This was originally posted by Wayne Porter of on, I found it very insightful and wanted to share it with those who didn't see it.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Questions to ask about the program that did not track...

Was the link formed correctly with no extra spaces, characters, malformed HTML, etc. (simple, but always check before you raise hell with a company.)

Did they register the click?

Are you using SID, Signature or any other type of enhanced tracking for the purpose of tieing transactions back to a user base or internal analysis?

What browser platform are you using?

What are your security settings? Hi, med or low.

Is the program on a network or independent?

If off a major network is the program P3P compliant?

Does the program batch transactions?

Per the agreement does the program pay for transactions that originate from the affiliate (meaning- can you buy from your own links? in the case of a batched program they might reverse it before it ever gets rolled into the batch as a non-qualified transaction.)

Did the sale originate on the site? Some unscrupulous programs divert traffic to external targets (siphoning) to complete the sale where your cookie does not come into play.

In the future when you suspect possible tracking problems it is good form to:

a) Clear their (or all) cookies from your cache
b) Open up your browser's cache directory
c) Click through the affiliate link
d) Check your cache to ensure the tracking cookie is being set
e) Take a screen capture of your active window showing the cache before and after the click. (Save a copy of the cookie if your really into tedium)
f) complete the sale and take a screen capture of the confirmation message, order # and a clear view of the URL.
g) Check cache again and get another capture- many programs kill the cookie after the sale no matter what the cookie duration is. (especially common with mult-channel retailers with thin budgets)

If you follow those steps you have a pretty convincing "digital paper trail" that you can show an affiliate manager. Perhaps someone can add to or enhance these steps.

If you can't find a snag after reviewing all the questions above, then it is possible that there is commission shaving going on or a technical glitch that they are not aware of (a common problem). Posting the name of the company helps too. If they are worth their salt they will address the issue and put more work into fixing a problem.

On that note I hear a lot of accusations about commission shaving (and I have actually seen it happening from time to time) but keep in mind:

- Any smart, professional affiliate program manager wants to have lots of sales through a program because it justifies their worth and work to their powers that be.

- No sane affiliate network is out to shave commissions, they will want to see as many transactions as possible go through the network so they get paid. It has always irked me when affiliates say things like "CJ or Linkshare, etc is trying to cheat me out of transactions...". It simply flys in the face of logic.