Affiliate Marketing Blog


Everything You Need To Know about Affiliate Cookies

Written by Prashant Verma and published in the Affiliate Programs category 25 July, 2013 - 12:00:41

If you are an affiliate or desire to be an affiliate, you have probably heard about cookies. Not the type you eat, but the cookies that track information about Internet users.

affiliate cookies

However, there's no need to panic. Cookies can be a wonderful benefit for online users and merchants. For example, every computer has its own address. Much like having your own credit card number. This number or address is known as Internet Protocol, or IP address. This numerical tag is allocated to roughly every computer online. What's so incredible about cookies is that it knows when your card; computer, and number; IP address, is being used; the Internet.

Actually, because your address is chronicled and consistently being monitored, cookies allows a website to "track" you while you browse their site. For merchants, knowing where their customers have been on their site, the pages they've viewed, the length of time they viewed each one, and the number of times they return, is a tremendously convenient and effectual sales and marketing tool. For consumers, merchants will have a better ideal of what they take to, enabling them to serve their needs better. This is the key in affiliate marketing and affiliate programs.

In order for clicks to be successful, it depends upon cookie length, image placement, and ad copy. Let's take a look at cookie basics and how they pertain to you as affiliate marketers.
 

What is stored in a cookie?

Fanatical amounts of data can be stored in a user's cookies such as their affiliate ID, website name, IP address, date and time of visit, and visit duration. This information is utilized by affiliate programs to scrutinize and assist affiliate marketers while the company follows conversions, clicks, and gauge blanket ROI, return on investment, of any affiliate marketing campaign.

How do cookies work?

The process is really quite simple, and fairly effective depending on which affiliate program you are associated with. For example, Commission Junction is a one-stop affiliate marketer's paradise. CJ has the biggest variety of affiliate company listings. Suppose you select a company from CJ to advertise and create a link on your site. Whenever someone visits your site and clicks on the affiliate link of that company, an affiliate cookie will attach onto the visitor's computer to keep "an eye" on whether they make a purchase or not via your link. Just think of it as placing a GPS system onto your vehicle. If a sale is completed through your link, the company will award you with a commission. In this case, the commission is paid via Commission Junction, and not directly from the company.

Affiliate cookies lifespan.

An affiliate cookie's lifespan differs depending on the affiliate program itself. Some cookies expire within 24 hours; therefore, if a purchase is not made within a 24 hour period, the affiliate cookie no longer functions. However, there is no need for the purchase to be made immediately within those 24 hours. It can still be completed if a visitor bookmarks the affiliate product page and makes a purchase later; however a commission will only be paid if the purchase is made within 24 hours.

Some affiliate programs permit their cookies to live longer, and many are mandated to depart cyber space after 30 to 90 days. Other affiliate programs have cookies that may last for a whole year, and others become immortal, they never expire, as long as the user has not cleared the cookies in their web browser. In other words, it's possible to make money even if a customer makes a purchase five years after clicking on your affiliate link!

What is cookie overwriting?

You probably understand by now that affiliate cookies are pieces of data stored on a person's browser by a specified website so that website overseers can follow user's movements within their website. Cookie overwriting involves the dealings of an affiliate adware overwriting another affiliate's cookie. In turn, the adware "steals" advertisement recognition in place of the cookie. Thus, the software developer receives revenue and not the website owner! It's basically misuse, since the website developer is deprived of advertisement revenue to the software developer. What they can do is simply type in search engines such as Google for any type of affiliate products they are promoting. Any sites that consist of the affiliate adware will appear. The affiliate cookie developer will be able to establish procedures to make certain that every advertisement links stemming from this adware is methodically dissected prior to being credited.

What is cookie stuffing

Regrettably, there are individuals in the cyber world who misuse the affiliate marketing program with "cookie stuffing." Thankfully, this is in the minority. Cookie stuffing forces a cookie on to a visitor's computer even if they did not click on an affiliate link on a particular page.

For novices and those of you who wish to avoid trouble, stay clear of cookie stuffing. Your affiliate account can be banned in perpetuity with legal action being taken against you, legal fines, or possibly jail time. Additionally, you will still need to steer LOTS of traffic to your site in order to make a considerable amount in commissions via cookie stuffing.

Affiliates say "NO" to Cookie stuffing

If you think clicks don't add up, how does $1 million a month sound? Not too long ago, one master mind affiliate marketer, Shawn Hogan, rigged eBay's system and accumulated, over the years, upwards of $28 million! eBay alleges that Hogan manipulated their system so that it wrongly ascribed sales that he had absolutely nothing to do with. Known as "cookie stuffing," this "blackhat" method has landed Hogan in the arms of the FBI.

Shawn hogan and Brian dunning


eBay's second leading affiliate marketer, Brian Dunning, brought in several million, making the commission heist, together with Hogan's take, at least $35 million. Dunning is guilty of utilizing the same "blackhat" method used by Hogan. Both plead guilty to wire fraud. These two were geniuses at cookie stuffing. It was an easy, but dishonest means of making huge amounts of money at the expense of a legitimate system. However, this is a very rare occurrence. eBay and many others have managed successful affiliate marketing programs to the benefit of those who participate in them.

By allowing cookie stuffers into affiliate programs, it's literally giving them the green light to damage the program's progress and warp the balance of other online marketing campaigns. The only technique that works is to identify cookie stuffers, and say NO, by kicking them out of the program. Fortunately, this is exactly what merchants are doing.


Detecting and Banning Cookie Stuffers from affiliate programs

Nowadays, cookie stuffing end-users are granted an enticement to download-browser toolbars and plugins. These create a course for affiliates to stuff cookies when visitors go to websites that take part in affiliate programs. A cross-channeling-marketing and optimization company called Convertro, has assembled a "white paper" on cookie stuffing. Cookie stuffing is a dilemma that is being effectively dealt with; thereby, keeping affiliate marketing a legitimate business that attracts individuals looking for an honest means of making revenue online.

cookie detecting

The white paper reveals the most prolific cookie stuffers based on a chronicle of decisive factors such as size, reach, and traceability:

  • The minimum quantity must be at lest 30 cookie stuffing occurrences each day per URL.
  • The reach must consist of a minimum of three or more unrelated clients with affiliate cookie-stuffer.
  • Traceability is the capacity for Convertro to distinguish the cookie stuffer. The drawback is that "smart cookie stuffers" utilize empty referring URLS, creating a block to identifying the stuffer's name. No more than the publisher ID is accessible.


The white paper also explicates the methods utilized to track online activity, hence search marketers can find out about what the company, Convertro, identifies as affiliate program abuse/fraud. Acknowledged marketing methods and technology for online and offline channels can summarize this kind of data. You can check Convertro.com for more detailed information and accessibility to their "white paper" results.

Some white hat tips for Affiliates

It is best to avoid unscrupulous attempts at affiliate marketing via "blackhat" practices. There are certainly advantages to participate in affiliate marketing programs, if you put the right amount of effort into it. In addition, selecting an affiliate products that you know about or one that impresses you is a big bonus. You are more likely to promote it more enthusiastically. Here are several tips on how to achieve success in the affiliate marketing arena by placing cookies on visitor's computers the "whitehat" way.

- Ad Copy
Write good content or have someone write it for you. This is one of the most valuable features you must comprehend and USE as an affiliate marketer. Have engaging content that captures the reader's attention. Have content that holds visitors mesmerized long enough to direct them towards a "call to action" where an affiliate link is too tempting not to click!

-Image Position
If you haven't realized it by now, people love images. It gives them a clear picture of what you have to offer. In addition, an image brings your offer to reality. If they can see it, they can visualize having whatever your affiliate program is proposing. If you can seize the attention of the visitors to your site and intrigue them enough with images that gets them to click, driving up conversions via your affiliate website will be a walk in the park.

banner ad placement

Image Credit:Qadabra

For example, you can use specific buttons like "Buy Now" or "Special Discount." Additionally, "hero-shots" of the service or product you are advertising can be situated at the top-right of the website or placed to the left of your text. These are a couple of starting-points identified with driving up clicks and conversion estimates for your affiliate links.
 

Nonetheless, do a trial and error test with image placement to get an idea of which positions causes the most successful outcome and increased click-through ratios. Each niche and website is unique; therefore, do not anticipate identical image placements to turn out the same "click through rates," or CTRs.

-Utilize Redirects for Affiliate Links

Be clever and use PHP-redirects or the Pretty-Link plugin if your website is WordPress fashioned to conceal those lengthy, hideous affiliate links on your website. Your links appear sharper and will certainly boost your CTR. If you use WordPress, this easy redirection plugin, will help you to accomplish internal-directs.

pretty link

For example, rather than maintaining a URL like www.graingrows.com/afffiliate-link87620544332998229337rtfstsflr653, you can use a PHP-redirect or the Pretty-Link plugin to modify the URL to something like www.graingrows.com/affiliate-link. It looks more clear-cut, easy, and less cluttered. It looks like a link that Internet users would be more likely to trust.


-Register for Legitimate Affiliate Programs
Various affiliate programs have different affiliate tracking systems and cookie lifespans. To make certain that your commissions matter, register only for legitimate affiliate programs that have a good reputation. Make sure you do your homework!
 

Conclusion

Now that you have a fundamental idea of the world of cookies; what ingredients to use, how to cut them, and the length of time required to bake them, you are ready to step up your game. Concentrate on your image placement and ad copy to get visitors to your site to click on your affiliate links. If you are going to play the affiliate marketing game, play to win! Test inconsistencies on your packages to enhance your CTR, and gear more users to your site to land your cookies on more computers. If you do these things with keenness, you will see positive results, and a rise in your bank account!

Overall, affiliate marketing is fun, with obvious advantages. Merchants have a broader environment creating additional products and services, meaning more sales. No added time is used in marketing with merchants; therefore, they can acquire new customers too. If carried out correctly, understanding customer needs can produce a comprehension of market trends that assist future sales.

The other apparent benefit to affiliate marketing is the simple way it can create supplementary revenue for partakers. Banners induce curiosity and require zero big-capital disbursements to market to advertise specific products. Minimal technical expertise is required making affiliate marketing easy to start-up. In fact, affiliate marketing can easily be incorporated into anyone's work schedule since there is no particular place to go to, and no specific time to be there! It is a neat source of revenue that will not compromise one's ability to carry out other responsibilities. It's a luxury that anyone can take advantage of anywhere in the world with an Internet connection!

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