Google Adwords has just launched a new beta service — Google Pay-Per-Action. This is going to have a huge impact on Adsense publishers as well as Adwords advertisers and perhaps even affiliate networks.

Directly from Google’s page: “publishers in the Google content network can choose to place your ads on their website. You’ll only pay when a user clicks on your ad, visits your site, and completes your desired action.”

I am curious about a few things. First, will the same rules apply to pay per action as Adsense? A big part of pushing affiliate marketing traffic is saying *click this link to sign up for free/enter your email/zip/etc.* Doing that to an Adsense unit is a big no-no. Second, could advertisers shave Google? Why not? It may be Google’s tracking code, but its on your website.

There is a lot of information coming out about this new advertising product. One thing we know is Adwords is adding a new text link ads format for these new CPA ads (man, thats got to be pissing the heck out of the guys over at; should have gotten a trademark.) You can read more on the official adwords blog, but basically it looks like publishers will be able to change both fonts, sizes, and colors. These are not hard text links, but the link units that will direct to the pay per action offers.

Diorex has some very strong words to say about the new Google CPA program, tieing it together with Google’s other data collection programs such as Google Checkout and Webmaster Central — “…would you want to share any of this data with your competitors, suppliers, partners, or anyone other than an accountant? Profit per sale, sales volume, average transaction size, conversion rate, or average lifetime value of a customer? I would consider all of these pretty darn proprietary, yet tens of thousands of publishers have handed this very data over to what could very well become your biggest competitor.”

Are you going to use Google Pay-Per-Action?

11 thoughts on “Google Pay-Per-Action — the new super affiliate network

  1. Lol, guess I did come across as a little harsh. I just do not like the idea of sharing any sensitive data with Google.

    In Direct Mail, the post office does not ask to monitor my call center.

    In newspaper, they don’t ask me for sales receipts for the day after an ad runs.

    In TV ads, I dont pay higher rates based upon my desire to run more ads.

    In no other medium would I dare share this kind of data with my advertising partners. Yet Google acts like it is their divine right to have this data.

    I liked your thought on shaving Google, but I am pretty sure the burden of proof that a lead was not valid will lie on the advertiser. Do you think Google will allow chargebacks for returns? I do not see any way that Google lowers my CPA by doing this, it will only go up.

  2. Hardly any harsher than I have been. One of my recent posts compared the quality score to shill bidding.

    I think its becoming ver obvious to anyone who is involved in PPC marketing that Google has no problems pushing up their margins beyond relying on pure bid market forces.

    My biggest concern is not so much what Google does, but rather what their competition fails to do. Yahoo? Microsoft? A new player that can pull market share away from Google is desperately needed.

  3. They’re some good points.

    I sell tailored shirts and would consider using this kind of service on targeted websites or blogs.

    Personally I’m going to sit back and watch, see how things go for the time being, read reviews, opinions…

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  5. What’s contradicting with the new text link format was how all the talk about buying text links were bad (PageRank and authority etc) and now, Google wants a slice of the pie. Look who sold out. But I wonder if they will stick to their words and nofollow those links.

  6. Informative post, Andrew. I have been reading your blog since seeing your presentation at Affiliate Summit West. Always good stuff.

    Diorex is right on too. All of this info is proprietary. I refuse to even use se conversion tracking for this exact reason. Despite being universally known & having a gazillion dollar market cap, Google is an evolving business model… as opposed to a mature one.

    Be careful when feeding the bears.

    In regard to the text links, in most cases, webmasters buy them for PR, not the traffic from click-throughs. If Google adds a nofollow, I predict a flop.

  7. Hey, I think you guys are confusing the text link ads thing. I should have made this clearer, but the text link ads are for the pay per action offers — not hard text links for SEO.

    When dealing with pay per action/affiliate marketing, you need more flexibility in how you display these offers rather than just slapping a giant box with 5 ads in it on the side of your page.

    One of the problems Google may face here is the ad copy. When you promote an affiliate offer you can hyperlink whatever text you want to go to it. This allows the call to action to blend seamlessly into your content.

    Its going to be a little obnoxious if the pay per action ad reads “Click here for the Greatest Lawn Mower Ever for only 5 payments of $49″ if the affiliate is trying to create a site reviewing the law mowers for sale.

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  10. Andrew, I did misunderstand what G was doing with the text links. It should be interesting to see how the whole thing plays out.

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