Google claims that the following conditions must be true to be considered an affiliate.
A) You are in a business relationship with a merchant to promote the merchant's product or service.
B) The affiliate earns a small commission from the merchant for each referral that results in a sale.
C) The merchant handles payment and fulfillment.
Well A) is true for practically anybody (if you consider promote and sell as the same thing), and we now meet item C), and I am worried about Item B) except we are getting a 45% commision on the sale, which I would not consider small.
To give some background:
We started out 12 years ago with a particular supplier that had a wide range of products. Six years ago, we setup a drop shipping arrangement. Last year we integrated with their customized website on the suppliers server, so we could have real time stock updates, and integrated payment and shipping services. It also reduced our web development costs to near zero for the site.
Sounds alot like affiliate, except we are getting near retail commission cheque each month, and we handle customer service.
Another thing that makes me nervous, is that the way the website is setup, even though we have a separate domain, it maps back to a single IP address, shared with maybe a dozen other companies that sells this suppliers products.
The site is highly customizable, so each site does look different, except it maps back to the same IP address.
Currently the other companies selling the suppliers product are just retail stores, who wanted an online pressence for their local market, and we control the majority of the online market for this niche product line.
How would Google handle this situation,if the affiliate issue ever came up?