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1x1 Pixel Affiliate Images
Google Penalty?
nativenewyorker




msg:110367
 7:52 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have noticed that some of the affiliate programs I belong to have 1x1 pixel images that are inserted into the tracking link codes. Will Google interpret these "hidden links" as a way to manipulate SERP's and is there a possible chance of penalties?

It would be an enormous amount of work to go edit all these links and move the 1x1 pixel images so that they no longer fall between the <a> and </a> tags. Even if I did move all these 1x1 images, will the links still track properly?

Thanks,
Ted

 

rcjordan




msg:110368
 8:01 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Even if I did move all these 1x1 images, will the links still track properly?

No, the aff reporting comes from these.

I know some that alter the gif, but you're usually technically in violation of the merchant rules if you do. Better to write your aff links w/ javascript if you're worried about this.

soapystar




msg:110369
 8:12 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

it depends on what program you use. I use cj and only use the part of the link that contains my id and the advert id....i then put this in my own links.....this has not been a problem for a year.....

nativenewyorker




msg:110370
 8:18 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

To elaborate, the format of the links are

<a href="http...widget-network?id=abc123"><img border=0 width=1 height=1 src="http...widget-network?pixel123">text anchor or product image here</a>

Ted

soapystar




msg:110371
 8:23 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

your id does the tracking..the images are for stats and cookies i believe

yankee




msg:110372
 8:51 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

1x1 images are fine, they are used for stats, table spacing, etc. Just don't use them as a link <a href=

nativenewyorker




msg:110373
 9:20 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

yankee said
"1x1 images are fine, they are used for stats, table spacing, etc. Just don't use them as a link <a href="

My point is the affiliate network has setup the tracking code such that the 1x1 pixel is a link.

Ted

[edited by: nativenewyorker at 10:36 pm (utc) on Jan. 14, 2003]

soapystar




msg:110374
 9:34 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

no..its the title...

yankee




msg:110375
 10:05 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

nativenewyorker,

I would find another afiiliate network then.

futuresky




msg:110376
 10:23 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

To be safe, just alter the html around a little to remove the 1x1 from within the link.

ie instead of <a href="http...widget-network?id=abc123"><img border=0 width=1 height=1 src="http...widget-network?pixel123">text anchor or product image here</a>

replace with <a href="http...widget-network?id=abc123">text anchor or product image here</a><img border=0 width=1 height=1 src="http...widget-network?pixel123">

I've also been using 1x1's for affiliate tracking in my sites with no problems at all, although as an extra bit of safety I remove the WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1 part. Not sure if it makes any difference (probably not) but of makes me feel safer.

nativenewyorker




msg:110377
 10:32 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

yankee said:
"I would find another afiiliate network then."

This is the largest of the networks, L........ and dropping them would mean getting rid of thousands of links that I've put up already. I guess I'll have to edit them and move the images out of the link.

futuresky said:
"as an extra bit of safety I remove the WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1 part"

Good idea. Thanks.

Ted

buckworks




msg:110378
 11:13 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<To be safe, just alter the html around a little to remove the 1x1 from within the link.>>

This is bad advice unless you specifically check with the network and merchant whose link(s) you want to tweak. Check with them and

1) Verify that your links will still track accurately without those GIFs tagging along. Some will, some won't; it depends on how things are set up.

2) Make sure that the network and/or merchant won't penalize you in some other way for tinkering with the tracking codes. Taking out the GIFs can cause major abnormalities in your stats, and some merchants get upset about that. (Don't ask how I know that ...)

The bottom line: You want a page that ranks well, but you need to accomplish that with the codes -- and the relationships -- intact that actually put money in your pocket.

Additional comment: <<as an extra bit of safety I remove the WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1 part>> -- Be aware that taking out the height and width attributes can slow down the display of the page. This does not usually help one's conversion rates.

Key_Master




msg:110379
 11:58 pm on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Even better, hide the height & width attributes in a robots.txt prohibited external CSS file.

.foo {
width: 1px;
height: 1px;
}

<a href="http...widget-network?id=abc123"><img border=0 class="foo" src="http...widget-network?pixel123">text anchor or product image here</a>

europeforvisitors




msg:110380
 2:27 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've had those 1 x 1-pixel affiliate images on virtually every one of my 2,300+ pages for nearly 15 months, and my pages do very well in Google.

IMHO, this is a non-issue. (Think about it: What would happen to the quality of Google's search results if it penalized every site that belonged to one of the Web's largest affiliate programs?)

MikeKay




msg:110381
 2:29 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Back to his original question, has anyone been penalized by using 1x1 pixel images that are inserted into the tracking link codes. Can anyone answer this because he is right, Linkshare is one of the largest affiliate networks and they code the tracking that way. I've been using these tracking links for months now with no apparent penalty. Also I believe if this was a real problem, there would be thousands of websites who code the links this way and I haven't heard of any websites getting penalties from this. Has anyone from this board heard differently?

Go60Guy




msg:110382
 2:55 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

This question, in one form or another, has been asked repeatedly over the years. To my knowledge, not once has anyone ever reported being dumped, demoted or otherwise mangled by the SEs for having small pixels in affiliate tracking codes.

As europe says, its a non-issue.

jomaxx




msg:110383
 3:50 am on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Not sure if this point's been made already, but if there is text or another image within the HREF tag, then it's not a hidden link and Google probably recognizes this.

gopi




msg:110384
 4:24 pm on Jan 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am using CJ links...and i dont use the GIF image part in the links...its tracking well....

I think the only purpose of the 1x1 gif is to track impressions , nothing more ...

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