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  1. #1
    Millionaire on training wheels Justdoit's Avatar
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    Google Leaning on Merchants Now?
    Text from an email sent to affiliates today by hayneedle...

    Good afternoon,

    We’ve recently been contacted by Google on some of our “DoFollow” and “NoFollow” links and policies. Upon further research by our SEO team, we found that several of our affiliates have been using “DoFollow” links. As such, we wanted to send a reminder to our affiliates that we do not allow “DoFollow” links.
    If you aren’t aware of what “DoFollow” and “NoFollow” links are, please refer to this for a better understanding:
    What is a No-Follow Link? - CMSTeachings
    What is a DoFollow link? - CMSTeachings

    Our policies indicate that we do not allow our affiliates to do any keyword or site name bidding, nor do we allow “DoFollow” links.
    If you are using “DoFollow” links, please switch your links to “NoFollow” to avoid commission penalty and termination from our affiliate program.


    Let me know if you have any questions regarding this policy. I’d be happy to help!


    Oh boy if this is the case this is going to mean a lot of changes in a lot of sites.. anyone else heard of this?

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager
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    That's a new one...are they saying you should no follow affiliate links or are you direct linking?

    Bob

  3. #3
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    I doubt they were "contacted" by Google, but it is a good practice that will benefit both the merchant and the affiliates... there is a paid relationship in place, and "nofollow" correctly identifies that..

    If I'm not mistaken, a merchant started a thread here a couple of weeks ago, asking if they should enforce "nofollow" with their affiliates.

    This new requirement will cause problems for affiliates who aren't too tech savvy.. but then again, running an affiliate site is not as easy as it used to be (with all the algo changes in the past 12 months).

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  5. #4
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    I doubt they were "contacted" by Google, but it is a good practice that will benefit both the merchant and the affiliates... there is a paid relationship in place, and "nofollow" correctly identifies that..

    If I'm not mistaken, a merchant started a thread here a couple of weeks ago, asking if they should enforce "nofollow" with their affiliates.

    This new requirement will cause problems for affiliates who aren't too tech savvy.. but then again, running an affiliate site is not as easy as it used to be (with all the algo changes in the past 12 months).
    Let's say I have an affiliate site built from datafeeds. Would the links already be "nofollow," or would I need to modify the datafeed to get the links "nofollow"? It would seem if the datafeed is coming from the merchant and the merchant wants "nofollow," they should build that into the datafeed "buy url," shouldn't they?

    Gary
    Generate more fake news.

  6. #5
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    They can't build it into a datafeed - it's an attribute variable that you would have to define on your own site, ie. add it to every link manually, or update the code that creates your link from the datafeed URL.

    HTML a rel Attribute

    For example, a product or merchant URL that looks like this:
    <a href="affiliatelink.com">Product Name</a>

    Should be changed to this:
    <a href="affiliatelink.com" rel="nofollow">Product Name</a>

    I don't know how 3rd party services like GoldenCan or Popshops handle this, it's possible they control the code themselves.

  7. #6
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    In the edit section, Popshops gives you the choice of adding nofollow to each product in the shop. I don't remember off hand about GC, but I think they do also.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  9. #7
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    Wednesday I got a call from a friend, who manages a shoe merchant's program, about a visit earlier that day from their Adwords account exec. One of the things he was told is that affiliates "cannibalize" PPC clicks, organic results, and steal commissions that aren't deserved.

    Sounds like G is doing what it can to discourage affiliate programs.

  10. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calebtheredwood View Post
    Sounds like G is doing what it can to discourage affiliate programs.
    Fear marketing on the Google's behalf. Suggesting merchants use them as a paid marketing channel (paid inclusion / PPC) instead of paying affiliates.

    The Google is the largest cannibal / site scraper of them all - won't be long now before their tactics backfire...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    The Google is the largest cannibal / site scraper of them all - won't be long now before their tactics backfire...
    I think it's starting to backfire...the past 6 months has been a big eye opener for many I'm sure.

    Bob

  12. #10
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    So Google is now hustling merchants, and disparaging affiliates via the AdWords channel?

    I would like to know GAN's official position on this... and let's not forget Google's own failed attempt to become a quality affiliate. Anyone remember boutiques.com? It lasted less than 12 months.

    Smacks of desperation to me.

  13. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    So Google is now hustling merchants, and disparaging affiliates via the AdWords channel?
    PPC and PAID INCLUSION is what it is after.

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    I would like to know GAN's official position on this...
    GAN exists only to gather data about merchants and affiliates, as well as to put on a front that they are affiliate friendly...
    Last edited by Convergence; June 22nd, 2012 at 02:10 PM.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  14. #12
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    GAN exists only to gather data about merchants and affiliates..
    Yes, that thought has occurred to me..

    But as concerned as I am about Google's ever-growing anti-affiliate policy, I'm also reminded they have yet to create an original business model. With the exception of basic search, which they used to do very well, they appear to simply assimilate technologies without adding any value (not unlike the Borg on Star Trek).

  15. #13
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    You didn't know it also stole/scraped/cannibalized the Borg's motto?

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  16. #14
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    You know they are very actively classifying sites as affiliate or not. I can't imagine what kind of hell the future will bring when this all comes to a head.

  17. #15
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calebtheredwood View Post
    You know they are very actively classifying sites as affiliate or not. I can't imagine what kind of hell the future will bring when this all comes to a head.
    Affiliates aren't being pushed down in the SERPs because they are affiliates. They are being pushed down to destroy a merchant's marketing channel. Hence, forcing the merchant to look at alternatives, ie: PPC and Paid Inclusion to make up for the lost revenue from their affiliate marketing channel.

    No different really, than when the Google said "Parked Pages are bad" and in the same breath launched it's own parking service.

    By saying that an affiliate or ANY other type of website is "bad" and VIOLATES it's "standards" it can, in turn, compete directly with any other business by launching it's own services; and eliminating the competition on it's own search engine.

    No theory here. It's being taunted as "cleaning up the SERPs". What needs to be realized is only the competition is getting removed...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  19. #16
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    Well said, Convergence!

    Perhaps we can take some comfort in knowing regulators are not backing down:
    Texas demands Google cough up docs in antitrust probe | Reuters
    EU still awaiting Google reply on antitrust probe - MarketWatch

    I'm not suggesting every complaint is valid, and in fact regulators have a tendency to miss out on key technical issues, but they have to look at the big picture. G has the tools to eliminate competition, and that tends to define a monopoly.
    Holding a dominant position or a monopoly of a market is not illegal in itself, however certain categories of behavior can, when a business is dominant, be considered abusive and therefore incur legal sanctions.

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  21. #17
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Convergence you keep mentioning Paid Inclusion, are you referring to Google Product Ads as Paid Inclusion?

    I used to work with an affiliate that could do Paid Inclusion on Yahoo and he sold a lot of products, then they shut that channel down. Curious if Google Product Ads work as Paid Inclusion can affiliates jump into that?

  22. #18
    Affiliate Manager Sharon Page's Avatar
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    I would also be interested on peoples thoughts on Google products ads and affiliates but you have to believe that google have thought about affilaites already on this, maybe not?

    Cheers,

    Sharon
    Sharon Page - MGECOM.COM
    Affiliate Manager

  23. #19
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Convergence you keep mentioning Paid Inclusion, are you referring to Google Product Ads as Paid Inclusion?
    Best of my knowledge only merchants and drop shippers (not using drop ship catalog services) can be listed in the Google Shopping. To list products in the Google Shopping is no longer free - it's paid inclusion.

    You will see more and more products from the Google Shopping being sprinkled throughout the SERPs and in places you aren't accustomed to seeing them.

    Gee, what's next? Perhaps PPC ads mixed in the SERPs? Probably. Perhaps even a new type of PPC Ad/Paid Inclusion. Where your ad looks like a normal SERP result.

    Have noticed more "duplicates" of websites in the SERPs the last week or so. Been seeing 5 or 6 pages from the same website on the same page. Almost as if something is in testing. Like they haven't figured out how to remove a natural result while showing / slipping in a paid result.

    Paranoid? Nope. They are not doing anything illegal (yet). So if it's not illegal, they will do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Schmidt March 2010
    One day we had a conversation where we figured we could just try to predict the stock market. And then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that.
    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  25. #20
    Affiliate Manager Sharon Page's Avatar
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    I just spoke with our keyword guy and said he has not seen anything to stop affiliates in the google product ad area but I have not seen any affiliate ads either.

    Cheers,

    Sharon
    Sharon Page - MGECOM.COM
    Affiliate Manager

  26. #21
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon Page View Post
    I just spoke with our keyword guy and said he has not seen anything to stop affiliates in the google product ad area but I have not seen any affiliate ads either.
    Not fully implemented yet. Not until this fall.

    Shopping &ndash; Google

    Affiliates and drop shippers who use catalog services (such as Doba) have not been allowed to list products in the Google Shopping. I would expect nothing different when this is complete...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  27. #22
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    PPC and PAID INCLUSION is what it is after.



    GAN exists only to gather data about merchants and affiliates, as well as to put on a front that they are affiliate friendly...
    This opinion is re-enforced by Google's July 1st policy eliminating the free Google Base product search engine making it into a paid Adwords PPC shopping search engine like Pricegrabber and Findwhat. They also approached merchant with a high Adwords conversion ratios to re-list their Merchant Services product feeds ( new field structures) with optional commission rate in lieu of a PPC campaign.

    All Google Merchant product feeds (formerly free) will be shown only on a PPC or if approved on a commission basis with specific landing page requirements. Either way Google now becomes a super affiliate of all viable merchants paid by click or commission at their option.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  28. #23
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calebtheredwood View Post
    You know they are very actively classifying sites as affiliate or not. I can't imagine what kind of hell the future will bring when this all comes to a head.
    It's already coming to a head as Google now requires merchants to perform all the product image display and feed database work normally done by affiliates to get in their shopping section and Adwords enhanced product display links.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  29. #24
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Can affiliates do that for a merchant utilizing an affiliate link since its paid or with Google ban the ads and possibly the affiliate account?

  30. #25
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Convergence you keep mentioning Paid Inclusion, are you referring to Google Product Ads as Paid Inclusion?

    I used to work with an affiliate that could do Paid Inclusion on Yahoo and he sold a lot of products, then they shut that channel down. Curious if Google Product Ads work as Paid Inclusion can affiliates jump into that?
    Product Ads require a Merchant verified account linked to an Adwords account just to bid on a PPC basis. If you control the shopping cart and can provide product level conversion tracking with a 30 day cookie you can apply for their "pay per sale" commission model program. (merchant + Google as Affiliate displaying competing commission product links)

    Basically a Golgel take-away from my 2002 published Safe Haven Network model without the need for managing a multi-merchant shopping CyberMall.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

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