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  1. #1
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    CJ Search Group - Commission Junction Offering Search Marketing Services
    It's nothing new in that they've been doing this but it's now open to all advertisers.

    http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/070802-153028

  2. #2
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    http://www.cj.com/advertisers/cj_search.html

    "Search complements your affiliate marketing efforts by driving maximum performance from the search channel while also efficiently managing potential channel conflicts with your publishers' search efforts.

    WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

  3. #3
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    Some conflicts of interest possibly? If they're managing a program for a merchant and also doing PPC, while maybe not letting other affiliates do PPC for the same program.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Some conflicts of interest possibly? If they're managing a program for a merchant and also doing PPC, while maybe not letting other affiliates do PPC for the same program.
    Most merchants let affiliates use PPC - the only restriction is usually on branded terms (even without being managed by CJ). Anyway, I think that CJ would actually want to have affiliates on all terms possible and not necessarily always optimize the search ROI, as CJ does get their 30% of all affiliate commissions.

    Nothing new though, CJ has really been pimping this as an extra service to merchants for quite some time, and Performics has been doing the same, as well.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant Consultant Team
    http://www.cj.com/advertisers/cj_search.html

    "Search complements your affiliate marketing efforts by driving maximum performance from the search channel while also efficiently managing potential channel conflicts with your publishers' search efforts.

    WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
    That means that they will monitor keywords for affiliates either bidding on branded terms (if not allowed), or not using the merchant's display URL (knocking off the merchant's own search ad).

  6. #6
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    So now they own affiliate sites and are entering the paid search arena on a full scale. But they want to make sure there are no conflicts? I would say they are headed toward being nothing but one huge conflict of interest.

    CJ is slowly but surely setting themselves up to lose their affiliate base. I hope they make enough money on all of this other stuff to recover what they will lose when they finally give affiliates no choice but to seek opportunities elsewhere.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    So now they own affiliate sites and are entering the paid search arena on a full scale. But they want to make sure there are no conflicts? I would say they are headed toward being nothing but one huge conflict of interest.

    CJ is slowly but surely setting themselves up to lose their affiliate base. I hope they make enough money on all of this other stuff to recover what they will lose when they finally give affiliates no choice but to seek opportunities elsewhere.
    How is CJ managing a merchants search campaigns any different than a merchant or another online ad agency managing search for a merchant? Many companies manage both an affiliate program and a search campaign, whether in-house or outsourced to a third party. They don't have any leg up in search by running the technology behind the affiliate program.

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager DaveAMWSO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua
    How is CJ managing a merchants search campaigns any different than a merchant or another online ad agency managing search for a merchant? Many companies manage both an affiliate program and a search campaign, whether in-house or outsourced to a third party. They don't have any leg up in search by running the technology behind the affiliate program.
    CJ has access to a lot of information. Suppose I'm company ABC selling widgets and run my affiliate program through CJ. Many of my affiliates are running very successful ppc campaigns. Well, suppose a competitor, company XYZ signed up with CJ search services. CJ can see what's working well for me through my affiliates and now start applying this for my competitors benefit.

    In regard to an advertising agency, if they are handling the account for my largest competitor, I can choose to go to another agency. I don't think you can find any network that would be exclusive to a particular company for a particular niche.

    Seems quite a slippery road CJ is embarking on.
    [B]Dave Oliver[/B] - AMWSO Affiliate Program Management Team
    [URL=http://www.amwso.com]www.amwso.com[/URL] | dave [at] amwso.com | AIM: DaveOliPM | Twitter: [URL=https://twitter.com/daveolipm]@daveolipm[/URL] |
    Programs: [URL=http://www.amwso.com/artoftea.php] Art of Tea[/URL] | [URL=http://www.amwso.net/affiliatet/eachbuyer-affiliate-program/]Eachbuyer[/URL] | [URL=https://www.facebook.com/amwso]AMWSO FB[/URL]

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveAMWSO
    CJ has access to a lot of information. Suppose I'm company ABC selling widgets and run my affiliate program through CJ. Many of my affiliates are running very successful ppc campaigns. Well, suppose a competitor, company XYZ signed up with CJ search services. CJ can see what's working well for me through my affiliates and now start applying this for my competitors benefit.

    In regard to an advertising agency, if they are handling the account for my largest competitor, I can choose to go to another agency. I don't think you can find any network that would be exclusive to a particular company for a particular niche.

    Seems quite a slippery road CJ is embarking on.
    Dave - If your affiliates are running successful PPC campaigns, how can CJ find out their keywords? Unless they're using your company's display URL (or temporarily violating Google by using a fake display URL but sending traffic directly to the CJ link), CJ can't find out exactly where the affiliates are sending traffic from. CJ gets referrer information, but in most cases of successful affiliates, all CJ will see is the affiliate's landing page. Even if they get referrer information from a directly-linking campaign, I know that advertisers in CJ are not privy to the query string, in order to protect the affiliate's keyword list. The only people to my knowledge who have that are Network Quality, and I've never been able to get the query string from CJ, even in cases of fraud. The only case to really worry about is when both you and your competitor are using CJ's search management program.

    Also, I hate to break it to you, but Google's account teams would really be the people to worry about. The Google account teams that support large advertisers' account give suggestions on keywords or optimization... based on aggregate information from similar advertisers in the industry. If you've ever had your Google account team recommend keywords, they're most likely pulling that data from their industry aggregated data.

  10. #10
    Outsourced Program Manager DaveAMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi Joshua,

    You make a valid point that many PPC affiliates are using landing pages and CJ generally won't get the keyword data, so let me give you another scenario:

    Affiliate ABC has a landing page set-up that's ranking organically for certain keywords. This page is converting very well, and there isn't much competition in PPC for these keywords. "Search marketing services" can now suggest to competitor XYZ to start bidding for these keywords via PPC.

    Now, consider this scenario: Supposed big affiliate ABC hires CJ for search marketing services. Affilaite ABC wants to rank high for keywords relating to merchant 1, 2 and 3. If you're affiliate XYZ, how do you feel now about CJ (who can leverage a lot of information about what I'm doing to promote merchant 1, 2 and 3), now providing extra services to affiliate ABC?

    Dave
    [B]Dave Oliver[/B] - AMWSO Affiliate Program Management Team
    [URL=http://www.amwso.com]www.amwso.com[/URL] | dave [at] amwso.com | AIM: DaveOliPM | Twitter: [URL=https://twitter.com/daveolipm]@daveolipm[/URL] |
    Programs: [URL=http://www.amwso.com/artoftea.php] Art of Tea[/URL] | [URL=http://www.amwso.net/affiliatet/eachbuyer-affiliate-program/]Eachbuyer[/URL] | [URL=https://www.facebook.com/amwso]AMWSO FB[/URL]

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveAMWSO
    Affiliate ABC has a landing page set-up that's ranking organically for certain keywords. This page is converting very well, and there isn't much competition in PPC for these keywords. "Search marketing services" can now suggest to competitor XYZ to start bidding for these keywords via PPC.
    Dave, once again, CJ will only see the landing page referrer in this case, and not what search term drove traffic to the landing page. Can't see any conflict of interest here.
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveAMWSO
    Now, consider this scenario: Supposed big affiliate ABC hires CJ for search marketing services. Affilaite ABC wants to rank high for keywords relating to merchant 1, 2 and 3. If you're affiliate XYZ, how do you feel now about CJ (who can leverage a lot of information about what I'm doing to promote merchant 1, 2 and 3), now providing extra services to affiliate ABC?

    Dave
    CJ isn't selling search marketing services to affiliates, but to advertisers already in CJ. Affiliates cannot hire CJ for search marketing services, and once again, CJ will not be able to provide any information on what is making their PPC affiliates successful since CJ has no way of tracking where the affiliate's landing page is getting traffic from.

  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager DaveAMWSO's Avatar
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    There are dozens of tools available out there that show exactly where a page is ranking on search engines for any keyword.

    The ADVANTAGE that CJ will have that no one else has is the ability to know exactly which landing pages are converting well for affiliates.

    Additionally, they are now competing with affiliates for keywords.

    You honestly don't feel that competing with affiliates and having access to more information by the fact that they run the network is a conflict of interest?
    [B]Dave Oliver[/B] - AMWSO Affiliate Program Management Team
    [URL=http://www.amwso.com]www.amwso.com[/URL] | dave [at] amwso.com | AIM: DaveOliPM | Twitter: [URL=https://twitter.com/daveolipm]@daveolipm[/URL] |
    Programs: [URL=http://www.amwso.com/artoftea.php] Art of Tea[/URL] | [URL=http://www.amwso.net/affiliatet/eachbuyer-affiliate-program/]Eachbuyer[/URL] | [URL=https://www.facebook.com/amwso]AMWSO FB[/URL]

  13. #13
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Looks like that email went out on August 2. It also looks like they completed the acquisition of MeziMedia on June 30th. Coincidence? I don't think so personally. VC made it quite clear in their earnings call that the acquisition was planned to help make up for the lost revenue in their "promotion offers" sector lost due to the FTC investigation. They've also make it clear that one of the primary reasons they acquired Mezi was related to Mezi's SEO and SEM knowledge, along with the shopping comparison and foothold into China. And let's not forget the huge earnings out on the table for Mezi with this acquisition. Those payments begin at the end this year and continue until it looks like 2009. So they are working towards meeting those revenue benchmarks right now.

    But I'm sure there are absolutely no conflicts of interest in play here, even though VC is attempting to meet stockholders expectations at the moment and are seeing their stock prices decline. Not to mention the FTC investigation is still on-going and no one knows how that one is going to pan out, a class action regarding spam and 2 classactions related specifically to affiliate marketing revenue (which VC isn't talking about yet and analysists don't appear to know about yet).

    And referring URL are not the only way CJ can obtain information about which keywords affiliates are bidding on. There are third party services which will provide such information in very nice daily reports. And really all you need is to spider the major SEs to obtain that information. And CJ does have it's own spider. Just because Merchants may not get the query string, doesn't mean CJ doesn't have that information for any number of methods. And let's not forget VC owns it's own PPCSE as well. But then I'm sure the VC companies operate in complete isolation of each other.

    "Search complements your affiliate marketing efforts by driving maximum performance from the search channel while also efficiently managing potential channel conflicts with your publishers' search efforts.

    WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
    First I think it's marketing to sell the service to merchants. But to what it really means as to what they are providing to merchants with the service, I think goes to what I bolded in the quote. I think that goes further than just trademark bidding, which is something CJ NQ *should* be monitoring anyway if it's not allowed by the merchant. There are some merchants who feel their own search channel competes with their PPCSE affiliates, so search and affiliate channels are competing which drives up their overall ROAS. It sounds to me like CJ is saying to their merchants, if CJ is allowed to manage their search CJ will also manage that conflict for them. And that potentially means what for CJ PPCSE affiliates?

  14. #14
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Oh and there's also this from the email:



    We offer the following benefits to our clients:

    - Aggressive Paid Search (Pay Per Click) Optimization. We are experts in increasing ROAS, driving volume and optimizing for maximum efficiencies.
    - Ability to gain no 1 ranking's naturally through SEO for highly competitive terms.
    - A sophisticated Bid Management platform able to optimize effectively for CTR and bid price and ROAS, not just bid price and ROAS.
    - A true understand of the interdependence of Affiliate marketing and Search Engine Marketing. We are the industry leaders in working Search and Affiliates to maximize ROAS.
    - A dedicated customer focused team. We seek to understand your business objectives, provide effective communication and deliver superior results.
    - Ability to track multiple cookie conversions. This includes search retargeting.
    - Performance based pricing model. We are rewarded for increasing ROAS, not by increasing spend.
    I've bolded the parts that made me go hmmmmm. I bolded and itialiced (is that a word?) the one that made me go HHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Search retargeting? What major search engine offers that service? I'd like to see some explanation behind that .

    Even with all of the points brought up here about "competing with affiliates" on successful terms, I find this no different than a traditional agency or in-house team. If the same team is managing both search and affiliate, the team can still do keyword research to find out where their affiliates drive traffic from.

    CJ's margin from affiliates (30% of commission) will be much greater than the margin on whatever percent of spend that the advertiser pays them to manage search. They won't cannibalize affiliates from other programs to benefit another merchant, as I can't see how they'd make more money. If a certain PPC term costs $20 on average to convert and an affiliate is getting paid $30 commission, CJ makes $9 from every conversion, and the affiliate profits $10. If CJ decides to have the merchant compete directly on that term, the merchant will only spend $20 on that conversion. If CJ is charing 30% of spend to manage the search campaign, CJ would now only make $6 for that conversion.

    I really don't think this is as big of an issue as it seems to be, as I fail to see any logical reason that CJ would screw over the affiliate channel to profit in search.

  16. #16
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    I find this no different than a traditional agency or in-house team.
    Oh, I think it's very similiar myself. But also think there are conflicts of interest in those situations and I know for a fact cannibalization happens in those situations as well. In fact, I've had in-house folks tell me they perceived their job as cannibalizing the traffic from a competing in-house channel.

    If the same team is managing both search and affiliate, the team can still do keyword research to find out where their affiliates drive traffic from.
    They can and they do of course. But we are talking about the "trusted third party" doing it. And CJ does have data that other teams may not have have access to or not have as ready access to.

    If CJ is charing 30% of spend to manage the search campaign, CJ would now only make $6 for that conversion.
    *If* CJ is charging 30% of search spend. I personally don't know what they charge their seach services. But they do say they aren't rewarded by increasing spend but increasing ROAS. So that leads me to think they aren't charging a % of search spend.

    I do know other companies, and even merchant's themselves, who run the search campaigns through an affiliate link to track ROI and probably payment of services as well. I've seen personally more than one merchant who will run their own PPCSE through in-house affiliate tracking systems.

    They won't cannibalize affiliates from other programs to benefit another merchant, as I can't see how they'd make more money.
    But would they cannibalize that merchant's affiliate traffic into the search channel? Would they capture the merchant's own organic traffic into the search channel? Considering they allow that one in the affiliate channel, I have to think it's a possibility in the search channel.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kellie aka Ms. B
    But would they cannibalize that merchant's affiliate traffic into the search channel? Would they capture the merchant's own organic traffic into the search channel? Considering they allow that one in the affiliate channel, I have to think it's a possibility in the search channel.
    Ding Ding Ding!!! We have a winner!!! Step this way lady to claim your prize

    As usual, thank you for the moment of clarity Kellie!

  18. #18
    Member inasisi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua
    If CJ is charing 30% of spend to manage the search campaign, CJ would now only make $6 for that conversion.
    One of the features of CJ's Search Group is
    • Performance based pricing model. We are rewarded for increasing ROAS, not by increasing spend.


    So what that means is that CJ would charge the same amount for this conversion as it would have cost the advertiser for the affiliate's conversion. That is, CJ will charge $30 + $9 and it would have cost CJ only $20. In such a case CJ will get a profit of $19 instead of the just $9 from the affiliate business.

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