Paid Search Compliance

Some advertiser permit affiliates to run paid search activity for their brand for those who do not, below are explanations of breaches of paid search policies and hot to spot them if not using a 3rd party to do this for you.

Ad Hijacking 

Ad Hijacks - these are instances where an affiliate is using the advertisers url as the display url on search engines.  They will directly link to the brand’s site via their affiliate redirect, which can have a negative effect on any paid search activity that the client or their agency may be doing for them.


Trademark Bidding - also known as “brand bidding”—is the act of bidding on a brand’s name or trademark in their own paid search advertisements. Typically, they will direct the traffic to their own site before then redirecting or incentivising that traffic to click out to the merchant’s site via their affiliate link. 


Below are common signs that an affiliate might be using paid search as their traffic source:

  • A significant increase in traffic and conversions from low quality affiliates
  • Affiliate’s conversion rate mirrors that of a merchant’s branded paid search

Please note that there are legitimate reasons to redirect users through an affiliate site, for example, an affiliate may wish to keep the search terms they are using to privately buy traffic. An affiliate may also want to conduct their own ad tracking of which it is important for them to differentiate between proper and improper redirects. Proper redirects usually take the form of server-side 301 and 302 redirects and these methods are recommended by the W3C for redirection. Neither of these techniques causes ad hijacking.

 Automated solutions such as BrandVerity are excellent tools for monitoring for instances of ad hijacking.