Online shopping is an ever-growing trend with Internet shoppers, browsing your favourite merchants from the comfort of your lay-z-boy recliner, then moving onto your second choice merchant should they be out of stock without the half a mile walk in the blistering cold to the next shop.
Over the last few years many online shoppers have grown to the idea that they can also bargain hunt by means of a digital voucher code. Since then there has been an emergence of a chain of voucher code websites that list all of the leading merchants in a directory style listing, many alphabetically, to make is easier for you to find your favourite shops.
But these types of sites are not all that they appear to be. Effectivly they are designed to save you money, that much is true, but there is the dark side to these sites that you simply did not know. Of course you wouldn’t know because they wont tell you, they are drop-stuffing computer cookies into your system by means of ‘forced clicking’.
Many of the voucher code websites hide the voucher code behind a link, they will ask you to click the link in order to reveal the voucher code, and when the link is clicked the merchant site is opened in a new window and the code is revealed on their own site. What you didn’t know is that when this link is clicked, a special piece of programming, called a ‘cookie’, will be placed into your computer system without your prior knowledge.
Cookies are small pieces of code usually created to remember passwords and browser history to save you forgetting your password details or where you have been on the Internet over the last week or so. The cookies dropped into your machine work in a similar way. If you was to go to Boots the chemist through a link on a voucher code website, that link will drop a cookie into your machine that will tell Boots that you found them through the voucher code site, hence it ‘remembers’ where you came from to find them. If you was to go on and make a purchase from Boots, then the owner(s) of the voucher code site would get a percentage based commission on that sale.
To the webmasters who create these sites, this is a practice called ‘Affiliate Marketing’, and the technique used is called ‘cookie stuffing’, something that used to be outlawed in affiliate marketing until recently, or at least until the popularity of these voucher code sites grew, now the networks and merchants seem powerless to prevent it from happening due to the amount of business that they could lose.
The good news is that not all merchant code sites force you to click links in order to use a voucher code, http://www.shopastop.co.uk for example, is a blog designed and created for the very reason of keeping its readers up-to-date with the latest codes, seasonal sales, cheapest on the net offers, freebies, and much more that makes pleasant reading to those wishing to save money, and whats more, it doesn’t force you to click their links and they don’t hide the voucher codes, if you wish to click on the links then you do so at your own choice and not theirs.