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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager Bryan Rhodes's Avatar
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    I recently learned of the following Overture Guidelines for Sites Featuring External Links and it seems they would apply to all affiliate sites. That raised the following question:
    <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>Are affiliate's using Overture ppc listings?<LI>If so, are these Guidelines a change in Overture policy?<LI>What are affiliates doing to meet these guidelines?<LI>What can I do, as an affiliate manager, to create content that will pass these guidelines?[/list]

    From Overture:

    Guideline for Sites Featuring External Links

    Under this revised guideline, content in the form of a text link, banner, or
    tile that directs users to another Web site is not eligible for search
    terms. We will only accept listings for search terms if the Web site
    provides substantial content that is clearly reflective of the search term.
    Additionally, the substantial content must be related to the overall subject
    matter of the Web Site.

    Each of the following elements describe sites that would fulfill our
    requirement for substantial and/or sufficient content:

    1. Detailed (comprehensive) product reviews or information.
    2. Multiple (two or more) discounts, coupons or deals relating directly to
    the search term. These discounts must be available through your site (i.e.,
    they can’t simply be a description of offers available on a site the
    advertiser links to).
    3. Comparative information spanning multiple dimensions, such as pricing,
    features or availability. (Note: comparison shopping engines fall in this
    category.)
    4. The advertiser provides detailed commentary or information that does not
    appear on the site being linked to (e.g., comprehensive investment
    information, critiques or evaluation of company, information for
    enthusiasts, information compiled from a variety of sources).

    The mere presence of the following elements on a Web site is not enough to
    justify search terms:

    1. A link, banner or picture.
    2. A brief description of a link.
    3. Lists of text without additional content (e.g., a site listing all the
    diseases a given drug treats does not have sufficient content to qualify for
    the individual diseases as search terms.)
    4. Contact information (address, phone number, Web address, e-mail, stock
    symbol, etc.)

    Do BackcountryStore.com product descriptions meet the requirements?

    Any experiences you can share would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Bryan

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    These guidelines have been around for a while, and it's extremely difficult these days for an affiliate site to promote a merchant by using Overture. The guidelines themselves aren't too bad, but Overture's editors are utterly inconsistent and illogical when they apply them. An affiliate trying to use Overture to promote a page leading to a merchant is bound to face frustrations, and many of us decide it simply isn't worth it. As a merchant promoting your own site, you would have fewer problems (notice I didn't say "no problems").

    At my peak I was spending over $2000 a month with Overture. Nowadays it's well under $50, for some listings that have been in place for over a year.

    Elisabeth Archambault

  3. #3
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    Bryan,

    Overture will not be around in a year, so it dosen't matter, what stupid rules they have for listings.

    The whole PPC and SE game is over...now it will just be who dies last.

    There is no way Overture can cash flow their overhead with the listing rules they have in place.

    What is happening is that hundreds of thousands of people are abandoning affiliate marketing and as a result merchants can't generate enough eyeballs to cash flow their
    overhead unless it's miniscule.

    It's not unlike what's happening on Wall Street - people do not have confidence in online merchants, adnetworks and the future to earn any money.

    Guys like Steve Meeser and Sam Gerace and Bill Gross have literally killed the golden goose thru thievery, fraud and a bunch of pure idiocy.

  4. #4
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>hundreds of thousands of people are abandoning affiliate marketing <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Another pompous prognostication from the Prof ....

    It it were true, it would be nice news for those of us who have figured out some things that actually work!

  5. #5
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    Professor,

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>What is happening is that hundreds of thousands of people are abandoning affiliate marketing <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What is your evidence proving that? Let's hope so. Then the networks and merchants will come looking to me with additional sweetheart deals.

    Mike

  6. #6
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    Prof:
    I totally agree with you and hope I can stay in the business as long as possible for getting sweetheart deals too.

    Jonny :cool:

    [ 06-26-2002: Message edited by: Jonny ]

  7. #7
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    I use americart for some of my customers web sites. Their web site runs on their server and when a buy link is clicked on they are transferred to americarts secure server.
    Seems like this would be a great way to build an affiliate program. Let affiliates set up real web sites and let the merchants handle the processing.

  8. #8
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    Yes it's tough, but it does seem to depend on which editor reviews the page.

    I have hada little bit of luck in getting affiliate pages accepted by overture.

    At the very least there should be product photos and detailed descriptions, but most important is a "buy" button. Notices for declined listings specifically state that the site visitor must be able to "buy the product directly from the listed page".

  9. #9
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    >What can I do, as an affiliate manager...

    >Multiple (two or more) discounts, coupons or deals...

    and... have Mike brag about it.. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    I think most affiliates, I am for once, gave up trying to pay overture for distributing our ads. I run some at FindWhat and I get all sorts of crappy traffic from those listings.. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    It is simply not worth it. I also think that these pay-per-click ad networks will be considered ancient history sometime in next 2 - 5 years. Even though they call themselves "pay-for-performance", there is no measure of a performance that they accomplish!

    On another note, Overture editors are not Nazis. It is Bill Gross, who is.

    -BluesX

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    Seems like this would be a great way to build an affiliate program. Let affiliates set up real web sites and let the merchants handle the processing.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    One of my clients may be doing this in the next three or four months - but we haven't figured out exactly how it's gonna work yet. The idea is that affiliates will have complete access to the shopping cart, product catalog feed, the whole nine yards.

    Aside from a few technical problems that may arise, the main problem I can see is convincing potential affiliates that this is worth the necessary time and effort. Obviously, the % share will be greater than a regular affiliate program (more in line with how some casino sites run their programs). I can also foresee a few search engine issues with this, but we'll figure it out in the end.

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager Bryan Rhodes's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Deelz:
    At the very least there should be product photos and detailed descriptions, but most important is a "buy" button. Notices for declined listings specifically state that the site visitor must be able to "buy the product directly from the listed page".<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So the basic product image, description and buy botton available on CJ should be enough. I'll create some copy for our different product categories which will satisfy this requirement

    4. The advertiser provides detailed commentary or information that does not
    appear on the site being linked to (e.g., comprehensive investment
    information, critiques or evaluation of company, information for
    enthusiasts, information compiled from a variety of sources).

    And could also be used by Affiliates not using Overture.

    Thanks for the information,

    Bryan

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager Bryan Rhodes's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by markymark:


    One of my clients may be doing this in the next three or four months - but we haven't figured out exactly how it's gonna work yet. The idea is that affiliates will have complete access to the shopping cart, product catalog feed, the whole nine yards.

    Aside from a few technical problems that may arise, the main problem I can see is convincing potential affiliates that this is worth the necessary time and effort.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    One problem I can see, at least in the outdoor industry, is that an arrangement like that might violate dealer agreements. Companies like The North Face and Oakley are very protective of their brand building campaigns and get nervous when they start showing up on unauthorized websites. But let me know how it goes, it is an intriguing concept.

  13. #13
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Companies like The North Face and Oakley are very protective of their brand building campaigns and get nervous when they start showing up on unauthorized websites. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What difference would it make? If these companies would be nervous about what essentially is a data feed would they not also be nervous about their products being displayed as product links on "unauthorized websites?"

    Mike

  14. #14
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    Bryan,

    I would not manage my affiliate program according to how Bill Gross thinks it should be.

    Overture represents only a small portion of the internet traffic volume, yet the business model, I think is illegal and when the laws mature they will be buying durable "running shoes" from Zappos!

    It sounds awfully desperate trying to structure your business model according to Overture's decisions for *YOUR* business!

    They used to have a lot worse *guidelines* than you quoted above, which simply meant they only wanted those who warehouse and ship the products to bid on related terms.

    I liked that one much better than the above guidelines. I would rather have only merchants bidding on related terms, hence, Overture filing Chap. 11 even sooner!

    If I were to decide for your business and you were to structure it accordingly, it would have been like following:

    - Offer multiple discounts on products. Your affiliates can offer their visitors these discounts. To my experience, such deals perform extremely well. Your business triples or quadruples. Your affiliates make a whole lot more money from your program, but for you to make more money too, you reverse ceratain percentage of affiliate sales to partially compensate for the cost of the discount offers. Commission Junction is happy because your volume have increased! They make more money, lost some to reversals, but it'd be fine with CJ. They do not have any policies in place anyways to prevent such reevrsals. Your affiliates make more money.. some gets reversed but they would be ok with it as long as they make more money without more work.

    How about that?.... [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    -BluesX

  15. #15
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    Bryan,

    Can you write a detailed review of BackcountryStore.com that could be posted on affiliates websites?

    If your site had reviews could these reviews be posted on affiliates sites?

    I would have to agree that Overture will be gone because this policy and many others prohibit revenue generation. Once you stop your company from making money failure is bound to happen.

  16. #16
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    My frustration limit was reached with OVER months ago and I let the account go dry with no regrets.

  17. #17
    Outsourced Program Manager Bryan Rhodes's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dr. Evil:


    If these companies would be nervous about what essentially is a data feed would they not also be nervous about their products being displayed as product links on "unauthorized websites?"

    Mike
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Dr. Evil,

    For someone who has been frozen for 30 freakin' years, you are very perceptive. We had to pull all of our The North Face product links from our CJ feed. They are by far the most strict company we deal with and even have an internet cop who checks up on us and others. He might be lurking here right now. If I say anymore, I might get a mean phone call.
    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    [ 06-27-2002: Message edited by: Bryan - BackcountryStore.com ]

  18. #18
    Outsourced Program Manager Bryan Rhodes's Avatar
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    BluesX,


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BluesX:
    It sounds awfully desperate trying to structure your business model according to Overture's decisions for *YOUR* business!
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    If starting a dialogue with top affiliates on what programs they are using, or are not using, and creating content to support their efforts is desperate, then I guess I am one desperate guy.


    GearGuy wrote:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Can you write a detailed review of BackcountryStore.com that could be posted on affiliates websites?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Absolutely. I'll write descriptions for our categories as well.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If your site had reviews could these reviews be posted on affiliates sites?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That's a good question and one I'll look into. We are launching a new version of BackcountryStore.com in late August and a review system will be part of that redesign. I'll add it to the list of improvements to our affiliate program.

    Thanks,

    Bryan

  19. #19
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    Overture ever sucked and it will suck until next year - when they disappear from market. I never used it because imho a great lot of click is coming from webmasters and from competitors.
    Jonny

  20. #20
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    >If starting a dialogue with top affiliates on what programs they are using, or are not using, and creating content to support their efforts is desperate, then I guess I am one desperate guy.

    Oh, you are well aware that that's not my point. In fact, that is one thing that pleases me if you do! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    You may ask affiliates what they want without mentioning Overture guidelines. Starting the conversation with such, implies that you think your affiliates all would be buying traffic from Overture.

    Besides, I gave you a lot of ideas! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    -BluesX

  21. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager Bryan Rhodes's Avatar
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    BluesX,

    This whole topic started because an affiliate forwarded me the guidelines, which I posted. I did not mean to imply an endorsement of Overture. I haven't spent nearly as much time with Overture as everyone has here, and I told that affiliate the good folks at ABW would have extensive experience and were willing to share what works and what doesn't.

    And I guess I totally missed what you meant by:

    --It sounds awfully desperate trying to structure your business model according to Overture's decisions for *YOUR* business!

    Can you clarify?

    Bryan

  22. #22
    Outsourced Program Manager Bryan Rhodes's Avatar
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    Thanks for clearing that up Blues. I was being overly sensitive. Guess I owe you a beer next time I'm in NJ.

    Have a great weekend, I'm leaving early to do some product testing. An overnight hiking trip carrying less than 25 pounds. It used to be an overnight trip would require a 40 pound pack, but we are carrying a lot of ultralight gear that makes a seven mile hike much more fun.

    Bryan

  23. #23
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    Well I don't think and surely hope that Overture doesn't disappear as some mention in this thread. I find their search term suggestion tool to be way to useful [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img].

    I am no longer paying them for traffic due to frustration and being screwed over in the past. I was co-owner of an online art gallery and all of sudden all of our search terms disappeared that we had for about a year. Overture got them back but we lost all of our top rank positioning over competitors on key terms and we would have had to bid an extra cent on most of them to get our rank back. At that time - it would be "doubling" our 1 cent bids. Overture (Goto.com) said they would compensate us by giving us an estimated months worth of $$$ deposited into out account. I figured our increased monthly costs would have been about 50-60% regaining our search term order rank we had for about a year due to their mistake. We refused their offer (slap in the face) and let our $$$ dry up in our account instead.

    I also had another account for a site selling weight loss products and other nutritionals. Goto.com (overture) pulled about 80% of my current keywords in an "active" account because of their irrelevant relevancy policy. Apparently they felt a site selling weight loss products should not be purchasing key terms like "weight loss". They literally destroyed hours of massive work that it took creating a massive list of relavent keywords.

    I hope they survive enough so I can continue using their search term suggestion tool. Maybe (a very small chance) someday I may throw some dollars their way but I wouldn't count on it.

    Larry Wentz
    www.AffiliateNetwork.org

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