Performics: Google’s little Affiliate nugget

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So Google’s decided to take the plunge and buy DoubleClick. And what’s more, along with the big bird, they also get Performics as part of the deal. Performics was a bit player in the affiliate marketing space until yesterday, but under the Google umbrella it transforms into a potential 800-pound gorilla. Understandably, the affiliate marketing corner of the blogosphere’s gone ballistic over it. Every affiliate consultant worth his/her salt has a take on it. There are two things which everyone seems to have missed. The less significant one first:

1.) The Goog doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about Performics. From the takeover FAQ:

Q. What will Google do with Performics?
A. Performics is part of DoubleClick, and we are acquiring it as part of the transaction. We have no plans to dispose of it at this time.

Dispose of it? Haven’t they any idea what they’re going to do with it? Or is this a subtle attempt to throw potential competitors off the track?2.) Here’s the big one, though, and I’m surprised no one’s caught on to it: Late last month, Google announced a US-only, beta program for what it calls “pay-per-action” advertising, which, from this page, looks like good old affiliate marketing masquerading under a Google-ized pseudonym. Take the very first question, for instance:

What is pay-per-action advertising?
Pay-per-action advertising is a new pricing model that allows advertisers to pay only when specific actions that they define are completed by a user on their site. Rather than paying for clicks or impressions, advertisers can choose to pay when a user makes a purchase, signs up for a newsletter, or completes any other clearly defined action that they choose. Pay-per-action ads are eligible to appear on publisher sites in the Google content network, and publishers can choose specific pay-per-action ads
that are relevant to their site to run in new ad units that they create.

There you go. My take on it is that Performics technology is far more important to Google’s strategy than they’re letting on. With Performics as a complement to its pay-per-action efforts, the company acquires a ready seed base of merchants and publishers (although insignificant in comparison to giants like Commission Junction and Expect more innovations from the Goog’s stable, perhaps on the lines of the superbly-executed Amazon Affiliate Program, or even beyond.

- Rahul.

Rahul Gaitonde is an Affiliate Marketing consultant with Convonix Inc.

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