Hi SG, if you missed the discussion earlier, please read it here. In short, the idea was to add our affiliate code to certain links posted on the site, as a means of increasing revenue, with little to no impact on users.

I mentioned in the above discussion that we would run a test if 50% of users in the poll agreed with the idea. 74% of users voted yes, so the feature is now setup to gain more data and user feedback. However, 26% of users disagreed, and one of the suggestions that frequently appeared in the discussion was to add the ability to opt-out. I thought that seemed fair, so I added a settings page for referrals, where users can disable the feature.

A list of sites we are applying this towards is also listed on the referrals page, in case it affects your decision on whether to use the feature. For now we are only updating links to Bundle Stars, due to the frequently the site is shared, although we might experiment with other sites in the future.

How it works

  • A link is posted by a user to the site.
    https://www.bundlestars.com

  • If you have the above feature enabled, and you place your mouse over the link, the site will check if the URL belongs to one of our affiliates. In this case, it does, so the site will update the link destination to the below.
    https://www.steamgifts.com/redirect?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bundlestars.com

  • When you then click on the link, the redirect page will add the appropriate affiliate code, and send you on your way. All of this should happen seamlessly.

Feel free to share your thoughts, and if you have any further suggestions. Thanks!

2 years ago

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I'll try it out :)

2 years ago
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Awesome implementation as far as I'm concerned. Keep up the good work. Glad to see a great many improvements as of recent.
Just a nit-pick on the formatting of the affiliates page.

Currently, we have partnerships with the following sites, and if you allow us to do so, we will update their links to include our referral code: BundleStars.com.

right now, you have all of the post italicized. A numbered list, a bolding, or un-italisization of the actual affiliates themselves would make them pop a bit more, and be more clear in the long run I think.

2 years ago*
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+1

2 years ago
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A numbered list, a bolding,

That'd be a bit visually cluttering, though- it's probably enough just to add a blank line between the lead-in and the affiliate list, and then just list them normally. ( Unitalicizing seems fine, though. :) )

eg

When the above option is enabled and you hover over a link to one of our affiliates, we will automatically update that link to include our referral code. This means if a user shares a link to one of the sites listed below, then you click that link and complete a purchase, our site will earn a commission. This helps to support our community. Currently, we have partnerships with the following sites, and if you allow us to do so, we will update their links to include our referral code:

BundleStars.com, NotBundleStars.com, ThatOtherSite.com

2 years ago
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Bundle Stars is relatively low in mentions even in the bundle threads, so I hope there will be choices at least to funnel money back to SteamGifts through Humble, (GOG,) and maybe GamersGate and GreenMan Gaming. And I still hope you can come up with something with DailyIndieGame… that site also seems to be getting more popular here since the introduction of their DIG point store.

2 years ago
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Humble Bundle would be the best partner for our community, and I'd gladly replace some of our existing advertisements to promote their offers. Unfortunately, they declined us. Bundle Stars is next in line, and if this does not work with them, then I'm fairly confident it would not work with GOG, GamersGate, Green Man Gaming, and DailyIndieGame, since Bundle Stars is receiving more clicks than all of those combined.

2 years ago
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Does Humble refuse all such requests? I wonder if they are aware of how much traffic SG sends their way.

Though I guess they can see it as getting that traffic already, so why should they provide a kickback?

2 years ago
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I guess that would be the reason ;/

2 years ago
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We should boycott Humble for that now!

All links to HB should redirect randomly to Groupees or Indiegala, that'll show them xD

2 years ago*
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Humble refused? Interesting. It would have been a really great store to get affiliated with. Looks like 300k-ish users from the G7 countries is not enough for them? Or they just affiliate when you can use the widgets?

2 years ago*
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Is it really surprising when it's technically against their terms to distribute bundle keys through sites such as these. Yes they have a gifting system in place but that's still intended for gifting spares to actual friends in a more direct manner rather than random internet friends.

2 years ago
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Technically, they prohibit it only for promotional purposes. Giveaways made on this site do intend to send the keys/gifts for personal use. It is even in the site rules that winners have to claim it for their own personal use, or they get hammered by support.
Also, in the EU, we can sell the keys if we want to; the laws overwrite any terms of service. The buyer and seller are just not protected by Humble's system if something goes wrong with the transaction, but that is normal for any similar second-hand purchases between individuals.

2 years ago
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That's only taking part of that section into account.

We do not provide support for 3rd party contests, promotions, giveaways, or purchases

SG would come under contests and/or giveaways. It's not just limited to Humble either. GMG is one of your suggestions and it's been frequently reported that if you even mention SG in support tickets there they'll end support for the entire order. So just as a site is popular amongst posts here doesn't mean it would necessarily be a good idea either on their end or ours.

Despite the fact I voted against the inclusion of these ref links I totally agree that Humble would have been the best possible choice and they certainly have the least issues historically amongst the options. I was just noting how it isn't all that surprising why they not be in favour of such a link.

2 years ago
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It got me thinking though… they have an affiliate program. Which is technically 3rd party as they as the store and the purchaser have someone in-between. So this current setup in the FAQ seems a bit strange.

2 years ago
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Yeah, I can imagine there's going to be a few hiccups which may be why they're being so selective. Sites that aren't at all directly involved in the market such as some of the gaming news sites obviously won't have those potential clashes though.

2 years ago
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The beta for their partner program started in August, and I only know of a few people that have been accepted. Nonetheless, I still think we would be a good match.

2 years ago
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It would be, especially since their store is becoming the only worthwhile ROW Steam key store with some of the additional things they attach (charity angle, subscriber bonus, optional wallet refill for a purchase, additional DRM free builds).

2 years ago
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2 years ago
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Is it? I only see Loots pushing everywhere, and it is affiliated with amazon (well, duh :)) and GOG, at least based on the game adverts I met there so far.

2 years ago
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Testing

Edit: ok now I got it, nicely implemented.

2 years ago
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Seems alright to me, and you've provided an opt-out for those who didn't like the idea.
Win-win, as far as I'm concerned.

Like DesertMouse mentioned, though -- you may wish to make the list of affiliates more prominent on the Referrals page. A bullet-ed or numbered list would be much more easily seen.

2 years ago
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and ability to opt-out from some while leaving other ones enabled!

2 years ago
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This implementation is simply brilliant. I was on the fence up till now about this feature but after seeing this whatever moral arguments I had have been rendered null and void. Good job!

2 years ago
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I have ad blocking disabled for the steamgifts.com domain in uBlock Origin but it seems that these links are going through shareasale.com which is on an ad tracking filter list used by uBlock. uBlock displays a warning that can be bypassed. Just thought you might like to know that some people may see a warning due to these links.

View attached image.
2 years ago
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Was coming to say the same thing. I disabled uBlock on SG long ago, but these links were still blocked. Confused me at first, but I have set it to disable now.

2 years ago
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Yea that is exactly why I mentioned it. It is easy enough to disable the warning but some people will be confused or worried when they first see this if they haven't been following the threads about the affiliate link test.

2 years ago
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2 years ago
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According to uBlock Origin, the link goes through shareasale.com. I suspect shareasale then forwards on the detection to Bundlestars

2 years ago
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2 years ago
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Let's say the URL is www.bundlestars.com

If you copy paste that URL, it won't be a referral. If you click it, it will (because it will actually send you to www.steamgifts.com/redirect?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bundlestars.com, which will then do the referral)

2 years ago
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What if I click on the link with the referral, but then close the tab. Later I just go to bundlestars myself, and buy a bundle. (So, in another tab, without doing the referral.)

Would SG still profit from that? Does it keep track of the cookies?

(Sorry, I don't know much about referrals.)

2 years ago
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If all the opt-out setting does is not modify links that you yourself click on but more importantly does not also extend to those that you may post that are then clicked on by other users, then that to me is not really opting-out of the whole referral business. Seems like little more than a glorified placebo.

2 years ago*
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Good point!

2 years ago
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The opt-out setting only affects your own experience when clicking affiliate links; it makes you decide whether to allow SG to get a commission from your purchases over at a BundleStars website or not. The opt-out setting should not let you make that decision for other users.

2 years ago
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Oh, but it's okay for you to hijack links that I or anyone else might post whenever you see fit? Maybe some people don't want any of their interactions on here that they make to be used and/or manipulated for such purposes. Now you are making that decision for everyone.

2 years ago*
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cg is allowed to. many seems forgetting thisor even do not want to accept lol
still you can use comment formatting to prevent refs, but than, up to you

2 years ago
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I see. Well that's a quality inherent to a dictatorship.Which is fine but then there is no sense in bothering with the pretense of asking for people's input.

2 years ago*
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lol who said prIvate website is democracy? but the fact cg does not have to, does not mean to value input.
as a matter of fact, he listened to majority, there was poll and discussion.
as I stated, you can choose formatting like code, additional dots or something to prevent, but that is your choice of exploiting and leewaying working system...

2 years ago
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You know you can always leave if you don't like how the site works?

2 years ago
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You can always edit your link in a way that's not clickable, in order to avoid people clicking on it and being counted as a ref link.

2 years ago
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Good point, pro tip.

2 years ago
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Thank you. Like www. bundlestars. com . Always put 2 spaces. ;P

2 years ago
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Perhaps 3-4 users' links are "being hijacked." If those users are not here complaining, why do you care? With so many people user adblockers, is CG supposed to run the site out of his own pocket? You have benefitted quite a bit from the site; are you not interested in seeing it continue?

2 years ago
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Do you somehow know all the finance details of the site? How do we know how much revenue is generated by advertising to tens of (potentially hundreds) of thousands of users. I don't want to see any kind of exploitation going on, that's why I care. It's why I question everything and don't just take anyone's word for it when in particular money becomes involved. I've seen exploitation time and time again and often no one believes it until something happens and comes to light or the cat gets out of the bag.

2 years ago*
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Nope I don't. But I do know it's not free, and I choose not to jump to negative conclusions. 3 members of the site post 99% of the BundleStars links, and I have yet to see any of them complain. If they are cool with it, then meh.

2 years ago
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Actually, the problem is that most people won't even know that they are clicking on a referral link. They'll see the bundlestars link, they'll click on it, and they'll never even know that they clicked on a referral link. :P That's because not many people will see this announcement. But I agree with everything you're saying. Still, I appreciate the fact that cg made this whole referral thing optional.

2 years ago
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+1

2 years ago
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Since we get freedom of option here, fine by me! :)

2 years ago
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This is great! I don't see any difference between ads and referral links so I don't fully understand why some people are complaining.

2 years ago
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2 years ago
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the idea is not bad, but I'd still argue about transparency and stuff.
I mean, you're substituting links in the beckground, behind users eyes. Many might not be aware that they are using ref links. Not to mention that the option to opt-out is also fairly hidden. Someone who missed this or the previous (or potentially following - provided this gets accepted and implemented as a regular feature) thread may not know about the whole situation unless they go to "sync with steam" and spot one tiny new thing added...
tl;dr make it more visible that regular user-posted links turn to ref links, and put the options especially the one to opt-out somewhere more visible

2 years ago*
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+1

2 years ago
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+1

2 years ago
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Would make this thread a stickie (or at least if the change become spermanent). But fine by me.

2 years ago
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"spermanent" XD

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2 years ago
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meh, the space should be after the s not before.. But not editing ;->

2 years ago
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nice.

now to wait for someone to complain referrals are enabled by default.

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2 years ago
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didn't you? kinda :)
🐼🍙🐧

2 years ago
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Humble Bundle store could be added too.

2 years ago
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They've already said that they tried and were refused.

https://www.steamgifts.com/go/comment/yMOAp4s

2 years ago
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Thank you.

2 years ago
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If you ever get affiliate status with Amazon (gets posted to the Deals forum frequently), would it be possible to both append your referral and convert links to smile.amazon.com links for a double whammy of support and charity?

2 years ago
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+1

2 years ago
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That's totally fair! I knew you were one of the cool guys! :D Glad you listened to one of the suggestions.

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2 years ago
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BTW, what happened to BundleStars?

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2 years ago
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2 years ago
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A list of sites we are applying this towards is also listed on the referrals page, in case it affects your decision on whether to use the feature.

Halp I broke it, I don't see a list 😿
Edit: I r dumb ignore dis

P.S. I would like it to be noted for the record I am still not okay with messages being edited at the source automagically but I guess there was no other easy way to implement it? 🤔 It'll be fine I guess 🤷

View attached image.
2 years ago*
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For now it only says Bundlestars.com at the end of the italicized section.

2 years ago
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View attached image.
2 years ago
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Yes, it's just a very short list. XD

2 years ago
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Fair implementation, thank you for considering the concerns :].

2 years ago
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I'd also like to chime in and say this is a great idea, and the fact that people can opt out if they want to means I'm completely ok with it.

Others have mentioned the fact that the opt-out is quite hidden, so I'd support it being a bit more visible or perhaps prompting the user the first time they click a link
Leaving it as opt-in may be too drastic.

2 years ago
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Leaving it as opt-in may be too drastic.

Drastic: 1. A hasty action, typically radical or extreme in nature, often born out of recklessness or desperation, which is likely to have a strong or far-reaching effect. 2. Needlessly rash, violent, or harsh in nature.

That seems an awfully intense and confusing word to use there. :X

2 years ago
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In terms of adoption, there would be a fairly drastic difference. If it was opt-out (and reasonably easy to do so) I'd say you'd still get more than half the site using it. If it's opt-in, I'd be surprised if they could get more than 15%

2 years ago
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Let me try again; unless your usage fits one of the following, there are far more appropriate words to use in place of "drastic":

Unusually significant, in a startling or forceful manner; shocking, momentous, or with dire consequences.

Putting aside word usage, I'm not actually sure what you're getting at- it's already currently opt-out, not opt-in.
But certainly, indifference is typically the strongest driving force behind majority involvement, so it's generally best to orient things toward your favored outcome. Giving the opt-out option is certainly more than enough of a gesture, as there's no inherent downside to the initial setup. Were there such, then argument can easily be made for things needing to be made more clear, but as-is, that's just not a concern.

2 years ago
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I was going for unusually significant. Perhaps extreme would have been a better choice, I was writing it quickly while on the bus so I didn't stop to think of a better word.

It's currently opt-out, but it's not very transparent. It's a single setting in the sync page which isn't very noticeable, and I'm sure plenty of people won't see this post. When you click the link, you don't necessarily have any indication a referral is being made. As a result, I think it would be a good idea if it was a more visible change, maybe by alerting the user the first time they clicked a referral or something. An alternative would be making it opt-in, but like I said in my first post, that might be a bit extreme

2 years ago
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Okay, I get you now. :)

2 years ago
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2 years ago
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I allowed shareasale on UBlock but I get "Server not found" and when opening on chrome in which I don't have Ublock installed I also get "This site can’t be reached" could my internet provider be blocking shareasale?

2 years ago
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Or there is an other addon which is blocking shareasale.com. For me it's uMatrix.

2 years ago
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I only have enhancedsteam, stylish with "Steam NewUI Features' Remover" and tampermonkey with "bundlefix" in chrome and still doesn't work.

2 years ago
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