Monday, February 02, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Lions Tigers and BHOs. Oh My!
I highly recommend reading the thread and joining the discussion.
My thoughts :
A major concern I have with this idea, is that, all "BHO affiliate" tool bars, at the end of the day, do far more than just influence/decide which "BHO affiliate" gets the sale. They also canabilize merchants other sales channels, especially the ones based on loyalty, organic (direct to site/seo) and PPC. The bigger the brand the greater the the impact.
When I talk to merchants about tool bars I usually discuss the effect on the affiliate channel along side the impact to the above channels, large brand merchants (the ones that toolbars target) tend to get the majority of their traffic through the above (Toolbar targeted) channels, which ads no value and simply steals sales from the merchant.
How does SAS plan / propose to prevent toolbars that they allow on to Shareasale from cannabilizing a merchants other sales channels? If their plan is not all encompassing then they will simply be enabling tool bars to go to town on Shareasale merchants just like they do on LS, CJ and so forth, adding no value, but certainly adding to the BHO Affiliates revenue.
Monday, January 12, 2009
ESTA is here.
Until now, registration has operated on a voluntary basis but it will become compulsory for all travellers from 12 January 2009. An ESTA, once obtained, will be valid for a period of two years, or for the validity of the traveller’s passport (whichever is shorter).
ESTA can be found here
From a personal stand point, this is great news, means I don't have to waste 4 months and a 4-5 hour trip to the US Embassy here to find out whether I need to go get a ticket! Wonder if I'm the only person who thinks the new system is great.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
New Year and New Clients
January we have a couple of new clients launching with AMWSO. Starting with Organic Bouquet, which kind of started in December but will be really powering up as we head towards Valentines and more "flower giving" focused events. Then we have Beer Machine, which is a very cool, "Beer Brewing" kit and machine. I bought one for my Dad for his birthday and he loved it, so we're really hyped to be working with Ian and Colin at BeerMachine, incredibly we've been talking together with tjhem for 2 years! The progam will be running in the UK, USA and Canada initially.
Our other launch for January, is Elance, a firm I imagine just about every affiliate is familiar with, eLance will be launching a brand new program in January on an inhouse platform.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Crossing the Line
Firms such as Pepper Jam have progressed through the business from merchant, to affiliate, to affiliate managers to Network. The mixed reviews and acceptance they get, shows that it is not an easy path to travel, and a very difficult one to do while keeping everyone happy.
One of the most debated roles in the industry is that of "Affiliate Network", the"Trusted Third Party" that is meant to remain neutral and ensure that everyone is working in a fair field of play. It's not an easy task as everyone has a different opinion on what is a fair field of play.
My personal opinion is that a fair field of play consists of these qualities
- affiliates add value to the consumers purchase cycle
- affiliates drive new customers to a merchants site
- affiliates don't intercept consumers already in the act of going to a merchant's site
- affiliates don't cannibalize other marketing channels
- affiliates don't cannibalize each others traffic
- requires a direct consumer interaction with the affiliate marketing being run
- no adware, bhos or malware
- that all parties work within their defined roll be that Network / Affiliate / AM or Merchant
Certainly they aren't the first, but as they like to state, they are a market leader, so why is a market leader going out of its' way to cannibalize it's affiliate base? Already multiple tests have shown that not only is the LinkShare owned BHO failing to follow LinkShare's own Terms and Conditions but it is also going beyond BHOs the likes of Ebates and overwriting tracking that is meant to be protected by the afsrc=1 code.
A couple of example videos below on how this LinkShare owned affiliate BHO is cannibalizing Walmart traffic, please allow the videos time to load.
Trusted Third Party" label our of the window, perhaps go with "Affiliate and Merchant Cannibalization Network" instead?
As a merchant ask yourself? Do you want this kind of "marketing" to be cannibalizing your sales channels, and as an affiliate, do you want to be promoting merchants that allow your traffic to be cannibalized for someone else's profit?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Innovation in Affiliate Marketing
AMWSO is very proud to have been short listed in the category for Innovation in Affiliate Marketing in the E-consultancy's Innovation Awards 2008. The other firms short listed certainly make it a short list worth being on withthe full short list being :
- AMWSO Co Ltd
- Essence Media
- Digital Window
The winners of the award will be announced on December 2nd, by a panel of judges that come from a top tier selection of firms that include the BBC, Apple, Orange, Target Marketing, Whatif!, Internet Retailing, Dyson and Google.
Congratulations to all the firms shortlisted.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Big Game Hunting : Trade Mark Bidders
The issue is quite simple, it's easier to make a fast buck bidding on someones trade mark than it is to try and actually add some value to the shopping process, add to which trade marks convert really well and we have a recipe to attract every layabout and lazy dog on the Internet. Granted their are exceptions but the majority of TM bidding is all "value take" not "value add".
Online merchants expect their affiliate managers / management firm to audit their affiliates, make sure they are adding value and, more and more, that affiliates are not cannibalizing their Trade Marks. The issue then becomes one of time and resources, how does the affiliate manage monitor a multitude of search engines, especially when ppc can now be set to target consumers within specific time periods and within specific geographic locations. An affiliate manager working from 9 AM to 5 PM in LA, is not going to see the ads targeting consumers "only" in Seattle, nor the ads in LA that kick off at 6 PM PST. The affiliate manager could effectively spend 8 hours a day simply trolling the search engines in hope of finding violators. The chances are still slim that they will find the violators even if they are there as TM bidders have become sophisticated in how they hide their links and disguise how their traffic gets to a merchants site. Yes they have a nice looking "niche" site in their profile...too bad it actually drives no traffic at all!
Anyway, so what we have is a situation where the affiliate manager is spending more time auditing than doing their core job, or where they simply throw their hands in the air and declare the situation to be beyond their control, pass the buck and hope someone else will take care of it, or not notice that have stopped monitoring the TM bidding.
Last year we thought about developing something that would automate this process, but with other tasks to do that fell by the way side, and we've seen other firms try to launch products that will do the job, but ultimately have failed to deliver. This morning however I had a great call with David Naffziger of Brandverity, who appear to have a working solution and clear understanding of the challenges that affiliate managers face. While not yet perfect the system they have developed certainly does far more than most other systems we've had a look at to date.
As well as the core task of tracking down direct to site affiliate TM links it also records all forms of TM bidding to allow the affiliate manager to swiftly trace a bid to a landing page and tie it to an affiliate account or a competitor. It allows inhouse ads to be ignored and even has the ability to white list specific trusted PPC partners so that the reports will come through clear of approved / inhouse marketing.
A key mistake I made with their system was to only read the daily email report and not log into the site. The emails are fine, but are a little overwhelming, log in and the data is far more manageable and also deeper! Brandverity cover a number of key markets and search engines and are expanding constantly to cover new markets, and as David said, they are very keen to get feedback and ideas on how to make the tool better. Overall looks like this will be the solution that allows affiliate managers to get their focus back on helping value ad partners, and away from wasting time chasing down those out to take away that value.