A couple things are making me wonder what Google is up to.
First was martinibuster’s blog entry Can Your Content Pass a Hand Check?
So I pored over the websites and I have to admit they were right. Those were content rich websites, and I too would be upset to have those sites banned.
If your content has a strong smell of being primarily a vehicle for lead generation, then I think it might have a harder time passing a hand check. The thing with articles, you can’t lie to yourself. They can’t be pages of stuff talking about the benefits of a second mortgage, with a link to ez-loans at the bottom of the page, you know what I mean? Many webmasters consider that legitimate content, but is it really?
If this is true – and I don’t know that it is – it can be supposed that Google considers a thin affiliate site to not only be sites filled with aff products (think datafeed sites, hand built 100% affiliate shopping sites, etc.), but also content wrapped around affiliate products.
I could write content day and night, provide info rich pages – yet have a link to an aff product in a manner that *smells* like a website trying to make $ off an offsite product – and the goog hand comes down from the heavens to pluck me to obscurity.
If I took that same site, same content, same rich information – and took out the aff product it promoted and slapped in some adsense, would Goog smell that same funky smell?
Question #1 To Myself: Is Google stepping in to *hand pull* sites with affiliate products, forcing webmasters to switch from promoting merchants directly to promoting merchants through adsense?
Is the message: If you want to rank in Google and earn money off your websites – you better stop promoting or tying in affiliate products and start building adsense into your pages?
And I think I’ve been clear on how I feel about ‘working’ for Google. That “all your eggs in one basket” thing.
Take a look at that screenshot (I can’t reproduce it atm). When searching for “opera browser”, you see direct links for “Screenshots – Buy – Features – Opera for Mobile” underneath the first result (which is opera.com).
So testing for a new feature is definitely underway. The link to buy the product is currently pointing to the vendor’s website, I see that pointing to Froggle when this feature becomes publicly available.
It’s the “Buy” link that’s concerning me. I too can see Google pointing that to Froogle listings. Good on them I guess. They’ll be actively driving their traffic to Froogle.
Question #2 To Myself: Is Google gunning to out-aff us and become the mother of all super affs? Is there a future for affiliate marketers in Google? If it’s determined to drive shoppers to Froogle and/or its adwords customers (through ads displayed within the serps or on websites that rank), and not allow affiliate websites any air time – you can kiss Google traffic goodbye.
Here’s info on froogle for merchants:
You can list your products on Froogle for free. Unlike other online shopping sites, Froogle costs nothing. There’s no spending account to set up and maintain. No cost-per-click. No cost, period.
Free for now 😆
Ok so all this is very big *IF* stuff and a bunch of questions with no real answers – right now. Time will tell what Google is really up to.
If this is all true, and there is real motivation on Google’s part to oust affiliates and step in to take over the territory, it’s not good for any of us. It’s not good for affiliates and it’s definitely not good for merchants. Anytime you have one superpower that monopolizes the territory – everybody pays. And merchants sure won’t be paying Google the peanuts affiliates are currently receiving. It’s gonna all be by clicks baby – not sales.
FYI to Google: Froogle is a very f-ugly datafeed site.
Keep it. 😆