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  1. #1
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    Any Merchants have affiliates violating PPC policies?
    Any Shareasale merchants have a problem with a particular affiliate violating ppc policies? I know most of the affiliates abide by the rules, but there is one affiliate that is bidding on our keywords, using our URL, pretending to be us and redirecting to our site. Now google won't show our ads because they only allow one URL per ad. The link isn't good either so it goes to a broken page.

    Anyone know who this could be so I can contact them. SAS doesn't give out this information.

    We're losing thousands of dollars. Help.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExpeditedTravel
    Any Shareasale merchants have a problem with a particular affiliate violating ppc policies? I know most of the affiliates abide by the rules, but there is one affiliate that is bidding on our keywords, using our URL, pretending to be us and redirecting to our site.
    It's a common problem, and many more than just one affiliate do this. SaS is fighting this. Also, there is a Big 4 Network Affiliate Managers Only forum here where such affiliates get exposed. You may want to e-mail Haiko about getting access to that part of ABW.

    Quick fix: if they are in violation of your affiliate program's Ts & Cs, and don't respond to your messages, terminate them.

    G.

  3. #3
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    I have but he continues to show a bad link and pay ppc costs on google. Thanks for the feedback

  4. #4
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExpeditedTravel
    Anyone know who this could be so I can contact them. SAS doesn't give out this information.
    Pull up Your Affiliate List (you will be prompted to log in), find the affiliate you're looking to contact, and where you see:


    Click that "Contact" link and send them an email. If he/she doesn't reply, and you want to give them a second chance - email again. If no reply -- terminate them.

    Geno

  5. #5
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExpeditedTravel
    I have but he continues to show a bad link and pay ppc costs on google. Thanks for the feedback
    and
    Quote Originally Posted by ExpeditedTravel
    ...Now google won't show our ads because they only allow one URL per ad.
    Sorry. Posted the above before seeing your post (was working on the printscreen for you for too long). Contact Google then. You are the merchant.

    Geno

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Expedited Travel closed their SAS program quite awile ago. That's probably why it goes to a dead page.

  7. #7
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Oh, wow... Never even thought that it could be a merchant with a program closed in the past.

  8. #8
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    Yes - they did, but this affiliate is still using the link, our URL, name and ad. I have no control over preventing him from advertising on google. I'm sure he's done this kind of thing before and they shouldn't be allowed in the network! Google is also working on it but also said to contact Shareasale.

  9. #9
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    ExpeditedTravel,

    We have no way of removing the link. I'm not sure why Google would send you to us unless they a misunderstanding what you are saying... ShareASale does not (ever) place PPC ads or bid on terms for any reason for merchants. We don't have control over what terms affiliates bid on.

    We have done everything we can to contact this affiliate but they so far haven't taken the ad down despite being aware of it.

    If the terms is a trademarked term - you may have success talking to Google about it. If it is a generic term I'm not if they have a procedure for that.

    Can the ad be "out-bid" as a temporary solution?
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    If the affiliate has been terminated, he's not getting paid for his efforts. So it's free advertising for you. What's the problem here, exactly?
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale
    If the terms is a trademarked term - you may have success talking to Google about it. If it is a generic term I'm not if they have a procedure for that.
    My understanding is that in the USA & Canada, Google allows anybody to bid on anything - trademarked or not. There are some other countries where trademarks are not allowed, but even there the restrictions are being lifted. They just lifted them in the UK for instance. (In doing this, Google is simply following the opinions handed down by courts in the relevant countries as to whether this kind of thing should be allowed or not.)

    Merchants who stop their affiliates from bidding on any terms have to expect that their competitors will simply step in to fill the gap. Of course, in the case of competitors, they lose the entire sale, not just a small fraction in affiliate commission, which is much worse - and the customer in question could then very well bookmark their competitor for future sales and be lost forever too.

    Just one reason that merchants who implement restrictive ppc policies without thinking the consequences through usually shoot themselves in the foot.
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

  12. #12
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by La_Valette
    If the affiliate has been terminated, he's not getting paid for his efforts. So it's free advertising for you. What's the problem here, exactly?
    The good part stops after the end user clicks. Because the affiliate is terminated, their link leads nowhere.

    G.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno Prussakov
    The good part stops after the end user clicks. Because the affiliate is terminated, their link leads nowhere.

    G.
    That could probably be addressed by not terminating the affiliate and reducing their commission to 0% instead then. Alternatively just wait a little. Google will disable the ads if they point to a broken URL. They might have some success with phoning up Google and pointing out the broken URL to accelerate the process.
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

  14. #14
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by La_Valette
    My understanding is that in the USA & Canada, Google allows anybody to bid on anything - trademarked or not.
    "Brand owners can use their trademarked names in several ways with Google’s AdWords paid search, for competitive advantage. Control over trademarked names is offered at two levels.

    • Worldwide, by country, a brand owner can protect their brand name in AdWords adverts.
    • Outside North America (US and Canada), trademark holders can also control which AdWords accounts are allowed to show adverts against trademark searches.

    Potentially, a company could be allowed to offer an advert against a trademark search, but denied the use of the trademark in the advert. Or allowed to use the trademark in adverts, but not against a search for the trademark. What you do depends on what your strategy needs are."
    [source & more]

    I think the above is still true. Those that really want to protect their TMs can do it.

    Geno


  15. #15
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by La_Valette
    That could probably be addressed by not terminating the affiliate and reducing their commission to 0% instead then.
    That's a thought, but it looks like they no longer have a program to control this.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the feedback. I never thought this situation would happen, but it has opened my eyes to the power of the internet. As for the person that responded about free sales for us, that is not the case. we have closed our account so the link is dead. It looks like our website is no longer active.

  17. #17
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    The crux of the problem is that the program has been closed sometime...

    The bid is an obvious mistake by the affiliate as they wouldn't want to have a bid up there that is losing money.

    With a closed program, links do not go through to the merchants - hence the link is being clicked through and going to our ShareASale error page.

    The affiliate has been contacted, as the bid is costing them money.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian - ShareASale
    With a closed program, links do not go through to the merchants - hence the link is being clicked through and going to our ShareASale error page.
    Generally speaking, Google will detect this situation in a few days - weeks at most. They seem to run periodic automated scripts to check if ad display urls match their destination urls. Obviously they won't if the link is broken, and the ad will be pulled when that's detected.

    So the situation will eventually take care of itself in the worse case if no faster solution is found.
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Rehan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by La_Valette
    Generally speaking, Google will detect this situation in a few days - weeks at most. They seem to run periodic automated scripts to check if ad display urls match their destination urls. Obviously they won't if the link is broken, and the ad will be pulled when that's detected.
    One way to speed this up is to report the ad with the dead link to Google so they'll hopefully look at it sooner rather than later.

    Go to http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/request.py , choose the "Ad Approvals and Policies" option, and then write your message and include the specific keyword plus the ad text of the ad. Tell them the link in the ad is not working, so the ad should be disapproved.


    BTW #1 - This particular affiliate happens to be bidding on the brand names and domains of many other SAS merchants as well.

    BTW #2 - As soon as you get rid of the SAS affiliate, you'll see that there's someone else who's bidding on your domain (without the www) and sending the link through CJ.
    --

  20. #20
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    > One way to speed this up is to report the ad with the dead link to Google so they'll hopefully look at it sooner rather than later. <

    Unfortunately, Google isn't very responsive -- one report I made did not result in any action for at least 6 months. I strongly prefer the 0% commission strategy, for merchants who still have active affiliate programs, to avoid the reputation damage from broken links. Of course, that doesn't help a merchant whose affiliate program has ended.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Rehan's Avatar
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    Yeah, sometimes Google is as fast as a sloth.

    The other way would be to simply outbid the affiliate.
    --

  22. #22
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    ExpeditedTravel, you next need to start legal action. Have you tried calling the affiliate? I find that they overlook the emails but not the phone calls. Have your lawyer write them a Cease and Desist but only if you are ready to go to the next step.

  23. #23
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    strongly prefer the 0% commission strategy, for merchants who still have active affiliate programs, to avoid the reputation damage from broken linksd.
    Same here but right now we have one affiliate with EF that has the same problem he is sending traffic to an error page but he is also no longer in program so can't even set them to 0%.

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador La_Valette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghoti
    Yeah, sometimes Google is as fast as a sloth.
    They seem to be faster about it these days. They tightened their enforcement on display url = destination url recently. Whenever we have a broken link for any reason, they seem to detect it very fast now.

    I think this issue will take care of itself in a few days or so.
    Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. -- Homer Simpson

  25. #25
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    There needs to be industry discussion with the top search engines that give a merchant the right to have branded ads removed.

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