Affiliate Networks Should Allow Tagging: 28% of Online Users Agree

Lisa Picarille, Shawn Collins and I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the usefulness and potential monetization of inventory made available by users tagging content on today’s AffiliateThing podcast, but we should have. We covered widgets and general monetization strategies for web2.0, and tagging is a key component of such a strategy. Shawn and I did play a “word association” game, and that should have been my opening to hop into a short tangent about the power of tagging, or the power of allowing users to tag.

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Tagging is nothing new in terms of concept, but web2.0 platforms such as Flickr, YouTube, Ma.gnolia, del.icio.us, and even our own beloved BUMPzee community have opened up the world (or at least the online world) to the power of tagging (or “labeling” as it is called in Google Reader, Picasa and GMail).

In effect, tagging enables end users to classify and partition content according to their own word associations. While a seemingly minor and semantic point, tagging has an incredible potential for any type of program, because it places the power of classification in the hands of the user, rather than artificially imposing classifications of date or categories by an authority.

Merchants are using tagging, but what I’d really like to see in affiliate marketing is a network that allows affiliates and publishers to tag offers within the network. That way, when an affiliate logged in to a network, they wouldn’t have to sort through the hyper-confusing maze of CJ or DirecTrack navigation, but could quickly and efficiently get to the offers they had previously tagged by just a few keystrokes. It’s a seemingly small tweak, but it could make the world of difference for your program. Affiliates could even share their network offer tags on their own blogs or sites via something like a del.icio.us tag cloud, thereby promoting the network to an even larger audience. Win-win.

Expanding the scope a bit, there is an interesting report out by Pew Internet research shows that 28% of internet users have tagged something…

Just as the internet allows users to create and share their own media, it is also enabling them to organize digital material their own way, rather than relying on pre-existing formats of classifying information.

A December 2006 survey has found that 28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online such as photos, news stories or blog posts. On a typical day online, 7% of internet users say they tag or categorize online content.

The report features an interview with David Weinberger, a prominent blogger and fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

28% of internet users. That’s huge.

Tag indexing search engines such as Tagbulb are popping up to serve the need these users are developing and established sites such as Technorati are heavily reliant on tags.

If you’re a merchant or a network, brainstorm ways to implement tagging features and options for your end users. You’ll see the difference quickly.

View PDF of Report

4 thoughts on “Affiliate Networks Should Allow Tagging: 28% of Online Users Agree

    1. I love tagging things and I’m glad that Google is factoring it in, but I’ve always been weary of that since I’ve seen a growing amount of “tag spam” in various places (especially Technorati, which has gotten a little better at fixing it’s algo lately).

  1. I’d agree that Google appears to favor tagging.

    I’d love to start auto-tagging entries at Bumpzee, piggy-backing off of the currently implemented tag attributes on blogs. It’s in the works, but am concerned about tag spam as well.

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