I was just reading John Chow’s blog, where he steered a whole bunch of affiliates in the wrong direction.
In the post, “Evil Affiliate Marketing Trick Of The day,” John expresses a frustration he has with affiliate marketing…
The concept of affiliate marketing is pretty straight forward: send a reader to the reseller site with your affiliate ID and earn a cut of the resulting sales. The problem is sometimes a reader won’t click on the affiliate link right away. However, instead of coming back to your blog to find the affiliate link, they just directly enter the URL of the reseller and buy the product. The reseller made a sale but you just lost an affiliate commission.
His solution to this problem? Embedding his affiliate cookies via an iframe. An iframe is an inline frame that contains another document – in this case, an affiliate cookie, so visitors to his site are automatically cookied by him, regardless of whether they click on his affiliate link. This is known as cookie stuffing and it’s a worst practice in affiliate marketing.
John boasts in the post that he has cookied all who are reading his blog with his AuctionAds cookie. I hope ShoeMoney keeps every cent of the purloined commissions generated by Chow.
Hey John – there’s nothing novel about that method of cheating. As an affiliate manager, I’ve been on the lookout for it since I heard about it from some casino affiliates at AffiliateFORCE 2001.
Evil tricks do not make for a sustainable business model.
For more information on cookie stuffing, have a look at Ben Edelman’s overview: Cookie-Stuffing Targeting Major Affiliate Merchants.