Google has invited advertisers to become beta testers for its new pay-per-action online ad system - a move that looks very much like an entrance into the realm of affiliate marketing.
Participants in the PPA system are able to add lists of intended actions to regular ads, with ad impressions only paid for once a user completes on those activities. An advertiser pays Google only if an individual subscribes to its newsletter after clicking through to its site, for example.
Google's pay-per-action product manager wrote at the official AdWords blog:
"You'll define an action, set up conversion tracking, and create ads that publishers in the Google content network can then choose to place in new ad units on their site.
"You define a fixed amount that you'd like to pay for a completed action based on the value of that action to your business."
The beta test is currently only open to US advertisers, however.
The emergence of PPA comes as advertisers look for more guaranteed returns on their online advertising expenditure.
Stung by instances of click fraud, in which companies make false clicks on rivals' ads to eat up their advertising spend, the model represents additional certainty for advertisers and so a stronger likelihood of Google's continued dominance in the online ad space.