There was a rumor going around for a few months that Facebook was planing to start phasing out affiliate marketers who are promote dating ads.
It looks as if they now decided to take action on this matter.
If you submit a new dating ad on Facebook, you will automatically get a rejection saying:
“Reason(s): It looks like you submitted an ad for a dating service through one of our self-service advertising tools.
Unfortunately, ads for dating sites and apps are only allowed from approved advertisers at this time.
If you’ve read the guidelines in the Help Center and think your ad follows the rules and should have been approved, please let us know.
If you would like to advertise your dating service on Facebook, please follow this link to learn more.
If you would like to become an approved advertiser, an application form may be available from February 15, 2014. If you have any questions about this policy or feel that your ad is compliant and was incorrectly disapproved, please contact us.”
Rejecting dating advertisements is not going to be the only thing that Facebook will do. Anyone that is caught running these ads will also get their accounts permanently banned.
From now on, the only people that are allowed to promote dating advertisements on Facebook are those who are white listed and the affiliates that the advertisers have manually approved.
For example: Match.com gets approved by Facebook to advertise. Match.com only want their top 3 affiliates Paul, Bob, and Tina to promote their ads on Facebook. Match.com will have to submit their Facebook account ID’s to get them whitelisted.
Anytime these 3 people will submit a new dating ad, their account will be labeled with “approved for dating ads”.
However, Match.com will always be held accountable for the actions of these affiliates as well. If Tina gets caught submitting titty photos, she will put the other advertiser’s account at risk as well. It is in the best interest of the main advertiser to only allow certain affiliates that they truly can trust.
But why? Is this the arrogance of Facebook?
The dating advertisements that were published were getting too risqué (much cleavage and/or half naked photos) and this was seriously hurting the user experience. According to my source at Facebook, dating advertisements were reported at three times the normal rate of any other niche. Not only was the context of the the ads very bad, but some guys were even sending the users to casual dating offers (sex websites).
Facebook wants dating advertisers to use photos like:
This is what affiliates were actually using:
Facebook is all about a high click-through rate and it was pretty much becoming a nasty race to see who could get the most scandalous advertisements published
What does this mean?
With every situation, there are winners and losers. Here is a quick analysis of what this means for affiliates on Facebook:
Who The Winners Are:
- All Mainstream Dating Advertisers – They will have less competition to deal with. They will now also have much better branding opportunity since all those dirty images are not allowed anymore.
- Facebook – This will seriously improve the overall experience for users of all ages.
- White-listed affiliates – Facebook will still allowing a handful of affiliates to promote dating advertisements on their platform. These people will have a huge advantage of an even higher barriers to entry for their competitors.
- Facebook affiliates in general – There are so many other good niches to make money with, such as the gaming niche. Click costs decrease since you do not have to compete against titty ads.
The Losers Camp:
- Affiliate Networks – Most affiliate networks have the dating niche as a big part of their portfolio, and their revenues will definitely go down.
- Newbie Affiliates – Many beginning affiliates had their very first profitable campaign through Facebook Dating. eHarmony in the Netherlands was actually one of my first profitable campaigns back in 2007. This change that Facebook pushed through will take away one of the tried and true ways for a newbie affiliate to break into the money-making game.
- Adult Advertisers – Facebook their traffic has always been of much higher quality than the porntube traffic since affiliates could filter out the target audience by age groups.
- Facebook Dating Affiliates – The best route for this is to try and get another vertical working, or do you very best to see if you possibly can get whitelisted by an advertiser.
Affiliate Marketing With Facebook Is Dying?
Overall, I do not see this change affecting the affiliate industry too much.
Facebook has been a major pain in the ass in 2013 as far as banning accounts and retro-disapproving advertisements. And it seems their mission now to keep making things worse for affiliates. If Zuckerberg had everything his way, then Facebook would probably have no affiliates at all, and the only advertisers would be the big brands / local mom and pop shops.
But can you really blame Facebook for doing this? The nature of being an affiliate is to push everything to the edge. Every CTR and conversion increase eventually means more money in our pockets. When we are all competing against each other in this hard industry, then some of us are going to cross the lines of right and wrong.
Affiliate marketing is and always will be a survival of the fittest at its best – the smart ones in the game will find a way to adapt..