Are affiliates names being exposed through CJ links? UPDATED

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I uncovered this recently while building a new site, and after googling for a bit didn’t really seem to find anyone else with the same concern.

Issue: Razorgator (through CJ) exposes affiliate names in the utm_source parameter for their own analytics tracking. *Probably* to make life easier for anyone tracking conversions by traffic source. It’s a good idea, provided affiliates know it’s happening and are given the option to change/correct the name that is being displayed. Let me show you what I mean:

Here’s the naked link:

http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-4227214-10817088

Which redirects through CJ and ends up here:

http://www.razorgator.com/tickets/tickets/sports/football/nfl/nfl-playoff-tickets/?CJPID=4227214&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=1774891&utm_source=Eric+Schwarzer&PRID=affiliate

See anything wrong with that? I found it a bit creepy, especially since my CJ account is not in my personal name anymore, but the name of my numbered company. I thought perhaps that the attribution might have been caused by the name of the SuperUser on the account (my own name), so I decided to see if changing the user who was creating the links would remove the problem.

After a bit of fiddling I came up with this link – created after I change my primary account name (the superuser) AND created a new Operator account, pulled a link from that one.. and here it is:

http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-4227214-10391643

Which redirects through CJ and ends up here:
http://www.razorgator.com/tickets/?c=99-2-0-0-0-0-0&CJPID=4227214&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=1774891&utm_source=Eric+Schwarzer&PRID=affiliate

Compared to ticket liquidator:
http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-4227214-10813511
which lands here
http://www.ticketliquidator.com/default.aspx?utm_medium=4227214&utm_source=cjid&cjid=4227214

Notice I don’t have my name in the url? I do.

I checked a few coupon sites who promote razorgator’s coupon codes and discovered that the issue is not unique to me: some urls show the site name name while others show company names (RetailMeNot becomes WhaleShark Media, Coupon Mountain becomes ValueClick Brands and couponscoop.com becomes Greenwood Monkey Bars LLC).

I also found a few smaller affiliates who are being identified by name. It’s likely since some of them are using private domain registration services that they don’t want their real names out there…

Now – who should I take this up with?

After reviewing the headers it seems that CJ is adding the utm_source parameter and so I suppose I should take it up with them, something I hope to do shortly. I really hope that I will be able to link to merchants from my company account without exposing my personal name in the final url – it would also be nice if CJ gave me the option to globally opt to have my affiliate ID used instead of a name. I’m all for transparency and actually do Like the idea of merchants seeing names instead of cryptic IDs in their analytics reports, but it would be nice to have some control over how my own name appears.

So – who’s the best person at CJ to take this up with?

UPDATE (June 4 3:20pm EST)
Seems CJ is listening, we will see how long it takes for the changes to pass through.

Via our social media team, I was made aware of your posting here:

http://www.allspun.com/are-affiliates-names-being-exposed-through-cj-links/

I would like to address your concerns.

When an advertiser is integrated to the network, they have the option to passback the company name of their publisher for analytical purposes. RazorGator appears to be an advertiser who is employing that option.

However, they are only pulling the company name; it can’t pull the name you’ve listed as your actual name for user information. If you list your name as your company name, that’s when your information will get passed back after a click-through. It looks like you’ve updated your company name to something other than your actual name; it will take some time before the tracking servers are refreshed and your updated company name will being to appear.

Please let me know if you have further questions or concerns.

If you need additional assistance, please update this incident through the Support Center.

I’ve replied and asked how long I should wait before seeing a refresh on the data.

4 Comments

  1. Just found the post via your Twitter link – This is very interesting post, I wonder if this is a new issue – I’ve never heard of it before. I posted the link to our Facebook page. Please update when you hear from CJ about this.. Thanks!

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