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Spyware is stealing commission from merchants too

How merchant can check are affiliate is using spyware

(Continued from How Spyware is stealing commission from affiliates)

Let's take example when visitor is not cookied, i.e. without any affiliate cookie connected with that merchant.

Say that merchant is using AdWords or any other kind of advertising to promote his product, to add little weight, that is additional expense for merchant.

So, we have a "clean" visitor coming to merchant landing page. When "clean" visitor buys, merchant is collecting commission and he don't need to pay to any affiliate and/or affiliate network.

When visitor is infected with spyware, after he came to landing page, new window opens and now affiliate cookie is set. In this case, if visitor buys, merchant is heavy loser. Not only that he spent advertising money for nothing, he must pay to spyware affiliate and his affiliate network.

In most affiliate networks, affiliates using spyware for merchant promotion are not allowed. So, why you can find affiliates from those networks using spyware for promotion?

What happens when "clean" visitor is "cookied" with affiliate cookie? Affiliate network is still getting their cut. Or, Affiliate Manager doesn't know what is spyware.

Damage done to network, anyway. No sales commission for other affiliates, no affiliates. No affiliates, no merchants. No merchants, no network. End of story.

How to spot spyware affiliate (for merchants)

Merchants, take care about this problem.
Affiliates can left you if there is no commission for them.

Some of the "best" affiliates simply must be checked. Some of them are using cookie stuffing too (hit&go visitors) not only spyware.
So, first check how they are sending traffic to your site.

Good indication is when "new" affiliate has very high volume of sales at once. If sales from other affiliates and direct sales are steady, there is no reason to suspect.
If sales from other affiliates and direct sales are dropping, and number of sales from that affiliate is rising, and total number of sales is like always (same level), that is good indication that affiliate is stealing from other affiliates and you, using spyware to overwrite or set cookies.

If it is looking suspicious, check your web site log

It is not problem to spot pattern where the same IP (visitor) "visits" the same landing page twice in short time frame ( 60-120 sec.), first time with one affiliate ID, or without, but second time with different affiliate ID. That is still not proof that second affiliate is using spyware. It can be from PPC search engine, visitor just checking links.

Doing a little search, if second affiliate ID is found following the same pattern more than a few times, you can be pretty sure that he is using spyware to steal commission from you and other affiliates, especially if there is no referral string.

You can even calculate how much of your commission is lost, if there is no affiliate ID attached during first visit.

If you ban them from your program, because they are using cookie stuffing or spyware, you will not lose anything. They are overwriting cookies of other affiliates or setting cookies to "clean" visitor, stealing from other affiliates and from you.
Commission will be then given again to other affiliates and to you.

When competitor is angry

Let's say that infected visitor is on competitor's site. New window is opened, now, your site is displayed. Visitor complains about popups to webmaster of that site. Or, affiliate of that merchant checked affiliate links, and found your site covering his merchant site. What now? You will find in some forum or blog something like this: "Don't promote this merchant (you), he is using spyware."

Even when you are a "good gay", some of your affiliates are not. They are using spyware to promote your product on other sites (displaying your site over). "Thanks" to that, your affiliate program could be discredited on many places. There are merchants who don't care about that, because using spyware on other sites could bring more sales. And, when spyware era ends, than will be: "Where are my other affiliates?"

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