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Affiliates Forum

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >     
A proof that CJ's not tracking sales
Wondering why you dont get sales, here is why.

 6:53 am on Dec 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

A few days ago I did two booking with my own affiliate links for a trip I will be taking in couple of weeks. The bookings were made with two different vendors and both bookings never appeared in my report. So I contacted CJ and this is their reply. You can make the conclusion yourself. After I get my next payment from them I will for sure DUMP them!

The reply I got said basically that the account is registering clicks and appears fine, although sometimes transactions are missed for various reasons. They then suggested that I contact the advertiser, and if they don't respond, cj will contact the advertiser.

[edited by: eljefe3 at 3:47 am (utc) on Jan 5, 2013]
[edit reason] edited direct email reply [/edit]



 11:07 am on Dec 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I would say its CJ fault, hmm thats really is something.


 11:47 am on Dec 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

maybe they discounted them because you were the customer. are you sure that you are allowed to make purchases through your own links? most programs that i've come across have rules forbiding that


 1:38 pm on Dec 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Making all your purchases through your own affiliate links its a very worthwile experience. Not for the commission, but because this is the only way to check if sales are correctly tracked or not.

You'll be surprised how many of those sales won't be tracked.

The only recourse is to stop working with those merchants immediately. Talking to the affiliate networks about those cases is usually a wast of time in my experience.


 4:34 pm on Dec 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

"maybe they discounted them because you were the customer. are you sure that you are allowed to make purchases through your own links? most programs that i've come across have rules forbiding that "

I did it before too. and It worked. so it is not that I book from my own links.


 8:00 am on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Besides that, why would one not be able to book a trip in one's own business? Why would I go to the competition? After all, I made a real purchase of almost $3,000. I have done bookings this way 4 times in the past year. 2 times it worked, and now 2 times it didn't. Also, I have noticed a significant drop overall when it comes to leads. I used to get multiple leads a day, sometimes around 10, and now the most I get is 2.


 1:16 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

what does the program's actual terms and conditions say, though? just because it worked in the past doesn't mean that you can do it. first thing i would do is check their terms. if you are are allowed to make your own purchases, then it must be a tracking problem.


 2:03 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Their terms don't prohibit own purchases, besides that in their reply to my email they did not say anything about it is against their terms either.. So it is pretty obvious that their links did not track my sales.


 3:25 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

most programs that i've come across have rules forbiding that

I can't understand why this would be forbidden.

If we were dealing with click through ads, yes, obviously, but for sales, it's a win win situation.
You get commission on the sale (equal to discount), plus the 3rd party get their money. All parties happy.

I have dealt with a company who's chairwoman told me they had no business from my 5-6 referrals per day, while employees told me they had contracted 2-3 deals per week. Needless to say, I dropped the company in question like a hot brick.


 3:40 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

If we were dealing with click through ads, yes, obviously, but for sales, it's a win win situation



 10:38 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can't understand why this would be forbidden.

Don't know about why but Amazon defintely don't permit it. I imagine that with some products that you purchase regularly such as books or music you could register and set up a link on a free hostng service just to get 10% off the list price.


 6:21 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

When working on the agency side of things, it was staggering how frequently tracking tags were not implemented correctly for ad serving, affiliate programs and related things. There was never any intent to rip anyone off or get out of paying commissions. People just didn't know what to do with or how to implement tags. Whoever was in charge of the site was being pulled in so many different directions that tracking tags were usually the last thing on the priority list.

That doesn't help any when commissions are missing but most companies are not trying to rip off their affiliates.


 7:33 am on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

i hear what you are saying skibum, however:

>>tracking tags were usually the last thing on the priority list.

if you are short of time and the last thing on the list rarely gets seen to, then it is tantamount to deliberately ripping affiliates off. if part of your business is affiliate programs and you don't commit the resources to doing it properly then it is DELIBERATE in that at some management level there has been a conscious decision to not put enough resources into it.


 4:24 pm on Jan 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yeah I've seen this a lot over the years, and it's generally just incompetence.

The worst part is when you finally get hold of someone who can do something about it, they usually just assume it has to be something else wrong (on your end) as all technicals on their end are perfect. Idiots.

In the end, it's all about the EPC. Lack of conversions, tracking, rates or whatever - you should find a better EPC with another merchant. I don't really have time to buy stuff from different programs and follow the commission, but I do switch out merchants and split test to figure out where I should send my clicks.


 7:55 pm on Jan 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Any chance you have a toolbar installed that over writes aff cookies, CJ is filled with these "affiliates".


 4:13 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Similar to the question by RhinoFish: Did you have AdBlockPlus or Ghostery turned on? Both can block CJ cookies.


 9:00 pm on Jan 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

My granny has no addons besides the default and she rarely uses her computer. She bought a book from amazon and a book from a Google affiliate network partner using two different sites of mine and I did not get credit for the sales. I think this is more common than many affiliates believe it is, some insiders have even warned people off about affiliate programs when they leave the company.

I've also seen an affiliate report in which several dozen sales were registered over a period of three days in which the click time being reported was the same. This amounted to several thousand dollars in revenue that undoubtedly belonged to several affiliates. The affiliate company was part of a major network and responded by saying everything was fine, keep the money. It wasn't fine and the 100 fold increase in results only lasted those three days.

They make mistakes, tracking is not an easy game and it only keeps getting harder.


 1:39 am on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I used my own affiliate links to order merchandise and services. Some webhosting companies do not allow it and they filter it out by name (I did it and asked).
I know some other that always paid me. Those I bought merchandise from, it was always tracked.
I agree with the claim that in many cases they simply do not implement tracking code properly (or at all). With some, it always happens whenever they do some kind of update.
Also, I'm sure that some do it on purpose. How, I'm not sure, but they hide some of sales as that's in the nature of some people.
For networks, they don't get paid if sales were not tracked, so it's definitely in their interest to track all sales, period.
Then, I worked with advertisers that would leave various networks for their own reasons, and pay me outside of those networks.
Finally, all of various software that overwrites cookies... I don't know much about that but it obviously is happening in one or another way.

In any case, it really sucks when an affiliate finds out something like that (especially if you're doing paid search). Since a day when I started doing this (back in 2004), I have always been a skeptic thinking I'm underpaid in one or another way.


 4:19 am on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

cookie stuffing is huge with travel sites. I know of some spyware the literally pings all the major travel affiliates on CJ weekly creating an aff cookie on the person computer.

some travel website even use IFrames or Pop up to set Cookies for all travel programs.


 4:59 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ex CJP here. I was a CJP for "x" amount of years before I sold the website.

I spoke to a "high level" CJ employee at CJU a few years ago (anywhere from 1-10 years ago) and they confirmed that upwards of 16% of all affiliate sales are lost (meaning the CJ tracking system fails to credit the publisher accordingly, yet the sale goes through for the advertiser). It's a dirty little secret that they refuse to admit publicly.

There is one MAJOR CJ advertiser, who "x" amount of years ago had such a tracking issue that affiliates did not get proper credit for their sales for a lengthy period of time. The only CJ publishers who actually received an "audit" (in order to determine how much money CJ and the advertiser owed them) were publishers that were CJP's. I know this first hand because I developed a good friendship (both online and offline) with several individuals who worked at this advertiser.

I don't know how CJ is today.....but when I was with them, (going back quite some time), they were in my humble opinion a bunch of "C" rate players, at best.

They purposely hired recent college graduates and paid them extremely low wages, and this was a detriment to publishers such as myself, who continually had to deal with them dropping the ball on certain things.

I had several "account managers" (for both pub and advertiser) tell me that they were over-worked and management gave them too many accounts to deal with.

I'm not knocking CJ, just relating my personal experience.


I also wanted to address the question of cookie stuffing....

A few days ago I needed to find a program for my new computer. I went onto CNET.com and downloaded a "30 day free trial" software with the full intention of buying the software once the trial was up.

Upon installing the software, I saw that CNET (aka Download.com) had a few boxes "checked" prior to the program being installed. They were for "video games" and something else. I unchecked the boxes thinking I was just going to install the program (it was a quasi "major" program, nothing "mom and pop". It was a tool that I needed to use).

After the program was installed, I went into my "uninstall programs" menu on my Windows 7 machine and to my surprise and shock, I saw that either CNET had installed a "coupon" program.....that hijacked both Firefox and IE.

So this got me thinking....was it just this program or was it all CNET programs that installed these "cookie overwrite" programs without your prior knowledge?

I booted up my two laptops, of which I had also downloaded other programs from CNET over the past year, and sure enough, that "coupon" program was installed on my computer.

So I'm willing to venture that at least 25% of all affiliate sales are hijacked in one way or another.


 6:35 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

CNET (and many others) might be discontinuing some of these little extras when they hear what happened to Shawn Hogan, the big eBay/CJ cookie stuffer who was indicted and is now facing sentencing for wire fraud on Feb 11. Cookie stuffing is wire fraud.


 8:00 pm on Jan 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm pretty sure somebody else got your commission.
Perhaps, CJ can investigate who it is and with your help find out how exactly your cookies were overwritten.

Not that it'll bring your money back or somehow reverse the declining commissions...


 12:19 am on Jan 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ BaseballGuy - Thanks for bringing up the issue of unwanted "goodies" bundled with "free" programs.

I had a similar experience with the last two downloads I did from that site (definitely the last now!). Add-ons I didn't want or sign up for. One set off my virus program.


 4:45 pm on Jan 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Perhaps, CJ can investigate who it is and with your help find out how exactly your cookies were overwritten."

Fellow optimist! It would be nice if it worked that way!


 7:45 am on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

It is generally not a deliberate thing when tracking tags are implemented incorrectly, at least in my experience. It wasn't just affiliate tracking tags but the tracking tags for search programs, tracking tags for email campaigns, tracking tags for media campaigns and most any other type of campaign.

The marketing agency would handle or consult on marketing and promotion. Sometimes there would be as many as 5 different agencies on one client. There were UI people, designers, and often IT departments who understood the programming, hosting and development who were waaaaaaaaaay overworked and had no insight into what tracking tags were, why they were important and often times lacked the instructions to properly implement them.

It wasn't specific to affiliate programs. Campaigns that the CEO or the CMO or some other executive would be watching with eagle eyes and wanting to micromanage would come back with zero sales or missing sales, clicks or other key metrics. In other words, tags would get screwed up for the most high profile campaigns a company ran where they were outlaying their own money up front and expecting to see results.

The problem was with implementing tracking tags in general and not specific to affiliate tracking tags. That is not to say there are no advertisers out there who may deliberately omit affiliate tracking tags but across lots of industries from homebuilders to retail to financial services and healthcare all kinds of tracking tags got screwed up.


 8:06 am on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

To me the intent why sales don't track isn't really relevant. I just need an indication which merchant has it working well and who doesn't and get the hell away from those who don't get it right for whatever reason.

Test buys of any sort are a very good way to find out and if you don't have the time and resources to do it regzularly for all merchants, then at least place all the purchses you have to make anyway through your own links.


 9:41 am on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is very useful for me.Can you share with us something more like this. Thanks.


 10:26 am on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Another solution. Get a White label Travel Affiliate Program. A few Affiliate programs offer it: Expedia, Priceline, IHSAdvantage, Bookit.net, etc".

That way you don't have to worry about cookie tracking and you can build you own brand.

But we warn: you conversion will suffer short term. You white label will not have the brand as a big name, so people might not book.

But to be honest, cookie stuffing is extreme in travel. And so programs have 30-45 day cookies. You click a ad on Facebook about a destination and you're cookie for the next 45 days and affiliates afterwards get no credit depending on the program term.

In travel affiliate it's "First Cookie" Advantage. The first to get the customer when they start search for hotel and place as many cookies for all the major travel sites as possible and wait for them to finally convert.


 1:50 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not sure i understand you correctly clarence but are you correct on affiliate cookies.
My understanding is that it is the last cookie that counts. If someone follows an affiliate link from your site but then follows the same link from a second site before making a purchase, the first cookie gets overwritten and the second site gets the sale commission.


 2:44 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

That all depends on what the advertiser does.

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >
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