How We Identify Affiliate Ads

David Naffziger Sep 29, 2008

We've gotten a number of questions about PoachMark identify affiliate ads. While some of our approach is proprietary, it is one major thing that we do that differentiates us from our competition.

We use a combination of automated and manual techniques to determine if an advertiser is also an affiliate:

  • Examine and follow links in Search Ads: Our monitoring agents follow the destination URLs to determine if there are affiliate links in the referral path. We use simple pattern matching to determine if one of the redirect links is an affiliate link. We examine both proper and improper redirects along the path to the destination website.
  • Automated review of the advertiser's website: Our monitoring agents also visit and crawl the advertiser's website. We use a combination of heuristic algorithms and simple pattern matching to identify affiliate relationships.
  • Manual review of advertiser's websites: Based on several factors, we may identify certain websites for manual review. When we identify a website for review, someone from our team will visit the website and determine whether it is an affiliate site or not.

We feel that not only is it important for us to tell our customers how we identify affiliate ads, we also feel it is important to tell our customers how our methods might fail. Our most common failure mode is that we will identify an advertiser as an affiliate, but it is not actually one of our customer's affiliates. In this instance, the advertiser is typically promoting a competitor's website. The second failure mode is that we unable to identify a website as an affiliate website. We don't believe this happens frequently, but it does happen. This is one of the reasons why we encourage our customers to look at the raw ad reports as well as emailed alerts.

Ultimately, the techniques we utilize aren't as important as the data we provide. We believe that these techniques provide a best-in-class technology for finding trademark poachers. If you think we're missing something please let us know.

Topics: affiliate marketing, Events, Product

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