I understand that affiliates are a big part of the Internet value chain, and I do not want to dismiss them altogether. BUT I have been experiencing an unnatural growth of low-level affiliates that do not add anything to the user experience.
The perfect example is from the travel sector - booking engines. there are just a few (max. a handful) real reservation engines that directly connect into the backends of the tour operators and airlines. These companies offer white label services, so they are pure B2B. As a matter of fact, basically any "reservation system" that sells reservations for hotels and flights uses one of those big systems. So far nothing wrong with that.
Now, some of the "affiliates" have done their homework and are looking to differentiate themselves from the (otherwise identical) offers from their competition. They offer interactive maps, user reviews of hotels, and may even present unique information on the destinations. Good stuff.
Others just take the basic offering from the "big" reservation engines, slap together a few frames surrounding the GUI of the "big" reservation engines and start an Adwords campaign. With the same promises, rebates, prices as all the other "affiliates" out there. No unique information, no differentiation. Not so good stuff. As they do not put any effort in their service, these "services" focus on cheap clicks, following the basic MFA approach. In fact, they are nothing else than disguised MFAs. They need to get cheap clicks, and I don't want them.
I have said it many times, and I will be happy to repeat it: I am interested in unique advertisers that sell products and who add to the user experience. I am not interested in middle-men who arr in the game just for the money, slapping together webpages for this or that topic, centered around "keywords", looking to trick users into clicking or buying from them.
I applaude to Google for each and every step towards a high-quality advertising system. In my opinion, this will secure long-term success for those who care about their users/visitors. Which I do.