| 3:29 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
OMG. This was waiting for this kind of information for months. Just found this on the page 100 of the 2011 Google Quality Raters Handbook (discovered by PotPieGirl):
Google says Commission Junction affiliate links are 'Sneaky Redirects' (web spam)!
They have taken a CJ aff link (kqzyfj.com/go65biro...) as an example of a sneaky redirect.
Looks like CJ (and maybe other affiliate networks) has a big problem now... As well as owners of affiliate sites.
| 3:37 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Wow. I read this handbook in full a while ago and apparently missed the CJ part. Just saw it now.
These sneaky redirects never seemed to stop them from ranking affiliate sites, like mine (until I was hit at the beginning of September by a weird penalty).
I really hope Google knows what they're doing, since all signs point to the conclusion that they have no clue.
| 3:53 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I was suspecting that aff links were the problem, but now I have a real information regarding this. Now, back to work on removing aff links from the site.
However, I still can't decide if I should remove Amazon's since they look nice - amazon.com/....
I'm wondering how CJ and others will react to this and if Google is aware what impact could this have on aff networks.
| 3:56 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Dani, that has been there for ages.
| 4:01 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
It's funny I was searching for that info for months and haven't found it until now. Maybe I would have found it earlier, if I used Bing instead of Google ;).
| 5:00 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|"Thin affiliate sites: These sites collect pay-per-click (PPC) revenue by sending visitors to the sites of affiliate programs, while providing little or no value-added content or service to the user..." |
"If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value..."
where does it say Google doesn't like affiliate sites? it says thin pages.
If your site offers quality information placing an affiliate link within the page is fine - all my sites are all affiliate based and many have gone through panda fine.
| 5:23 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Please tell me if you use aff links which looks like kqzyfj.com/go65biro... or you use just links like amazon.com/product.... Beacuse for the former Google says it's spam.
| 5:29 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I forgot to add in the post above: I just wanted to point out that aff links have a different treatment than Adsense links for example.
| 5:54 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|Please tell me if you use aff links which looks like kqzyfj.com/go65biro... or you use just links like amazon.com/product.... Beacuse for the former Google says it's spam. |
where are you getting this info from ? I'm linking with = cfm?refid=120&bannerid=3579 and html?partnerID=
| 5:58 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
One of my sites has some CJ links like kqzyfj.com/go65biro its an informational site with some affiliate links
This site has not been affected by Panda at all...
| 6:12 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
The source is Google Quality Raters Handbook pdf, page 100 (discovered by PotPieGirl.com blog). You can find the link to the pdf file in PopPieGirl's How Google Makes Algorithm Changes article. PDF clearly says that kqzyfj.com/go65biro... is a sneaky redirect (web spam).
My affected site actually had 2x sitewide CJ links (banners), as well as in-text CJ links on about 1/3 of the pages. The amount of used links could have been a trigger for the algo penalty for me.
Mod's note: The link is in this article... [potpiegirl.com...] ...cited by rowtc2 in our Minor Panda update Oct 13 discussion [webmasterworld.com...] msg# 4375894, which is roughly the 143rd message in the thread, posted 3:58 am on Oct 18, 2011 (PST -8)
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:49 pm (utc) on Oct 18, 2011]
[edit reason] added link [/edit]
| 6:26 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I'm pretty sure google can tell the difference between someone using a trick to redirect spam and an affiliate link - either way I'm ranking fine - if your looking at working with an affiliate that you have concerns over the tracking code just set up affiliate folder and block that being crawled then you can link in fine
| 6:50 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Thanks for the advice, Tigger. I've removed the links for now, maybe I'll put them back later with the method you described.
| 7:09 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|They have taken a CJ aff link (kqzyfj.com/go65biro...) as an example of a sneaky redirect |
I was too late to see this as the document has now been removed. I wonder is CJ aware of this, and what their thoughts would be of their sneaky redirect spam?
| 8:27 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
They have taken aim at affiliates, relevant and useful or not.
|Major cosmopolitan cities are preferred targets for spammers, especially hotel affiliates. Such results should be flagged as Spam, even if they are related to the query and helpful to users. For example, a hotel affiliate page with a list of Chicago hotels may be assigned a rating Relevant, but also receive a Spam flag. |
The link to the handbook is now hard to find in working order, Google's been busy handing out DMCA requests, but snippets are all over the place like the one I found above. I do NOT have a copy to verify it's accuracy, the snippet above is from a popular SEO blog, but I trust the blog the snippet came from and post it here under fair use rights to discussion.
About the quote above. If you have the BEST website in the world with top notch Google ratings on every page you can still garner a spam rating by displaying a page with affiliate links such as the one mentioned. That appears to affect your entire site, redirect or not. In fact redirects are apparently considered "sneaky" now even if you use them to weed out bots.
Also interesting to note is that much of this has been moved from a manual review to an automated algorithmic approach. You will be told there is no MANUAL penalty if you ask for reconsideration request.
| 8:57 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
isn't this just targeting thin pages rather than quality pages that offer a means to buy the product via an affiliate link
I've seen hotel sites/directories that basically are a collection of doorways and thin pages to direct traffic onto hotel sponsors - this is NOT affiliate marketing in my view and these types of sites really have no place within the serps - if thats what G is saying I agree
| 9:19 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
If Google wanted to be honest, they should have put googleads.doubleclick.net as an example of a sneaky redirect.
| 11:02 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|If Google wanted to be honest, they should have put googleads.doubleclick.net |
I have been thinking that also. It is perhaps in peoples interest not to allow this to fade away.
Surely targeting affiliates is the same as targeting affiliate networks. Is this similiar to what G is getting investegated for?
Define quality: who can really define quality? what one person enjoys reading or finds useful another does'nt. Think about the daily newspapers, what you will call quality, others will term rubbish, thats life, everyone has diferent opinion's.
As for doorway pages is every page on the internet not a doorway page, leading to another page or another site? Pages are made for Keywords, as simple as that. Can Google search not be termed as a doorway page?
Let face it if you run an ecomerce site your object is to seel your product, same as an affiliate. If an affiliate is doing their job they have to provide a platform in which the user can reach the merchants site, some are better at it than others, this does not mean an affiliate is a bad person or has bad practices.
People have began listening too much to the rubbish Google tell us. I came from a meeting with a client and good friend yesterday who has been wiped out with Panda. No thin pages, offering something diferent and a diferent view on their product. They left in tears and very unstable. They did nothing wrong, but he feels the greed of Google has destroyed this persons life.
| 11:14 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|I came from a meeting with a client and good friend yesterday who has been wiped out with Panda. No thin pages, offering something diferent and a diferent view on their product. |
Courier, is your friend using affiliate links on that site? I'm starting to think that de-rankings of quality sites and pages is mostly because of use of affiliate links.
| 11:19 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I think you can define quality of page by the amount of information posted and the uniqueness of it - and as we know G is monitoring the time people say on a page this also should be a quality guide
Re Doorways - yes I agree every page is a doorway so targeting a term, but as we know theres doorways and spammy pages that are just built to rank and offer nothing to the surfer
|People have began listening too much to the rubbish Google tell us |
agree and I would love to give G and all its tools the finger but when your target market is the UK and G is used something like 95% for all searches, when G shouts jump you ask how high AND I know thats &$%*
| 11:24 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|I'm starting to think that de-rankings of quality sites and pages is mostly because of use of affiliate links. |
sorry your wrong - all my sites are affiliate based, some have gone through panda with no problems and no loss of rankings, other have slipped. The ones that have slipped is probably down to neglect where I've been concentrating efforts onto larger sites that are ranking well & affiliate sites, in fact a couple of them rank higher than the main sponsor site
| 11:29 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
The funny (annoying) thing is for all those who dont know google started out as an affiliate marketer. It monetized its search tool using amazon affiliate links in place of where it now has sponsored results.
Now it seems to have come full circle and is penalising sites that provide a tool but are monetised through affiliate links.
Google do no evil? Google is pure evil.
| 11:34 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Sorry I wasn't clear enough. I wanted to refer to "sneaky redirect" aff links with domain names such as kqzyfj.com, whereas you probably use regular store urls with extensions such as = cfm?refid=120&bannerid=3579 and html?partnerID= like you said.
Note: It looks like Amazon's affiliate links are not sneaky redirects, because what you put in an aff link url is the same url visitors are taken to. It doesn't redirect.
| 6:44 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
To expand on that Dani sneaky implies multiple domains. The CJ link takes you from your site to cj to the 3rd party site in one click. Google calls that sneaky. They don't seem to mind however if the middle page is on the same domain e.g. your site to your redirect page to the 3rd party site.
Keep in mind that they DO mind affiliate links in general on pages with not much of value but as far as sneaky goes it involves multiple domains, especially if not owned by the same entity.
By that definition adsense links are sneaky and Google's own shopping section is pure spam. If Panda were applied to Google they would be banished from search, nice double standard.
| 9:37 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Just to be fair to Google, and I don't really care to be... the rater document also says (I am going to paraphrase, since I cannot claim to have a copy)
If you visually remove all spam elements (PPC ads and copied content) from a page, and nothing remains, that is a characteristic of a spam page.
In other words - Google is calling its own product (PPC ads) a big signal of spam. And yes, they do in fact call out Cj directly. As well as Amazon and eBay.
Google also states that when a user enters a search and the resulting page is a list of PPC ads, that is a strong sign of a spam website. Correct me if I am wrong, but isnt that a direct example of adsense link units or google custom search?
Like PPG states on her post as well, it only takes a bit of searching on Google itself to find a copy of, or snippets from the raters guide everyone is referring to.
| 10:58 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|Courier, is your friend using affiliate links on that site? |
Yes he uses affiliate links, but no feeds and offers unbiased professional advice for each product, as well as a host of other things unique to their site.
I talked with another person today who has had two affiliate sites drop, incidently both the sites were with CJ links.
I would like to know what CJ think of all this, surely Google is here to serve the public, as well as being a business.
| 11:22 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|surely Google is here to serve the public, |
You mean like Coke or Exxon or Microsoft ..Apple or Boeing ..whatever gave you the idea that any US corp would act any different from any other US corp..
| 11:22 pm on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|but no feeds and offers unbiased professional advice |
I'll be free to put my pandalized site in the same category.
Google explicitly claims that we do web spam by using CJ links and we do not have any reasonable explanation for their severe penalties, so my conclusion is that we are penalized because of the "sneaky redirects".
Now, Google should tell affiliates enrolled in their Google Affiliate Network that GAN actually delivers webspam (gan.doubleclick.net links).
| 8:22 am on Oct 20, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|so my conclusion is that we are penalized because of the "sneaky redirects". |
What I would also like to know before these sites go into unrecovery positions, what is CJ going to do? Surely they have a duty to confront Google.
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