Dirty Little Devils

I have had a couple merchants come to me lately who caught some of their affiliates in some not so good stuff.

Let me the set the stage:

– Major national brand retailers
– Strong affiliate programs
– Actively managed by programs in the major networks
– No Trademark Term bidding policy for search in both cases

(Note: I know there is an ongoing debate about whether or not to allow affiliates to bid on branded terms, for me it boils down to economics – pay 8 – 10% of your revenue to the affiliate and the network or pay 1% of revenue to Google – shouldn’t take long to make a decision.)

A savvy and unscrupulous affiliate who shall remain nameless finds out where this particular retailer is – in this case Denver, Colorado. The affiliate proceeds to buy geo targeted Google Adsense everywhere else except Colorado. Well, the Internet world is small and as usual the Retailer eventually finds out. Affiliate is dealt with. These type of affiliates are who give the industry a bad name. I applaud the scrappiness and the creativity of said affiliate, however I am disgusted by the sneakiness and back-door approach.

Another merchant found the same shadiness going on but with time of day. This same person recommended a solution I wanted to review before posting a thumbs up or thumbs down on them. Stay tuned for the solution.

In the meantime – here is a document provided to me by my friends (thanks DL!) at Google. This localizing search query provides a great way to see what is going on with keywords important to you in other countries, regions, cities, US postal/zip codes, US DMAs, or my favorite – latitude and longitude. (Go geocachers!) (This is actually very interesting for the future of Google, Google Earch and online/offline integration.) The display URL was the merchants as well as the ad copy and the click on the ad went directly to the merchant’s site without stopping at the Affiliates. Until all affiliates start playing clean, the industry will remain suspect and the recent rash of “Googles Continued Affiliate Assault” posts will fall on deaf ears at Google.

On to looking in to see if you have a problem in your program – to perform a localized search query, enter a query on Google.  Then, on the search results page, append a code to the URL in the address/navigation bar of your browser. 

Localized Search Query

Each parameter requires a value.  For example, to see ads as they appear to users in the Los Angeles Designated Market Area, append ‘&gm=803’ to the URL.  To use more than one parameter, include an ‘&’ between each parameter.

Parameter: gl   
Target country: United States
Name-value Pair: gl=US


Latitude & Longitude
Parameter: gll
Name-value Pair: gll=37304332,-121393872


Parameter: gr
Name-value Pair: gr=GB-ENG


Parameter: gcs  (to use this parameter, ‘gr’ must be set to the corresponding region as the city)
Name value pair: gr=New York

btnG=Google+Search&gr=New York

Postal/Zip code
Parameter: gpc    (US only) Target Postal Code (to use this parameter, ‘gl’ must be set to the United States (e.g. ‘gl=US’)
Name-value Pair: gpc=94549


US Designated Market Areas (DMA)
Parameter: gm
Name-value Pair: gm=506 Boston MA-Manchester


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This post was written by DEP Ecommerce Consultants