First things first, what is an affiliate?
To increase traffic and sales, certain companies run affiliate programs where they will pay you a nice bit of money for each person you put through to them who purchases an item. For example someone may run an eBay banner on their site and if a user was to click onto that and buy something then the site owner running the banner would earn a little bit of money.
Next, what is cookie stuffing?
Each time you send someone through to the affiliate site (e.g., eBay), then a cookie will be dropped onto their system which lets eBay know exactly where the user originally came from and then if they buy something you will be sure to earn a little cream off the top. Cookie stuffing or cookie dropping basically involves forcing this cookie onto visitors computers without them even knowing its happening and never sending them onto the affiliate site (e.g., eBay). The normal place for this to happen is large busy forums which have thousands of users passing through every day and having multiple cookies dropped onto their systems for different companies without even knowing.
What’s wrong with this?
The affiliate is paying you on the basis of you introducing traffic and sales to their website. However you’re not actually doing this, you’re forcing cookies onto their systems in the background and when they go and buy something from eBay you’re claiming a little bit of money for it. eBay are paying you for traffic you didn’t even introduce and therefore you’re defrauding them. They were going to have the sale regardless of you, the only reason you’re being attributed for the lead is because you used shady tactics to drop a cookie.
Another problem with this is that your cookie may overwrite the cookie of a legitimate affiliate who is working hard to generate genuine traffic. So you’re taking money that they would have earned.
What affiliate companies does this effect?
The methods used are pretty universal and can be used effectively against everyone from ebay to poker companies.
How are the cookies dropped?
See this page on cookie stuffing.
I’m not lawyer and I’m not really one to judge what’s right or wrong. To me, you’re claiming money for putting leads through to them which you actually aren’t which seems like fraud.
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