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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    A friend of mine commented that he is now having trouble getting new merchants at CJ, due to one of his competitors going around clicking on various affiliate links on his site (not making any purchases, of course).

    He found out because the competitors girlfriend E-mailed him after they had had an argument, and told him her boyfriend was competing with him, and was attempting to drive down his EPC figures so he would be dropped by merchants. She said he would just sit there and click on links, change to another page, and click more links.

    She didn't identify herself, nor did she identify the competing site, so there's no way of proving any of this. He did notice a substantial increase in non-performing clicks a few months back, and attributed it to parasiteware. His EPC figures have been slowly dropping as well.

    Any ideas how to can combat this? I guess CJ doesn't have any way to determine if the clicks are genuine or not. This seems like a really sleazy way to undermine your competition.

    Andy

  2. #2
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    Unbelievable! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]

  3. #3
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    I wish my competitors had nothing better to do than click on my links [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

  4. #4
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    While I doubt how much of a problem one individual manually clicking links could cause, there are some determined and pitbull people out there.

    Your friend should take a look through his log files and see if he can track this person down. If the knucklehead is doing as the girlfriend says, it shouldn't be too hard. Then ban the knucklehead's IP address (just making sure he doesn't end up banning someone like googlebot) from accessing the site.

    -------
    Dawn is nature's way of telling you to go to bed.

  5. #5
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    I've heard of this being done for PPC's but not for driving down a competitor's EPC. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] Have him do what Cedric said; keeping in mind that this competitor may be using a script, instead of manually clicking the links, so he should keep an eye out for any unusual http referrer.

    I guess, well I just thought of another way he could be doing it that I don't think your friend could prove without CJ help. I don't want to post it here because I'm afraid I might be giving people ideas - for all I know the competitor could be lurking here.

    {

    "Laziness, Impatience, Hubris. Pick any three" ~ YAPC 19100

  6. #6
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    If he is manually doing it I wouldn't worry about it... let him waste his time..poor sap.

    Would be much easier and more efficient however to programaticaly do it.. that would suck

    And he could be virtually undetectable once he has all the affiliate links he doesnt even need to load your page to do it.. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

  7. #7
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    We really don't care about epc at all, as long as we are making sales. We get 1-2 merchants a month that drop us for hurting their epc.

    Oh well, sorry. The only time we care is if we really did do sales with them and then they drop us. But truth be told, that never happens. The only ones who drop us due to us "hurting" their epc are those who have never converted a single visitor.

    We say good riddance.

    If you have a merchant converting, and they drop you for a low epc, just contact them, explain what you can, and ask them: What's more important, my $XXXX in sales or your epc dropping a few points? (Besides an automated attack like this would be easy to find on the merchants side. They have your PID and can easily extract the IPs from your "clicks" and see you are telling the truth.)

    For all the benefits CJ attaches to the epc, it's really a false indicator. The best indicator is the $$$$ and $$$$$ ratings. (But even that can be misleading, cause we've helped pull $$ merchants to $$$$ merchants.)

    http://SearchToSale.com - Turns your search box into money.

  8. #8
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    competitors girlfriend?? Sounds like a soap opera.

  9. #9
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    If you knew the competitors ip address couldn't you block him from accessing your site using the .htaccess file?

    Core

    "Somebody's got some 'splanin to do!" - Rex [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

  10. #10
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    The problem is that the "competitor" doesn't need access to your site to mess up your EPC!

  11. #11
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    Hm, I've noticed some strange suckage going on with a few of my own links.

    I thought I was just drawing in too many lookers but HMMMMM.....

    There is no knowledge that is not power.~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Well, soap opera or not, there has been a week's worth of clicks on the site already today, and they were all in by mid-morning!

    No one's EPC can hold up for very long like this! He's going to check logs to see if he can find the culprit...

    I guess some people DON'T have anything better to do!

    Andy

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