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  1. #1
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    Using afsrc=1
    Has there been a discussion of this at length? Could someone point me to it, I can't find it. If not, could we start one here?

    Specifically, I don't quite understand this.

    Is this only for affiliates who use some sort of redirect?

    What if I have a redirect such as
    www.mydomain.com/merchant-name.html which redirects to merchant-name's affiliate link through cj or ls?

    Am I supposed to redo all of those redirect links as
    `http://www.mydomain.com/merchant-name.html?afsrc=1?
    Grr.

    Has anyone tested this and seen that it works?

    Any other downsides?

    How do you feel of having all your pretty links marred with this ugly addition of afsrc=1? Part of the reason the links are redirects is to avoid having ugly GET parameters all over the URL's on the page in the first place!

    Has anyone who runs redirects tried switching all their links to straight up qwksrv/linksynergy/befree links and gauged the difference in conversion? I am considering doing this rather than adding the afsrc=1 paramater to all links. If I see a major increase in conversions I'd attribute it to the redircted links being overwritten, and the straight affiliate links not being overwritten. However, that is a lot of work, and, well, I have to wonder would it be better spent doing something else.

    Thanks..

    ----
    -J
    Merchants: Do you realize that some of your affiliates are gaining commission on sales which you have paid for via PPC, offline advertisng, and your targeted mailings?


    *when I say overwritten, I mean overwritten, popped up on, diverted, or whatever.

    [This message was edited by Shawn@Overstock.com on January 22, 2003 at 04:51 PM.]
    Last edited by MichaelColey; November 5th, 2005 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Changed affsrc to afsrc

  2. #2
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    Joseph,

    This topic has only been discussed very little in open forum and a little privately. I'll see if I can find a better example (I know there was recently one post that referenced it pretty good at anohter site).

    The likely reason it has not been discussed is that there is likely a select few using it and they want to "protect it's viability" which may be compromised if openly discussed at length and the parasites thought that many affiliates were cutting them out. You wont find the "me me me" people in this tread keeping it active. They want it to fall out of site fast!

  3. #3
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    with this method, you don;t have to use afsrc=1 or sign up with a database to be protected.

    I did test it with ebates on a link they were poping up on every time and it stopped them cold turkey in there tracks. The method is valid and will prevent topmoxie from hijacking your links - PERIOD! Until they overcome the flaw that is.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; November 5th, 2005 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Changed affsrc to afsrc

  4. #4
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    Poon,

    I see. Thanks for the info. Interesting.

    In the second message are you quoting or are those your words? You say you don't have to use afsrc=1, but, isnt that what you're talking about?


    ----
    -J
    Merchants: Do you realize that some of your affiliates are gaining commission on sales which you have paid for via PPC, offline advertisng, and your targeted mailings?
    Last edited by MichaelColey; November 5th, 2005 at 09:23 AM. Reason: Changed affsrc to afsrc

  5. #5
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    Joseph, here is an explanation I posted elsewhere fairly recently:
    -----------------------------------
    In regards to TopMoxie clients such as eBates, to my knowledge there are a few ways you can take preventative maintenance to make sure that their technology does not pop-up over your traffic:
    (1) Use affiliate links without server side redirects via LinkShare, BeFree, CJ, or Performics
    (2) Use the "afsrc=1" code on your server side redirects per the original BeFree proposal
    (3) Add yourself to the exemption list that Haiko is working on

    If any of the above are accomplished, then TopMoxie software will not pop-up over your traffic. If anyone can prove that this is not the case, then please call me at your earliest convenience to fill me in on the details. To my knowledge, any of the above 3 items will make TopMoxie not pop-up on your traffic.

    Here's additional information regarding the server-side redirect issue:
    Let’s say you go into LinkShare and get the code for an Overstock.com link that looks something like this:
    http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...=0&bnid=907624

    Now, if you copy and paste the above link after the “HREF=” in your HTML code, then eBates is not popping up on your traffic. When a visitor hits your page and clicks on the link, the TopMoxie software detects the LinkShare, BeFree, CJ, or Performics link and they do NOT pop up on your site.

    However, if you store various links in a database and use server-side redirects, then you need to use the “afsrc=1” name/value pair in your link. For example, you might have the following link in the “HREF=” http://www.myaffiliatedomain.com/red...p?linknumber=1
    When clicked, some affiliates would redirect the above link to:
    http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...=0&bnid=907624

    In these instances where server-side redirects are used, the TopMoxie software has difficulty detecting that the link is an affiliate link, so they might issue a pop-up. To resolve this problem, you could add the “afsrc=1” name/value pair to your link, so it would look like this:
    http://www.myaffiliatedomain.com/red...mber=1&afsrc=1
    This link would still redirect to a link like this one:
    http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...=0&bnid=907624
    However, TopMoxie will not pop-up on the link anymore because they look for “afsrc=1” in referring urls and force their software to not pop-up.

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

  6. #6
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    poon,

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The method is valid and will prevent topmoxie from hijacking your links - PERIOD!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    When you say "PERIOD!" does that mean 100% of the time? Does that also mean that they can't read the originiating url?

    Touche'

  7. #7
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Is this only for affiliates who use some sort of redirect?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    That is correct. If you do not use redirects, then TopMoxie/eBates is not popping up on your LS, BeFree, CJ, or Performics links. If you do use redirects, then you should append “afsrc=1” to your redirect links.

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

  8. #8
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    Here is the link to the artical: http://www.webpronews.com/articles/2003/0103sh.html

  9. #9
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    happypoon - That article tells you nothing about the "afsrc=1" issue. All it says is how to redirect, which solves nothing.

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

  10. #10
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    I edited as per your request and changed "affsrc" to "afsrc".

    Thanks,

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

  11. #11
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    Haiko - As you well know the parasites can see the URL already. They exist on the client machine and watch every move and every site a user visits. Thats why I'm baffled you say you encryption routine is 100% safe.

    As this being a 100% effective - I can't say but I can say - they don't need your program or to use afsrc=1 for redirects to not occur.

    I'm not proposing an affiliate do a single thing but rather pointing out the another option that is available and pointing out what I think are very serious issues with letting the parasites have open information domains are protected and how afsrc is just as much an issue with "identiy" as giving parasites your domain name.

    It totally up to the affiliate to make the decision of what they use. Touche' back!
    Last edited by MichaelColey; November 5th, 2005 at 09:23 AM. Reason: Changed affsrc to afsrc

  12. #12
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    Shawn, thanks. Deleted the edit request so as not to cloud up the thread with extra crap. Possible to fix the post title? If not oh well. Thanks!
    Just to head off any new possible conspiracy theories- I asked for my original post to be edited due to a misspelling.

    [This message was edited by Joseph Monuit on January 22, 2003 at 05:14 PM.]

  13. #13
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    I can only wonder why this is such an issue for you Shawn?

  14. #14
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by happypoon:
    I'm not proposing an affiliate do a single thing but rather pointing out the another option that is available.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    DITTO! But maybe mine is 100% effective and afsrc=1 isn't? hmmmm

    Checkmate!

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli</font></p>
    Last edited by MichaelColey; November 5th, 2005 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Changed affsrc to afsrc

  15. #15
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    LOL - Yours aint even available - much less 100% effective. And when it becomes available and they continue to overwrite and REALLY MAKE YOU LOOK FOOLISH your credibility and this proposal will haunt you for a very long time.

    Check..

  16. #16
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    poon - it's AFSRC=1

    You keep saying AFFSRC=1. There is only 1 F.

    Thanks,

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

  17. #17
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    Ahhhhhhhh

    Shawn - I might know why you're confused (or maybe it's just me - somehow Joeseph started this thread instead of responding to the post I initially created here:

    http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...9&m=7966090902

    TO AVOID CONFUSION - HERE IS THAT POST.

    Their are many people here analyising the pros and cons of the encryption list and I wanted to throw out a couple things on the table you should consider.

    1) A general recomendation is to add afsrc=1 to the end of the URL. This is "suposidly" only needed for people that use a database interface to build and execute a link at run time. The afsrc is a concept that became about as part of the befree proposal. I'm not going to tell you it's good or it's bad but has anybody thought that this is just another form of identity?

    The parasites can use this parameter as a means of tracking not only your site but also a specific link from your site!

    While I'm not really "paranoid" over the issue I do have a technology background and I'm very aware that the parasites are not stupid and they want to mazimize technology to improve their ability to compete and make as much money as possible to be viewed as "a viable and valuable source" merchants can and should use to improve sales.

    With that in mind, I'm willing to bet the parasites have much better knowledge of our sites statistics then we ourself do. We see where we are getting sales but thats only part of the picture - we do not see what sales are redirected. The parasites can make a better estimate of your performance levels than us because they know how much is being redirected! They can also just as easily know what "specific links" are the most redirected from our site and what links are the least likely to convert into a sale.

    Now it's speculative if this information is presently stored much less if it even used but..... If you were in the parasites shoes would you be capturing the information and possibly planning on using it at some point in the future for use? I would!

    OK - with that in mind, would the afsrc parameter (or the exclusion list for that matter) make it easier for a parasite to gather this information? I say yes and between the two of them together, it makes it much easier.

    If they (the parasites) don't have either of these, they can likely log information and build it much more slowly (as clicks are encountered and redirection occurs). With a domain name and link identifiers, they can prescan a page and know exactly what id's are and are not getting clicked on and they can more reliably determine the overall performance of their redirects and the information they establis as clicks are record to links and sites.

    The potential for abuse is astounding here in my opinion. They would be able to target the most profitable sites and even the most profitable areas of your site and you the web owner - never knows a thing. Now ask me why I'm against the idea and don't like it.


    OK what are your other options?

    Well there has been several other references made around it but of course most affiliates will not talk about it because they fear - "the short term solution" may get fixed by the parasites and then it wont be of any value to them to use. Here goes.

    Another method to protect yourself is to frame your links. As I've already noted in other posts, the basic premise parasites operate by is watching the domain / URL being placed in the browser (which is why the exclusion list is not secure - because when the program Haiko has tells them "its a match" all they have to do is look in the browser (which they already do) and the domain name is right there.) How does framing help and how dow I do it?

    Framing basically hides the browser address from the parasite. Right now, The topmoxie clients are looking for only the domain name for one of their clients and the not specifically at thre affiliates domain. IE: They come to abc.com which has affiliate links - they can't overwrite a link until they know its a partner link so they watch the browser. The user clicks on xyz.com affiliate link and xyz.com enters the browser - they recognize that xyz is in their affiliate program and then cause a redirect back to the network that causes another cookie to overwrite yours. Thats it! If a sale is made, the company reads the cookie and guess who gets credit for the sale.

    By framing, the parasite "currently" never sees xyz.com in the browser. Heres an example:

    &lt;!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Frameset//EN"
    "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/frameset.dtd"&gt;
    HTML // NEEDS BRACKETS
    HEAD // NEEDS BRACKETS
    TITLEYour site in partnership with: XYZ.com/TITLE
    /HEAD // NEEDS BRACKETS
    FRAMESET rows="100%" // NEEDS BRACKETS
    FRAME src="http://www.qksrv.net/click-.........THE NETWORK LINK INFOMATION GOES HERE"&gt; &lt;img src="http://www.qksrv.net/image-............. image link info goes here" width="1" height="1" border="0"
    /FRAMESET
    NOFRAMES
    &lt;P&gt;Sorry, you're browser is not able to display frames, click
    a href="http://www.qksrv.net/click-..LINK INFO GOES HERE....." &gt;here&lt;/a&gt; &lt;img src="http://www.qksrv.net/image-...INFO GOES HERE........"
    to go to XYZ.COM.
    /NOFRAMES // brakets removed
    /FRAMESET // brakets removed
    /HTML // brackets removed


    // Note that // indicates a comment and should not be in the final file.


    The example is greatly modified due to I'm not sure just how much HTML is being allowed in a post but the examples have been used mentioned various times with little or no comment. After entering the above information (and put in valid affiliate link information) save it as
    my_xzy.html


    To finish off the example, you simply put a link into your program where the user currently clicks the affiliate link and have it call my_xyz.html

    Try one and see what happens. In particular, watch the title bar and the url shown in the browser as you navigate xyz.com - notice anything? AhHa - thats why the TopMoxie parasites cant redirect on you. They don't see what they are looking for.

    Using this method (which some/most merchants don't openly allow) can be used to protect your links for however long it takes for TopMoxie to get around and figure out a way to overcome this.

    You have to pick and choose yourself what protection "if any" you will use and the up and downside to each one of them.

    In making that desision though, you really should have all known options of protection available to you. Pick Carefully!
    Last edited by MichaelColey; November 5th, 2005 at 09:26 AM. Reason: Changed affsrc to afsrc

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
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    Good one Poon,

    But pls correct the AFF to AF lol...

    Love Life to the fullest. we only get ONE chance! :-)

  19. #19
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Shawn@Overstock.com:
    Joseph, here is an explanation I posted elsewhere fairly recently:
    -----------------------------------
    In regards to TopMoxie clients such as eBates, to my knowledge there are a few ways you can take preventative maintenance to make sure that their technology does not pop-up over your traffic:
    (1) Use affiliate links without server side redirects via LinkShare, BeFree, CJ, or Performics
    (2) Use the "afsrc=1" code on your server side redirects per the original BeFree proposal
    (3) Add yourself to the exemption list that Haiko is working on

    If any of the above are accomplished, then TopMoxie software will not pop-up over your traffic. If anyone can prove that this is not the case, then please call me at your earliest convenience to fill me in on the details. To my knowledge, any of the above 3 items will make TopMoxie not pop-up on your traffic.

    Here's additional information regarding the server-side redirect issue:
    Let’s say you go into LinkShare and get the code for an Overstock.com link that looks something like this:
    http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...=0&bnid=907624

    Now, if you copy and paste the above link after the “HREF=” in your HTML code, then eBates is not popping up on your traffic. When a visitor hits your page and clicks on the link, the TopMoxie software detects the LinkShare, BeFree, CJ, or Performics link and they do NOT pop up on your site.

    However, if you store various links in a database and use server-side redirects, then you need to use the “afsrc=1” name/value pair in your link. For example, you might have the following link in the “HREF=” http://www.myaffiliatedomain.com/red...p?linknumber=1
    When clicked, some affiliates would redirect the above link to:
    http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...=0&bnid=907624

    In these instances where server-side redirects are used, the TopMoxie software has difficulty detecting that the link is an affiliate link, so they might issue a pop-up. To resolve this problem, you could add the “afsrc=1” name/value pair to your link, so it would look like this:
    http://www.myaffiliatedomain.com/red...mber=1&afsrc=1
    This link would still redirect to a link like this one:
    http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...=0&bnid=907624
    However, TopMoxie will not pop-up on the link anymore because they look for “afsrc=1” in referring urls and force their software to not pop-up.

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Shawn,

    If an affiliate links as I will explain below, are parasites even an issue?

    Instead of the link to a merchant like http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...=0&bnid=907624 being right on the page directly to the merchant, what if the affiliate creates and HTML page entitled overstock.html and within that page they place the affiliate link with a meta redirect set at 0 seconds.

    On the page that the world (or the parasite) originally sees the link would be www.yourdomain.com/overstock.html The visitor clicks on that link, hits the overstock.html and meta redirects to the merchant site in the blink of an eye.

    Does this hide the affiliate link from the parasite? Can a parasite steal commissions using that set up??

    Because you can't ad afsrc=1 to the overstock.html. It won't work.

    NOTE: Just have to add that after posting this I went and read the article above which recommends using the method I outlined here. *LOL*

    ~Michelle

    ****************************
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."

    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> </pre>

  20. #20
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    Quick note, sure you can add the afsrc=1 to your .html link.... try it. I'm not saying I like adding it, but, you can.

    Edit: I don't know the ramifications on a non apache derivative.

  21. #21
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Joseph Monuit:
    Quick note, sure you can add the afsrc=1 to your .html link.... try it. I'm not saying I like adding it, but, you can.

    ----
    -J
    Merchants: Do you realize that some of your affiliates are gaining commission on sales which you have paid for via PPC, offline advertisng, and your targeted mailings?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    You're right! I stand corrected. You don't even want to know what stupid thing I did when I tested it. *LOL*

    Now to find out if having each link in it's own URL like I mentioned above will due the trick with out the extra work of adding the afsrc=1 to the link

    ~Michelle

    ****************************
    "All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy."

    "Work to become, not to acquire." -- Confucius

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador John Kruger's Avatar
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    ~michelle

    I was alluding to this same idea in a different post. I have come across a number of affiliate sites using the concept, but I do not have a way to test it.

    Please let us know what you come up with.

    John

    Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

    www.teampb.com

  23. #23
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    If annoying your visitors by not having a "parasite popup on your site" that either overwrites your aff link or takes them somewhere else is what you'd rather have by all means using frames is a bad idea.

  24. #24
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    Shawn:

    Did you send this info out to Overstock affiliates? If so, I didn't see it.

  25. #25
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>On the page that the world (or the parasite) originally sees the link would be www.yourdomain.com/overstock.html The visitor clicks on that link, hits the overstock.html and meta redirects to the merchant site in the blink of an eye.

    Does this hide the affiliate link from the parasite? Can a parasite steal commissions using that set up??
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I could be wrong, but I don't understand why this would stop a pop-up? An LS, BeFree, CJ, or Performics link sends the user to the merchant's site where the merchant then drops that affiliate's code into their cookie. Nothing would then stop a pop-up from being displayed over the Merchant's website. Right? Am I missing something?

    The "afsrc=1" code in the referring url, if detected by TopMoxie, would force their app to not pop-up. What would force them to not pop-up using the method in the article happypoon supplied?

    Sorry, I don't understand and would like to better understand this. Any help you could provide would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

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