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"Revenews' Wayne Porter points to increasing chatter and expectations of an impending Google ban on affiliate arbitrage - the practice of companies diverting brand traffic to their sites in order to serve it back to the brand as an affiliate customer. The practice is extremely popular both through keyword buys and through search engine optimization techniques. For users, it decreases the perceived relevance of search results, not to mention adding costs to the brands, who are then generally responsible for paying affiliates a commission on sales. Reportedly, the ban will begin in January, according to discussion board participants who claim to have been told by Google reps, and it remains unclear if this would be a human-enforced policy or something that Google believes it can automate."