Archive for the ‘Affiliates’ Category

SEM news, articles and more that I Should Have Posted Ages Ago

March 29th, 2011 No comments

Am I lame? Sometimes. But not as lame as the people who apologize about not updating their blog for a long time, and then continue to not update their blog for a long time. I won’t apologize dear friends, I lead a busy life as do you and sometimes something (a blog, a dinner date) has to give in the life ladder of priority.

Today we catch up, together.

Please peruse my recent article on 3 Quick (15 minute) Paid Search Fixes on Search Engine Land. Yes, you can improve your PPC accounts while getting your oil changed or between meetings. Try it!

If you like to hear me ramble on, check out the latest SEMcast on Geekcast. SEMcast #18 – A Hodgepodge of SEM news, Quick Fixes and Mobile.

Did you have fun at SMX West? I sure did. And I think the PPC Mechanics Panel was helpful for everyone involved, come join us for another one at an upcoming SMX show. Who doesn’t want free, personalized search marketing advice? Fools, that is who.

Other news tidbits I enjoyed recently:

Google announces tablet bidding, a great way to continue to refine your targeting and campaigns for the tablet, not quite a computer, not quite a mobile phone experience. Look for it soon, it works just like desktop vs. mobile devices bidding in Campaign Settings.

Facebook story ads continue to be controversial. Really, putting people without their explicit permission in ads shown to their friends makes people upset? Shocker! I hope all 108 pounds of me show up in the diet ads I see all the time. But I will say as a marketer, damn if that click-through rate isn’t good. Definitely worth a test if you haven’t tried it and especially effective for targeting friends of people connected to you.

Promoted Accounts and Promoted Tweets are available in an advertiser beta currently. I cannot say more as Twitter is hella not letting me say anything about it at this point. But I will say if promoting your tweets or account sounds interesting, you should apply for the beta and give it a go. Check out more on promoted tweets and accounts.

Will you be at ShareASale’s Think Tank in May in Chicago? I will be, so if you are there find me and say hi.

And with that our quality time has come to an end, until next time friends.

Affiliates & SEM on Search Engine Land

June 16th, 2010 No comments

I’ve got a new article on Search Engine Land’s In-House column. In a quandry about what search engine marketing, if any, your affiliates should be doing? Check out my article on affiliates and search engine marketing. Enjoy!

5 Popular Ways to Not Have Me Approve You to Be Our Affiliate

May 7th, 2008 No comments

Our affiliate program gets probably 20-30 applicants a day. I hand review them to insure some degree of quality control and keep an eye on how on our program is evolving. Despite having just a few very clear policies on what the minimum requirements are for me to consider approving an application, probably one third to one half of the applications we get don’t meet a requirement. It makes my approval job easy, I just decline them. Here’s the most popular reasons I decline affiliates:

1. No website. Yeah, you need one of those. Applicants from India are particularly bad about not having websites.

2. Claiming your website is,, or, I know Google and Yahoo own those, not you. If you’re an SEM affiliate with no website, don’t list your website as AdWords.

3. Making a blog with no posts. Or like, one post that’s not even about travel (crazy weight loss ideas? hmm, no). I know that’s fake.

4. Reapply a day later with the same information after I’ve declined you once. I’m not sure why you’re trying, you know what’s going to happen because it just happened.

5. Claim a website you clearly don’t own is yours. Applicants from Thailand are particularly shady about this one. I know someone with the email does not operate the airline website I’m guessing someone probably does that. Nice try, but just build your own website.

Argh, Why Can’t I find Time to Post? A Day in the Life.

April 4th, 2008 No comments

Apologies to all who have looked for a new post here and not found one in some time. Yeah, I have not been so good on the timely posting front lately. And its only going to get worse starting next Thursday, as I am off to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador for two weeks. Let’s just make a date to meet up again here sometime in the first week of May.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a massive project here to rewrite all (ok, not all, but like A LOT) of our product descriptions on the site. Why you ask would we undertake such a task? Well, the descriptions are ok for our customers, though not fabulous, and they are downright not great for SEO. And over the past two years we tried to get people to write better ones, or clean up bad ones, but frankly, they just all need to be redone and we weren’t getting very far at our current pace. So we hired a writer, starting making lists of relevant keywords for every product and getting some new descriptions made. So far the work looks good and we hope to be done before our high season this summer. As you can imagine, checking keyword data for like 2,000 products is a bit of a chore.

What else have I been up to? Reporting. More reporting. Affiliate stuff involving policies and coupon codes. If you don’t have a policy about only allowing affiliates to use coupon codes assigned to them, think about adopting it. I’ve also been looking into UK Media buys, we love our UK customers and their strong GBP, let’s get more of them!

To top it off our email system migrated to a new build, which is great, but a pain our a** since they broke all our dynamic content. Repairs are under way.

So such is the life of the online marketer. Will I miss it on vacation this month? Eh, maybe not so much. Will I be happy to get back? Probably, I will miss seeing the results roll in to Omniture and all my little keywords driving sales. But for now, yeah, we could use some time apart.

See you the first week of May!

Categories: Affiliates, Industry, Tip of My Hat Tags:

Affiliates, Trademarks and SEM

August 29th, 2007 No comments

We terminated an affiliate today that was a pretty decent revenue driver for us. I am always bummed a little when we have to do this, but push came to shove and they had to go. We have a very strict trademark policy with our affiliates. Affiliates cannot purchase keywords which are our brand name, or the brand name of any of our supplier partners who’ve requested no search engine marketing (and we list them, explicitly). Unfortunately this affiliate ignored that policy, as well as our policies requiring that all affiliates need to provide a website (don’t just buy keywords and link to our site, add some value!). We always issue a warning first, an affiliate might have missed the policy once, but if we catch them at it again, they’re out. It was literally within days of the first violation that we spotted a second, even worse one, from the same affiliate. At the end of the day its a trust issue, we just don’t trust them to abide by our policies. That and we want affiliates that provide customer value and aren’t trying to spam the web or game the paid search system. That’s how we roll.

Occasionally, and mainly its from affiliate networks like Linkshare, I hear that you should let your affiliates bid on your brand name, or I hear that you don’t need to bid on your brand name if your site ranks first in natural search. I think both of these are generally nonsense, though there are exceptions to both.

First off, if no one else or an irrelevant or policeable amount of bidders (people you can scare into stopping with mean legal notes or by politely asking) are bidding on your brand name, there’s no added value to having affiliates there, you’re just cannibalizing your own traffic from your brand name, and paying someone else for those transactions, and maybe also losing some potential customer loyalty to their site instead of your site.

Secondly, even if you rank well in natural search for your brand name, its worth buying it in your paid campaigns. I did a test when I was at a former company where our brand name ranked first in natural search and we had little to no other paid ads showing up for our brand. We turned off the paid link and just measured the natural links’ traffic and transactions, and quite a bit of the formerly paid transactions did disappear (though not all). Why? Not sure, maybe other natural rankings absorbed that traffic. Maybe distribution partner sites that only display paid (or more paid and less natural) didn’t have a link for us appearing. Either way, it was worth buying the paid link. Also, the paid link for your brand name is usually dirt cheap and you’ll have a fab quality score.

Exceptions: If your brand name is a generic word, like say Shoes, then its tough to defend as a trademark and its likely other bidders are going to appear, so maybe it makes sense to have your affiliates in place of those other ads. Getting more real estate to edge out the competition is maybe not a bad idea. On the flip side, if you have a generic name like that it might be prohibitively expensive to purchase the keyword and maintain a healthy return on investment, you might want to pass.

Categories: Affiliates Tags: