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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    in regards to Sambay's post about cookie stuffing
    I was alerted that there was a post here accusing me of cookie stuffing.

    Let me start out by saying that I had talked to one of my fellow Revenews bloggers a month or so ago about this. I was/am testing out to see if this practice of opening the merchant site when a user went to my page for the merchant on my site made any difference in sales. With my type of site one assumes a user will sometimes come and just get the coupon code and not click through my link.

    Also, if they don't click through my link, yet use a coupon I posted, should I not get credit?

    I know lots of other sites that use this practice.

    I don't think of it as cookie stuffing, as the person clicked on the merchant link on my site.

    I also have it in place so that any merchant not wanting this to occur, I check a box and it doesn't pop on their page anymore.

    I would be interested in a debate on this issue, it would give me more feedback for my blog.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    A couple of other comments that might spark some conversation:

    Do you think conversion rate might go up if the merchant page is opened for a shopper when they click on our merchant page? Are they more likely to shop when the page is already open?

    I am working with a couple of merchants to see if their epc is affected. So far it hasn't been.

  3. #3
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    flamingoworld - Also, if they don't click through my link, yet use a coupon I posted, should I not get credit?
    No click, no credit!

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If the click to your merchant page came from elsewhere on your site, I think that's acceptable (and perhaps even helpful to visitors). If the click came from Google or elsewhere, I think it's almost as bad as cookie stuffing (and the end result is the same).

    If you plan on keeping this on your site, perhaps you could modify your JavaScript so that it only pops if the referrer page is from elsewhere on your site? I think that might be the best solution.

    Also, keep in mind that most people with IE6 or IE7 (and probably many of the other newer browsers) will have popups blocked, so your popups won't really work for most shoppers.
    Michael Coley
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  5. #5
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    Some coupons are already tied to an affiliate, with or without a click. If an affiliate has an exclusive coupon that is only posted on their site for their use to give their visitors, they should get credit for sending that traffic and that sale.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    If you plan on keeping this on your site, perhaps you could modify your JavaScript so that it only pops if the referrer page is from elsewhere on your site? I think that might be the best solution.
    As I am still testing I am not sure I am keeping this on the site, but will have Nate change it so it only pops if they click on my links from my site to go to the merchant page. Good idea.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Another comment I thought of. Many affiliates don't offer coupons so they don't get in the unique position a coupon site gets in, where people come and get the coupon without clicking our links. We do the work and get no credit.

  8. #8
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    Another comment I thought of. Many affiliates don't offer coupons so they don't get in the unique position a coupon site gets in, where people come and get the coupon without clicking our links. We do the work and get no credit.
    What about the affiliate providing content, pushing the customer to buy and not getting the sale because the customer search for an other coupon (quite often fake) before placing the order. They REALLY DO THE WORK and get no credit.

  9. #9
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    but will have Nate change it so it only pops if they click on my links from my site to go to the merchant page. Good idea.
    As Michael said, I think that's a good solution for your test Connie.. but it's still kind of questionable b/c no click takes place on the actual page where your tracking ad is displayed.

    I'm sure you'll make the best decision for your business in the long run.

  10. #10
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary-AvantLink
    As Michael said, I think that's a good solution...
    To be honest, it's the only solution. As Zeus reminded us, the pattern is a "no click - no credit" one (where click = click to the merchant's site).

    Geno

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    What about the affiliate providing content, pushing the customer to buy and not getting the sale because the customer search for an other coupon (quite often fake) before placing the order. They REALLY DO THE WORK and get no credit.
    First of all, we don't post fake coupons.
    Also if we have it set to only pop if the referrer is from an internal link on our site, we don't have to worry about someone coming from the search engine getting the pop.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager TFAW.com's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if you've tested this already or not, but you might consider removing the coupon code from your page and requiring the user to click through in order to receive the coupon. I'm sure you have some merchants where this wouldn't work because of landing page deficiencies, but may be worth testing for the ones that have good coupon landing pages.

    Thanks,

    Dale
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    What about the affiliate providing content, pushing the customer to buy and not getting the sale because the customer search for an other coupon (quite often fake) before placing the order. They REALLY DO THE WORK and get no credit.
    That would be an argument relating to coupon sites in general and not to specifically this discussion.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFAW.com
    I'm not sure if you've tested this already or not, but you might consider removing the coupon code from your page and requiring the user to click through in order to receive the coupon. I'm sure you have some merchants where this wouldn't work because of landing page deficiencies, but may be worth testing for the ones that have good coupon landing pages.

    Thanks,

    Dale
    This is already happening on sites that have NO coupon codes. They require a click, set a cookie and then..... "Sorry, no coupon available at this time". To me, THAT is cookie stuffing and is worse than a fake coupon.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFAW.com
    I'm not sure if you've tested this already or not, but you might consider removing the coupon code from your page and requiring the user to click through in order to receive the coupon. I'm sure you have some merchants where this wouldn't work because of landing page deficiencies, but may be worth testing for the ones that have good coupon landing pages.

    Thanks,

    Dale
    Would this still not require the merchant site to then load too in order to set the cookie? So when a person clicked to get the coupon the merchant site would also have to load?

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamingoworld
    Another comment I thought of. Many affiliates don't offer coupons so they don't get in the unique position a coupon site gets in, where people come and get the coupon without clicking our links. We do the work and get no credit.
    Interesting Connie. I think Lox made a good point IF the coupon is an exclusive, but where it is not, sounds like MC's thoughts are sensible. Either way, I'm sure you'll find the best answer and have no doubt about your marketing integrity. I may question some of your music choices, but not your ethics.
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  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    That would be an argument relating to coupon sites in general and not to specifically this discussion.
    Yes, please let's not turn this into a coupon sites are evil thread. We exist, we will continue to exist whether you agree with coupon usage or not.

    However one comment, if all merchants could make coupons link coupons we wouldn't have any issues of people not clicking before using the coupon.

  18. #18
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    This is already happening on sites that have NO coupon codes. They require a click, set a cookie and then..... "Sorry, no coupon available at this time". To me, THAT is cookie stuffing and is worse than a fake coupon.
    You can show the details (but not the coupon code) of the coupon first, to solve that issue. That way, if there's a legit coupon, they click. If not, they leave.

  19. #19
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamingoworld
    However one comment, if all merchants could make coupons link coupons we wouldn't have any issues of people not clicking before using the coupon.
    Somewhat true, but you'd still have unscrupulous affiliates writing a link to zappos that says save 10%, even though it's not true.

    Link coupon may solve a lot of the 'setting the cookie' issue for coupon site owners, but they don't solve every issue.

  20. #20
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    If a merchant has a coupon site making sales, they should do both of these:

    +know if they have issued that site legitimate coupons
    +look at the site to see the coupons they have posted and how they are handled

    You gotta know your producers, for me, that's the bottom line to solve all of the problems.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    You can show the details (but not the coupon code) of the coupon first, to solve that issue. That way, if there's a legit coupon, they click. If not, they leave.
    But still, when they click they get the coupon and also the merchant site opens. I really dont' see any difference in that or if someone clicks on the merchant page on my site to get a coupon.

  22. #22
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFAW.com
    I'm not sure if you've tested this already or not, but you might consider removing the coupon code from your page and requiring the user to click through in order to receive the coupon. I'm sure you have some merchants where this wouldn't work because of landing page deficiencies, but may be worth testing for the ones that have good coupon landing pages.
    I actually find that more offensive than popping the merchant's site in a separate window. It's not friendly at all to customers, and it still results in setting the affiliate cookie even if the customer doesn't find what they want.
    Michael Coley
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  23. #23
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    And if someone posts an unauthorized coupon (like something from your direct mail or whatever) or a fake coupn, you should have policies in place forbidding that already and you should dump those affiliates.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    I wonder how many of those "fake" coupons are really coupons people found in the networks that have no expiration date and are outdated, but the merchant didn't remove them. I run across this all the time, but we test them before posting.

    Also, I have told Nate to only have the pop on merchants that actually have coupons listed, not on those who don't offer or have coupons.

    I am only interested in testing if sales go up for coupons, to see if there is a lot of people coming to get coupons and not clicking our links.

  25. #25
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamingoworld
    But still, when they click they get the coupon and also the merchant site opens. I really dont' see any difference in that or if someone clicks on the merchant page on my site to get a coupon.
    To me, there is a big difference. The consumer doesn't know or care much about the details (of when the cookie is set) at all, but our industry generally requires a positive click, by the consumer, to claim you referred the sale legitimately. When the consumer clicks through to your merchant's page, whether they arrived there from a serps result or another page on your site, they are not clicking with the intention, knowingly or not, to open or visit the merchant's site.

    If you make it clear that clicking on something takes them to the merchants site, and they click on it, no matter how agressive others may view you as a coupon site or whatever else you're doing, it's very hard to argue against it as cheating. If the consumer is told here's how to get there, and that's what you do (take them there), there can be an argument about it's relative value to the merchant, but I don't think accusations of cookie stuffing or forced clicks apply when you've clearly told the consumer to execute a positive, physical click on a link to the merchant and they choose to do so.
    Last edited by Donuts; July 27th, 2007 at 12:32 PM. Reason: several typos and added "(of when the cookie is set)"

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