Friday, May 8, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

bit.ly Now Silently Inserts Affiliate Codes/Cookies

Carolyn Kmet (via Ole Begemann):

In early February, Bitly, the popular URL-shortening service, partnered with affiliate tool Viglink to auto-monetize every shortlink generated by Bitly’s millions of users. To understand the impact of this partnership, consider that Bitly encodes more than 600 million links per month. Those links generate approximately eight billion clicks monthly. Today, every one of those eight billion clicks potentially sets a Viglink affiliate cookie on the end-user’s machine. And every time Viglink earns commission, it shares it with Bitly.

[…]

The partnership most certainly interferes with attribution within the affiliate channel. Say a blogger, who is one of your approved affiliates, promotes your brand across her social media channels. To keep her posts short and pithy, the blogger uses Bitly to shorten the affiliate link. Now that Bitly is in partnership with Viglink, if the blogger’s post drives a sale, that sale is attributed to Viglink, not to the blogger.

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