As we were analyzing end-of-the-month statistics for a client, it has come out that a number of orders which were received by the merchant directly (not via any affiliate) were also “dipped” into the affiliate channel as well (i.e. affiliates received commissions for these orders). This looked very strange to the merchant, because they knew that these sales did not come through affiliates; and upon a bit of internal investigation they’ve found out that a number of customer service machines had affiliate cookies on them. Here’s what the merchant reported:
We learned our customer service staff has visited our affiliates websites in the past to check on published coupon codes and to see how the referral process works.
I have seen this happen a number of times before, but, apparently it bears repeating: if (a) you are taking (direct) orders on a machine that has affiliate cookies, and (b) if once the order is entered into your system you see the same confirmation page that the end user would’ve seen had they placed the order online, then the order will be attributed to the affiliate whose cookie is set on your computer. To avoid cancelling those affiliate commissions later — which will inflate your program’s reversal rate, make affiliates unhappy, and cry out for explanations — make it a habit to clear (delete) those affiliate cookies from these office computer(s).