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Quit Bugging Me!

Many online affiliates are being bitten by software that wrongly credits Web site referrals. Are you a victim?

This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Small online merchants who are members of the Web'saffiliate marketing programs are becoming concerned about arelatively new technology referred to as parasiteware, whichcredits the wrong party when online stores tally commissions forWeb referrals. In typical affiliate transactions, consumers clickon a link from a Web site that points to a product on a merchantsite such as If a customer decides to buy the product,Amazon pays its affiliated Web site operator a commission for thesale, which is usually 5 to 15 percent of the purchase price.

Now, some online merchants are noticing they are not gettingtheir commissions. Why? In some cases, parasiteware overwrites,intercepts, appends to or changes a performance marketing trackinglink so that credit is registered to a third party for whom thelink was not originally coded.

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