Pinterest affiliate or Zazzle cookie change?
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2018 11:58:28 AM
My linkovers have suddenly plummeted by about 80% this week. Since I get a lot of traffic from Pinterest, I started my search for answers there. I just tested - 4 times; logged in and logged out of Pinterest - a Pin with a proper link with my Associate ID and a Tracking Code, and neither parameter is being stored in my browser. The browser is old Opera, and I use it all the time with a clean cache to place my own orders, so I know being outdated isn't the problem (as of this past Sunday). I cleared cache once before each click, and the params are nowhere to be found.

Is anyone who knows more about Pinterest than I do aware of any changes with Pinterest affiliate links to non-confirmed sites, i.e. Zazzle, Amazon, etc vs. our own domain?

Has anyone else seen higher-than-normal drops in linkovers?

Has Zazzle's cookie policy changed somehow, and I'm just looking in the wrong place?

Hoping it's my own user error along the way and not some major thing.
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2018 2:54:38 PM
I just placed an order, the same way I always do, and the Referral was paid - all good - and the Tracking Code was applied - also good.

- But clicking the link didn't add my RF ID to my cookie storage. Making a purchase seems to have done that. I don't believe that's typical behavior.

- The TC I used isn't stored at all. Also atypical.

Has something changed with how cookies function?

If yes, that may explain my linkover issue.
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 6:02:54 AM
Oh, thanks god I'm not alone. Just looked into this forum and found your thread.
@RoyK_is_a_She I can absolutely confirm this.
I also promote via Pinterest and my linkovers have dropped massively, furthermore the referral sales plummeted more than 70%.
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 7:55:13 AM
friday88 wrote:
Oh, thanks god I'm not alone. Just looked into this forum and found your thread.
@RoyK_is_a_She I can absolutely confirm this.
I also promote via Pinterest and my linkovers have dropped massively, furthermore the referral sales plummeted more than 70%.

I'm grateful I'm not alone, but it's not comforting that I can't find any information on policy changes anywhere. lol

I don't know where to take the problem. @Zazzle - can you be of any assistance? I don't know if the issue is on Zazzle's end or Pinterest's, but my affiliate links elsewhere are unaffected.
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 8:35:54 AM
I checked the number of impressions on Pinterest and they have not changed...
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 12:53:06 PM
My impressions and clicks on Pinterest are UP, considerably, over last week.

I had to buy some Stationery for my daughter eventually, so I did it today to test this issue. Here's how that went -

- Pin Stationery to Pinterest

- Delete Zazzle browser cookies, which also logs me out of Zazzle

- Navigate to Pin, click Pin

- Check Zazzle cookies
-- 4 cookies, local storage, www.zazzle.com
-- 11 cookies, zazzle.com
-- NO RF parameter stored in human-readable form
-- NO TC parameter stored in human-readable form

- Customize Stationery, Add to Cart

- Check Zazzle cookies
-- I forgot to count them lol, but I think same as above
-- NO RF parameter stored in human-readable form
-- NO TC parameter stored in human-readable form

- Finish purchase, includes log in

- Check Zazzle cookies
-- 6 cookies, local storage, www.zazzle.com
-- 9 cookies, zazzle.com
-- RF parameter stored in human-readable form
--- Due to another test I did, I believe the RF is added as my identity (i.e. due to logging in) and NOT due to the link I clicked (i.e., not due to ?rf= parameter)
-- NO TC parameter stored in human-readable form

- Check Royalty
-- Credited, working correctly
-- Tracking Code, as expected, working correctly

Meaning the process isn't broken, per se, for a purchase, but I've never NOT seen my RF and TC parameters stored UPON CLICKING a properly formatted link.

So, if Zazzle could please comment on cookie storage and what's going on there - why are parameters not stored in human-readable form upon clicking a link? Is this affecting Referrals at all? Is that why Linkovers have suddenly plummeted? In the past, it's been said Linkovers were artificially inflated - is this a correction, and they're accurate now?
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 2:55:30 PM
Hi Royk,

Our cookie policies have not change. I will look into this and get back to you.

Thanks!
Elizabeth
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 3:58:53 PM
Elizabeth P. wrote:
Hi Royk,

Our cookie policies have not change. I will look into this and get back to you.

Thanks!
Elizabeth

Thank you, Elizabeth!
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018 4:37:18 PM
After looking further into this and getting feedback, the reason why you are no longer seeing the cookies in your browser is because the cookies are encoded for security reasons. This change was made some time ago, and does not affect referrals.

Regarding linkovers, we're not seeing a downward trend from other accounts, so it's not related to any updates on our end.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Elizabeth P.
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018 4:47:22 PM
Elizabeth P. wrote:
After looking further into this and getting feedback, the reason why you are no longer seeing the cookies in your browser is because the cookies are encoded for security reasons. This change was made some time ago, and does not affect referrals.

Regarding linkovers, we're not seeing a downward trend from other accounts, so it's not related to any updates on our end.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Elizabeth P.



What kind of security threat is there to cookies? can someone come in a back door via a cookie?

just curious...
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018 4:51:17 PM
Elizabeth P. wrote:
After looking further into this and getting feedback, the reason why you are no longer seeing the cookies in your browser is because the cookies are encoded for security reasons. This change was made some time ago, and does not affect referrals.

Regarding linkovers, we're not seeing a downward trend from other accounts, so it's not related to any updates on our end.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Elizabeth P.



What kind of security threat is there to cookies? can someone come in a back door via a cookie?

just curious...

If they are encoded and invisible how am I going to know I have a cookie from you in case I want to delete it or just know how many I have and where they are from? spy cookies? incognito cookies?

This sounds strange to me...
Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2018 7:02:22 PM
Elizabeth P. wrote:
After looking further into this and getting feedback, the reason why you are no longer seeing the cookies in your browser is because the cookies are encoded for security reasons. This change was made some time ago, and does not affect referrals.

Regarding linkovers, we're not seeing a downward trend from other accounts, so it's not related to any updates on our end.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Elizabeth P.

Encoded cookies aren't very comforting - I'm a trust, but verify kinda gal, and I like to see what's in those cookies. Pinterest-to-Zazzle test worked for purchase though, so that's comforting.

I would like to know why Z switched to encoding though - general security/upgrade time or a specific issue. Because the best I can do via Internet search is "How to Keep Cookies from Crumbling & Sticking to the Pan ..." lol But I'm not holding my breath on that one. ;)

@Shelli - Search "cookie exploits." Mean people (who are smarter than I am lol) can do things. Admittedly, it's a good thing for Z to do, even though I'm not that happy about it.

On linkovers, all my stats everywhere else are up commensurate to my increased promotions. Weird, but okay. I'll figure out what I haven't investigated yet and, if I find anything, pass it along.

Thank you, for taking the time to look into, Elizabeth.
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