How To Stop Affiliates From Stealing! Learn How To Protect Your Commissions..

How To Stop Affiliates From Stealing! Learn How To Protect Your Commissions..

by Randy Hall

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Overview

Google Hates Affiliates

Years before Google broadly torched affiliates operating inside the AdWords channel I highlighted how much Google hated affiliates in their ecosystem.
How was I aware of that?
2 ways:
If you read any of Google's older guidelines that leaked over the years you would see a consistent disdain toward affiliate sites. This was also reflected in official advice at search engine conferences & whatnot.
A friend of mine went to Google's campus & Google offered to "optimize" their AdWords account. As soon as the word affiliate came up it was like spoiled meat. Replacing the word "affiliate" with some other idiotic made up phrase (I think it was "regional online distributor") suddenly made everything O.K. again. Other friends had similar stories.
Note that the difference between "affiliate" and "regional online distributor" is for all intents and purposes linguistic crap, however it can be the difference between life and death for an online business.
To be fair, the ready availability of feeds to quickly generate sites means that most affiliate sites will be garbage. At some point Google gets sick of fighting the same battles over and over again. Then again, most websites are garbage & only the top x% of anything is going to be great.
At Affiliate Summit last year Google's Frederick Vallaeys basically stated that they appreciated the work of affiliates, but as the brands have moved in the independent affiliates have largely become unneeded duplication in the AdWords ad system. To quote him verbatim, "just an unnecessary step in the sales funnel."
It is worth noting that Google doesn't consider itself "just an unnecessary step in the sales funnel" when they insert themselves as an affiliate.
Should information empires be allowed to discriminate based on nothing more than the business model of competitors?
Spam vs Not Spam
The most recently leaked Google rater document stated
Spammers create spam pages to make money. Sometimes, they make money directly, by placing moneymaking links on the spam page. Here are two types of moneymaking links:
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads: Spammers get paid each time ads are clicked on their webpages. Another term for PPC ads is "sponsored links".
Thin Affiliates: Spammers make money when a transaction is completed after the user has clicked through to the merchant's site from their webpages
PPC ads appear on many, many webpages. Some pages with PPC ads are spam, but many pages with PPC ads are not. Pages should not be assigned a Spam flag if they are created to provide information or help to users. Pages are spam if they exist only to make money and not to help users.
Sometimes, spam pages do not have moneymaking links. These spam pages are created to change search engine rankings or even to do harm to users' computers with sneaky downloads.
So in essence, the difference between spam & not spam is if the page is helpful to users.
The rating document takes 130 pages to clearly articulate the difference between what is spam and what is not spam.
But the core ethos in categorization is if it is original & helpful it is not spam unless it is doing something deceptive.
A Minor Exception*
Google's rater guides also arbitrarily sneaked in the "what the hell, if it is affiliate, it is spam" card:
Note: Major cosmopolitan cities are preferred targets for spammers, especially hotel affiliates. Such results should be flagged as Spam, even if they are related to the query and helpful to users. For example, a hotel affiliate page with a list of Chicago hotels may be assigned a rating Relevant, but also receive a Spam flag.
Google is directly going out of its way to attack competing business models.
Even if the site is quality - any way you slice it - they still tell raters to label it as spam if it is a hotel affiliate.
Once again it is worth pointing out that the label "affiliate" is just an arbitrary label. It could just as well be a "commissioned salesperson."
An Example Market: Books
In our forums one of our members quoted a brilliant book by Karl Polanyi from 1944 which was full of gems like "A so-called self-regulating market economy may evolve into Mafia capitalism -- and a Mafia political system"
I searched for that quote & guess what ranked #1?
Google Books of course.
Google's owned & operated affiliate offering in the niche.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012930620
Publisher: unique5stardeals
Publication date: 01/04/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 279 KB

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