Can you be an affiliate and use your own website to promote other people products? sure you can! the whole affiliate industry rely on this method, but wait just a minute, can you really use AdWords to do it? The answer is yes and no. Yes you can, if you offer something new and No, you can’t if you offer exactly the same thing.
Let’s go back to the good old days. Someone would have searched for a keyword, let’s say “123 shared hosting” and in the search results he could have found the same website appears under many affiliate offers. You could have seen it by yourself, the same URL, all over the paid search results. After a while, Google was fed with complaints that “you can’t find nothing” in Google, since the paid results show the higher bidder and not necessary the most relevant offer (we will talk later on Quality Score and how Google uses it to make the paid results more relevant to the search string).
As a result, Google has made the one URL policy, which allows only one URL to appear. The whole idea behind this policy is to allow the user to choose between a variety of results, not the same search result over and over again. So after a short while, all the PPC affiliates had created nice minisites (5 pages, 10 pages, with or without contact) and used them as a Bridge Page to the main product.
As a result, Google had come up with the Bridge Page policy and start to close the traffic to such display URL’s (but not to the affiliate itself that could continue send traffic to other websites).
Well, it worked well for a while. Whenever a website was slapped, we immediately copied it into another domain and sent there the traffic. Starting 2009 Google began to fight back, and until the end of that year, many affiliates found themselves out, slapped and banned for using AdWords.
So what next? The solution came from moving the product from the vendor’s website, into the affiliates one. We had come up with an idea that if we will place the downloaded file in the affiliates website, Google won’t see it as a violation. For a lot ClickBank and other info product affiliates, it was a great solution, but it didn’t last long… Google looked at that and said, NO, you are offering exactly the same thing, just in another domain, so they called it “Double Serving“. So according to Google, a Double Serving violation occurs when you use two different websites to sell exactly the same thing, and this is the Anti Affiliation Policy.
So what can you do?
There are still two basic ways to run gray double serving: unique offer or unique pricing. The key thing is to offer something unique, slightly different from the usual deal. You can get there by changing the period of the free trial (if you can still offer free trials, a big issue by itself), continue with changing the price by which you sell the item, and for the last push, add some extra features/bonuses. Here you go, you are offering a completely different deal…
However, you are now playing in the gray area, so expect Google’s answer very soon (the empire strikes back). If you wish to win few more months of traffic, move to the white-label strategy.