When is the right time to change trademark bidding policies for Affiliate Programs

Trademark bidding policies are important for affiliate programs.  Most of the time it adds little to no value.  Other times it can help you and bring in some value by blocking your competitors from showing on your ads if you have a generic term for a trademark.  The tricky thing to think about is when is the appropriate time to stop trademark bidding, how and when to change your trademark bidding policies.

Sometimes you’ll have Affiliates that bid on your trademarks, but also bid on a ton of other general terms.  Those general terms can bring in a lot of value, especially if they are terms you haven’t thought of yet.  By instantly removing these Affiliates from your program you can lose sales because they are no longer sending you these value adding sales.  It is very easy to get rid of trademark bidding and doesn’t take time, but you don’t want to possibly lose the value adding sales either.  To stop trademark bidding, you just need to change your terms and conditions and then provide your partners with a negative keyword list that includes your urls, url + coupons, brands, etc… and have them paste it into their negative campaigns.  The problem is the time frame you give them to change their campaigns or ad the terms.  Even though it doesn’t take much time, there are other things you need to think about.

If it is Summer or during the holidays people are traveling and may not be checking their emails or accounts.  Some of  them might not have access to computers either.  Because of this they cannot easily make the changes within a day or two, so there is no way they can meet your guidelines instantly.  If it is a heavy travel season, you may want to give a week or two and send a mass email as well as a follow up to each individual Affiliate that you know bids on your trademarks a week or two weeks later.  By doing this they have had enough time and you may not lose the value adding traffic they were sending.  If they say they will not be profitable without the trademarks, work on giving them a higher commission to make up for the difference.  You’ll still get new customers that you can market to over and over and they can still send you new customers.

If it is a non travel and not a busy season, you can possibly give a 24 or 48 hour notice.  Because it is very easy to turn off these campaigns, there is no reason they couldn’t do it quickly.  You might want to start by sending a program wide announcement with this but you’ll also want to reach out to all of your trademark bidders individually to let them know about your new policies.  This way you can make sure they know when they have to stop, that they have gotten your message and everything should be good if they want to continue to work with you.  There are also a few things you’ll want to include in the email.

The first thing is thanking them for their work with you.  It is important to thank them and make sure the email has a happy tone.  The next thing is to explain why you are implementing this policy.  It could possibly make your content sites and other partners a bit more excited to work with you and they may reach out so you can build a better relationship with them.  The next thing you’ll want to include is your negative keyword list and a date that it has to be added by.  You could ask for a screen shot of the keywords being added, but many will probably not provide this.  The last thing you’ll want to include is a thank you with your contact information for any questions.  You may also want to include that this is not for everyone but only specific people.  This way Affiliates who don’t know what trademark bidding is can contact you if they are confused and you now have an opportunity to work with them and build a better relationship with them.

Trademark bidding seems like something you should shut off instantly for some programs.  Unfortunately this can cause issues during certain times of the year and can cause you to lose sales.  Think about the time of the year and if people are traveling and then create a plan that is reasonable to help stop Affiliates from bidding on your trademarks.

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