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  1. #1
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    Merchant allowing PPC Bidding on Trademark and "Coupon"
    I have a merchant who does not allow affiliates to bid on their brand but they do allow affiliates to bid on their bid on their brand + coupon or brand + discount or similar long tail discount terms on Google only.

    When I told the manager that I thought that this put me (an SEO type publisher) at a large disadvantage, she asked me why I felt this way and offered me some free content...

    Am I out of line thinking that this is crazy?

    Luckily their direct competition just opened an affiliate program...
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

  2. #2
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    It's because there are a lot of searches for merchant + coupon, so those people would be finding an affiliate site whether it was via a PPC ad or natural search listing. As far as disadvantage, I guess it's how you look at it. Since you're mainly an SEO type publisher, it's free traffic vs. somebody paying for it. Also, there's nothing to stop you from doing PPC yourself, so you can get in on at as well. Unless you're like me, who's been Google Slapped to death and can't anymore.

  3. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    What Trust said. There have been studies that show employing PPC in concert with organic rankings increase your conversion. Plus with PPC you can better control where you are listed. This week I found that we didn't have coupon PPC listing for some top generic keywords and alert several affiliates to go after it.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies but I am still not convinced. My numbers indicate that programs with strong protected trademarks perform best for me.

    I spend many hours building, optimizing, promoting and tweeking my landing pages only to have another affiliate swoop in with a few clicks of the mouse and a credit card, getting onto the top of page one and reducing my traffic to a trickle. I guess I have the choice to stay and promote or to just put the campaign on autopilot and start working on the campaign for the competition. Promoting the better protected program seems to be the best for me...
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

  5. #5
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    How significant is this merchant to your income?
    Would your time be better spent elsewhere?

  6. #6
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    They were on the top of my short list of merchants to push harder on this year. I made a couple of thousand on them during their "season" last year. It looks like the PPC'ers found them and this year has been dismal. Guess this takes them off the list and places them on the autopilot list...
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
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    So are you saying you have page 1 position on brand name plus coupon (or discount, etc.), and these PPC ads are taking away your traffic? Do you think these ads are getting clicked in a significant percentage of searches where you appear on page 1?

    Seems like the merchant is trying to help affiliates by being more open to ppc, but unfortunately that might hurt non-ppc folks. Seems "fair" for them to do it if they want.

    superCool would suggest that you work on your titles and descriptions and try to make them stand out above the ppc noise. Good luck

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by superCool View Post
    So are you saying you have page 1 position on brand name plus coupon (or discount, etc.), and these PPC ads are taking away your traffic? Do you think these ads are getting clicked in a significant percentage of searches where you appear on page 1?
    I am more like 5th to 6th place for the keyphrase - the same as last year but now there are a ton of PPC ads and they are getting clicked in a significant percentage of searches where I appear on page 1. My traffic has tanked as a result. I understand that the merchant can do what ever they want and they are even helping affiliates with these bidding terms but I as a non-PPC affiliate need to move on to another merchant. I will not be wasting any more time promoting a program that is not protecting my SEO efforts.

    Thanks to everyone who responded for the perspective.
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    In a hurry so won't be a long answer lol but

    "Am I out of line thinking that this is crazy? "

    Think we may be the minority lol but agree with you completely. Understand that there are different types of affiliates and all are entitled to do what they want as long as it's not breaking any terms, etc.

    Usually agree with Trust an awful lot of the time but don't think it's as simple as "Also, there's nothing to stop you from doing PPC yourself, so you can get in on at as well. "

    Least from my understanding (and definitely admit to not knowing too much at all about PPC) but have always thought it takes quite a bit of money to be good at it. (as well as know a lot about it but if you don't have the money to spend on it am not sure having all that knowledge means anything)

    You don't need to have a whole lotta money to promote your site using seo but least I think you do to be good at the PPC. So, that's been the basis for me not thinking it's fair when affiliate managers do what you said.

    I know a lot of others disagree but especially don't think the affiliate manager is being fair to his or her smaller affiliates by doing this who wouldn't have the money to do the PPC.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplebear View Post
    I know a lot of others disagree but especially don't think the affiliate manager is being fair to his or her smaller affiliates by doing this who wouldn't have the money to do the PPC.
    Thanks purplebear. I did a little more digging and found that most of the PPC competition were/are large companies. I did try my own PPC campaign (briefly) until I discovered that my competition had been offered better promotional offers. And the competing merchant program that I mentioned in the OP? When I did more digging on them, they have three affiliates that they have given exclusive PPC bidding rights to the program! So, I pulled-up steaks fast and turned my attentions to more level playing fields.

    So, PPC is not for me. It just seems too stacked in other peoples favour!
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

  11. #11
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    So, PPC is not for me. It just seems too stacked in other peoples favour!
    Yes and No, some AM/OPMs would like to have more PPC affiliates they can trust. It doesn't hurt to ask.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Yes and No, some AM/OPMs would like to have more PPC affiliates they can trust. It doesn't hurt to ask.
    Sorry, I am still not convinced that PPC is right for me... I have done very well to date using only natural SEO. I am beginning to think that the major search engines are slowly funneling AM into the PPC model. If this is true, I will go kicking and screaming. (Actually, I will not go) I have been offered the opportunity to be participate in these "insider" PPC campaigns and it just does not feel right. You speak of trust(worthyness) - it is a two-way street. I know that I am trustyworthy but the two programs of which I speak do not exude trustworthyness by playing one affiliate off against another. I think that sometimes AM/OPMs take advantage of affiliate's greed that blinds us from some pretty questionable business practices. Walking away is sometimes the only way to win a fight...
    When the only tool you have is a hammer - everything looks like a nail.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianDave View Post
    ........ do not exude trustworthyness by playing one affiliate off against another. I think that sometimes AM/OPMs take advantage of affiliate's greed that blinds us from some pretty questionable business practices. Walking away is sometimes the only way to win a fight...
    I have to say I fully agree with your stand on this, I would do the exact same thing. I guess I lucky in a way this is just a 2nd income for me. A good income since I earn more in AM then the average person makes in their day job but I have the flexibility to stay honest and tell questionable merchants/OPM where to go from time to time.

    I also agree that affiliates will have to use more PPC in the coming years if they want to earn a good income. My PPC budget is 3 times what it was in 2010.

    Kevin......
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador ToughTurkey's Avatar
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    Why is there always the insinuation that PPC affiliates are evil and SEO affiliates are honourable? SEO affiliates do not own any high moral ground over their PPC counterparts. Both groups have the ability to play within the rules, or not.

    To limit yourself to being one or the other is foolish, in this industry you need to be always adapting.

    And as far as looking for a level playing field, this industry is like every other industry - there is no promise anywhere that a level playing field exists.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToughTurkey View Post
    Why is there always the insinuation that PPC affiliates are evil and SEO affiliates are honourable? SEO affiliates do not own any high moral ground over their PPC counterparts. Both groups have the ability to play within the rules, or not.....
    I do not think anyone here said that PPC affiliates are evil and SEO affiliates are honourable. Where did you read that???
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

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