It is now official; the days of being a member of the Google Affiliate Network (GAN) are nothing but a memory, as those remaining until the end finally dropped off the programme as of midnight last night.
Granted, most of those who knew of the sinking ship back in April, thanks to a brief blog post (or news on PI), probably jumped aboard another network soon after - given how many companies went hell for leather with their foghorns and pitches aimed at enticing the mystified and marooned. But how has this really impacted the wider industry, if at all?
We heard about the client scrambles and recruitment concerns amidst the US performance marketing industry, but was its demise really that much of a big deal and did it impact the industry as much as some initially thought it would?
US Industry Abuzz
It was soon clear that it was more of a bigger deal in the US than the UK, with the executive director of the US Performance Marketing Association, Rebecca Madigan, stressing that the industry was still ‘abuzz’ weeks after.
US-based chief executive officer of multinational affiliate marketing agency, AffiliateTraction, Greg Shepard, was also quick on the draw to raise concerns about the volume of GAN’s estimated 1,100 clients moving over to a network in a short amount of time.
As Google remained tight lipped on its ‘difficult decision to retire GAN and focus on other products’, rumours over its death varied from the US Government clamping down on its product base, to it wanting to disassociate itself from the affiliate world, and reduce competition with its better performing products.
Either way, details from the US multinational were thin and many a company relished the opportunity to bolster its client list. PI does understand that those working on the network had a month to find a new job within the company, or risk facing redundancy. This was not confirmed by Google by the time of publication.
Some of those benefitting from the move included Commission Junction, which scooped Ocado, and performance marketing network Rakuten LinkShare, which migrated Orbitz Worldwide and Cheaptickets.com onto its books in Q2.
Inactive GAN links Work
Content monetisation business, Skimlinks, yesterday announced that its automated solution to help former GAN publishers easily transition their inactive GAN links to working affiliated links, was now live.
The offering means that when a GAN merchant link is detected in a Skimlinks publisher’s content, it automatically converts to an active, affiliated link from the company’s network.
If the former GAN retailer is not in the Skimlinks network, the overwrite will prevent the link from breaking, so that the content publisher can still potentially monetise it and earn a commission.
Senior director in account management at Skimlinks, Mark Macdonald, said Skimlinks’ nimble engineering team worked flat-out to develop this automatic overwrite in just a few weeks, so that GAN publishers could continue to earn commissions from ‘monetizable merchants with minimal interruption’.
“Google’s decision to shutter its affiliate network left many publishers who depended on GAN revenues in a lurch, so we decided to act fast, Macdonald said.
In the wake of the end GAN’s ending, Google has since encouraged users to explore its AdSense network, Product Listing Ads, remarketing and Conversion Optimizer.
What are your thoughts on the official ending of GAN? A storm in a teacup or a big deal across the industry? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.