The Affiliate Voucher and Cashback debate rages on
I should make it clear from the start that I do not have a problem with the idea of voucher or cashback sites – I often use them myself when I do my online shopping and ensure that when topping up my house insurance I use them to get some great CPAs!
But whilst networks, merchants and the affiliates themselves are happy seeing the sales come in, more and more affiliates are seeing a negative effect on their sales as customers €œget smart€ and cookies are overridden by these sites.
So is there a solution?
There have been a couple of suggestions. One is that merchants should set up their sites so that if the visitor comes via affiliate traffic a discount code field is not available or that across the board discounts are not needed for returning customers.
Another mentioned a few times is that networks should create the ability to ensure that cookies are not overridden when visitors use cashback / discount code sites but this has yet to be implemented as far as I am aware.
In an effort to restrict my own views I thought it would be fun to ask a few affiliates what they think about the issue.
Wardy, a popular character in the industry said he has concerns about it all;
€œI think that all it does is benefit the minority and the majority get shafted by such sites€, so what would be the solution? €œIf there was a way that if one affiliates cookie was replaced by a voucher site cookie within a small time frame then there could be some split commission€ he continued.
Peter Dickenson from Affiliate Future had a very different view;
€œI think it’s more an issue for merchants than affiliates. Customers are changing their buying word of mouth as people are looking for more discount codes and returning customers are costing more€
Mark from myvouchercodes.co.uk – one of the larger voucher code sites had a bit to say about the matter:
€œI do feel that voucher sites provide sales without taking other affiliates last cookie etc, because we have nearly 200,000 people subscribed to our email newsletter, 2 million unique visitors a month, customised email alerts etc a lot of our visitors are return visitors, so they come to sites like mine as a way to shop online, not as a simple last minute look for a discount code€
I’d love to see some more comments from all areas of the industry about what they would do (if anything) to resolve this issue. I really do think that technology is the key here and I expect to see some changes over the coming months from pro-active networks that see this as a real issue.