On a recent effort to expose my sponsor to a greater variety of keywords -all related to his products- I created a variety of pages and started to link to his domain using relevant anchor text. It wasn't too long before his url (with my partner ID) started to show up for a good number of those keywords (anchors) on the appropriate searches. This, substantially increased my income since users were finding his site and not one of my promotional pages. The only drawback was that now his domain was appearing for the "main search" under my ID. And for this, I suspected a backlash.
Starting last week, I noticed ALL of my links for ALL of the searches targeted and a few more I got as an unexpected bonus, have turned into bare urls without my partner ID. In fact, I am having a hard time finding anyone's IDs on searches for his products. The url that is now listed in google is a redirect from the affiliate urls.
I contacted the sponsor and I showed him proof of how his listings were showing up for some of the searches targeted. Although it is always tricky to pair a result with ones own efforts, I was able to provide him with information on how the linking took place, during which time period and how his site started to show up originally (under my code) and how it progressed over time. I kept detailed stats on searches as well as screen shots throughout the relevant period.
The sponsor was convinced that he now gets this great traffic due to my effort but has said no word on crediting me for it, specially now that the urls listed have NO partner Id. He must be thinking he is getting mana from heaven without any sweat, my sweat. I went a step further and showed him how Google still lists a url that was read as text, but whose content (and final destination) is actually different. No redirects here, although clicking on that link does redirect.
His excuse is that Google is the culprit. He blames the whole issue on Google. He says -very politely- that he has done nothing on his end to have the redirect listed and not my affiliate link -a flat url with no query strings-. According to him, Google has been undergoing some changes in the last week or so and as a result, they now list the bare urls. In other words, 'swallow it, that traffic is now mine'.
I was wondering if anyone could share similar stories and how they got solved. If possible, I would also like to know if anyone thinks that Google really doesn't want affiliate Id's listed on serps or that perhaps -unintentionally- some affiliates links end up being listed through their final redirects.
However, the last scenario is NOT compatible with what was happening only 72 hours ago and kept happening for months.
If Google "does no evil" why would they disregard so easily the hard work of any affiliate -provided their algo is causing this? And will they ever consider a more fair approach on how traffic gets distributed?
As of now, I have made all the effort and the fruits of my labor ended up in the hands of an already *very* rich sponsor. How unfair!