This is an article I’ve wanted to write and discuss for over a year now.

So, after several discussions/debates with others in the space, I decided
to ask you, my loyal readers, to bring your insights and opinions to the table…

So here we go!

First, if you’re not sure about first vs. last cookie, here’s the gist:

First Cookie: if a user clicks an affiliate link, then no other affiliates
can get credit for that person’s conversions for as long as the cookie is set.

Last Cookie: in order to secure sale, the last affiliate to deliver a
cookie on a user’s machine receives credit for the conversion.

Questions??? No? Good! 🙂

Now onto the good stuff…

Which is better? Which is fair for affiliates? What’s best for a company?

Honestly there are SO many factors that play into it that going
over all the details would quickly turn into a masters level thesis!
(I can do that, but I’m going to charge you $997 ;))

What I’m going to do is hit the MAIN pros and cons of First vs. Last cookie
from three perspectives;

Company, Small to Medium Affiliate, and Large Affiliate

Read below, then I’m going to open up the comments, where I’ll be answering
questions and making counter points just to make everyone think!

FIRST COOKIE

Pros:

Company: Confidence in process, and future.
(Shows an affiliate that a company knows the first cookied people will
convert in their sales process, but ALSO that future sales of products
will be credited to that first referrer)

Small/Medium Affiliate: Rewards those that promote early.
(Setting that first cookie on a click or lead can secure potential
sales that might come from buzz from elsewhere on the web and
also for FUTURE products sold)

Large Affiliate: Can secure biggest cookied list in one promotion.
(Because they’re the big hitters, they cookie the most, and because of first
cookie, they do not have to mail multiple times to constantly ‘overwrite’ others
who might share portions of their lists or traffic sources)

Cons:

– Company: Puts more pressure on company to secure sale.
(Without an extra push and ‘stamp of approval’ from the trusted source
the sale does become harder to make)

– Small to Medium Affiliate: Must be first!
(With a limited promotional base, and big affiliates lining up to
promote, the Small to Medium affiliate has to be the first out of
the gate, or else risk losing potential buyers to others)

– Large Affiliate: Almost level playing field.
(Although they still are able to drive more traffic, the advantage
of being able to ‘overwrite’ other affiliates cookies is now gone)

LAST COOKIE

Pros

– Company: Keep on pushin’!!
(Since affiliates want to make sales they have to constantly
push and promote in order to keep their cookies first…which
leads to a TON of repeat exposure)

– Small to Medium Affiliate: Fresh and unique lists win.
(If their lists have little to no cross pollination among the larger
affiliates’ lists, then they don’t have to do much but drive the
lead and trust the company to sell them)

– Large Affiliates: Volume secures sales.
(With a single email just before the sales page opens, the
large affiliate can ‘overwrite’ cookies on cross pollinated
lists of other affiliates and secure higher sales)

Cons:

– Company: Lots of explaining to do…
(Because many affiliates have their cookies overwritten, they are often
very active in their pursuit of answers as to why X amount of clicks and
leads they drove, turned into little to no sales. This often hurts the
relationship with an affiliate and makes the company do more payback)

– Small/Medium Affiliate: Promotion is required to ensure credit.
(Because leads and cookies can be overwritten by other affiliates and
external ads at any point during a promotion, these affiliates must
promote hard to ensure their cookie is the last one on that potential
buyers’ computer)

– Large Affiliate: Timing before the event is KEY.
(With dozens of other big affiliates pushing a product, and threatening
the cookies placed before, they must time promotions to ensure they
get the last possible cookie or else all leads and efforts are worthless)

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Alright I’m SURE you’ve got thoughts, insight, and opinions to share
so without further ado…

COMMENTS ARE OPEN AND UNFILTERED!!

Discussion is really the only way I’m going to be able to help you figure
out what’s best for the current situation that you’re in…

Brad

P.S. What are you waiting for? Let your opinions and questions be known!