March 29, 2007

Microsoft Possibly Buying DoubleClick

By Michael Abolafia

Yesterday it was reported that DoubleClick is for sale and Microsoft is an interested party.  With the affiliate network Performics being under the DoubleClick umbrella this would have a significant impact on the Affiliate Marketing Industry.
Between Microsoft’s properties and financial power they would have the ability to change affiliate marketing as we know it today. 

  • How would they utilize Performics to build out their search adcenter
  • How could the Performics advertisers be featured in Microsoft products?

Technology is contstantly changing Affiliate Marketing.  However, Microsoft would have the ability to change the industry quicker then anyone else has in the past.

Thanks to Shawn Collins for pointing out that Microsoft just purchased

March 22, 2007

Can Google Change the Entire PPC & Affiliate Market Space?

By Li Evans

Scoble Robert Scoble's got a scoop, and it's a good one.  In fact it's one that everyone in online marketing should be paying attention too.  It's also one that's going to affect many online marketing budgets in a huge way, if it comes to fruition.  This is one bit of news, that if it's true can change the whole landscape of both PPC and Affiliate Marketing as we know it, and if anyone has the clout to do it, it's Google.

So, my question now is, if Google does move into this territory, what happens to all those other advertisers that use to be in positions 4 on out to 100 (or however high they go)?  Scoble gives the example of San Francisco Sushi.  Lets look at "coffee online", there's a lot more advertisers here.  So what happens if Google does implement this idea further?  See how this could change PPC?

Coffeadvertisers Keywords are going to go through the roof, especially in very competitive areas, and both Google's Pay Per Action program and personalization efforts are going to take a much more prominent place.  This type of change, if it is actually going to happen, would be huge.  Advertisers would need to really keep a handle on their budgets and justify advertising on the keywords they are, to an deeper degree.

Now, tie this little tidbit into the fact that Google's launching Pay Per Action.  If Google does start going the way of limiting the advertisers in Adwords, and it does become expensive to bid on these key words what's a company to do?  Enter two things:  1) Google's Pay Per Action program and 2) Personalization.

Moneyweb Pay per action (a.k.a. Google's version of an affiliate marketing), offers the alternative to the advertiser if Google goes to this "limiting route." It maintains that they're only going to pay for whatever action is completed.  It would no longer be about branding and being there.  On the flip side, affiliate marketers, would only be wanting top converting sites.  Google would turn itself into the premiere place to be for both advertisers and affiliates, and could conceivably shrink both CJ's and Linkshare's control on the market space.

Personalization would help if you are only targeting certain segments of the public where competitors might not be thinking about.  It could help lower the costs for the keyword bids, but again, if it's a hugely competitive market, I really doubt personalization is going to help out.

Now I go back to my post the other day about Linkshare and CJ having something to worry about?  When you tie this information that Scoble's presenting into the entire overall picture - Linkshare and CJ might have some big trouble on their hands.  This is no longer a case of another competitor entering the market space.... this is the entire market space starting to change.

We in for another changing/morphing of our industry, hang on, I think it's going to be a bumpy ride!

March 20, 2007

Do Linkshare & Commission Junction Need to Worry About Google?

By Li Evans

Googleadsensereferrals 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.

Cjlogo 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. 

Linksharelogo 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.

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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