ClickBank Affiliate Woes: When Tracking Breaks Down

Hardly a day goes by without a forum posting in which ClickBank is challenged about the reliability and integrity of its affiliate referral tracking mechanism - the hoplink system. It cannot be denied that ClickBank's technical infrastructures do not always inspire the greatest level of confidence. But this article sets out to demonstrate that a range of factors play a part in the integrity of affiliate tracking and any one of these can be the cause of those much-reviled commission losses.

Given the reliance of affiliate programs on cookie technology, it is important to understand the problems that may arise from this technology and what can be done to alleviate them.

The browser cookie is an essential ingredient in accurately and consistently allocating commission to the correct referring affiliate. If no referral cookie is present on a prospect's computer when she makes a purchase, no affiliate will collect the commission. With ClickBank's hoplink system (though not necessarily with other affiliate systems), this requirement holds true even if the prospect purchases immediately upon referral.

There are four reasons for missing cookies:

Deletion: Cookies can be deleted through a variety of computer maintenance operations. Some of these are explicit (e.g. instructing the browser to clear all its temporary files) and some are automatic (e.g. software utilities that perform routine, scheduled computer housekeeping).

Expiration: Each affiliate program implements its own policy determining the time period referral cookies will remain valid. Once a cookie reaches its expiration date, it ceases to have any effect on the allocation of affiliate commission. ClickBank's affiliate tracking cookies are valid for 60 days.

Overflow: To comply with the recommendations of the Netscape Cookie Specification, a web browser needs to support the storage of at least 300 cookies. Beyond this level, the browser is free to delete cookies in order to reclaim disk space, on a first-in-first-out basis. In theory, this means that referral cookies may be prematurely deleted if a large influx of new cookies causes the limit to be exceeded. In practice, this issue is no cause for concern, as disk space is now abundant and most modern browsers do not implement such limits.

Rejection: If the prospect's browser is configured to reject cookies, or uses filtering criteria that reject cookies from the affiliate program's domain, a referral cookie will never be created for that user.

Little can be done by affiliates to directly protect against cookie deletion or expiration. Therefore, affiliates should be aware of the issue when selecting products, giving preference to products most likely to generate a prompt purchase. Any product that requires an extensive period of reflection prior to purchase represents an increased risk of commission losses to the affiliate.

Cookie rejection is also a serious issue for affiliates. The current versions of all major browsers are installed with cookies enabled, so it takes a conscious effort on the part of the user to disable support for cookies. However, inaccurate media coverage of cookies has increased the number of web consumers who do systematically reject them.

Fortunately, following a series of recent change to the ClickBank hoplink system, a referral will now only take place if the client computer accepts the ClickBank tracking cookie. This is great comfort to ClickBank affiliates, who can no longer be deprived of their commission because of cookie rejection. Merchants, in contrast, may not be so happy that willing prospects are being turned away because of an errant configuration in their computer.

ClickBank faces a difficult balancing act in attempting to implement systems that are fair to both the merchant and the affiliate. And whilst the company's technology may not always be perfect, it is reassuring to note that not every forum scare story is founded on fact.

About The Author

Copyright © Tim Coulter. All rights reserved.

Tim Coulter is a consultant and software developer who helps netpreneurs to harness marketing technologies.

He is also the author of "ClickBank - The Definitive Guide" The Ultimate ClickBank Tutorial & Reference Manual.

http://www.clickbankrevealed.com/

In The News:

5 Innovative PPC Tactics to Try Today  Search Engine Journal
Top 10 Must-Try PPC Tactics for 2020  Search Engine Journal
Google PPC Ads in a Nutshell  Business 2 Community
What Is Ethical PPC?  Search Engine Journal
5 PPC Trends to Get Ready for in 2020  Search Engine Journal
7 Ways SEO & PPC Can Help Each Other  Search Engine Journal
SEO vs. PPC: Which Is Better for Your Business in 2020  99Signals - Tech News, Tech Hacks, & More
A Complete Guide to PPC Ad Formats  Search Engine Journal
How to Develop Your PPC Strategy  Search Engine Journal
PPC Audits  Coast Digital

Profiting From Second Tier Pay Per Click Search Engines

Once you venture into the world of Pay Per Click... Read More

AdSense - 7 Keys To Empire?

There's a lot of buzz around about how you can... Read More

How To Screen Your Visitors When Using Pay Per Click Advertising

If you are using pay per click advertising, I don't... Read More

What They Never Told You About Adsense!

That's right! Many webmasters are getting suckered into joining adsense... Read More

Click Fraud and How to Deter It

Pay per click (PPC) advertising continues to gain popularity in... Read More

Three Google Adwords Secrets for Massive Online Profits

If you know anything at all about Internet marketing, then... Read More

What is Pay-Per-Click?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is when an advertiser pays for each... Read More

Google Adwords: Here is Why It Can Explode Your Business!

The beauty of Google Adwords set up is its simplicity.... Read More

Protect Your ClickBank Products from Online Theft

One of the biggest problems faced by ClickBank merchants is... Read More

PPC Fraud, Google Stands to Lose Millions

Google stands to lose millions if fraud continues. It is... Read More

ClickBank Affiliate Woes: When Tracking Breaks Down

Hardly a day goes by without a forum posting in... Read More

What You Need To Know About Googles New AdWords Affiliate Policy

A lot of affiliates are selling other people's products with... Read More

Local Business Advertising & Google Adwords

"I don't need the Internet to advertise - I'm a... Read More

Discover the Art of the Pay-per-Click Start (Round 1 of 2)

Setting up a pay-per-click campaign is simple, right? Practically all... Read More

How to Profit from Knowing the Most Expensive Keywords

By knowing the most expensive keywords on the internet, you... Read More

10 Inside Secrets to Google Adwords - Part 1

Let's face it... Google Adwords is not the only source... Read More

Regarding the AdSense Update...

If you haven't yet got a Google AdSense account for... Read More

Adsense Secrets

Pst! Wanna know some Adsense secrets? The only secret is... Read More

Google Adwords Guide I

You probably have already heard about the new marketing tool... Read More

Per Click - Do They Know Something We Dont?

I have utilized pay-per-click (PPC) advertising since its inception about... Read More

How You Can Make Serious Money Self-publishing With Adsense

Some folks may think that self-publishing began with the invention... Read More

Web Advertising: Its All About the Click Thrus!

Working in research and development for a large infomercial company,... Read More

You Wont Make Dollars If You Dont use AdSense

As the dust settles and the excitement caused by Google's... Read More

Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing - Starting A Campaign

Pay per click advertising is an on-going and growing arsenal... Read More

The Secret to Adwords Success

It seems at the moment that everybody is telling you... Read More