Former Yahoo hacker turned Feedster hacker Ray suggests that search engines are missing out by not dropping in an affiliate code in their links back to sites like Amazon.com. Near the end of that post he says:
And when I do click the product link on Google's result page, they're missing out on any potential revshare. I don't think inserting an affiliate ID would be seen as doing evil or tarnish their credibility. It wouldn't even give me pause in clicking the link, and the majority of users wouldn't notice it.
Oh, now that's just funny.
Here's a reality check: If a search engine just started dropping those codes in their results, they'd be crucified. Crucified by the technical press, the SEOs, and a bunch of bloggers. Imagine the conspiracy theories!
"Are Amazon.com results really better, or are they first because the search engine makes $0.40 if I buy that DVD?"
Oh, it'd be quite the little PR crisis.
But they do notice the sponsored links, which are mostly affiliate links anyhow. So is that real reason why nobody's using affiliate links- they're afraid it will cannibalize their sales of sponsored links?
Those links are clearly labeled as "sponsored" links. If a search engine dropped in affiliate links in their untainted reuslts, they'd suddenly be lableing a lot of their links as "sponsored" or something similar, wouldn't they?
In the traditional publishing world (that is, print publishing) there's supposed to be a brick wall between the people who work to get advertisements and those who produce content. The former often report up through or work with the Publisher, while the others generally fall under the Editor in Chief.
The same thing is supposed to be true in large financial institutions. The "analysts" are separate from the underwriters--those who work to take companies through their IPOs. The SEC frowns upon any contamination.
Given the financial ecosystems created by search engines and pay per click advertising, a similar barrier has to exist between search results and "sponsored" results.
But feel free to test your theory on Feedster. :-)
Posted by jzawodn at December 05, 2004 11:55 PM