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The Importance of Cookies in Your Affiliate Program

Nov 30, 2007
Good affiliates will work hard to get customers for the companies they work for. They might optimize their website, write relevant articles and spend money on pay per click campaigns to attract visitors. Even if visitors who follow their affiliate links do not buy the product immediately, they deserve to get the credit for a lead or sale if the person comes back at a later date. Some affiliate programs, however, don't allow for that.

If you want to make sure your affiliates get commission for every sale they generate, it is vital to use affiliate software featuring cookies. If a visitor visits an affiliate's website using a link, the cookie means they will be recognized for a specified amount of time afterwards, if they return and purchase something from that website. The lead or sale will be credited to the affiliate who brought them there in the first place, thanks to the cookie.

What are Cookies?

A cookie is a text file sent to a visitor's computer when they visit a website. They are identified when they return because the cookie contains information about their site usage. You can also use this information to customize pages to their liking, based on their previous visit, or to remember their username and password.

In the case of affiliate programs, cookies are used to find out which affiliate referred which visitor. You can set a cookie to expire after a week, a month or whatever, or you can have ones that never expire. If the cookie is used, the affiliate will get the credit for future leads or sales from that person.

What if a Visitor Doesn't Accept Cookies?

If the visitor has set their browser up to reject cookies, or deletes their cookies regularly, the affiliate will not be able to get credit for future sales. Cookies are common and they let the user use certain shopping cart software and customize pages, so most users don't block them.

It isn't very common for users to delete cookies either. Nearly all browsers limit the number of cookies on a user's computer. If the user goes over the accepted number, the oldest cookies are deleted first. This means users don't have to manually delete cookies.

Why Are Cookies Necessary?

If a visitor visits an affiliate's website and wants to return later, it is likely that they will bookmark it so they can find it again easily, rather than do a search for it again. Affiliate links normally redirect to a page on the website so the bookmark will not point to a page that tells you which affiliate referred the visitor. If you don't use a cookie, the affiliate will be unable to prove it was their visitor and therefore will not earn commission for the lead or sale, even though it is theirs.

Cookies are very important when it comes to affiliate programs because they make sure the affiliates get their fair share for every lead or sale they generate. This means they earn more and happy affiliates work harder. If an affiliate is happy with your program, they will work at it more, resulting in more commission for them and more sales for you.
About the Author
Robert Paul Williams is the Editor of Work At Home Business Website. Are You Promoting a Product or Service Online? Come Visit WAHBWS. Get Free and Low Cost Website Advertising Ideas to help you promote your website.
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