New Hat

I have a hat fetish. I admit it. I can’t help it.

So, I was very excited to see my new awesome hat arrive from Canada (via eBay):


Yeah, it’s Indiana Jones-esque but that’s sort of the point. I’ve been searching for years for the perfect that I can wear on the trail, in an airport or on the road. This one might solve that problem (plus it looks pretty cool and can provide some good branding material… maybe I should add a beard?).


ShareASale Knows Marketing


So even though I now work at Motive Interactive, I think this is a great promotion by the ShareASale team. Nicely done and I’d wager that you will definitely be copied on the idea!

CAN-SPAM Compliance Conference Call Tuesday

UnsubCentral and the Email Sender & Provider Coalition (ESPC) are holding a free conference call next Tuesday to discuss the recent changes to the federal CAN-SPAM law and what mailers and marketers should know about the changes.

Total Compliance: What the Changes in CAN-SPAM Mean for You

Join experts from the Email Sender & Provider Coalition and UnsubCentral as they team up to help marketers discover the information needed to successfully navigate the new CAN-SPAM rule provisions. Register today!

Date: Tuesday, June 10
Time: 2 PM EST / 11 AM PST
Duration: 45 Minutes

You will learn:
How to clearly interpret the new regulations
How the new rules affect your daily business
How the new rules will apply to different scenarios
What you need to know to avoid legal issues”

One of my good pals and bright guy John Engler from UnsubCentral and Justin Weiss, Associate Counsel at the Digital Policy Group will be the speakers. This looks like a great event for mailers and CPA marketers / networks as well as anyone interested in the legal side of performance marketing. I’ll be on the call taking notes as well.

What’s Your Whuffie?

One of the things I put at the top of the priorities list during my first week at Motive Interactive was to make sure we owned our online reputation in terms of subscribing to the various vanity feeds (Technorati, Twitter Track (still down at the moment), Google Alerts, Yahoo Pipes for YouTube and Flickr tags, etc) as well as making sure we popped up with favorable items when you search for “Motive Interactive” on Google.

It’s common sense, but SO many marketers and networks overlook this very foundational step in their reputation and brand management.

For instance, if you search “sam harrelson” on Google, my web activity (all of it really favorable) dominates up to the very last listing on page 10 when another Sam Harrelson from Washington State shows up as a part of a political donation site (ironically enough, he donated $1500 in ’05 to a House race in New Jersey… the home state of my political arch-nemesis, Shawn Collins). You have to go to page 26 to find another Sam Harrelson mentioned.

But the key is that your rankings look interesting, unique and relate to your mission in life/work/career/whatever. Video, audio and pics are essential for that.

That’s not a huge deal since people rarely get to page 26, but if you are trying to build your company or personal brand and grow a positive reputation, you surely need to make sure you are ranking well for your own name since going to Google has become the new indicator of “Whuffie.”

Just something to keep in mind and yet another reason to get involved in the social web.

II Kings by Cogan and Tadmor


Mordechai Cogan and Hayim Tadmor, II Kings: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary « Biblical Studies Notebook (BSN): “II Kings (Volume 11 in the acclaimed Anchor Bible) is the chronicle of the raging conflicts that tore the United Kingdom of Israel apart, creating the rival nations of Israel to the north and Judah to the south. It tells of the time of the great prophecies of Elijah and Elisha, and of the legendary conquerors of not only the Jews, but the whole of the Middle East – Sennacherib, Hazael, Tiglath-pileser III, Nebuchadnezzar, and Shalmaneser.”

Looks like a great translation by two highly respected scholars.

Motive Interactive


I’m in San Diego for the week as I begin my first full week as the Director of Performance Marketing at Motive Interactive.

You’ve probably heard of Motive Interactive if you’re in the affiliate space but probably not exactly sure who they are, what they do or how they stand out from the crowd of CPA and affiliate networks that have been in full bloom for the past five or so years.

That’s what I’m here to change (as well as grow the network of course).

I got my start in the world of affiliate/performance marketing years ago with an email firm (SubscriberBASE) that eventually morphed into a CPA network (AdDrive), so I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the pure CPA world. Along with that, I’ve always been a firm believer that one day a network would bridge the gap (chasm?) between the CPA world and the pure rev share world and thereby get the best of both for publishers and affiliates. A few networks have tried it, but no one has been successful. I’ve got the opportunity to do that here at Motive. So, when this position was offered to me, I couldn’t turn it down.

So what makes Motive stand out from the crowd?

Let me show you.

Tomorrow (Thursday May 29), I’m doing demos for a few larger affiliates as well as folks who might be interested in what Motive is doing and why I would be crazy enough to get back into the turbulent world of CPA networks while I preach social media marketing. I’m here all day and night and I’d love to show the affiliate managers here the power of blogging by saying “Oh yeah, I’m giving this person a walk through because I blogged to see if anyone would like a walkthrough.”

Not only is this a demo and walkthrough of the network, but we’re launching Advent2.0 (Advent is the technology behind the Motive network) later in June and I’d love to have your input as to what you would like to see, what tweaks we could make to improve things and what sorts of offers you’d like to see in a network.

All that said, give me a call/txt (803.413.6834), send me an email ( or any of my other 97 email addy’s), send me a direct Tweet (samharrelson), send me a Facebook message, comment here… you get the point… and let’s set up a quick 5, 10, 30 or whatever time slot and chat. It’s not a pitch as much as an explanation.

I’d love to show you what we’re up to, where we see the industry heading and why you should be interested in Motive. Good things are happening here, trust me.

Seriously, I’d love to show you around. Get in touch.

(Special thanks to Linda Buquet! BTW, If you’re not following her coverage of the NY state affiliate tax, you’re missing out.)

Pondering the Cloud

I’ve long been an explorer and proponent of “the cloud.”

However, I’ve recently begin to not only rethink that dedication and allegiance to remote server data storage for all of my email, docs, calendars, pics, spreadsheets, notes and feed reading (all through Google btw), but to also pull back and start relying on desktop applications like and NetNewsWire and iCal on my Mac.

I’m even missing working on Ubuntu full time these days. If you’ve been following me here on CPN over the past few years, you know that I was a devoted user of Ubuntu as my sole operating system. I got away from that when I bought this MacBook Pro last November, but I’ve recently been playing with the new release of Ubuntu called Hardy Heron and I must say that it’s incredible and makes me ponder switching back to my open source ways.

I have always been a rebellious spirit, so when I read things like this, my inclination to rage against the machine kicks in again…

BBC NEWS | Technology | Storm warning for cloud computing: “The issue was recently highlighted by reports that the Canadian government has a policy of not allowing public sector IT projects to use US-based hosting services because of concerns over data protection.

Under the US Patriot Act the FBI and other agencies can demand to see content stored on any computer, even if it being hosted on behalf of another sovereign state.

If your data hosting company gets a National Security Letter then not only do they have to hand over the information, they are forbidden from telling you or anyone else – apart from their lawyer – about it.

The Canadians are rather concerned about this, and rightly so. According to the US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group that helped the Internet Archive successfully challenge an NSL, more than 200,000 were issued between 2003 and 2006, and the chances are that Google, Microsoft and Amazon were on the recipient list. “

So, who knows… I may be making the Big Switch back to Ubuntu even though I do love the adaptability and applications that this Mac affords. It’s a splendid machine… but it feels soul-less. When I was on Ubuntu, I was constantly enjoying the benefits and the challenges… the surprise compatibilities and the frustrating inconsistencies.

There’s something to be said about freedom in software and freedom from oppressive governments that circumvent constitutions in the name of protecting that freedom.

Leveraging Social Media in Affiliate Marketing


I’m doing a solo presentation on the Sunday of Summit East in Boston about how to use “social” media in the context affiliate marketing.

My opening line is “you probably know of and maybe use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FriendFeed, Google Reader and Ning, but you are probably using them wrong if you’re connecting them with your affiliate program…”

I’ve got a rough sketch of how the rest of the hour will go, but I’d like to make sure I cover the bases you’d like covered. So, comment (or email, call, twitter, etc) below and let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to hear about using social media in an affiliate program.

Affiliate Summit East 2008 Agenda: “Leveraging Social Media
Location: Harborview Ballroom 1
Time: 1:30pm-2:30pm

(This Session is Open to Full Conference Pass Holders Only)
This session helps affiliate marketers, networks and merchants recognize the power of adapting and adopting social media platforms into their programs for increased traffic, conversions and profit.

* Sam Harrelson, Director of Performance Marketing, Motive Interactive”

For instance, I’ve got close to 2,500 people following me on Twitter and the platform provides a nice stream of passive and active traffic (when Twitter is up). However, I don’t just throw affiliate or even site links up to get that traffic. There are very specific and practical steps that you can take to be a productive part of a community like Twitter and still derive benefits.

So, let me know what you’d like to hear…

Linkshare Teams with the DMA on NY Affiliate Tax

Affiliate networks are beginning to get more active (or at least more vocal) on the New York state affiliate tax issue.

CJ has weighed in with a general call for due diligence, ShareASale has been more proactive and involved with the issue both on their blog and in the ABW forum. Then during the GeekCast podcast yesterday, Shawn Collins discussed Linkshare’s partnership with the DMA over the issue.

Here is the email Linkshare is sending out to publishers today:

LinkShare has issued the following invitation to a teleconference on the New York State sales tax change and affiliate marketing:

On April 9, 2008, New York State passed a law mandating that any retailer that (1) meets a certain sales volume from sales to New York customers and (2) has an affiliate program with New York based publishers that refer customers to the retailer and are paid on a commission basis must charge and collect New York sales tax on all sales shipped to New York.

We have been actively working with, and providing support to, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) to clarify this law. The Direct Marketing Association is the leading global trade association for businesses that use direct marketing tools and techniques. LinkShare is proud to be their partner. As this issue continues to develop, we are committed to making available the insights of authoritative partners like the DMA to help inform and guide you.

To this end, we are pleased to invite you to be LinkShare’s guest for the DMA’s conference call on this issue, featuring DMA Tax Counsel George Isaacson this Thursday, May 22, 11AM to 12Noon Eastern. He will provide an overview of the bill and the DMA’s interpretation of it. There will also be an opportunity for Q&A.

To join the call (Thursday, May 22, 11AM to 12Noon Eastern), email to receive personalized dial in information. Please let them know you are a member of the LinkShare Network.

Of course, while the DMA provides an authoritative source for information, since every business has a unique situation, we urge all our partners to seek out individual independent tax and legal advice. The New York Department of Taxation and Revenue‘s Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) and DMA’s analysis of it are available on our site at

For details, please contact:

Mark Kirschner

Dan Dent
Blanc & Otus Public Relations for LinkShare

I’ll be on the call (from a hammock on Hilton Head Island, SC while my monkey butler brings me drinks…) and will share my thoughts here tomorrow afternoon.

Affiliate Summit Network Taking Off

Affiliate Summit’s Social Network on Ning is growing more and more every day.

I subscribe to the general RSS feed of the network to keep up with who’s joining and what’s going on (yet another cool feature of Ning is the RSS implementation… I can keep an eye on the network without having to login every hour) and it seems like it’s really catching momentum.

Here’s the view from my feed reader:

affsum social-1.jpg

I hope the network keeps rolling as it could be a very valuable place and facilitator of offline interaction as well come August.