Cookies Crumbling Drama & Confusion

Well this article seemed to have died a tragic death, there’s no more talking, no response and no clarification forthcoming. And I waited over a week! ๐Ÿ˜† I did want to make sure I wasn’t reading what I was reading, but you decide for yourselves what the story is.

I think this is definitely an article all affiliates should read and be aware of:

Cookie Duration & Best Practices

A few quotes:

Jeff Molander Quote:

Simply stated, I have recommended to many clients that they NOT allow affiliates to collect commissions after a 12 to 24 hour window. Why? It’s all about how you view affiliates as a marketer.

In my opinion, you need to ask yourself, “what, exactly, is the value of an affiliate if the referred traffic converts today… on its own… versus a week from now (which may mean that the transaction resulted from other interactions)?” The answer should drive your decision on cookie duration and set your business rule relating to commission (a practice that is, granted, not popular now but is gaining momentum).

Beth Kirsch Quote:

You made a very dangerous assumption here that I think is untrue for most merchants and certainly every program I have ever been involved in as consultant or merchant.

Most merchants, and everyone I know for sure, have programed their backend so the affiliate only gets the credit IF and ONLY IF the customer returns straight to the merchant’s domain directly. If the customer returns through Biz Rate, Google or some other channel, the affiliate does not get the credit.

No rational marketer would do anything else.

Brad Waller Quote:

I can’t say what others do, but any “rational” merchant would use some methods to determine where the sales came from, and part of that method should overwrite cookies or otherwise make sure you are not crediting affiliates with sales they did not produce.

John Bresee Quote:

Thanks for the comments on the article. I assume that all savvy merchants are attributing the sale to the most recent campaign. If CPC (or whichever paid campaign) drives the sale then the affiliate should not be paid. That is an external campaign. However if the sale is driven by the newsletter then I am happy to credit the affiliate.

I believe–and I’m happy to be alone on this–that the modern day affiliate is a hybrid of an advertising partner and a commissioned sales rep. The old models do not work in evaluating this individual. I believe that as long as the affiliate is the most recent referrer then we should continue to pay the affiliate. Much as you would a commissioned sales rep who’s accounts continued to produce sales.

So what’s going on here? What’s all the chatter about?

What a few are discussing here are methods that merchants should be (or are currently) doing. Such as overwriting affiliate cookies if a buyer came through a search engine, PPC campaign (inhouse), or other methods.

You know that affiliate agreement you accepted when joining that merchant’s affiliate program? Does it say:

Your cookie will be overwritten by our inhouse PPC campaigns, by organic search listings, and only gets the credit IF and ONLY IF the customer returns straight to the merchant’s domain directly.

Or does it say:

Your cookie is good for 45 days.

So which is it, and what’s goin on?

To be clear here, they are NOT talking about cookies being overwritten by another affiliate.

I’m tellin ya, CPC is looking more and more attractive every day.



I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.