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Advertising Pulling Fast One?

A sneaky trick with affiliate cookies...

9:26 pm on Mar 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm an affiliate for this advertiser that has an in-house affiliate program.

Let's say his retail website people shop at is:


But all the affiliate links they give me (homepage and deep links) are all pointing to:


Please know, the public only shops at the .com website.

If you go to one of the .net affiliate links they give you, it redirects you to the .com version of that page and drops a cookie in your browser.

BUT... the cookie's Host domain is "www.RetailerX.net", NOT "www.RetailerX.com".

Doesn't this mean that if a visitor on my website clicks my affiliate link, leaves, then a couple days later revisits that store directly by typing in the address "RetailerX.com" or via a Google search, that affiliate tracking cookie will not be recognized since it was set for the domain, RetailerX.net (not .com)?

The cookie-duration is 30 days for this particular advertiser.

Does anyone know if this is an advertiser that is trying to pull a fast one on unsuspecting affiliates?

Thanks for any help and guidance.
9:28 pm on Mar 8, 2010 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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What domain is the shopping cart / checkout on?
9:38 pm on Mar 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Shopping Cart and Checkout are on the .com site.
11:04 am on Mar 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've just had a similar issue so thought I'd check in here to see if it was a common thing.

As far as I can tell this is a dirty little trick used by some - others use it as a silly way of sectioning out certain traffic sources instead of setting up proper tracking rules. As some have a like-for-like redirects, the cookie will be created for the .net site, and as the redirect carries over any query strings, the .com site also. I would recommend checking your links with a browser addin like Firebug to see if the cookie is being created for both .net and .com domains.

I hope that makes sense, took me a while to spot this one myself.

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