View Poll Results: PPC & Affiliate Marketing

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  • There is nothing wrong with it.

    18 39.13%
  • It's wrong and merchants should not allow it.

    18 39.13%
  • Doesn't make a difference to me - I'm fine either way.

    10 21.74%
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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Someone brought up an issue that I don't think has ever been debated / discussed at length before. Many affiliate marketers, when using PPC, link directly to the merchants site using affiliate encoded links. This is a common practice and I'd say is more common than an affiliate landing the traffic on their own site.

    Do you see anything wrong with landing the PPC clicks directly on the merchants site?

    Whichever answer you choose, I'd appreciate if you can explain your reasoning.

  2. #2
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    Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

    If I have Adwords on my site and I get the click for $0.01, I prefer to get the surfer over to my place first. I make more that way.

    Other times, it may pay off to write a few paragraphs telling the customer exactly why they should shop from the site I'm linking to.

    I don't see anything wrong with direct linking. Why would it be wrong to save the customer a click?

  3. #3
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    The merchant could be held liable for false claims. The affilate could be looked at as an agent representing the merchant.

    If I were a merchant I would really think long and hard about this.

  4. #4
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    That's an interesting point, Heyder, but I think the affiliate could mislead the surfer anyways from their site, by making claims the merchant is not aware of.

    I mean, if oyu post a tarp with a fixed price at your site, then I raise the prices on my page, that amounts to the same thing, right?

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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Akiva's Avatar
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    Consider this. When you craft an ad and display it on an HTML page you obviously link it directly to the merchant site. Why should PPC be different? An affiliate crafts an ad and is simply paying for it to be displayed. Why should the fact that an affiliate is paying to advertise, force affiliates to add another click to the users experience?

    You can see the division in opinions by the policies of the PPC engines. Overture does not allow and Google does. Who's right?

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  6. #6
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    As long as the affiliate isn't violating any terms ( such as using the merchants trademarked name) then there shouldn't be any problem. Why bother making the shopper make 2 clicks you'll probably have a better return sending them directly to the merchant. If you as an affiliate have no value to add (such as a review, a coupon, an ebates kickback type program) to the shopping experience then it really makes no sense to make them click twice.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    There's nothing 'wrong' with it per se.

    Whether it pays or not is another matter - it depends on the thousands of variables that apply to everything we do in this game

  8. #8
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    I personally don't care what other affiliates are doing, if the merchant doesn't have a problem with it. When i do Adwords i link to my site so maybe people will like it and come back later. I heard Poon worry about his cookie being overwritten but even if the person using adwords linked to their site first the cookie still would be overwritten if a link was clicked. To me its a non-issue and between the merchant and affiliate how they want to be marketed in PPC.

  9. #9
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    To me this issue is in part that I value merchants with good cookie durations and work harder to promote their offerings. A 120 day cookie when ppc ads overwrite a cookie on every single click seems to put the cookie duration in a "smoke and mirrors" position. I personally dont see where a ppc ad overwriting my cookie is any different than a forced click coming from a web site or an overwrite from a parasite. Does it really make since to say web site redirects and force clicks are not supported while supporting direct clicks via ppc? To me a clear irony exists here.

    While the policy may be deemed normal and acceptable by many - the merchants position on this cookie overwriting will definately impact my desires to and the amount of effort I use promoting them via traditional seo.

    Affiliates who want to optimize their earnings should be considering this as much as they do if the merchant partners with parasites because the impact is just as substantial if not more so - it effects every seo search done not "just if a parasite exists on a consumers machine".

    In that regard, I favor ppc ad's going to an affiliates site where the odds are evened up in regards to cookie setting and the customer is still in control.

    For the folks who have said it saves the customer a click thats not necessarily so "unless you're just building clone type sites". If a user does a query on a term do they just click on one link - either the top seo link or the top ppc add? Heck no. They look at the sites name or ppc add, other info and where they are being directed.

    Would it be better for a consumer to see 6 different ppc ads "all going to the same merchants site" or see 10 different affiliate sites that each ended up having marketing for a particular merchant.

    Really think about this from the consumer point of view and which one provides a better impression of the merchant and their products and which one provides the most opportunities to make a sale and or a good impression for the merchant. To me it seems clear which appears to be madness and which one appears to provide value for the affiliate, the merchant and the consumer. In one case I might click on one ppc ad (but since I think duplication is STUPID - I wouldn't click on a single one)and in the other case, I may click on 6 and repeatidily see different sites advertising the same merchant.

    Just as search engine don't want the same site listed in the first 10 places, consumers don't like seeing 100 ppc ad's all going to the same site. It's madness and seems unorderly!

    If you do a search see 6 ppc sites all going to abcmerchant.com - how many will you click on?

    If you saw 6 different sites advertising for a specific product type, how many would you click on?

    Again, which one provides the consumer the best impresison and provides the most opportunities for a merchant to get a sale or come away with a good impression.

    PPC as it is "commonly accepted today" has gaping holes that do a disservice IMO to merchants, affiliates and consumers - they do however line the search engines pockets at our expense.

    ===================================
    Great News - we can now support ebates and pp merchants - they are cleaning up their act and I'll bet it'll be a long time before we see another clip of ebates overwriting affiliate links.
    ===================================

  10. #10
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    Poon if someone clicks a PPC ad, they apparently are looking for something, maybe they didn't find it at your site? Comparing that to a parasite a stretch.

    I work in lounge pants . Looking for a sponsor, PM with offer.

  11. #11
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    My thoughts are a person should have a site where the click should lead to.
    First off to ensure the person is legit and the tactics they are using are proper and ethical.
    Secondly why would a merchant need affilates if we all do this. If the results are coming for just a slapping a link on some PPC engine, the costs of running a program and paying all these commissions could quite easily be replaced by a person employed to do nothing but run this ad campaign, Because by doing it without a site, that is all it is. An ad campaign and not affiliate marketing. Do one or the other, the two don't always compliment the other.

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  12. #12
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I think it's fine from a moral, "right/wrong" perspective.

    But there's more things to consider. In some cases, a direct link would probably be fine, while in others it'd likely just eat PPC money.

    On one hand, I think that in most cases conversions are improved by a stop at the affiliate site. Merchants who actually know how to make a conversionary site aren't as rare as they used to be, but they're still not common!

    Plus, if the merchant was doing so hot on their own they wouldn't be looking for affiliates!

    On the other hand, if the part they're not hot at is the SEO part, just getting them seen IS a form of value add. Look up (in Google) some of the more minor products Amazon sells for instance (not books or music), and you'll see that for a lot of them Amazon doesn't appear in Google, or is buried quite a ways down. It's cases like this that a direct link can be of value to a merchant. Amazon knows how to sell, all they really need is for people to realize that they carry Item Z. All it takes to convey that info is an AdWords ad.

    But for every one that will benefit from plain-vanilla extra exposure, there's another 5 or 10 that can do better with a page of sales pitch which addresses the things customers want to know about. It's amazing how many merchants will blow some major point (that they mistakenly think is minor)! In these cases, a stop at the affiliate site can bring much better results than a direct link.

    Personally I like all traffic to stop at my site first. Not only does it give me a crack at improving the conversion ratio, it also gives people at least a half a chance at remembering MY URL and coming back to my site later. Newbies often remember the site they got the link from (instead of the destination site)--so the site they get the link from might as well be MINE instead of some SE.

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

  13. #13
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I personally dont see where a ppc ad overwriting my cookie is any different than a forced click coming from a web site or an overwrite from a parasite. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The difference is, nobody is forcing people to click AdWords ads--nothing is overwritten without the consious and direct action of the searcher clicking the link.

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

  14. #14
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    @Walleye - merchants have specifically asked for affiliates to provide ppc campaigns, provided the keywords for the campaigns and in some cases even offered seed money. If ppc was really profitable - why would they do this and not do as you outlined which is run a campaign themselves? They aint stupid - thats why!

    I agree that ppc can be an effective tool for a merchant and that it's not inherently BAD. I do feel however that the current standards allowed are from general short sightedness and lack of real thought on the subject. I for one am hopefull this will change.

    ===================================
    Great News - we can now support ebates and pp merchants - they are cleaning up their act and I'll bet it'll be a long time before we see another clip of ebates overwriting affiliate links.
    ===================================

  15. #15
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    I don't see who it's bad for. Merchants get traffic. The affiliates who do this either make money or they don't, this only affects them, not you. I don't see how somebody doing PPC, sending traffic directly to the merchant site affects me. They can easily set a cookie by sending people to their site first to get a cookie.

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  16. #16
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    The other thing to consider is, customers like to browse. Now, going directly to the merchant is fine, they can browse there.

    If the surfer goes to your site first, though, you get a chance to promote the most expensive or appropriate items from a number of competing merchants.

    A perfect example is from amazon. A customer came to one of my sites looking for a specific western fiction book, ended up buying a $300 rock polisher. I mean, jeeeze, nothing at all in common. Simply forwarding the customer to that merchant might increase your click through rate, but might also decrease the quality of items you can show them.

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  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
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    I see the problem of this when all we all do is create a websites for merchants!

    there is nothing wrong with ppc if you send them to your sites.

    Just like the merchants do their own ppc the user goes to their sites.

    if all do this ppc and direct them to the merchants sites. No need to spend tons of hours making a websites right?

    What's the purpose of making websites if the others are just gonna cut and paste the links and add it to the ppc?

    ------------------------------
    What does the COC stand for? Crooks Overwriting Commissions.
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  18. #18
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The affiliates who do this either make money or they don't, this only affects them, not you.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Excuse me - I built a real web site and spent time efforts and money hosting it as well as ongoing efferts and time and updating it to provide marketing for the merchant. For you to say - "this only effects tham and not me" is completely assinine!

    ===================================
    Great News - we can now support ebates and pp merchants - they are cleaning up their act and I'll bet it'll be a long time before we see another clip of ebates overwriting affiliate links.
    ===================================

  19. #19
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    double post

  20. #20
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    Well, if you actually have a website you can get lots of free traffic via the search engines. PPC isn't free. Also having a website you can get repeat traffic from bookmarks, word of mouth etc.

    Poon, it's called competition. You are worrying about sending traffic directly to the merchant, if they send traffic to their site first a cookie can still be overwritten.

    Answer my question, how does sending traffic directly to the merchant instead of their site affect you. Cookie can be overwritten in both instances.

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  21. #21
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    @Trust - Actually I'm not worried about a thing and I believe my thoughts on the subject are well documented.

    We all have many options available and will invest my time where I think it's most profitiable - merchants have every right to make the choice they think is best for them long term - just as affiliates do.

    I can say with certainty though that the future affiliate sites we develop will be for merchants who have adopted a no ppc policy. Other affiliates who are smart should be considering this very carefully as well. I'll take the odds of a parasite "which if you haven't noticed are cleaning up their act" , before I'll try and compete with affiliates who have been handed out seed money, given keywords and encouraged by AM's to do their ppc campaings for them that overwrites cookies at a rate that the parasites would even be awed with.

    Regarding the enlightenment of your last post - thank you so much, I never thought of that.

    ===================================
    Great News - we can now support ebates and pp merchants - they are cleaning up their act and I'll bet it'll be a long time before we see another clip of ebates overwriting affiliate links.
    ===================================

  22. #22
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    No problem i try to help you out whenever i can Comparing Parasites to PPC

  23. #23
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    There is no way a merchant can guard their trademark, brand or those of their suppliers when it comes to muzzling PPCSE abusers or even Google listings. Herding cats comes to mind as the exercise.

    Between the BHO's hijacking at the point of sale and those using spamm or PPCSE techniques in the SE's lies the domain bound affiliate. No matter the time, effort and value-add that domain bound affiliates puts into showcasing a particular merchants hot sellers he will starve for lack of traffic. Rewarding the SEO/SEM players, the BHO's and e-mail spammers with the majority of all commission payouts assures the funding of value-add shopping site affiliates will dry up.

    Placing the tricks for clicks cookie setters on a pedestal has been the main function of AM's for 6 years. A few AM's, all posting at ABW, are the exception to this rule, while the rest just fuel the mass marketing spammers. I hazzard that 90% of the commission payouts go to those who don't account for 10% of the impressions and domain displayed links generating clicks.

    Allow PPCSE, Adwords and SE listings to jump directly to merchant sites, after setting cookies, and the industry loses all incentives for anyone to buildout a showcase shopping or niche' site. Rewarding just the act of setting the cookie assures the lazy and crafty will dominate this marketplace. Merchants and AM's will then find themselves surrounded by commission preditors on all sides trashing their conversion ratios and ROI with the Y2004 version of "get paid to surf" junk traffic.

    Next step will be for the lead fee troops of Gators/WhenU's and other BHO drive-by installers to spoof PPCSE listings and regular Google listings by landing shopper/researchers on a popup/under hellhole requiring a trip the the local health clinic.

    Direct linking to affiliate enabled merchants breeds con-artists. Ethical arguments abound for justifying direct forced linking, but in the end the commission hijackers will win this game and force another blackeye upon the affiliate industry. Those no longer seeing value in e-mail spamming, list brokering or telemarketing will flock to this last loophole in the traffic chain.

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  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Nova's Avatar
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    I am honored to know Mike and very bless to have my Poon!

    ------------------------------
    What does the COC stand for? Crooks Overwriting Commissions.
    Don't worry! Tracking is infected!
    ------------------------------
    Love Life to the fullest. we only get ONE chance! :-) !

  25. #25
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    All men would rightfully return the compliment to share your company....Nova. Now if only you had a sister who could cook....

    Mike & Charlie ...

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

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