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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Hard Evidence that Some CJ Product Links do not Track
    If you are concerned that links may not be tracking, the best test is to place an actual order and see the results. I did that last Friday with one of my CJ Advertisers and found that the order went through but I did not receive credit. This was with an Advertiser that uses batch processing so I had to wait until Sunday to see the results. I did receive credit for some orders for that merchant on Friday but not the one I had placed. It confirmed what I already suspected, that some, possibly many orders were not being tracked.

    I started playing detective, what are the conditions in which some orders track properly and some do not? I use SIDs and they gave me the evidence. The orders that I received credit for over the last 5 weeks were either from banner links or product links that were created several months ago. I had added many product links in early November and had received zero sales from those links. Zero, zip, I could not believe it!

    It had to be the link itself. What had changed? I discovered that in the new product links, instead of using the retailers website in the url, the links go to tracking.searchmarketing.com. Who are they and why are the links going there? I have been in touch with both CJ and the Advertiser and both say that tracking.searchmarketing.com is not from them. All of the links in question were created from the CJ interface using Get HTML.

    So check your CJ product links. If any of them use tracking.searchmarketing.com be very suspicious, they may not work.

    Note, I work with several CJ merchants and have only discovered the problem to be with one merchant.

    Second note, I believe the merchant to be ethical and they are working with me to find a way to compensate me for the untracked sales.

  2. #2
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    Not that I don't feel for your situation, but you say it's just 1 merchant, and unless you tell us what merchant, it just doesn't help us much.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Discovery Channel

  4. #4
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    tracking.searchmarketing.com is owned by Channel Advisor. One of their services is data feed optimization. I would guess Discovery is using that service. 2 of other customers are Hammacher Schlemmer and Sears. We gota problem if the feeds from them is not being tracked by CJ.

  5. #5
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    It is correctly setting CJ cookie. Problem may be at Discovery end to track and batch the transaction to CJ.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Thanks for that info kcedit. The Hammacher product links seem to work fine, sales have been coming in. They do not have the tracking.searchmarketing.com in the link (of course I do not know if that is the ultimate cause of the problem but it is suspicious).

    How do you check the CJ cookie? Is that something easy for me to check?

  7. #7
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    You have to clean all your existing cookies (From IE menu Tools > Internet Options > General Tabs > Delete Cookie). Then go to Discovery using that URL, open up same tab > Settings > View Files. There should a couple of file marked as cookie. One of them is qksrv.net (CJ's domain).

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If they're doing batch reporting, the CJ cookies don't make any difference. Check to see what merchant cookies are being setting with a normal link versus the product link that you suspect might not be tracking.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
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  9. #9
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    The Buy url is listed the same way in the prodouct data feed which gives me some clue why they have not converted yet

    Thanks for the find and exposure for this issue, sometimes it's hard to decide if it's me or them, but your post has clearned up any doubts.

    Thanks Cathy.

    3 cj cookies set and not until it reaches discovery is a searchmarketing.com cookie set. i noticed 2 cookies coming from searchmarketing one a 30 day and one session based from tracking.searchmarketing.com
    Last edited by mrbshouse; December 8th, 2006 at 04:38 PM.

  10. #10
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    Kc,

    What have you heard if anything? I've sent two emails to Discovery in the last few days and have yet to receive a reply...normally they are on top of it and reply fairly fast.

    To clarify my earlier post the current URL coming out of product links are shown as
    value="http://tracking.searchmarketing.com/click.asp?aid=******
    and the buy URL in the product feeds as
    cjdomain+ad idnetifier?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftracking.searchmarketing.com%2Fclick.asp%3Faid%*****

    If Discovery claims this is not coming from them they should look at what they are sending CJ. How this could have gone since early Nov with out their noticing is insane. I recently reactivated an old program and was disappointed with the results (thinking the batch was a few days behind)

    Once again thanks for bringing this to everyones attention.


    How to see cookies:
    In IE click tools / internet options, Then click on the privacy tab. Choose advanced and click the PROMPT option, then ok.

    It's a pain if always set this way but you will see the cookies as they are dropped, without having to visit your cookie jar to see what you just got.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    I have a call scheduled with the Discovery Channel for Tuesday morning and will let post if there is any information of general interst. I did send Michael a link to this thread as well. Since it is batch processing and it seems that the data for the orders was not sent to CJ (my humble understanding), I believe that the only way to recover it is from Discovery. I also opened a question at support in CJ since they have not gotten back to me from my phone call.

    mrbshouse, Do you have evidence that you have lost orders? Have you been using the datafeed links with tracking.searchmarketing.com and have you had any orders go through? My experience is that 100% of orders with searchmarketing do not track.

    I am kind of surprised that we are not hearing from more affiliates.

  12. #12
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Wow Cathy. Thank you for the good detective work and exposing this issue!
    Hopefully, someone will understand the technical aspects and look into it.
    This is scary stuff ...
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  13. #13
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    Cathy,

    no test orders here. I just know that they convert better than what i've seen since I reactivated a program with them this week. (not a big fish here were talking less than 100 product specific clicks).

    I'm disapointed to hear that something of this importance that effects any affiliate using their product information has been pushed to tuesday..any resolution would be some time after that, pushing it till Fri min for me to recieve an updated product catalog.

    This will kill any idea of working their program for Christmas....what a shame

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Yes I had to write off Christmas with the Discovery Channel. I changed all links that made sense to other merchants and dropped others. The ones I changed to other merchants immediately started converting. I feel like a fool for not noticing it earlier but with some of my older links working, it wasn't obvious what was wrong and instead of researching the problem I initially just focused on other merchants. Argh.

  15. #15
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I bought the alarm clock that sounds like windchimes and it didn't track. It's been 3 weeks and it was through a link with tracking.searchmarketing.com in it. Sales are close to nothing over the past 2 months and click throughs are high. (p.s. the windchime clock is awful. the time display doesn't have a light and it's so complicated to figure out how to set the time it's currently sitting back in the box. The windchimes sound like an annoying piece of metal which is loose, not the kinder gentler approach to waking up I had hoped for ).
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  16. #16
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    How did I miss this thread? I pulled most of their links because of poor performance. I too just switched to another merchant, thought it was just me. Thanks for investigating this.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for calling this out Cathy...I had a gut feeling that something was wrong with DC. Conversion so far this year is zero -- I pulled all of their links.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Depend on no one but yourself...[/FONT] :winking:

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    I hope you all will contact DC and CJ on Monday to put pressure on them to fix the problem.

    I am still hopeful that the data exists at DC and is recoverable; that it just was not sent to CJ in their batch.

  19. #19
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    I did a bit of digging on searchmarketingDOTcom and fond this domain forwards to channeladvisor. On the home page they mention their services as:

    Natural Search:
    Maximize penetration, optimize pages, increase ranking.

    Paid Search:
    Profit on every keyword, accelerate keyword growth, make more sales.

    Seems like a datamining effort for a company that manages paid search. I wonder what all the big players think about the ROI on the product catalog right now. I also wonder if the next year will have new terms and conditions.


  20. #20
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    Cathy,

    How did the phone call go?

    Bump

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Good. It was actually postponed until today as DC was still working out what happened.

    The links appear to be fixed as of late yesterday. If you look at the product links, tracking dot searchmarketing dot com is no longer in the URL. The links are once again using shopping.discovery.com. Both CJ, DC, and channeladvisor are now aware of what happened. DC believes that they will be able to recover all of the lost sales data but it involves a technical and manual process and it might be a couple of weeks before it is done. I definitely will be following up with DC to make sure that it gets done.

    I believe that the bad guys in this deal were channeladvisor, whether it was intentional or a blunder, in either case it is a bad deal. My understanding is that all of our affiliate sales commissions generated from the bad links from Nov 1 until the present somehow went to channeladvisor rather than the correct affiliate. DC got their sales, CJ got their cut and channeladvisor took the affiliates commissions.

    This is my understanding of what happened without knowing all of the details and I hope that DC, CJ, or channeladvisor will post here if I have misstated anything.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kcedit
    tracking.searchmarketing.com is owned by Channel Advisor. One of their services is data feed optimization. I would guess Discovery is using that service. 2 of other customers are Hammacher Schlemmer and Sears. We gota problem if the feeds from them is not being tracked by CJ.
    In fairness to Hammacher Schlemmer, I tested them and they tracked fast. I do have a problem with the tracking at Sears and Discovery Channel.

  23. #23
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    Cathy,

    Thanks once again for finding this issue and for bringing ot to Discovery's attention. I am still waiting for a reply to my email sent over a week ago.

    B;-)ing

  24. #24
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    My understanding is that all of our affiliate sales commissions generated from the bad links from Nov 1 until the present somehow went to channeladvisor rather than the correct affiliate.
    Oh good grief!
    Who needs to bother with popups when they can just go for the actual aff sites!
    I mean...that must have been some "glitch"...

    They need a nice, shiny, mega reversal in their stocking for Christmas as those commissions are sent to where they should have gone all along!

    I am kind of surprised that we are not hearing from more affiliates.
    It's the title. It looked like it'd just be another Anti-CJ Conspiracy Thread (yawn). I only bothered to look now because it keeps coming up in the new search.

    It's too early in the day for me to think up a better one, though. I wouldn't even be up at such an hour if it wasn't for some business stuff that came up that I had to check on.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    Discovery Channel came through and posted the missing transactions this morning. The transactions from Oct & Nov are in the reports as Pending Commissions, locked. The Dec transactions are in the regular commission detail reports. My total CJ Balance doesn't appear to be updated correctly but I'll wait and see if it fixes itself sometime today.

    Glad to see the transactions were not lost!

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