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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?

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.labinski Steve Labinski

    “and in a way, it was taking traffic away from AdSense.” You hit the nail on the head there. Affiliates are the middle marketing layer between buyer and seller that Google seeks to wholly become.

  • gigiofca

    Great article, Cynthia. Clearly written and easily to understand for a non-techie like myself.

  • vikcarv
  • http://www.ecash.cz/index.php?ido2=12150 Jiri
  • siggyvidir

    Not to mention their program was incredibly hard to navigate! Like finding new merchants etc. lately. Went in circles for hours one time when I knew a merchant was “with them”.

  • 21C

    Just wondering if you found another network to promote netflix with.

    • Laura James

      Netflix has awarded Commission Junction with the business.

  • emrnitin

    They had it coming.

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  • http://www.ebs.in/ rakeshv

    I think Google took lot of time to shut it down.. I think they should have done it before.

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  • Pon

    Netflix affiliate still link to GG affiliate network. Is there any update on this?

    • Laura James

      Netflix is now part of CJ.com – join now to promote this offers.

  • James

    Have you found another way to apply to Netflix? They still link out to the GAN. Also…what does it take to get approved?? I keep hearing folk say they get rejected when they apply.

  • Galaxy_Dallas

    I’m not sure if anyone found this out yet, but Netflix is going through Linkshare now.

    • http://freetvee.com/ Brian Cavanaugh

      i did not see them there-wrong… is their some reason netflix doesn’t give their publishers a heads up on what is happening? any updates on where to stay on with netflix?

      • Laura James

        Hello Brian – if you are interested in promoting Netflix – I can assist – ljames@cj.com

    • jp

      I don’t see them on linkshare either… Any ideas on how to add them?

      • Laura James

        Hello JP,

        Please contact me at ljames@cj.com to promote this offer.

    • Laura James

      Netflix is with CJ.com – if you are interested in this offer please contact me at ljames@cj.com

  • Jonah

    Netflix Should put their offer on affiliaXe.com now.
    Not on the old networks that won’t let you even put your pixel for optimization. So 90′s…

  • Tina Su

    Today is Aug 1st. Still nothing. Netflix affiliate sign up still points to Google. I tried emailing the advertiser through the email provided on Google Network: Netflix-Affiliates@google.com and got a response back from Google telling me how to email the affiliate directly. I followed the steps and got back the same email: Netflix-Affiliates@google.com

    These people are sending us in a loop. All old affiliate links still redirects to Netflix, but we are not being paid. Remember to take your links down. As Google won’t be tracking them starting today.

    • Laura James

      Please contact me I can assist you with this campaign – LJames@cj.com

  • J

    I just ran into this myself. I love Netflix, and recently wrote a cord-cutting post on my financial education blog, so I was excited to see they have an affiliate program. But when I went to sign up for it, I ended up in that loop, unable to sign up. It’s been 4 months already and Netflix still hasn’t updated their website! If they close the program, that’s ok, but it’s unprofessional to leave that affiliate section of their website so broken for so long.

    Anyone know of a way to do Netflix affiliate marketing apart from commission junction?

  • The Watcher

    This is all part of a plan to push the little guys out of the ad game unless they can be used to fill Googles coffers.