What Is Cookie Stuffing?

The one thing that you are exposed to all of the time when you are online is marketing. And it is only fair. A lot of the content that you are exposed to online is free and there needs to be some way for you to pay for it. For a lot of web sites that are free, they use advertising to cover the cost of running the web site. So when you visit the web site and click on the ad, you are in a way paying for the bandwidth that you used to see the web site itself.

A lot of the ads that you see are affiliate marketing ads. These are ads that the person who is presenting you the web page will get paid for if you perform an action. In other words, these actions are usually more than just a click. For example, if you buy the product then they will get a portion of the purchase price. They are able to do this by tracking your purchase through a technology known as cookies.

cookie-stuffing

Cookies are little files that are placed on your computer so that the web site that you visited can keep track of you. The file is only for that web site and they usually cannot see other web site’s cookies. That is why when you leave a web site and then come back they will still have a lot of your settings available even if you did not log in.

Cookie stuffing

Some people have found that they can cheat when it comes to affiliate marketing by using a technique that is known as cookie stuffing. Cookie stuffing is when a web site that you visit places a cookie that is not for that web site but for a third party web site. Then if you make a purchase on a merchant web site that the cookie was stuffed for, the original web site that you visited gets credit for the transaction when they shouldn’t. You did not click an ad on their site. Therefore they should not get any credit. This can happen with Amazon and eBay affiliates.

While this may not harm you as the consumer it is cheating the stores themselves and is something that should be stopped.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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