Last Updated on January 30, 2007
I’d argue no.
In order to be a true exclusive, a network has to basically create an offer in-house and brand it with either a partner brand (unlikely for most networks) or create a brand to superimpose on the generic exclusive offer’s backend. In this case, if a network creates such an “exclusive” and it is successful, nothing prevents a competing network to quickly develop a similar offer and impose a new brand on top of that one. This is what most networks have attempted to do when creating “exclusives” to lure in new publishers or affiliates.
I argue that it’s not the offer’s exclusivity of style that can achieve that goal, but the brand exclusivity of an in-house offer.
For instance, take the FreeSlide $1.00 pay per email (and later zip) offers that originated with the AdDrive network and quickly spread out through the CPA network world like a fast growing wildfire. FreeSlide as a brand may have been an exclusive, but there were so many knock-offs so quickly that the exclusive nature of FreeSlide quickly vanished. What remained was the brand, which did prove to have staying power and put AdDrive on the map.
In that way, AdDrive figured out how to monetize and attract new publishers with offer brand , rather than just with offer exclusivity. The fad has now passed and FreeSlide is not accepting new signups, but the brand exclusivity is permanently ingrained on the brains of every one in the email marketing world.
The trick is not to establish a unique in terms of function, but establish a unique in terms of brand. That is the selling point that many small CPA networks seem to be missing, but if they were to start thinking of creating ways to insure the long term benefit of a certain in-house brand, rather than trying to out-do competitors with payouts, they could also find the sweet spot of offer creation.