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  1. #1
    Member Gingerbread's Avatar
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    Using alternate images for product links?
    Quick question about CJ tracking. If I log into CJ and get banner code for a merchant product, but then I replace the
    HTML Code:
    <img src....>
    part of the code with the URL for one of my own images, will this disrupt tracking?

    I ask because I noticed a seemingly new (?) disclaimer that appears when I go to copy my code:

    You must include all the above html in your links. Any missing html, including the image source, will prevent the link from tracking properly and result in a loss of commissions.

    Maybe it's just always been there and I never noticed, but I'm concerned. Sometimes the product images provided by the merchants in CJ are not what I want to actually use to link.

    Any thoughts? Thanks

  2. #2
    Full Member ADesertRose's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure it will still track, don't know if you will get the impression tracking. It may be a general disclaimer to protect them so that if someone with limited knowledge changes something to where it won't work.
    I change text links all the time, change bold, fonts and things like that.

  3. #3
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    As an affiliate, I almost never use the CJ tracking codes (and as a result, they don't track my impressions at all -- I can track my own impressions, thank you).

    The key is to make sure that the "click" target URL will track -- that's how your commissions get tracked, and few merchants care about anything before that anyway.

    Talk to your merchant -- there are probably some anal affiliate managers who will insist that you use the code EXACTLY as CJ provides it, and who might kick you out if you don't. However, most will be happy to see sales.

    CJ has never complained about my removal of their impression-tracking codes.

    For a few merchants, I've actually downloaded the entire image library so that the product images load from MY site instead of the merchant's. This is definitely something you MUST get the merchant's approval on.

    As an affiliate manager now, with affiliates using our datafeed and loading our product images from our server, I get some wonderful extra data, including the ability to look at referring-URLs to identify affiliates who are "buying traffic" from various sources, and to identify which sites our images are actually displaying on. Of course, the impression-to-click ratio is a far more useful piece of data, since this data allows me to contact the affiliate and identify strategies to improve that ratio (such as moving our image "above the fold", or selecting a different product to display in a specific context).

  4. #4
    Internet Cowboy
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    Agreed with Mark. In most cases I download and host the image myself if it is a banner. With so many adblockers out there, you are best to host the image on your own server and even rename it to something completely mundane that has nothing to do with advertising.


  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    Agreed with Mark. In most cases I download and host the image myself if it is a banner.
    Bit curious, but do you ever host the actual product images on your server? I Wonder if there's a good reason to do this. If you do, did you write the script yourself...or download one?

    edit: reason I ask is b/c my sites are pulling the images from the merchant site..but I'm thinking it may be better to pull them locally (if for nothing else but speed and consistency).

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyBusiness
    Bit curious, but do you ever host the actual product images on your server? I Wonder if there's a good reason to do this. If you do, did you write the script yourself...or download one?

    edit: reason I ask is b/c my sites are pulling the images from the merchant site..but I'm thinking it may be better to pull them locally (if for nothing else but speed and consistency).
    I host the images on my own server and feel it's well worth it. They do load faster, but that's not my primary reason for doing it. My primary reason is control. Sometimes datafeeds don't contain images of the proper dimensions, so I need to be able to adjust them when necessary. By doing this I can ensure every image is the proper width and height without worrying about what the merchant is sending.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Thanks Scott. That's something I'm noticing in regards to my datafeed sites (missing images...blank images, etc). I'm guessing you coded the script yourself? If not...did you download it from somewhere? If I can buy it, I'd rather do that and save time instead of coding it by hand right now.

  8. #8
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    Some kind soul here I believe recently posted about how you can manually do your html links at CJ --

    www dot *****(with***** being merchants website)dot com/click-[PID]-[AID]

    Is this correct? So if I remove the image source bit that CJ gives you after the generated HTML link, which I now understand is used for tracking of impressions at CJ, that the click will still go thru to the merchant with my affiliate id and any subsequent sales would be properly credited to me? But I just wouldn't have tracking of impressions through CJ.(And obviously the link isn't encrypted and my code is obvious to anybody who looks at it unless I do a redirect.)

    I guess I'm still wondering how much you can change the actual text that they give you with a link - since a lot of it isn't that great or is overly long. Anybody know about that? Should you check with the merchant first over every little change you want to make to the text they provide? Or is this a "use your own judgment" thing?

    And yeah, I'd much rather use a product image served through my site instead of through theirs. I guess this is another use your own judgment thing. Must you check with the merchant always?

    I'm just used to working with individual merchants who aren't part of network programs, and I'm spoiled because they've allowed me great flexibility to manipulate text, serve up my own relevant images and headlines, as long as sales come through!

    I had thought that there would be this same flexibility with CJ and other networks, but it looks like I'm wrong and it sorta depends on the merchant? So is the default thing to check with the merchant first?

    Thanks in advance for your insights!

    Cosmokid

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmokid
    I guess I'm still wondering how much you can change the actual text that they give you with a link - since a lot of it isn't that great or is overly long. Anybody know about that? Should you check with the merchant first over every little change you want to make to the text they provide? Or is this a "use your own judgment" thing?

    And yeah, I'd much rather use a product image served through my site instead of through theirs. I guess this is another use your own judgment thing. Must you check with the merchant always? * * * So is the default thing to check with the merchant first?
    The short answer is, yes, you should "always" ask the merchant first. As noted, a few affiliate managers or merchants are extremely sensitive and paranoid, and a few of those merchants have good reason to be nervous.

    The obvious example would be if the merchant provides a text link that says "low prices on widgets" and you change that to "lowest-price widgets" -- some customers may claim that your version is false advertising because they can find widgets cheaper somewhere else.

    In some cases, merchants may have agreements with manufacturers or licensors that restrict the use of trademarked terms (for example, perhaps affiliates can have links that say "Buy Calvin Klein jeans from MerchantX.com" but the licensor would be outraged to find a link that says "great low prices on Calvin Klein jeans at MerchantX.com" or "get laid: buy Calvin Klein jeans at MerchantX.com" (yes, a tasteless example, but based in reality).

    Ultimately, the merchant is going to be held responsible for exercising reasonable control over the text of the merchant's "advertising," and affiliate links are certainly "advertising."

    Do all affiliates ask before making changes? Of course not. Have I made changes (like removing the impression-tracking code) without asking for permission? Yes. Can you make minor changes without incurring the wrath of an affiliate manager? Usually.

    But I don't think it hurts to ask, and most affiliate managers are quite happy to work with affiliates to find ways to increase product sales. The main risk of asking is the possibility that the answer will be "no," and it's better to hear that answer now than to wait 6 weeks and learn that the merchant is refusing to pay your accrued earnings because you "broke the rules."

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyBusiness
    Thanks Scott. That's something I'm noticing in regards to my datafeed sites (missing images...blank images, etc). I'm guessing you coded the script yourself? If not...did you download it from somewhere? If I can buy it, I'd rather do that and save time instead of coding it by hand right now.
    This is something I wrote myself.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  11. #11
    Member Gingerbread's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback and great information, everyone.

    My main reason for not always wanting to use the images provided in the Products section is also that the images aren't the right size. Too small usually!

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