There is much ballyhoo about the occasional affiliate who violates the pay per click edicts in affiliate agreements. But there also merchants that have a devil may care attitude when it comes to rules and regulations.
One prime example is Citrix GoToMyPC on Commission Junction. I was looking through their linking options yesterday, and I came across Link ID 10360563 / Competitive Keywords for All Audiences.
I reread the name a couple of times, as I couldn’t imagine they were encouraging their affiliates to bid on their competitor’s names.
Then I read the description of the link… “This keyword link is including competitive keywords such as pcanywhere, timbuktu and logmein.”
Are they serious? They are telling their affiliates to bid on their competitor’s brand names? Yes, I’m afraid they are doing just that.
Among their recommended keywords: pcanywhere, pc anywhere, timbuktu, timbukto pro, and logmein.
Aside from the lapse in ethics when it comes to encouraging this sort of behavior in affiliates, it’s also a violation of the Google AdWords Editorial Guidelines.
As stated in the Google AdWords Editorial Guidelines:
Underlying all the Editorial Guidelines are two simple principles that have worked for thousands of advertisers already in the program:
- Clearly and accurately describe your site.
- Emphasize the unique benefits of your product or service.
Unless the Citrix GoToMyPC affiliates are running sites that compare GoToMyPC to the competing products, it looks to me that bidding on those competitor’s names for the purpose of driving traffic to GoToMyPC. This is expressly forbidden by Google.
The Google AdWords Editorial Guidelines also state, “Your keywords and ad text must be relevant to your site, products, or services.”
I searched on Google for pcanywhere and, sure enough, a couple of the GoToMyPC affiliates were adhering to the suggested strategy: bidding on pcanywhere and funneling the traffic to GoToMyPC (see image to the right).
I’m sure GoToMyPC isn’t the only merchant engaging in such bottom feeder marketing – they are just the one I happened upon.
Wondering aloud…will CJ clamp down on this activity? How about Google – it’s a violation of their rules after all. If nothing else, I’d imagine Symantec isn’t too happy about this misuse of the pcAnywhere™ brand name.