John Chow Gets Nailed by Auctionads

John Chow is obviously a smart guy. He runs The Tech Zone, which is a popular technology website that I am sure he does very well with. He is probably more well-known for running his namesake website, The site has become extremely popular with bloggers as he has chronicled on a day-to-day basis how he has grown the site from zero income to over $8000 of income in March.

I find his posts to be informative most of the time. Recently however, he posted an article that not only lost him one of his advertisers, but forced him to backtrack and edit the article multiple times.

The article in question is located here: Evil Affiliate Marketing Trick of the Day. In the article, Chow details an "evil affiliate marketing trick" called cookie stuffing. Basically, he outlined how he opens up a tiny, tiny page automatically that you would never notice, opening up the website (with his affiliate id attached) so that if a visitor ends up signing up with Auctionads, Chow will get paid a % of earnings generated, as technically he has now referred you, even though you didn't realize it.

Why is this a problem? Companies offering the affiliate programs don't want people marketing in this way, because it makes the company look shady. If a surfer visits, then they should expect that a benign cookie or two will be planted on their computer, usually to track traffic. However, if a user never intended to visit, but still has one of their cookies planted on their machines, then this is just wrong. Some people will say, the article was about Auctionads anyways, so what is the big deal? The big deal is that if you allow this, then in a week you have shady affiliates planting 100 cookies on a user's machine when they visit a seemingly innocent looking page.

So Chow posts this article, and immediately the negative fallout begins. Not only does he post an article about cookie stuffing, which is in violation of most affiliate programs' terms and conditions, but he also says that the reason he is doing it is to "make money off your ass." People didn't really like this as well, and he edited that out of his article.

Auctionads notices this article (they would have noticed the cookie stuffing soon enough anyways) and immediately disables Chow's Auctionads account, which is the typical reaction when a company finds out that one of their affiliates is cookie stuffing.

Cookie stuffing is a bad, bad idea, and most companies will immediately ban anyone that utilizes this practice. Don't try it at home.


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