Earlier this week an email came from BrandVerity, the developers of PoachMark, a famous tool of catching paid search violations. The email read:
We’re happy to unveil a great new resource available to all Poachmark customers, at no additional cost! Our staff has been hard at work developing informational Affiliate Toolbar Profiles.
Downloadable affiliate toolbars are used by several coupon sites, reward programs, cashback sites and other affiliates as an additional way to increase revenue. They have been found in some instances to hijack paid and organic search traffic, steal commission from other affiliates, manipulate traffic on merchants’ pages, and track users personal browsing histories. Evaluating these toolbars is a great way to prevent these types of behaviors, but can often be tricky and time consuming…
So, they’ve added a great new feature, which analyzes (currently, fifteen) affiliate toolbars, reporting the results of their analysis (on positive/negative scale) on the following 4 factors: (i) whether the toolbar hijacks direct traffic, (ii) if it hijacks affiliate links, (iii) whether it hijacks paid/organic search, and (iv) if it poses privacy risks. You may read more about it on their website, but here’s a partial screenshot of how the actual report looks:
At this time, they’re analyzing 15 toolbars, but more are likely to be added in the future.
In a conversation we’ve had with BrandVerity’s CEO about the new feature, explaining what exactly it is meant to reflect, David Naffziger underscored:
While toolbar behavior often differs across affiliate networks and across individual programs, we tested a range of programs and documented the collection of behaviors we witnessed. Our reports aren’t necessarily representative of what a particular toolbar does while in your particular program, but are indicative of what a toolbar generally does in some cases.
Excellent development by BrandVerity, and glad to see them moving beyond paid search.