The affiliate industry is really complicated to explain to anyone outside it. There are quick and dirty-affiliates, there are huge affiliates spending huge amounts on building a quality site and there are outright stupid affiliates. One thing they all have in common though, Google hates all affiliates.
There is one basic assumption that I’m making here and that is that no matter what you say about the company Google, stupid is not in the sentence. You might say that they aren’t evil or that they are. You can say that they are against users or for them. Very rarely will anyone say that they are stupid.
However, I hear from affiliates all the time that Google is being stupid for them dropping in the search results. Sure, a lot fof the people saying this did have some really crummy sites and ugly link profiles to start with but let’s realize that there are those who didn’t have crummy backlinks or stupid content getting dropped as well. One good example is the manual action (they don’t say penalization anymore, probably so it seems like something not so bad) against Thin Affiliates.
How come Thin Affiliate is considered spam while Thin Ecommerce Site is not? I can see only one reason to this as Google must surely understand that thin ecommerce sites are equally bad to thin affiliates, they aren’t stupid after all. The reason is so simple you must have seen this coming. I’ll wait a paragraph before spilling it as you will want to see this example from a leaked document (skip this paragraph if you hate evidence and just want the action):
“Major cosmopolitan cities are preferred targets for spammers, especially hotel affiliates. Such results should be flagged as Spam, even if they are related to the query and helpful to users. For example, a hotel affiliate page with a list of Chicago hotels may be assigned a rating Relevant, but also receive a Spam flag” What is this, if you’re an hotel affiliate you should be marked as spam even though being a good result?
The reason is, obviously, that affiliates are making money in direct competition with adwords. As simple as that. If I can get a better ROI paying CPA to an affiliate than paying per click to Google shouldn’t I? Doesn’t this take money from the pockets of Google and putting it in the hands of others?