this period, and if so, were they the type of numbers you usually see in a day?


    If you are talking about the time I had posted (along with others) that it was fubar, the sales did eventually show up and were actually quite good. Although the stats withdrawal and lack of notice sucked!

    And today's sales caught up and are marching right in as normal.

    When it comes to the question of "did they EVER admit that the tracking was affected", I personally saw a notice over a year ago that admitted to a "15-minute" downtime where "tracking was affected". That notice followed the same format as the "not affected" notice, and would be easily missed if a person just skimmed it...

    (I believe that they added the 200 extra servers sometime after that.)

    And I remember people talking about a time before I came to CJ, where they had a downtime and not only admitted it but paid affiliates for it! But I don't remember the specifics of the that incident since I was only reading about it as opposed to "being there" at that time...

    There is no knowledge that is not power.~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Well, I thank all of you for providing a little history here. Sounds like most of you got your sales recorded properly after crashs, downtime, ect. I have a couple of instances where I did not feel so lucky, so I was just curious about CJ's past practices.

    To know the have indeed admitted to internal tracking problems in the past does make me feel they are being honest with us. I just had not seen any of those messages (and I may have missed them if worded like you said).

    Sales seem to be tacking today. One can hope this maintenance project went as planned and nothing was affected.

    Ron
    7 Days A Week Marketing

    "Keep your hands out of my cookie jar!"

  13. #13
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    quote:
    With the largest group of members affected by the tracking failures, Affiliate Networks will soon need to open their tracking code sources to regain the trust of their affiliate base.


    HA! Don't hold your breath, bluesx. (Oh, is THAT why you're blue? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img])

    quote:
    But since CJ is NOT an affiliate network, we are on our own. Take the faulty tracking or move on to something else. Everybody knows this and nobody can do a thing.

    But it seems to me that most of the tracking issues are on the merchant side. Cries of "Fraud" can't be productive (except feeling good to the crier).

    I just can't beleive it's fraud over negligence or stupidity in the vast majority of cases. For a merchant to defraud affiliates, that's extra work. For a merchant just to screw up their tracking, that's no work.

    And while a merchant might not be terribly incented to dig into a tracking problem, the service providers certainly should be -- it affects their pay as well.

    In fact, CJ-Todd wrote recently in response to a tracking question (actually a "fraud!!!" cry):

    quote:
    Send info to CJ via "ask a question" and we will look into it. Include as much specifics as possible.


    And BeFree-Steve wrote this just before he was run out of Dodge. Of course that fell on deaf ears.

    quote:
    ...if you believe that a purchase was not tracked here's what I'd like you to do. Using help at Reporting.net send us order confirmation number or transaction ID, date, amount of purchase and description of item. We'll then review our database to see if the information is there. If not, we'll contact the Merchant on your behalf and work to a resolution. If the data is there, we'll work with you and the merchant to determine why there's a discrepancy.



    Has anyone taken these guys up on their claims that they'll help with a rational presentation of an issue?

    Every test purchase I've made on both CJ and Be Free systems has tracked, so I don't have a beef. I've tested only my important relationships. The others I'm willing to wait for a statistically significant number of clicks to go through.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador
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    Tracking IS effected and I can prove it:

    When a banner or product link won't load because of CJ being down, slow, overloaded or hacked, YES tracking is effected because that was a potential sale I had there and now we'll never know if it was or not. Not knowing is the same as "tracking effected."

    And on some of my pages, which are heavy into tables, if a image doens't come in, the page will not display (why I drop the 1x1pixel most of the time) that effects sales too, which is another "effect" on tracking.


    I'm not ragging on CJ, because I know their load must be huge and most of the time the pages do come in pretty well. However, during some of these times, when they are monkeying with the system, the images do not load and sales are lost. In my book, lost sales does in fact "effect tracking."

    http://SearchToSale.com - Turns your search box into money.

  15. #15
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    quote:
    For a merchant to defraud affiliates, that's extra work. For a merchant just to screw up their tracking, that's no work.


    Intentional or not, does not matter.

    Negligence is guilt.

    I will reserve further comment, so that certain ABW rules concerning legal/litigation issues need not be invoked.

    AS SEEN ON SE!!!

  16. #16
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    quote:
    Intentional or not, does not matter.

    Negligence is guilt.

    I will reserve further comment, so that certain ABW rules concerning legal/litigation issues need not be invoked.


    Sure, but my point was that in any case of negligence, the merchant and the the provider would want to have this pointed out, hopefully with an example.

    Many are willing to scream "FRAUD", but I'm simply asking what has happened if anyone has recently taken up Be Free or CJ on their offers to help by providing some specific examples of problems.

    If I'm reading the posts here correctly, the home team's favorite merchant, TigerDirect, had tracking problems. By this logic, Andy is (at least was) a fraud too.

  17. #17
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    I just wanted to say that when CJ has been down, I did have sales that showed up for that time frame - when the reporting came back on, there they were.

    Vicki [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    she was tired of being poor, and she wasn't into selling door to door.... CSN

  18. #18
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    Yup, no problems here either, and more than enough transactions per day to notice when something wouldn't seem right. I've mentioned it before, it seems that many people who complain about tracking only generate a couple of bucks of transactions a day, which is not near enough to make assumptions about tracking not working, there are dozens of other reasons why one day might be more active than others.

    I apologize in advance to larger producers who may be experiencing potential problems, but based on posts I've seen, most of the "not tracking", "something must be wrong", "I'm getting screwed" individuals are really not producing much anyway in terms of transactions or $$ of sales to be generalizing and making these types of accusations, whereas others (such as myself, Cedric, Leader and many others) who have regular sales volumes daily don't seem to notice any big difference on days when maintenance, etc, is done, and with this type of volume, a couple of non-tracking hours would easily stick out like a sore thumb.

  19. #19
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Over all CCJ tracking, even after periods of maintenance downtime, has proved solid. Now they ability of their merchants who only have to worry about verifying they have a simple HTML tag placed in their shopping cart confirmation page is a real war story. Some change shopping carts ..ooops I forgot the reporting tag 3 months later. Others use an aggregrator like Global Sports or CatalogCity who change the cart/e-catalog and mess up tracking for all the merchants from their own mistakes.

    posted: "If I'm reading the posts here correctly, the home team's favorite merchant, TigerDirect, had tracking problems. By this logic, Andy is (at least was) a fraud too."

    Andy acquired these fraud problems when he hire on to TD a year ago. He made sure all lost sales were credited to affiliates. He hawked over his HTML guys to verify every click/sale got recorded and reported to BeFree which entailed correcting some serious flaws on BeFree's side too. He runs test purchases all the time on new creatives to overcome the negatives when they were the typical BeFree auto pilot merchant...throwing up banners and a few text links and assuming the 1 day initial test would suffice three years later after their shopping cart got major modifications during the affiliate program period. Why is Andy's program so popular here and for non ABWer affiliates ..because it is the exception at BeFree..he writes more and bigger checks to affiliates every single month.

    I think we all need to catch our breaths and hold the rants. The merchants not the affiliates have the pull to verify and monitor their tracking at their respective networks. All 3 networks report just fine IF the merchants don't screw up the interface or turn off tracking. Problem is getting the networks to daily monitor their handful of merchants showing sales from the clicks we generate. Most a too lazy to even look into it unless we UNCOVER an obvious non-tracking merchant.

    I helped TigerDirect (BF) to get all sales verified and build back trust over non-tracking issues a year ago. As long as Andy is the AM there it will stay that way. I helped Overstock in their move to Linkshare from BF to verify and build trust in their tracking and work on conversion ratios. If these 2 networks have these merchants recording all sales then they need steps and action to ensure ALL their merchants do likewise.

    WebMaster Mike

  20. #20
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    Last time I checked (Q2 2001), the CJ tracking servers had a 99.87% uptime. That's pretty good. It's likely even better today as we have taken additional measures to increase that uptime.

  21. #21
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    """I apologize in advance to larger producers who may be experiencing potential problems, but based on posts I've seen, most of the "not tracking", "something must be wrong", "I'm getting screwed" individuals are really not producing much anyway in terms of transactions or $$ of sales to be generalizing and making these types of accusations, whereas others (such as myself, Cedric, Leader and many others) who have regular sales volumes daily don't seem to notice any big difference on days when maintenance, etc, is done, and with this type of volume, a couple of non-tracking hours would easily stick out like a sore thumb"""

    Hi WTJPM:
    How can one tell which board members are "not producing much anyway"?

    I am leaving this board if others can determine the level of my production.

    I do quite well but an elitist I'm not.
    Thanks

    Muffin

  22. #22
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    I dont belive that I've ever had cause to complain about tracking nut I'll tell you one thing, I dont know what david elam has done to those servers but sales & leads are coming in thick and fast here. I was starting to think it must be some sort of special holiday over there in the US, tell me, is it "national shop at austins website day" today?

    BTW: I agree with muffin. Dont be so quick to judge, these people know what they are doing for the most part. Take da packster for example if I may, he often complains about lack of sales but I happen to know he has been top affiliate for at least one merchant. He has'nt just suddenly forgotten how to do affiliate marketing.

    The geek shall inherit the earth

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Citizen Powers, thanks for the vote of confidence. When I complain about sales its usually after evaluating what the situation is. When AOL switched to Google I lost some traffic. I took that into consideration. Also the only *****ing I do is about targeted traffic. I don't expect much with sales links that I throw up on my games section or other pages that gets a lot of traffic that don't relate to that topic.

    I also don't complain if I find a certain banner that is just asking to be clicked on becasue it is so good. That banner if not targeted can receive a ton of clicks and you won't here me ***** about the merchant. An example of a banner like that would be MrInks banners. I can through that on my game section and get over 100 clicks a day on them. I don't expect sales from them though. It's just people thinking the banner is cool(which they are) and clicking to see whats on the other side. ANother banner is the one that 00inkjets has where you search with the pull down menu for your ink brand. That banner should be IMO converting at over 100.00 EPC but it hasn't done anything for me if I put it on an untargeted page.

    You will here me ***** however when I am getting a lot of the same keywords searched for and not showing results when I slap the visitor in the face with the link as soon as they come to my page. The visitors click, go to a good product with a good price and just never seem to buy anything. Sorry I don't buy it. I;m getting pounded right now with targeted traffic from Google, Aol, Yahoo and MSN. Performics is converting at their normal 4-6% Linkshare is showing promise, a couple sales from Befree yesterday which is pretty rare and the list goes on.

    I did a test purchase the other day and the sale went through. Then after months with nothing from the merchant(a lot to do with where I stuck them) 2 more sales came through and 3 the next day. I move them in prime time position and all of the sudden nothing. Hmmmmmm! All I can say is I have my doubt's about certain things going on. Could be I'm wrong. Something we will never know.

    Another thing that has always dumbfounded me is why is it that when I send a merchant quite a bit of traffic for quite a long time and it doesnt' convert in weeks. But the day I remove the links from my pages all of the sudden a sale or 2 come in. Just some food for thought.

    Right now I'm evaluating my sites pages that use to work ok. Same design, I removed some banners because it was loading a lot slower than I would of liked it to. I have moved some of Linkshares merchants into position for some action. Next I suppose I have to go to Befree(did I just say that?) and I'll keep trying things until the sales start rolling again. Until then, I guess I'm just a 75.00 *****. Well 75.00 is probably exagerating.

    Have I always gotten a lot of sales from CJ? Not really but I never use to go days and days without sale either. With the traffic I am getting now if it happens then I know for a fact things are fugged up somewhere. I'll have to wait and see.

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  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Mr. Powers,

    Jeeesh I hope it keeps up for ya. Rock on!!! Umm, my other post is on it's way. I think I said some bad words in it so it has to be fixed up by my editors. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] Sorry Haiko, lol!

    Affiliate Programs That Kick Major Butt

  25. #25
    Ad Network Rep ToddCrawford's Avatar
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    Everybody,

    While I can't address specific issues regarding tracking I can tell you that the recent weeks have all been record breakers for CJ regarding tracked commissions. Tracking has not been affected and the upgrade this weekend was a complete success. To be perfectly clear, this was not an upgrade to our tracking servers, it was an upgrade to our database.

    Several of you have pointed out that you have seen no problems with tracking and that some of the concerns voiced here are possibly due to lower/inconsistent sales volume. You also pointed out that tracking is completely independent from the members area.

    When the members area is unavailable, tracking is still occuring. The easiest way to test this is to check your links to see if the ads are being served and then clicking on them to see if they redirect to the advertiser sites.

    I hope this helps.

    Todd Crawford
    Commission Junction

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