I reported at the Search Engine Roundtable that Ask Sponsored Listings has changed how they handle sending referrer data to webmasters. From now on, they are basically not sharing the page of origin with the webmaster.
Why? Ask said they have moved to a new system named PureLeads. What is Pureleads? The FAQ explains:
Pureleads is our new proprietary technology that blends advanced click purification methods and automated campaign traffic management. The Pureleads system protects your campaign from unpredictable delivery spikes, automated click traffic and suspect traffic sources. The result is a powerful technology that improves campaign ROI, overall click to conversion metrics and reduces the time required to manage your campaign.
So why doesn’t it send referrer data? The FAQ continues to explain:
With PureLeads, all clicks from our network are first sent to “aslads.ask.com” for evaluation (multiple traffic quality tests). As a result of our servers intercepting the clicks your web server logs now will register “aslads.ask.com” as the source of all ASL clicks.
Ask plays up how PureLeads improves traffic quality but did they forget that advertisers want transparency? Without knowing where the lead came from and being able to verify that in your log files, should advertisers trust you enough to spend money with you?
If this happened with Google, Yahoo or Bing, trust me, there would be a huge backlash.