Google Beta Launches Text Link Affiliate Network

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Via SEL, Google beta launched a distributed pay per action ad network, and are accepting publisher sign ups here.

More background here and here, including a new ad format, text links:

Text links are hyperlinked brief text descriptions that take on the characteristics of a publisher's page. Publishers can place them in line with other text to better blend the ad and promote your product.

For example, you might see the following text link embedded in a publisher's recommendatory text: "Widgets are fun! I encourage all my friends to Buy a high-quality widget today." (Mousing over the link will display "Ads by Google" to identify these as pay-per-action ads).

Though the maximum length of a text link is 90 characters, we've found that shorter links perform better because they allow the publisher use the link in more places on her/his site and in different context. The maximum length is 90 characters but less than 5 words is best. Even better, just use your brand name to offer maximum flexibility to the publisher.

So on one front we have Matt Cutts saying "use nofollow on paid links" and "don't sell links unless they are clearly marked" and then on the other we have Google optimizing your ability to blend ad links into content, and readers only realize they are ads AFTER it grabs their attention AND they scroll over it.

Comments

Does anyone else find it

Does anyone else find it ironic that this will likely make Google the biggest seller of text links in the world?

Google to sell link ads IS Pretty Ironic

But we can expect a Google clarification as to the "no follow" nature of these links.
After all, Google can't afford potential paying customers to rank organic :)

Monetizing the monopoly,

...but don't be evil. If the mousing over is the only way to distinguish a paid link vs. a regular link, then good luck outside the US (where media laws are enforced).

But maybe that's why Google is on a lobbyist hunt in Europe ;-)

Monopolizing my time

Can't wait for Google to think up another way for me to spend my day trying to one up the competitor. As if pondering how to get the most out of my adwords money isn't a big enough waste of time. Does anyone wonder when consumers will be come so over-stimulated that they reject paid ads and embedded links altogether?

I've been waiting for this

This could be huge - adwords ROI has been steadily decreasing, hopefully this will make Adwords more viable.

You cannot use any "Search

You cannot use any "Search engine marketing" to promote the offers. (If that is what you were getting at).

Conversion Fraud

So click frauders can start on conversion fraud now, too?!

There must be a market for

There must be a market for text links. Huh, who knew?

Some might think I would find offense with a service like this but I don't. Far from it. To my mind it simply validates some of my own convictions. #1.If there is a market -- serve it.

Hopefully this will end a lot of the circular debates over what is a paid ad and what is a recommendation. Maybe a paid ad is the ultimate recommendation?

Oddly enough, I feel slightly vindicated. While I'm pretty sure
they don't need it,(and probably don't want it from me at least), I wish them the best of luck with this.

Once the Google phone comes out, the world will witness a whole new --- errr, nevermind. Anyone have any mobile numbers they want to sell?

CJ & Linkshare etc!

I just wonder how CJ & other affiliate platforms will react to this!?!

CJ & Linkshare

Probably just started clicking affiliate links for adult diapers for all the obvious reasons.

Is it April 1st already?

Surely this is just an early joke? :D

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