Recently I was reading a book on SEO (search engine optimization) and I noticed the author used the term “Affiliate Marketers” in the book. He was not using the term “Affiliate Marketers” in a positive way though as he used the phrase in place of “spammers” when referring to people that utilize Black Hat SEO techniques to rank websites in Google and other search engines.
Usually when I read SEO books, report, or material I see the terns such as spammers, black hatters, link spammers, etc. The author of this SEO book decided the correct term was “Affiliate Marketers” which from what I could tell meant he had an extremely negative opinion of people that refer to themselves as Affiliate Marketers. In addition he didn't seem to believe that affiliate marketing provided that great of an ROI (return on investment) and does not provide value for small to medium eCommerce businesses the majority of the time. (Unless they have the resources to manage an affiliate program.)
I don't want to reveal what the book I was reading was and who the author is but I find it interesting that well respected figure on SEO would take this stance. Since attending Affiliate Summit I would have to agree with the author though. Honestly there were lots of successful affiliates there that make tons of money being spammers basically. Their goal is to make the most money and they will use as many Black Hat SEO methods to rank in Google (and Bing I guess) as long as they work. They don't produce content so their usually course of action is to scrape it from other blogs or websites, throw the text into an article spinner, and then run some scripts or automated backlinking software to rank a site for 1 week to a few months. The affiliate link laden deal or coupon sites then earns a shitload of money before the affiliate company knows they are victim of affiliate fraud or the site gets de-indexed by Google. Often times though Google's search engineers are too idiotic to actually read search results (because they are math nazis) and take down a spammy website until it's waaay to late though.
Do I think affiliate marketing is completely bad? No, not at all since I use affiliate links on this site. I just do it in a way that's reasonable and I'm completely upfront when I use affiliate links. I've build mini-sites before but after Penguin 2.0 I've found they don't do well.
While I think there's a middle ground in terms of Black Hat and White Hat SEO techniques, affiliate marketers can't legitimately got to conferences like Affiliate Summit and complain about the bad reputation you get in the business. Most of my assumptions about people that engage heavily in affiliate marketing were really only confirmed and cemented.
Do you think it's fair for Search Engine Optimizers to have such a negative opinion of Affiliate Marketers? If you do affiliate marketing and consider yourself an “affiliate marketer” why do you think most internet marketing professionals have the view that you are just spammers?