Google Beta Launches Affiliate Network

Via SEL, Google beta launched a distributed pay per action ad network, and are accepting publisher sign ups here. More background here and here, including a new ad format, text links:

Text links are hyperlinked brief text descriptions that take on the characteristics of a publisher's page. Publishers can place them in line with other text to better blend the ad and promote your product.

For example, you might see the following text link embedded in a publisher's recommendatory text: "Widgets are fun! I encourage all my friends to Buy a high-quality widget today." (Mousing over the link will display "Ads by Google" to identify these as pay-per-action ads).

Though the maximum length of a text link is 90 characters, we've found that shorter links perform better because they allow the publisher use the link in more places on her/his site and in different context. The maximum length is 90 characters but less than 5 words is best. Even better, just use your brand name to offer maximum flexibility to the publisher.

If they push this as hard as they did AdSense or search it is going to teach advertisers and publishers to create efficient conversion oriented content and sales funnels. It will fundamentally change the structure of the web.

Published: March 20, 2007 by Aaron Wall in internet


Warner Carter
May 17, 2007 - 6:10am

I wonder what affect this will have on affiliate networks since these ads could replace many affiliate links on websites, especially if they pay well.

March 20, 2007 - 9:51pm

I think this is a great move on Google's part. Many publishers have found that PPC Adwords and CPM campaigns are decent at bringing traffic, but when those visitors don't convert, they are out a handful of money with no results. CPA ads, which more expensive for the advertiser, will ensure that advertisers get some type of return on their investment. I for one will definitely be giving this a try.


March 20, 2007 - 10:03pm

It will be interesting to see if the major affiliate networks will support the tracking required for this new flavor of Google ads.

March 20, 2007 - 10:04pm

I agree with Nick. It's a great move by Google. It'll reduce click fraud for starters and, if Google go mainstream on this, it'll kill MFA sites in overnight.

However, from a publishers perspective, running 'traditional' CPA ads (i.e. affiliate ads) is more attractive because you have a control over what appears on your site. Whilst you obviously don't have that with the current AdSense model, you take the hit because it's CPC rather than CPA.

I'm guessing that Google will put some kind of control mechanism in place for publishers to filter what does or doesn't appear on their sites.


March 20, 2007 - 11:46pm

nice, about time. I called this years ago. Look out affiliate networks, watch how google will lose money to gain market share. This is going to be very good for publishers for the 1st couple of years, then once all the aff. networks are gone then the publishers will be shorted and google will be even more powerful. This will be very interesting.

March 21, 2007 - 12:09am

Is this similar to PPC, just that it'll be sort of a PPP (pay per purchase)? Is this a possibility for basically any user of this affiliate network to try to make money, without the slightest risk of losing any money by choosing "purchase" as action just like a traditional affiliate program?

Will there be a bid price just as in PPC, but with a further variable ("action"), that makes this way of advertising more complicated and thus more interesting on PPC?

In what ways will this effect PPC (or even SEO) in the long haul?

P.S.: Im sorry, Im gonna have to read more on this, but it caught me totally by surprise and I dont have any time to read up on this now..

March 21, 2007 - 1:15am

What interests me is that Google are currently referring to this as being an extension of their referral program. It's not. It's an active move away from CPC.

I wonder why they're hiding what they're doing.

March 21, 2007 - 3:15am

Yes, they are hiding something. For example:

Can I use search engine marketing to promote my referrals campaign?
You may not use search engine marketing to purchase traffic for the specific and sole purpose of generating conversions, unless you have the express permission of the advertiser.

Seriously? I mean, Seriously? WHY?

March 21, 2007 - 3:46am

So I build these links into my blog posts and then the advertiser decides to pull his campaign next day and... I can go and changed all my posts or accept not to get paid?

March 21, 2007 - 4:01am

Well they (the campaign owner) have to honor any actions for 30 days after they pull the campaign. Although I suspect that means the person clicked on your link before the campaign was pulled but the action occurred some time later (within 30 days of the click)

March 21, 2007 - 4:04am

Isn't this going to make click fraud more attractive because of the higher payout per fraudulent click? Higher payout justifies a bigger effort in hiding ones tracks.

Jacob Minett
March 21, 2007 - 2:36pm

Competitor conversion rates within anyones reach. A new "follow the leader" conversion strategy will surface. Websites will begin to closely resemble each other. Brand will become more important.

Google should somehow mask the conversion data.

March 21, 2007 - 10:26pm

To be honest I tend to agree with someone who commented above me that this is going to "encourage" more fraud clicks.

Plus, publishers are so used to AdSense, it's hard to imagine that this new network will take over the industry anywhere in the near future.

March 22, 2007 - 12:33am

Competitor conversion rates within anyones reach. A new "follow the leader" conversion strategy will surface. Websites will begin to closely resemble each other. Brand will become more important.

Google should somehow mask the conversion data.

They won't be able to. Why? You will know conversion data just by watching site traffic trends and how frequently various ads are being displayed. If something is effective you WILL come across it.

Affiliate Network
April 27, 2007 - 5:13pm

As a partner in an affiliate network myself, I feel this can only help our industry. Google is very large and this will give smaller networks a boost.

March 22, 2007 - 12:46pm

I have some saying which i wrote on my blog.
The Reasons with facts make you believe it

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