Cookie-Stuffing Targeting funtocollect.com
Cookie-Stuffing Targeting Major Affiliate Merchants - Ben Edelman
This page reports cookie-stuffing by goodbazaar.com, targeting funtocollect.com. In my testing, this is but one of many affiilate web sites targeting this and other merchants.
As of November 4, the http://www.goodbazaar.com/frame.asp?coupon_code=23222 page was #20 in Google results for "funtocollect coupon" (without quotes). This URL consists of a frameset as follows:
<frame name=frame0 src="top_frame.asp?coupon_code=23222" scrolling=auto target="_blank">
<frame name=frame1 Src="http://www.qksrv.net/click-291539-10299745" scrolling=auto target="_blank">
The bottom frame directly loads a Commission Junction tracking link, http://www.qksrv.net/click-291539-10299745.
The net effect is that when a user follows the Google search result, cookies are set automatically -- precisely the definition of cookie-stuffing. Had goodbazaar.com wanted to both frame the funtocollect site and avoid the risk of cookie-stuffing, it would have needed to tell Google not to index its framing pages, e.g. using META tags or a robots.txt file to that effect.
Notwithstanding that the net effect of the HTML code above is to stuff cookies (setting cookies automatically when users reach this page via direct links from search engines or elsewhere), the affiliate may or may not have intended cookie-stuffing to result. See discussion on ABestWeb. However, because the goodbazaar.com/frame.asp page includes HTML META tags (description and keywords) that serve to bolster search engine rankings, goodbazaar might be taken to be more likely (than the other affiliates whose FRAMESETs cause cookie-stuffing) to have intended to receive direct click-throughs from search engines, to cause its cookies to be stuffed by the FRAMESET, and to earn affiliate commissions as a result.
I captured the resulting on-screen display in a video (WindowsMedia format, view in Full Screen mode). I also preserved a full packet log of these findings.