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1 affiliate per merchant to be announced tomorrow

follow-up from http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum81/3940.htm

     
5:42 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just heard from "informed sources" that the formerly discussed change [webmasterworld.com...] that was brought up by Shak will be oficially announced tomorrow. Implementation will take place in a week. Will be interresting to watch. Wonder how many email complaints G will get.

I also expect to see a huge ripple effect for PPC affiliates as the ad volume will go down and the prices probably increase as only the top affiliate bid will be shown.

typo edited

[edited by: ThomasB at 5:56 pm (utc) on Jan. 5, 2005]

11:11 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Is there something you know that we don't?

Yes. I must confess, I do have an advantage over you - I read the original thread (including AWA's comments).

11:47 pm on Jan 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I also read every post (except those by MultiMan).

This is what AWA said......

Heya Chernelle, and all. Just so you know, for the past few weeks I've been making sure that the right folks here at Google have been seeing the range of opinions on this subject. And I'll continue to do that.

Each week, I've quoted a few of the more well stated posts, verbatim, and then provided links to each of the several threads on the subject.

Bottom line, the whole range of opinions is being heard.

Please, where does it state that "The feedback from here was used to fine tune the program before release."

Nor does the thread post give a clear and definitive description of what changes are going to be made.

12:07 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Now all of those affiliates will take the money they earned from AdWords and get to work spamming the google 'natural' search results in newer and trickier ways.

SO apparently, the only way for an affilaite to earn from google traffic is either adwords or spamming?

YAWN.

How about this (and hold onto your hat, as this is a radical idea):

Take the time to build a content rich site that people will actually WANT to link to, buid up your traffic over time, and use affiliate programs to monetize that traffic.

12:17 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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WebFusion,

More affs should take that advice. I'll just YAWN till that happens.

12:19 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Take the time to build a content rich site that people will actually WANT to link to, buid up your traffic over time, and use affiliate programs to monetize that traffic.

Sounds like to much work to me. Why should I spend time to build out a site when I can spend 5 minutes writing ad copy, 5 cents on a click and let the magic of the merchants brand take over.

On a serious note, I have been building SITES to promote affiliate programs for over 1 year now. My own sites convert better than direct to merchant PPC every time. Yes it's more work, but the return is better too.

It looks like this Google change is your call to action. Time to dust off that keyboard and get to work!

12:23 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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One more thing... If anybody should be pissed off about this change it should be eBay. This is going to hit them to the tune of 7 figures a month. I don't see how all those super eBay affiliates are going to continue to make money after this change.
12:25 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I know I can just wait until tomorrow, but I can't help but ask if anybody has any info about what the implementation is going to be. Like, how will "the one" be determined?
12:26 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I suspect that google will include more restrictions than just stopping direct to merchent ads. i.e. no pages with just affiliate links or 'landing' pages.
1:54 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As someone who initially made the majority of my money with natural search listings promoting affiliate content, which was drastically hit on Sept 23rd, and then I found some nitches for PPC adwords ads, I'm honestly surprised Google has taken this stance, as I am guessing they make a lot of money now from affiliates competing against each other. One nitche I found that was extremely profitable initially sounded got crowded with people who used my exact adwords ad - over the following month, the bid cost went up 4 times. I'm curious how it will ultimately play out with who will get the rights to bid for a certain domain.

Aside from that, I agree that these copycat ads make the PPC results look crappy - but as Google factored in CTR for the ads, you would think that the copycat ads split the traffic to that ad, and thus are more costly than unique ads (with the current model).

Of course, Overture has required a landing page since I started using them, and so Adwords will just be the same way - unless they do not just allow landing pages. My question is, how much unique content will be sufficient if they do not want just a landing page? Sounds like it will get pretty subjective.

Overall, aside from making the PPC results "appear" better (if they are just pointing to landing pages, they are no better) I don't see how this is better for Google. They are pretty smart there, though, so I'll wait and see. I am considering selling their stock though - something I hadn't even considered before now.

1:55 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There will be a lot more sales flowing through other listings/ads that formerly flowed through the aff links. The traffic and the revenue won't go away, it'll just flow through different channels.
1:55 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Like, how will "the one" be determined?

Suzy,

No sense asking anyone here. They're all talking out of their hats with their various guesses. About the only thing that is certain is that Google ad placement will no longer go by the previously hallowed tenets of CTR or ad relevancy.

The ad shown will be the one paying the biggest bucks for the slot, whether it's misleading, an outright fraud or whether it even sells the product touted.

patient2all

2:09 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Opinion: I think Google will win here, not sure anyone else. It is all about investors now, the founders are on the Islands sipping Gin, it's all down-hill from here.

Shoot are there any damn good sites out there anymore, all the sites I see are a frigging-burp... joke! Really... and 999 out of my incoming 1000 link requests via e-mail are thrown out. The sites are just-hicup... stupid!

Note to all: I will never accept a link request if your site looks stupid! Yes, most do look burp-stupid - please help stop the pain!

Hollywood

2:31 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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For the consipiracy types, affiliate landing pages tend to be populated with Adsense ads, so this move gives Google the chance to "double-dip" advertisers, once on the Adwords click and once on the landing page Adsense click.

Watch for Google stock to soar ;)

2:34 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The best way to cook a frog:

Turn the heat up very very slowly so the frog doesn't notice that it's getting boiled to death.

Turn up the heat too quickly and it will jump right out.

Let's hope we see more former and less latter tomorrow.

2:37 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There will be a lot more sales flowing through other listings/ads that formerly flowed through the aff links. The traffic and the revenue won't go away, it'll just flow through different channels.

Good points. With many of the affiliate sites gone from both the organic SERPS with the last Google update and now from the PPC listings, too, it will actually create many opportunities in other areas.

On the contrary, some of those who now redirect to the merchant will put up their own (clone) sites and cause more pollution in the SERPS, not less.

With the sand box and Google's latest filters that is easier said than done.

2:46 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

"There will be a lot more sales flowing through other listings/ads that formerly flowed through the aff links. The traffic and the revenue won't go away, it'll just flow through different channels. "

Are you saying that the bidders who are now not able to outbid or out CTR affilates will now be increasing thier bids and CTR's?

Regards,

2:53 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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My observations on this proposed move:

I've just done a search on 4 of my KWs on G, and this is what is brought up:

KW/ No.of Adwords/ No. of 'Aff' ads./ Ebay ads./

A/ 9/ 3/
B/ 90/ 25/ 1/
C/ 90/ 33/ 3/
D/ 49/ 17/

Conclusion:
One in 3 ads will disappear

Less demand for KWs = cheaper KWs

G's revenue will drop - UNLESS
CTC is the actual price advertizers will pay - no more paying 1 cent more than the ad. below.
Advertizers nominate a CTC, and that's the price they'll pay.

G's revenue will go up, and the system will have got rid of G's perceived 'rubbish'.If that was the intention.

3:32 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Are you saying that the bidders who are now not able to outbid or out CTR affilates will now be increasing thier bids and CTR's?

Nope, lets say there are 10,000 searches per day for a given keyword. Right now there are 100 ads showing for this particular keyword.

When Google makes the change, there may only be 30 ads for this keyword but there will probably still be 10,000 searches after the change is made. More traffic will now flow through the remaining paid listings and organic results.

3:42 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If it is simply one ad-per-domain - per-keyword and a system similar to Overture I can live with that. However if Google descends into a subjective debate as to what types of sites are mere landing pages (not worthy enough to buy advertising) and what types of sites offer enough value to (to be allowed to buy advertising), I’ll get ready to bend over because Google will have gone down that that slippery slope where a page on Amazon that has the Amazon header, footer and three links to their partners along with text that says sorry Amazon doesn’t stock this widget, but visit our partners Circuit City, Office Depot and J&R to buy this widget will always be deemed worthy to buy advertising by Google, but the lowly affiliate that designs a page promoting the same widget with the same 3 links, and actually takes time to write descriptions and pros and cons of buying at each place will always be deemed not worthy enough to pay for advertising.

To a certain extent I find the whole debate ludicrous. The notion that you can’t buy ads is like going into Mc Donald’s and being told "we are sorry sir we can’t sell you a Big Mac", and then the counter clerk leans over and says “your not thin enough to eat here, we have met our quota of one fat person in the restaurant at a time.” You say “but I have money and there is nobody else in line to serve. ” and the clerk says “it is not about money, it is about image and we don’t want Mc Donalds to be associated with fat people.” It is rather disappointing that Google seems to want to go down this road of “affiliates will ride in the back of the bus only” and that affiliates will thank us for the privilege of allowing them to still ride in the bus at all. Practice up your “Yes sir, Mr. Google mighty fine of you to let us ride in your fancy bus so us poor affiliates don’t have to walk.” Funny thing is I suspect none of this is about relevance or end user concerns. It is all about “playing ball” with the established agencies in hopes of gaining more “respectable” customers. In effect Google is trading in their current customers for vague promises that big corporations "might" do more business with them if they get rid of “those” people. That is life and I understand it. Many people ditch life long friends to hang out with Biff and Buffy in hopes that they will get extended an invitation to join the country club.

[edited by: kingfish at 4:40 am (utc) on Jan. 6, 2005]

4:00 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

Skibum, I agree with that, but if 10 of the top 30 bidders (affiliates who are removed) are replaced by bidders # 31-40, it seems to me that the revenues for that keyword will drop.

Regards,

[edited by: jim2003 at 4:15 am (utc) on Jan. 6, 2005]

4:10 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well put Kingfish!

Why is it in so many cases, the lower the post count, the more sense the post makes?

This runs contrary to the prevailing logic on this and many boards that "newbies" have nothing to contribute unless they have achieved some designation below their sobriquets > than the insulting "juniors", "strangers", "newbies", etc.

patient2all

4:49 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The notion that you can’t buy ads is like going into Mc Donald’s and being told "we are sorry sir we can’t sell you a Big Mac", and then the counter clerk leans over and says “your not thin enough to eat here, we have met our quota of one fat person in the restaurant at a time.” You say “but I have money and there is nobody else in line to serve. ” and the clerk says “it is not about money, it is about image and we don’t want Mc Donalds to be associated with fat people.”

Newspapers and magazines have operated that way for years. Some won't take ads for NC-17 movies, some won't run ads for personal-hygiene products, some won't accept ads for quack products like diet pills or breast-enlargement creams, and so on. If Google feels that having multiple AdWords or AdSense ads that point to the same merchant's page is bad for Google, for advertisers, or for users, then so be it. Google has a right to determine its own advertising policy, just as other media do.

Anyway, what's the big deal? Is it that hard to create your own Web pages so you can continue running ads? (Presumably not, or there wouldn't be eight billion pages in the Google search index.)

5:20 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Newspapers and magazines have operated that way for years. Some won't take ads for NC-17 movies, some won't run ads for personal-hygiene products, some won't accept ads for quack products like diet pills or breast-enlargement creams, and so on. If Google feels that having multiple AdWords or AdSense ads that point to the same merchant's page is bad for Google, for advertisers, or for users, then so be it. Google has a right to determine its own advertising policy, just as other media do.

Anyway, what's the big deal? Is it that hard to create your own Web pages so you can continue running ads? (Presumably not, or there wouldn't be eight billion pages in the Google search index.)

Let’s not cloud the issue. You are talking about something entirely different. I am not saying for example you should be able to go to Google and bid on “Disney World” and then place an ad for a Hardcore Porn site in that keyword. However, I have a right to be miffed if I go to Mc Donalds, and they won’t sell me a Big Mac, but I don’t have a right to be miffed if Mc Donalds won’t sell me a 5 course meal and provided me with 5 star service. Every business has the right to determine what type of product they sell. However, once they put that product on the shelf, and set a price for it they generally can’t refuse to sell it to select people.

I do have my own domains, and as I have stated before 90% or more of my ads point to my own domains. However, all I have seen so far is speculation on what the rule changes will be. Most of you seem to think the rule changes will be limited to one ad for one domain. I am not so sure that is where it will stop, and it may very well be that Google has to deem your pages content rich enough to buy advertising. The big deal is different treatment for the same activity by creating artificial distinctions to classify people.

I think I recollect reading sometime back on why affiliates had to use the aff in their ads, Google stated in their polices something to the effect so people understand the nature of your business. Nobody ever has been able to explain that one to me. Why do people need to know the nature of my business but not other people’s? Your last point about what is good for business could be used to justify almost any type of discrimination, and guess what whenever you create artificial distinctions to discriminate it is always wrong.

[edited by: kingfish at 6:07 am (utc) on Jan. 6, 2005]

5:25 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The thing is that there are so many other problems that are more important to deal with right now. Surely they know that most people have ad blindness and their image is more about the free results. Why don't they do something about that? Overall most of their users will not even notice one way or the other about the paid ads.

The adwords people don't make any since at all on anything they do. They need to get somebody in there with common since not a bunch of out of touch PhDs. They also need some business people there that want to make money and not make the world a better place. If G were run like MS the money they have now would be a tiny percentage. Just because you are rich and successful does not mean that you are doing things the right way. Too many people think that because G has done so well everything they are doing must be the right way because that is what got them where they are.

I know lots of rich people that are idiots and make money in spite of themselves.

5:28 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Anyway, what's the big deal? Is it that hard to create your own Web pages so you can continue running ads?

If you want to maximize sales, best bet is to skip an intermediate landing page. If you do put one in it would be to your advantage (and very conveniently Google's advantage) for you to put AdSense on that page/those pages to help salvage some revenue from the paid click if the visitor chose not to click on the affiliate links.

5:40 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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How will the bidding work?

Imagine a scenario:

3 advertisers bidding on a certain keyphrase.

Advertiser 1 has max CPC of $0.05
Advertiser 2 has max CPC of $1.00
Advertiser 3 has max CPC of $1.01

But, #2 and #3 are both affiliates for www.widgets.com

The only way I can see how they'd implement it is to have 2 rounds of bidding.

In the first round, we bid for who has the right to advertise per domain name.

So advertiser #2 and #3 are battling it out. And #3 wins, because he is willing to pay 1c more than #2.

So #3's bid is $1.01

Now somehow Advertiser #1 comes into the picture with another round of bidding, I'd assume.

Here are the questions:

1. Does Advertiser #3 end up paying $1.01, or only $0.06?

2. Similarly, I assume Advertiser #1 would have to bid $1.02 to get the top spot.

Seems a bit unfair if in the old days we'd have paid 5c, 6c and 7c respectively. And even more unfair if advertiser #3 only ends up paying 6c, but advertiser #2 was willing to pay way more.

-V

5:54 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Wasn't not having to have a landing page one of the big reasons why folks prefer Google to Overture? Heck, if they're going to do things like Overture, I may as well use Overture.
5:56 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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That is three major strikes. If they can devalue or even eliminate the aff model, then google cures the single largest source of headaches in its entire model.

If they eliminate the affiliate model, they lose most of their advertisers,which is how they generata profits, lol.

6:33 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Let’s not cloud the issue.

Nobody's clouding the issue. Google isn't obligated to sell ads to advertisers that don't meet its standards--period.

If you want to maximize sales, best bet is to skip an intermediate landing page.

Maybe so, but if that's no longer possible, adapting to the new reality is likely to be the most productive solution. A good way for affiliates to start is by writing landing pages that "presell" (to use steve_b's term) instead of simply passing the prospect along to the merchant.

6:39 am on Jan 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The problem is that their standards are discriminatory, and what standards they have are not enforced in an evenhanded fashion. There aren’t any real distinctions between and affiliate placed ad and an agency placed ad.
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