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Got Ethics? Sign the Performance Marketing Pledge

Posted on 4.30.2014

The performance marketing industry has obtained a bad reputation over the years, leading many Internet professionals to associate affiliates with dishonest practices and a lack of transparency.

This perception can strain the relationship between advertiser and publisher, which isn’t good for either party. After all, advertisers should see publishers as strategic partners, and both are working for the same end goal – conversions

Fortunately, performance marketers can overcome their industry's bad rep by proving their value as advertising partners. And the best place to start is by abiding by best practices within the affiliate industry by taking the performance marketing pledge below.

As a performance marketer, I vow to:

Avoid keyword stuffing.

- Affiliates of the past have been known to load Web pages with keywords in an attempt to manipulate search results. Google and Bing, however, have both taken steps to penalize sites that leverage this practice, as it does not lead to a good user experience.

Never practice cookie stuffing.

- Cookie stuffing is used to generate illegitimate affiliate sales. Sites that leverage cookie stuffing essentially drop cookies on site visitors without them knowing to ensure that a specific affiliate gets the sale regardless of when the click-through occurs.

Not use doorway pages.

- According to Google, doorway pages are sets of poor-quality pages where each page is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase. Often, these pages are created to rank for a particular phrase and then funnel users to a single destination. Since these type of sites manipulate the search engines and tend to provide users with a bad experience, they are subject to penalties from Google and Bing.

Avoid sneaky redirects.

- Sneaky redirects deceive search engines by delivering content to human users that is different than the content made available to Google’s crawlers. This leads to a bad user experience and penalties from the search engines.

Not scrape content.

- Affiliates have been known to scrape content from other sites as a way to increase the number of pages on their site and rank higher in the search engine. However, this does not provide site visitors with added value because the content is not original or unique. Affiliate sites that scrape content are referred to as “thin” and are not likely to rank high in the search results.

Never bid on branded keywords.

- Advertisers don’t want to compete against their affiliates for branded terms, which is why affiliates should spend time focusing on long-tail keywords instead.

Not trick people with fake identities.

- It is not uncommon to find social media profiles posing as someone or something they are not. Although most social networks now take steps to validate official pages, some people still get tricked and follow the fakes unwittingly. Conversely, some affiliates leverage a practice called “typo squatting,” where they register a domain name that is a common misspelling of a brand name. In this instance, the visitors unintentionally land on the wrong page, where they are then presented with affiliate offers.

Not be a comment spammer.

- We’ve all seen the irrelevant comments at the end of an article that try to get people to click on a link that has nothing to do with the aforementioned content. These comments are considered spam and are not a good practice when it comes to affiliate marketing.

Avoid social spam.

- You’ve likely seen (maybe even shared) fake branded offers on social accounts. Often times the offers look so much like the real thing that they go viral. Once a user clicks through, however, they are actually redirected to a different page, such as one with a bunch of affiliate links. Recently, Facebook has taken steps to fight against these types of spammy posts.

Did you think of something else that should be added to the pledge? If so, add to the comment section below.

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