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  1. #1
    Newbie rockybalboa11's Avatar
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    affiliates who bid on their program's domain name
    just wondering what the word is on affiliates who do this--a co-worker of mine came across one of our recently added affiliates bidding on our domain name and made an instant decision to ban it.

    in my opinion, it will simply drive more business and revenue to us. (aside from the cents & commission fee it will cost us...)

    anyone here with experience on this?

  2. #2
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    I think there are a lot of good reasons to ban the practice. For one, someone who specifically searches your name is a very hot lead - they know they want your site. By having more competitors, you reduce the chance that they will click on your ad, and you frustrate them with the unnecessary middle step of an affiliate landing page (which we all know aren't -always- the most attractive or easy to navigate).

    It can also drive up your cost on the clicks you DO get, which is never good.

    The way I see it is this - Affiliates earn their commission by helping people come to your company's site when they wouldn't have otherwise thought to visit. If they're searching your brand name, they're already looking for you, and the affiliate isn't doing anything (unless you're not participating in SEO or PPC activities).

  3. #3
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    One can tell immediately who's greed driven and desperate for traffic. Why not just sell the domain and business to some PPCSE Super Affiliate. Bet a few BHO's would out perform the PPCSE affiliate on making sure their commission cookies got set on any route to your site.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  4. #4
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    I don't know if that last comment was directed at me or not, but my previous comment is coming from the perspective of someone who works for a company - not the owner of the company.

    I believe the decision is ultimately up to the individual merchant, but if you're managing someone's affiliate program, it's your job to do everything in your power to make them money and keep their costs down (particularly if your function extends into other areas of online marketing beyond the affiliate program). If a company gets substantial traffic through PPC ads for their domain name, it can be very costly to allow affiliates to bid on the terms and increase those costs.

    Obviously, restricting keywords can cause a company to be perceived as un-friendly to affiliates. On the other hand, if your product has enough draw of its own, that may not be a concern.

  5. #5
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    Banning "affiliate PPC bidding on the merchant name" is almost always a no-brainer -- every merchant should have this policy.

    However, that doesn't mean that there aren't some potential benefits from having affiliates (or others) bid for your name.

    For example, if your competitors are also bidding on your name, you may want some of your affiliates competing as well, so that more of this traffic comes to you. In this case, you'd probably set a policy fixing a maximum bid amount for specific keywords.

  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I'd say it depends on the competition and your own free ranks for your name.

    If your ranks suck, and someone's willing to put your name up there, I think it makes sense to take the opportunity. Costs should be more than balanced out by you not having to pay for all the nonconverting clicks.

    The only time I could see restricting it is if you're in the top 5 free SERPs already and don't have any competitors bidding on your name in the ads, provided the affs have decent-enough landing pages.

    What I could never see is the merchants themselves PPCing for their own names, when they have good free rank under it. That's just pointless to me...

    Another weirdness I see a lot of is affs SEOing for names that hardly have any branding (or have no branding) yet. Seems like a lot of work to bother with, to get 0 hits! For a well-known brand I could see it, but for a relative unknown, it'd be better if they put their efforts on a term people actually looked for (*cough* like "TULIPS" *cough*)

    Quote Originally Posted by EcomCity
    Why not just sell the domain and business to some PPCSE Super Affiliate.
    I don't think a PPCSE SA would be interested in doing the product fulfillment... But hey, all businesses are for sale, if the price is right and the check is good!
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  7. #7
    Member Gowtham.kudur's Avatar
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    Just a thought

    If a merchant allow affiliates to bid on merchantís domain name and when the person go to affiliate site he will find not just the merchant but also the competitors in the page. Which might reduce the click for the merchant?

    Let me know if I am right?

    Gowtham

  8. #8
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader

    The only time I could see restricting it is if you're in the top 5 free SERPs already and don't have any competitors bidding on your name in the ads, provided the affs have decent-enough landing pages.
    Can't merchants just file with all of the major search engines a PPC restriction ("ban") request on all their trademarked names and their domain name? If they're concerned about competitors bidding on their name, this would all but eliminate the practice. In reading Google's policy about restricted terms, I'm fairly certain that they will accept and enforce this type of "ban" request, at least on the PPC side of the search results. Not sure about Yahoo or MSN, though. Am I missing something?

  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gowtham
    If a merchant allow affiliates to bid on merchantís domain name and when the person go to affiliate site he will find not just the merchant but also the competitors in the page. Which might reduce the click for the merchant?

    Let me know if I am right?

    That IS a possibility!!
    Well. In that case I'll modify my earlier position: It may be best if merchants only allow TM bidding for pages which have no competitors mentioned on them!

    I always forget that lots of affiliates put more than one merchant on a page. That's not how I usually set pages up; I like to use just one merchant/page to keep things simple.

    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Can't merchants just file with all of the major search engines a PPC restriction ("ban") request on all their trademarked names and their domain name?
    I'm not so sure. Google's been sued for allowing competing bids, and the courts sided with G. So, despite the official Google policy, some must have been allowed to bid, at least when the suits were filed.

    As for what they really allow currently, a look at what ads are showing under major brand names would be the best indicator. They may have decided to ban it just to avoid having to go to court more (even though they won, they may be sick of the hassle), or maybe it's one of those rules that are "negotiable."
    Last edited by Leader; November 3rd, 2006 at 12:25 AM.
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  10. #10
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Sending a legal notice to Google -Yahoo -MSN PPC staffers regarding registered trademark poaching by competitors and greedy affiliates does wonders to clean up abusers. Also include Amazon and eBay in the notices. Then Police it with reminder notices and pray the 3rd world poachers, out of legal range, lose interest.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  11. #11
    Newbie rockybalboa11's Avatar
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    thanks for the replies guys :-D

  12. #12
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    My view on this topic ...

    Allowing TM Brand Bidding:

    * Pros

    - Lower PPC cost (if merchant does not/inactively participate PPC)
    - Dilute competitors' TM bids
    - Create a feel of hot products & deals for shoppers

    * Cons

    - Top bids could be brand spoilers with poor landing pages
    - Affiliates might drive away hot leads to competitors
    - Increase PPC cost (if merchant wants to be at the top PPC spot)

    Disallowing TM Brand Bidding:

    * Pros

    - Lower PPC cost (if enforcement on competitors' bidding too)
    - Ensure quality brand representation

    * Cons

    - A lot of policing work to fend off competitors and ignorant affiliates
    - Competitors' bidding might dominate sponsored ad section
    - Sponsored ad section of search result looks empty

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