How To Prevent Duplicate Affiliate Commissions On Multiple Networks

Last updated: January 12th, 2018 | By: Ryan Williams

duplicate pay

What's The Problem?

If you are an advertiser and work with multiple affiliate networks, you run the risk of paying commission for the same conversion multiple times.

How Does The Problem Occur?

It's generally good to advertise on multiple affiliate networks. The problem comes when you have more than one conversion pixel on the confirmation page.

Let me explain, a prospective customer goes to site A and then clicks through to your sale page without converting. Site A uses affiliate network #1 to link to your sale page. This same prospective customer goes to site B and clicks through to your sale page via affiliate network #2 and does convert. 

When the prospective customer converts into a real customer, they end up on a confirmation page which fires off the conversion pixels for both affiliate network #1 and #2. This means that both networks get credit for the same conversion and you, the advertiser, pay twice!

How Can The Problem Be Prevented?

  • Don't work with multiple affiliate networks (you should do this however, as described here)
  • Manually void duplicates in each network they occur in
  • Only load the conversion pixel for the originating affiliate network (preferred)

How You Can Load Conversion Pixels Only For A Single Affiliate Network?

What I am going to describe here is one solution that I personally have used successfully to prevent duplicate pixel loads from multiple affiliate networks. While there may be other approaches, this is the one I will focus on.

Many affiliate networks offer you the ability to pass a custom variable from their network. One common example is when a network allows you to automatically add a key/ value at the end of the URL which can identify both the affiliate network and the affiliate. This is essentially all that's needed to know how to prevent duplicate conversions. 

When someone clicks from affiliate network #1, and the URL has "NETWORK_1=AFF_123" in it, you can identify that network on your landing page. The advertiser landing page just needs to write their own cookie, or some other persistent mechanism, that says who the last affiliate network was, overwriting it for the next affiliate network, each time. 

When the prospective customer converts, the advertiser's site can read the cookie they wrote and know which network was the last affiliate network involved. From here, the advertiser simply loads the correct pixel and thus only credits it to a single affiliate network.

The workflow of overwriting the last network is the same idea as overwriting the last affiliate from the same network.

In brief, if the prospective customer last came from affiliate network #2 then you just need to load the pixel for affiliate network #2. It doesn't matter how many networks you advertise on, as long as you know the last network used and load its pixel, you solve the problem.

Other Options For Identifying A Specific Network

If you work with an affiliate network that does not allow you to append a network key/ value automatically to the URL, you can just add it yourself in the advertiser dashboard for your specific offer. You can set a custom variable, like a query string, to the end of your URL for each network. This way, you will always know which network the click came from and can load the correct pixel from it. 

Basic Workflow To Implement

  1. Prospective customer clicks from some network
  2. Landing page's site stores information identifying network of originating, last, click (in a cookie or other persistent mechanism)
  3. Prospective customer converts
  4. Load the pixel from the last network 

Conclusion

If you are working with multiple affiliate networks, which you should do, you need to prevent duplicate commissions. You can do this by knowing the last network a prospective customer came from, then storing your own cookie which identifies it, then loading only the pixel for that network. This is all you need to do to prevent duplicates, know the last network and load the correct pixel.

The work described here does require some technical knowledge and a software developer but once implemented, you can work with as many affiliate networks as you like without paying twice for a sale.