Please Can You Tell Me Why Click To Reveal Is Allowed?

Debate continues to rage over the use of “click to reveal” on voucher code sites. Click to reveal can be either a click or a copy/paste action to reveal a code followed by a window opening allowed the consumer to visit the website. Essentially it’s click to gain content via an incentive in exchange for dropping a cookie. Personally, I find this mechanism questionable and yes I’d like the practice to be stopped and networks to enforce that – but I’m open to debate and explanations if the mechanism can be fully justified as being fine.

My argument here is simple.

1. Pop Under/Overs are not allowed. The mechanism here is forcing a click when a user arrives on a page (they get content) and a window opens up for the merchant.

2. Click to Reveal is allowed. The mechanism here is that as the user is staying on the page (they get content) the cookie can be dropped!

3. Incentive to click is also defined as a forced click in affiliate marketing.

If setting a click for content is not allowed for pop under/pop over – then why is it allowed for a one word voucher code? Surely it’s getting content as well as incentivising the user to click and burn a cookie?

Can anyone in affiliate marketing offer an argument that can justify the use of click to reveal, where there’s a code, as not being a forced click or an incentive to click?

16 Comments Please Can You Tell Me Why Click To Reveal Is Allowed?

  1. Dio October 20, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I’m sure people will using such a tawdry technique will no doubt come up with all sorts of reasons why it’s fine. Personally I don’t think any of them hold water, it’s a disgusting abuse, cookie dropping, commission stealing and should be stamped on ASAP. IMO.

    These guys claim their sites offer valuable content. I can get with that, but say in that case, let them stand on their own two feet and remove the mechanism. It’s shady. It’s got to the point now I won’t bother looking for voucher codes if I’m buying. I’m sick of visiting sites, clicking the reveals and getting nothing or out of date codes. If I’m sick of it, there’s a good chance users are sick of it. Personally the merchants should be as harsh on this as they should be on people PPC their brand terms and that. It’s as much theft as that is. That’s my two pence worth anyway.

  2. Doug promotions Scott October 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Agreed….I am giving up looking for codes….as a merchant you will get less value and just pay the affiliate you don’t want to.


  3. How Make Money October 20, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    I don’t think anyone can justify the use of forced clicks… but unless the networks do something about it the voucher code site owners aren’t going to stop in my opinion.

  4. Bevan October 20, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    I completely agree with the comments. Whilst voucher codes sites are certainly useful to merchants, they must be used with caution. Click to reveal is totaly unjustified in my opinion. I for one will be taking measures to ensure that sites on the programme will not operate this system in the future, otherwise sanctions will be taken.


  5. Jason October 20, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Bevan

    That’s an interesting response from a merchant – thanks for the comment – it’ll be interesting to see what steps you take and how they’re received at network and affiliate level.


  6. Fionah October 21, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I agree too, Next do not issue voucher codes to the affiliate channel and so we believe that, as well as affecting valuable content lead affiliates, click to reveal buttons lead to a poor customer experience. As a result Next issued new terms and conditions restricting the use of click to reveal buttons a week last Friday and we’re currently working with the voucher code sites on the program to ensure that they comply with them.


  7. Jason B October 21, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    I don’t understand how Google allow these sites to dominate the search results when there are clearly no codes available for the majority of merchants listed. It’s not providing users with relevant results, and should therefore penalise these sites for the practice.

    I have taken to sending in a results not relevant report when I can’t find a code on a page that I was looking for. It seems perhaps that others should do the same. Someone at Google will then see the reports and at least should review the sites in question, at best remove them from the serps altogether.

    As far as click to reveal practice, this is something the networks need to stamp out, it is a forced click in every sense of the term. There is of course the possibility of action under the Trade Descriptions act – but that would take a possibly expensive test case to prove.

  8. How Make Money October 21, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Interesting to hear the views of the merchants in this discussion.

    My opinion is that it will be Google who will be first to punish the offending sites, rather than the networks!

  9. Dan October 22, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    “Tell Me Why Click To Reveal Is Allowed?”

    It makes networks lots of money.

  10. Russell - October 23, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I started dev of a voucher codes site and have paused the development because I’m not sure about this click to reveal thing and especially talk of google penalising sites. On one hand I’d hate to use click to reveal – but I’m not sure you could compete with PPC unless you do it.

  11. Dan October 24, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    There is no chance of Google penalising ‘click to reveal’ sites, the affiliate industry needs to sort this one out.

  12. Magazine Subscriptions October 24, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I’ve always found these websites misleading as they mostly never have any valid voucher codes. There are plenty of websites that now advertise on google adwords with the empty promise of exclusive discounts which are just lies. This is fraudulent.



  13. Simon October 27, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I think this is a great post Jason. Not only is this method unfair on other affiliates; it is misleading for our customers and ultimately their experience is what everything should revolve around.

    Thomas Cook don’t use voucher codes through the affiliate space at present; and so in the summer we changed our T&C’s forbidding click to reveal. I am optimistic that almost all the voucher sites we work with are now compliant, though if you spot anyone not compliant, let me know!

  14. Dan November 6, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Have you seen the latest tactic?

    Myvouchercodes has a firefox toolbar for download. Flashes yellow with “Discounts found, click here”, even when there aren’t any. It says there are discounts for, but there aren’t any. Same with lots of other sites.

  15. Jason November 6, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Interesting… wonder how networks and merchants will view this (especially those who are running other campaigns and may get sales hijacked)… although you could say that it’s a bit like the rebate catcher that Greasypalm use I guess (although that only pops up when the site is offering cashback – and not as I understand within an alternative affiliate cookie session).

  16. Pingback: IAB Unveil Voucher Codes Best Practice … What Next? | One Little Duck - Affiliate Blog

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