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The Affiliate ID

All the hard sell sites telling you that you'll be raped and murdered by some guy named Bubba who bought you for two cigarettes all contain a sort of 'cookie' in their link to EE. Here's how it works.

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First off, it's not really a cookie. A cookie is a value passed by a remote site to your browser that is kept somewhere on your local machine - in RAM and maybe in cache as well - so that your browser can get back to the remote site with this value. This is how webmail works: Once you've logged on, the remote webmail server passes a cookie to your browser as a sort of access token. This cookie might even have a time limit on it. Each time you access another link within the domain of your webmail server, the cookie is passed back, authenticating you. And as we all know by now, this is not the only use for cookies: Cookies are used in all kinds of demographic tracking - by 'spyware' applications as they are called. The use of cookies can get rather insidious.

But that's not what we're dealing with here. All the 'logic' is held by the remote server - your HTTP client never knows anything about it, need not know anything about it.

Once you've connected to the EE site with an affiliate ID in the URL, the remote EE server recognizes the value and attaches it wherever you go (whether a cookie is actually used to effect this is immaterial). And, if you decide to buy - or to join the affiliate program yourself - this value is passed into the software processing your request. A note is made of the referrer, who can then expect to receive a commission.

By all accounts, EE treats their affiliates very well, with an excellent customer support program, replying to most emails within 24 hours, and they pay promptly and in any currency you desire. In all respects they are completely above board.

In fact, there is nothing to tie EE in with the scandalous spamming that has gone on. This has all been done by affiliates, and not by EE themselves.

All one could ask of EE is to prevent abuse by their affiliates. Include a clause in their affiliate contracts strictly forbidding what is already forbidden elsewhere, or is regarded generally to be of a very low ethical nature. With termination of contract as a result if the terms are nevertheless violated.

Yet conjecture or not, it's difficult to see EE sleeping poorly at nights because affiliates spam the net. They've already stooped lower than anyone else in their own marketing campaign. From all accounts, it seems to be the almighty dollar (almighty pound) which is worshipped at EE - and nothing else.

EE might be a fine product. It's certainly not a sham today, but it could be a lot better. And there are numerous other products which do the same job, all as well or better than EE. But EE could remain in good company anyway. All EE would have to do would be to 'clean up their act'.

Don't hold your breath...

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