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Why you "get shaved/scrubbed" on offers

Discussion in 'CPA' started by mkrongel, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. mkrongel

    mkrongel Registered Member

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    This is going to be a long post.

    Shaving seems to be a big complaint here so i figured i would try to give my knowledge on the subject.

    Most networks have no reason to "shave" offers, in fact most of the technology doesn't allow for this (DT has no scrub feature, Hitpath does, not sure on has offers networks or Linktrust these days, and those with custom systems i cant speak for) If a network shaves it eventually will lose business, every network knows this so i doubt anyone actively shaves with an exception on some of the smaller networks who keep low margins and need to make up for it somewhere.

    The true scrub comes in the form of tracking flaws, practices like cross publishing offers (DT has this feature that makes brokering offers as simple as two clicks of a mouse between DT networks but the tracking drops an easy 10-20% of conversions when you cross publish through the system VS doing it manually) When you add more redirects, and multiple layers of tracking, the layers at the bottom of the chain (the broker network) tend to not report as good as those at the top of the chain.

    So network A gives network B an offer, Network B has a pub who does 50 leads in their system, but when network B checks Network A's system they see 70 leads (20 of your leads didnt count in their system) They didnt scrub this but they didnt do anything to give these leads back to you either. This network that offers insane payouts or higher payouts than a "Big" network can do so because 40% of sales arent recorded. So if i as a broker network get paid $40 for a lead i can pay you $45 and still make $3 or more because of the tracking issues that will happen.

    I am not saying all brokered networks act like this, each offer and set up is different, they may have offers that are brokered which track 97% (3% of users surf without cookies so youll never get 100% tracking, and if its ID tracking then you miss out when people leave and come back, nothing can be perfect) or offers that track at only 75%. Only the network knows which ones are right and which ones arent.

    Besides offer set up and multiple redirects/pixels tracking the sales you also have slow loading websites. If an advertiser is having a traffic spike and isnt capable of handling the traffic the site will run slow which means it'll load tracking pixels slowly or maybe not at all, if those pixels dont load the pub doesnt get credit but the network does, the network should be able to catch this (or when you point it out to them they should be able to find the issue) and work with the advertiser to fix it so tracking is resolved, they should also be able to upload leads that werent counted

    You also might have pixel sabotage either intentional or unintentional. Most advertisers work with many networks. They place 10, 20 or 30 pixels on their thank you page. Once your referral completes the action the thank you page loads the pixel which sees the cookie and gives you credit, but if there are 19 other pixels to load before the networks and lets say pixel 17 is Yahoo and their server is down or loading slow the site will not load pixel 18, 19 and 20 fast enough before the user moves on, causing the lead to not count for you.

    These flaws exist with everyone, its the networks who manage them best that youll see the least amount of "shaving" from. Also if you talk to your AM and think something like the above is happening it can alert them to an issue that maybe they can resolve.

    For me we check big offers each day, its impossible to check the 700 offers we have each day, we do check them all at least monthly. We look to see less than 3% discrepancy on all offers. With cookie/pixel tracking we know youll never get to 100% but anything higher than 3% is unacceptable.

    We may be the only network with specific language about how we want our pixel placed on thank you pages (at the top of the page before any other pixel) our IT dept checks this placement to ensure we are in the best placement in our opinion possible. Some advertisers have fought with us about our placement policy, telling us that it doesnt matter however after 5 years of doing this we know it matters, we have placed thousands of pixels and counted 100's of millions in commissions, we know how important pixel placement is

    I hope my post helps, and i'm happy to answer any questions.

    Those who send shit traffic you get scrubbed/shaved because your traffic is shit. Period. If you have real traffic the above might answer 99% of the "shaving" you have seen.
     
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  2. Jeremy_AM

    Jeremy_AM Regular Member

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    Excellent post
     
  3. phatzilla

    phatzilla Supreme Member

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    is it really flaws? or is it the advertiser just being greedy?
     
  4. BlackHatSoda

    BlackHatSoda Junior Member

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    I can see the issue where someone has tons of tracking pixels on their confirmation page as causing lost transactions. That's a terrible way to handle running multiple offers from the same site but there is no excuse for a 10% loss of transactions for each network "hop" in the tracking process. The fact that a network is banking on that loss for income is shady.

    As far as a 3% loss due to visitors with cookies disabled; I've written CPA networks from the ground up and can tell you that it's very easy to get better than 99% tracking. Cookies are not the only way to accurately track transactions.

    In your example of Network A is showing leads that Network B can't attribute to any of their publishers but is still getting paid and chooses to do nothing about it, that's shaving. And blaming it on crappy software (DirectTrack is crap, I've been in the source code) is just an excuse. If you're running your business on faulty software which short changes your affiliates and keeping the profit then you are shaving. It may not be manually dropping transactions but it is shaving.

    Regarding shitty traffic... that's scrubbing and an entirely different thing. Junk traffic should get scrubbed out.
     
  5. Jeremy_AM

    Jeremy_AM Regular Member

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    I believe DirectTrack employs cookieless tracking as a backup now. Linktrust I know has for at least two years. But DirectTrack still sucks and I'm not a huge fan of Linktrust either. (We've had cookieles tracking since day one, just fyi.)

    Agreed that simply placing everyone's pixel on the confirmation page is laziness and bad practice.


    @mkrongel,
    I doubt that many networks are paying out more than they receive and counting on lost leads to turn a profit. If an offer is being rebrokered five times over then the amount of lost leads could be dramatic from the top of the chain to the last rung, but those five networks aren't going to be seeing significant losses individually to where they can pay more than they get and still profit a few dollars per lead. Your example of 20 leads being lost out of 70 is a 28% loss. That would be some real ghetto tracking software ;)

    There are of course leads lost with offers that you have direct, as you mentioned, and it does vary from advertiser to advertiser and month to month. It's not uncommon for us to see discrepencies of as little as $300 per $100,000 in leads, or 0.3%, but naturally it can be much higher.



    More often than not if there is shaving going on it is on the advertiser's end. Some shady networks may shave but it's not an epidemic as many people seem to think. Advertisers running CPL campaigns are most likely to shave in order to keep their profit margins where they want them to be on a day-to-day basis. They may do this on a per-publisher basis or they may not, but receiving bad traffic to their offers is going to increase their shaving. And BlackHatSoda, it is shaving, not scrubbing, if they do it indescriminently on a percentage of all leads, rather than scrubbing leads based on criteria that disqualifies the lead (eg under 18) or identifies it as a junk/fraud lead.
     
  6. MiLiTARYiV

    MiLiTARYiV Senior Member

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    @mkrongel
    I think your right. From what I have read here, what gathered is most of time its tracking issues and not direct shaving. Now rather the tracking issues is intetional or not who knows?
     
  7. Goldie9

    Goldie9 Registered Member

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    there is no doubt they shave. they have to do it because there is so much fraud going on
     
  8. charliebones

    charliebones Regular Member

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    Some networks are better than others but they ALL shave to some degree to offset fraud. Some are just brutal and usually go out of business after a while.