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Banning affs from adwords, the greater picture
dslpromo




msg:4037303
 9:43 pm on Dec 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

So, its clear that Google is going after affiliates from reading the threads on the subject. But what do you think Google's game plan is?

I mean, there must be a business reason why they are eliminating probably hundreds of millions of annual dollars out of their revenue stream by eliminating affiliates. Do you think they are trying to put the affiliate networks out of business? Maybe they are going to have their own network be the only one allowed into Adwords in the future.

After reading hundreds of accounts of affiliates being banned and that we all received the same form letters its clear that we are collateral damage for some greater plan. What do you think they are up to?

 

La_Valette




msg:4037427
 1:58 am on Dec 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

So, its clear that Google is going after affiliates from reading the threads on the subject.

Not at all clear to me. Landing page quality is the stated issue.

LucidSW




msg:4037678
 3:05 pm on Dec 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

The business reason is to provide a better user experience to their users. Their users are all of us who use Google. Many have complained that they were having a bad user experience by clicking on ads going to sites pushing a product and the links going to the product's site only to be show another sales message. That's what the LP quality issue is in the vast majority of cases.

FighterSpirit




msg:4037748
 5:18 pm on Dec 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

dont agree with you LucidSW , google I am sure have other plans and remember you are see that this google action will have user reaction in near future. I change my home page from google to Bing

change2010




msg:4037783
 6:24 pm on Dec 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just speculation, but banning affiliate sites is a way of forcing merchants who use Commission Junction, Linkshare, to deal directly with Google.

For example, previously a small merchant on CJ could could deal with affiliates who promoted sites that promoted their products (or even allow direct linking to the merchants site) and fairly effectively outsource their PPC management to the affiliates.

Now, google seems to want everyone desiring to offer cost per action advertising through its relatively new "google product ads" (if you are not familiar do a google search on "bowflex" as an example. You will see a list of picture ads on the right hand side tagged with a clickserve.cc-dt link. this clickserve linked is served by the google affiliate network, formerly performics) My search shows product ads from Barnes and Noble and Sears.

Before the culling of affiliates from adwords, this search would have returned a number of ads that had affiliate websites with reviews and ads for "bowflex" products that were sold through Amazon, Bodybuilding dot com and several other Linkshare and Commission Junction vendors. Those ads do not appear now (at least on my computer using the google adwords preview tool).

Now the user experienced is "improved". The user will only see ads that are available through google product ads, ebay, shopzilla and paypal-shopping. The user won't be tormented with ads to websites showing them where else they might be able to buy the bowflex product they are looking for at lower prices, with cheaper shipping, promotional offers, actual reviews of the products or those other things that shoppers hate.

Sarcasm aside, its hard to argue in my particular example that most searchers would be happier with the ads shown now than before. Some might , some might not. Some of the banned affiliate sites have been advertising on Adwords for 5 years or more. Its hard to imagine that they are such low quality sites and yet managed to remain profitable for 5 or more years. As a capitalist, I do put some trust in the market to make rational decisions.

On a related note, Google is not kicking the same publishers out of Google affiliate networks. Seems like if they are low quality sites, Google wouldn't wan't them their either.

Finally there are some examples of accounts being disabled who operate websites that have high placement in Google and other major search engines organic results. It would seem as though on average, the highly placed organic results would be decent quality sites. Maybe not the best, but probably not "egregiously low quality"

I think the evidence weighs on the side that the affiliate ban is not a strictly editorial decision. But that is only my opinion.

By banning affiliates Google may be attempting to grab the attention of the merchants and pretty much tell them, "you won't get high search placement in the organics because you are a lowly merchant, and your affiliates won't be able to help by promoting sites featuring your products, so if you want placement on google search results, you need to sign up with google product ads."

Google is entitled to work or not work with who ever they want.

However I am not sure that Google needs to slander anyone it doesn't want to work with as "egregiously low quality" or some other such slam. Maybe that looks better on the surface to some regulator than saying "banned because you promote merchants who are on affiliate networks who compete with Google affiliate network" or "banned for promoting merchants who don't use Google product ads". Again just speculation. But the evidence does seem to fit with this picture.

smallcompany




msg:4037953
 11:50 pm on Dec 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Change2010's post...

Could be...

There were some other posts that created similar picture which looked (sounded) realistic...

Google does not hate anything or anyone. It found a business reason that is causing all what has been happening lately.

...funneling merchants to what Google wants, being that new product ads, forcing merchants to bite on AdWords and forget about affiliate networks (other than Google Affiliate Network).
It may be that Google will create something new that will work automatically between AdWords and Affiliate Network which will give them advantage over other networks.

Who knows, but could be kind of funneling...

...and if it is... it may not be right... as the market should regulate itself.

Oh yeah, this late personalized search results change that is affecting every single searcher (user per Google), is another form of (same) funneling practice.

Fun with funnel making many supporters of this forum very skeptic. People don't like the idea of being regulated this much. And all coming from "university" guys that were icons for the opposite.

Tsk, tsk, tsk... makes me feel donating most of the money I earned through Google as it smells devilish...

profitpuppy




msg:4038570
 8:39 am on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

So, its clear that Google is going after affiliates from reading the threads on the subject.

Not at all clear. For example my site has zero links to affiliates, my entire account has no active campaigns that have any links to affiliates at all.

I was banned for having a low quality score which is something to do with asking people to register for free information on their email.

Actually they're not explaining why they are banning us, but I'm presuming it's because of a complex algorithm detecting "bad quality" and somehow the algorithm has gone wrong.

GetReal




msg:4038821
 4:13 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hey change2010,
Great input... very well put...

I had my main account slapped with the dreaded 1/10 QS today, essentially shutting us down. This after we worked over the past few months to build most of our critical keywords to a QS of 10/10. We have not had our account banned, although I imagine that will happen soon.

Yes we are an affiliate marketer. I’ve been at this for 9 years, started when Google and Commission Junction were still in dippers. I knew that at some point this business model would run into problems, but never thought it would be Google that would cause the problems. I always just assumed that the market place would define the practicality of the business, not someone at Google…

Oh well on to other potential traffic avenues….

And finally, I’d like to thank Google for that nifty Google refrigerator that you send us a few years back, when we hit the million dollar club……

GR

Samanthatouch




msg:4038855
 5:05 pm on Dec 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

One interesting side effect of this is that many of the banned advertisers are going to Yahoo and Bing. I'm watching some of my YPN and Pubcenter ads (I always have a few in rotation on some of my poorer performing pages) to see if the payoff increases and also to see if the quality of ads change on those networks. It'll be weeks before I'll be able to identify any trends, though.
This is certainly is an opportunity for M$ and Y to make some lemonade out of all these Google 'lemons'.

swa66




msg:4039441
 1:24 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

If I reread profitpuppy's post above, -as a user (not thinking as a web site owner)-: do you feel "trapped" if you end up there searching for material that would be inside ?

I think I would

Hence -without implying anything about individuals who do this- as a whole the program is better off without ads leading to such sites. Which is a GOOD thing for all the rest of us: publishers don't want anything to do with this, nor do the searchers (who often cannot discern ads from real search results anyway). Even for other advertisers: it leads to less users who'll avoid your ads.

Now if we could just stop that Google bashing that's IMHO going out of control.
This is no more or no less than unwanted publishers being banned. I for one -as a publisher- am *glad* they finally do something about unwanted advertisers.

And while for individual advertisers this certainly can be a drama, for the all advertisers together this does not need to be a bad thing as all.

trinorthlighting




msg:4039618
 7:39 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I Agree swa66,

An AdWords advertisement (which costs money) to sign up via an email address for a "Free Newsletter"? Hmm, that does not sound right unless the money comes from a non-profit organization or charity. What will more than likely happen once I give out my email address for the "Free Newsletter" is that I will be bombarded with Spam email or something full of advertisements in the newsletter itself.

I myself have to applaud Google for finally taking a stance from both a publisher and a user standpoint. My advice to those who are banned, change your business model to something that is acceptable to Google.

buckworks




msg:4039620
 7:45 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

My advice to those who are banned, change your business model to something that is acceptable to Google.

... that's hard when the ban is "forever" ...

jkwilson78




msg:4039622
 7:48 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

An AdWords advertisement (which costs money) to sign up via an email address for a "Free Newsletter"? Hmm, that does not sound right unless the money comes from a non-profit organization or charity. What will more than likely happen once I give out my email address for the "Free Newsletter" is that I will be bombarded with Spam email or something full of advertisements in the newsletter itself.

Umm....without your email address how can you receive the newsletter?

Seriously, sure you could get spammed but just about every search marketing firm on the planet that gives out "free whitepapers"(or any other vertical/industry for that matter) requires an email address to deliver the "free" whitepaper to.

In exchange, you get the report and you will be on their list where you will receive pitches for their products and services.

Is this shocking? Unexpected? Unethical? Of course not.

Like I said, there are bad apples out there and Google is making attempts to curb that but labeling the practice of exchanging your email for information is certainly not evil or shady.

Leosghost




msg:4039627
 8:05 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

actually
My advice to those who are banned, change your business model to something that is acceptable to Google.

... that's hard when the ban is "forever" ...

if the ban is forever then

My advice to those who are banned, change your business model to something that is acceptable to Google.

is irrelevant .. banned forever is just that in the same way as you cant be a little bit pregnant or a little bit dead ..

trinorthlighting




msg:4039662
 8:55 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you change your business model, start a new legal corporation and start selling widgets, Google will never know. But if you start a new corporation and start asking people to sign up for "Free Newsletters" on the same old website or websites that are similar Google will catch on quickly.

JKWilson78, I am not saying that it is wrong, but users and publishers have made it overwhelmingly clear over the years that it is something that they do not want to see. Google does listen to the public's feedback.

Dlocks




msg:4039718
 10:29 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

And while for individual advertisers this certainly can be a drama, for the all advertisers together this does not need to be a bad thing as all.
The bad thing is that you might think you are a good advertiser (whatever that may be) but tomorrow you might receive an email that you are not allowed to use AdWords for the rest of your life. And not because you are promoting product they don't like but because they don't like the quality of you landingpage.

When the above happens will you still say you are *glad* they do something about the *bad* advertisers? Will you still be *glad* that Google will not go into discussion with you about your lifetime ban even when you are not a bad apple?

Example:
- You have twenty real stores (not on the internet)
- You have been advertising those stores for about 7 years in newspaper X
- You spend one million each year

After 7 years advertising in that newspaper suddenly newspaper X sends you an standard copy paste email that they don't like one of your stores and that you are not allowed to advertise in newspaper X for the rest of your life. They think one of your stores is of low quality. Could be they don't like the brown ceiling you have in one of your 20 stores you run. Could be they don't like how you put the shelves in the left corner in one of your 20 stores. You don't know because they don't give this information in the email or in their guidelines.

So you send an email back and ask them what specific store they don't like and what they don't like about it. Because you are more then willing to work things out with the newspaper and make some changes in one or more stores. In the past 7 years you always had a good business relation ship with the newspaper so you think they must have made some kind of mistake here that you can work out with them.

Then you receive a reply containing a standard copy paste text saying that they have looked at your stores again and there are indeed quality problems. Again they will not give any details about the problem. The email ends with 'don't contact us again, if you do contact us again we will not reply'.

Then you start talking about this issue with other store owners. One store owner tells you he's *glad* that the newspaper is finally banning unwanted advertisers and tells you to stop bashing the newspaper.

dslpromo




msg:4039727
 10:44 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

To those who are still in, don't get too arrogant, this could happen to you next.

Even if every person who has been banned from Adwords was promoting a "bad" product they may very well have had no idea. It would have been simple to just say to the advertiser "this website is unacceptable, please don't promote sites like this". But we can't even get a real answer as to why we've been banned.

This is truly a mistake on Google's part. For one thing, no one is going away, and now Google has thousands of online marketers working against them instead of with them. Its going to bite them back.

onepointone




msg:4039737
 10:57 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Beyond banning adwords acct's, google has started suing.
[googleblog.blogspot.com...]
These actions seem to be in regard to companies using their trademark to help promote scammy get-rich stuff.

trinorthlighting




msg:4039749
 11:37 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here is a great CBS News Video of this lawsuit that explains it better:

[youtube.com...]

[edited by: trinorthlighting at 11:43 pm (utc) on Dec. 8, 2009]

dslpromo




msg:4039753
 11:40 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I bet MS and Y! will have more class in the way they go about it and instead work with advertisers.

GetReal




msg:4039757
 11:59 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

The lawsuit has nothing to do with legitimate affiliates, Google's actions towards legitimate affiliates is bush-league, and smells of a financial motivation, not so much a 'user experience'.... Remember online search is a one trick pony, granted a pretty big pony, but Google is searching for other avenues of revenue to satisfy Wall Street….

GR

profitpuppy




msg:4039806
 1:46 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

If I reread profitpuppy's post above, -as a user (not thinking as a web site owner)-: do you feel "trapped" if you end up there searching for material that would be inside ?

I think I would

My site has a small email sign up form at the bottom of the site. It's not trapping any users. The free information is freely available to all and you don't have to sign up to receive the information on the site (just to receive the email newsletter). So your reasoning is not valid.

profitpuppy




msg:4039810
 1:51 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

An AdWords advertisement (which costs money) to sign up via an email address for a "Free Newsletter"? Hmm, that does not sound right unless the money comes from a non-profit organization or charity. What will more than likely happen once I give out my email address for the "Free Newsletter" is that I will be bombarded with Spam email or something full of advertisements in the newsletter itself.

I myself have to applaud Google for finally taking a stance from both a publisher and a user standpoint. My advice to those who are banned, change your business model to something that is acceptable to Google.

You are correct that I'm probably better off not advertising the site since it is free and I'm not currently making any money off it, so now my expenses are lower. but I wanted to get it started with some adwords advertising. I don't see anything wrong with that? In fact I should be exactly the sort of advertiser they want? I'm advertising to provide good content which is adding value to the search results.

The newsletter is very valuable free information with very very few advertisements (like one in every 20-40 emails will have some kind of advertising)

It's 100% white hat not spammy at all.

You are assuming google is right, and somehow justified in what they are doing.

Not justified at all. It's a completely random act.

Or maybe it's just an error on google's part, I'm still waiting to find out and have not received an email from them yet.

profitpuppy




msg:4039811
 1:57 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Also to clarify, having an email signup on the site was not the reason why Google said it was poor quality. They said it was poor quality because I was using a 3rd party provider for the email signup.

So they didn't have a problem with the email signup. They had a problem with the fact that I was using a 3rd party provider.

This also makes zero sense in my view because 3rd party providers always obey can spam act rules (they are nowadays always double opt in and have a proper unsubscribe link). Websites that have a subscription on their own site can get by without double opt in and without using an unsubscribe link. So in theory a 3rd party provider would be a much better option, and a sign that the site is legitimate.

LukeJ




msg:4039829
 2:57 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google restricts "Affiliate sites without relevant and original content that are designed to drive traffic to another site with a different domain ".

How does something like Clickbank stay in operation? It's 100% affiliates redirecting business to a different sales page. Are most of them starting to get banned?

Does this include all the thousands of mirrored sites that are hosted under a legitimate domain and appear to be the legitimate site? They're not redirecting traffic to another site, just redirecting the final product orders through the main site.

Do you think Google is still likely to ban all of these affiliates?

p.s. What happens if you're totally new to adwords and everything you try gets a terrible QS until you figure out what you're doing. Are you likely to be banned before you even get the hang of it?

Also, what causes an ads QS to drop steadily over several days?

jkwilson78




msg:4039864
 4:20 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Also to clarify, having an email signup on the site was not the reason why Google said it was poor quality. They said it was poor quality because I was using a 3rd party provider for the email signup.

Wow! Banned just because you used a 3rd party service. You are not the first person to post something like this. In the first massive thread on this issue someone posted that they were suspended because their lead capture form was hosted by a 3rd party.

They eventually got reinstated after making sure everything was hosted on their domain.

Could this be a common theme among people who have been banned that are not affiliates? Could there be some sort of ridiculously simple flaw in the algo in how it flags functions of a site that are hosted on another domain or redirect to another domain?

If that is truly the reason they gave you it is beyond lame.

copemedia




msg:4039870
 4:32 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Wow! Banned just because you used a 3rd party service. You are not the first person to post something like this. In the first massive thread on this issue someone posted that they were suspended because their lead capture form was hosted by a 3rd party.

I completely agree with your theory jkwilson and think that may be why a lot of non-affiliate sites got the ban. Which of course sucks for affiliates who got banned still, but you said exactly what I've been thinking as far as regular publishers getting the slap.

bcc1234




msg:4039878
 5:03 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

An AdWords advertisement (which costs money) to sign up via an email address for a "Free Newsletter"? Hmm, that does not sound right unless the money comes from a non-profit organization or charity.

...or you simply lack imagination. There are plenty of legitimate and profitable business models in this world that you've never even considered.

What will more than likely happen once I give out my email address for the "Free Newsletter" is that I will be bombarded with Spam email or something full of advertisements in the newsletter itself.

And you are likely to be distributing child #*$!ography (and cheating on taxes when you aren't busy with the former) because statistically the shirt you are wearing and the car you are driving have colors close enough to those of some people who really do commit those crimes.

So let's put you away for life without the possibility of parole (or even means for an appeal) in the name of fighting crime.

And if you do get a chance to appeal, then the person conducting it would spend most of their energy convincing you that you have in effect committed those crimes insted of actually looking into your specific situation... because, after all, the system can't be wrong.

The sad thing (for you) is, the streets would actually become safer. But that doesn't mean that what's being done is right or deserves applaud.

profitpuppy




msg:4039884
 5:19 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Look, I totally agree with google banning Malware sites, "sign up your email and get a free ipod" sites, or other sites that say "Get a free xyz" but when you go to the site it's downloading some kind of adware, or toolbar. I've seen those sites advertising on adwords, and for sure google should get rid of them.

But something is wrong with their process where they are inadvertently banning the wrong sites.

I think it's just that Google is now so big, and they try to automate everything, and sometimes the automation doesn't work. And they don't have the proper man power to deal with customer support inquiries (or maybe the people in customer support don't have enough authority to make decisions). So I don't believe at all this is malicious on google's part, I think it's just they have a bad process.

Dlocks




msg:4040000
 10:31 am on Dec 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

So they didn't have a problem with the email signup. They had a problem with the fact that I was using a 3rd party provider.
How did you manage to get a reply from Google with specific details about why you are banned? Did you keep sending emails to them after they told you "Please don't contact us again. If you do then... etc. etc."?
This 45 message thread spans 2 pages: 45 ( [1] 2 > >
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