Lots of advertisers have rules about what keywords can’t be bid on via Pay Per Click. Usually they are brands or anything that could be deceptive to the user. For instance bidding on the words “Free Ringtones” to a offer that does not contain any free ringtones.

There is a Really interesting thread on digitalpoint from a user claiming that the Affiliate Network he is working with is demanding his login to Google Adwords to make sure he was not bidding on keywords violating the advertisers policy:

I’m currently having issues with an affiliate program. They claim one of my promotions may be fraud which is a lie but I wont get into that right now because thats not what this post is about.

So they first asked for screenshots of where I promoted the program (mostly Google adwords). Sent that no problem. And now they want access to my Google Adwords account. I have nothing to hide but part of me feels as though this is an invasion of my privacy and was an unreasonable request. I am currently promoting other companies there and my past stuff is on there, etc….

Part of me wants to just give them access to prove my innocence. The other part of me wants to stand up and say no as its a invasion of my privacy.

I asked the person via private message and in the open if they would disclose the company to me. Mostly just to see if they were full of crap or not.

I have given this a lot of thought since first seeing the thread. I am an affiliate myself but being I have owned a advertising network in the past and had to deal with advertiser compliance I can really see both sides of this coin.

From the Affiliate Network side:

An affiliate company can ruin its reputation (and payout) to all its publishers from one bad apple. It has to maintain network quality. I am guessing in this (alleged) situation that the affiliate network is going to be left holding the bag and needs to prove to the advertiser that there affiliate is acting in compliance.

From the publisher side:

I would tell this affiliate company to go fly a kite and share with everyone else about how sketchy they are…. Course I would know I was in the right.

Anyway how would you react if your affiliate company insisted you give them the login to your Google Adwords account or you don’t get paid ?

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

122 thoughts on “My Affiliate Company Is Demanding To Get My Adwords Login”
  1. Surely if they want to see if he is bidding on any keywords which are a violation they can simply search Google for such keywords?

    1. If it was really related to the misleading practices, they could make the life simpler and already ban the guy. Instead, it feels like the affiliate person has a killer AdWords campaign/conversion going on and they simply want to get all his intellectual property for free.

      1. That’s what I think. Can’t they just do a google search for the keyword and see if the ads show?

        1. Well it might not show every time… could take a while before they are able to conclusively determine that it’s not there.

        2. I agree they should just do a search
          but it might take a while for the product to show if it shows at all

    2. Shouldn’t they just be happy that they are making loads of money too? Why try to steal his intellectual property?

    3. Seems like a shady affiliate network , I think they must be promoting their own products ….

    1. I agree. I wouldn’t give them access…. IF they are that concerned over it make a ruling if that means, me giving up that profit so be it but i am not going to let them see exactly what i am advertising on. now they want to provide a list of keywords to remove i will do that.

    2. I guess they already know a lot of ins an outs of stuff… they wont do this to steal his campaign.. there must be another side of the story as well..

  2. I’d do the same as you suggested and tell them to go fly a kite. Then I’d completely get rid of them. There are too many other affiliate networks in the vast internet sea to worry about one.

    I’m interested in knowing if you found out that they were full of crap or not.

  3. If an affiliate network were requesting my adwords login I’d most likely reject them from obtaining it. If they want to kick me out of the network so be it because there are plenty of other networks to join.

  4. I think I would go as far as taking screen shots, I would never give out login information and basically hand over a lot of hard work.

    If they were still insisting like that person mentioned I would drop that company like a bad habbit and do a few posts about the experience.

  5. No way. Never. Not happening. You need to lose these losers.
    What Affiliate network is it? They sound really scummy.

  6. Surely giving out login and password goes against Google terms and conditions. What would you be more worried about, upsetting the affiliate company or getting dropped by Google?

  7. That’s a load of BS. I won’t give my passwords to anyone. I hate when companies ask for anything personal (especially passwords or SS#). I can understand companies wanting to protect their own interests but there are some things too personal for me to give out (excluding to my business partner/girlfriend who needs access to our accounts, too). This kind of thing would turn me away from an affiliate program.

    1. lol. i would publish all their emails asking for your info and move to another company like yesterday.

    1. I don’t think that is a very good idea. What if you have 5 or 6 profiting campaigns that you have been developing for years. Someone, with your login, would simply be able to copy them and then make a lot of dough to your determent

      1. Or, even a few mis-clicks on a large account and you could lose a lot of money before discovering the damage.

        1. thats more the point, they would be able to not only see everything but potentially mess things up as well.

  8. I have to go with the majority above – giving out login information seems over the edge. If they suspect this affiliate is cheating, they surely have a way they can check it out without needing his login information. That’s too close to giving out your social security number. Nope! No way! Never!

  9. IMHO, asking for login/password is way too much. As the topic starter rightly stated, he may have other campaigns there for other affiliate companies.
    Screenshots should be enough.

  10. Honestly, it sounds like a lot of ego is getting in the way. On both sides.

    That said…

    No, I don’t agree to giving the company your Adwords login information. That’s a ridiculous request from an affiliate manager who obviously isn’t experienced enough to ask the right questions.

    If the person truly isn’t doing anything wrong, maybe I’d do a live WebEx with them, or a Camtasis video and show them I wasn’t violating any terms, but I’d never give them my login.

    Look – you both have big weenies, so stop posturing and be a little creative in resolving this dispute so you can both move on to something more productive.

    – Lee

  11. Sounds like an excuse to get your AW password, and a pretty weak one too. I’d tell them to screw off.

    On the flip side,as Shoe points out, I can sort of understand the affiliate company’s need to protect themselves too. But they also need to protect themselves from scummy affiliates within the network. On my retail site, I’ve had fraud in the form of duplicate transactions, affiliates cloaking their way into my organic searches… all sorts of problems. Just one bad affiliate can really ruin it for an affiliate company. It’s a tough problem to sort out.

  12. If I wanted to keep the relationship- hey if it pays enough why not? I’d offer to let them fly me out to their HQ and log-on in front of them and show them the campaigns that are relevant to their network. I would not give them free reign of my account.

  13. I don’t think you can force someone to login to their Adwords account. You just have to deal with the situation without worrying about that, it is the only logical way.

  14. Surely giving out login and password goes against Google terms and conditions.

    No, there’s no rule about that; I have clients give me their logins and passwords all the time (or I set the account up for them in the first place); although usually I prefer to work from my own MCC, some things have to be done in the actual account.

    That said, I think it’s an absolutely outrageous request on the part of the affiliate. I’d drop ’em.

  15. I am pretty sure I would do just as you said, go fly a kite. In the space now the networks need the affiliates more than the other way around. There are a lot of other ways to determine what keywords specific advertisers are bidding on.

    If the network really feels that this is an issue, put the affiliate on notice and tell them that they are in danger of being kicked out and to prove that they did nothing wrong.

  16. Sounds kind of screwy to me. There’s way too much liability involved with letting a person poke around your adwords account. That said, there has to be some other way for them to get the issue resolved if they are THAT insistent on it. Dropping them isn’t bad advice, unless they currently owe you big cash money and are withholding payment.
    Play nice until paid!

  17. I would get rid of them… imagine the time, effort, inspiration and everything else needed to build one great (many) AdWords campaigns to give it to someone else… this guy would be stupid if he would let the affiliate company in… of course… if he is not violating their policy… he have the full right to disclose their name and tell the world about them

  18. There must be something missing out of the story, because no Aff company can be that stupid.

    My guess it’s in that “fraud” allegation that the guy mentions but doesn’t elaborate on.

  19. “There is a Really interesting thread on digitalpoint ”

    Wow, first time for everything πŸ™‚

  20. I’d post a thread on DigitalPoint hoping that Shoemoney gets baited and making them look bad in a second post that will include their name and every information unless they pay me without providing the adwords account as it’s invading privacy 100%

  21. I’m shocked! What’s next? If they want total control and transparency, they have to run their own Adwords campaigns.

    As an affiliate, I have to trust them and they have to trust me…at least to some extend, you can’t do business without any trust. So, asking for screenshots is already boderline in my opinion, requesting access to an adwords account is a serious and unacceptable privacy invasion.

  22. I *might* give them access for a 10 minute window with me on the phone and with some pre-agreed outcomes in writing. It all depends on how much money is involved.

  23. I think that they are trying to steal his flow and it doesn’t surprise me that much – there was a company recently trying to do the same thing to us under the guise of collaboration.

  24. LOL if this is true its purely BS on the part of CX digital … They are well known in the affiliate circuit, and are not expected to do things like this to ruin themselves.

  25. hmmm can’t you provide access on google analytics. I’m not sure how much you can restrict it. It could be a plausible action to take? Of course that’s if the person has it setup.

  26. No way would I share that information. If they want to know what my ads are, they can figure it out themselves or just drop me. I’m like a lot of people here and wouldn’t trust a company asking me for such information.

  27. Hells no I would never give that up. I’d have some choice words for the affiliate manager that had the balls to ask too!

  28. No way in hell. I’m surprised by the audacity of this network.
    Something tells me it was the simply the AM trying to cover their own asses and stepped way over the line. I’d expect that AM to go replaced.

  29. Yeah, there is no way I would give them my login information. If you are doing everything legitimately then there is no reason to be afraid. I would drop promoting that advertiser’s offer like a bad habit.

  30. I’d report it to Google, forward them the emails, telling them that someone is sending you phishing emails trying to get your Google account login and password πŸ˜‰

  31. I would never give my login data, nor my campaign data to anyone. I would tell them I’d use a competitor in the future if they insist to get access.
    They should either ban him or let him alone.

  32. So I guess that nobody would give away their password. I know that we have access to all the passwords on our site and are able to view them all too. Without reading the thread on DP, I think this is an email geared to gain access to your account to steal from you. It might not even be the network it claims to be… however I also believe that the government covers up evidence that UFO’s exist!

  33. Yeah screw that if they don’t trust where my traffics coming from then screw em I’ll go elsewhere. I see where they could be coming from legally BUT in my opinion it’s their job to satisfy me as an affiliate.

  34. What I simply think is that, this guy has got a fantastic conversion on his campaign and they want to monitor him so as to be sure he’s not using any deceptive keywords.

    But why stress themselves. They just ban the guy not until when he supply d details then he will be unbanned.

    A quick tip for the guy, he should save his campaign and keywords, then give out the login details. Then wait to just 48hrs be he change his password at least to keep his account safe.

  35. I want to know what company that was! I bet the AM was just trying to get keyword ideas for their own campaign. haha.

  36. Oh no, don’t ever ask me my login/password to anything. Cardinal rule numer one. Not now, not ever! I’m a publisher and won’t give it up. Can my account but don’t expect me to violate my OWN security and put myself at GREAT risk. If this person truly is a representative of the affiliate, he/she should have all the info they need at their fingertips to know where a campaign is, where the clicks come from right down to the IP. How does this guy even know if the person representing the affiliate isn’t going against the affiliate’s policy? I’d be writing/calling someone other than the representative immediately. Sounds awfully fishy to me!

  37. HELP! I lost allot of money to adwords. What is a good affiliate product for a noob to get started making a little money. My experience so far with affiliate marketing has been a financial disaster.

    1. Just a suggestion, but you could start by using social media to build traffic to your affiliate sites instead of billing up your adwords account. Blog comments, participation in forums, facebook, etc. If you manage to become an “authority” in your niche in one active forum, you stand to get decent traffic even if the niche is a competitive one.

  38. […] Jeremy Shoemaker pointed out this thread on Digital Point where an affiliate manager requested access to an affiliate’s AdWords account. […]

  39. Hello Everyone,
    I wanted to report back on this issue. I’m the one that originally posted this on Digital Point.

    So I have to admit I made a mistake by posting about this so quickly. What I should have been doing is working with my affiliate manager and the company in the first place and getting this whole issue settled. Though I do appreciate everyone here being so helpful and kind.

    Before this, I had never been questioned about my affiliate promotion work being fraud and I guess I just felt offended by the whole thing and I panicked.
    With that said, I did understand where the company was coming from by questioning my account.

    So anyway, my affiliate manager was trying to help me and stand by me to get this whole situation figured out. He was doing everything he could and looking for any ways to prove my innocence. (which I now understand and appreciate more) He never demanded anything, just made suggestions on how I can prove this was honest promotion work on my part. I now see he was only doing it for my best interest.

    Well I’ve heard horror stories about affiliate companies before (even though this particular one has a great reputation) and got scared. The thought of losing the money you worked hard for would set anyone in panic mode and thats what happened to me.

    But I’m happy to say that this story has a happy ending.
    My affiliate manager sat me down today, talked to me, and worked everything out for me. He got my account cleared. I will be getting paid for all my work. Thanks to all his hard work…everything is all settled.

    I guess the lesson learned here is…. trust your affiliate manager. There may be some shady ones out there but there are also some great ones too! I was lucky in that my affiliate manager ended up being one of the great ones.

    1. Thanks for the update – glad to hear that things worked out. It’s easy to jump to conclusions in situations where something like $$ is on the line… I know I do it often enough myself. It’s NOT as easy to come back and admit that you did, so kudos for that!

  40. Wow, if CX digital can behave so unprofessionally, they certainly are not the big player I thought of them to be. They could go fly a kite for all I care, they’re never getting a password from me.

    Also, I assume that the answers here will be biased towards publishers since they are the majority of your readers.

  41. I think at this time you should stop contact with them period. Make a record of all the contacts you have had so far, dates, times etcÒ€¦ Then you should seek legal consultation and take action. You are the leader of many and with great power; well you know the rest.. LOL

    But on a serious note you should take them to court and get what you deserve. Make an example out of them! They donÒ€ℒt want to pay because they obviously are criminals. Passwords are secrets we keep for a reason right?

    Best of Luck! We got your back Shoe!

    Derek, aka Mr. Meltdown the professional fat man!


  42. If the aff company is legit, I think that’s bullshit. There is no way I’d give anyone my login to anything and if an aff company did send that to me, I’d leave.

  43. I would have to agree with everyone else. There is no way you can give them your log in info. There is no way that I would ever give anyone any log in of mine. I think its pretty shady to even ask for it. My solution would be to arrange a meeting where you can physically show them the proof, but there is no way you can give them full access.

  44. The poster has updated the thread with a happy ending… basically the AM was just trying to help him by proving to the advertiser the leads were legit, and he’s getting paid, and everyone is happy…

  45. It is not just the invasion of privacy, i think as u have to work together there is a sense of trust to be developed, if thats’s missing…

  46. Simple: I’d kick them to hell.

    My Adwords credetials are my Google Account, including other Google services I regulary use, including GMail, Reader and Docs. These services contain mission-critical data. There is no way I’d give them up.

    Besides, I’m pretty sure I’d violate Google’s TOS if I’d give someone else my login credetials.

  47. I think its 50/50 they have a right to check your account but then privacy they can steal your stuff and make money off your hard work

  48. Asking for a password? How weird is that? IMHO, It causes more damage then a possible bad affiliate apple….

  49. I think I would be outraged such a request. However, in places where there are a lot of money, will never be clean.

  50. No chance i’d give up those details. I really can’t believe they’d have the cheek to ask! It probably would break Googles T&Cs too? If something “strange” later happened to your account you’d leave yourself very exposed.

  51. Something sounds fishy here, because all the advertiser needs to know is look up the referring url to findout which adwords is pointing to which of their publisher. They don’t need access to his account.

    There is no reason for him to give access to his adwords account, plus google will kick his ass if he did that.

    my 2cents

  52. Depends on who owns the advertiser network. If you owned the advertiser network and sent me a text message, I wouldn’t even blink. I’d drop whatever I was doing, run right home, and send you my adwords account details in a snap. I’d also send you my social security number, credit card number, alarm code, passport, bank account number and passcode, and any other information you’d need to get to the bottom of the mystery as quickly as possible. No questions asked, no time to blink. It would be done in a flash! This isn’t a game.

  53. Mixed views is what I see…. there is not going to be much of a hassle to share the passwords provided there is perfect documentation of the type of contract and the reasons for the account to be used by the affiliate company!!!
    Views differ dont they?

  54. I wouldn’t give that up. Over my dead body. They’re taking liberties doing that. What nerve.

  55. First, I’d refuse to provide that information. Then I’d wonder what on earth they were planning to do with it, anyway. It’s really not any of their business.

  56. Hell no! I wouldn’t give them the password, why take it that far, can’t they just google search the keywords to see if the company will appear in the results? It’s so simple, but they seem to want to go at it the hard way.

  57. They wouldn’t get my account information. Its not worth the trouble. There are too many other good affiliate programs.

  58. Thats a good idea, ill start an affiliate program and get all my affiliates adwords login details and then use their cash =]

    You shouldnt even ask that question…. you shouldnt give your password to ANYONE!!!!

  59. […] I even explored whether or not affiliate companies could/should demand your Google AdWords account info. […]

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  61. Tell them to piss off i would all they wont is your secrets on how you are driving traffic to there affiliate program simple it really must pee them off, you making all that MONEY when them there selves are thick LOL

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