| 5:16 am on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Not only is threadwatch dishing up mac & cheese by pointing to guesswork about fed up merchants and fed up google, but now so is marketingvox. Are facts no longer an issue but personal guesswork and speculation takes hold of the headlines?
My question AGAIN is: Is CJ REALLY responding to Google and stampeding frustrated CJ merchant concerns about poor quality affiliate marketers and are fed up? And if so, why didn't merchants and CJ just turn off problem accounts instead of going to this extreme? I can't make sense of this.
CJ needs to release some strong information here, because at this point they're being dragged through the mud as being a network filled with neer do well schmalzty marketers (us btw).
| 9:22 am on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|So it looks like we will have SOME time to change everything. |
They just phoned me up to discuss the changes and all the would say is "some time". I asked what that meant and they wouldn't give me a straight answer.
|CJ invites are being filtered to trash as of this minute. |
|Do they really think Google isn't wise enough to detect their new links? |
Exactly, if I were to place my bets on Google's 100 PHDs or CJ's speculation I know where my money would be.
|search engines will see these links in a similar way as they see forms. |
Google already follows my forms ....
| 9:31 am on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
instead of moaning there is a better solution that first it clears your pages from affiliate links and second it can be change any time
and that is
<INPUT type="button" value="find widgets from that advertiser" onClick="window.open('http://www.mysite.com/widgets.html','mywindow','width=500,height=350')">
So in that page you can put anything and it can be the page of another of your sites that are in your account just in case you want your site to be clean from aff links.
| 9:34 am on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
The above form is only for html and not xhtml
| 10:39 am on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
>> and not xhtml
Not much of a solution for the really good affiliates who code to XHTML standards then. Surely CJ are taking a huge risk here, my impression has always been that they relied on inertia to keep their affiliate traffic stable. Forcing affiliate action is a risky strategy IMO
| 10:59 am on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
it is probably a retaliation against loosing huge revenues >>>>>Big daddy<<<<<
Publishers that use to make over 3000-4000£ a month now are doing a few pennies ;)
| 11:30 am on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
>> it is probably a retaliation against loosing huge revenues >>>>>Big daddy<<<<<
I tend to agree (although I suspect they were moving this way anyway). I've seen complaints from some pretty large affs that they either can't or won't go along with this. Whilst this move will help them cut fraud to merchants, surely the loss of that revenue is going to hurt them too?
| 1:33 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Good questions, Tallon. There's nothing wrong with speculation and guesswork.
But it's being mistaken and misrepresented as fact all over the place.
| 3:55 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I agree that there's a lot of speculation and noise. But I also feel that that due to CJ's lack of info, answers and unwillingness to participate in forum or blog discussions - THEY are not controlling the conversation - everyone else is! I'm getting ready to do my 2nd blog about the link issue right now about some comments CJ has made publicly about the whole issue that sheds a little light on things.
Re; the issue CJ raises about Google and affiliate links...Not sure this is new info since I don't spend my day reading G's TOS - but I don't think I've heard people talking about this. I don't remember G in the past specifically mentioning affiliate sites this way, but maybe it's been there all along and I just didn't hear about it.
Quality guidelines - specific guidelines
* Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
* If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.
If a site doesn't meet our quality guidelines, it may be blocked from the index.
| 4:48 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I guess the *geniuses* at CJ have forgotten all about the myriad of ways G now has to track the movements of people (toolbar, stats, etc.).
Hiding the links in JS is all fine and good assuming G can't read JS (which we know it can to at least a limited extent), but with all the tracking mechanisms G now has, it's still easy for them to see a person hitting a page then shortly after being routed through CJ (or any aff. program or network for that matter).
Who cares if they don't *see* the link, they will still see the movement of the person which is all they need to identify an "affiliate" site.
They'll have to come up with a better excuse than this.
| 4:51 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
The biggest affiliates at CJ are not SE dependent type affiliates so I don't buy anything that says it's because of the SE's. I have pages doing just fine and they're straight up affiliate sites. They target crap and dupe content which a lot of happens to be affiliate sites so when they get zapped people think it's just because of the affiliate links. Crap and dupe content without affiliate links get zapped too. Unless it has Adsense on it. They're against spam unless it leads to their doorstep. Some of the spammiest pages I've seen have Adsense all over them. And it makes them good money. It's got nothing to do with Google and affiliates in the SERPS.
[edited by: TrustNo1 at 4:53 pm (utc) on May 26, 2006]
| 4:52 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Google don't have, and have never had, an issue with aff links as such. They have issues with low quality affiliate sites, but they have issues with any low quality site. If people have trouble ranking with CJ text links on their site, they should examine their site.... not blame CJ
<added> Hah - 2 of you beat me to the punch! </added>
| 4:58 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Google doesn't want 54000 sites with raw cj feeds (no value added) on their serps, that's all. CJ panicked, and now are about to lose even more as the good sites will look for alternatives to CJ. Talk about making the problem much worst. If affiliate links were the problem, it would take Google 5 minutes to add a line to target CJ's new mechanism.
How the h_ll did those people reach the level where they are in charge of million $ decisions?
| 5:14 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
If they feel they have to move to java why can they not just move over to java for new clients or new additions.
Leaving those of us who have customized code, hand embedded into pages, alone to carry on sending perfectly targetted traffic to our affiliates.
I asked the CJ support what I was meant to do in the immediate.
I am obviously not going to continue modifying pages to add their script knowing that I am later going to have to hand remove it.
Therefore I have to abandon adding new pages and converting the old ones!
| 5:17 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Yep. Even Matt said at WebmasterWorld in Nov that G does not have a problem with affiliate sites or links per se, just low quality sites that are nothing but links and add no value to the consumer.
However I don't think CJ would make this drastic of a change that will create so much work for affiliates merchant and CJ just to eliminate the crappy affiliate link farm type sites. IMO link farm sites don't generate much in terms of traffic anyway, much less clicks or revenue - so a lot of affiliates that just put up a ton of banners won't make any money and will drop out or be dumped by CJ anyway. Although since most affiliates that launch link farm sites probably arent very good at getting natural rankings, they may be more likely to do tricks for clicks I suppose.
Molander says today that this is in effect CJ's attempt to rid the network of Mom & Pop type affiliates. I think that's a load! Some of the best affiliates I know are Mom & Pop type affiliates and they spend lots of time creating quality content that adds value. I think the large number of good Mom & Pop type affiliates is one of CJ's biggest advantages to merchants.
[edited by: eljefe3 at 4:00 am (utc) on May 31, 2006]
| 5:32 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Just got a response back from CJ on my issues with this.
Basically they said the migration to JS links will be completed sometime in early 2007 and that until that time, the standard "legacy" links will continue to work.
They also stated that the standard "legacy" links would still be available for Search Engine Marketing and Email campaigns.
Unfortunately, the very next sentence was
|However, if you establish a new relationship with an advertiser after June 23, only JS-formatted links will be available for that advertiser. |
So, if we label our selves "SEM's" will we only have access to legacy links for current relationships or is this for any relationship?
Is there a time period on these "legacy" links as well even if we label ourselves as SEM's?
Man they have gone about this the wrong way.
I've fired off another email to my rep on the above questions.
Next question...if they are doing this to "avoid search engine degredation" why are SEM's allowed to use legacy links? Seems somewhat contradictory doesn't it?
| 8:29 pm on May 26, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Nice blog post Jangro and you stated perfectly what's so disappointing about what's spread around as fact.
As far as I'm concerned MarketingVox and ClickZ just lost a lot of street cred by their myth chasing. It's too bad CJ wasn't straight up because now due to agenda feeding and no fact checking it's frontline news that CJ's network is filled with a bunch of bottom feeder affiliate muck slingers that need to be scraped off the net.
| 12:00 am on May 27, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|The biggest affiliates at CJ are not SE dependent type affiliates so I don't buy anything that says it's because of the SE's. |
I haven't seen anything that would indicate that affiliate links hurt SE rankings. If a site has no content or load of dup content, it will get dumped eventually, affiliate links or not.
Thinking in terms of advertiser/publisher is the wrong approach. If CJ wants to be an advertising network then this may be the right direction to go. Affiliates are not marketers, they are sales people or organizations.
Banners are the standard brochures sales people may hand out to prospective customers but the content is the sales pitch. If a sales person had to walk around with a tape recorder from corporate management that repeated the same thing to every prospect, they wouldn't sell much of anything.
| 3:13 am on May 29, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Am I reading this correctly that text links will be completely out of the affiliates control? I rely considerably on the flexibility that text links using HTML has when integrating the links into my content. Without this control , my volume will definately fall off.
I think CJ will ultimately lose money after this change is implemented. People don't make money in affiliate marketing by slapping banners up on their site. They make it by smartly integrating TEXT links into their content. I'm very upset by this removal of flexibility from affiliates.
CJ's revenue will drop considerably after this change. Maybe after it affects VCLK's bottom line as well as the bottom line of their advertisers, they'll change it back.
Tunnel vision at it's best!
| 5:01 am on May 29, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I agree. Most merchants suck at creating link text, and for practical purposes can only provide a limited number of linking options anyway. I always end up doing lots of tweaking to get things just right.
| 11:41 am on May 29, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Am I reading this correctly that text links will be completely out of the affiliates control? |
the way I understand it, that's exactly what you'll be able to do.
| 4:16 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
jangro. Here is the reply I got from CJ after voicing the same concerns I had in my previous post..
[email content removed - please see TOS]
Looks fairly cut and dry that they won't be allowing any publishers to modify text in the text links. The advertisers will have complete control over what the link says on your page.
[edited by: jcoronella at 6:03 pm (utc) on May 30, 2006]
[edit reason] TOS #9 - No email snippets [/edit]
| 4:48 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
what a nightmare!
imagine all those articles already written with links to merchants. Now carefully written sentences with the anchor text chosen to fit will be interrupted with : "Click here! Sign up now," or worse text, depending how their affiliate person is feeling.
Great job CJ.
| 6:19 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Looks fairly cut and dry that they won't be allowing any publishers to modify text in the text links. |
...or that the client services person you spoke has been poorly educated on the subject and either didn't understand your question or is just plain wrong.
(I saw the email before the edit)
| 9:03 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I just listened to the CJU Podcast. There are no publisher benefits, only benefits to the merchant and to CJ. Just a lot of headache and pain for my Ajaxy price comparison site which gathers its data via datafeeds, crawls, and web service API's all of which result in CJ links to individual products.
| 9:06 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
>> only benefits to the merchant and to CJ
and we, the publishers, will respond in kind. They have to give the merchants an option, js or as it is now.
| 9:57 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|...or that the client services person you spoke has been poorly educated on the subject and either didn't understand your question or is just plain wrong. |
Jangro, where in the FAQ does it say you'll be able to change link text?
| 10:55 pm on May 30, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Has anyone seen one of these links? Can anyone post an example?
| 3:45 am on May 31, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|where in the FAQ does it say you'll be able to change link text? |
It doesn't say it in the FAQ, at least not very well. The FAQ is poorly written and they've promised updates. Hopefully they'll address this issue soon.
In any case, my information comes from a discussion with someone there. You have no reason to believe me, I guess we'll all have to wait and see.
| 4:36 am on May 31, 2006 (gmt 0)|
since you talked to someone, will we be able to have a plain old link (not js) that links to the home page at least?
| 5:00 am on May 31, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Here's my understanding.
any plain old links that you have created on programs you've joined prior to june 23, will remain functional for a period of time (they said, I think, in the podcast that they'll give at least 6 months notice.) They call these "legacy links".
For programs joined after the 23rd, no straight links, not from a web page. It seems that you will be able to have plain links for use in PPC direct links and email from advertisers that allow that.
It's not clear to me whether we'll be able to generate new plain links after June 23 for pre-existing relationships.
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