All About Content

eBay Affiliates No Longer Allowed to Compete in PPC

Posted by Melanie Phung on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 10:05 pm

According to AuctionBytes (an online publication for online merchants): As of June 1st, eBay will no longer compensate affiliates for “paid search traffic purchased from,,, nor from any of their content networks, such as Google AdSense, Yahoo! Publisher Network, and MSN ContentAds, if it is linked directly to the, eBay Express, or eBay Store domains.”

As strange as it might seem for someone who spends as much time on the Web as I do, I’ve never purchased anything off eBay, much less set up an eBay affiliate account, so I can’t speak from personal experience the way I do some of the other affiliate programs; however, this move could have a big impact.

Based on discussions I’ve had with folks who run the corporate LinkShare Referral Program for a certain large electronics retailer, nearly all of the company’s active LinkShare affiliates send traffic via PPC ads, not from the links that are provided for inclusion on web sites.

Furthermore, I just learned that Google is starting to bar affiliates from bidding on PPC ads also — this isn’t restricted to just eBay affiliates. I can only assume that they mean affiliates are not allowed to bid on keywords for which the parent company is also bidding. Surely they’d be allowed to pick up non-competitive phrases. Otherwise that would be even more ridiculous “punishment” for affiliate marketers who ought to have every right to advertise.

Ironically, while cutting affiliates out of the PPC game might somehow arguably improve the paid results (even though affiliates often have distinctive pricing from the parent, so I don’t buy that argument!), this move might actually lower the cost of keywords for those players who get to remain in the game — it’s economics: less competition equals lower prices. That and seeing as a lot of business comes from affiliates and resellers, it seems Google may be cutting off a finger of the hand that feeds its money-making AdWords machine.

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Category: Contextual Ads,Monetizing,search marketing

Yahoo Index Update Under Way

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 11:38 am

Tim Mayer of Yahoo told Search Engine Land to “expect minor changes” in Yahoo’s organic listings over the next few days. Things should settle into place by Friday, according to Mayer.

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Category: Yahoo

Sendori Takes Domain Squatting Further

Posted by Melanie Phung on Monday, May 21, 2007 at 10:07 am

Domain squatting is becoming more sophisticated. Companies like Sendori are going beyond parking AdSense ads on good web real estate, instead opting to lease their in-demand domains to the highest bidder. The winner of a Sendori auction gets the domain to redirect to his own site.

It’s a service big brands will want to take advantage of (this being the next best thing to actually being able to buy the domain from the squatter) but I have a real problem with it.

The domain owner is basically just a parasite. They add nothing of value. Sendori has no interest in selling the domain, because they get to hold on to all the control. It’s not like the other company will want to build links or brand recognition for that URL since it doesn’t own it and that would be doing the equivalent of major remodeling on a rental unit — not a good investment.

Companies like Sendori are basically just holding those good domains hostage. Well… on the bright side, at least if they are redirecting to other sites those URLs won’t just be ugly, AdSense-stuffed (and often misleading) landing pages.

More from TechCrunch.

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Category: Domains,Industry Buzz

Monetize Your Blog with Sponsored Reviews

Posted by Melanie Phung on Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 10:05 am

Note: I wrote this post in 2007. The link landscape has changed since then, and am not recommending or nor do I endorse this service.

A while back I had a couple of thoughts about various paid blogging services, including From the advertiser’s perspective, I didn’t think offered anything better than its better-known competitors.

I’d been wanting to try going through the process of writing a paid review for the service to see what kind of experience it provided to the bloggers. I had a choice of either waiting for someone to approach me directly (a la ReviewMe) or bidding on an open project. However, none of my bids were being accepted at what I considered to be a reasonable fee.

Finally, this week a company called My Content Website accepted my bid of $5.00, 35% of which goes directly to That’s the lowest net payout possible of any of the services available for this method of monetizing one’s blog.

Plus, because the blogger has only 5 days to finish a review after the bid is accepted, but at the same time doesn’t have any idea when an advertiser will accept the bid, the odds are pretty good that you’ll miss that opportunity (and once you’ve missed the opportunity, you can’t rebid).

If you’re looking to monetize your blog via paid blog posts, I wouldn’t recommend

This has been a sponsored post (which is enough to pay about enough to buy a decent cup of coffee).

By the way, if doesn’t accept your post, check that the URLs and anchor text match the request exactly — the automated system that checks the links is case sensitive!

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Category: Paid Content

Scarlet DMCA Complaint of Shame

Posted by Melanie Phung on Thursday, May 17, 2007 at 7:24 am

Recently, a Google search results page presented a notice at the bottom that I’ve never seen before:

DMCA removal notice in Google SERPs

Clicking on the “read the DMCS complaint” link takes you to a copy of the complaint on — a project co-managed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the law clinics of Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law — which publishes these cease and desist letters to copyright infringers.

At first it appears these letters are published as a way to shame the copyright infringer, but if you take a closer look at the site it becomes clear that seeks to prevent abuse of the DMCA by companies or individuals trying to squelch free speech.

From the site’s homepage:

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals and corporations are using intellectual property and other laws to silence other online users. Chilling Effects encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to “chill” legitimate activity.

Recipients of cease and desist (C&D) letters are encouraged to contribute them to the Chilling Effects database. Some letters are published and subjected to legal scrutiny and/or explanations of actions/recourse the recipient can take.

Google has info on how to file a copyright infringement complaint regarding infringing material that can be found through Google Search. Any C&D letter you send to Google may be forwarded to

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Category: Intellectual Property