The Google Affiliate Juggernaut
There has been a lot of rumor and speculation lately about exactly how and when Google would start becoming an affiliate and taking their sponsored search results and turn them into CPA placements for their Google Affiliate Network partners. Some threads have even gone as far as to call into question how Google has been treating search affiliates and possibly “clearing the space” for them to take over the revenue and commissions earned by these “partners”. Read this scary thread over at Webmaster World.
Here is a screen shot I took today on a routine product search for USB extension cables: (click on the image for a full size view)
There are a few things I find interesting:
1. These results seem to duplicate some of the organic product search results, providing what I consider a poor user experience.
2. The 3 Google Ads take up the large majority of the sponsored listing space, pushing out their other advertisers.
3. Apparently the single URL policy doesn’t apply to these ads, since PC Connection is listed in all 3 sponsored Ads.
Is this the future? If so how will this affect search affiliates and Google’s policies towards affiliate PPC partners? If this is the new direction, will this put pressure on the merchants to be part of the Google Affiliate Network, vs CJ and Linkshare?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!