An Important Update on Affiliate Links and Constant Contact E-mails

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Last Friday, the American Booksellers Association sent an urgent e-mail to warn stores participating in the Kobo partnership that there could be unintended negative consequences to using a third-party e-mail service when distributing promotional links to customers.

The problem was found with Constant Contact’s application of Google Analytics; however, the same issue may occur with other e-mail management service providers.

The following information is intended to help booksellers both identify and avoid a problem that could result in a store’s affiliate ID being changed in a way that would not link a customer’s Kobo account back to the store if it were created via a Constant Contact e-mail link.

The most important thing is to ensure that the utm_source parameter, which contains a store’s Kobo Affiliate Name, is preserved and appears only once in the resulting link. Because Google Analytics tracking also uses the utm_source parameter, adding Google Analytics tracking to Kobo links could confuse or break them. When using Constant Contact, for example, please be sure that “Google Analytics” is unchecked before sending your e-mail campaign.

Here are two link examples where utm_source= appears once. These links are correct.

Next, here is an example where this parameter appears twice. This link is incorrect and will result in an unaffiliated account.

Constant Contact also offers a link tracking service, by default, on all outbound links. This service is safe so long as Google Analytics is turned off. Constant Contact’s linking service simply creates an alias for all outbound links so that they can be tracked for you by Constant Contact, but it does not change the content of the original link. Stores can verify this by clicking through a tracked link in one of its e-mails. The final link in the browser’s URL bar should consist of the original link you entered, including the utm_source parameter.

Questions about affiliate links and other issues relating to the ABA/Kobo partnership should be addressed to kobo@bookweb.org or neil@bookweb.org.