Cookie Stuffing

What is cookie stuffing?

Cookie stuffing, or “cookie dropping,” is an illegal practice where an affiliate marketer inserts their unrelated tracking cookies into a user’s browser without their consent after the user views a page or clicks on a single link. This generates false impressions, claims unearned referral commissions, and manipulates the affiliate network’s tracking and payment systems.

Cookie stuffing can be a relatively difficult illegal marketing practice to track and catch. Cookie stuffing generally occurs in relatively subtle ways, through pop-ups, scripts, toolbars, or images embedded in message boards. As Forensiq CEO David Sendroff explains for Digiday, “With cookie stuffing, you’re committing a crime against another affiliate or the advertisers who is paying commissions on sales that would have happened anyway. It’s not as eye-opening and it’s harder to catch because the advertiser has still made money.”