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One of my sites has an affiliate link with my unique webmaster ID in it. The site has had affiliate links for years so no problems there. I noticed last week that the stats for that link had shot up, whilst traffic to the website stayed the same.
Literally tens of thousands of clicks a day are going through to this link and though they pass no referrer to the affiliate stats area, one or two have slipped through.
It appears that there is a spam campaign aimed directly at making my link look spammy. There doesn't appear to be any other reason for it. MySpace pages, whole domains and domains with /randomtext/randompage.html have been generated all over the place, all redirecting to that link. I don't think much of it's actually being seen by surfers as there appears to be a lot of references to .jpgs like it's being used as an image source (which also redirects).
I am wondering how intelligent Google is at knowing that I was first to place that link and that my site has a history of decent standing. It seems very sudden, organised and rather black hat - which to me implies experience that these things work.
Anyone experienced anything similar?
1) make a connection between your site and your affilliate ID, and
2) penalize your site for actions taken using that ID on sites that aren't yours.
That doesn't seem likely to me. More likely is that whoever is doing this 1) is experimenting 2) has some bad script 3) is trying to ruin your affiliate status. But I don't see Google rankings in the mix. For your sake, I hope I'm right.