Google recently ended their Affiliate Network Program on 31 July 13. It was really a bad news for publishers and advertisers. Google had launched their affiliate network in 2008 after acquiring DoubleClick Performics. The company says they are now focusing more on other services such as Product Listing Ads, Conversion Optimizer paid search bid management tool with successfully running AdSense Program.
“Affiliate publishers can continue to earn AdSense revenue through the AdSense network. And marketers can take advantage of other CPA-oriented Google tools like Product Listing Ads, remarketing and Conversion Optimizer to drive valuable online sales and conversions. These areas are growing rapidly and we’re continuing to invest heavily in them.”
Although Google Affiliate Network, was ranking at second among other peers as per Lending Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers guide, it is said that Google could not enjoy the effectiveness of other top level affiliate programs such as Amazon and Netflix's with their solid business models.
Affiliate programs work more on the cost-per-click action or acquisition basis (which means when purchasing, sign up or final action takes places after clicking a publisher's Ad, that click will only be counted and the margin will be paid to the website owner depending upon the cost for that Ad is placed by the advertiser). This is widely used worldwide and advertisers enjoy the sales benefits as well as they are more interested in paying the margins happily to the website owners.
However Google current marketing work exactly reverse, a very small amount of margin is transferred to the website owner's account after a visitor clicks a placed ad, and it is not mandatory that visitor follows the final purchase or sign up on those ad web pages. Google's Product Listing Ads such as AdSense has absolutely solid performance from last decade and many have taken their advantages. As final action after clicking ad is not in hands of the ad placing owner or website owner, product listing ad method worked well with Google's AdSense initiation. The visitor just initiates the process, and that's exactly Google's program work on.
Google works on a simple method of adding a small revenue to a website's owner account by facilitating a visitor to have an interest in Ad placed on the website/blog. There is a significant difference between cost-per-action ads and product listing ads as both works on different fundamentals, however, Google's AdSense program have vastly implemented on website's owners at an initial period and generating sales through clicks on later period.
It seemed that Google followed a different path towards online sales through AdSense campaign and with this it was difficult for the millions of their users to suddenly shift to their affiliate program which was just initiated in the market while other peers such as Netflix, Amazon had already made a long journey in the way and sustained their advertisers with many effective margins and quite stable business models.
While operators host Google Ads on their popular websites and agreeing to get small fees upon a click, a whole process sounds much easier than expecting a same amount of margins through affiliate programs. Moreover, Affiliate Network Program works well on those sites which have core interest on the particular sites. E.g. If you try to place an advertisers' sports ad unit on your e-commerce website it won't create many leads however with AdSense it is absolutely not mandatory, but yes Google will surely crawl your site for the Ad content/type to place in those units. It is also evident that Google has some legal liabilities with GAN, they had Amazon tax issues, they panelized affiliates, it was said that Google favored on product listing ads, FTC privacy rules issues made Google pay fine about $22.5 million,