Under The Covers: ClickBanks Affiliate Tracking System

The core principle of affiliate marketing is that the referring affiliate earns a commission if a referred prospect makes a purchase. Any affiliate program that aims to succeed in its recruitment efforts must uphold this principle, regardless of whether the prospect buys immediately, or delays her purchase until some time in the future.

To fairly and accurately distribute affiliate commissions requires a database that maintains a list of the relationships between prospects and the affiliates that referred them. Ideally, this database would be centralized, hosted as part of the software application that manages the affiliate program. But this approach would only be feasible if web visitors could be automatically distinguished from each other, using a unique and permanent identity code.

Unfortunately (for affiliate program operators) web users prefer to surf anonymously. Web browser software is designed to allow a surfer to visit any website without leaving a personal identity trail. So, affiliate programs need a less intrusive method of tracking the associations between their members and the surfing public. The solution adopted by most programs, including ClickBank, is to distribute the database throughout the internet, storing a tiny fragment of information on each prospect's computer. They implement this using cookies.

ClickBank uses a mechanism known as the hoplink system to record cookies on a prospect's computer, storing multiple affiliate referral relationships in a single cookie. Every time a prospect is referred to a new merchant, her existing referral cookie is updated to reflect the association between the new merchant and the affiliate that referred her.

The hoplink system is invoked automatically whenever a prospect is referred to a ClickBank merchant by an affiliate. When a prospect clicks on a referral link, she is initially directed to ClickBank's hoplink server. The server, in turn, sends her the referral cookie and immediately redirects her to the merchant's website. The destination of the redirection is known as the merchant's landing page and is configured within his ClickBank account settings. A landing page is a merchant web page designated to accept inbound affiliate referrals.

The hoplink system is implemented by two architectures that operate in parallel. The original architecture, known as the regular hoplink system, has been in operation since the launch of ClickBank, but it has come under criticism for its inflexibility and the ease with which it allows commission theft. Announced in October 2003, the enhanced hoplink system aims to overcome the security shortcomings of the original system and to provide support for a range of new features that will improve the effectiveness of the affiliate system.

Aside from improvements in security, the enhanced hoplink system is designed to capture additional data that will enable detailed reporting of affiliate referral statistics and merchant conversion rates. Perhaps most significant of all, it provides support for referral links to multiple landing pages at the merchant's website - an essential feature that has previously been noticeable by its absence.

Affiliates with established businesses that use regular hoplinks are free to continue without modifying their existing configurations. But to exploit the richer functionality resulting from ClickBank's ongoing system development, it is worth upgrading to the enhanced hoplink format.

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:

Full Service PPC Management  JumpFly PPC Advertising News
9 Headline Hacks for Paid Search  JumpFly PPC Advertising News
PPC Management for Agencies  JumpFly PPC Advertising News
Top 10 Must-Try PPC Tactics for 2020  Search Engine Journal
Google PPC Ads in a Nutshell  Business 2 Community
Growing Your Business through PPC  JumpFly PPC Advertising News
All about Google Ad Strength  JumpFly PPC Advertising News
5 PPC Trends to Get Ready for in 2020  Search Engine Journal
A Complete Guide to PPC Ad Formats  Search Engine Journal
5 Innovative PPC Tactics to Try Today  Search Engine Journal
What is PPC?  Startups.co.uk
The Top 7 PPC Strategies for 2019  Social Media Today
SHOWBOX APK 2020  The Hear UP

How To Use PopUps With Google Adwords

One of the common issues that marketers face when using... Read More

Paid Search Advertising that Delivers Maximum ROI

Paid Search Advertising (also Pay-Per-Click, PPC) has gained a significant... Read More

4 Steps To A Successful AdWords Campaign

Not getting the satisfaction you want from your AdWords account?... Read More

Pay Per Click or Pay Per Human Browser?

Pay Per Click advertising has been around a few years... Read More

Pay-Per-Click Fraud Exposed--Part II

According to Andy Jones, a member of the Best Practices... Read More

The Perils and Pitfalls of Pay-per-click Advertising

In this age of speed dialing, T1 lines and other... Read More

AdSense Secrets - Joel Comms Google AdSense Guide Reviewed

Joel Comm is the best-selling author of a book called... Read More

The Long Term Benefits From Pay Per Click Advertising

Businesses are starting to look closely at the long-term benefits... Read More

Optimize Your Pay Per Click Ads - 3 Quick Tips

Running a pay per click campaign can be a valuable,... Read More

4 Ways To Get Relevant Adsense Ads On Your Site

If you're an active Adsense publisher, I'm sure you have... Read More

Easy Clickbank Management with the Right Tools

Clickbank has been around for years and has earned an... Read More

Advertising Click Fraud Rampant Online?

"Pay-per-click," by far the most popular form of online advertising,... Read More

Understanding Google AdSense

Google AdSense allows webmasters to dynamically serve... Read More

The Pay Per Click Mistakes Of A New Marketer

My first real foray into Internet Marketing was a Pay... 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

Contextual Ads

These are simply advertisements related, in theory and often practice,... Read More

What is Google AdSense?

AdSense may be one of the fastest and easiest ways... Read More

How to Use Pay Per Click Advertising to Increase Web Site Traffic

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to... Read More

How To Win The War of Pay per Click Advertising.

Do you know what is the most important question among... Read More

Not Sure If Your Online Advertisement is Working?

Without tracking, your online advertising is just a shot in... Read More

Google Adsense, The Smart Way To Earn

Do you want to get paid for posting ads on... Read More

AdWords Campaign Set Up Tips

It's easy to overlook the basics of a strong AdWords... Read More

Googles AdSense Soon To Have New Rival?

A large part of Google's multi-billion dollar annual turnover comes... Read More

5 Ways How You Can Boost Your Google AdSense Earnings

Google AdSense is a great way for webmasters to monetize... Read More

What is Google AdSense?

In the mid 1990's websites used to earn income by... Read More