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March 01, 2007

"Good" vs. "Bad" Search Affiliates

By Michael Abolafia

I want to thank Li for inviting me to SMG. I hope to bring to light some of the issues that affect affiliate marketers, strategies that they utilize, and tools that are currently being utilized.

Goodandevil For my first entry on SMG I wanted to clarify my view on the “good” vs “bad” Affiliate Marketers utilizing search. Unfortunately, there are people out there that who give some amazing marketers a bad name. For me it simply comes down to whether the affiliate adds value to the merchant.

There are many affiliate marketers out there that are more advanced in PPC strategies then the merchants. A quality affiliate will build customized landing pages for niches within the merchants business. They will target their keywords towards this niche often going deeper than the merchant. Even if the merchant has a quality search campaign these affiliate still add a great deal of value by blocking competitors from the space.

As recently as a few years ago many affiliate managers rated the success of their program based on the amount of affiliates in the program. Now it makes much more sense to run small controlled programs where the Affiliate Manager has more power over who they are working with. By manually approving all affiliates and sticking to strict guidelines it makes it easier to weed out the offending affiliates. This includes trademark bidders or people who bid on important keywords and send the traffic directly to the merchant’s site through an affiliate link. These types of affiliates are not good for an individual program or the industry as a whole. It is these behaviors by individuals is what gives affiliate marketing a bad name in the search space. They are also a major reason for the recent change in Google’s algorithm that has led to false positives, negatively affecting the campaigns of legitimate merchants.

In future blog entries I will go into more detail on the top affiliates in the space as well as the offenders giving Affiliate Marketing a bad name.

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