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Dealing with Affiliates Search Engine Strategies Conference , December 2006 Chris Henger Vice President Affiliate Marketing Shopping & Promotions Loyalty/Rewards Community & Content Comparison Shopping Search Specialists Networks Affiliate Marketing Today

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Dealing with Affiliates

Search Engine Strategies Conference, December 2006

Chris Henger

Vice President Affiliate Marketing

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Shopping & Promotions


Community & Content

Comparison Shopping

Search Specialists


Affiliate Marketing Today

  • More than 100 million web sites worldwide, many with the potential to become an affiliate publisher

  • A significant source of sales for online retailers

    • 2-20% of online sales

  • Performics classifies publishers according to business model

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Search is a Primary Traffic Driver for Affiliate Publishers

  • Opportunity

    • Affiliates enable an advertise to dominate the page

  • Challenge

    • Managing the brand and the message

    • Enforcing restrictions

    • Controlling CPCs

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Affiliate Search Specialists – Dominate the Page

  • Expert at natural and/or paid search

  • Opportunistically build new pages or entire websites “on-the-fly”:

    • Seasonal

    • Category

    • Product

    • Payout

    • Building a “sticky” destination site is not necessarily the objective

  • Able to quickly adjust and adapt to ever changing engine policies, advertiser policies, algorithms, competition, etc.

  • Willing to spend $$ to make $$

    • Put their money at risk

  • Strong engine relationships and access to tools (e.g. , API’s)

  • Often top performers

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The Search Specialists “Wish List “

  • Authorization and guidelines to bid on trademarks/brand names

  • Ability to direct link to an advertiser’s site

    • Using their landing page URL as the display URL

  • Ability to send traffic to domain that contains advertisers’ brand

    • e.g.,

  • For lead gen programs, the capability to host the form on their own domain

  • Authorization letter to search engines providing permission to use advertiser’s brand in ad title and copy

  • Ability to build links quickly and flexibly (offline BYOL, data feeds)

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Lessons Learned

  • There is a balance between advertiser interests and the affiliate’s need to drive traffic

  • Affiliate publishers are often better at focusing on conversion than advertisers

    • Given the proper brand guidelines, an affiliate can monetize cpc traffic better than an advertiser

      • If they can pay for the CPC and the advertiser can pay only for a commission on the sale, why not let the affiliate bid?

  • Set guidelines, communicate and monitor for compliance

  • Maintain a feedback loop with affiliates who can shape guidelines for the future

  • Provide best practices in search marketing for affiliates

    • Best performing keywords

    • Best selling products

    • Custom creative

  • Measure the impact across channels