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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    We have hired someone to optimize our website for better search engine rankings. It has increased your rankings....but have run into a problem. They have found different sites that belong to our affiliates that are spamming search engines (usually has our name attached to it). Spamming in such a way can de-list you from certain or all search engine listings, so we're afraid that all our hard work is going to be killed by some of our affiliates. Our search engine specialist suggests that we get rid of these harmful sites right away. I'm not really sure how we should handle this?

    Has anyone else experienced this same problem?

  2. #2
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Hi Catherine,

    Welcome to ABW..

    1) Be sure you have firm, clear wording in your affiliate agreement.
    2) Call or send an e-mail to each affiliate and explain the problem and your policy regarding spamming
    3) Wait 1-2 weeks, see if the content, title pages have been modified by those affiliates.
    4) If not, send them a formal e-mail / letter advising of a policy violation and that you will suspend their account and withhold payment until they comply.
    5) If all of the above fails, deactivate and it will be the end of your problem.

    You should explore and try all communication avenues first. Usually it extends from a "weak" policy on the merchant's end.

    Sometimes too you need to be very careful of the SEM company you hired, they compte directly with your affiliate base and some are known to be a little "unethical", i'm not saying yours is or is not, however you need to understand the relationships...

    I hope that helps...if you need anything further, fire away an e-mail...

    Good luck..

    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager

    TigerDirect.com
    P: (305) 415-2313
    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com

    Parasite Free in 2003!

  3. #3
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    Would the merchant site be delisted or just the offending affiliate sites?

    Retired Member

  4. #4
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    After re-reading the original message above, I would take a close look at your SEM company you hired...my advice was more for a "e-mail type spamm" abuse problem....

    You have a right to protect your trademark, specially if your name is being used in title tags and you want to optimize your rankings around that.....however do realize that affiliates compete directly with SEM companies, the main difference is that SEM companies are charging you mucho $$$ and the affiliates do the same but inherit all the risk, you only pay for actions or sales..

    In my personal opinion, i'd rather have all our affiliates do the optimization and get paid rather than pay any SEM outfit, inside or not...

    of course, that's only my opinion, many merchants may dis-agree with me...

    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager

    TigerDirect.com
    P: (305) 415-2313
    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com

    Parasite Free in 2003!

  5. #5
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    Spamming in what way? I don't see how an affiliate of a merchant can't delist the merchant themselves from a search engine. I've never seen a case of that unless someone can show me one. I don't know if your search engine specialist is just worried that the affiliates are doing a better job of optimizing. What exactly are they doing?

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway

  6. #6
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    The day my merchants tell me that I can't rank higher than them in the search engines is the day I become their biggest competitor.

  7. #7
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    I rank higher than some of my merchants. It is just the way things are. I don't think that you should pay for seo. Pay the affiliates more and they will promote you and not your competitors.
    For a non trademark search term, I can rank higher than quite a few of the merchants that I am promoting.

    If you are going to pay for seo techniques, then affiliates are just going to try to set the bar higher, so you could still lose out anyway.

    www.cjshoppingnetwork.com

  8. #8
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    I will take as many SEO/SEM "creative publishers" as I can get while keeping the merchant site clean.

    I want the guys/gals that use all the tricks on multiple domains and have multiple in the queue to do it again and again. It's them against the SEs baby and we wish to win.

    Big Daddy Smokes
    Real American Tobacco
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    http://www.bigdaddysmokes.com/recruit2.html
    affmgr@bigdaddysmokes.com

  9. #9
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    On the other hand having 200,000 affiliates submit their mirror site to dmoz [not very positive about any affiliates anyway] is not advised.

    You could end up with a title and description that reads:
    Cognigen Communications - Telecommunications services. Mirror websites.

    [note that the core site was not banned]

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    I don't want to mention the websites name, but what they are doing is adding rows upon rows of hyper-linked text keywords that are completely unrelated to the site. Other sites may use white text on a white back ground, or hidden text. Search engines look down on sites that do this.
    Please understand that we have no problem with our affiliates ranking higher than us. We just feel that this way of hiding keywords is an unethical way to get to the top.

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments everyone, I really appreciate it

  12. #12
    ABW Veteran jc101's Avatar
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    Catherine G, Based on what they are doing I see no reason not to protect your trademark. I would agree with Andy at Tiger Direct..

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  13. #13
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    Yes, i hate those type of spammy sites myself. I guess its up to each merchant to set the rules and if the affilate doesn't follow them, just drop them. But what the affiliates do won't have any affect on the merchants site, if the merchants site is clean. If this was possible then every merchant that ever dropped an affiilate would have their site banned from the affiliate getting revenge on them. But your site will be fine, the affiliate site engaging in these spam techniques might be the one with the problem.

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway

  14. #14
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by TrustNo1®:
    your site will be fine, the affiliate site engaging in these spam techniques might be the one with the problem.

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway


    Ditto....

    Unethical, yes...
    Breaking basic SEM 101 rules, yes...
    Not fair to your other affiliates, yes...

    Will it hurt your corporate website, no...

    To take action or not is completely up to you and you policies...

    IMO, I would communicate with them and explain your position...if they avoid your calls / e-mails...hold their check - they will call you

    Eventually they will get caught in a google filter

    Andy Rodriguez,
    Online Advertising / Affiliate Marketing Manager

    TigerDirect.com
    P: (305) 415-2313
    E: andy.rodriguez@tigerdirect.com

    Parasite Free in 2003!

  15. #15
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    quote:
    The day my merchants tell me that I can't rank higher than them in the search engines is the day I become their biggest competitor.


    Hear Hear, I rank higher for thousands of keywords and keyword phrases than many of my suppliers and manufacturers and the minute they tell me not to out rank them in the engines I will find their competitor and place him above them.

    We work on a no result no fee basis and provide merchants with unsurpassed free branding marketing and sales.

    If you want to use affiliate marketing effectively to increase your bottom line, don't be suprised when your affiliates outsell you.

    Search engine positioning is the single most important thing to an affiliate and many affiliates have invested hours SEMs can only dream of in research and trial and error.

    Affiliate marketing is so successful as it creates a REAL win win situation. The merchant wins by hugely reducing marketing costs and boosting bottom lines. The affiliate is placed in a position where his earning ability is only limited to his/her own abilities given that the playing field is level.

    Know Google as you know yourself and you will live to fight many battles - Sun Tzu

  16. #16
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    Oops didnt read the entire thread

    Anything spammy goes straight in the bin.

    My apologies.

    Know Google as you know yourself and you will live to fight many battles - Sun Tzu

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Sam Bay's Avatar
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    I would prefer a merchants contact these types of affiliates directly to solve the problems rather than forcing not-so-logical rules on all affiliates, as it has been the case with the some merchants.

    It's ok to have a firm policy and TOS of affiliate relations, but dealing with a few "bad apples" directly is a better approach, I would think.

  18. #18
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    Catherine,

    As long as your site is clean, search engines will not ban or penalize your site.

    Your affiliates may get their sites banned or penalized, but this won't affect you, other than losing traffic from those affiliate sites.

    SEO outfits are programmed to create as much fear in you as necessary to make you completely compliant to their wishes.

    Quote: "We just feel that this way of hiding keywords is an unethical way to get to the top."

    It's also a very primitive way to get to the top. Alot of affiliates will just make the keywords viewable at the bottom of their sites if they fear the search engines. They're going to use the keywords regardless.

    Are you with CJ, or what affiliate program?

  19. #19
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    SPAM = Sites Positioned Above Mine


    Do your terms of service say you cannot have a site optimized for the search engines or use your trademark in a certain way? If not, change them.

    Your SEM firm probably is not very good. Simple as that. You wasted your money. Get over it and move on. They are just trying to scare you. Perhaps you should hire the affiliate to do the work for you?

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