One such evolution that is taking place right now has its eyes set on “fake” blog and review style sites. These kinds of sites have been widely popular in promoting affiliate offers, but have lately come under scrutiny. The problem that has occurred is centered around the false claims that are being stated on the pre-sell sites. In addition to the false claims, the pictures of people being depicted are fabricated, which misleads the consumer even further.
Even with products that deliver highly respectable results, the claims placed on these products (from the affiliates pre-sell pages) have left unattainable results in the consumers’ mind. The time has come in the industry to self regulate these style sites before government agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission “FTC”, step in and do it themselves at a much higher cost to everyone in the industry. With that said, affiliates are now left wondering how they can continue to promote their sites under these new guidelines. This article will focus in on the resources available to affiliates that will help them evolve their sites and shake that “fake “ label.
One of the most popular ways for affiliates to shake that “fake” label would be for them to conduct the reviews or case studies themselves. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to try the products themselves, but they can conduct the case studies. Many affiliates have found that their friends and even family members are volunteering to take part. Others have found such services as Craigslist as a great way to contact individuals looking to take part in a case study. One common remark heard is that these case studies will take too long, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Affiliates tend to assume that the case study has to last for at least 30 days for weight loss related products, but for these blog style sites, a 7 – 14 day case study will work just as well.
For those affiliates that promote wrinkle or teeth whitening offers, these case studies can be completed in as little as a few days. The benefits that are gained by having a fully compliant and factual site greatly outweigh any small monetary expense and/or time required to complete the evolution of the site. To help offset some of the monetary expenses, networks such as Clickbooth are offering their products to affiliates at no cost so they can complete their case studies.
Affiliate Networks have also stepped up to help affiliates drop the “fake” from their review and blogs style sites. Several networks have started to build and handout pre-made blogs to their affiliates. This has given affiliates a quick solution to get fully compliant sites live. While this may seem like a great solution at first glance, I would throw out a word of caution against these pre-made blogs. As affiliates begin to flock towards them, it will cause an increase in competition with affiliates all using the exact same group of blogs. As most search publishers are aware, Google frowns upon any ad listing that shares the same destination as other ads being served on the same page.
Other affiliate networks have taken a different approach in dealing with this issue. Instead of handing out template blog and review style sites to their affiliates, they have supplied them with the components to create their own versions. This allows the affiliates to apply their own creative touch, while still benefiting from the information supplied by the networks and advertisers. Either way you choose to approach it, check with your affiliate network to see what options are available for your account.
So whether you decide to take on the case studies yourself or you look to your affiliate networks for assistance, the objective remains the same – provide the consumer with truthful and legitimate information. In doing so, not only are you protecting yourself from promoting false claims, but also embracing the necessary changes to sustain the prosperity of the industry.
Peter Varga Jr. is a Senior Affiliate Strategist at Clickbooth. Varga owned a Website Development Company for six years. During those years, he became an Affiliate Marketing specialist, including concentrating on Search and Onsite Display. At Clickbooth, Varga focuses on Search Publishers, and in addition, works with Onsite and Email Publishers.
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