I’m Quitting Marketing

I stumbled into the affiliate marketing world years ago.

I’m walking out of it today.

My experiences in the affiliate marketing world have been incredibly positive when it comes to interpersonal relationships. However, it’s time for me to move on. I’m not happy.

Why am I not happy?

Mainly because I don’t like the way online marketing continues to debase the human factor of interaction in attempts to “monetize” and find cracks in the sidewalks to plant sour seeds.

It’s not you, it’s me.

I’m just not interested in the day-to-day minutia of being a marketing professional anymore. I’m sure I’ll always keep up with the main trends and I’ll certainly keep up with the space in terms of how it affects social media, etc.

But these questions just don’t turn me on anymore…

“Why doesn’t tinyurl allow for better cookie tracking so that I can make affiliate sales from Twitter links?”

“Why does Google punish me for selling links when TechCrunch does the same thing?”

“How much should I invest in my StumbleUpon account in order to drive 1,000 pageviews a day?”

“Can you help me tweak my Twitter account so that I can drive sales thru my landing page?”

“How can I get more fans to join my (self-created) Facebook page?”

“Who do I need to pay to add outbound links to the affiliate marketing page on Wikipedia?”

“Is FriendFeed worth it? Yeah, I know you say it’s neat for finding out information and learning about new things, but will it make me money?”

And It is these sorts of things that have slowly driven a wedge between my own idealism and (what I see as) the current trajectory of online marketing. Beyond a growing distaste around such issues, I generally find myself on the wrong side of the fence for effective marketing. And I’ve been on all sides of that online marketing fence… publisher, affiliate, CPA network, email marketer, agency, vendor, OPM, and God knows whatever else… I’m coming to grips with my own realization that it’s not for me.

For me, the expectations have never met the promises. These days, I’m only feeling more alienated. As a result, I’m choosing to opt-out rather than becoming a constant nay-sayer or voice of doom and gloom.

To quote Lennon, “I don’t want to spoil the party, so I’ll go.”

On top of all that, I just don’t see myself as an “online” or even “affiliate” marketer anymore. I’m not saying I’ve grown beyond those labels. I just don’t feel that those pairs of socks go with my outfits now.

PLEASE do not get me wrong. I respect, admire and love so many people in the affiliate and online marketing space (and will continue to do so, of course). This is not a personal affront to anyone in the space or the space itself, but more of a realization that I have to move on.

As a result, I’ll be shutting down CostPerNews (or (fire) selling it if someone is interested) and doing my posting over on my personal site.

I’m also going to be working on the podcast network I’m developing (Thinking.fm) around issues I am excited about these days (science, religion, Nascar, parenting, tech, politics… the site is still being developed, so excuse the mess… will be up and going by February). I’m really excited about those sites.

And hopefully, the gang will still allow me to take part in GeekCast even though I’m turning in my affiliate hard card. I hope so (check out the site redesign, btw).

I’m also doing more work in the non-profit world (Hunger Initiative) and continuing my journey towards whatever end awaits me at seminary.

Yes, of course it is my hyperbole than anything to say I’m “quitting” marketing since we are all marketers in whatever we do. I should rephrase that and say “I’m quitting the professional guise of being an online marketer.” There, that feels better.

Two and a half years ago, I wrote this and my career only exploded afterwards:

So, with these realizations and my own skewed since of lefty politics and social views I’m embarking on a mission to do better… to make things good… to connect people to good things they might not have known about… to form community… and to use my skills to leave the internet a better place than it was when I found it (way back in the Prodigy Bulletin Board days).

Lofty goals often mean periods of worry, anxiety and joblessness in terms of “career” but sticking to my flower-guns has got to be a better policy than being miserable knowing that I’m not using my full potential.

So, who knows what’s next, but it will be shiny, rusty, exciting, boring, profitable, unprofitable and creative. I will make this work (whatever in the hell this is).

So, who knows what’s next? I will make it work. I will make it worthwhile.

Thank you all so much for the incredible dedication of readership as well as the inspiration you’ve provided me in the comments and emails.

Here’s to a new beginning and learning from the past.

I Won’t Be at Affiliate Summit West

With much frustration and sadness, I wanted to let you know that I won’t be attending ASW this year.

A close family member has been sick for the last few months and some labs came back this week that weren’t good. All that to say, I’m needed here with family and the baby since they are my first priorities. Everything should be alright in the long term, but for now, family calls.

This is the first Affiliate Summit West or East I’ve missed in a long while, and it tears me up to think I won’t be there with all of my close friends and colleagues. I look forward to these gathering of the tribes so much because we are such a tight-knit community. Plus, I was really excited to hang out with the PartnerCentric team.

All that to say, I’m missing one hell of a show and networking event. What Missy and Shawn have put together really has become an integral part of life/business/friendship to anyone involved in affiliate marketing. It’s a true testament to their hard work and dedication that we all look forward to these shows so much. I know I do, at least.

If you are like me and can’t make it, make sure to check out the live stream of the Gary Vaynerchuk keynote provided by Missy and Shawn.

So, have a Coors Light for me at the All American Bar and Grille in the Rio. I’ll be there in spirit.

See you in New York for ASE this August-

Sam

Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards Finalists

Will Jangro break the curse??

Lots of good nominees this year and congrats to all the finalists:

Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards Finalists Announced — MissyWard.com: “The Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards Gala is affiliate marketing’s most prestigious, competitive honor for the leaders in the space. Award winners are recognized because they are innovative leaders with vision and influence.

The Pinnacle Awards Gala is open to all attendees of Affiliate Summit West 2009 and takes place Monday, January 12th from 5:00pm-6:30pm in the Brasilia room at the Rio Hotel Las Vegas.”

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Real Time Web Coming Fast: Are You Ready?

Yes, some of this is uber-geeky.

However, if you’re an online marketer, it’s in your best interest to keep an eye on the horizon.

What is quickly coming towards us is the “real-time” web that includes our laptops, mobiles, netbooks, iPhones, TV’s and just about anything with a chip in it.

Why is this so valuable?

One word: Track. If you don’t know what Track is or why it’s important, you missed a good part of 2008. Welcome to the web.

Track will be the grease that keeps online marketers on the tracks in the coming years. Twitter might not be the service to provide it, but somehow and someway, a real-time firehose of specified keywords and info will be available to you.

Track will make our current marketing paradigm of Google keyword buying based on passive searches look like print advertising from the 60’s.

FriendFeed takes us a big step towards the real-time web with the beginning of SUP implementation…

FriendFeed Blog: Simple Update Protocol: Update: “Several months back, we announced SUP (Simple Update Protocol), a proposal for making RSS and Atom feed updates faster and more efficient. Since then, a number of services have added SUP support, we’ve SUP-enabled our feed fetcher, and there are now thousands of SUP enabled feeds being imported into FriendFeed. Among the services that now support SUP are Disqus, Brightkite, Identi.ca (and other Laconica-powered micro-blogs), BackType, and 12seconds.tv. Whenever one of these feeds is updated, the new entry appears on FriendFeed within seconds (non-SUP feeds typically take 15-30 minutes to update). Check out the public feed of Brightkite updates to see this in action. “

I’m not kidding when I tell you to watch this space if you want to be doing online marketing five to ten years from now.