Why Your Best Business Partners May be Your Worst Enemies on the Web

Share Article

Managing affiliates could save companies millions.

Many branded businesses are discovering something alarming. When they type their name into search engines, they aren’t listed near the top. According to one Internet expert, many companies’ affiliates are legally marketing their trademarked terms, and reaping huge rewards.

In her book, Search Engine Advertising (New Riders Publishing 2004), Catherine Seda details a growing problem. “Research reveals,” Seda writes, “that same-channel competition by companies’ own marketing partners caused significant profit loss. And the heat is getting turned up. More offline partners are discovering the lucrative results of trademark advertising.”

According to Seda, these marketing partners are typically affiliates but can also include wholesalers, retail stores, catalog companies, comparison shopping engines and online auction sites. “Don’t assume because you’re the brand owner, you’re number one in the search engines for your trademarks,” warns Seda. “If your affiliates dominate top positions then you’re likely paying them a hefty commission for sales you could have captured on your own. Plus, you could easily pay 10 to 20 times more per click than necessary to compete with them for paid listings.”

“Merchants,” she says, “can prohibit affiliates from marketing their branded keywords, while allowing them to fight for competitive generic terms. In this case, companies can ask their affiliates to sign a trademark protection agreement.” Seda acknowledges that some companies choose to do nothing because their affiliate relationships are widespread. Moreover, an affiliate network is the surefire way of paying only for results from a search engine marketing campaign – a guarantee not offered by most ad agencies.

Seda explains that prohibiting the marketing of trademarks can put off many would-be or existing partners. The savvy Internet marketers will work for the companies that offer them the best payout potential without restrictions. “Evaluate the competitiveness of the search engine space,” advises Seda. “Then create an affiliate strategy that supports your top-performing partners while also keeping more profit in your pocket.”

Catherine Seda is president and CEO of Seda Communication (http://www.SedaCommunication.com), an Internet marketing and training company, and a popular conference speaker.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Catherine Seda
Visit website