Google takes on the affiliate market with Referrals 2.0

The New Zealand affiliate market just became a whole lot more interesting.

Google have now fully launched their “Referrals 2.0” through Google Adsense.

For some time now Google have offered referral fees for promoting their own internal products; Adsense itself, Google Toolbar + Firefox and others. Now they have rolled this Referrals 2.0 product (another name for an affiliate network) out to all Adsense publishers.

There was a beta for the Referrals 2.0 launch in March and now it has launched properly into Adsense accounts with a small advert on the overview page of Adsense saying;

NEW Congratulations, your account has been upgraded to include the all new Referrals 2.0 – click here to get started

Is this relevant to the New Zealand affiliate market? Yes.

On a search for “New Zealand” on the products offered within the Adsense Referrals 2.0 there were 10 results including accomodation programs, flights (of course), rental cars (as expected) and interestingly even Green Lipped Mussels!

This is a major step forward for NZ affiliates but is it the best step forward? Specilised affiliate networks live and die on close, personal communication with their affiliates. Will Google be able to live up to this?

I would think it isn’t a huge focus for Google as they already have the majority of the market in PPC advertising in New Zealand anyway so publishers are bound to flock to them.

So, Google Referrals 2.0 is likely to be an excellent option for lower level affiliates but the top level affiliates (who cover 80% of the market, as usual) may well be cautious on using this system as they will lose the ability for one-on-one deals with the affiliate managers.

Time will tell but Google Referrals is here to stay and will become a dominant force in New Zealand where there is a lack of quality affiliate networks.

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