Tedster, here's examples. We've started promoting our affiliate program much more extensively in the last 3 months. Therefore we got all of a suddent thousands of links. Typically, all of these have an affiliate ID attached, or go throough a 3-rd party network, so they are EASY to detect.
Since affiliates have been there way, WAY before Google, it is just NUTS that Google considers a jump in backlinks due to affiliates as "bad behaviour".
We just asked one affiliate to remove links from adult sites. Luckily she complied. SHe also loved our product so much, she blasted our banner across 15K of her article website. I am probably going to be forced to ask her to remove it because for whoever reason, this Penguin doesn't like that, even though it is a legitimate affiliate legitimately liking our product.
Google is just NUTS to think this is our behaviour, just freakin' recognize "affid" and "affiliateID" as a parameter, how hard it can be?
I am going through thousands of our links. I do see some where people had built affiliate websites and because we are (WERE, thanks GOOGLE) one of the top sites in the niche, they included links to say, top 10 sites, across all site, whatever blogging platform they use, including ours, including billion dollar brands too.
Of cource, billion dollar brands are still on top, they've got thousands of other links, we are a small business and 15K extra links form one site skews our link pattern to Penguin hell.
How is that "our bad behavior"?
I am going through our links and really FAIL to see a bad link that is not attributed to our expanding affiliate program. DO we suppose to NOT expand affiliate program which is ANOTHER way of earning money outside GOOGLE SANDBOX, just because Google treats affiliates as competition?
>> Did you get an "unnatural backlinks" message from Google?
NO, of course NOT. We do not do "unnatural" links, how do you think a couple of guys can successfully compete with billion dollar brands? We have a better site and better product, that's how.