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  1. #1
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    Blackhat Affiliates Using Paid Inclusion
    I have recently found an affiliate in our program who is using Yahoo's paid inclusion service to tag all of our Yahoo organic search listings for the domains he submitted with his affiliate ID's.

    What this amounts to is that we are now paying a large commission % on traffic that historically was free for us. I looked in our web analytics logs to see if there might be any lift from such efforts and I wasn't too surprised to see that there was no positive impact on our Yahoo organic search volume at all. If anything we saw a decrease in overall volume.

    It looks like the basic cost of submitting a URL is about $49 through Search Submit basic so depending on your Yahoo organic search volume it could be a very cheap and easy way for an affiliate to snipe sales. I guess I will be updating my Terms and Conditions in the near future to make it more clear that this behavior is unacceptable.

    I guess I wanted to post this as a warning to other affiliate managers out there to continually check your Yahoo organic ads because there does not appear to be any lift whatsoever from these types of affiliates. Just another example of an affiliate trying to extract value from a program rather than add value.

    Also, does anyone have a pretty comprehensive list of Terms and Conditions that all affiliate managers should have in their program T's&C's. Perhaps things you have had to add after the fact once you saw a major blackhat affiliate technique?

    Thanks and good luck to you all.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buildasign_aff
    I have recently found an affiliate in our program who is using Yahoo's paid inclusion service to tag all of our Yahoo organic search listings for the domains he submitted with his affiliate ID's.

    What this amounts to is that we are now paying a large commission % on traffic that historically was free for us. I looked in our web analytics logs to see if there might be any lift from such efforts and I wasn't too surprised to see that there was no positive impact on our Yahoo organic search volume at all. If anything we saw a decrease in overall volume.

    It looks like the basic cost of submitting a URL is about $49 through Search Submit basic so depending on your Yahoo organic search volume it could be a very cheap and easy way for an affiliate to snipe sales. I guess I will be updating my Terms and Conditions in the near future to make it more clear that this behavior is unacceptable.

    I guess I wanted to post this as a warning to other affiliate managers out there to continually check your Yahoo organic ads because there does not appear to be any lift whatsoever from these types of affiliates. Just another example of an affiliate trying to extract value from a program rather than add value.

    Also, does anyone have a pretty comprehensive list of Terms and Conditions that all affiliate managers should have in their program T's&C's. Perhaps things you have had to add after the fact once you saw a major blackhat affiliate technique?

    Thanks and good luck to you all.
    I caught one affiliate doing this too. I didn't catch it right away since you can't tell by looking at the listings. I kindly asked they stop and didn't get a reply so they were booted. I was told Yahoo needs to have permission from the domain owner for this but I guess not.

    We had one client that allowed this for one large PPC affiliate but they also bid on non-trademark terms so it was positive for everyone.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

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  3. #3
    Newbie BoostSilver's Avatar
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    That is defiantly something to keep an eye open for, thanks for the info!

    As far as generic terms go, I don't think there really are any. Each program is unique...

  4. #4
    http and a telephoto
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    There is a discussion about some things to think about for your TOS here:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=118397

    Adding more points to that thread would be helpful to those looking for a "Template" of sorts.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
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    This same exact thing happened to us about 6 months ago. We had no idea this type of practice even existed. We lost thousands of dollars on what we thought was a 'top' affiliate. Here is how we state the disallowment of this in our TOS:

    We welcome paid search publishers BUT you are not allowed to bid on any trademark terms, any variations of them, or any trademarked terms in combo with any other words. (we recommend setting such words as negative keywords to ensure this). We also don't allow affiliates to interfere with any natural/organic search results (such as by using Yahoo! Search Submit Pro) for any reason what so ever. Internal coupons are not allowed without permission from Bodybuilding.com. If any affiliate sale is made with a non-affiliate allowed coupon (i.e. happybirthday and come back offers), that sale will became invalid for commission. We also don't allow any affiliate promotions in the Bodybuilding.com Forums or on BodySpace. If any such banned activity takes place, we will unfortunately have to reverse all unlawful commissions made or at worse, terminate you from the program. We appreciate you abiding by these rules and making this a fair marketplace for everyone involved.

  6. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I work with a Paid Inclusion affiliate who is a top producer. They pay $.25 per click to Yahoo so there is some liability to the affiliate. This is only for merchants who do nothing for their SEO and I sign an IO with the affiliate so there is no misunderstanding. They have been able to greatly extend the organic listings and move many terms to the top.

    Finding a PI affiliate who is working without permission is no different than a PPC trademark poacher. Contact them, give them 48 hours to reply and a reasonable time to remove the ads. PI takes some time to come down, about 48 hours. If they don't respond remove them from your program and they will quickly remove the feed as it is costing them money.

    Also, if you feel this has been done maliciously we submit this post here: http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=463

  7. #7
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    I work with a Paid Inclusion affiliate who is a top producer. They pay $.25 per click to Yahoo so there is some liability to the affiliate. This is only for merchants who do nothing for their SEO and I sign an IO with the affiliate so there is no misunderstanding. They have been able to greatly extend the organic listings and move many terms to the top.
    I understand that your merchants are your number 1 priority, however isn't allowing a single affiliate to use PI giving them an unfair advantage by providing them with an opportunity to overwrite another affiliate's cookie when a visitor returns via search? I really don't see this as much different then the advantage given to trademark poachers, except in this case you've found a way for the merchant to benefit which apparently makes it OK.

    -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

  8. #8
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    In the case of the few merchants that I talk to they do nothing for their SEO and do not bid on Yahoo/Overture. I ask the merchant if they are willing to let the affiliate try it. They do overwrite the merchants trademark terms but in most cases have gotten them a better description. They also greatly extend the organic reach and rankings for more niche terms. In every case the merchant has been very pleased and ask what more can be done.

  9. #9
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    But what effect does it have on prospects that were originally referred by a different affiliate and are now using Yahoo! to return to the merchant's site? It seems to me that you and other AMs were against paying an affiliate when their commissions were due to them bidding a trademarked term, the overall result of PI is pretty much the same.

    Many affiliates also supported that position because of the unfair advantage that a trademark poacher would have. However in this case you appear to be favoring one affiliate by sanctioning the potential overwriting of another affiliates cookie because the merchant is deficient in their SEO efforts. I'm confused.

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; October 15th, 2009 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Punctuation
    "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

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    It's the way things work:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...&postcount=332

    If someone is doing something that produces, get your cut.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Well, regardless if paid inclusion is being used ethically or not, it's going away.

    http:// zippycart.com/ecommerce-news/1084-yahoo-paid-inclusion-is-going-away-for-good.html

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    Well, regardless if paid inclusion is being used ethically or not, it's going away.

    http:// zippycart.com/ecommerce-news/1084-yahoo-paid-inclusion-is-going-away-for-good.html
    Ha, you beat me to it. Was just about to post. Thank god it's gone.

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