Affiliate marketers are known to have several strategies for increasing revenue- some of which are labeled as ‘black hat’ tactics and others as the more responsible ‘white hat’. However not all affiliate behaviors are so easily sorted into one of these categories, as is the case with Affiliate Toolbars.
Some coupon sites, reward programs, cashback sites and other affiliates offer downloadable toolbars that encourage users to make purchases through particular web pages. Beyond this, toolbars can be linked to any number of practices: hijacking paid search traffic, hijacking organic search traffic, stealing commission from other affiliates, manipulating traffic on merchants’ pages and tracking users personal browsing histories.
Evaluating these toolbars is a great way to prevent such behaviors, but can be quite tricky and time consuming. Our team has been hard at work developing a new free resource for all our Poachmark customers to remedy this issue- the Affiliate Toolbar profiles. Comprised of a comparative chart, this report reviews behaviors we observed specific toolbars employing.
While toolbar behavior often differs across affiliate networks and across individual programs, we tested a range of programs and documented the collection of behaviors we witnessed. Our reports aren't necessarily representative of what a particular toolbar does while in your particular program, but are indicative of what a toolbar generally does in many cases.
Customers can consult the full report here. A sample of an individual detail toolbar report is below. Initially comprising some of the largest toolbar affiliates, we would love your input on additional toolbars we should investigate.
We hope the report provides a clearer picture of the sources different merchants’ traffic is coming from. Please let us know if you'd like to add details for other affiliates operating toolbars or other downloadable software.