That means when the ValueClick-owned company implements the shift, the search lights illuminating countless Web pages in its network — pages that link to e-commerce retailer sites — will go dark if affiliates haven’t made the change. And the prospect of either swapping all those links or losing the revenue they generate has some affiliates stressed.
This Wednesday the online message boards frequented by affiliate marketers began to light up after Commission Junction sent out an email missive regarding its Link Management Initiative, the initial phase of a multi-pronged effort. Visitors to the ABestWeb Affiliate Marketing Forum were less than pleased with the news, anticipating a lot of drudgery when exchanging all the links on all their sites. One wrote, “I don’t even want to think about the work involved in switching out thousands of legacy links across all our websites.” Another put it more bluntly: “good bye CJ, it’s been fun.”
“Every time there’s a change, it’s going to cause a little bit of noise We anticipated that,” commented Frank Gerstenderger, director of product management at Commission Junction. Gerstenderger stressed that those legacy links won’t be disabled for months. In fact, he said the company will notify clients six months in advance before the links go dead; that announcement will come “sometime in near future.”
Griping like what’s taking place in the ABestWeb forum “is exactly what Commission Junction wants to happen and exactly what advertisers that work with Commission Junction want to happen,” Jeff Molander, CEO of affiliate marketing consulting firm Molander and Associates, told ClickZ News. In other words, affiliates that have started so-called “link farms” or sites with little content beyond revenue-generating links, are of questionable value to advertisers who would rather not be affiliated with such low-quality sites.
“Now we’re seeing affiliate networks breaking away and saying, ‘No, affiliate marketing isn’t about mom and pop sites anymore Advertisers have found that working with mom and pop sites has been problematic,” observed Molander.
Advertisers are not pleased to find poorly-designed affiliate sites listing incorrect information appearing in search engine results for their brand name goods. Indeed, some believe Commission Junction has put forth this effort to help search engines rid results pages of low quality affiliate site clutter, the kind of thing that isn’t necessarily valuable to consumers either.
The company plans on providing affiliates with more information, technical details and training, said Gerstenderger, adding, “We don’t want it to be too disruptive to their businesses.”
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