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Who Stripped this Affiliate's Links? Google or the Merchant?

Linda Buquet

I think we have all seen raw affiliate links in the Google serps that go direct to the merchant page. I still think it's just a Google glitch, but many merchants have gotten upset because these affiliate link anomalies can replace their own top rankings in the serps. I have gotten lots of merchant questions about it over at the SearchEngineWatch Affiliate Forums that I mod. Some merchants have asked about using re-directs on affiliate links to prevent this from happening. Over at Search Engine RoundTable, Barry points out a thread from WebMasterWorld where an affiliate was blessed with this affiliate link 'oop's until his affiliate ID was recently stripped from the URL string in the serps. Did the merchant do it or did Google???

"There is an interesting WebmasterWorld thread named Affiliate ID's removed from the urls on serps. In that thread, the affiliate describing how he achieved top rankings for a merchant. The listed URLs were to the merchant's domain name, but appended to the URLs was the affiliate's ID. Then recently, the affiliate IDs were scratched out of the Google SERPs and the affiliate was no longer getting credit for sales."
Read the rest over at Search Engine RoundTable
then come back to discuss it.