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Best Practices Guide for The Cookie Labs
#1
A lot of people have asked for a "best practices" guide to The Cookie Labs (and/or cookie stuffing in general). Here are some BASIC guidelines for The Cookie Labs...

Please understand that this is NOT an expert guide to cookie stuffing... This is to be used to get you an IDEA of what you can do with this program, and a few ways of keeping your stuffing activities out of the lime light. I do NOT claim to be a cookie stuffing expert, nor do I claim I make millions doing so. I make decent money via my online activity, and most of it is NOT from stuffing... I just want to get you guys and gals started, and get some basics down so you can start to *think for yourselves*. Internet Marketing, and in particular, cookie stuffing and other black hat activities, is ALL about creativity. There are many ways to skin a cat, and I guarantee other "experts" will have some better ways of accomplishing what I am about to tell you. That's okay! You will learn from mistakes, learn from experience, etc.. what I guarantee is that you will NOT learn from reading and doing NOTHING. Try it... change it... improve it... that's what it's all about.

Okay - let's get started....

There are NUMEROUS ways of getting your visitors cookied with your affiliate links, thus making a commission if they visit the merchant you are stuffing and still have your cookie. When using The Cookie Labs - the visitor will get stuffed IF and only IF they meet the requirements you set. The Cookie Labs *REQUIRES* a referrer. Let me say that again... The Cookie Labs REQUIRES a referrer. This is to prevent someone from getting stuffed by visiting your site directly, or by viewing the source code (browsers refresh the page when viewing page source code and since it's a direct visit, there is no stuffing activity so there is nothing to see in the source code). Another way TCL prevents you from getting caught is that it will never allow google or other search engines from caching your cookie stuffing activity - it will never stuff when someone does a "site:yourdomainhere.com" query or by putting any instance of your domain name in the search query. Many AM's will do research on how your site reacts when a visitor comes to your site from the SE's and the easiest way to get your site to be listed in the SERPS is by doing a site query or by putting the domain in the query - both of those methods will never show any stuffing activity (even if you add "google" to the referrer). Basically - if you want to stuff your search engine referred visitors - you add google,bing,yahoo as the custom referrer and they will get stuffed only if they see your site listed from a KEYWORD you rank for (nothing else).

Testing TCL campaigns...

Since there are so many security measures in place (like the methods mentioned above), it may be a LITTLE complicated when you are testing your campaigns out - since you can't easily get stuffed by just visiting your site. So how do you test? The easiest way to test your campaign is by putting a link to your cookie stuffing site, on another site. Then on your TCL server - make sure the "drop frequency" is 100%, add your reflink, and for the custom referrer, just add a period. By adding a period, you are telling TCL to stuff visitors coming from ANY referrer (any other site). Once you got that setup, and the link on another site. Click the link and see if you got a cookie. If everything is setup correctly, then you have successfully setup your campaign. The next thing to do is to change your reflinks to use appropriate referrers and start your traffic campaign and watch the cookies get dropped. If you are still having problems, contact support and we'll look into it.

Setting up TCL from scratch:

First - you install the server side script. This is your cookie stuffing campaign management system and will control all your cookie stuffing domains. Edit the config.php file to use your details (admin name/pword and mysql username/pword, etc) and upload the files. The next step is to upload and activate the WP plugin on the site that you want to stuff (or use the standalone script on a non-wp site).

[Image: tcl_dashboard.png]

Login to your TCL server using the username and pword you setup in the config.php file. Your dashboard should look like screenshot above.

Now you need to add your domain to the dashboard. Click on Add Domain and enter the domain URL (not including http OR www) and the drop frequency (you can change that later though). If you are testing, always put it at 100% so you can be sure your test will get stuffed. Once you've added your domain (screenshot below), you need to add your "Reflinks".

[Image: tcl_add_domain.png]

These are your affiliate links that you will be stuffing your visitors with. Your reflink will be the controlling factor of what your referrers will look like to the affiliate company. So if you put in a bare affiliate link, ie. "http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000P9ZBFA?ie=UTF8&tag=whatever" - that will drop an amazon cookie but it will also leave your cookie stuffing site as the referrer. To be honest, it's not that big of a deal when stuffing Amazon, however, just to get in the practice of being safe - you shouldn't use a bare affiliate link. Now, because you are using TCL, chances of an affiliate manager seeing any cookie stuffing activity going on, with your stuffing site, probably is pretty low (like i said earlier, there's many security measures in place to prevent this) - however there's just no reason to risk it. It's better to avoid your stuffing site from EVER being in the picture of any promotion you are doing (in the eyes of the affiliate companies).

[Image: tcl_edit_domain_reflinks.png]

So how do you prevent your stuffing site from being in the referrer? Well, for one, you don't use bare affiliate links. There's many ways to do this, and we'll focus on two easy ways...

The first way, and the easiest way, is to use something like CPA-Redirector. You can get that pretty much anywhere. We have a modified, standalone version here:
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. Basically, you setup CPA-Redirector on ANOTHER site, that has nothing to do with (and has NO TIES to) your stuffing site. That means that you create a wordpress blog or php site that is on another hosting provider than your blackhat sites... You make the site whitehat - nothing funny going on... just some content and a bunch of affiliate product banners... So if you're stuffing amazon, you make sure the whitehat (cpa-r) blog has amazon product banners on the side or something.. You choose a post or a couple of posts to be the referrer... We won't go into setting up CPA-R - but basically, you set it up by adding your bare affiliate link (ie. "http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000P9ZBFA?ie=UTF8&tag=whatever") into CPA-R on your whitehat site, choose your magic number and then you'll have your reflink! So it would be something like:
You must post to unlock this link

Now that link redirects to your your affiliate link page, BUT it also makes the referrer show up as:

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SO...

You take your new "affiliate link",

ie.
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And you put that as your "reflink" into your TCL campaign. Now - you're stuffing your site with a CPA-Redirector link - that will get your cookie dropped, AND at the same time, spoofs the referrer, making it look like the visitor really came from your whitehat site.

Okay - the other method is very similar. You need another site, just like with CPA-R, however - all you need on that other site is an affiliate link to amazon (or whatever you want to stuff). But that link is really just a PHP file on your site - which is just a double meta refresh (or DMR) - making it so that the referrer is now that whitehat site, not your stuffing site. This basically accomplishes the same thing. So on this whitehat site, you're promoting amazon products let's say... and one of the links, it should be something like
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.

In the redirect.php file, you will have something like this:

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or

.
<?php
echo $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'];
$stage = empty($_GET['stage']) ? 1 : $_GET['stage'];

$link = $stage == 1 ? 'redirect.php?stage=2' : 'http://youraffliliatelink.com';
?>

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=<?=$link?>">
.

What that does is force the referrer to be your whitehat site. That's all. So now - your "reflink" for your TCL setup will be something like:
You must post to unlock this link

About that DMR code - please note two places that may need to be changed to fit your needs. First, the "redirect.php?stage=2" portion of the code. If you name the php file something other than "redirect.php", you'll need to change that to reflect the file name you chose... Also please change "http://youraffiliatelink.com" to, well, your affiliate link Smile

That's it.

So getting back to TCL...

You are in the setup of your domain.. Adding reflinks - you add your new CPA-R link (or your DMR link) as the reflink, and now you need to choose the required referrer. What this means is that your visitors will ONLY get stuffed if they come from [the referrer you setup for that reflink].

That's the basic setup of a Cookie Labs campaign. It's extremely simple once you know what you are doing. And before I forget - once you setup the campaign - you must PRESS THE PLAY BUTTON next to the domain to start the campaign. You can play, pause or delete any of your campaigns whenever you want. So you need to remember to start the campaign before you test... and you do so by pressing PLAY. If you see a Pause button showing, it means it's started and you are now stuffing your visitors (assuming the requirements were met).

So let's say you have an autoblog and most of the traffic is organic. So you want to stuff that organic traffic - you would add "google,bing,yahoo" as the custom referrer in your TCL campaign. What that will do is ONLY stuff visitors that were searching for something in google, bing, or yahoo and your site showed up for the query. No one else will get stuffed.. So if they saw your site link in an article somewhere, or some other site - they won't get stuffed by clicking it.

If you want any referrer stuffed, you add just a period. However, that's not wise. The idea here is to only stuff certain visitors that you are controlling... You drive traffic to one particular site or framework (like Facebook, or twitter) - then you use that as the referrer.. That way - if an Affiliate manager comes snooping around your stuffing site - they'll never get stuffed because they probably won't know your custom referrer.. It's more protection for you.

So this is where you need to get creative. One way is to use facebook as the custom referrer - then you create a facebook page that entices people to click to your stuffing site. If the visitor comes from facebook, they get stuffed, if not, no stuffing activity is happening and you're safe from prying eyes... Remember - you don't need to sell ANYTHING. You just need to get them to visit your site. So say ANYTHING. Say "click here to get free tickets to [some concert coming up]" or "click here to view [new movie here]" or "click here to see Britney spears naked!". See what I mean? Just DRIVE THE CLICK. Doesn't even matter if you deliver. As long as they visit your site - they get stuffed and if they buy anything on Amazon, you get PAID.

Using twitter for the custom referrer. This one is easy. Get a bunch of twitter accounts (you can buy them or create them yourself) - using a program like Tweet Attacks, it's incredibly easy to get thousands of tweets out - using proxies and multiple accounts to prevent the appearance of "spam" and just make the tweets interesting enough that they'll click to your stuffing site. Remember - you just need to drive their curiosity...

So - Amazon is a 24h cookie. That sucks. You'll only get commissions if they visit Amazon and buy something within 24 hours of you stuffing them. So you can either just accept that, or you can get creative and get your visitors on an email list. Send them emails every day or every couple days - make the emails interesting, so that they'll keep coming back to your site. You'll need updated content on your site - reasons for them to return. Make a joke of the day site - tell them to see the new jokes for today, they need to visit your site, and then email them about new jokes released (Yes, that's a really silly idea but it's creative methods like this that will get people visiting your site and every time they do, they get stuffed and you get PAID).

It's a whole different ballgame than trying to sell things. You aren't selling anything when you are stuffing. You just need traffic. You CAN pay for the traffic (I would advise NOT to use Google adwords, as they are just too d*** expensive nowadays) however you really need to be stuffing something targeted and something that's priced high enough to get you larger commissions for that to be profitable. You can easily lose your shirt if you are paying high prices for traffic and you are relying on 4% from Amazon and they end up buying an mp3 song or something...

So if you still haven't bought The Cookie Labs - you can still get a $50 discount by using this link:

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