If Two Marketers Do The Same Thing Is It Not The Same

is the rough translation of the German saying: …
“Wenn zwei das Gleiche tun ist das nicht das Selbe” and it refers to the way how Search Engines treat some paid search advertisers differently although they do the same thing as the other advertisers.

Who are the “some”?
Affiliate marketers that are doing paid search advertising on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask.com etc., to promote their merchant partners.

What is “the same”?
Search arbitrage.

I just watched the video by Kris Jones over at his blog at Pepperjam, where he provides a recap of the Search Engine Strategies conference last week in New York City, in particular the search arbitrage session where we was a speaker and had a chance to be with some Google representatives on eyeball level to discuss some of the hot issues that are surrounding the subject (2. video).

I have to say first that his video is the best and most comprehensive explanation and definition of arbitrage, specifically search arbitrage I have heard (and seen) to date. Kris explains is in a way that anybody who is at least familiar with search engines and knows some of the bigger names in e-commerce, should understand it.

He breaks down the different forms of search arbitrage that is done by different types of advertisers and how each one works. I know that a lot of people have a hard time understanding who makes money when and why.

So, If you want to understand once and for all what Search arbitrage is, watch the arbitrage video and if you are a search affiliate or merchant that has search affiliates in his program, watch the arbitrage video too.

The video was unfortunately recorded at the Pepperjam office after Kris returned from the conference, but cameras were not allowed at the SES sessions to see a recording of it, which includes the debate with Google and others.

Kris: I hope that you got some guys at Google thinking, PPC is not the only place where Google shows bias towards affiliate marketers. Organic search suffers from similar issues as well, but it is reversed to PPC.

While Google penalizes affiliates with higher cost per keyword, does it penalize affiliates with re-ranking or removal of affiliate pages from in their organic results.

See the numerous discussions at Webmasterworld. Add on top of that what Google suggests affiliate markers indirectly, regarding how to link to your affiliate partners. Which increases already existing issues add and create a whole set of new ones as well.

Well done Kris. See you in Miami at Affiliate Summit East in July and I believe I am also going to make it this year again to SES San Jose in August.

Cheers!

About Carsten Cumbrowski

Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Blogger. To learn more about me and what I am doing, visit my website and check out the “about” section.

Twitter: ccumbrowski

8 Responses to If Two Marketers Do The Same Thing Is It Not The Same

  1. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    “Google suggests affiliate markers indirectly,”

    Normally I agree with you on your posts but as far as what you linked to with the text above, we already had that discussion before over at Bumpzee. I explained the difference between a paid link and an affiliate link, I linked to the Google blog post about it showing you they weren’t talking about affiliate links but you still post and link to that misinformation. Why?

  2. I don’t understand your question. The linked to post is in essential about two things.

    A) Google and affiliate links = paid links = no follow <> vote

    (representatives from Google suggested on more than one occasion that they consider affiliate links to be like paid links (for ranking purposes) and that you should devalue them (“remove the vote”) by adding the “nofollow” attribute)

    “explained the difference between a paid link and an affiliate link,” good for you, I am trying to get Google and the other SE to understand the difference between them for some time already.

    I don’t know if you follow my posts at SearchEngineJournal.com or not.

    I have not seen the discussion you are referring to but I assume that we should agree on that paid links are not the same as affiliate links …

    and

    B) Google’s treatment of and View on Affiliate Sites which is IMO a “little biased” and prejudice

    ” I linked to the Google blog post about it showing you they weren’t talking about affiliate links but you still post and link to that misinformation.”

    Which Google post? Not talking about affiliate links? Which post of mine? Which misinformation?

  3. Jonathan (Trust) says:

    “I have not seen the discussion you are referring to but I assume that we should agree on that paid links are not the same as affiliate links …”

    Yes, that we agree on if you’re saying paid links aren’t affiliate links. But this part is not true:

    “Google and affiliate links = paid links = no follow > vote
    (representatives from Google suggested on more than one occasion that they consider affiliate links to be like paid links (for ranking purposes) and that you should devalue them (“remove the vote”) by adding the “nofollow” attribute)”

    The first time this was brought up we talked about it a little over at Bumpzee. A post by Google set this all off from some bloggers. What I quoted above is not what they said. I even pointed out in their post they (Google) never even mentioned the word affiliate.

    When they were talking about paid links they were talking about people paying for links for Page Rank purposes/SEO benefit/link popularity etc. Google suggested that sites who sell/links advertising should add the no follow. Your post that I linked to over at Search Engine Journal talks about adding no follow to affliates links but that isn’t what Google was talking about. This is thread from Google that set it all off.

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/text-links-and-pagerank/

    In that post and the 190 comments that followed, the word affiliate is only mentioned twice and it’s not what Google was talking about.

  4. Affiliate links were added to the discussion and even Matt Cutts mentioned on one occasion (at least) specifically affiliate links.

    I already said in the post at SEJ that I can’t find the exact reference, but that it also does not matter, because the discussion was reduced from “paid links for SEO purposes” to simply “paid links”, which broadens the links that could fall under this definition.

    The problem is, that for whatever reason are crystal clear definitions being avoided to this day. On the other hand are the warnings getting louder that webmasters should watch out to not get themselves penalized

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-to-report-paid-links/

    http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/hidden-links/

  5. Note: btw. THIS post is about paid search and search arbitrage in particular. The organic site was only a side node and reminded in this post and is discussed in more detail at posts just about that.

    The discussion we had so far would be more appropriate there and it will not do much good if continued here. IMO.

    I try to get an answer from Matt at his blog, he made comments at SEJ, but never answered the question regarding the clarification of what Google defines as paid links that could trigger a penalty for a Webmaster.

  6. Jonthan (Trust) says:

    Glucklicher Geburtstag

    I hope I got that right, I actually used to be pretty fluent 🙂

  7. Thanks Jonathan,

    Close enough :). Correct would be

    “Herzlichen Gluckwunsch zum Geburtstag”

    “Kind congratulation to (your) birthday”. Gee, the German language is sometimes messed up hehe.

    I did not celebrate though. I stopped that with 21 and avoid providing opportunities for others to jump in for me, since my 29th. I am now 33.

  8. Mike Murray says:

    Excellent post. Thanks for addressing the issue and providing great reference points.