One constant of the affiliate marketing industry is change – nearly constant change. Google, Inc. has one of the larger affiliate marketing networks but it is one that has not been without controversy. They have had a record of poor communication with merchants and affiliates alike. They have also had known tracking problems among the Safari Browser and seemed a bit (well, maybe a lot) recalcitrant in addressing, let alone fixing, those problems.
This announcement (in part) was published on their blog sometime yesterday:
Our goal with Google Affiliate Network has been to help advertisers and publishers improve their performance across the affiliate ecosystem. Cost-per-action (CPA) marketing has rapidly evolved in the last few years, and we’ve invested significantly in CPA tools like Product Listing Ads, remarketing and Conversion Optimizer. We’re constantly evaluating our products to ensure that we’re focused on the services that will have the biggest impact for our advertisers and publishers.
To that end, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire Google Affiliate Network and focus on other products that are driving great results for clients.
We’ll continue to support our customers as we wind down the product over the next few months. And there are other products that can help you achieve your goals. Affiliate publishers can continue to earn AdSense revenue through the AdSense network. And marketers can take advantage of other CPA-oriented Google tools like Product Listing Ads, remarketing and Conversion Optimizer to drive valuable online sales and conversions. These areas are growing rapidly and we’re continuing to invest heavily in them.
Thanks for your support of our affiliate product, and we look forward to helping you grow your business in the future.
Note, please – bolding by me. So what does this mean for merchants and affiliates? Tricia Meyer has a good answer for that in her recent post, “What To Do Now that Google Affiliate Network is Closing.”
We do have some merchant relationships within GAN, so I began responding to Tricia’s post right after I read it. However, i thought I might share my response/thoughts here:
Quite a shock – but only because of the lack of forewarning. In our case it will actually be a good thing. We only have a couple active merchants left there and had (up until last month) only two that made us a 4-bar (top tier) producer. We retired one checks company that we used for business checks when we re-opened our own merchant program for those products. The other, 4Checks, we use for personal checks on three of our larger (checks) sites – and learned they will be migrating to ShareASale. That is good news for us and I “just know” that will will see an increase in conversions from the traffic we send to them.
The other couple programs we have at GAN have counterparts at other networks so, even if they decide to disappear, we can easily replace those products. We have been migrating away from GAN merchants ever since that Adsense debacle (that you mentioned). We have seen and read that the Big G has little regard for professional relationships, other than what they believe will keep their stockholders happy, and have been working toward divorcing ourselves from those types of affiliations.
To repeat, “One thing constant about affiliate marketing is change.” This one should (will?) eventually be for the good of us all – at least those of us immersed in the affiliate marketing industry.
<crosses fingers now>