The affiliate market is a very important part of Bluehost’s business. Affiliate marketing was our chosen method to grow Bluehost. Of course we did direct marketing and we hoped that our word of mouth business would continue to grow. All in all it has worked out really well.
There were two reasons our affiliate marketing worked so well. First, I think our hosting package was/is superior to our competitors. This made it easy to promote our services compared to our competitors. The other important reason that we did well was because our tracking was more accurate than our competitors. We made sure there was no way that a sale would not be counted. We wanted our affiliates to make a ton of money because we knew that would ensure that our business continued to grow.
Over the past 3-6 months we have noticed a very interesting change in behavior. Private browsing, anonymous surfing, etc is WAY up. Not only is a significant amount of traffic not using cookies (At least not cookies that live more than 30-60 minutes), but we are seeing a greatly increased number of users ip addresses that are changing multiple times during a single page loading. This has always happened in the past, but it was an insignificant amount of traffic. That just isn’t the case anymore.
The majority of tracking has always been done by cookies, and then if they are not present to fall back to IP address. That is no longer good enough. Effective today, we will now be tracking using the traditional cookie, and ip tracking, but we will also use a method that can punch through virtually every anonymous or traditional proxy server, or series of servers, and give us real identifying info. This has yielded a fairly substantial increase in tracking accuracy. I have debated myself all morning on whether I would give the technicals details of how this works, but I have decided against it. I think this is a competitive advantage for us.
This means that effective immediately many affiliates will see a measurable increase in conversion rates from all our hosting brands including Bluehost, Hostmonster, and Fastdomain. Thanks to all of our more than 50,000 affiliates! You are the reason we have been able to grow so quickly!
Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com