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Does anyone have a suggestion on how to stop this? They are knocking out our normal listings and getting credit for those sales.
Maybe a disallow on the url in our robots.txt file?
Also, If these urls are being seen as unique then there is no help from the passing of PR to our site from affilates?
ex. of whats being indexed: www.example.com?kbid=222
[edited by: Drastic at 5:27 pm (utc) on Dec. 28, 2005]
Two things are happening
1) Our natural indexed pages are being knock out of the serps by custom landing pages we use for our affiliates. Where we once ranked #1 for our term with our page, an affiliate now ranks for the same page with his id code on it. Obviously google used the dup content filter to knock our page out as his was deemed more relevant.
2) On a major key term for us in MSN, we are listed #2 and the affiliate is being listed as #3 with his id. This is a little more difficult to visualize so If anyone wants me to sticky the specifics, I would love to hear some opinions..
So make up your mind, do you want affiliates or not?
There's several retarded companies out there that don't allow bidding on their name brand because they want to bid on it themselves without any competition. Those retarded companies are losing and continue to lose WAY MORE sales then they could ever generate on their own. The reason being, whale affiliates won't touch them with a ten foot pole.
There has to be separation between affliate and merchant. Stop trying to be both.
I have one particular affiliate who ranks high on MSN for some really good words, I sent him an email and was very clear on how THANKFUL I was.
Let's say that I'm a vendor, selling widgets at http://example.com/widgets.html
A month ago, I ranked well for the term "widgets", such that people searching for "widgets" came to my site.
I have affiliates who link to my site with http://example.com/widgets.html?kbid=XXXX for affiliate tracking. Their site is over at http://example.affiliate/buy_fuzzy_widgets.html, and they link to me with the kbid link above.
Then, all of a sudden, searching for widgets starts returning links to http://example.com/widgets.html?kbid=XXXX
Any searches for "widgets" goes to the vendor's site, but the affiliate gets credit for having done no work.
It's one thing if http://example.affiliate ranks higher than http://example.com, but this is different. The canonical URL to the merchant's widgets site should not have the query string appended to it.
Edit: fixed tags
Probably rel="nofollow" can be used to prevent search engines indexing and following the links.
What incentive would the affiliate have to do that? He's basically getting free commission while this bug exists. In fact, this is great for the affiliate -- you don't have to rank at all for the terms, but you get commissions on the vendor's hard work.
The problem is with the search engines. Tanya Martin wrote an article about it ages ago but I can't seem to find it now.
1. Do they rank high in SERPs for terms that you don't? If you take away their ability to SEO your offer then you could be losing out on a lot of sales generated from alternate KWs.
2. Do you want to risk them moving to a competitor? Since it sounds like your affiliate is doing a good job...If you hurt their commissions they may decide move to a competitor. Now you could very well see your competitor at the top of results. If this happens you are in an even worse situation.
It seems like they have some link building skills, and that should make their domain rank over the affiliate link (as long as they have a good domain/site that has good content).
Then too they can market similar products (if any). Or if the affiliate program does something that ticks them off (like b*tch about them being able to rank), they can switch their page to some competitor.
But then again, they could be ranking from the content the affiliate program has and their link building skills. This is rare, I see more affiliates losing out then I do the affiliate programs (because of how they link). And some affiliate programs are really strict about the linking code you get from them, so you can't add nofollow to it. I think affiliate programs should offer that as an option too, links with nofollows.