Is the network “stealing” my campaigns?

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Vimmy

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"Are traffic sources stealing our campaigns?" we came across such a discussion on the affLIFT forum.

It's no secret that some networks have their own media buying departments, and therefore have access to a lot of different data on active campaigns.

It is natural that an affiliate may have a question: “Are advertising networks copying my successful campaigns for their own needs”?

By googling this topic, it turned out that it is much less popular than the discussion of "green" cases. To be honest, we didn't find anything and certainly no comments from ad networks.

Therefore, we wanted to answer some popular and exciting questions by discussing this topic in more detail.


Media buying team

Why are there internal buying departments inside grids?


Among the general mass of affiliates, there is a very strong bias towards the most profitable GEOs, verticals and advertising formats.

Because of this, some part of the traffic provided by publishers may not be filled with offers, i.e. missing fillrate.

This, in turn, reduces the CPM that site owners receive. It turns out to be a vicious circle - no offers - no traffic, and no traffic - no affiliates who need this traffic.

Also, honestly, let's admit that the average affiliate has all the qualities of an ordinary person - laziness, forgetfulness, sloppiness and caution. Therefore, he forgets to replenish the balance, does not launch new campaigns, sets limits, and in 90% of cases acts as carefully as possible.
The advertising network in this case is between hammer and anvil - on the one hand, it needs to give publishers a competitive CPM in the market, and on the other hand, there is an unstable flow of affiliates.

It is important to note that this is less true for large networks that have passed this stage of development.

If there are media buyers within the network, isn't it logical that they would borrow my campaigns?

No, it's not logical. Stealing work bundles is a bad idea. In fact, at a long distance, you are shooting yourself in the foot. All offers sooner or later leave the market. The job of an affiliate is to search and test new bundles.

The job of the network is to sell this traffic. By stealing bundles you lose customers and this is the way to nowhere.


Postback - harm or benefit?

Could it be that the postback is needed to "steal" my data?


No. Networks that value their customer base use postback to assess the quality of traffic and create optimization tools.

You can read more about postback and its benefits here.


What to do?

How to protect yourself if you are worried about the dishonesty of the network?


1. Choose proven partners that you trust. You can always find background information in our industry. Make personal acquaintances with representatives of networks.

2. You should protect your bundles not only from advertising networks, but also from competitors. Use cloaking, don't pass conversions to the grid if you don't need it.

3. Don't be paranoid. There are enough fish in the ocean for everyone. Sometimes a performance fluctuation is just a fluctuation, and not someone's malicious intent. The traffic market is very lively and unpredictable. There are a lot of unknowns in this situation, but it is often easier for our brain to justify the drawdown by some kind of conspiracy or dishonest actions.

As representatives of the advertising network, we can safely say that those people who really make large volumes do not care at all about cloaking, pass conversions and creatives. Moreover, very often they themselves share information with others. The main enemy of an affiliate is laziness and insufficient testing.


Conclusion

Yes, the presence of media buying teams in advertising networks is not a secret.

So what? Now give up and stop working? Ultimately, this is not the problem (if this is a problem at all, because it can be defended against) that prevents the affiliate from achieving success.

Much more influence is exerted by strong players on the market, which can actually squeeze out individual affiliates with budgets.

We hope that the article was interesting for you and gave answers to your questions. At we have an open and trusting policy with all our clients! And feedback is always welcome.

Do you secure your work bundles?
 
Adtrafico

servandosilva

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To cloak or not to cloak... That's the question 🙂

 
  • Haha
Reactions: Rob

theboss

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I'm not really sure how you can make these statements on behalf of all networks. You can certainly attest to your own, but how do you know what others are doing?

I have stopped doing business with more than one CPA network after discovering them running the same campaign. In one instance even copying my lander exactly. It happens. Greed kills any deal.
 

CPV Lab Pro

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One other place where your campaign details are stored is at tracker level. The tracker database holds information about both your traffic and conversions for each campaign.

So in order to have this area secured and have the guarantee that you are the only one that has access to data, a self-hosted tracker is preferred. You will keep campaign results securely on your server and you can have unlimited data retention.

We have users which are very careful with their data and they need the extra data privacy guarantee offered by a self-hosted tracker like CPV Lab Pro compared to a cloud-based one.

As a representative of a self-hosted tracker, I can tell you that it is impossible for us to have knowledge about the types of campaigns our users are running or about their performances. Which becomes a real challenge from a marketing perspective as we extract zero information once the tracker is installed on users' servers. But our users need data privacy and offering them that is what matters.

Radu
 

joyce

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I have stopped doing business with more than one CPA network after discovering them running the same campaign. In one instance even copying my lander exactly. It happens. Greed kills any deal.
@theboss
How do you know it's the network that is running your campaign or your competitor who copy from a spy tool?
 

mobile2tw

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a
Do you guys have an internal media buying team?
almost every network ha their own internal media buying team.And can get a lot of traffic advantages that personal affiliates can't get on the traffic platform.
 

theboss

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@theboss
How do you know it's the network that is running your campaign or your competitor who copy from a spy tool?

It was different for each case. The first was someone who just told me. I had done enough business and they had the integrity to let me know. The second was a discussion with a tech person at a conference. When I asked what kinds of things they used that particular tech for he flat out told me all of the things they ran on it.
 

Vimmy

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I'm not really sure how you can make these statements on behalf of all networks. You can certainly attest to your own, but how do you know what others are doing?

I have stopped doing business with more than one CPA network after discovering them running the same campaign. In one instance even copying my lander exactly. It happens. Greed kills any deal.
Agree, yes. Of course, we are express our position on the issue.
 

Nick

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Of course, can I get your login? We want to steal campaigns;)
LOOL. :ROFLMAO:

If you have an internal media buying team I think some of the statements in this post are pretty bold then.

To be honest, we didn't find anything and certainly no comments from ad networks.
There are no comments from ad networks because even though it's common knowledge for anyone that's been in this industry for more than a minute, they don't want to scare noobs away from day 1 by telling them "yeah, we steal your campaigns... deal with it".
Because of this, some part of the traffic provided by publishers may not be filled with offers, i.e. missing fillrate.

This, in turn, reduces the CPM that site owners receive. It turns out to be a vicious circle - no offers - no traffic, and no traffic - no affiliates who need this traffic.
Backfilling the remnant traffic and "stealing" campaigns are quite different things. I do give you credit though, it's a creative excuse to validate the questionable tactic of having an internal media buying team.
If there are media buyers within the network, isn't it logical that they would borrow my campaigns?

No, it's not logical.
It's completely logical really.

Networks steal campaigns, they "ban that publisher" or whatever the fruit of today is, and run the traffic themselves. Publishers don't care, the ad network is still paying them as if an affiliate themselves was buying that same traffic. The network just gets to run that good traffic without competition.

If this was so unlogical then I don't think we'd see the recent surge of traffic source-owned affiliate networks. It just so happens that they have most of the "good" offers. I wonder how they blindly stumbled upon finding those advertisers so short after opening up shop? 🤔

In fact, at a long distance, you are shooting yourself in the foot. All offers sooner or later leave the market. The job of an affiliate is to search and test new bundles.
That's right. An affiliate is always testing and finding new offers.

As a traffic source with a bird's eye view of everything running on their network, they can run reports to uncover these new offers affiliates are testing, go to the advertiser and get a deal set up. With that deal in place, they can then run it themselves and repeat the vicious circle once again. You've got an army of affiliates running tests taking the risk and you can scoop up what they've found, created, etc. to run pure profit campaigns without any risk whatsoever.
Networks that value their customer base use postback to assess the quality of traffic and create optimization tools.
Maybe some do, but I think there's a clear case these aren't the only use cases for postbacks on the network side.

The CPA bidding model has soared in popularity over the past few years, and it's a double-edged sword really. It makes buying traffic easier for affiliates, but at the same time feeds data directly to the networks to fuel their secret underground campaign theft operation that's not even happening, I guess.

What would be nice is if traffic sources put their massive datasets to work to improve returns for advertisers, but you guys all get value from not doing that. Pump in 15% bots and you've got 15% more traffic to sell. Don't remove the low-quality traffic and you can sell it to every new advertiser on your platform. 🙄
Use cloaking, don't pass conversions to the grid if you don't need it.
Are you condoning cloaking? Especially on your own network?
There are enough fish in the ocean for everyone.
There are a ton of fish... enough for everyone. But, there aren't enough quality fish if you know what I mean.
Sometimes a performance fluctuation is just a fluctuation, and not someone's malicious intent. The traffic market is very lively and unpredictable. There are a lot of unknowns in this situation, but it is often easier for our brain to justify the drawdown by some kind of conspiracy or dishonest actions.
Oh yeah, the typical excuse given by ad networks when you ask them about where your volume vanished too... As you said, sometimes a performance fluctuation is just a fluctuation, but what about all the other times? You forgot to cover that.

I'd say it's easier for traffic networks to run ML/AI models on the massive troves of data they're collecting to uncover what they themselves can run to stabilize their profits and revenue. Boosting the good campaigns from everyone and running them yourselves is easier and more profitable than managing thousands of small-time advertisers who don't consistently spend money, or even spend a lot of money over their entire lifetime.

It's a fact that traffic sources (and affiliate networks too) steal campaigns. Producing solid, verifiable proof this is truly happening is nearly impossible. Traffic sources exploit this fact.

BTW, I'm not accusing your network of any of these practices mentioned here even though it may seem like it. I don't work with you and don't even have an account. Perhaps Vimmy is an angel and isn't following the same path as nearly every traffic source on the planet does. If so, I'm proud of you.
 
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Vimmy

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LOOL. :ROFLMAO:

If you have an internal media buying team I think some of the statements in this post are pretty bold then.


There are no comments from ad networks because even though it's common knowledge for anyone that's been in this industry for more than a minute, they don't want to scare noobs away from day 1 by telling them "yeah, we steal your campaigns... deal with it".

Backfilling the remnant traffic and "stealing" campaigns are quite different things. I do give you credit though, it's a creative excuse to validate the questionable tactic of having an internal media buying team.

It's completely logical really.

Networks steal campaigns, they "ban that publisher" or whatever the fruit of today is, and run the traffic themselves. Publishers don't care, the ad network is still paying them as if an affiliate themselves was buying that same traffic. The network just gets to run that good traffic without competition.

If this was so unlogical then I don't think we'd see the recent surge of traffic source-owned affiliate networks. It just so happens that they have most of the "good" offers. I wonder how they blindly stumbled upon finding those advertisers so short after opening up shop? 🤔


That's right. An affiliate is always testing and finding new offers.

As a traffic source with a bird's eye view of everything running on their network, they can run reports to uncover these new offers affiliates are testing, go to the advertiser and get a deal set up. With that deal in place, they can then run it themselves and repeat the vicious circle once again. You've got an army of affiliates running tests taking the risk and you can scoop up what they've found, created, etc. to run pure profit campaigns without any risk whatsoever.

Maybe some do, but I think there's a clear case these aren't the only use cases for postbacks on the network side.

The CPA bidding model has soared in popularity over the past few years, and it's a double-edged sword really. It makes buying traffic easier for affiliates, but at the same time feeds data directly to the networks to fuel their secret underground campaign theft operation that's not even happening, I guess.

What would be nice is if traffic sources put their massive datasets to work to improve returns for advertisers, but you guys all get value from not doing that. Pump in 15% bots and you've got 15% more traffic to sell. Don't remove the low-quality traffic and you can sell it to every new advertiser on your platform. 🙄

Are you condoning cloaking? Especially on your own network?

There are a ton of fish... enough for everyone. But, there aren't enough quality fish if you know what I mean.

Oh yeah, the typical excuse given by ad networks when you ask them about where your volume vanished too... As you said, sometimes a performance fluctuation is just a fluctuation, but what about all the other times? You forgot to cover that.

I'd say it's easier for traffic networks to run ML/AI models on the massive troves of data they're collecting to uncover what they themselves can run to stabilize their profits and revenue. Boosting the good campaigns from everyone and running them yourselves is easier and more profitable than managing thousands of small-time advertisers who don't consistently spend money, or even spend a lot of money over their entire lifetime.

It's a fact that traffic sources (and affiliate networks too) steal campaigns. Producing solid, verifiable proof this is truly happening is nearly impossible. Traffic sources exploit this fact.

BTW, I'm not accusing your network of any of these practices mentioned here even though it may seem like it. I don't work with you and don't even have an account. Perhaps Vimmy is an angel and isn't following the same path as nearly every traffic source on the planet does. If so, I'm proud of you.

@Nick

Many thanks for such a detailed answer and interesting insight. It is gratifying that the topic under discussion causes such a response on the affLIFT.

On the other hand, you write that some phrases sound like excuses - have to disagree.

From your answer, one can assume that an ad network can exist without clients and only through internal media buying.

To some extent - yes, but from the point of view of the sustainability of the business model, it becomes obvious that a large number of active advertisers is a much more reliable foundation for business.

In your answer, we saw a specific question for us: Are you condoning cloaking? Especially on your own network?

Let me put it this way, we spend the team's efforts on improving the quality of traffic and expanding the functionality, instead of a senseless witch hunt. Name me at least one network that cannot be cloaked and I will prove you otherwise.
 

Nick

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you write that some phrases sound like excuses
Excuses? What am I trying to excuse? I didn't write a post as a traffic source saying it's not logical for an internal media buying team (likely with direct/indirect access to a huge dataset) "steal", or even borrow parts of campaigns running on my traffic source.

To be honest, I've replied to this thread because this industry is very much indeed shady, but many of the companies within it play it off as something else. Noobs could easily be misled by this post thinking there's no possible way any traffic source would ever steal any campaign, but that's totally not true and they should be aware some of them do.
one can assume that an ad network can exist without clients and only through internal media buying.
One can assume that, and I can assure them this does exist. Some of the public traffic sources that exist now existed for years before they were public without any clients.
from the point of view of the sustainability of the business model, it becomes obvious that a large number of active advertisers is a much more reliable foundation for business.
💯. I agree. But at the same time, reliable businesses exist in the advertising industry that partakes in "stealing campaigns" and similar shady practices. It is how it is...

There are a lot of companies that exist for 1 - 3 years and disappear like magic; perhaps they did an unlogical deed and stole some campaigns? 🤷‍♂️
Name me at least one network that cannot be cloaked and I will prove you otherwise.
I can't give you that and never said I could. Every network can be cloaked. That's a fact.
Let me put it this way, we spend the team's efforts on improving the quality of traffic and expanding the functionality, instead of a senseless witch hunt.


——————-

Anyways @Vimmy. We can agree to disagree, but like I said the reason for writing these replies was more for awareness for others than anything else. I'm glad to see a company in this industry bringing this shady topic up in the first place, and furthermore continuing on with the discussion instead of pulling a ghost and never returning.

Seriously, mad props. You make me want to fire up my cloaker and get to work on your platform... ;)
 
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mobile2tw

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哦,是的,当您向广告网络询问您的流量在哪里消失时,他们给出的典型借口......正如您所说,有时性能波动只是一种波动,但其他时候呢?你忘了覆盖它。

我想说的是,交通网络更容易在他们收集的大量数据上运行 ML/AI 模型,以发现他们自己可以运行什么来稳定他们的利润和收入。与管理数以千计的小型广告商相比,这些广告商从每个人那里推广并自己运行它们更容易,也更有利可图,这些小型广告商在整个生命周期中都不会持续花钱,甚至会花很多钱。

流量来源(以及附属网络)窃取活动是一个事实。提供可靠、可验证的证据几乎是不可能的。流量来源利用了这一事实。

顺便说一句,我并没有指责您的网络使用此处提到的任何这些做法,即使它看起来像。我不和你一起工作,甚至没有账户。或许 Vimmy 是一个天使,并且没有像地球上几乎所有的流量来源一样走同样的路。如果是这样,我为你感到骄傲。
Zeropark.com alwasy do this
 
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