Affiliates bidding on brand names: swiping commission or sharing the load?

Some marketers bar affiliates from bidding on their brand names. An affiliate marketing roundtable offers another view: let affiliates spend to keep the name high in search listings and focus some of the resources saved on natural search optimization.

Kurt Peters

Some online marketers have barred their affiliates from bidding on their brand names at search engines. An e-Consultancy affiliate marketing roundtable offers another perspective: let affiliates spend to keep the name high in listings and use the money saved on optimizing natural search.

Figuring that they shouldn`t have to pay commissions to affiliates that use their brand names when bidding on Google AdWords or Overture listings, some online marketers have made a point of barring their affiliates from doing so-or face exclusion from the marketer’s affiliate program. But an affiliate marketing roundtable recently conducted with online marketers by Canadian consulting firm e-Consultancy reached another conclusion about the practice: consider letting affiliates carry some of the online marketing load and expense.

“With affiliates outbidding each other to claim a bigger slice of the commission pie, does it make sense to pay out commissions as well as keep buying AdWord slots?” asks e-Consultancy in the proceedings of its August Affiliate Marketing Roundtable. “Why not let affiliates do this for you to extend reach?” What marketers who allow the practice among their affiliates may lose in control of the PPC program, they may gain in sales generated by affiliates, suggests e-Consultancy, adding that this also has the effect of freeing up PPC budgets to pump money into organic search optimization.

E-marketers adamant about not wanting third parties to use their brand name in bidding on listings positions can discourage them from doing so by adding language to this effect to the terms and conditions set out in their affiliate agreements. Those terms and conditions can be sent to Google’s trademark infringement office to support a marketer’s request to remove any other company bidding on the company’s trademarked name, points out e-Consultancy.

There are pros and cons to either approach, concludes e-Consultancy in the proceedings, noting, “The key advice is to set the rules early.”



affiliate, Affiliate marketing, business, Electronic commerce, Internet marketing