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  1. #1
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    Angry Affiliate Merchants Are getting Even more Stupid!
    Over the past year we have seen a huge increase in Affiliate Merchants deciding that affiliates cannot bid on their trademark terms.. and doing so means you get kicked out of the program.

    The reason being is they are seeing it from a one side perspective..

    " Our affiliates are driving our BID Costs up, and we are competing with them"

    OK.. if your an affiliate merchant read that again.... Now the approach being taken is throwing the baby out with the bath water.. by stopping all your affiliates bidding on your terms.. its a UNTHOUGHT OUT choice that whoever is making needs to be fired as they have no clue how to manage an affiliate program..

    OK.. I was in Las Vegas at affiliate summitt and this very issue was brought up and affiliate managers were saying..

    " Im not going to compete with my affiliates, no i will stop them"

    other said..

    " Our prices are being driven up, so its all we can do"

    FINALLLLYYY.... The Home Shopping Network Manager steps up and said...

    " We faced this same issue.. and comtemplated stopping our affiliates bidding on our terms, but then we realized if we did that we would actually be cuttin g off all the sales they were bringing us, becuase we would be leaving them with just GENERIC terms that they could bid on.. and we KNOW full well and so do they KNOW.. that MOST people search VERY SPECIFIC and usually based on the keyword of our company, so as we recognise all the hardwork that are affiliates do.. yet knowing that our bid prices are soaring, we came up with a solution that is a win win"

    OK>>>.. get ready for this.. if your one of the dickhead merchants who thinnks your being smart cutting of affiliates from bidding on your terms.. READ THIS

    " We decided we would, Set a BID LIMIT, meaning we know how much we are willing to spend ourselves per click, so lets say its $1.00 that would become our bid limit.. meaning NO affiliate could bid the same or ABOVE.. but they could bid below.. like 95 cents or whatever.. in turn what this did was not only solve our bid inflation price but it kept us on good grounds with the people who make us money.. our affiliates"

    NOW HOW HARD IS IT TOOO DO THAT??????

    Right now go do it..

    Remember WE ARE DOING YOU A FAVOUR PROMOTING YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES... not the other way around.. Remember that biatches! if you dont want people bidding on your terms.. REMOVE YOUR AFFILIATE PROGRAM altogether as your not helping anyone by keeping it going.. your just pissing your affiliates off, and showing how absolutely STUPID you are!

    Follow Home Shopping Networks model and we will all be happy campers..

    Secondly.. any merchant that gets into a bidding war with one of your own affiliates is friggin DUMB... we are working for you dickhead.. we are not another company... so retarded!!!!.. i see it more and more.. UNEDUCATED Affiliate Programs...

    The Stupidness of Affiliate merchants only continues to make me shake my head...

  2. #2
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    With HSN you can't bid on HSN or any variations but they let you bid on some proprietary terms.

    "Remember WE ARE DOING YOU A FAVOUR PROMOTING YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES... not the other way around.."

    You can do that, products and services, the TM is another issue for some merchants.

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Yahoo prohibits registered trademark bidding. So does eBay. Google has it's lawyers working 24/7 on this very issue and every damn BHO is up to their necks in both criminal and civil suits on triggering off trademarks. I take it your pissed your domian pages have no chance at natural SERPs so you like 20,000 others do the Trademark PPCSE cookie washing shuffle. Respect your merchant's wishes rather then just gaming them by PPCSE prime keyword hijacking.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager Blair.com's Avatar
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    Lasthope --

    Blair.com prohibits affiliates from bidding on branded keywords. And... there's a good reason for it.

    I've blogged about this several times, and I'm always entertained by people who feel the "HSN Method" is the smart way to manage an affiliate program. Why? Because I attempted to do exactly the same thing almost 2 years ago.

    I told our affiliates that they would be allowed to bid on branded keywords as long as the kept their bids below mine. And then I monitored it. Everything was running just fine! First thing when I got into the office at 7am, I checked Google and Overture. There I was at the top with several affiliates lined up behind me. Over lunch, I'd check again. Same thing. Finally, just before I left for the day, I'd take one more look. Everyone was playing by the rules. My idea had worked perfectly!

    Almost.

    One night before I went to bed, I decided to do a check. What the heck? There were 3 affiliates over top of my ad. When I got to the office in the morning, I checked again to start emailing the affiliates, but now I was back on top. Affiliates were only playing by the rules when they thought I'd be checking. The weekends were truly a mess.

    On 9/1/05, Blair.com affiliates were no longer allowed to bid on branded keywords. But... there are a few who are still bidding. That's because I have a good working relationship with them.

    I would suggest that you might try to do the same. Contact merchants you want to work with and see if they'd be willing to write up an agreement between the two of you. It could spell out the "HSN Method" and any other terms you and the merchant mutually agreed on.

    But... here's the thing. I'm pretty sure you'll need to have a good, working, business relationship with the merchant. Unfortunately, if you contact the AM and begin by calling him/her a dumb, stupid, retarded biatch or dickhead, I doubt that they'll take you seriously.
    Christopher Park
    Affiliate/Partnerships Manager
    Blair.com
    cjpark@blair.com
    (814)726-6074
    AIM: BLAIRAffiliates
    Twitter: BLAIRAffiliates

  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Think about it from a value perspective. What value are you adding for the merchant by bidding on his trademarks? Absolutely none (assuming he's bidding on them himself). You're just inserting yourself into the process, which is not that different from what a parasite does.

    The most successful PPC affiliates (and the ones who add the most value to merchants) bid on very specific keywords (often ones that the merchant hadn't even considered) about specific products.

    If a merchant allows bidding on their trademarked term, that's great. Enjoy the increased conversion ratio and easy money. But if they restrict it, that's certainly their right.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  6. #6
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    I second that. I don't understand why some affiliates are even thinking of bidding on a merchant TM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Think about it from a value perspective. What value are you adding for the merchant by bidding on his trademarks? Absolutely none (assuming he's bidding on them himself). You're just inserting yourself into the process, which is not that different from what a parasite does.

    The most successful PPC affiliates (and the ones who add the most value to merchants) bid on very specific keywords (often ones that the merchant hadn't even considered) about specific products.

    If a merchant allows bidding on their trademarked term, that's great. Enjoy the increased conversion ratio and easy money. But if they restrict it, that's certainly their right.
    Well said!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lasthope
    Remember WE ARE DOING YOU A FAVOUR PROMOTING YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
    Poaching the merchant's trademark does not equal promoting their products and services.


  8. #8
    CPA Network Rep JP Sauve's Avatar
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    I think merchants should get out of the business of buying search engine clicks, and just let their affiliates do it. Works out to the same thing really.
    [font=verdana][b][size=3][color=red]Are you familiar with [URL]MaxBounty.com[/URL] yet?[/color][/b][/size][/font][font=verdana][b][size=1][color=black]
    • Over 120 merchants with CPA/CPS programs seeking affiliates
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  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Blair.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP Sauve
    I think merchants should get out of the business of buying search engine clicks, and just let their affiliates do it. Works out to the same thing really.
    Hmmmm...

    Because nothing is better for a merchant's brand than a Google ad that says:

    Blairs: Clothing for the woman for todays cheap prices.
    Christopher Park
    Affiliate/Partnerships Manager
    Blair.com
    cjpark@blair.com
    (814)726-6074
    AIM: BLAIRAffiliates
    Twitter: BLAIRAffiliates

  10. #10
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    LOL! Yeah, you'll get some affiliates like that.

    But here are some good things about having affiliates doing PPC:

    1) You're guaranteed a profit (assuming you have enough margin to cover your affiliate commissions). The affiliate assumes all the risks.
    2) 100 different PPC affiliates will be able to cover FAR more keywords than a staff of PPC employees.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Set a BID LIMIT, meaning we know how much we are willing to spend ourselves
    We have two clients that do this, but the reason they do so is because they have competitors selling the same products and it makes more sense to have affiliate partners filling in the slots below the official bid than 4-5 competitors.

    But for their company names they do not allow bidding, just on the products.

    They also have open door policies on engines that they don't run PPC on themselves.

    100 different PPC affiliates will be able to cover FAR more keywords than a staff of PPC employees.
    Agree, so what we do as much as possible is apply bid limits to the top keywords and then let partners explore all the other opportunities...

    ...that said we have a couple of clients who look at PPC and say "Gah... take it away from me" and let partners do PPC.

    It's a mixed bag for sure

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Come on Blair. Your past association with parasites and all forms of blackhat affiliates makes you a huge PPCSE fraud target. Google all the Blair trademaks and buying keywords and you'll find professional Adwords and other PPCSE program gaming your Ad budget and trademarks with template keyword stuffed doorway domains.
    http://www.blairclothing.com/

    http://www.explorian.com/blair_cloth...?nft=1&t=5&p=1

    http://www.suspenderscatalog.com/Res...AdjCz7t_QbPnAx

    Google sponsors hundreds of Blair typo-squater domains for draining your budgets and allowing your affiliates to cookie stuff via PPCSE Ads.
    http://www.blare.com/
    http://www.blairclothes.com
    one of my favorites... http://www.blaire.com/

    You nurtured and monitized these affiliate wanks who moved from spamming into PPCSE fraud under the guise of value add affiliate marketing.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    I think Blair.com has a good point about the merchant's branding. It's hard to maintain your value proposition if some affiliates don't understand it. But we still use the HSN approach and it seems to work but it does have to be monitored. Most of our affiliates are very sharp and know how to present themselves and us well. After all, it's mostly the good ones that use and understand PPC in the first place.

  14. #14
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    It makes me giggle to see Blair complaining about ANYTHING that an affiliate does.


  15. #15
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    "What value are you adding for the merchant by bidding on his trademarks?"

    Well it depends on the merchant.

    I gave these 2 example before:

    Kohls
    http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...GLD:en&q=kohls

    They have it setup where their affiliates don't bid on their TM and their competition doesn't either.

    Golfsmith
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...en&q=golfsmith

    Now in this case they used to allow affiliates to bid in their TM, now they don't. So who's bidding on it now? Their competition. In this case, I would rather have my affiliates bidding on my TM than my competition.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador thecool's Avatar
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    IMHO, a merchant that competes with his affiliates should discontinue his affiliate program. That merchant is defeating the whole purpose of having an affiliate program. An affiliate of a competitive merchant is little more than canon fodder for the parasites that infest that merchant.

    Gene
    TCS

  17. #17
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    Oh another example that came to mind, for merchants that are the product. Like Toshiba, Panasonic, Timberland, UGG etc.

    In UGG Australia's case they used to allow affiliates to bid on their TM, now they don't. So now those affiliates still bid on UGG but just send it to other shoe merchants that carry that brand and they actually have them in stock There is one merchant that I do this with but they only allow a few of their affiliates to bid on their TM, had to give the merchant my Google ID number and they monitor how they promote them which is fine by me. It was one of those merchant is the product types. They rather have the sales thru their affiliate program than affiliates promote them thru other merchants.

    So I don't think it's one of those black and white issues. There are cases where it would make sense for a merchant to allow it and cases where it wouldn't.

  18. #18
    CPA Network Rep Jon@Fluxads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    So I don't think it's one of those black and white issues. There are cases where it would make sense for a merchant to allow it and cases where it wouldn't.
    agree.
    [B]Jon Lyons[/B]
    Director of Affiliate Operations
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  19. #19
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    So many variables... branding concerns, comm rate versus cpc costs, manpower and expertise available and much more. Merchants need to choose their own best path.

    For those who say affiliates doing ppc add no value, you're underestimating the skills, time and costs required to run good ppc campaigns. And you're also underestimating the scope of what / how people are searching for things today on the Internet.

    But for an affiliate to ppc Blair, is just silly. Whether it's a passive or complicit AM, chosing bad partners removes the incentive for honest affiliates to do anything to bring a merchant new customers. There's a sign out front of every merchant, "we pay those who work" on one side, "we allow cheating" on the other. Mr. Park would have you believe it's not that simple... which gives you a huge hint which way his sign is flipped.

  20. #20
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    For those who say affiliates doing ppc add no value
    Since I think I was the only one who used that terminology in this thread, let me just be clear that I'm talking about affiliates who do nothing but bid on the merchant's trademarked name. PPC affiliates who bid on a wide variety of keywords that lead to specific products provide tremendous value to merchants.
    Michael Coley
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  21. #21
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    Since I think I was the only one who used that terminology in this thread, let me just be clear that I'm talking about affiliates who do nothing but bid on the merchant's trademarked name.
    I think it adds value even when the aff is doing nothing but that.

    The fact that their links get clicked, says that either the merchant dropped the ball, or at least that the searchers (for some reason) weren't interested in clicking what is probably Free Listing #1--the listing that goes directly to the merchant site.

    Every other ad or listing aiming at that merchant's site is another chance to make a conversion; a conversion which apparently wasn't happening without those other listings. That's a value.
    (If the person was convinced before, they wouldn't have been clicking the other ads.)

    Searchers passing up the Official Site only to click on something like Listing #10 (a link right back to the Official Site) and then buy, is admittedly baffling searcher behavior. But it happens all the time, and I think merchants are foolish to ban TM bidding in what seems to be an attempt to wish away this ununderstandable phenomenon. But those searchers aren't going to quit doing that. They're not suddenly going to get logical if there's only one ad to a merchant! Searchers who pass up the Merchant Site have already shown that they have something against clicking Listing #1, and that doesn't change if the merchant gives up the other positions (by kicking their affs off). Searchers'll just click some competing ad, and possibly decide that the competition is better after all! This isn't just some misty maybe; I've had decent luck in the past being that competing ad. Searchers who bypass the Official Site's own links/ads seem to be some of the least "decided" shoppers.

    IMO better to go with how the searchers actually behave, and make sure that as many listings/ads as possible are promoting the Official Site too--rather than allow some competing sites to get in there and possibly change the searchers' mind about buying the searched-for brand at all.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  22. #22
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    Unhappy
    Well just an update it seems that the reason most of them have put this in place is due to the arbitration game that people were playing, where they would take terms and lead people to a page where nothing was there to do with that term.. basically trying to grab google adsense clicks..

    prime examples of this.. if you go to google its still happening with sites like
    http://web.info.com/infocom.us2/sear...ap%20Insurance

    http://www.uncoverthenet.com/gsearch...ap%20insurance

    definately this one >>> http://www.best4sites.net/hpk/cheapi...Insurance.html ive even reported this one to google but they did nothing.....

    it offers nothing but google adsense clogs up adwords.. I think more people should report them

    anyway thats life i guess online.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    Yahoo prohibits registered trademark bidding. So does eBay. Google has it's lawyers working 24/7 on this very issue and every damn BHO is up to their necks in both criminal and civil suits on triggering off trademarks. I take it your pissed your domian pages have no chance at natural SERPs so you like 20,000 others do the Trademark PPCSE cookie washing shuffle. Respect your merchant's wishes rather then just gaming them by PPCSE prime keyword hijacking.
    ECOM no im not one of the people doing shady stuff ... I do everything by the books and if they ask me to stop bidding i stop bidding..

    its a case of more companies are going this route, american express, orchard, capital one, you name it...

    I dont just rely on serps i dont mind paying for traffic just like any regular business offline does.. i do it online

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    Since I think I was the only one who used that terminology in this thread, let me just be clear that I'm talking about affiliates who do nothing but bid on the merchant's trademarked name. PPC affiliates who bid on a wide variety of keywords that lead to specific products provide tremendous value to merchants.
    That is exactly what i do.. i bid on loads of terms relevant to the industry..

  25. #25
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    I think more people are moving away from affiliate programs and are using adsense more.. because of all the legal B.S involved with promoting affiliate programs.. too many restrictions.. but maybe thats just my take.. what do you think?

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