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  1. #1
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    Affiliate Links in Sponsored Results - Legal?
    I am an affiliate and I signed up with unnamedMerchant.com.

    I did a search for this unnamedMerchant on MSN and Yahoo and checked out the sponsored results. The only result that appeared said unnamedMerchant.com in the clickable text, yet the true domain was listed under the ad. I clicked on the link and sure enough it was a shareasale affiliate link that directed straight to unnamedMerchant.com. So this affiliate is getting a percentage of sales everytime someone clicks on this sponsored ad. I checked out his actual domain and it is parked by GoDaddy. Is this legal?

    This is frustrating for someone like me that works hard on publishing legitimate blog posts, and this guy simply gets a sponsored ad with his merchant link and racks up the bucks.

    I imagine that the unnamedMerchant would hate this as well, since their actual link shows up under this guys sponsored ad, and they are having to give him a cut of sales.

    What do you think? I couldn't find in the ShareASale contract any word of this being a scam. ShareASale simply says links "may" be used on your site or some emails; it did not say that the links "must" reside on your site or some emails.
    Last edited by jks7152; August 4th, 2009 at 10:23 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
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    It's up to each merchant. Some allow direct linking to their site via PPC (affiliate link) and some don't. You would have to contact the merchant to find out if it's not listed in their terms.

  3. #3
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    What you've witnessed are two affiliate tactics that are allowed by some merchants and prohibited by others. The first tactic is trademark or domain name bidding. Many merchants prohibit this activity, especially if they have a popular or widely known brand. Allowing trademark or domain name bidding for a popular brand just drives up the cost of PPC for the trademark owner and forces them to pay commissions on business that they probably would have had anyway. Allowing trademark bidding on an unknown brand however, can help create a merchant's presence. Merchants can utilize their affiliates to help them build their brand with minimum cost to themselves.

    The second tactic is direct to merchant PPC or DTM-PPC. Again, some merchants allow it and others prohibit it. It makes sense for merchants that aren't engaging in aggressive PPC campaigns themselves. Affiliates effectively take their role in sending traffic directly to the merchant's site. It really doesn't make sense if the merchant is effective with own PPC efforts, they'd be competing with their affiliates and driving their own costs up.

    There's quite a bit of debate on whether either of these tactics should be allowed and frankly what it really comes down to is merchant preference and how they fit in to the merchants overall search strategy. There are advantages and disadvantages to merchants allowing these and I won't attempt to second guess their decisions. What it really comes down to is the merchant's TOS. If a merchant allows a tactic that you feel gives some affiliates an unfair advantage, you have two choices; adopt the same tactics to level the playing field or remove the merchant from your active promotions.

    I've just given you pretty simplistic definitions of what can be very complex topics, so if you want more information on either of these tactics search for DTM-PPC and trademark or domain name bidding. You'll find plenty of lively debate on both topics here, some even without any of my biases.

    Oh yeah, welcome aboard.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  4. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jks7152
    ...I clicked on the link and sure enough it was a shareasale affiliate link that directed straight to unnamedMerchant.com. So this affiliate is getting a percentage of sales everytime someone clicks on this sponsored ad. ...
    The affiliate who placed the ad isn't "getting a percentage of sales everytime someone clicks" - Only thing that happens at that point is the affiliate is paying for the click and Microhoo is making money as well. Typically an action, such as a purchase by the "clicker", will then create a sale and subsequent commission for the advertising affiliate.

    You also mentioned "I checked out his actual domain and it is parked by GoDaddy." Since your click went "straight to unnamedMerchant.com" - it more than likely wasn't parked, but redirect at the registrar.

    As others have said this is very common.

    Welcome to ABW.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  5. #5
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    Thank you all so much for your responses and for the welcome. I just wanted to make sure that if I was to play the same game, which I don't think I'll do, that it is legit! I'd rather err on the side of caution than risk. Thanks again!

    What I meant to say, is that the affiliate "is getting a percentage of sales when the click leads to a purchase" (not everytime someone clicks). Thanks Convergence for clarifying.

    Regarding the site status, when I go to the affiliate's domain (that I obtained from the sponsored ad), I get a message from GoDaddy saying, "This web page is parked FREE, courtesy of GoDaddy.com". Does this mean anything re: his tactics?

  6. #6
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    Oh also, he doesn't seem to be using Google for this, just MSN and Yahoo? Any ideas on this?

  7. #7
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    "Regarding the site status, when I go to the affiliate's domain (that I obtained from the sponsored ad), I get a message from GoDaddy saying, "This web page is parked FREE, courtesy of GoDaddy.com". Does this mean anything re: his tactics?"

    Not sure if they just registered a name to have on file and do nothing but direct to merchant. Not sure why they're not using Google. I would contact the merchant in question to see what they have to say, if they're ok with what you're seeing.

  8. #8
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    I did that as well, and will let you know their take on it. Thanks again for the helpful info and quick response!

  9. #9
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    Affiliate Links in Sponsored Results - Legal?
    Quote Originally Posted by jks7152
    I am an affiliate and I signed up with unnamedMerchant.com.

    I did a search for this unnamedMerchant on MSN and Yahoo and checked out the sponsored results. The only result that appeared said unnamedMerchant.com in the clickable text, yet the true domain was listed under the ad. I clicked on the link and sure enough it was a shareasale affiliate link that directed straight to unnamedMerchant.com. So this affiliate is getting a percentage of sales everytime someone clicks on this sponsored ad. I checked out his actual domain and it is parked by GoDaddy. Is this legal?

    This is frustrating for someone like me that works hard on publishing legitimate blog posts, and this guy simply gets a sponsored ad with his merchant link and racks up the bucks.

    I imagine that the unnamedMerchant would hate this as well, since their actual link shows up under this guys sponsored ad, and they are having to give him a cut of sales.

    What do you think? I couldn't find in the ShareASale contract any word of this being a scam. ShareASale simply says links "may" be used on your site or some emails; it did not say that the links "must" reside on your site or some emails.
    Hello jks7152 welcome to the Internet and Affiliate Marketing. This is totally legit. Unamed merchant actually gets very rich off this and they love it. Mainly because the affiliate does not get paid until he sells Unamed merchant's products.

    It costs the Unamed Merchant nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zip, to sell their products. Are you mad at the audacity of it? mad that you didn't rack up the bucks? mad that you don't know how to do it? Or all of the above Because you are gonna really get mad now...

    Affiliate Marketers make 50% to 75% commissions ie $27.00 - $97.00 a pop; depending on the product. Much more if it is a recurring monthly membership site- add another $20.00 - $150.00 a month income. Also the Affiliate Marketer gets all the products he promotes- absolutely FREE.

    If you really want to know hows it done? I can help You. You may email me admin1@make-money-maker.com for more information, but no spamming please... I will give you two (2) FR-E-E gifts to get you started.

    Here are your (2) two F-R-E-E Gift Ebooks. A) "Affiliate Marketing" and B) "Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls." You are under no obligations. We are not all solely motivated by making money. I would like to meet new people and make new friends.

    The free Ebook offer applies to anyone else from ABestWeb who would like to make a new friend... ah... what the heck... anyone who can read this
    Hmmm that's a worrying thought? What if the whole Internet reads this? Oh No!

    Cheers Philip Randall

    P.S. The first Million people will be ok, its the second Billion I'm really worried about?
    Ce La Vie! Philip

    P.S.S. if I was allowed to put a Link on here, I would have given you all a free download Link in the post and you could have had the free Ebooks immediately. But rules are rules and I am ok with that.

    Any moderators want to change the rules to allow free ebooks everyone can have two F-R-E-E software programs as well. Article Creator and Duplicate content checker as well- I kid you not... if you Email me and as me nicely and I like your style, I will throw in the two free software programs ok?

    Philip Randall [IMG]1010 ezine expert[/IMG] (a real person)
    Last edited by Stratplayer1; August 5th, 2009 at 12:34 AM. Reason: Good content ha!

  10. #10
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    well, i just started my blog and the affiliate program three months ago, so not mad at myself at all, hahah. i have learned sooo much!!! here is my site if any of you are curious: celebritylooksforless.com

    i'm a web developer so i was able to figure it out pretty quickly. i was only mad when i thought it was an ethical dilemma because it just seems so wrong. i was kinda mad on behalf of the merchant because their link show up (not sponsored) directly under the sponsored ad; therefore, they would be on top and not have to share sales! just didn't seem right at all. and now, back to not being mad at myself, i'm happy that it is legit because, if the merchant is ok with this strategy, then 2 can play that game, hahha.

    take care and thanks again!
    Last edited by Haiko de Poel, Jr.; August 5th, 2009 at 11:25 AM. Reason: No linky!

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