Whitey - 6:40 am on Nov 25, 2010 (gmt 0)
It's not only the affiliate site's , it's really anything that forms a bridge between a brand & bricks and mortar business and Google.
Google see's more revenue by dealing direct with the principles of those business'. Better bid prices on Adwords . Better recurring directory fees.
Aggregators of data have little more than Google could achieve. In mature markets like travel , realestate , restaurants , news , shopping, entertainment etc. Google has access to all of the data via it's acquisitions and partnerships. It has a lot of the tools e.g. maps, comparison engines etc. and of course it's strongsuit - brand.
So with a lot of the key activity presented under Google , now available directly to it , why not effectively sell direct. I mean call it advertising dollars , but it's positioning itself to replace referral income with a fee for retailing - isn't it? It's easy enough to switch the cost of sale calculations around to fit any business model. It boils down to the same thing in the end Y/N ?
The interesting balancing act to observe is how they effect that strategy, potentially destroying meta search / OTA's , Yelp's , and all aggregators of intermediary common data along the way. Because for now the revenue shift to the new order is finely balanced.
How to go along with this change ? Hmmm - listening / watching.
Smart affiliate's , maybe , but in what volumes ? Niche players maybe , that can get their smart options into the SERP's in large quantities.