I have not seen a discussion so far that talks about Affiliates that show up in the top positions of the natural search result pages (SERPS) for the merchant trademark(s) at the search engines.
I haven’t much though about this myself to be honest with you, but that changed after I had a conversation with a merchant who was looking for a tool to find affiliates that copied content from certain pages of the Merchants Website.
It is usually not a problem, if affiliates copy content from a merchant site. On the contrary, affiliates are often encouraged to do so. This makes sure that the message send to customers remains true. Something that is not always the case, if the affiliate writes its own content.
The merchant I talked to had no general problem with that, but he has a problem with affiliates that copy content from some very special pages. The merchant is doing active SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or to be more precise, is using the (expensive) services of a SEO Company.
if you are doing active SEO and special optimized Landing Pages are created (one of the items you usually get with an expensive SEO package) , you certainly don’t want anybody to copy it. Affiliate Managers (AM’s) should look out for Affiliates that do this.
But here is the issue that is very similar to the trademark bidding issue at PPC Search Engines.
I assume that the SEO activities of most companies include pages that are optimized for the merchant Trademarks to make sure that you are showing up on top of the organic SERPS if somebody searches for it, right? This would make sense.
That leaves 9 more spots for other sites on Page one plus 10 on page 2. Who do you like to see there for searches on our trademark? Friends, Partners, Fans if you have them; The good stuff basically. Sites that talk nice about you and/or your products or services.
The merchant I talked to didn’t seem to have any problems with his trademark. The first page at Google looks very nice. Merchant himself Spot 1 (Where he should be), Fan Site at spot two and a well known site that refers to the merchant services at spot 3 and so on and so forth. Strong Message. Not even a shadow of something potentially negative and sites that are the Competitors of the merchant .
If you have the problem that some results for your trademark terms are either negative or from competitors, you might want to consider to work with some of your trusted affiliates to get them ranked high for your trademarks. Better would certainly be, if you could achieve the same with your own sites, but that is not always possible for every merchant.
I thought that this issue is very interesting and in my opinion also very important. It should be talked about much more. I’d like to hear different opinions regarding this. What are your thoughts on this?