Who Cares About Google Affiliate Network Retiring?

April 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Affiliate Marketing

Google Affiliate Network

When I saw the recent announcement of the Google Affiliate Network shutting down, I had to go find my account login details. I was probably one of many folks with an account that was never used. I guess I just preferred LinkShare, ShareASale and Commission Junction.  If affiliate marketing is your business model, you might want to know about what might be in store for the industry…

The recent news of Google Affiliate Network’s retirement comes as little surprise for many in the performance marketing space. GAN wasn’t a Google ad brainchild like AdWords — it was just a small part of the $3.1B DoubleClick acquisition — and more recent Google-developed performance products (Product Listing Ads, remarketing, Conversion Optimizer) compete directly with the same affiliate marketers taking advantage of GAN’s services.

While this move isn’t necessarily what publishers want to hear, let’s be honest: it’s not that big of a deal. Google might be the 800 pound gorilla in the technology world, but GAN was ranked 4th by affiliates based on revenue generated, placing it under Commission Junction, Linkshare and ShareASale. These networks and others will fill the gaps left by GAN’s closure, but Google’s exit from the affiliate world will have other industry-altering effects:

1. Say goodbye to the small guys

With GAN out of the picture, the next to fold will be the blind affiliate and ad networks. The affiliate space has long been plagued with a reputation for fraudulence, making way for alternative vendors to innovate, automate and shine a bright light inside a notoriously dark industry. In the wake of Google’s withdrawal, technology-focused companies will have a major opportunity to bring viable, fraud-free solutions to a lucrative market, with affiliate marketing spend expected to reach $4 billion by 2014. Soon enough, the old school affiliate networks will have to adapt, or they’ll fall by the wayside.

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