Many affiliate networks now offer paid search management services. These services are paid for either in a percentage of the spend or on a performance basis. Because the network has such leverage in the merchant/affiliate relationship, they often misguide merchants as to how they should best work with affiliates in order to maximize their profits from managing the merchant’s paid search campaigns.
Often, policies like this arise from such misguidance
Affiliates are not permitted to out bid FootSmart.com for placement on any search terms in the top tier search engines - Yahoo, MSN, and Google.
Now, let’s examine this. If I have a web site that promotes a night brace for those suffering from plantar fasciitis and I send that traffic to Footsmart, now I am being managed as to how much I can bid on that item. Even though I am sending that traffic to Footsmart, they are telling me that I must be below them on my bid. Keep in mind that bid does not equal ad placement, but that is another story all together.
So, now with Footsmart’s policy I have to send these sales elsewhere. If my site has a story or other compelling content on it that convinces this customer to buy the product, one would think that Footsmart would be very eager to get that click, but what happens is that when an affiliate network manages the merchant’s paid search they are protective to the point of, in this case, costing the merchant new customers.
Merchants, think long and hard before you meld your affiliate program with the management of your paid search. Many affiliates are able to largely outperform many merchants and network people in paid search. Why? Because we have tighter margins and we have to be better. Many good PPC affiliates offer paid search consulting services, including myself. So, before you risk running good affiliates out of your program consider your choices.