Google announced that they are shutting down their affiliate network(Google affiliate network) in a post here - [googleaffiliatenetwork-blog.blogspot.ca...]
The reason given is fairly boilerplate in line with the text used for closing their other services recently and so I want some ideas and speculation as to what might be driving them to shut it down. My thought is that they get a cut of every affiliate sale and so it was earning them good money so there must be a bigger reason to shut it down.
Speculation: Matt Cutts announced, I believe at an affiliate conference recently, that there will be a major change in search coming soon that he suspects will have webmasters talking about it a great deal. Could this be part of it? If Google plans on reducing the rankings of "affiliate sites" then also owning perhaps one of the largest affiliate networks would be a conflict of interest? Are the days of sites with affiliate links numbered and Google getting out of the affiliate business is a sign of this? (in terms of receiving traffic from Google anyway, there are other sources of traffic).