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Google Affiliate Network’s Shut Down Leads To Mass Client Migration

One week ago the Google Affiliate Network (GAN) announced they would be shutting down their platform in the upcoming months. Since then, the affiliate industry has experienced an unprecedented migration of affiliates and merchants looking for new networks to continue their marketing efforts on.

Google’s reasoning behind the closure was to allow them “focus on other products that are driving great results for clients” but also stated that that all parties involved in the network will continue to provide support for customers as they start to wind operations down. Here’s the timeline for the shut down:

  • Merchant services will shut down on May 1st
  • Affiliate (publisher) services will end on July 31st
  • All reporting and tracking will be permanently discontinued on October 31st

With the first two deadlines approaching quickly, GAN clients are scrambling to transfer their affiliate marketing efforts over to other networks, which has left the affiliate marketing industry in an unexpected position. Because Google has opted to simply close it’s doors and discontinue services to their clients, competing affiliate networks are reporting an incredibly sharp influx of both merchants and affiliates joining their platforms to avoid the shutdown deadlines above.

Of course, many competing affiliate networks have tried to capitalize on the GAN’s departure by flooding these migrating affiliates and merchants with special deals and joining incentives, while other networks have opted to give GAN clients space and stay out of what one network referred to as a feeding frenzy.

Prior to last week, Google gave little, if any, indication that the network’s shut down was something even being considered. The GAN Google+ page has been actively updated with new programs their affiliates could join- the most recent of which was launched just one day before the shut down was announced- and Google was even being represented at the AM Days affiliate marketing conference in San Francisco, speaking on the role of the affiliate network in the future. After the announcement, GAN was taken off the list of networks participating on the panel, although a copy of the original agenda can be found on The Wayback Machine.

general session Google Affiliate Networks Shut Down Leads To Mass Client Migration

Have you been affected by the closure of the Google Affiliate Network? If so, let us know how you’re planning to react to the shut down in the comments below.

 Google Affiliate Networks Shut Down Leads To Mass Client Migration

Chad Waite

Marketing Manager at AvantLink
Chad Waite is the marketing manager at the AvantLink.com and AvantLink.ca affiliate networks. He is also the founder of SwapContract.com and can be found on Twitter at @ChadW8 likely asking for advice on writing bylines.

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7 thoughts on “Google Affiliate Network’s Shut Down Leads To Mass Client Migration

  1. I find the timing sort of interesting. It is suspiciously close to the timing of the FTC’s announcement that they will be cracking down on affiliates (and affiliate networks) that are not announcing explicitly that they are profiting from links to other websites. The fines are, in a word, significant!

  2. Google seem to be changing a lot of their services lately. They recently changed the reporting of YouTube earnings moving it from adsense to YouTube’s own reporting system. Trouble is it only reports earnings in dollars currently.

    Seems pretty poor as of late with these recent changes not being implemented correctly, particularly for content creators.

    1. Adam, that’s a good observation. And many of these changes are largely unexpected as well. I think it’s safe to say that GAN’s shut down was completely unexpected to most.

  3. Google is like a billionaire with Schizophrenia.. They start something then stop …waste a few businesses along the way …and then move on and destroy a few more. Then when they are bored with that they fight wit h an arch enemy for few months and when they are done with that they change all their algos to drive evreyone they haven’t effected yet nuts.

  4. Hi Chris,

    Great article. I moderated the “role of the affiliate network” panel that Google was supposed to participate in at AM Days, and as you can imagine, the GAN shutdown news was a hot topic.

    As a provider of provider of outsourced affiliate program management, it’s been interesting to see the industry reaction. I posted my thoughts (http://www.acceleration-partners.com/Aftermath-of-GAN-Shutdown). on why Google made this decision on the Acceleration Partners blog, but I’m very curious to see how this plays out longer term.

    Ultimately, GAN customers will have to decide between the high cost, integrated management model offered by the big players and the more agile, single service offerings. I’m betting that independent platforms that have de-coupled program management from tracking are going to pick up a fair share of business.

    Best,
    Robert Glazer

  5. I strongly believe Google is using different approach to always be the talk of the town, I lost faith ever since my Adsense account was terminated and no explanation was given to me.