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  1. #1
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    cj super affiliate - significant transactions not tracked.
    hi guys..

    I'm new here.. but have been in aff marketing for 2 years...

    anyways, I generate about 4000-5000 transactions a month for cj... but after careful research I find that 20-30% of my transactions are not tracked.. I was able to confirm this with one of my merchants...

    was curious if there's any other high producers here having a similar observation...

    best regards.

  2. #2
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    I can confirm your figures. I did the same experiment a few years ago. There's an important loss between the merchant stats and the reporting at CJ. (it's true for other networks, too) Not all the merchants understand how to track the origin of their sales and some don't want to share this information. So, you need a special relationship with them.
    Now, the difficult part is to understand why and to find the reasons. Some are obvious, but not all of them.

  3. #3
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    I think there needs to be some govering 3rd party as I'm reading some very concerning things lately about how we are been ripped off left, right & center by the networks, parasites and merchants.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by glinted
    I think there needs to be some govering 3rd party as I'm reading some very concerning things lately about how we are been ripped off left, right & center by the networks, parasites and merchants.
    We're not talking about parasites or fraud here, most of this % is due to tracking technology, Internet transmission, defective info storing and reporting. The networks don't take their share on sales not reported and are not paid on this %.
    You have to add all the parasitic activities and fraud to see what's left for the affiliate.
    I worked for a full year in 1998 with a merchant on LinkShare, I had sales everyday, a steady traffic and 12 months of detailed stats. Beginning of 1999, this merchant decided to drop LinkShare and started his own program with a custom tracking. As one of his top performers he had to convince me to switch, LS was the "Trusted 3rd Party" at that time. He did it by offering me to look at his stats as "an open book". The first month as an indy, my sales jumped 25%, next month same... I was able to compare my LS and the merchant reports for the former months, an average of 2 sales every 10 sales were missing. There was no eBates, iGive, SchoolPop... or MetaReward at that time.
    Since, I did the same comparison with CJ.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    We're not talking about parasites or fraud here, most of this % is due to tracking technology, Internet transmission, defective info storing and reporting. The networks don't take their share on sales not reported and are not paid on this %.
    You have to add all the parasitic activities and fraud to see what's left for the affiliate.
    I worked for a full year in 1998 with a merchant on LinkShare, I had sales everyday, a steady traffic and 12 months of detailed stats. Beginning of 1999, this merchant decided to drop LinkShare and started his own program with a custom tracking. As one of his top performers he had to convince me to switch, LS was the "Trusted 3rd Party" at that time. He did it by offering me to look at his stats as "an open book". The first month as an indy, my sales jumped 25%, next month same... I was able to compare my LS and the merchant reports for the former months, an average of 2 sales every 10 sales were missing. There was no eBates, iGive, SchoolPop... or MetaReward at that time.
    Since, I did the same comparison with CJ.

    Is there really any way to get around this kind of problem, other than trying to educate the merchant? Losing that many sales (which doesn't surprise me one bit) is annoying, to say the least. I bet there are a good # of merchants I'm working with that are shanking me on a few sales/leads here and there (not trying to be paranoid)..it's just one of those feelings.

    This whole industry is lacking in one major area - transparency...something I'd love to see change in the coming years, but for obvious reasons, probably won't happen.

  6. #6
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    In that case the merchant is not the main problem, customer behavior, Internet protocol, technology used by the networks... are to blame.
    To compensate the affiliates, some merchants allow a better commission % knowing full well all the orders are not reported.
    I had merchants using Yahoo tracking after leaving CJ and there too, my level of sales for the same traffic was much better.
    I'm pretty sure some AMs have a full access to their merchants stats and have the possibility to compare the number of sales reported by the network and the merchant.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyBusiness
    This whole industry is lacking in one major area - transparency...something I'd love to see change in the coming years, but for obvious reasons, probably won't happen.
    Indeed, it seems to me that at the end of the day dishonest merchants will always be able to cheat via reversals. How do you catch that behavior?
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    If I'm reading this right, its not really about dishonest merchants...really it is about poor tracking technologies employed by the network. It's a shame that no one has figured out a foolproof track yet...

    I guess the Internet wasn't really built in such a way as to track everything someone does. (this may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your privacy views) And with the lack of standards and rapidly evolving tech out there, it seems impossible to create something that works on every machine every time.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINDsprinter
    If I'm reading this right, its not really about dishonest merchants...really it is about poor tracking technologies employed by the network. It's a shame that no one has figured out a foolproof track yet...

    I guess the Internet wasn't really built in such a way as to track everything someone does. (this may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your privacy views) And with the lack of standards and rapidly evolving tech out there, it seems impossible to create something that works on every machine every time.
    You're right, it's not about dishonest merchants but technology.
    I'm wondering sometimes how the networks can still tracks sales, going thru some corporate networks, firewalls, defective routers... so many different browsers. Typing an URL is quite fail safe but everything behind...

  10. #10
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    What percertage of non tracking order would you give to blocked cookies?

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Blocked cookies are just part of it. I have no idea of the percentage, but like Zues said...firewals, anti-phishing protections, java script turned off, cookie blocking/overwriting/deleting/not even settling in the first place, different machines and browsers and standards...

    There are a million things that can go wrong. It is a wonder anything tracks at all!
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  12. #12
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    I also wonder how anyone can buy anything or even access any ecommerce site without any problems with their cookies turned off.

  13. #13
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    There are a million things that can go wrong. It is a wonder anything tracks at all!
    If Zeus sees ~25% increase in commissions when moving to an indy program or Y stores, some technology out there tracks correctly!

    What suprises me is that if something works why networks would not invest in it to increase their pure profit by 25%. That's a big deal.

  14. #14
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    I have found a topic talking about cookies not being set properly after trying to make a web beacon work for one of my merchants... cookies don't work all the time when using a header("location: url") redirect command, this is because of a fundamental problem with IE6 and we all know.. IE has a large market share...

    and i agree with zeus, its not being dishonest its just that the 3rd party tracking is not completely fool proof, and there's no real effort on any ones radar to audit things so that affiliates get paid properly.

    sounds like this is more common than I initially thought but very few people know about this...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_jones
    If Zeus sees ~25% increase in commissions when moving to an indy program or Y stores, some technology out there tracks correctly!
    What suprises me is that if something works why networks would not invest in it to increase their pure profit by 25%. That's a big deal.
    Yahoo stores have an integrated tracking linked directly to the merchant cash register (cart) so there's less back and forth tracking traffic between the customer, affiliate, network, merchant and back.
    Indies have the possibilities to use several technologies to track the sales and add manually who is responsible for the sale. They can look at their logs, too. Quite often they have less affiliates than the network and have only their own program to run. The closer relationship is one of the reasons for them to reward their affiliates.
    Hard to replicate that for the networks.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by yonist
    sounds like this is more common than I initially thought but very few people know about this...
    Do you think the merchants want to talk about it? nope
    The networks, no way

  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I think it varies from network to network and merchant to merchant.

    I have one merchant who used to do all the tracking on their end, so all the infrastructure was in place to track. They switched to CJ and used their cookie/pixel tracking. At the end of each month, they would generate a batch file of all transactions (from their internal tracking) and upload it. Invariably, I would see about a 5% pickup in sales from the batches. (This was with enough volume that it was definitely statistically relevant.) Eventually, they got rid of the CJ pixel and went to daily batches.

    I have another merchant who was at MyAP. I had an exclusive coupon with them, and they would manually credit any exclusive coupons to the appropriate affiliate. I could see the difference between normal transactions and the manually posted ones. Each month, the manual transactions were about 10% of my sales. Some of those may have been from people going directly to the merchant's site instead of clicking my link or from my exclusive coupon code being posted elsewhere, but a good part would have been from network tracking not working.

    So, it's not necessarily 25%. It could be 5% or 10% with many merchants.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  18. #18
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    They switched to CJ and used their cookie/pixel tracking.
    Let me get one thing clear here, slightly off topic but... With CJ links, If I don't include the pixel image in my link I still get the sales and leads tracked right by the url? As far as I know it just means I don't see impressions in my stats
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  19. #19
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Right. I'm not talking about the impression tracking pixel. Most CJ (and SAS) merchants (and most companies on CPA Networks) use a SALE tracking pixel on the merchant's confirmation page to track sales.

    On the initial click-through, the link redirects through the network's web site and sets the affiliate cookie. On the order confirmation page, the merchant shows a 1x1 pixel image from the network's web site, passing the order details as parameters, and if the affiliate cookie is set it tracks.

    The other tracking method (which is used by all LinkShare merchants and a small number of CJ and SAS merchants) is that the affiliate ID is passed through to the merchant link. The merchant is responsible for setting a cookie (or otherwise tracking), then batching the sales and submitting them to the network on a regular basis.

    Neither method is foolproof. There can be problems with either one. If it's well-implemented, the second method is the most reliable. The only problem is that it's not easy to implement well. What happens if a specific landing page doesn't capture the affiliate ID? What happens if a batch gets lost?
    Michael Coley
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     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  20. #20
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    I've seen some networks use the [javascript] tag for tracking as a 1x1 tracking pixel replacement, more like how G,OV and MSN is tracking conversions and It seems like some returns an empty javascript, is this more reliable than the pixel to track cookies?

    I didn't know that header information(ie cookies) is sent over whenever there's img src http requests for the 1x1 tracking pixel to work.

    5-10% is better... I'm actually trying to get my merchant to do another auditing they recently implemented no. 2 option above starting nov 1, its sounds like its more reliable since its embedded in the sale data.

  21. #21
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    thanks for the details Michael Coley
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    So, it's not necessarily 25%. It could be 5% or 10% with many merchants.
    25% is an extreme figure. I can't (or I don't want to) imagine 1/4 of our sales not being tracked. It can happen but it's not an everage.
    Also, you're right "I think it varies from network to network and merchant to merchant" I noticed also a time variable, the % is not always the same. There's days with poor connections all over Internet.

  23. #23
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    if we can just put our own tracking code on their sales/order page then we can do our own conversion tracking. At least we can tell if our tracking code get loaded then we are being credited for the traffic.

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