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Google is deprecating their affiliate network, any idea why?

 9:30 am on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google announced that they are shutting down their affiliate network(Google affiliate network) in a post here - [googleaffiliatenetwork-blog.blogspot.ca...]

The reason given is fairly boilerplate in line with the text used for closing their other services recently and so I want some ideas and speculation as to what might be driving them to shut it down. My thought is that they get a cut of every affiliate sale and so it was earning them good money so there must be a bigger reason to shut it down.

Speculation: Matt Cutts announced, I believe at an affiliate conference recently, that there will be a major change in search coming soon that he suspects will have webmasters talking about it a great deal. Could this be part of it? If Google plans on reducing the rankings of "affiliate sites" then also owning perhaps one of the largest affiliate networks would be a conflict of interest? Are the days of sites with affiliate links numbered and Google getting out of the affiliate business is a sign of this? (in terms of receiving traffic from Google anyway, there are other sources of traffic).



 3:13 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

For the record, here's the statement from Google.

To that end, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire Google Affiliate Network and focus on other products that are driving great results for clients.

We’ll continue to support our customers as we wind down the product over the next few months. And there are other products that can help you achieve your goals. Affiliate publishers can continue to earn AdSense revenue through the AdSense network.


 3:17 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

It made them a BIGGER target of the FTC ?


 3:51 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

GAN has *always* been the red headed stepchild. (This is the second time they've retired it, by the way) They never put any serious resources into it (when I joined, they didn't even have a way to SEARCH for the programs you want - you had just page through all of them) There was no real support there (like most things Google) and you really need support for an effective affiliate program, and every single program I joined that actually worked for me, within months I'd get a notice that the company I was working with was leaving GAN for some other network. I can only assume because they found them as difficult to work with as I did.

Not surprised in the least.


 4:21 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

AdSense huh? Hmm not making much there. This is what's driving great results for clients?


 5:30 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think GAN wants to transition all affiliate network merchants to Google Shopping exclusively. In my opinion, Google wants to be the only, affiliate in the Google search results. Keep in mind some Google merchants are paying commissions for Google Shopping sales, not PPC.

This is sortof the same logic applied when closing down iGoogle in favor of Google+. e.g. transitioning clients to the favored platform. I also think it is a flawed idea, in that now I'm on Netvibes, not Google+ and soon most merchants will have a Commission Junction, LinkShare, ShareASale, or Pepperjam account.


 6:42 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google had an affiliate network?

Oh, maybe that's why they're shutting it down... ;)


 7:10 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Can't blame them. Affiliate marketing can be a shady business. Not exactly brand/image friendly when you're trying to look squeaky clean.


 7:18 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Shawn Collins posted elsewhere:

"I sort of wonder if they realized how much an affiliate network was not going to be like AdSense - totally hands on and full service with the tens of thousands of affiliates with issues, needs, etc."


 8:30 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not exactly brand/image friendly when you're trying to look squeaky clean.

Google has been working very hard at bringing the searcher and the actual seller closer and closer through lots of changes in both the paid and organic areas over the past few years.

If there getting rid of their own brand of that type of arbitrage, I think you can make some assumptions on how they view that model on the whole.


 9:42 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

G doesn't like to have to work with the people that are their customers unless those customers are shoveling many millions of dollars per month into their coffers. To run well, the G affiliate network would probably take a lot more human work and interaction per dollar of revenue that shopping or AdSense so it got chopped.


 11:05 pm on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think its simply because they weren't making the money they expected.

I've been expecting this for a while


 1:35 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google had an affiliate network?

Oh, maybe that's why they're shutting it down... ;)

*exactly* what i was going to write.

plus, every other ad network and accounting model must lose against adwords/adsense ppc. remember before adsense, there was only this affiliate stuff around with meager income. even display banners were accounted per sale/lead, ridiculous in today's view.

contextual ppc ads were the invention that made google big and just destroyed a good part of the other offerings with its outstanding performance. how come? because it is the most balanced deal for both advertiser and publisher. so no wonder.


 1:50 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google is starting to behave like one of the big 4 TV networks that put out really good new shows and cancel them just as you get totally invested in them which is why I now watch new shows on the myriad of cable networks because if they put a show on, they'll run it a few seasons no matter what.

Likewise, yes I had a point, I never got involve with GAN no matter how much a couple of them solicited me because Google was for AdSense, too many eggs, one basket, blah. Wifey on the other hand used a lot of GAN stuff on her sites and now she's getting emails from all the rats deserting the sinking ship trying to move her here or there to other aff networks.

Thanks Google...

...for nothing, again.

...a big steaming hot cup of nothing.

Ya suck.



 1:52 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't personally know anyone that was an advertiser or a publisher with them. Who did they buy out to get this network? Whoever it was is/was laughing all the way to the bank.


 2:18 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

They bought Perfomics


 4:57 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

What netmeg said.

Affiliate marketing is one of those things Google never was very good at. Why keep investing in something you're just not great at when there are things you've totally cornered the market in?

Does this mean they're getting ready to drop the ax on affiliates - again? I don't see why - they've been hammered enough. Affiliate links are not a sign of poor quality in and of themselves. It's just when the site has no value to the searcher that they become an issue. I think maybe Google has better ways of recognizing value in sites than looking for affiliate links.

One thing I have noticed lately, however, is a lot of websites becoming more transparent about affiliate links, placing buttons or text to let readers know a page contains them. The FTC requires transparency, so Google could possibly feel pressured to rank affiliate sites higher if they are in compliance. Also, Matt Cutts has said repeatedly to put nofollow on any link you might make money on, even though Google is pretty good at sorting that out itself. I personally think it's worth the extra two seconds to slap it on there.


 7:24 am on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does this mean they're getting ready to drop the ax on affiliates - again? I don't see why - they've been hammered enough.
depending what Google see and want, not what we want o see.

Google shopping now affiliate network, kombine with Adwords maybe no need for other.

Can't blame them. Affiliate marketing can be a shady business. Not exactly brand/image friendly when you're trying to look squeaky clean.
Google shadier then most affiliates, no squeaky clean at all.

 9:28 pm on Apr 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

You know what's really shady?

Google making the "orange background" lighter and ligther (over the past few years) in their Adsense advertisements whenever you perform a Google search.

I have to tilt my monitor all the way backwards to see where the paid advertisements end and the organic ones begin.

now THAT'S unethical.

Hilarious how Google would have a massive $hitfit if webmasters were doing that with Adwords.

Now if you perform a search for "credit card" you will see that Google has it's own affiliate program with all the credit card companies.....so now Google is taking massive profits from Americans going further into debt.

I have lost all respect for Google over the past few years.....nothing more than your run-of-the-mill unethical corporations in America. Ready/willing/able to sell you and your personal information that they collect on you down the river for a few sheckels in profits.

So much for "Do No Evil".....

Nothing to see here, move along.

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