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Affiliate URL or bridge page & Google Affiliate Network


Meat Curtian

11:48 pm on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hey All,
In my Google account I created a new ad group, the group started to generate traffic. Then the following day, the ad group is disabled. The Google reasoning was 'affiliate URL or bridge page'.

So my concern is Google doesn’t think enough about affiliates to allow us to use the Google network, yet they do think enough about us to buy Performics.

Is this contradictor or what?

Any thought? Just another Google money grab?



12:40 am on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

No, you can't drive traffic redirected to a Performics page either, as far as I know.

Adwords announced a long time ago that they were not going to be a good fit for thin affiliates. If you have a site with content that includes affiliate ads, then you probably won't have a problem. But I don't think they see any reason to have a million affiliates all sending traffic to the same offer. That would not be considered a quality user experience.

Meat Curtian

1:21 am on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Netmeg,
Thanks for the response. It's comical the 'sites' Google deems 'quality' on keywords that I've been locked out of. I do understand their desire to achieve a good user experience, but their algorithm locks out good sites, and lets totally unrelated site though. Well at least in my experience. I've been able to navigate though the Google waters, but others have not....

Again thanks for your input....



2:36 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If Google really meant their Adwords system to be used for quality sites with user experience in mind, then over 50% of the current adwords users would not be allowed to use the system. I think the figure could be closer to 90%.

Sites with poor 'user experience' or 'poor quality' in my eyes are:

1. Any affiliate site
2. Any auction site
3. Any comparison site
4. Any page that is a one-page sales letter
5. Any page with a newsletter or subscription signup box
6. Any page that doesn't relate to the ad copy
7. Any page that is poorly written (I am only able to talk about pages in English as I do not know any other language)
8. Any page that is parked (parked pages = no user experience imho).
9. Any page that has more ads than content (MFA - far too many still exist)
10. Any error pages

There are many other things I feel I would deem as poor quality or imho provide a poor user experience... and if you added them all up, it could easily be 90% or more Adwords advertisers wouldn't qualify to use Adwords.

Naturally it would be foolish for Google to strictly enforce real quality and user experience, otherwise they would produce much lower revenue and make the system unprofitable for themselves. However, there are many things Google could do to enlighten people on what they deem as quality (e.g. how is it possible for ebay ads to ever win an auction if quality score algorithm is applied?), while many smaller publishers get hit with quality score issues when Google update the algorithm.

Edit: I would also think it foolish to eliminate affiliate sites completely from Adwords as affiliates are possibly responsible for quite a high volume of adword dollars. The system itself has so few quality competitors that it dictates the market - maybe some company can develop a system that is tailored towards affiliates ONLY (if I had the cash, it is what I would do :P), as there is enough affiliate marketers to ensure a good ROI.

[edited by: Ganceann at 2:40 pm (utc) on July 11, 2008]


3:30 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

And that's a good part of the problem right there - I would disagree with you on 7 out of those 10 sites you listed. If you put ten people in a room, you're going to see ten different definitions of quality or poor quality. And it doesn't matter what we think anyway, since Google has their own ideas on the subject. (And who knows if they're even all on the same page for that matter)


6:01 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

And who knows if they're even all on the same page for that matter

I guess you already know the answer from another post you made regarding adwords optimization which resulted in those 2 accounts being hit with poor quality. (I think it was 2 of your clients if I remember - can't find the post now).

Anyway, I made the list as any type of site falling into those categories could be poor quality or provide bad user experiences.

1. Affiliate sites: The main aim of any affiliate site is to send traffic to a vendor and for that traffic to convert into sales. This creates biased information (however way it is marketed, even those 100% real reviews are all too often just part of the marketing). It is contentious and some affiliates will use more restraint and more honesty than others.

2. Auction sites: No argument they can provide a good user experience for some, but for adwords landing pages, any time I landed on an auction type page the item was either not listed anymore, irrelevant or inaccurate (bad user experience).

3. Comparison sites: Similar experiences as auction sites but not as bad in my opinion.

4. Never been a fan of 1 page sales letters - I never read them, I skip to the bottom to see what the price is and then exit. Argument is they are a bad user experience and obviously heavily biased in favour of the product being sold.

5. Signups - Newletters = They just shout spam to me as I have signed up for a few before and they were utterly pointless - even after opting out I still get some in my spam folder (aweber lists mainly by marketers).

I do understand how different people can view quality - I was just giving a quick outline of my reasoning behind the list I made. I also viewed it both from a users point of view and an affiliates point of view (or website owner).

At the end of the day, we can't influence what Google determines to be quality as their #1 objective is to maximize profit irrespective of whether they actually provide quality. Personally, the websites I deem quality sites are pretty much sites that people refer me to rather than me finding them on Google or any other search engine... but I also find some useful content from time to time on poor quality sites.

Anyway, back to the bridge pages and affiliate urls... I don't view them as quality either :), but I can understand people wanting to put them up to test things out quickly before developing a site or exploring a niche in greater detail. Unfortunately, Google doesn't count them as quality as they normally lack information and have no real content.

Meat Curtian

6:52 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hi Ganceann,
Great input, well written, and thought out. Thanks.

I do run, I guess what you'd call a comparison web site. It's filled with many products that users can purchase, and I do get commissions based on sales.

I've had customers comment on the simplicity, and ease of use of the site. I offer information about many competitive products in a simple easy to read format. This information can of course be found be visiting all of the product web sites. So I believe that I do add value to the customers searches. Google does not. Which is fine as I am able to slide around Google's quality scoring, and generate traffic.

Again thanks for your great input...



7:38 pm on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I think Ganceann's input is poorly thought out. Since you can easily find exceptions to these rules, they are flawed. If only quality were that easy to judge...


9:16 pm on Jul 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

"I think Ganceann's input is poorly thought out."

I fully agree.

To say that all affiliate sites are poor quality is VERY narrow minded.

I've seen affiliate sites that had way more helpful information on them than the real manufacturers site. Some manufacturers sites are pathetic and can not even be found in search results. Without affiliates, they would perish.

Since Google now owns an affiliate network, I don't think affiliates who produce quality sites need to worry to much about getting booted. You might have to deal with Google slaps, but you can still get great results in the free search of you do if for the long haul and properly SEO it.


7:27 pm on Jul 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@Rhinofish and arizonadude

I am an affiliate marketer and in terms of what I have seen from virtually EVERY affiliate site I have ever visited is that the overall quality is poor. (My thoughts were written off the top of my head - so yeah, maybe not well thought out with statisical evidence backing up my views... but they are my views on quality).

Every affiliate site I have ever seen has also been biased towards the product they are trying to promote (sure, they have the attention grabbing headlines and marketing hooks to get people reading... but they are still biased). Even review sites are biased in terms of rating related products as the webmaster is naturally trying to get some conversions by giving 'honest' opinions.

As I said, I am an affiliate marketer myself and am highly critical of my own sites as well as other peoples sites. Netmeg already pointed out that perception of quality varies (and I agree with that). By stating that I am narrow minded because I am critical of the intention of affiliate sites and their biased nature, is actually showing how narrow minded you are by not being able to take an unbiased view of affiliate sites.

I feel the biggest problem with Google and 'quality' is the fact they do not appear consistent. If they don't stand to make enough money from you, your site can easily fall into poor quality. However, if they are making loads of money from you, actual quality is less of an issue.

[edited by: Ganceann at 7:29 pm (utc) on July 13, 2008]


1:37 pm on Jul 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'm an affiliate as well. I agree that many / most affiliate sites are crapola. But that's a far different thing than summarily dismissing ALL affiliates sites as being low quality.

Which you didn't do by the way, you said "could" not "would" here:
"I made the list as any type of site falling into those categories could be poor quality or provide bad user experiences."

My point really is that the category may be a statistical way to calculate the odds of something being crappy, but that's not the way to determine if sites are quality themselves, they each must be inspected (not just categorized).

One could say that all Ford Pinto's are crappy cars, but then they'd miss this one...

And if you think about what a search engines does... it's true magic is in looking at them all INSTEAD of making summary judgements... search out the best, not dismissing categorically... this point is what internet search is ALL about... and I want to make sure nobody misses it.


PPC Consultant

10:22 pm on Jul 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If you want do do well as an affiliate, you need to have a lot of unique content around your money making content to make your landing pages worthwhile. If widgets.com has an affiliate program and 10 affiliates are all buying "widgets" and driving to the same landing page (with a different logo on top", it would create a bad user experience. That is why Adwords tends to give lower QSs to those domains.

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