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  1. #1
    Full Member 212TomTom's Avatar
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    Is this legal, or even ethical?
    When I say "legal" I mean in the "affiliate marketing justice system". I know it's not illegal from a law perspective.

    I've recently discovered that one of my affiliate publishers owns 2 unique domains, in addition to their own primary domain (ie .com) , that feature some "information" and 'articles" but direct the users back to the primary domain for the actual "purchase", which in this case is a service.

    Should I be upset, or is this something common that I'm just finding out about?

    It really ticks me off that I'm competing not only with the parent company website ( I expect this) , but also 2 other domains owned by the parent company, for PPC and organic search results. And the AM keeps telling me that affiliate marketing is an expensive source of leads..... ARGGGGGHHH of course it is when they've got 2 other highly ranked domains that they own re-directing traffic to them.

  2. #2
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    Are you sure you're using the right wording?
    It seems your "affiliate publishers" is the merchant and you are the affiliate or publisher.
    A merchant can have several domains, as long as your cookie is set on the primary domain and this cookie is not erased if the visitor leave one site for another, I don't see a problem.
    As an affiliate you're not competing with a merchant, you're helping him to bring leads or sales for a share of the transaction. If you consider the merchant a competitor you're in the wrong business.

  3. #3
    Newbie MNSandy's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with Zeus, as in place of these sites could be any other affiliate site. The result will be the same - best gets the sale. If your site is better than theirs - then it could turn out - that they do the branding and build trust and you close the deal.

  4. #4
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    Are you sure you're using the right wording? If you consider the merchant a competitor you're in the wrong business.
    Likewise, if you're a merchant and consider your affiliates as competitors, you're in the wrong business.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  5. #5
    Newbie MNSandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rexanne
    Likewise, if you're a merchant and consider your affiliates as competitors, you're in the wrong business.
    What if the site is feeder site - a tool for site-less affiliates? Then it is not so true

  6. #6
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNSandy
    What if the site is feeder site - a tool for site-less affiliates? Then it is not so true
    Maybe, I don't understand what a "feeder" site is so can't make a judgment.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  7. #7
    Newbie MNSandy's Avatar
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    Principle is simple. It is like another merchant site just with different angle. E.g. if merchant sells product that appeals to both for men and women, then merchant could provide affiliates with 2 sites to upsell to each gender. Affiliate then can choose where to send the traffic - directly to the merchant product site or deep-link (so to speak), to these feeder sites.

    If I run an ad in women magazine, i put the ad up for the women feeder site and wola - more targeted site more conversions.

    Of course it is possible that these sites could get rankings due the high profile of the content on core keyphrases but as long affiliate cookie is not overwriten on these sites, it's all good.

  8. #8
    Full Member 212TomTom's Avatar
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    Guess my Newbie-ness is showing. I'm the affiliate. I send traffic to Somecompany.com and they pay me for 'leads'.

    I've noticed that Somecompany owns 2 other domains, that aside from a little fluff, are just conduits for traffic back to Somecompany.com (kind of like an affiliate site, but different as they don't have to use affiliate links). I guess it's just upsetting because Somecompany gets 3 (or a multiple of 3) results in organic searches, and 3 (or a multiple of 3) results in paid searches, and I'm just trying to make sure I don't violate the SE policy of a landing page having to be more than a redirection to another site with affiliate links.

    The 'titles' of these 3 different sites are almost exactly the same, and definitely have the same theme/focus.

    Are there what are called "feeder" sites?
    Last edited by 212TomTom; March 17th, 2008 at 08:03 PM. Reason: additional info

  9. #9
    Full Member 212TomTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus
    If you consider the merchant a competitor you're in the wrong business.
    Clarification: The merchant is a "competitor" when it comes to both organic and paid search results. They've also got the advantage of actually having the service. I get to talk it up, promote it, maybe even add a little value, and eventually drive someone to their site to get it, but when they're selling through means (ie. other sites, aside from their home site) that directly compete with my site then I find it a little "challenging" to accept.

  10. #10
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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a merchant having multiple sites. From some perspectives, it is good practice.

    The primary thing that affiliates need to worry about is the number of leaks in between the click from the affiliate site to the sale.

    It is unethical for merchants to have leaks the funnel the affiliate's traffic away. Leaks might come in the form of 1-800 numbers, promo code boxes or ads in the primary purchase path.

    Any little money making obstacle that the merchant throws between the affiliate click to the sale is sin against the gods of the affiliate realm.

    Back to the question of multiple sites ... having multiple sites could be done to an affiliate's benefit. A merchant might have one path that is about giving information that is for their SEO efforts and a second path that is for affiliate sales.

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yintercept
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a merchant having multiple sites. From some perspectives, it is good practice.

    The primary thing that affiliates need to worry about is the number of leaks in between the click from the affiliate site to the sale.

    It is unethical for merchants to have leaks the funnel the affiliate's traffic away. Leaks might come in the form of 1-800 numbers, promo code boxes or ads in the primary purchase path.

    Any little money making obstacle that the merchant throws between the affiliate click to the sale is sin against the gods of the affiliate realm.

    Back to the question of multiple sites ... having multiple sites could be done to an affiliate's benefit. A merchant might have one path that is about giving information that is for their SEO efforts and a second path that is for affiliate sales.
    I'll accept this observation as it jives with my own efforts to build satellite (feeder alt content) sites for product merchants. I'll include Amazon, eBay and Yahoo shops as viable satellite shop sites for house sales.

    For affiliate enabled merchants a well done satellite shopping site shares the exact same shopping cart with merchant's main domain, so affiliate gets credit for any item in shopping basket, regardless of which domain he was on when clicking "add to cart". This site should convert at the average conversion ratio for merchant's main domain if done properly.

    The affiliate who can build a satellite site better then the merchant's site is a Rare bird. Merchant should consider a higher commisison rate and paying for some PPCSE traffic for that affiliate building great product showcase pages. Most I see just cookie stuff an iFrame of the merchant's page, or scrap his page and place a banner and text link there. Gotta love the affiliate who scraps or iFrames merchants own pre-sell content and uses merchant's Trademark terms and merchant's URL in their own PPCSE Ad...
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Lanadili's Avatar
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    212TomTom, I know a merchant that does exactly what you are talking about. They have their main merchant site that sells the products, then a website dedicated to articles and information, with links pointing back to their main site.

    At first I didn't see a problem with it, until pretty much all the sales I sent them were reversed or "edited" to a lower amount. It was pretty clear to me that they didn't really want to pay their affiliates, especially since they had a website dedicated to sending traffic to their main site, and their other site was on page 1 of google for most of the keywords. I've since left them and have been promoting their competitors with very good results.

    As far as being illegal, I'm sure it's not. Although I do feel it is unethical for a merchant to act like an affiliate to divert sales from the real affiliates.

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