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Thread: serial tracking

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    Default serial tracking

    Some time ago the affeuro program used to display 's tracking' as one of the benefits of their program, but I couldn't determine what that was (I'm unable to post attachments, but if you do a waybackmachine search and check records from 2010 and maybe also 2011 you should still see it).

    Internet services like email (Yahoo) can track and record the actual serial number of a PC for security/privacy/fraud prevention purposes - to limit the number of accounts opened to 1 per user per computer. How do they know that more than one account is opened from a certain computer, they see the serial number of that PC at the time the account is opened. And if they see more than one account coming from the same PC they can assume that multiple accounts are being opened by a single user and close one of them.

    ...where there may be a problem is if the tracking of serial numbers is used as a bypass for 'cookies': if for example a recorded serial takes priority over the cookie placed on a person's PC, if a person comes to casino A from affiliate A and that person's PC is not on file at all, that 'serial' is assigned to that affiliate. If that same person using the same machine joins casino B from affiliate B, although there is a cookie, it may not be recorded for that affiliate - and the new account at casino B may be assigned to affiliate A based on his original connection to the serial. First come first served. It may even be that casinos take the financial risk of free signup bonuses for the purpose of harvesting as many computer serial numbers as possible, for the database.

    ...as long as aff programs are up-front about affiliates receiving/not receiving credit for their players switching between sister brands all is good. But if that detail is omitted and an incorrect representation made - and I'm not saying that's what affeurope did (I'm only referencing them for the example) - then there may be a problem...

    Everyone's focusing on cookies and aff links being "dropped", but we may be overlooking an open barn door with this issue of serial tracking.

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    When you say serial number of pc, do you have any idea where this number is coming from?

    Is it the serial of the motherbaoird?
    Is it the maybe servcie tag from Dell if a Dell computer?
    Is it the Product ID from the windows install? (the same of tens of thousands of iunstalls accroiss the world)
    It can NOT be as simple as the manufacturers serial number since if it is a custom built system it won't have one.
    Is it the Mac address of the network card.
    Is it the "SID" created at first boot upon the finishing of setup....(creted slightly different on a Mac or any Linux install)

    I see the entire process of tying a pc into a unique indentifier as being flawed....a re-install would change the "SID" which is unique, although the mac address would never change unless manipulated by software.

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    Default

    It's the motherboard. In other words, according to this process, the only way an existing player in a database would ever be truly referrable again is if he opens an account at a sister brand from a different PC altogether.

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    As far as I know there is no way to acquire the mother board serial number from a Browser Header Request.
    There maybe a way, but I never heard of it before.

    If the software is accessing the mother board serial number.. it would be useless as the serial numbers vary widely between brands and models. There is no standard that could be used. You could not guarantee that each number would be unique.
    Last edited by lots0; 27 July 2012 at 12:23 pm.

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    Not without having access to WMI as far as I know.....

    Windows Vista or above would not allow access to wmi without asking unless access control is turned off....

    As an example, even though I have CPU-id installed on my laptop (running Vista Business) and it is already a trusted application, it will not load without additional authorization since it uses wmi to get the system info such as bios info, memory speed, etc....

    And bytheway, it does NOT pull the serial number, which is screen printed on the board but NOT anywhere in the rom or available by software of any kind.

    As far as I know, NO Manufacturer on the planet puts the serial number in a chip or rom that can be read by software.

    Like I said before the most common unigue identifiers a computer has is a "SID" or a network card "mac address". A reinstall of the OS would create a new sid, but the mac address will never change.

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    Try this: for the purpose of the example, download one of the affeurope brands.

    Then go to the 'Registry Editor' on your PC (you can "run" the command "regedit" to find it) and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Expand the option for "software", and as per this example with affeurope, look for any names related to their casinos. Look also for the label called "PTECH". Under the individual casinos, you'll see all kind of files with referral information (on how you got to the casino); under PTECH (click on it) you'll see the file "PTSerialNum" with the serial number in it - that's the number they're storing.

    As a byproduct, if you ever want to do a full un-install of these or other casinos (like Microgaming etc.) delete all these files and any similar ones you see in the directory called HKEY_CURRENT_USER/software (the files there keep the graphics for the casino lobbies).

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    Think of it as registry tracking instead of serial tracking. We do check to make sure we don't have them on an auditors computer. I agree with the_soc, there are times when the previous registration will override the cookie. It depends on how the program tracks.

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    What software or registry keys the software PUT into the registry do not come from hardware serial numbers.

    For many many years playtech has been doing a regsitry check during an install.

    I personally have been digging into, editing and hacking the registry files of systems since there has been a registry, but I sincerely caution anyone not to play in there very much if you are not experienced. Dleting the wrong key or nest will render your system unusable on the next restart.

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    Registry tracking... makes sense, the id/tracking number must be generated by the software and not taken from the Mother Board though. Most software will create 'tracking' entries in the Registry for various reasons.

    But Registry tracking only works if you install the software in the first place.

    Flash Cookie tracking is the new standard when it comes to browser based tracking.
    You can store much more data and users/software can't easily find or delete the flash cookies.
    The only draw back is the the user must have Flash installed on their system, but with today's browsers Flash has defaulted to become the standard.

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    Yes the flash cookies are often overlooked and users rarely remove them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by universal4 View Post
    What software or registry keys the software PUT into the registry do not come from hardware serial numbers.

    For many many years playtech has been doing a regsitry check during an install.

    I personally have been digging into, editing and hacking the registry files of systems since there has been a registry, but I sincerely caution anyone not to play in there very much if you are not experienced. Dleting the wrong key or nest will render your system unusable on the next restart.

    Rick
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    Interesting... I did a test: installed a casino, noted the "serial" number; uninstalled the casino and deleted the relevant registry keys and re-installed a casino. Indeed the "serial" the second time around was different. Odd why they give the file such a name.

    But as long as a player doesn't delete the registry keys and he continues to join sister brands, there is a good chance he could be linked back to his original affiliate/traffic source via the serial/registry number, and the subsequent referring affiliate/s cut out of the loop.

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    On this issue of affiliate cookies & tracking: It seems to me that Netrefer tracking cookies end 'when the browser session ends'. Looking at their cookies, the only ones that are left when a browser is closed are the google analytics cookies. I have been looking only at the boylesports and paddy power cookies so far and using their sports affiliate links.

    It seems that there is no way a potential client is tracked beyond the actual browser session (at least not by a cookie). So if he closes his browser and then joins later (even 10mins later) he would not be tracked. I have asked one of these operators about this and despite the best intentions of the affiliate department, the technical people are not giving a proper answer or one that makes any sense. Can any of you more knowledgeable guys shed any light on this? Are these firms really not tracking an affiliate click beyond the time the browser is open?

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    Further to my previous post, I have just received an email from one of the affiliate departments confirming this is true. The tracking only lasts as long as the browser is open. It is going to make a huge difference to which firms I promote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justbookies View Post
    Further to my previous post, I have just received an email from one of the affiliate departments confirming this is true. The tracking only lasts as long as the browser is open. It is going to make a huge difference to which firms I promote.

    Surely this qualifies as predatory behaviour? Those programs essentially get any referal for free if it's non-instantanious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepogg View Post
    Surely this qualifies as predatory behaviour? Those programs essentially get any referal for free if it's non-instantanious.
    Yes. I could not agree more. Frankly it is sickening and it is not stated in their terms & conditions so, in my view, deliberately hidden.

    Personally, I will now double check the cookies for each operator and vote with my feet. So far I see Bet365 have a 45-day cookie, Ladbrokes 14-days, William Hill 3-days. I had thought the William Hill cookie was awful and so I double-checked it with them and they confirmed it lasted just "72 hours". In light of NetRefer sites it is not looking so bad. Then the two NetRefer sites of Boylesports and Paddy Power at instantaneous.

    I wonder if this is a trait of the NetRefer system. Interestingly when the AM asked NetRefer direct they deflected the question only stating it was "the operator" (ie: the betting company) who was responsible for the tracking cookies and stating nothing else.

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    I do not think we can classify it as predatory.....

    Now personally I feel it is certainly not ideal, and I do NOT want to promote anyone that doesn't set a cookie and I will likely write something up recommending extreme caution on sites and pages where other affiliates are marketed to, but predatory I am not so sure about that.

    I am interested in how Andy and his team feel about this....

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    I highlighted this over at AGD and i think he agrees with you. Overall i see it as a worryingly counter productive term that makes their programs uncompetitive. You're probably right that predatory may be too far, but it's not affiliate friendly.
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    I agree.....

    Counter productive yes....not truly "fair" to affiliates considering what we consider as best practices etc....

    And being "Not Affiliate Friendly" yep I totally agree on that one....

    My personal opinion is that Netrefer is not Universal4 affiliate friendly....

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    I don't know if there is any data out there on this, but my gut feeling is that surely you would lose maybe 50% of referrals as opposed to say a 30-day cookie.

    I have not yet looked beyond the firms I mentioned so don't know if this is across the board with all NetRefer programs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justbookies View Post
    I don't know if there is any data out there on this, but my gut feeling is that surely you would lose maybe 50% of referrals as opposed to say a 30-day cookie.

    I have not yet looked beyond the firms I mentioned so don't know if this is across the board with all NetRefer programs.
    I don't think it's universal - http://www.affiliateguarddog.com/for...html#post36996 - and AFG seems to feel that the majority of sign-ups are instantanious.
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