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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    Affiliate Links on Merchant Site in doorway page section
    It's too, too funny except for being sneaky kind of competition for affiliates.

    The pages are a whole separate section of text pages (not products and not "normal" info pages part of the site) in a folder on the site, with links to regular product pages in the body text and graphics on the side that are affiliate links.

    The bottom navigation goes only to pages within the section that has the doorway pages - with its own site map (which has affiliate links in navigation) and all, but all the other links to the regular shopping part of the site are CJ affiliate links.

    What's got me wondering is whether the account belongs to the merchant themselves, to them under "another name" or an seo type of arrangement. I'm inclined to think it's them.

  2. #2
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    No reason to keep it secret. Who's the merchant?

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Be nice to know if it's a totally shady practice or just some naked links to boost some affiliates giving the merchant a showcase ezposure on their domain pages. Shady practice would be for those links to have affiliate network set cookies and some profit exchanges going on...

    It sure would be nice for some on my major showcase merchants to place some prominent links to ecomcity pages showcasing them on some very visible pages...
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  4. #4
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    No reason to keep it secret. Who's the merchant?
    Snowman, to tell I'd have to show those pages and even though they're on the merchant's site they're still affiliate pages so I'm not sure about the rules. Technically, it's a merchant site with a program at CJ, but even so, it's affiliate links so it's a grey area.

    Shady practice would be for those links to have affiliate network set cookies and some profit exchanges going on...
    Mike, they're all CJ links so of course they set cookies, there's no other reason to do it. It isn't just one site, in poking around I found another one belonging to them, doing the same thing. Also CJ, the same company (same whois).

    My concern is not what they do with their business or what they do at the search engines, but how it impacts from an affiliate standpoint, them having a whole affiliate section on their own site that's getting a ranking boost in the engines from the main site.

  5. #5
    15 years and counting
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    webworker - even though they're on the merchant's site they're still affiliate pages so I'm not sure about the rules. Technically, it's a merchant site with a program at CJ, but even so, it's affiliate links so it's a grey area.
    Several merchants with affiliate links were exposed at ABW in the past. Some at CJ, others at SAS.
    If they are stealing affiliate traffic, it's a shady practice and it should be disclosed. Contact a moderator to have his/her opinion.

  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    WW PM'd me and showed me the page. It's total blight--the merchant's "aff links" are to THEMSELVES!

    Since that's the case, I've advised her to go ahead and spill the beans. It's not a real affiliate in question from anything I can see, rather it's a merchant that's competing against its own program.

    If Haiko or another mod thinks it should be covered under ABW's no-reveal clause, I'll have no problem if edits are made.

  7. #7
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    WW PM'd me and showed me the page. It's total blight--the merchant's "aff links" are to THEMSELVES!
    Yes the links are to themselves, and another reason I hesitated is because of how the pages got crawled, but that's a different issue altogether and it's questionable whether it's relevant to the issues that concern us so I won't get into that.

    This is just one of the pages

    http://www.homeclick.com/webdex/christmasgifts.html

    We can see that all those links are to the merchant's own site with CJ affiliate links, except for what's on the bottom, which goes to other pages in that section and also to the site map for that section:

    http://www.homeclick.com/webdex/sitemap.html

    The pages on the site map include only that section of pages, which is apparently the "affiliate section" except for the top navigation which is also CJ affiliate links to sections of the site.

    How I found this is by seeing a hit for Christmas dinnerware in Cpanel on one of my sites, and clicking on the link to the search at MSN. There they were (for the dinnerware search), I took a look and started poking around, including digging around at Google and Yahoo, which is how I found the affiliate thing on this other site - which also belongs to them:

    http://www.absolutehome.com/webdex/additionalinfo.html

    Checking CJ, it's also a merchant with a program there, and checking the whois for the domains they both belong to the same company. So that's it in brief, the rest has to do with search but this is our point of concern.

    It just now occurred to me while posting that cookie washing could go even further than them being found through listings in the SERPs.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    It always makes me wonder what the heck merchants like that bother to have affiliate programs for. They obviously don't want to pay any commissions. So I'd have thought they'd have just closed their program and then spammed away with direct links.
    Last edited by Leader; August 22nd, 2006 at 09:41 AM.

  10. #10
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    This bears repeating, especially after reading the article by Marckini that AW linked to:

    What's got me wondering is whether the account belongs to the merchant themselves, to them under "another name" or an seo type of arrangement. I'm inclined to think it's them.
    That was written back in Dec. 2003, and they hadn't done any organic SEO at that time, according to the article. It *definitely* looks like they have at this point in time, from briefy going through the sites, so I'm still wondering whether those affiliate links are part of an SEO agreement of some sort. Not that it makes any difference from our perspective, but it's one of a few possibilities.

  11. #11
    15 years and counting
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    "whether those affiliate links are part of an SEO agreement of some sort." By the time being I would not advice on adding affiliate links to improve SE ranking.
    Just looking at the CJ PID tell me the affiliate account is pretty new. It was done way after 2003.
    These affiliate links should not be there. That's a way to wash cookies.

  12. #12
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    I really wish this company would be removed from CJ. See http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ight=homeclick

    And go to their home page now. Forget about being commissioned for any sales of $399 or more.

    Note to webworker: As to your concern about posting links, the ABW rule is to not post affiliate links. That should not include merchant sites where affiliate links appear. After all, how would we ever have known about the continued affiliate thieving behavior of this company?

  13. #13
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    The same company also runs:
    HomeClick
    AbsoluteHome
    Knobs & Things
    Barbecues.com

    I wonder how long until they infect knobs & things & barbecues.com too

  14. #14
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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  15. #15
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    Here's a list of their sites on the Barbecues.com site

    http://www.barbecues.com/web/splashpages/links.aspx

  16. #16
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    and their parent company webiste too:
    http://www.hdpi.com/

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