Bitly/Viglink Partnership Raises FTC Concerns

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that here at BrandVerity, we’ve been thinking a lot lately about regulations and disclosures–particularly with regard to the FTC and its take on affiliate marketing. Today we’re happy to have a post by our own Mason Smith about a new, somewhat concerning development, in this field: Bitly’s announcement that they are testing a new partnership with VigLink. This news was a hot topic of conversation at AM Days a few weeks ago and we thought it would be of particular interest to our readers. Mason, take it away!

The recent announcement that Bitly is testing a partnership with VigLink presents interesting questions for companies with affiliate programs. For those who haven’t heard, Bitly is testing out a partnership with Viglink that transforms their shortened links into Viglink affiliate links. In other words, if someone shortens a link to an ecommerce site using Bitly, that shortened link is now an affiliate link. Any clicks on that Bitly link will be routed and monetized through Viglink’s platform.

Continue reading


Major Changes to Bing-Yahoo Search Agreement

On April 16th, Bing and Yahoo announced a change to their longstanding search partnership.  Search Engine Land posted an immediate follow-up to the announcement with useful details and analysis, and followed up with an update last week that provided more information.

In short, the 2009 Bing-Yahoo deal that required Yahoo to serve Bing ads on desktop search (the fact that mobile wasn’t included was a loophole) has been modified such that 51% of the ads that Yahoo serves on desktop must be Bing ads. This change opens up the possibility for the rest of desktop search traffic (the other 49%) to come from other partners or from the Yahoo Gemini platform, which has been serving ads to Yahoo Mobile for the past year.

While it’s hard to say exactly what impact this will have on the kinds of ads that appear on Yahoo, it’s safe to say that the similarities in paid search on Yahoo and Bing—which we’ve noted in our Report on Branded Keywords—may soon diverge. We’ll monitor this development through the rest of the year and provide an update if we find substantial changes in the type and quality of ads appearing on Yahoo.

How do you think the the new Bing-Yahoo agreement will influence paid search? Let us know in the comments below or by contacting us at BrandVerity!


Bidding on Fear: The SuperFish Vulnerability and Paid Search

As you probably know by now, here at BrandVerity, we don’t have a lot of patience for malware and adware, particularly when advertisers bundle it with free versions of popular software. We were thus quite pleased when Google recently announced some changes to how they treat download sites in Paid Search.

But if we’re already lacking in patience for the download sites who target average web users, we have even less for sites that attempt to take advantage of already vulnerable users.

Continue reading


Maintaining Brand Integrity: Highlights from My Presentation at AM Days

Since we’re still fresh off of a wonderful few days in San Francisco at AM Days, I wanted to take the opportunity to share the slides and recap the presentation I delivered at the event. I thought this could be a useful reference—whether you were able to attend the talk or not. For those of you that couldn’t be there, I’ve provided a synopsis of my points below (along with my slides). You can also feel free to connect with me over LinkedIn or send BrandVerity a note! Continue reading


Affiliate Ethics: Beware of this New Adware Platform

A lot of the time, detecting potential bad actors in the affiliate world can be hard: these guys are smart, and it’s in their best interest to hide (and hide well) from brands, affiliate managers, and honest affiliates.

But sometimes they come right to you.

We’ve been hearing recently that someone had been aggressively marketing an adware platform to numerous people in the affiliate industry–including, ironically, a lot of folks who work on the front lines of affiliate compliance and who have little patience for adware. Continue reading


Trends I Noticed at AM Days in San Francisco

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend my first ever Affiliate ManaAM-Days-Logogement Days conference in San Francisco. I was thrilled to be there—everything from the location (I don’t get to visit the bay area enough!) to the expert-level content created a positive atmosphere for networking and learning. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience, I wanted to share some of the key themes and moments that I remember. I hope this recap will prove useful for you—whether you were at the conference or not! Continue reading


Are Your Pay-Per-Call Affiliates Opening You Up to Regulatory Risk? We Talk to the Experts at Fraud Posse

A few months ago, as part of our Lead Gen Series, we published a post about pay-per-call sites and the questions they can raise about where exactly those calls are going. In that post, we didn’t delve into the possible FTC and FCC violations that these kinds of ads can give rise to, so we’re going to do that today as part of our FTC Compliance Series! Continue reading


Google To Update Policy Regarding Software Download Ads

One of the major takeaways from both editions of BrandVerity’s Branded Keywords Report has been that Download & Toolbar sites, which bundle free versions of software with other products, such as toolbars, malware, or adware, are a major problem for software technology companies. In fact, in our study covering Q4 2014, nine of the top 10 advertisers on branded technology terms were Download sites. Continue reading


FTC’s “Operation Full Disclosure” and ROSCA Enforcement Efforts Gaining Momentum

We’re thrilled to be featuring the first guest post in our FTC Compliance series, written by attorney Richard B. Newman. Richard has been a great source for us at BrandVerity as we’ve developed our knowledge regarding regulatory issues, as well as a noted expert in the field, working on the Performance Marketing Association’s Blogging and New Media Disclosures Guide and contributing frequently to publications including mThink, OfferVault and LeadsCon. Continue reading