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Thread: Do affiliate links still work for users who block cookies?

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  1. #1

    Do affiliate links still work for users who block cookies?

    I wasn't really sure how to title my thread but I've got a question.
    As I understand it, if I put an "affiliate link" on my site that goes to company XYZ-widgets and I'm an affiliate for them, they agree to give a percentage of the sale or something if the person buys within 30 days (or a fixed period of time).
    But in order to get credit, isn't a cookie necessary to keep track that the person came from my site?
    Perhaps if the person ordered during that session, you wouldn't need a cookie, but for any company that promises a commission with a certain time frame, I would think a cookie would be needed.
    But aren't a lot of users blocking cookies now (I am). I allow session cookies, but not long term cookies, except for certain sites.
    So what happens with an affiliate link if the users has cookies blocked? Does one not get credit then?
    And, what percent of internet users today are blocking (or disabling) cookies?

  2. #2
    Administrator weegillis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Being as cookies as so volatile, one would not expect them to be the mechanism by which tracking would be implemented. There are CGI methods that work much more reliably, and generating logs and database entries is what CGI is good at. Your affiliate links very likely have a tracking code embedded or added to the query string. The user 'might ' be given a cookie, for several reasons I can't go into because I'm just imagining them as we speak, but more than likely, their IP will be logged with your affiliate id, along with the date. These entries could very easily just evaporate after 30/31 days, for all the value they would have, unless there is some CPM attached.
    Last edited by weegillis; 03-22-2012 at 04:51 PM. Reason: easily / there

  3. The following user agrees with weegillis:
  4. #3
    Thanks for the input! I can see getting credit for the purchase if the user buys something during that session, but I'm wondering how one would track the user to give credit if the user comes back the next day and makes a purchase.
    And it sounds like you're saying it might be based on tracking the ip, so if anyone from that ip places an order, I get the credit, but if the user arrives from a different ip, then I wouldn't get the credit.
    It makes me wonder how many affiliate purchases get properly recorded, or if most affiliate programs now are only for purchases made when the user first arrives from the link, and are not for subsequent visits.

  5. #4
    Administrator weegillis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    While cookies may play a role, I don't think there is a 100% reliable method for tracking over time, which is probably why affiliate programs work so well for the people who offer them. Like Vegas, they know the numbers will work in their favor, every day. An affiliate program that says they can identify a user a month later is not telling everything.

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