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Affiliate PPC Policy - Help Needed - What Works???

Discussion in 'General Affiliate Marketing Forum' started by Linda Buquet, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    I can see the affiliate PPC debate pretty clearly from all sides, but have been asked to try to get some consensus from affiliates about what an appropriate and acceptable compromise is. Would also like to know if you have seen any creative solutions to the affiliate PPC conundrum.

    Someone asked me to get some feedback from you guys about the following issue. 1st I'd like to say that I don't agree with the merchant's viewpoint, although I can see their point. I'm making some assumptions, but based on what I know of the situation this is the scenario.

    Merchant has a wide range of products and an aggressive PPC campaign covering hundreds or thousands of targeted and long tail key phrases. Merchant is getting good PPC conversion and a better ROI from PPC than they get from the affiliate channel. So the financial person overseeing the PPC marketing channel wants to prohibit affiliates from doing any PPC bidding. The primary concern is that on Google, affiliates can knock the merchant out of the bidding for their own products, based on the one URL per domain rule and/or drive up the merchant's PPC cost. NOTE: the concern is not Trademarks - trademark bidding is not allowed. We are talking generic and product key phrases.

    So if someone wanted to present options to the merchant that would allow affiliates to still do key word bidding (no trademarks) without negatively affecting the merchants existing PPC campaign so the affiliate channel could continue to do PPC - what would some of those options be? Have you seen any creative compromises? Possible options and repercussions:

    <strong>Merchant says no direct URL bidding, must use a landing page.</strong>
    (Extra work for affiliates. Possible change in quality score and conversion rates.
    Extra click for the consumer.)

    <strong>Merchant offers a separate domain affiliates can use for PPC.</strong>
    (Extra work for merchant. Duplicate content issues for merchant? That one extra domain could still only have one affiliate sending direct traffic.)
    <strong>
    Merchant is leaning toward prohibiting affiliate PPC bidding altogether,
    if no workable compromise can be found. </strong>
    <strong>
    So What other options are there? </strong>As more and more affiliates turn to PPC to drive traffic, I assume this is becoming an increasingly pressing issue and wonder how other merchants handle this or if affiliates have come across any type of acceptable compromise.

    I've not been involved in merchant/affiliate PPC policies for awhile, so when this company asked me for possible solutions, I said I'd put it out there for discussion in the forum.

    So please come and weigh-in. What are some good option that you have found? Link to what you feel are good PPC policies if you know of any.
     
  2. Rob_TID

    Rob_TID Affiliate affiliate

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    Quite simple for me.

    If a merchant program has any restrictions on PPC, I simply won't join it. (There are simply too many programs to be bothered with affiliate managers who aren't willing to build an attractive merchant program)

    ***Disclaimer: I don't like the "no trademark bidding" rule, but I accept it if the rest of the program looks good.

    From the Merchant's point of view, I suppose they just have to accept that their affiliate program is going to be a slow boil rather than a flood of PPC marketing experts promoting them.

    Their loss.

    They have to understand they they are competing for my time as an affiliate. If they can't give a little, then forget it.

    /rant
     
  3. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hi Rob,

    Like I said I don't agree with it either and that would be my stance too if I were an affiliate. But I was asked to see if your guys know of any type of workable solution other merchants have implemented. Can't say too much but I guess it's obvious the person running the PC side does not seem to understand the affiliate side - but the person that asked me to post is working on trying to help them see the light.
     
  4. Rob_TID

    Rob_TID Affiliate affiliate

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    I suppose that one solution would be to build a carbon copy site just for affiliates to do with what they want.

    It shouldn't cost too much to get someone to write up original product descriptions for a new site.:confused:
     
  5. Fraser

    Fraser Affiliate affiliate

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    I think a seperate domain is the best way to go. A smart merchant would make it really easy for affiliates to have a full duplicate of their site on their own URL that could be blocked from search engine indexing to avoid duplicate content issues but would be the ideal PPC landing page.
     
  6. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Good Fraser, that's what I suggested too. They would need to have the commitment to the affiliate channel in order to justify doing the work required. I guess that's the bigger underlying question. Do they value the affiliate channel enough to do what it takes to make this work for the good of all?
     
  7. ghoti

    ghoti New Member

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    Isn't the "Merchant offers a separate domain" option against Google's rule that a merchant can't have more than one listing for any keyword? The separate domain would still be owned by the merchant and have the same content as the original domain, so regardless of whether only affiliates are using the separate domain it's effectively the same as if the merchant itself is skirting Google's rules. I'm sure you could ask Google to clarify that issue for you, but my guess is that it would not be allowed.
     
  8. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Hmmm, good point. I've read about merchants doing it but wonder if it's kosher according to Google??? The person that asked me to post this said what about just having affiliates do re-directs and I said no - I knew that was not allowed. This is why it's good to brainstorm stuff like this out in the open and get all different sides and viewpoints.

    Like I said, I don't deal with merchant's PPC policies any more and this isn't a consulting client of mine, just a friend that wanted me to ask you guys. So I appreciate all the feedback so far and am open to getting more if anyone has any.
     
  9. Joseph Ratliff

    Joseph Ratliff <b>5 Star Success Guru</b> affiliate

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    Linda,

    In my opinion, if the Merchant chooses to administer an affiliate program, it would not be a good business practice to restrict competition from the affiliates that choose to join it.

    Sounds like the Merchant needs to hire research help to compete with the affiliates that may "beat" them at their own game.

    Competition is the very thing that grows a business. I would not join a program that was concerned with limiting my income by direct marketing.
     
  10. Linda Buquet

    Linda Buquet <span style="color: #daa520;font-weight: bold;">Me

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    Agreed. Just occurred to me, I don't know if they have a SEM company running their PPC but if they do maybe that's what started this. I can see a SEM company saying "your affiliates are costing you money, cut them out so you can spend more money with me" or "I can do a better job at PPC than your affiliates, don't let them do PPC it's just costing you extra money."

    Whatever, but in the long run if they lose affiliates that switch to another merchant - now they have all those affiliates STILL bidding against them and driving their PPC cost up but instead of making sales FOR them, they are competing against them, making money for their competitor. Some merchants are just very short sighted or take advice from the wrong people IMHO.
     
  11. Joseph Ratliff

    Joseph Ratliff <b>5 Star Success Guru</b> affiliate

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    Linda,

    It really is sad that this merchant would consider thinking of the "now" profits...instead they should be focusing on developing the long-term relationships with their affiliates.

    In the end, I would rather have an army of 1,000,000 running PPC ads and splitting the profits (but with me not doing the work), than to "shut out" smart affiliates who are seeking an edge in building their businesses.
     

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