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Landing Page Quality Guidelines
Does Google's definition of affiliate sites need clarifying?
SuperF




msg:4011995
 2:45 am on Oct 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Website Types to Avoid

Data collection sites that offer free items, etc., in order to collect private information

Arbitrage sites that are designed for the purpose of showing ads

Affiliate sites that the primary purpose of which is to drive traffic to another site with a different domain

"Get-rich quick" sites

Malware sites that knowingly or unknowingly install software on a visitor's computer

Poor comparison shopping or travel sites whose primary purpose is to send users to other shopping/travel comparison sites, rather than to provide useful content or additional search functionality

Given that promoting sites that Google gives a low quality score to now places your entire account in jeopardy, it would be useful to get a clarification of what exactly Google means by affiliate sites that have a "primary purpose" of sending traffic elsewhere.

On the one hand, this could describe every affiliate site. They are unlikely to promote their site using Adwords if their site is non-profit. Affiliates, by definition, don't have their own product to sell. They make by sending visitors to a merchant and collecting commissions from any resulting sales - it is their business model and primary reason for existing.

On the other hand, Google could be trying to say, if your site is blatantly just existing to send visitors elsewhere - in the eyes of the searcher - it is poor quality, BUT if you provide lots of unique content that the visitor would find valuable and useful, then it's OK.

Ultimately, I'd just like to know if Google means all affiliate sites, or just certain types, when describing to sites to avoid promoting on Adwords

----

An additional question - given the serious nature of these guidelines, and the serious ramifications if a Adwords customer breaks them, should we be alerted to when they are updated, or are we expected to check them every day?

 

buckworks




msg:4011999
 2:54 am on Oct 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

the primary purpose of which is to drive traffic to another site with a different domain

That could also describe every directory and every search engine, including Google itself.

You're certainly right that clarification is needed!

pavlovapete




msg:4013190
 10:36 pm on Oct 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Their model is self-service. I recall they declared some time ago that they would not notify us when changes were made. It is our responsibility to keep up with the guidelines. A loose guideline probably means they have more room to move and probably prevents vexatious litigation.

It is their system - they set the rules.

Dlocks




msg:4013205
 11:06 pm on Oct 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Their model is self-service. I recall they declared some time ago that they would not notify us when changes were made.

[..]

It is their system - they set the rules.

In my country (Netherlands) this is against the law. I think this is also agains the law in the US:

Web Contracts Can't Be Changed Without Notice

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on July 18th that contracts posted online cannot be updated without notifying users (PDF of ruling). 'Parties to a contract have no obligation to check the terms on a periodic basis to learn whether they have been changed by the other side,' the court wrote. This ruling has consequences for many online businesses, which took for granted their right to do this (see for example item 19 in Google's Terms of Service)."

I think it is not allowed to post links in this forum so if you would like to read more about the above (including a PDF of the ruling) search in Google for (copy paste):

slashdot Ninth Circuit ruled on July 18th

pavlovapete




msg:4013208
 11:13 pm on Oct 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

I wish I could find the announcement. I recall it happened last year or maybe the year before. Something like "Google will no longer announce updates to their algorithm"

I see your point Dlocks - that a contract cannot be altered without both parties agreeing to it.

Interesting - can anyone help me find that announcement?

Cheers

idolw




msg:4013419
 10:04 am on Oct 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

well, google exists to send traffic elsewhere. no one likes competition on their own territory.
I wonder how they alogoritmically check whether a comparison site is poor or not :-)

Leosghost




msg:4013437
 11:44 am on Oct 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

quote from the actual court decsion
Parties to a contract have no obligation to check the terms on a periodic basis to learn whether they have been changed by the other side. Indeed, a party can't unilaterally change the terms of a contract; it must obtain the other party's consent before doing so. Union Pac. R.R. v. Chi., Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pac. R.R., 549 F.2d 114, 118 (9th Cir. 1976). This is because a revised contract is merely an offer and does not bind the parties until it is accepted. Matanuska Valley Farmers Cooperating Ass'n v. Monaghan, 188 F.2d 906, 909 (9th Cir. 1951). And generally "an offeree cannot actually assent to an offer unless he knows of its existence." Samuel Williston & Richard A. Lord, A Treatise on the Law of Contracts 4:13, at 365 (4th ed. 1990); see also Trimble v. N.Y. Life Ins. Co., 255 N.Y.S. 292, 297 (App. Div. 1932) ("An offer may not be accepted until it is made and brought to the attention of the one accepting."). Even if Douglas's continued use of Talk America's service could be considered assent, such assent can only be inferred after he received proper notice of the proposed changes.

PDF [pub.bna.com]

SuperF




msg:4014132
 10:10 am on Oct 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

What bothers me more than the lack of notification is the ad hoc nature of the changes. For a period of time (I wish I could tell you how long, but archive.org is blocked by Google's robot.txt, the irony!) the guidelines said to avoid promoting ebooks, and now it doesn't.

The end result being that customers promoting ebooks who check the guidelines everyday because they care very much about being good Adwords users, would delete their account, while the more spammy customers would never have known any different.

1. Google doesn't place these rules within "terms and conditions" - they call them guidelines instead
2. This is very misleading because the guidelines, if broken, could cause your account to be closed without recourse
3. Google doesn't tell you when the guidelines change
4. Google adds new guidelines, and then removes them
5. Good customers leave, and bad customers stay

Maybe they should call them Guidelines Beta? With a footnote saying "please ignore this page, because after many years we still aren't quite sure what we do and do not allow"

bazza9




msg:4014807
 9:00 am on Oct 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well, I notice that new terms and conditions were released yesterday - I've not had a chance to read through them as yet.

Dave_Davis




msg:4015068
 5:12 pm on Oct 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

The new T&Cs don't contain any info relating to LPQ guidelines.

SuperF is right, "Google doesn't place these rules within "terms and conditions" - they call them guidelines instead"

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