At 2:13 am, Netherlands time, I got the email from J.J. Hirschle, Head of Google Affiliate Network, communicating that Google Affiliate Network was doomed. Was I surprised? Not really, no. Google has been shutting down several of his other products and services recently: iGoogle, Google Reader, various APIs and so on. Deep inside i knew that Google Affiliate Network was going to hit the dirt soon too.
Google Affiliate Network is dead. Will it be missed?
Let’s be honest here: how many of us have successfully engaged in Affiliate and got a good return in the time invested in it? I know very few who have. Many of us have had better luck with Google AdSense. For the simple reason that AdSense actually works. It adapts to the user that is browsing your website. This simple trick makes the possibility of you ads being clicked much higher than using a mono-brand banner all over your website Furthermore, to actually make money, you would have to hope that the visitor that clicks your specific ad will eventually by what is offered to them. Difficult. Especially on smaller, not subject-specific websites.
I am also convinced that Google Affiliate Network was blown away by another affiliation program: Amazon’s. The fact is: everybody knows Amazon and everybody buys from the company with confidence, knowing that the prices are good. If you write a review and add the your affiliated Amazon link, the possibilities that someone will click it are high. Bottom line: An ad from Amazon.com certainly is more effective than a mono-brand ad sprayed all over your website.
I’ll make an example: I used to be affiliated to Manfrotto, a company famous for their professional quality tripods. This used to be a photography blog that did very well, with hundreds of unique daily visitors, so photographers might be interested in such offers by the company.
Not once I received a cent from this affiliation. Then I switched to Amazon’s ads, and the magic started to happen.
True, I was not an expert about Affiliate, nor I know the secrets to get the best out of it, I simply thought it was ineffective. Possibly, in the end, Google thought so too.