Last month I wrote an article called Making Dirty Money From Affiliates With Cookie Stuffing, which for those of who you didn’t read it, basically outlined a technique to deliver your affiliate cookie to loads of people, grabbing affiliate commissions you didn’t really earn.
As I expected, there was mixed reaction, some people taking the information onboard and others calling for me to be burnt at the stake. Whatever. I thought it would interest the nay-sayers to post an update on a cookie stuffing experience.
A good friend of mine thought he’d give cookie stuffing a try. So he started delivering cookies on an e-commerce site he had, as well as a video blog.
In short, he made over £1,000 in two weeks from using this technique. Then he got caught.
Exactly as I predicted – even a major affiliate network (commission junction), working with some major merchants (ebay), did absolutely fuck all. He got a rather polite e-mail from CJ, highlighting his cookie stuffing code and was asked if he could please remove it within the next seven days – that’s it. He gets to keep his Â£1,000 he made.
So for all of you who moan about blackhats, you should be directing some of the blame to the affiliate networks who let people get away with this. They are just as greedy as the blackhats after some extra coffee cash!
Some interesting points about the cookie stuffing programme he ran:
- He only got caught because he got cocky, making linkbait articles, submitting to Digg then getting thousands of cookies delivered – my hunch is a Digger saw the code (after a status bar flash of the iframe) and reported him
- The most successful cookie stuffing was on the e-commerce site, which he was making approximately Â£40 per 1000 visitors, which goes to show the power of the “ready to buy” mindset.
- The linkbait articles got tens of thousands of visitors but made very little per 1,000 visitors
- He only cookie stuffing 2 affiliates (but large ones)
Affiliate networks could really stamp out this behaviour if they suspended payments of cookie stuffers and banned their accounts, but they don’t. They want money just as much as everyone else.
I’ve kept details light on his cookie stuffing activities as I don’t want to identify his sites and maybe get him in more trouble (:
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