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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    Exclamation Google Checkout Not Tracking w/ all Affiliate Programs
    Just got this from Ziggy Kopetti at CJ. Looks like it's time to pull the Google Checkout coupons for eBags, Petco, Golfsmith, eCost or Starbucks Store if you're promoting them. Only Buy.com, Ritz Interactive and Bluefly, and BackCountry Store are tracking affiliate sales through Google Checkout.

    ---------------------------------------------------

    Hi All,

    I recently learned that the Google Checkout process which some CJ merchants are promoting on their sites will affect affiliate commissions. Here is an explanation of how Google Checkout works and how it affects affiliates who are working with CJ merchants that offer Google Checkout.

    Please note: this explanation is specific to Commission Junction merchants only.

    HOW IT WORKS

    Google batches all the Google Checkout orders with the CJ PID and (if appended) the SID to the merchant. The merchant then conforms the order to our batching system, and batches it in to Commission Junction. The responsibility is on the merchant to filter the data from Google, identify the traffic from the CJ affiliates and batch it in. (Note: the CJ system does not distinguish if it is a Google checkout transaction or not.)

    Further, pixel tracking does not work with Google checkout and most of our CJ advertisers utilize pixel tracking.

    Thus, if the merchant relies solely on pixel tracking, affiliate tracking is lost when Google checkout is used even if the customer came to the site on an affiliate link.

    Consequently, only those merchants that are batch merchants with CJ are encouraging publishers to promote their Google Checkout offer.

    Namely, Buy.com, Ritz Interactive and Bluefly, and BackCountry Store.

    These merchants are recognizing affiliate traffic and retaining the SID parameters for all Google Checkout orders.

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    I recommend that affiliates NOT promote the Google Checkout offers for eBags, Petco, Golfsmith, eCost or Starbucks Store because these merchants pixel track. Unless the Advertiser batches in the order with the PID and SID received from Google, the order will never reach our system and you will not be paid a commission for the order. Loyalty shoppers who make purchases on these sites after clicking through from your site but then utilize Google Checkout will not receive their incentive.

    Further, I believe it would be prudent for loyalty publishers to make a notation on your sites that the use of Google Checkout will cancel a memberís incentive.

    ValueClick is in negotiations with Google at the moment deciding if they want Google to insert the CJ tracking pixel into Google checkout, or not. This will depend on the revenue impact to the publishers. Please let me know if you can quantify the impact to your program.

    I hope this makes Google Checkout easier to understand from the affiliate perspective.

    These are the stores that are currently working with Google Checkout: http://www.google.com/checkout/m.html

    Please let me know if you need me to provide any more information, or if you have questions.

    Thanks,

    Ziggy

    Ziggy Kopetti
    Publisher Account Manager, Client Development

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    I recommend that affiliates NOT promote the Google Checkout offers for eBags, Petco, Golfsmith, eCost
    Thats certainly something to think about.
    And also, are'nt any merchants who heavily promote Google Checkout on their home/landing page (such as petco, ecost, etc.) also subjecting their affiliates to a huge 'leak' (affiliates won't get credit for sale), regardless of whether the affiliate promotes the G Checkout Coupon or just a normal link?

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    Thats certainly something to think about.
    And also, are'nt any merchants who heavily promote Google Checkout on their home/landing page (such as petco, ecost, etc.) also subjecting their affiliates to a huge 'leak' (affiliates won't get credit for sale), regardless of whether the affiliate promotes the G Checkout Coupon or just a normal link?
    Hey Simcat,

    Exactly, this is a major leak. Even though I'm not promoting the Google checkout coupons for eBags, Petco, Golfsmith, eCost or Starbucks Store, that doesn't mean I'm not losing commissions because of them. Those stores need to make sure the Google Checkout coupons do not display on-screen and that Google Checkout is not a payment option when a visitor clicks on an affiliate link to get to their site. Otherwise I'll be removing them completely from Alex's Coupons, at the very least until after the Google Checkout promotion is over and quite likely forever.

    -- Todd
    Last edited by tmartini; December 1st, 2006 at 09:39 PM.
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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Thumbs down
    Im not comfortable with this deal for lots of reasons.
    Another one is,
    What if someone gets over to google checkout and decides they dont want to sign up & store their CC info at another site, (or whatever reason), etc.

    Guess what i'm trying to say is the more steps you add to the checkout process, the more chance for checkout 'abandonment'.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for posting this Todd, this is very scary for CJ affiliates.

  6. #6
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Nunez
    Thanks for posting this Todd, this is very scary for CJ affiliates.
    Thanks Mike. eBags, Petco, Golfsmith, eCost and Starbucks Store should be scared too. Scared that all of us will drop them until after the Google Checkout coupons expire on 12/19. Think that will have an effect on their Holiday Sales!

    -- Todd
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  7. #7
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    We need to get the word out. Some bloggers should be blogging about this, hint hint.

  8. #8
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    Someone working on a blog right now. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Someone working on a blog right now. Thanks.
    Awesome! Thanks for getting the word out Trust!

    -- Todd
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  10. #10
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    Does anybody know if this affects merchants from other networks? Right now I'm catching up on email and I see stuff like:

    Save $10 off your purchase of $30 or more at ToysRUs.com when you pay using
    Google Checkout Expires 12.15.06

    From Linkshare. Or is it just some CJ merchants?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    We need to get the word out. Some bloggers should be blogging about this, hint hint.
    I notified everyone I could think of.

    Does anybody know if this affects merchants from other networks? Right now I'm catching up on email and I see stuff like:

    Save $10 off your purchase of $30 or more at ToysRUs.com when you pay using
    Google Checkout Expires 12.15.06

    From Linkshare. Or is it just some CJ merchants?
    It sounded like it was the pixel tracking that was effected. The way Linkshare works, is that the affiliate Id is inserted into a the database along with the regular sales information. CJ refers to this as the "batch" processing. Since all Linkshare merchants are on this type of reporting, I would assume that it wouldn't affect them, but it is only an assumption. None of my merchants have Google checkout, so I can't be sure.

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    Not sure yet. It definitely doesn't track with non-batch merchants at CJ, but I'm not sure if Linkshare merchants (and others) are also effected. Hmm... too late to give Steve Denton a call? ;-)
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  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    scary since google checkout is getting quite popular, esp with the $10 off

  15. #15
    Member samharrelson's Avatar
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    My pleasure.

    This is definitely a complicated issue which needs to be resolved in the affiliate marketing world sooner rather than later.

    Let's all hope that this helps convince the networks, Google and the merchants that affiliate marketing cannot just be taken advantage of with unclear and unfair policies that end up hurting the very people driving the traffic and customers.

    Let me know how else I can help out!

  16. #16
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Nunez
    I notified everyone I could think of.



    It sounded like it was the pixel tracking that was effected. The way Linkshare works, is that the affiliate Id is inserted into a the database along with the regular sales information. CJ refers to this as the "batch" processing. Since all Linkshare merchants are on this type of reporting, I would assume that it wouldn't affect them, but it is only an assumption. None of my merchants have Google checkout, so I can't be sure.
    Are you sure all linkshare merchants work like that? I know i see lots of transactions throughout the day on linkshare, but I don't know how it works?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReallyBigGuy
    Are you sure all linkshare merchants work like that? I know i see lots of transactions throughout the day on linkshare, but I don't know how it works?
    Hey RBG,

    Yes, I'm sure. The reason why you se them being updated throughout the day is because you can report to linkshare as often as you like. They ask for a mimimum of hourly, and suggest every 15 minutes.

  18. #18
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    ah, thanks Michael!
    I guess I'll keep promoting their google checkout stuff until I find out otherwise.

  19. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    As if I needed another reason to dislike Google checkout check out the Google Checkout TOS:

    https://checkout.google.com/termsOfService?type=Buyer

    I especially like this part:

    You also authorize us to obtain from time to time a credit report and/or to otherwise make credit or other background inquiries as we deem appropriate to evaluate your registration for or continued use of the Service

    I don't think I'll be signing up for this service.

    -- Todd
    Last edited by tmartini; December 2nd, 2006 at 12:48 AM.
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  20. #20
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    From the description that Ziggy provided, it sounds like merchants have to specifically do some special processing to track Google Checkout orders. All LinkShare merchants use batch reporting, but I wouldn't assume that they track just because they don't use confirmation page pixel tracking.

    If any ShareASale.com merchants are using Google Checkout, they would likely be affected. Almost all ShareASale.com merchants use confirmation page tracking pixels.
    Michael Coley
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  21. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    My wife's doing a test purchase at ToysRUs right now. Does anyone know of any other merchants at Linkshare (or any other network for that matter) using Google Checkout?

    -- Todd
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    From the description that Ziggy provided, it sounds like merchants have to specifically do some special processing to track Google Checkout orders. All LinkShare merchants use batch reporting, but I wouldn't assume that they track just because they don't use confirmation page pixel tracking.

    If any ShareASale.com merchants are using Google Checkout, they would likely be affected. Almost all ShareASale.com merchants use confirmation page tracking pixels.
    I agree, Michael, we shouldn't assume. But, if I HAD to guess, I would say that LS merchants are o.k., because of the reporting method. It sounds like the problem is that google checkout is able to pass back "parameters" to the merchant, but Mechants are not able to customize their google checkout page to include the tracking pixel.

    Yes, SAS could be affected, I've already emailed Brian. I'm sure, true to his form, he'll address it a.s.a.p.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    If any ShareASale.com merchants are using Google Checkout, they would likely be affected. Almost all ShareASale.com merchants use confirmation page tracking pixels.
    Going thru the list http://www.google.com/checkout/m.html

    I see a couple at SAS, they might be elsewhere too:

    eforcity
    shop4tech

    Not sure if there are any others.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmartini
    My wife's doing a test purchase at ToysRUs right now. Does anyone know of any other merchants at Linkshare (or any other network for that matter) using Google Checkout?

    -- Todd
    Lots, that list is growing. I see all networks, CJ, SAS, LS, Performics, Small Networks, Indy Merchants, Merchants without an affiliate program.

  24. #24
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Lots, that list is growing. I see all networks, CJ, SAS, LS, Performics, Small Networks, Indy Merchants, Merchants without an affiliate program.
    Unf'ingbelievable... Well I'll be leaving a lot of voice mails this weekend...
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  25. #25
    Outsourced Program Manager tmartini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    Going thru the list http://www.google.com/checkout/m.html

    I see a couple at SAS, they might be elsewhere too:

    eforcity
    shop4tech

    Not sure if there are any others.
    These guys are ShareASale:

    CSN Benches
    CSN Bookcases
    CSN Chairs
    CSN Futons
    CSN Leather
    etc...

    Collectively they're known as CSN Stores. They even presented at the Think Tank just a few weeks ago.

    I've contacted my reps at Performics and Linkshare to let them know what's going on. I've told them that they need to have a representative from each of their respective companies come to this thread, and let everyone know if they have confirmation that tracking is taking place and if not what they're going to do to fix the problem.

    -- Todd
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