John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

johnon.com  Competitive Web & SEO
November 28th, 2008 by john andrews

Affiliate Link Bashing and The Self-defeating Marketing community

I noticed that “Black Friday” is a very popular search term this month. I noticed that “Black Friday” is one of the top 5 topics on social platform Twitter. Of course there are affiliate marketing opportunities surrounding Black Friday, because it is a shopping event. Black Friday is followed by Cyber Monday, known as the biggest Internet shopping day. So obviously Cyber Monday, although not as well known as Black Friday, is big for affiliates, since millions of referring affiliate links will be driving the traffic that leads to those sales.

I noticed someone posted an Amazon.com “Black Friday” link to Twitter, using a URL shortening service similar to twiturl.com. When I looked closely I noticed it was an affiliate link to Amazon. Cool, I thought. Innocuous, harmless, helpful and covert. I wondered what sort of adoption that link experiences.

Today I noticed yet another search community member bashing affiliate links, specifically those posted to twitter. It happens too often. Why?

Spam is spam, but affiliate links are not spam. If someone posts a self-serving message to his audience and includes a self-serving affiliate link, then the audience is in control. Garbage is garbage. If you don’t like the message or post or comment or tweet, that’s fine. You are free to handle it. But the affiliate link should not be the cause for your dislike. The affiliate link is a perfect vehicle for referrals. Every industry wishes it had an accountable, trackable, meaningful means to refer potential customers like we do. And if the link is meaningful, innocuous, harmless, and helpful plus covert, all the better! But “covert” in this context is incorrect – I should say “unobtrusive“. There is nothing wrong with the affiliate link in proper supportive context. And if there is a spammy post meant only to carry a self-serving affiliate link, there is still nothing wrong with the link. The spammer might be offensive, or the post exploitative, but not the link.

I find the search community self-defeating. The world doesn’t consider affiliate links to be spam, only these self-defeating search marketers do. And the more they say so in public, the more the public is influenced to view affiliate links as unworthy. Why is that?

Commerce is something that must be driven. Commerce doesn’t happen by itself. The intent to buy might be spontaneous, by the act of buying must be prompted by some commercial driver. Sometimes it is an advertisement that creates warm fuzzy associations between a purchase and a person. The ad drives commerce. Sometimes it is a coupon that ties a purchase to an added value, causing the actual purchase to take place even in cases where the intent to buy pre-existed for quite some time. Very often endorsements drive commerce. Given no other knowledge, I’ll buy what my doctor says is best. Of course the doctor doesn’t use an affiliate link, but are we dumb enough to believe the doctor isn’t participating in an affiliate program? Have you ever heard of the pharmaceutical industry?

I think every link should be an affiliate link, because almost every link drives commerce. Someone is potentially gaining commercial value every time I link to anything that leads to commerce. Google knows this, which is why Google is a search engine. Google has gone after the ripest, lowest-hanging fruit on the tree – un-monetized value injected into the system by those who link without affiliate tracking codes. lately Google has been referring to “undisclosed affiliate links” as potentially felonious. I think that is an obscene abuse of the public trust. Of course I am not referring to “free” scams that are not actually free, lotteries no one can possibly win, or negative opt-in programs that obligate you without your explicit permission, or ones that lock the consumer into a costly situation beyond the initial response transaction. Fraud is fraud, but affiliate links are not fraudulent.

Google would like nothing better than a law (with felonious teeth) forcing all links to be un-trackable. Google will settle for a law that requires all trackable links to be highlighted as suspect, or otherwise discountable via Google’s own aggressive business tactics. That helps Google secure a winfall of profits. Strangely, it appears that many search marketers not only accept this, but support it by bashing affiliate links as unworthy or spammy. And the oddest part of all of this is… those same people tend to complain when Google doesn’t pay webmasters back an adequate portion of profits via the AdSense “Nickels for You” webmaster program.

I have tried to understand this perspective, but failed. We webmasters inject value into the web, but are supposed to refrain from trying to track that contribution for some return (because affiliate links are spammy somehow?), and then we are supposed to participate in Google AdSense to try and eek a minimal fraction of the earned profits back, at the whim of Google, which takes the lion’s share?  That’s way inefficient, and wrong.

Instead, how about we stop bashing affiliate links, track every link we create, block Google from monetizing that value we’ve injected into the world wide web, and then we all participate in a giant tracked link share system that returns a fair portion of the profits according to each of our contributions to driving the commerce that led to those profits? Wow..that’d be great! Feel free to stop listening to anyone you find off-putting.

On second thought, that’s what we are doing with our affiliate links, isn’t it? Nice! We’re on the road to a better web world! Maybe it will eventually lead to a fair trade web.

I hope that people will consider contributing to that Greater Good by stopping the tarnishing of affiliate linking, and refraining from related self-defeating activities like “voluntary disclosure policies” and “nofollow” and “colored hats” for web publishing tactics. Despite what Google wants you to think, you do not need to highlight or disclose your affiliate relationships except in limited, government-regulated markets (like pharmaceuticals, licensed professions, etc) or in certain situations where fees are paid for promotion, or where you (or your affiliate upline) are actually defrauding the consumer. The FTC is a consumer advocate,not Google’s private police force: “The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them“.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a del.icio.us Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
November 26th, 2008 by john andrews

Canon 5D Mark II in the hands of..imagers?

Not sure what to call them… they make photographs, videos, imagery. They’re getting their Canon 5D Mark II units as I type. The world changes now… this is a big deal, and it will get bigger.

Check out what Vincent Laforet  put together, even though he can’t publish full res video. Read his notes on the edit process… perhaps the greatest advance we will see in the next 6 months will come out of not only the actual technology of the Canon 5D MkII but  the energy and passion this advancement has stimulated in our creative associates.

If I were younger or able to make a living capturing light through my lenses, I’d be out there creating with my own 5D instead of writing about it on my blog.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a del.icio.us Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
November 25th, 2008 by john andrews

Canon 5D Mark II DigitalSLR w/HD Video

The Canon 5D Mk II is shipping this week. This camera is a game-changer. A full-frame digital SLR (21.1 megapixel) that records 1080p HD video direct to flash card (as .mov files – no rendering required) at up to 6400 ISO. What does that mean:

  • an on-location photographer can also get HD video while on the scene
  • a $2600 digital SLR body includes an HD video camera for short sequences (10-20 seconds)
  • serious photographers with an existing collection of large, fast quality glass lenses can now use them for 1080p HD video

I am not expecting perfection from this first release Canon 5D MkII (remember the Canon 1d mk III focus problems), but I do fully expect this to change the game completely.  If you are a photographer and a web enrepreneur, how can you not see the opportunities this technology (and the improved technology that will likely follow it promptly) provides?

Ref: Review

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a del.icio.us Bookmark     Add to Newsvine

Competitive Webmaster

Wonder how to be more competitive at some aspect of the web? Submit your thoughts.

SEO Secret

Not Post Secret

Click HERE



about


John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

navigation

blogroll

categories

comments policy

archives

credits

Recent Posts: ★ SEO Industry Growth, Widespread Failure, and SEO Industry Challenge ★ Do you want to WIN, or just “Be the Winner”? ★ 503: GONE ★ Cloud Storage ★ Identity Poetry for Marketers ★ PR is where the Money Is ★ Google is an Addict ★ When there are no Jobs ★ Google Stifles Innovation, starts Strangling Itself ★ Flying the SEO Helicopter ★ Penguin 2.0 Forewarning Propaganda? ★ Dedicated Class “C” IP addresses for SEO ★ New Domain Extensions (gTLDs) Could Change Everything ★ Kapost Review ★ Aaron Von Frankenstein ★ 2013 is The Year of the Proxy ★ Preparing for the Google Apocalypse ★ Rank #1 in Google for Your Name (for a fee) ★ Pseudo-Random Thoughts on Search ★ Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or a Blog ★ The BlueGlass Conference Opportunity ★ Google Execs Take a Break from Marissa Mayer, Lend Her to Yahoo! ★ Google SEO Guidelines ★ Reasons your Post-Penguin Link Building Sucks ★ Painful Example of Google’s Capricious Do Not Care Attitude 

Subscribe

☆ about

John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

☆ navigation

  • John Andrews and Competitive Webmastering
  • E-mail Contact Form
  • What does Creativity have to do with SEO?
  • How to Kill Someone Else’s AdSense Account: 10 Steps
  • Invitation to Twitter Followers
  • …unrelated: another good movie “Clean” with Maggie Cheung
  • …unrelated: My Hundred Dollar Mouse
  • Competitive Thinking
  • Free SEO for NYPHP PHP Talk Members
  • Smart People
  • Disclosure Statement
  • Google Sponsored SPAM
  • Blog Post ideas
  • X-Cart SEO: How to SEO the X Cart Shopping Cart
  • IncrediBill.blogspot.com
  • the nastiest bloke in seo
  • Seattle Domainers Conference
  • Import large file into MySQL : use SOURCE command
  • Vanetine’s Day Gift Ideas: Chocolate Fragrance!
  • SEM Rush Keyword Research
  • ☆ blogroll

  • Bellingham SEO
  • Domain Name Consultant
  • Hans Cave Diving in Mexico
  • Healthcare Search Marketing
  • John Andrews
  • John Andrews SEO
  • SEMPDX Interview
  • SEO Quiz
  • SEO Trophy Phrases
  • SMX Search Marketing Expo
  • T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2007
  • TOR
  • ☆ categories

    Competition (39)
    Competitive Intelligence (15)
    Competitive Webmastering (547)
    Webmasters to Watch (4)
    domainers (63)
    Oprah (1)
    photography (3)
    Privacy (16)
    Public Relations (187)
    SEO (398)
    Client vs. SEO (2)
    Link Building (3)
    Search Engines vs. SEO (1)
    SEO SECRETS (11)
    SEO vs. SEO (1)
    ThreadWatch Watching (5)
    Silliness (24)
    Social Media (7)
    society (31)
    Uncategorized (23)

    ☆ archives

  • November 2014
  • September 2014
  • December 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • November 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006