Remember my PPC Display URLs and Affiliate Direct Linking Are Interconnected post two months ago? In it — being guided by Google AdWords policy — I argued:
Permitting “direct linking” (or Direct-To-Merchant (DTM) paid search bidding), however, implies that affiliates are allowed to link their paid search ads (through their affiliate links, of course) right to your website.
Yesterday, however, we spotted the following affiliate ad on Bing:
This was an affiliate agreement violator and brand hijacker (as Halloween Mart prohibits paid search bidding on its trademarks, URL, and variations thereof), but, as it is obvious above, they are — or, at least, they may think they are — not as bad of a violator as some others. The “keyword” they are using is the merchant’s full URL. They are also using it (twice) in the ad copy. But when it comes to the display URL, they went away from the actual merchant’s URL, and added the word “store” (in)to it… Apparently, Bing doesn’t require the display URL (the website address that the searcher sees on a PPC ad) to match the domain of the destination URL (the page on which they land upon clicking the paid search ad).
Minutes after my tweet about the above situation, a well-known super affiliate and affiliate marketing advocate Scott Jangro tweeted:
Google started requiring for the display URL to match the landing page URL in early 2008 [more here]. Apparently, Bing still doesn’t.
Affiliate program managers must be aware of this tactic, and treat my Display URL and DTM Linking post in light of the above exception (at least, until this gets addressed by Bing).