Performics Becomes Google Affiliate Network

Fresh from Chris Henger at Google-DoubleClick-Performics:

We are pleased to introduce Google Affiliate Network . Effective Monday, June 30, 2008, DoubleClick Performics Affiliate will operate as Google Affiliate Network. The integration with Google’s brand is a reflection of efforts to quickly assimilate our business and teams, as well as reinforce Google’s commitment to the Affiliate channel. Together with our new colleagues at Google we are creating new opportunities for monetization, expansion and innovation in Affiliate Marketing.
Within the next couple of weeks you will see some exciting changes to the user interface reflecting the new brand. The platform will continue to be hosted at www.ConnectCommerce.com, but will eventually migrate to a Google.com product URL.

As noted in earlier communications, DoubleClick Performics’ Search operations are being spun off and sold to a third party. While many advertisers have relationships with both DoubleClick Performics’ Affiliate and Search, there have always been separate account teams and product-specific specialists servicing clients’ search and affiliate programs. These teams remain intact. While the formal separation will occur when the Search business is sold, the businesses are functionally separate today.

We are proud of what we achieved as Performics and this name change signals a new milestone. Google provides world-class resources and enables us to continue to attract the best talent to support our advertisers and publishers. Now as part of Google we have an exciting and unprecedented opportunity to advance our industry. We remain committed to ensuring you receive the quality service you have come to expect from us.

We appreciate your business and look forward to doing great things together.

Generally, everyone I have spoken with has regarded this to be a huge boon to the industry. It will raise the profile of affiliate marketing and – probably – the resource commitment in our industry among different companies. It will certainly help the network formerly known as Performics but will also help other networks, affiliates, merchants, agencies, and vendors.

Rumor has it that Google’s 2006 CPA Network was a disappointment in the sense that Google was looking for it to deliver more than it did. This is an opportunity for Google to enter the CPA space in a meaningful way. Given Performics’ strength on the retail – as opposed to on the lead – side, it makes me wonder if we won’t see more acquisitions in this space down the line.

About Brook Schaaf

You can find Brook on Twitter @brookschaaf.

26 Responses to Performics Becomes Google Affiliate Network

  1. Searchquant says:

    Isn't this somewhat negative for the CJ's and Linkshare's of the world? If Google lets Google Affiliate Network merchants buy search traffic from within its affiliate network a)one would assume there will be some benefits to doing so; and b)I could see many merchants consolidating affiliate efforts around Google because they know much affiliate work is ultimately coming from paid search.

    Anyone have thoughts to share?

  2. Linda Buquet says:

    I agree that it could be a real boon to our industry and enhance the image of affiliate marketing as a whole. I think lots of companies that haven't yet launched affiliate programs will probably jump into the game now too.

    Searchquant I think it's going to create lots of competition for the other networks and competition is good. Hopefully it will force some of the other networks to reach a new levels of standards or to come up with more innovations that help affiliates.

    I'm personally SUPER excited because the Google Affiliate Network is coming on as a Premier Featured 5 Star Program. I've been anxiously waiting for this day to come, so I could blog officially announce it and blog about it.

    CONGRATS to Chris, Kristen and the rest of the DoubleClick Performics team. I'm sure this is a very exciting day for everyone!

  3. Google Affiliate Network Launches…

    I’m very excited to have the Google Affiliate Network, formerly DoubleClick Performics, come on board as a Featured 5 Star Affiliate Program. Super excited about the rebranding and what this could do for our industry.
    ……

  4. Brook Schaaf says:

    Linda, congratulations on your new advertiser.

    I don't think this will spell the end for any other network – I think all the other networks will continue to grow. This will help Performics and the affiliate marketing space in general. The new opportunities the traditional affiliate space represent will also be a benefit to Google.

  5. Evan W. says:

    Google has a long way to go to catch up to CJ and Linkshare affiliate/publisher wise. Hopefully they will use their money and influence to protect the industry and elevate it further…I'm sure they have some plans in store.

  6. I am still not sure what this means exactly .. i posted it on my website as well just to get some feedback?

  7. Durk Price says:

    Linda, Congrats on GAN coming to 5 Star as well!

    Like you I believe the Google Affiliate Network will be a huge opportunity. We had found the Performics team to be extremely responsive to our client needs and have seen no letup in the transition to GAN in this commitment.

    I think this new effort by Google will also drive innovation and growth in the industry as other well positioned and strong affiliate networks will use their expertise to get even better and stronger.

    All in all an extremely exciting time to be in affiliate marketing!

  8. Mike Allen says:

    Just like Microsoft's move into the media space (Windows Media Player) and web authoring (FrontPage) didn't put Real and Adobe out of business years ago, I don't think Google will seriously harm other competent affiliate networks. Likewise, many of Google's recent moves into the non-search space have not been as seismic a shift as many predicted. Each affiliate network can survive and prosper since each serves unique audiences and needs. Those who adapt in the changing environment will continue to thrive.

  9. Mike Allen says:

    Oh, one more thing. I do welcome Google's move into this space and am excited about the changes coming to our industry. I think it will be a positive experience for those seeking a quality user experience.

  10. Linda Buquet says:

    I just reblogged this but wanted to be sure folks here know. If you want to learn 1st hand about the Google Affiliate Network tune in to WebmasterRadio today.

    "Chris Henger, Group Product Manager at the new Google Affiliate Network and show host Linda Woods, will discuss what it means for the industry now that Google is in our midst, what’s new for the platform, plans they may be rolling out and Chris’ new role there."

    WebmasterRadio

    Today, 7/3 at Noon Pacific | 3 p.m. Eastern. If you miss the show they usually get them uploaded to the archives after a couple days.

    Enjoy the show!

  11. Are they totally doing away with the Google referrals? Hate to kill some good pages, but Google doesn't need any free traffic from me.

  12. abcyesn says:

    I made $60 in april was told that they will send out checks when it reached $50, i don't see my check?! that was doubleclicked owned.

    I kind of hate connectcommerce.com interface. every click you make on the website, it feels like it's loading a thousand pages… very bad engineering in my opinion…

    It's a lot slower compare to cj.

    CJ is my favoriate by far, I have reached $4k this month alone with CJ. $800 with connectcommerce, and still have no idea where I am going to receive a check. if someone has any answers, please email lgvucom@gmail.com

    thx

  13. TW says:

    I have not been able to change my Performics banking and company info for several years (back when it was DoubleClick). You have to call a number posted next your account info and leave all your details. Did that twice but nothing happened. So when Google took over I tried again. Now I get a message machine asking for the same info but at the end of the message it says the message box is full. Hah!

    Does anyone have any contact info or phone number for them?

    I guess I’ll have to just start over with a new account — but I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort.

  14. Evan W. says:

    Yes I can get you in touch with them. Send me an email and I will forward you some contacts there…evan at experienceadvertising.com

  15. Jeff Molander says:

    Google is under a DIS-incentive to disrupt the (yes) search-driven affiliate marketing realm. Affiliate marketing (the concept/practice) is the basis for all commercially successful (via social engineering) digital direct response advertising. From spam and adware/spyware to search marketing… affiliate marketing works behind the scenes to monetize human behaviors in a massive game of arbitrage — enabled completely by the wildly successful duping of advertisers themselves. Not to mention consumers.

    Google has mastered the game of:

    – Creating an inherently lawless system that aggregates human demand on one end and capitalistic-minded demand (marketers who sell stuff) on the other

    – Opening the system up to be gamed commercially by various “tiers” of third parties (creating opacity); no, this is not limited to “affiliates” but includes virtually all others (think comparison shopping, etc.)

    – Creating rules that it actively looks past; making occasional PR moves to keep its image shiny clean (ie. ousting MFA sites, everything they’ve ever done around this black-box thing they call “quality”, etc. etc.) when in reality it’s busy selling traffic at fifty cents that’s worth a fraction of a cent

    – Masterfully sneaking in (and removing once pressure builds) little gems like this one into T&C’s for publishers and advertisers

    – On that note, masterfully putting to bed (kudos to Yahoo too!) the entire click fraud issue and turning it into an accepted cost of doing business — at worst!

    I’ll stop there. Why would GOOG risk mucking it up when they can delicately **control the advertiser perceptions** that drive it… all while doing things like giving away free measurement and ad optimization tools.

    Google stands to gain nothing by “shaking things up” within the CPA affiliate marketing realm. Slow, deliberate… and quiet. Ever so quiet.

    The people in charge are part of a new culture. Yes, affiliate marketing is certainly a part of it but it’s even wider… and let’s face it, that affiliate side can get fairly grubby/grimy.

    Ah… somewhere, someone is holding up their check… posing for a photo with very dirty finger nails 🙂 (but I’d be wise to not take that comment any further!)

    “No, Google doesn’t control prices. Google measures quality, and adjusts pricing based on quality scores. People believed it, and Google controlled pricing.”

    That’s what we’re talking about! Nuf said.

  16. Pat Grady says:

    When you're a spender who can actually track roi (easier said than executed), you very quickly learn who is doing something about click fraud and who is just blowing smoke.

    Further, the outcome from possessing this ability, is not only monetary rewards, but an excellent sense of smell.

  17. @Jeff Molander,

    Great post, Jeff; never have I followed so many links so gladly #:^)

    I think that your thesis – that G has a disincentive to rock the affiliate boat – is wrong, though, because it's out-of-date. Everything you said *was* true, but only until mid/late-2006.

    Your points paraphrased below, with my comments:

    Point #1 – affiliates' #1 chanel is paid search, and that's good for Google.

    CZ – aff mktg (& therefore VCLK) was a tracking stock of sorts for search engine mktg from 2000-2006, but that trend has plateaud/reversed starting mid-2006 because advertisers increasingly had sufficiently large inhouse ppc campaigns that they no longer needed or wanted the affiliate to fill the gaps in paid search w/their own ads. So whereas affiliates filled the search inventory *for* advertisers in 2004 & 2005, now the advertisers have filled search directly and from here on out increasingly want to keep affiliates out of search so they can't add inflationary pressure to already high CPCs. I don't have any data on the topic, but I'll bet that the chart you linked to was even more skewed towards search in prior years.

    Point #2 – Why would Google want to upset a system whereby their distribution partners do all the dirty work for them?

    CZ – again, I would've agreed with you 2 years ago, but Google's affiliate and CSE smackdowns of the past 24 months show that Google rightly realized that affiliates and comparison shopping engines were essentially placeholders for the end-merchants who have since arrived.

    Point #3 – G's not enforcing rules for MSA's and affiliates that they've had for years, so that proves Google doesn't want/need to shake things up.

    CZ – Remember Friday, April 13, 2007? Lots of MSA and Google-to-Yahoo search arbitrageurs do, 'cause that was the day Google manually destroyed their arbitrage operations, as evidenced by the now well-known story of Geosign's demise. Google did this because they realized with mathematical certainty that fewer ads actually made them more money. Having worked at one of the top two global SEM's from 2003-07, I can attest to that first-hand.

    Point #4 – G's T.O.S. doesn't allow for functionality that allows advertiser clients to copy a G campaign to other SE's.

    CZ – I was told by a friend at Google that that was an insertion by Legal that no one else was involved with. To wit, Google has *never* enforced that policy, nor have they enforced the policy prohibiting bid mgmt vendors from having a single G/Y!/MSN mgmt interface. I think this is a moot point.

    Point #5 – G's convinced people click fraud's not an issue, and there's nothing in the fraud world that can hurt them.

    CZ – I actually agree 100% with Google that click fraud is not a problem, mainly because I've seen the ROI characteristics of close to $1B in PPC spend tracked at the keyword-level, to very specific ROI goals. There *is* a fraud problem forcing Google towards affiliate-based traffic buying, though, and that problem is… distribution fraud. Distribution fraud is basically non-search distribution partners finding their way into G's search network, and we're nearing the point where advertisers' collective analytics deployments will allow them to know that distribution fraud exists and is costing them huge sums of money. To combat that fraud and make their market more efficient, Google will need to go beyond SmartPricing and into CPA-based selling of their non-search search distribution partners' traffic.

    Not many people are [yet] aware of the following signs of slowing organic growth at Google, but they will eventually:

    AdGooroo data showing a slowdown in growth rates for # of new AdWords advertisers;

    OneStat data showing that query phrase length trends are reversing for the first time ever. Whereas 2003-2006 saw increases in 3+ word queries, we're now seeing a reversal towards 1-2 word queries = the long tail growth story is over, and search is now becoming direct navigation = trademark terms for which merchants don't need affiliates' help. [see data from OneStat released 6/16/08]

    Increased time for click-to-conversion across many AdWords verticals. The macroeconomic situation is starting to affect many areas of search, and IMO Google will need to wring more out of its traffic via aggressive CPA-based selling of traffic to forestall the macro's effects on them.

    Broad Match is getting broader, Automatic Match is in deep beta (>5% of all campaigns), and Google can't get anymore European marketshare than it already has; these too are all signs that Google knows it *needs* to keep shaking things up to match investor expectations.

  18. Ben Edelman says:

    Chris:

    On your point #2: It's not hard to find Google distribution partners still up to no good. In surprisingly short order, I have identified many tens of thousands of typosquatting domains — each identical to or confusingly similar to a trademark or famous name, and each showing syndicated Google ads. I've also found plenty of examples of spyware/adware-loaded forced visit pages that show Google ads, and I find more examples each week. I agree that Google has taken action against some dubious practices, e.g. some kinds of PPC arbitrage. But there's plenty more to be done. In fact, I think you agree — see your point #5, where you also focus on improper distribution.

    On your point #4: I agree that it's hard to find an example of Google enforcing the no-copying API policy. But that doesn't necessarily mean the policy is having no effect. In PPC Platform Competition and Google's "May Not Copy" Restriction, I cite Microsoft's 17-step procedure for copying Google ads to adCenter. Were it not for Google's API restriction, Microsoft could simplify that procedure dramatically, or a third party could do the same.

    More generally, the fact that Google has not had occasion to enforce this policy doesn't mean the policy doesn't matter. Suppose Massachusetts passed a law imposing a $10,000 fine on anyone who wears an orange shirt. The next year, perhaps zero people would wear orange shirts, and zero fines would be collected. But from the zero violations observed, we ought not infer that no one wanted to ignore the restriction or that the restriction is important. Rather, we can only infer that the threatened sanction — here, loss of Google AdWords API access, and resulting difficulty in managing AdWords campaigns — is sufficiently serious to deter violations. Carry a big enough stick, and you might not have to use it.

    Finally, if the AdWords API restriction is so unimportant, Google might as well remove it — "dead letter" that doesn't make a difference, in your view. Yet we don't see Google in any rush to remove this clause; to the contrary, the quoted restriction has been there for years and shows no sign at all of going away. That tells me that Google wants the restriction and thinks it matters.

    Ben Edelman

  19. TW says:

    Regarding my earlier post, it took over a week and several emails but I finally received a reply from Google to my request to change my banking info.

    The Google affiliate network support email address Evan promised (also in this thread) turned out to be the same one I found via Google search so I don't know whether the reply was to the first email I sent or the two subsequent emails or a response to all three (squeaky wheel gets the grease).

  20. Evan says:

    TW, persistence always pays off, did you call the number I gave you?

  21. TW says:

    The phone number you gave me was the same one that appeared on my Affiliate account info and that gave me the message that its message box was full…

  22. Durk Price says:

    Call Matt Marr, He is my dedicated tech specialist there. He can fix it for you. Email mmarr@google.com. He'll figure it out.

  23. Evan says:

    Thanks Durk for the info…

  24. Roger Snow says:

    I think having Google in the affiliate space will keep everyone else on their toes (ie. other networks). We all know they have the money to do what they want within their own network and interface. The progression of affiliate marketing will begin to speed up with this move.

  25. Rashmi Bora says:

    I had just signed-up to see what is this all about. But have not seen too many advertisers signing up in it still.

    Result is – you dot get the target type of advertisers which fits into your website. For example, I have not found any advertiser in the category of "Employment". But my blog is all about job & employment!

  26. Doug says:

    There are some good news.