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  1. #1
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    Violations of PPC Bidding Policies (bid on domain)
    I noticed today that one of our affiliates has violated our (QuoteProducts.com's) PPC bidding policies, by bidding on our company/domain name (which is the ONLY prohibition we have).

    I've sent the affiliate a "warning email," but then I also decided to check out the affiliate's web site -- which turns out to bring up a parked-domain random list of ads.

    The most interesting thing (for me) is that the AdWords ad text was a very general pitch for our products, but the link URL was "deep-linked" to a specific author page at our site, with just one poster design visible -- certainly not a wise choice for creating high conversion from a very general message. (The affiliate has generated only 2 clicks total to our program, one of which was my click to identify which affiliate was bidding, and I assume the other was the affiliate's own test click.)

    Merchants: Take a moment to run a search for your company name, if it's a prohibited PPC term, and see if any of your affiliates are bidding on it against the rules. If so, send off a polite warning email, asking the affiliate to remove the prohibited terms from their keyword list. (Be sure to check your own policies, agreement, and PPC rules to confirm that the prohibited terms are listed!)

    Affiliates: Always take a moment to review each merchant's stated PPC restrictions. I'm not sure how many SAS merchants have set up PPC bidding rules, but you should always check by logging in to your account and then viewing the PPC rules page at
    http://www.shareasale.com/a-viewPPCk...rchantID=10812
    You can just substitute any merchant ID for 10812, for example:
    http://www.shareasale.com/a-viewPPCk...rchantID=11255

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
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    I'll be honest, I once bid on a restricted term because I forgot (read" poor documentation) it was restricted. It's no excuse, and rather embarrassing to admit, but the email I got from the merchant was fairly polite. I apologized and removed the keyword within 5 minutes of having received the email.

    My as Mark said, send a polite email. No reason to get up in arms. It's if there's no action taken within a reasonable time that you need to get huffy.
    Chris Sturgill
    "All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals." - H. Simpson

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    the affiliate's web site -- which turns out to bring up a parked-domain random list of ads.

    The most interesting thing (for me) is that the AdWords ad text was a very general pitch for our products, but the link URL was "deep-linked" to a specific author page at our site, with just one poster design visible -- certainly not a wise choice for creating high conversion from a very general message.
    Aha...

    They don't WANT people clicking the link to your merchant. They want them to click one of those PPC ads instead. The wide-net ad they're running almost guarantees that their traffic won't be satisfied with the one item they're showing--and that's the plan. The dissatisfied traffic then clicks a PPC link, hoping one of those links will take them to the wide-selection site they were looking for.

    I also suspect that the page isn't really a standard parked page (it's just made to look like one), due to the fact that you said that there was at least one link on it going through the aff program. Parked pages usually are 100% PPC ads.

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    SAS also has a nice automated tool to report to the merchant when someone violates one of the entered, prohibited keywords. Makes policing easier. Won't catch everyone, some do sneaky redirects to mask the traffic's source and referral url, but it'll catch the honest mistakes and most of the intentional ones too.

    Mark, you use the sas tool to discover this one?

  5. #5
    Member Core's Avatar
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    I agree. Merchants need to give a polite email first. Some people just get so busy and with so many merchant partners mistakes can happen. If they ignore the warning come down on them. Some people are out there to make a buck no matter what they have to do. If you're going to do affiliate marketing do it right. No spyware/adware crap and no cheating users. Provide some kind of value to your visitor. Ok, I'm done venting.

    Core

  6. #6
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    ...and lets not forget that the search engines want money too, so sometimes they return what the algo believes to be the most relevant results, which sometimes has nothing to do with the Affiliate other than not putting trademarked terms into negative keywords, so it would just be a bad idea to jump on anyone who might show up as trademark infringing.

    General good rule of thumb is to always be polite and courteous! (See Mom... I DO still remember what you taught me!)

  7. #7
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    Leader wrote: > "They don't WANT people clicking the link to your merchant. They want them to click one of those PPC ads instead." <

    I'm sorry for any confusion here -- this was an AdWords ad shown on the Google search results page; clicking on the AdWords ad sends the visitor straight to our web site, not through the affiliate's site.

    I was simply pointing out that the affiliate's web site was actually a "domain parked" page, not a genuine content page of any kind. This particular activity was independent of that site, but I suspect that many merchants would have declined this affiliate if they'd seen that page (since it's a US affiliate with "Full" status, our settings allowed the affiliate to be auto-approved).

    Donuts wrote: >"SAS also has a nice automated tool to report to the merchant when someone violates one of the entered, prohibited keywords. * * * Mark, did you use the sas tool to discover this one?" <

    No, I didn't realize that there was such a tool, and I wasn't able to find it just now -- I'd certainly appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction to find this report.

    Rugman wrote: > "Let's not forget that the search engines want money too, so sometimes they return what the algo believes to be the most relevant results, which sometimes has nothing to do with the Affiliate other than not putting trademarked terms into negative keywords, so it would just be a bad idea to jump on anyone who might show up as trademark infringing." <

    Good point -- in this case, the referring URL shows the query was for "quoteproducts," but it is possible (though unlikely, I think) that the affiliate might have chosen broad-match keywords that Google decided would make it appropriate to show their ad.
    Last edited by markwelch; February 28th, 2007 at 04:17 PM.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    Right! Sorry for getting off track, Mark. I've also experienced this kind of thing, with parked domain PPC ads to our tracdemarked terms, and have sent endless emails asking to adjust bidding, cease trademark bidding, stop URL using, etc etc etc until I actually was left with no communication back, and an expired affiliate who still continued to bid even though they were no longer in our program.

    Ah well.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I saw an Adwords ad using my brand and I'm not even a merchant. They were some sort of site info site. Had a few links to sites with basic statistics on my site with a banner ad above the links. Not sure if I want people using my brand like this..

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Mark, I'm only an aff at SAS, not a merchant - so the feature isn't shown to me or in my help files. But where you enter you prohibited keywords for affs to see, there's a feature that flags sales whose referring urls contain those terms. Check with SAS for more - or confab with another SAS merchant. It's a relatively new feature, 6 months to a year old - and is under used, so you might try contacting SAS directly.

  11. #11
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugman
    ...and lets not forget that the search engines want money too, so sometimes they return what the algo believes to be the most relevant results, which sometimes has nothing to do with the Affiliate other than not putting trademarked terms into negative keywords, so it would just be a bad idea to jump on anyone who might show up as trademark infringing.

    General good rule of thumb is to always be polite and courteous! (See Mom... I DO still remember what you taught me!)
    Hehehee! Ok, everyone, Doug's referring to me! I have an affiliate rug site and do tons of ppc to it. Some of my broad matched terms, bid very low, were indeed showing up for "rugman" searches. I was unaware of it, Doug pointed out to me that I forgot to add "rugman" and "rugman.com" as a negative term and so his point is, don't over react - he knows I never meant to show my ads for his tm - in fact, i turn in tm poachers in his program whenever i see them - cause i know it violates their policies and does a small injustice to my traffic as well.

    As Doug pursued those purposefully poaching and the list of ads showing up got shorter and shorter, eventually I started showing up there... way down at the bottom.

    I was in like 10th position or something and not always showing. It's a lesson in broad matching - a technique I often avoid for roi concerns, but one i was using for several ad groups targeting cheap, low position, low volume clicks - think it was triggering off of "area rug" and G's algo was broad matching it to rugman.

    Doug's a classy guy, so he veiled his joke here and didn't make a direct reference to me. I was mortified when he called me, but we had a huge giggle about it. He loved "getting" me on a rookie mistake!

    So yep, Doug's right - fire a warning shot in most cases unless it's obvious tm poaching (in a program that disallows it).

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