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Google adwords website url's

Cloaking a url to look like the affiliate company!

2:24 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just like to get some thoughts about the ethical nature of cloaking a url in Google adwords.

There are an increasing number of ads appearing where the url shows "www.widget.com" when in fact the reality is "www.peteandbobswebsite.org". There is in some cases either a very simple page with little content, or increasingly an affiliate link that clicks directly through to the affiliate site - even though Google has a policy not to include pages that re-direct!

Putting my user hat on, I hate using these links when I expect to go through to "www.widget.com" but in fact get "www.peteandbobswebsite.org" with a completely noddy page, little information and a "click here" option at the bottom to make sure they're earning the affiliate fee. Even worse, you sit and wait for a re-direct page to churn through on the affiliate link.

Don't get me wrong I have nothing aganst affiliate programs and do very nicely myself, I just think for the end user this is not the best service that Google can offer. I don't see the problem gong through to a well written and informative webpages, but the bypassing of this for a direct affiliate link seems a bit of a con!

Is this the affiliate companies responsibility seeing as they are the one's silly enough to pay someone 5% for two minutes work, or should it be the responsibility of Google to monitor?


11:07 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member shak is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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I totally agree, and both the advertiser and Google should be doing their best to make sure this does NOT happen.

on another note I have even see something like:

Domian Names

when in fact the url is completely different.


4:52 pm on Mar 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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i've chatted (via e-mail) with google on this a number of times and the response has always been the same: they allow affiliates to use an affiliate encoded URL that directly links to another website, as long as the destination website is noted in the ad.

so, what they won't allow is www.peteandbobswebsite.org and a direct link to www.widgets.com or www.widgets.com with a link to www.peteandbobswebsite.org. (not a lot of folks attempting THAT, anyway.)

google seems to think that as long as the URL shown accurately represents the landing page, it's OK.

this accounts for why there are often half a dozen ads all showing www.widgets.com as the URL.

it's confusing (at best) to google users; i think it's crazy and deceptive.

and i truly wonder what the orders to clicks ratio is for ads like those... i think the whole point of effectively being an affiliate is to "pre-sell" the buyer so that you're sending highly qualified traffic to the vendor website!

of far greater concern to me, as an affiliate myself, are ads by other advertisers (for my keyword categories) that do not disclose their affiliate status.

i've reported these over time to google ...with mixed success. they always thank me and say they'll look into it... but most of the ads are still running and a few do so well that they are consistently bonused into premium placement.


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