Affiliate Marketing Mini-Manifesto


Last week, the brilliant Hugh McLeod issued a call-for-papers for short (500 words or less) manifesto’s for anything people are passionate about.

Here’s my Affiliate Marketing Mini-Manifesto. Will it apply to you? Probably not. I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one…

1. Affiliate Marketing is Not About Money
If you are doing affiliate marketing in hopes of making large sums of money, you are not going to succeed. Marketing, in the larger scope of the term, is moving past the ill-conceived notion of short term dollar and sense metrics. CPA, CPC and CPM should not be seen as valuations of successes, but directional arrows of sustainability. In affiliate marketing, we have to move past the notion that what we’re doing involves only direct action payouts. Consider the longtail and think ahead.

2. Affiliate Marketing is Not Mainstream
Those of us involved in the affiliate marketing galaxy often wonder why we are not treated with more respect by the rest of the online marketing universe. The easy answer? We don’t belong there. Affiliate marketing, in principle, seeks to democratize and engender the monetized web by allowing producers of quality content, products community situations with the means to continue their efforts. It’s not about gaining riches, it’s about moving past the hubs and nodes of networks.

3. Affiliate Marketing Transcends Links
Links hold affiliate marketing hostage. Just as Jeremiah wore a yoke around his neck to show the coming servitude of Israel to the Babylonians, we affiliate marketers should heed the writings on the wall pointing us towards the dangers of positing all of our hopes and futures of industry sustainability and industry credibility on the link. Clickfraud and AdSense farms are just two examples of the sinful state we will enter if we continue down the path of praising the link while ignoring the individual doing the action of clicking. Give readers, consumers and individuals the chance to elevate themselves and your program by not insulting their intelligences with links.

4. Affiliate Marketing Demands Relationships
Although many will decry such a statement, affiliate marketing must, by its nature, embrace the relationship paradigm. However, this relationship situation between content publisher and individual need not be a handicap. Instead, relationships may open doors to affiliate marketing which other marketing platforms are not able to accomplish and position affiliate marketing as a viable platform of personalized performance. Scale is not everything.

5. Affiliate Marketing is the Future of Marketing
Affiliates, networks and merchants involved in affiliate marketing recognize the power of a platform which celebrates the individual and their involvement in the interaction of a person with a company or website owner providing content. Realizing the personalized conversation inherent (and essential) in affiliate marketing is not a hindrance, but a potential of fulfillment, will allow affiliate marketers to inherent their due place in the world of online marketing.

(Disclaimer: This mini-manifesto reflects my own personal viewpoints and biases and not the viewpoints and biases of the larger Cost Per News and Cost Per Network which strives for meaningful objectivity).

What do you think? Send Hugh your own mini-manifesto or send me your own Affiliate Marketing Manifesto. I’ll post it up to the sight with full credit given to you.

Impulse Marketing Acquired


Impulse Marketing Group, associated in the industry with sub-prime credit card offers and lead generation, has been acquired by an unknown entity.

Interestingly, the deal was facilitated by AdMediaPartners who was the same investment bank that providedstrategic advice to aQuantive in its acquisition of sbi.razorfish.

Impulse has had some questionable associations in the past which has landed them in hot water as well (Google search).

Whether or not this begins 2007’s “Silly Season” of online advertising/marketing/lead generating company buyouts by larger entities revolves around the question of who the unknown entity might be.

Affiliate Marketing Will Never Change (Its Name)

Why can’t Affiliate Marketing become Performance Marketing or Traffic Marketing or Referral Marketing or SuperCoolLeadGeneratingMachine Marketing?

  • Jacob became Israel.
  • Allen Konigsberg became Woody Allen.
  • Alphonso D’Abruzzo became Alan Alda.
  • Archibald Leech became Cary Grant.
  • Margaret Hyra became Meg Ryan.
  • Issur Danielovitch became Kirk Douglas.
  • Tom Mapother became Tom Cruise.

Are those in the affiliate marketing industry stuck with the name “affiliate marketing” forever?


There’s no getting around it

Why? Because what “affiliate marketing” represents is a collection of vasts interests and parties without a spider present to keep the web together. That means that as much as we’d like to rebrand, we can’t.

Why? Because in a network structure with very few hubs and mostly nodes, entities outside of the network define the name and identity. Try as we might, we don’t have the ability to change the name of the affiliate marketing industry, but we do have the power to transform it from the inside-out.

The actors listed above made the name changes early, before they were tagged with an emotional aftertaste. You can’t think of Tom Cruise without thinking of Mission Impossible or jumping on couches. After his image troubles last year and being dropped by his studio contract, it seemed that his career might be fading and in trouble of collapsing in on its own weight. Did he rename himself again? No. Instead of rebranding himself via his name, he had a baby and married a young attractive female.

So instead of trying to rename the industry, let’s push forward and escape the 1999 paradigm that has ensnared our industry.

How do we do that??

Remembering Jai Rajkumar

Online marketing, for all of its vast niches and insider clubs, is a small community.  In some way, we all know each other and we all are affected when there is either good news or bad news.  We celebrate the births of babies together, we send congratulations for marriages and we mourn when there is a death in this large and extended family we’ve created.

So, this week many in the industry have been touched by the loss of Jai Rajkumar.  Here is a memorial thread at WickedFire with a touching obituary by Jon…

Jai Rajkumar – Affiliate Manager and Good Friend

12 Practical and Immediate Ways to Strengthen Your Online Marketing Program

hows-your-strategic-vision.jpgOver the last few weeks I’ve had more and more people ask me for five or six tips to help them get their program out of the online performance marketing doldrums.

This is especially critical advice during the Holiday Season when more consumers (not just individuals, but people actually looking to consume) are online and actively seeking out deals, offers and services.

You can let this potential traffic (and conversion) spike slip by, or go on the offensive and tweak your online marketing program. It’s really not hard… it just takes dedication and a good staff.

So here are is my 12 Step Program to create a better online marketing program or presence culled from my years of experience online as a network rep, publisher, advertiser, software marketer, CPA Network COO and SVP and email marketer…

1. Try all the services you can and crunch the numbers right away. Give MyAffiliateProgram9 a look. There’s some interesting things going on in the program that could transform how and why you use data either as an affiliate or a publisher or a network. Investigate co-registrations. Consider other types of placements you might not have yesterday.

2. Along those lines, investigate CPA Networks (but don’t replace CJ or Linkshare with them if you’re a publisher or affiliate… more on that later). Call Azoogle, Hydra, AdDrive, Rextopia, CPAEmpire, RocketProfits or FiliNet and speak to a rep who handles your side of business depending on your status as a publisher, advertiser or affiliate. These networks have people dedicated to your particular side of the business. I know… I used to be one and loved it when potential advertisers or publishers called me up.

3. Call CJ, Linkshare, Kowabunga and ShareASale and ask them what they can do for you. Talk to a human at the companies and don’t rely on word of mouth or industry reputation.

4. Blog and send trackbacks to competitors, news blogs like this and people you want to reach (many networks and publishers have their own blogs… whether business or personal). People are much more likely to read your content and take the time to hear you if you’ve taken the time to send them a trackback.

5. Read blogs. Read lots of them from all different viewpoints. Don’t know where to start? Get the Google Reader and start subscribing. Don’t have the time to find quality material? Email me and I’ll send over my OPML file, which is a file of all my subscriptions at the moment that you can upload into your reader. That has taken a lot of time/energy/love to create and maintain. You’re welcome.

6. Optimize your page for organic search engine growth. Also optimize your conversion page if you have one.

7. Interact with existing, potential and even non-potential consumers/customers/individuals. How? Blog, answer the phone, open a forum, check Google Groups for your company’s name, watch the forums of the industry/area you are serving.

8. Focus on organic growth of your program. SEO is wonderful and great, but it has a glass ceiling. Don’t blow your budget as an advertiser, network or publisher on keywords (unless you are purely a search marketer, which is short-sighted in this market). Realize the power and effective ROI that organic growth distribution can supply to your site.

9. Research potential affiliates, publishers, networks or partners that you think you could (or could not) do business with in the near future. Make a file and keep that data. It’s invaluable to you. Read that file before bed every night and allow your brain to work its wonders as you sleep. You just might stumble upon a new platform, campaign, metric, keyword, incentive or recruitment tool that could make all the difference. This has worked more than a dozen times for me, and now I have an impressive file cabinet filled with priceless data on everyone I’ve done business with and hope to work with one day. In case of a fire, I’m running for that cabinet.

10. Attend conferences. Affiliate Summit is in Vegas this January. Don’t miss it. Not interested in affiliate marketing? It doesn’t matter… this conference has outgrown its namesake and is helping to create a new brand for partner/performance/affiliate/traffic marketing.

11. If you’re a network or work with publishers and affiliates, give your account representatives a face and a name. The most successful programs in the industry have personalities that have grown out of the collective personalities of the account reps. These people are not easily replaceable. They are your generals, your eyes and your ears. Treat them like royalty because they can make or break your program depending on their enthusiasm or their apathy. If you’re a publisher or affiliate, get to know the people on the phone. Make business personal. If you think business is not personal, you’re a fool.

12. Know Thy Partners. Research, research, research. Listen to account reps, have an eye on the traffic flow and don’t allow people with less-then-ethical standards to bring your program down. In online marketing, you only get one strike and then you’re out.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you’d add? Comment!

Tag “costpernews” To Contribute

If you’d like to see something covered or participate in the conversation here without commenting, there are two simple options.


-If you use, tag a page with “costpernews.”


-Or, if you use, you can also tag a page with “costpernews.”

Most of you are already using one of these two services in your daily browsing, so if you see something interesting, don’t hesitate to tag “costpernews” and I’ll take notice.

I’ll feature the top taggers in a special article/interview/podcast/video post every week or month depending on their preference.

The LongTail and JCrew Coupons

crazyeyes.jpgIf you’re not following Shmuel Tennenhaus throughout the interwebs, you’re missing some interesting reads and insight. There are three seperate links in that last sentence, and as you know I am not a fan of links.

The fact that I’ve put three links into one sentence should alert you to the potency of the content that Shmuly is producing.

Hell, he’s even been credited with the destruction of a TV show.

For another example to learn from the Shmule…how should bloggers position themselves for the the longtail of coupon searchers and consumers looking for a deal? Shmuly has an answer…

You see, I just checked by blog stats for the day. And of course, it was another pitiful day of traffic. However, there was a glaring glare facing me in the face.

The blog got a bunch of traffic from people googling for a “j crew coupon code“.

Makes sense. After all, today was Cyber Monday. Many moons ago, I wrote a post titled “yahoo suggests jcrew coupon code“. As a result, if you make a search for “jcrew coupon code“, my blog is on the first page of results. (If that achievement alone does not make me sexy, I give up.)

Problem is…that specific post does not contain any coupon code. So, essentially, people are coming here for nothing; cause you and I both not, there aint nothing to read in this joint. (To defend myself just a bit; that blog post does inform people how to find current coupons…)

Follow along or get left behind in the path of content providers who are taking the road less traveled in a yellow wood and realizing that it makes all the difference. Learn from these early trailblazers and make sure that you are not being left behind in the content consolidation of Web3.0.

Grab the longtail by the horns… it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

ValueClick’s Video Advertising Network Coming


ValueClick has launched in preparation for their soon to launch in-stream video advertising network.

On the site is a preview of their in-stream video technology (with footage from a recent adtech nonetheless) meant to show the quality and texture of what they can deliver. Underneath the video is an option for “In-banner video” as well as “In-stream video.” The in-banner video seems to be powered or associated with Eyeblaster.

Here are the pro’s for publishers and advertisers listed on the site:


  • High revenue with premium CPM rates
  • Easy to implement – integrated into our existing publisher platform
  • Insert video, rich media or graphical ads into existing pre-roll/post-roll inventory
  • Quality creative and effective campaigns
  • Compatible with most popular video formats


  • Two video products: in-stream (pre-roll/post-roll) and in-banner
  • Leverage extensive reach and ad network management expertise
  • Accomplish brand and direct response objectives
  • Improve ROI with higher response rates
  • Behavioral targeting and optimization capabilities
  • Complete transparency

How will this integrate with CJ?

What will Linkshare do?

How will this impact online and affiliate/partnership/referral marketing?

Will Google make a play with Google Video?

Shoutwire Considers “Digg” An Illegal Keyword But Accepts Profanities

Shoutwire, a Digg competitor, won’t let you submit a story that includes the keyword “Digg.” A fan of the Shoutwire service sent me an email earlier tonight with the tip to try and submit the previous’ post here entitled “Pay Per Digg” to the service.

This is the result (try it for yourself if you’d like)…


Netscape, on the other hand, does not restrict the “digg” keyword…


And neither does Reddit…


Interesting move by Shoutwire, but if the site is going to play catch up to Digg and build a community of loyal users, they have to let their users be the judge of the merits of their own keywords.

I say it is interesting, because at this very moment the top three stories on Shoutwire are:

  1. Fox News’ Bullsh*t Has Hit The Fan
  2. Was Jesus an Asshole?
  3. 9 Reasons Why I Love Sluts

Glad to see that for Shoutwire “Digg” crosses the line but “Bullshit,” “Asshole” (particularly in reference to a figure over 2 billion people consider divine), and “Sluts” are acceptable keywords.

Pay Per Digg

First there was PayPerPost. Then ReviewMe.

Just this morning Jim Kukral blogged on ReveNews about Agloco, which “pays you to surf.”

Now, we have Pay Per Digg.

Where Digg Submitters Pay for Digg Users to Promote their Stories.
And, Where Digg Users Make Easy Money.

Users are paid $0.50 for every 3 stories they digg. You can also submit a story to be amped by paying $20 plus $1 per desired digg. The value of a digg has certainly fallen off over the past year, so the market forces alone should be able to clean up this type of less-than-ethical gaming.

Considering market forces as a primary reason for this type of scheme, it is logical to see where the monetary drive to experiment with valuation platforms such as this come from. However, those same economic forces which put value on actions such as diggs also places the operator of these sites in a continual struggle to keep up with the micro-economic structures of supply and demand in a commodity style fluid market. That’s too much for most to accomplish, so I see the market driving this out of business quickly. However, the gaming of Digg will, of course, continue.

These same market forces extend to Agloco, ReviewMe, PayPerPost and the host of other new platforms allowing users to assign a certain value to actions they were already committing (surfing, blogging, clicking). In order to keep up with the market valuations of the actions needed for payout, and values of intangibles such as attention, user experience, ethics, these platforms must have a firm hold on a good deal of data. I suspect most do not and beyond the ethical implications of getting paid to post or surf or digg, the market will drive them into an escalating situation of irrelevance to the individual user.

See why we need to kill links to help affiliate marketing survive as a brand?