Google Shuts Down Google Affiliate Network: Saw That One Coming

google affiliate networkLast night, I received an email telling me it was time to wrap up my business with the Google Affiliate Network. If that email had arrived a month ago, I would have tossed it without much thought. But two weeks ago, I started a new niche blog which included several ads from the network – but not the one I wanted most – Netflix.

Netflix was the reason I joined the affiliate network long, long ago, but when I went to grab banners for my new blog, there were none. Netflix’s affiliate page still sends you to the network, so I was confused. I attempted to get answers through the support group but no one responded.

When I looked through the other available options there wasn’t much to pick from. Surprising, since Google is. . . well. . .Google. You’d think they’d have the top brands in their inventory.

Taking all of that into consideration, I wasn’t surprised when I saw the closure notice.

Our goal with Google Affiliate Network has been to help advertisers and publishers improve their performance across the affiliate ecosystem. Cost-per-action (CPA) marketing has rapidly evolved in the last few years, and we constantly evaluate our products to ensure that we’re focused on the services that will have the biggest impact for our advertisers and publishers. To that end, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire the Google Affiliate Network and focus on other products that are driving great results for clients.

Publishers can continue to earn revenue through the AdSense network. And marketers can take advantage of other CPA-oriented Google tools like Product Listing Ads, remarketing and Conversion Optimizer to drive valuable online sales and conversions. These areas are growing rapidly and we continue to invest significantly in them.

We’ll continue to support our customers as we wind down the product over the next few months. While we will no longer be adding new product functionality, we will maintain the platform during the transition period. We plan to disable publisher relationships from advertiser programs on July 31, 2013. Publisher payments will be disbursed for network activity generated through this date. We will continue to make certain functionality available through October 31, 2013 for retrieving reports, reconciling orders, and processing payments.

A huge thanks to all our advertisers, publishers and the team that has worked tirelessly on Google Affiliate Network over the past few years. We look forward to helping you grow your business in the future.

Since the blog is brand new, I didn’t have any ad revenue yet, so no big deal. It also helped me answer my own question about whether I’d spread myself too thin with too many ad networks on one blog. (Not a problem now) All in all, it wasn’t a big loss for me but I’m sure there are bloggers going into panic mode right now.

The affiliate game is getting tougher and tougher for the small blogger. I used to pull a few dollars from Commission Junction but had to leave them when they started taking money away when I didn’t make my quotas. Amazon briefly pulled the plug on their affiliate program here in California which was a huge set back for me. Linkshare is still active, and ShareASale – Clickbank for digital goods – the options are getting more limited with every passing day. So what’s a small blogger to do?

Rolling back to the Google Affiliate Network shut-down, it always felt like the red-headed stepchild in the Google ad program family. It didn’t have the power and style of Google’s other products, and in a way, it was taking traffic away from AdSense. So, I can’t say I’m surprised by the news.

Your thoughts? Blip on the radar or another sharp blow for bloggers?

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Google Shuts Down Google Affiliate Network: Saw That One Coming

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