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I have found that pages that have a small number of affiliate links relative to other content do not get penalized. One other way to deal with the problem might be to create affiliate-link free index pages that list and link to the affliate-link-heavy pages.... Basically, you need to beef up your other content.
Not trying to do anything deceptive here, just testing all
avenues in an attempt to rank higher than every other 2 bit site that ranks above us for OUR unique company name, that Google seems to ignore and penalize us for. Call is what you wish, we have exhausted all over avenues with Google.
That last one is in debate as to whether they use it, but if they do, or will in the future, then it's natural to assume they will look for a level of critique and unbiased opinion on products in my view. Even if they don't, this surely has to be the aim of any automated algo in the long run.
An affiliate should in my view accept a responsibility to ensure that potential customers end up with a good product and anything that one can do to achieve this will not only assist the way SE's view the site long term, but will also benefit the affiliate in terms of reputation and, consequently, revenue.
In my market, there are all too many affiliates who simply wax lyrical about a product without indicating any potential disadvantages/pitfalls (and believe me, they are many to the uninitiated)...they probably see it as a quick buck...but this is counter-productive in the long term, even the short term. An affiliate who can differentiate themselves by proving some knowledge and recognition that not everything is ideal for everyone will gain more respect and loyalty and should, in theory, gain the long term advantage. An affiliate site presented in this manner can actually enhance a product's offering.
Of course, this will only be fully appreciated once Google (etc) has found the way to represent this value added approach within SERPS which may be some time away, but it must surely be a goal.
[edited by: Simsi at 9:22 am (utc) on Sep. 10, 2006]
I actually perceive our site to be better than that of the supplier we use.