Google announced through two of its blogs today(Inside Adwords, Inside Adsense), that its launching its own CPA (Cost Per Action) network in beta. Although they didn't come out and call the beta test "Affiliate Marketing", that is exactly what it is. Google may put its own tweaks and spins on its service offerings for both the marketer and the advertiser, but in essence, Google's beta testing its own type of affiliate network similar in nature to LinkShare or Commission Junction.
Do CJ and LinkShare need to worry? Is this the death to Affiliate Marketing as we know it? Is Google's type of service offerings a huge threat to the big players in this market? I'd like to point to a still surviving and now thriving Yahoo! (once Overture/GoTo) that's still in the PPC market long after Google entered.
That's to say I highly doubt this is going to "do in" the major players in this market space. The sky isn't falling in affiliate marketing at all. It's just another competitor. Granted it's one with a huge brand name, but CJ and LinkShare have a lot behind them, they just need to have a plan to keep their affiliates and advertisers happy and not jumping ship to go to Google.
Overall this is great news for the market, at least from my perspective. It can only make the major players in this space step up to the plate and provide more valuable services. Competition, as we know, is great for the market place, not the death knell. So back to my question - Do CJ & Linkshare need to worry? Nawh, they just need to deal with more competition now.