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Affiliate SEM poaching question

     
7:21 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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we have an affiliate who seems to get an awful lot of sales immediately after we send out marketing blast.

My instinct is that they are bidding on our name - but we don't see it anywhere. Spyfu shows nothing, and anecdotal searches in random parts of the country don't seem to show them doing GEO targeting.

Any ideas on what they may be doing, (if anything?)

Perhaps toolbar traffic? (how could I look this up).

Or of course, they are doing nothing wrong and our marketing just spurs people to go online and look for our (unique) product...

any insights would be great.

thanks
9:12 pm on July 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I would suspect toolbar traffic.

You'd need to download some toolbars (every toolbar you could get, actually) and check how they're behaving when someone clicks through to your site.

The thing to watch for would be redirects or other behaviour that injects their affiliate URL into the click stream when they weren't the ones who actually initiated the user's visit to your site.
10:08 pm on July 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thanks buckworks.

The trick is that it is an offline conversion where they submit leads to us, so it isn't a matter of injecting a cookie. It is more likely a matter of them doing a redirect or a giant ad or similar with a toolbar.

I don't want to screw up my computer, so maybe I'll go to craigslist and have somebody else test a bunch of toolbars for me....
3:17 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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+Contact an OPM, see if they'll run some tests for you (perhaps Adam Reimer). Good OPMs also know which affiliates use toolbars to drive traffic.
+Look for feedback in your Affiliate Network (though most don't have this).
+Ask Brand Verity for a trial to try out their system, it is outstanding at catching poachers (who often use things besides geo targeting to hide from you).
+Check your forums and blog for emoticon cookie spammers.
+If your Aff Network shows referring URLs, look there for clues (though most don't have this feature).
3:20 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Also suggest you hire Kellie Stevens (Affiliate Fair Play) to run few tests for you, you'll likely be very surprised with what she finds.

Your choice of network is a big factor - some are stupid, some look the other way, some are complicit. ShareASale is our favorite network to work with, they have ethics and honesty in their DNA.