Reasons to Blank Referrers

Discussion in 'Affiliate Programs' started by drd26, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. drd26

    drd26 Junior Member

    Aug 9, 2007
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    First off, this is geared more towards n00bs trying to cover their butts when dealing with AM's regarding blank traffic.

    There's been numerous posts on BHW discussing how to blank referrers. Quite a few of these have provoked additional questions about how to justify your actions to AM's. From my experience each situations reason for doing so will vary.

    Let me tell you first that I haven't been questioned extensively on many of my campaigns. However, there's been a few times when I've been asked to satisfy their curiosity.

    One thing to keep in mind is that when you make money, they make money. So don't look at your AM like they're an enemy. You should make an honest effort to make them your friend and keep in contact.

    When being questioned and talking to your AM, by phone or IM, you should always be prepared. Know your stats, campaigns, and conversion data. Write out the methods you used for referrer blanking and come up with valid reasons for the actions you took. Also, don't over complicate things, keep the reason concise and show why your action was necessary.

    The bottom line is to really be prepared.

    Anyways, I wrote this up because I found this article during some browsing earlier this morning. It simply discusses reasons why the referrer may be appearing blank in traffic logs. If you need to provide an answer to an AM the reasons in the article below can help derive the answer.

    Reasons for ?Direct Traffic? in referrer reports
    by rocky
    (Applies to:  all)
    ?Direct Traffic? is a legacy name that no longer is valid.  Once upon a time, in long-ago simpler days (approximately 2003), the absence of a referrer in log files could only mean that somebody typed your site?s name into the browser?s address window, or used a bookmark, which amounts to the same thing.
    No longer.
    Here?s our current list of reasons for an empty referrer field, a.k.a Direct Traffic, or more accurately ?Referrer Unknown Traffic.?
       1. Somebody really did type in the address or used a bookmark to get to your page
       2. They clicked on a link in an email (not always true.  If they used some kind of web mail, the web mail server will be the referrer)
       3. The link was in a document
       4. The link originates at a secure (https:) page and your page is not secure (http)
       5. Spiders and bots were working from a list of URLs from a previous crawl (this one mostly applies to server logs, rarely to SDC)
       6. Spiders and bots may be programmed to suppress the referrer information (this one mostly applies to server logs, rarely to SDC)
       7. The visitor is using IE and the link to your site was in Javascript.  Javascript links to your site include those that open your site in a new browser window, or any kind of javascript redirect.  Many banners? links are programmed this way.
       8. The visitor is using IE and the link to your site is from within a Flash application (there are a lot of ways to do this in Flash so there may be exceptions)
       9. Your landing page redirects to another page via a 301 permanent server-side redirect
      10. The link was on an intranet or some other web site behind a proxy or corporate gateway that was set up to strip referrers from requests
      11. The visitor has made changes to their browser that suppresses the referrer information
      12. Another site has put your page content into an iFrame and coded the frame to suppress the referrer, in order to make it difficult for you to find out who is framing your content
    As you can see, IE is responsible for a big proportion of non-referrer visits.  If you want to get a better idea of your referrer mix, you could try a Firefox-only Referrers report. 
    If you want to do a little more sleuthing, go to a search engine and request a list of all the indexed pages that have links to your site (or to a particular page).  (Search for ?  Visit those pages to see if the links have the quirks described above.
  2. blackhatting

    blackhatting Regular Member Premium Member

    Oct 26, 2008
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    that's a good read. thanks for sharing. it's great to be prepared.