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  1. #1
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    As a recent merchant addition to froogle, I was browsing through my category today, checking out the various competitors, when I noticed something that (IMO) is BS..

    Several affiliates (in violation of froogle's TOS) have taken it upon themselves to upload datafeeds full of various merchant's products.

    Now, as an affiliate myself of many a program, I'm all for making as much as you can, but isn't this a bit ver the line?

    I've taken great steps to NOT compete with my own affiliates in terms of SEO and seeking search engine traffic (i.e. not building multiple keyword-focused domains as many of my competitors do) to sell my products, etc., so shouldn't I (as a merchant) be extended the same courtesy not expecting an affilaite to attempt to try and circumvent the system by doing an end-run around a system built expressly to allow a direct interface between a merchant's products and the end consumer?

    While (at this time) froogle is a very minor player in terms of traffic, if history is any indication, it could become a MAJOR part of Google's interface in the future.

    Further, if you are an affilaite, why on earth would you risk getting BANNED from google but doing such a (IMO) dishonest thing? IN checking the various webmaster forums out there, I found several instances of people trying to cheat froogle, and getting their site banned from google as a result.

    Is it worth it? Is it fair to the merchant? What do you think?

    Erik

  2. #2
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    I think this will be just one of the reasons some merchants will stop offering datafeeds to affiliates or become very selective in who they let have them. (Puts flame gear on) No future for affiliates who make pure datafeed sites.

    "The successful man is the average man, focused."

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Trust:

    I appreciate your willingness to jump into the line of fire (literally!).



    As this business evolves, I agree that sites that fail to provide something original will eventually be squeezed out or, at least, pushed to the margins.

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  4. #4
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    My site is in froogle and I never gave them my datafeed. Furthermore ebates has been in the whole time. Complain about that why don't you.

  5. #5
    Pimp Duck popdawg's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Several affiliates (in violation of froogle's TOS) have taken it upon themselves to upload datafeeds full of various merchant's products. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Not to be argumentative here but not all affiliates listed in Froogle have uploaded their feeds.
    I have never uploaded a feed to froogle nor have I tried in any way to get in. I haven't even thought about froogle in months since the intial panic of the "Froogle will kill affiliate marketing" threads faded away. The last I had seen, I had 1 page listed, but that page was removed from my site a couple of months later when I redid the whole thing.
    However, out of curiousity, I just checked and I have just found a slew of pages in Froogle listings.
    I also checked some other affiliate friend's sites that I know have not applied to, nor have anything to do with froogle and the two I checked both had pages in there as well.
    That said, I know full well that people will and are trying to take advantage of froogle. However, froogle/google themselves have to step back and realize that they themselves are letting affiliates in somehow.
    If I was to get banned for something I had no control of and wasnt even aware was going on, there would be a whole new level of h#ll to pay.
    Or at least a lot of moaning and possibly some whimpering.
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Is it worth it?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    No, in my mind it's not. Thats why I havent even thought of froogle in a while.
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Is it fair to the merchant?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    No. By it's definition and rules, Froogle is for merchants.
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>What do you think?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I think affiliates or anyone intentionally going against the TOS should be removed and penalized.
    I think affiliates like myself who did not do anything to get listed but who have just appeared via Googlebot crawls or whatever should be removed but should not be penalized. We had nothing to do with our inclusion.
    Now if you will excuse me I'm off to see if I should find a way to remove the links or if I should start selling the stuff thats listed and become a merchant ... decisions decisions.

    Game on!!!! - The DawgFather

  6. #6
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    Google are adding products without a datafeed being supplied. I've no idea why, but a few days ago I got a click via Froogle to an affiliate site I own, and on checking, found quite a few items in there with links back to my site.

    Perhaps they aren't getting enough merchant takers?

    Mind you - I've only ever had the one click!

    “There are only two settings, stun and kill...it would be best not to confuse them.”
    --Malcom Reed

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    No surprise the eBates and catalogCity seeded Frrogle with their huge network furnished datafeeds under false pretenses. I warned regular ABWers to shy away from seeding Froogle from the first day the Froogle threads appeared. Now that Yahoo, and soon MSN, has a similar product fulfillment merchant ONLY listing service, the early bird perps will learn the meaning of what SE banishment does to a domain.

    Doesn't take long for the traffic Rulers to put 1+1 together and PRO listings to protect their billion $$$ investments. SE's have been known to throw out the baby with the dirty bath water.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  8. #8
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    To be clear...

    I am aware that froogle routinely crawls and adds sites/products on it's own. I was merely referring to affilaites that may have tried to do an end-run by applying for a datafeed "account" , and subsequently uploading their affiliate links/products.

    Since you have to have an account to upload a "feed", I'm sure froogle/google tech will have no problem taking appropriate action against offenders.

    Erik

  9. #9
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    I think they've decided to ad all sites not just merchant datafeeds.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador John Kruger's Avatar
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    I noticed a bunch of my content in Froogle, but the links run you to sites that have nothing to do with the Froogle items.

    John

    Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

    www.teampb.com

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Misleading Heyder ...."I think they've decided to ad all sites not just merchant datafeeds."

    Froogle/Google is so serious about the future of this merchant only product listing service they sometimes call the merchant and request at reseller Tax ID# and URL to a privacy policy. They do not want the overhead of policing who is, or isn't, a real fulfillment merchant. They figure those who are responsible for collections, refunds, RMA's and after sale support issues deserve top billing and exposure appealing to the millions of shoppers.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  12. #12
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    have to agree with Mike...

    It took me a few days to complete the account setup requirements with froogle, but if it does get to be as big as I "think" it caold, it would be a real plus...

  13. #13
    Full Member ellen-s4y's Avatar
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    I've had a few clicks from froogle over the past couple weeks. I certainly haven't asked to be included. Most of the 50 or so of my pages included in froogle are product links (mostly from my amazon pages).

    Google is adding them:

    "As Google's spidering software crawls the Internet, it automatically identifies webpages that offer products for sale. These are the pages Froogle searches when you enter the name of an item you want to find. Froogle also includes product information submitted electronically by merchants."

  14. #14
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    (Comments with "&gt;&gt;" are from AllPiercings, my response has no &gt;&gt;s)

    &gt;&gt;Further, if you are an affilaite, why on earth would you risk getting BANNED from google but doing such a (IMO) dishonest thing?

    MONEY


    &gt;&gt;Is it worth it?

    Depends if a serious amount of customers are looking at Froogle yet. The value of a lottery ticket is determined by the potential jackpot! 10 customers/day in your categories = No. 10,000 customers/day in your categories = Hell Yes!

    &gt;&gt;Is it fair to the merchant?

    YES--it's giving the merchant a chance to have their stuff listed not once, but 100s of times. Why merchants want a monopoly on ONE exposure, which may be buried at Listing #10000, when they can have ALL their affiliates in there owning an entire panel of top listings is beyond me!

    That "exclusive club" mentality is only costing merchants and us money. 90% of the revenue from 10,000 affiliate sales is worth a lot more than 100% of the revenue from 100 direct sales!

    &gt;&gt;What do you think?

    I think if I was a merchant I'd be too busy trying to wengle my entire affiliate base into that engine--once it gets lots of traffic--to bother posting about it. And the sound of the competition screaming would be music to my ears!

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> (Puts flame gear on) No future for affiliates who make pure datafeed sites. ~TrustNo1<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Dreamer!

    It is a beautiful thing, to do nothing, and then rest afterwards.~Spanish Proverb

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    I have to agree with some of the other posts here. I have a lot of my product pages listed in Froogle (I am a publisher, not an advertiser) but I did NOT provide and type of datafeed to them. According to there own site, they say (and I quote)

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Google crawls billions of webpages every month, so you'll likely be included automatically in Froogle's index of sites. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So I guess it's a little unfair to put ANY of the blame for that on publishers. (Not that we may mind the sales)


  16. #16
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Just to give allpiercings a heads up. If froogle were to take off, I would do nearly anything legal to make sure and get my links in there. I'm not about to take a back seat to the next new thing because of what you consider fair. Not when there are parasites I have to fight and ad blocker and other things that seem to affect my income more so than most merchants. As far as I'm concerned if ebates and catalog city get to have links included than so do I.


    (((added)))
    It's not me against you AllPiercings, it's me against everyone else and you will always win because I will drive the sales to you. IF I don't my competitor will and I'd rather do it than let them.

    [This message was edited by Heyder on September 10, 2003 at 07:59 PM.]

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    Froogle has picked up several of my individual product pages.
    When I look for a product I usually want more info than the short description given by most merchants. I don't think Froogle is useful and I don't see much traffic coming from it. Anyone see much traffic from Froogle?

  18. #18
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    I can see both the pros and cons here...

    Of course, having "come up" through affiliate marketing myself (and still derive a great deal of my diposable income from it ), I'm very sensitive to the challenges facing today's independent (read: NOT a corporation) affiliate marketer, and have, in fact, focused 90% of our marketing strategy to being non-parasitic affiliate driven (as opposed to SEO, etc.)

    I'm not really concerned about affiliate sites/links being "picked up" by froggle's spider (that's a win-win), as our individual affiliate's product links (for some odd reason) seem to get picked up by google and inktomi and usually appear before ours in the engines (fine by me).

    I guess my biggest concern would be one of our affiliates breaking froogle's TOS, and our site somehow getting penalized as well

    Again, at this point, and probably for the forseeable future, it's not really an issue. BUT...once google adds a "click here to shop" button or something similar, I'm sure many of my fellow merchant's will be keeping their fingers crossed...

    Erik

  19. #19
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I guess my biggest concern would be one of our affiliates breaking froogle's TOS, and our site somehow getting penalized as well <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I double agree

  20. #20
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    it's funny. I completely forgot all about froogle. Even after I discovered the "trick" to getting your pages into their product search engine. Since I believe they are useless... the trick is to put a price for the item on a page. So, if you make datafeed sites, make sure to include the price.

    I use google every day. I make my living from google. I buy stuff online all the time. I have NEVER even thought to use froogle. It will go nowhere, if they have not already scrapped it already.

  21. #21
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    Hmmm...I seem to remember alot of affiliates who targeted their sites at Inktomi playing the same kind of music...right up to the point that Yahoo dropped them.

    Putting all your eggs into the Google basket, especially in light of all the recent search engine consolidation, is (IMHO) a sure way to wkae up one morning to find you've lost a ton of income...

    The reason froogle is generating insignificant traffic, is because it is in Beta testing. How do you think regualr google marketers would be affected if a froogle results started appearing on a users main screen when they searched for specific products....or google instituted a prominent link on every search that said "narrow your search with froogle..." , etc.

    my point is, blanket statements like "It will go nowhere" are, in my opinion, discounting Google's willingness to take chances and innovate.

    Erik

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador ktmkiddy's Avatar
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    Well I've just joind Froogle UK, but of course one of my sites sells real products that I ship daily..so for me..the chance to escape the dominating price comparison sites is a good thing.

    All day long all I see are sites displaying Amazon adverts that sadly display out of date prices...not good for the consumer when they click thru an Amazon ad..and then find that Amazon are out of stock..and I'm the only seller of blue widgets in Amazon Marketplace.

    I do Ok...I get the sale and I ship....the product comparison sites does ok..they get their AFF. bonus...the only loser..the Google user who thought he/she was getting a blue widget for $9 but in fact it's now $12.

    My guess is froogle is in response to the critisism that google does not return upto date results any more.

    Froogle..if policed correctly will make sure only REAL merchants are in it...and you have to re-upload a feed every 30 days.

    So...where it will go..who knows...but for me...it's great (as a merchant).

    Malc - www.gadgets4kitchens.co.uk
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  23. #23
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> All day long all I see are sites displaying Amazon adverts that sadly display out of date prices...not good for the consumer when they click thru an Amazon ad.. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That's strange... I thought Amazon itself was supposed to provide the prices in their ads.

    As for Froogle (US), I finally got some aff pages in there a few months ago. I was NOT trying to. But they spidered my site, and apparently noticed the salesy keywords (I mention "shipping" and there's some call to action like "buy" or "order").

    Unfortunately, what they listed as the item price, was really the low SHIPPING price!

    So, lots of hits for items that cost $300, that Froogle listed as costing $2.95. Really conversionary, NOT! *grumble mumble*
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador ktmkiddy's Avatar
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    Hi Leader,

    I think the problem arises with Amazon when affiliates use their data feed, but Amazon no longer stock the item but it's still on their website (just showing out of stock or discontinued). Lucky for me that's exactly where I list my products under the 'marketplace buy from someone else' scheme.

    I run a mail order kitchen gadgets business as most of ya know, selling and shipping real items...and what I definately see are 100's of web sites with aff. links to Amazon products displaying the Amazon price AS IF AMAZON HAD STOCK, but the problem is when a customer clicks thru the link thinking he/she is getting the item for the displayed $9 it comes as a surprise to find Amazon are out of stock and my product is there at $10 (or whatever).

    Anyway, I've just uploaded my datafeed to Froogle UK so will be interested to see if clicks and sales pick up..will keep ya posted.

    Malc
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