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).
5 thoughts on “One Situation When Merchants Must Delete Affiliate Cookies”
That happened to me 2 months ago. I was getting over $900 a day in sales credited to me – every day. I took the initiative to contact the merchant, who eventually discovered my cookie was on their computer. The even odder part was… when they deleted those sales, they were left with NONE! Meaning for this 2 week period, they never got an affiliate sale, which is not a good sign on its own!
Sounds like they just (or also?) pulled the conversion tracking pixel from the confirmation page (for those two weeks).
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Good stuff, Geno.
I spotted this with a Merchant just three weeks ago, in a different context. They were doing some signup/shopping cart testing after some modifications, and forgot to clear cookies. The person doing the testing had gone to an affiliates site, after it was published on an internal thread because the affiliates site got some substantial Press, and then a lot of internal employees clicked on it as well. Luckily we have an excellent relationship with this affiliate and I caught within 24 hrs. of the commissions being processed and was able to explain the mishap. Phew!
Well, this was also a problem for our call center. We could solve it by blocking pixel integration on office IP and it did work. If you visit affiliate site from your office IP, pixel would not fire. However we have problem in case of tests but just a wifi connection helps.