Affiliate Marketing Mini-Manifesto

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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

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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?

Yes.

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??
Conversations.

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.

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

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-Or, if you use ma.gnolia.com, 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

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ValueClick has launched valueclickvideo.com 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:

Publishers

  • 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

Advertisers

  • 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)…

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

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And neither does Reddit…

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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?

Shopping Spree: Great Bargain or Buyer’s Regret? pt 1

It’s Black Friday here in the US and countless Americans are driving from store to store looking for deals and the season’s newest gadgets and toys.

In honor of the shopping season, over the next few weeks I’m going to be pointing out a series of acquisitions made by players in our space and asking your opinion on whether these where a bargain or a dud.

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Our first buy follows the theme of shopping but goes all the way back to 2004: ValueClick’s acquisition of PriceRunner. ValueClick made the purchase for $29 million during a buying spree which had included three other major buys within the previous year Search123 (May ’03); Commission Junction (Dec. ’03); Hi-Speed Media (Dec. ’03). PriceRunner, a shopping comparison provider, already had a large presence in Sweden and Germany and has since expanded into the larger European market as a whole.

Chairman and chief executive officer of ValueClick, James Zarley said about the acquisition in 2004:

“We have been looking to add comparison shopping services as part of our strategic growth plan, and in PriceRunner we have found an established partner that will help us take our first step in this rapidly-growing and profitable area of performance-based online marketing.”

In July 05, ValueClick also launched PriceRunner in the US. In October of this year, MSN announced it would use PriceRunner as the engine behind it’s European MSN Shopping service.

Did ValueClick make the right move by adding this B2C portal to its now expansive B2B offerings (CJ, FastClick, HiSpeed, Mediaplex, Search123, E-Babylon)? Has ValueClick been successful at leveraging this shopping portal in a highly competitive sector? Has PriceRunner allowed ValueClick to expand into the blooming European marketi? Is ValueClick integrating PriceRunner’s B2C consumer network with its other services such as CJ?

Great Bargain or Buyer’s Regret?

Daily Stat Sheet 2: “Are We There Yet?!” Links and Affiliate Marketing

Following up on Wednesday’s post, here’s my podcast with a little more depth into my opinion of how and why we should move beyond links in affiliate marketing.
Agree? Disagree? Contribute too the conversation.

Homework is due Tuesday (see previous post)!

http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=Pcecb7099049d634f584717933e8d1ca4Yl9wRVREYmN3&buffer=5&shape=6&fc=FFFFFF&pc=CCFF33&kc=FFCC33&bc=FFFFFF&brand=1&player=bp14

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Are Links Dead in Online and Affiliate Marketing?

gap.jpgAre links, as we know them in online and affiliate marketing, done for?

In order to answer this question, I’ve narrowed the discussion down to three areas: Leverage, Authority and Long Term Encouragements. Certainly, there are other areas and in the editing process of this post I cut a few of these out and merged them with the three categories above.

However, as online marketing continues to mature, we have to confront this question about the long term establishment of links as the primary tool for connecting advertiser to publisher or merchant to affiliate or network to partner because links, by their nature, do not offer enough flexibility and data gathering for developing trends (RSS, social web adoption, social networking, more intelligent web users, uses of the internet outside of World Wide Web).

Should you ditch the entire concept of linking in order to be progressive? No.

Am I advocating the complete replacement of links with something that can accommodate for attention data? No.

However, online (especially the affiliate) marketing should realize the importance of the need to look beyond the link.

So, here’s your Holiday Homework:

Think about and respond to the notion that links are dead, especially in relevance to affiliate marketing. I’d like to prescribe the areas of Leverage, Authority and Long Term Encouragement as the fields of discussion, but if your point is valid you can certainly travel outside those lines to make your point.

Here are some connections you should consider when thinking about the issue:

-Technorati, Techmeme

-Like.com

-Monetization

-Jellyfish.com

-AdSense Gaming

-Page Rank Problems (or Alexa)

-Participation from Readers/Audience

-Types of Traffic Delivered (Sustained or “Digg Effect” waves)

-Relevancy for Consumers and Individuals

-Value of “Attention Data”

Leave your comments for quick thoughts, or you can submit a longer piece similar to last week’s homework submissions on CPA Networks and Affiliate Networks. I’ll be posting some of your results next Tuesday after the Holiday and include a link to your blog or company. You can email those in, or if you prefer you can send in a voicemail (828.338.2129) on my Skype line which I’ll publish as a part of the post. The deadline is 3pm Friday Tuesday Nov 28 (thanks, Jonathan).

I suspect most of you will initially call me an idiot (I’m close) for questioning the present and future leverage and authority of links. However, put some thought into it, be creative and think of how using other means to reach users can enhance your program/network/platform/offer.

“Daily Stat Sheet” Episode 1 (Rev Share on CPA Networks?)

Every day, very early in the morning, I’m going to be recording a 3-4 minute episode of Cost Per News Daily Stat Sheet in partnership with the great folks at BlogTalkRadio.

This is the first episode and very experimental, so go easy, but do let me know what you think and what recommendations you have. I’m doing this day-to-day experiment in the spirit of a Coltrane concert… it’s jazz and heavy with flaws, highlights and brief moments of inspiration.

Feel free to leave a voicemail on the number below and I’ll play it during the show.

Daily Stat Sheet Show Notes (Episode One, 22 Nov 2006)

-Thanks for listening – very beta
-Shmuly’s (General Zod) Video on Digg and Netscape
-CPA Network Transparency? More Than Meets the Eye
-Response to Shawn Collins(Affiliate Summit), Deanna Key (Rextopia) Brian Littleton (ShareASale)
-Leave a VoiceMail for Tomorrow’s Show (828.338.2129)

As I said, there will be a new episode posted every morning, so grab the feed and let me know your thoughts. Yes, I know there is a botch at the very beginning, but I wanted to preserve the live, dynamic and jazz nature of the show.

Thanks for listening!

CPN Daily Stat Sheet Page

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/feeds/costpernews

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CPA Network Offers on MySpace Persist

images.jpgAt the beginning of the month, word spread that many affiliates using their links on MySpace were being terminated from networks such as Azoogle. However, it seems that the networks haven’t reigned in all of their affiliates.

Marketing on MySpace normally uses viral means of spreading a hot topic, issue, movie, album or tech product. However, in this scenario, affiliate marketers use the ease of collecting a large number of “friends” on the MySpace platform (can be easily done with automated software) to blast out numerous bulletins a day to these “friends.”

The result is a large number of eyeballs with a decent conversion rate. In order to compensate for declining click-thru rates, these marketers simply add more and more “friends” and blast their bulletin messages to larger crowds. Its akin to the email marketing vicious cycle a few years ago before CANSPAM.

MySpace says it does not approve of such commercial actions by members:

“Non-commercial Use by Members. The MySpace Services are for the personal use of Members only and may not be used in connection with any commercial endeavors except those that are specifically endorsed or approved by MySpace.com. Illegal and/or unauthorized use of the MySpace Services, including collecting usernames and/or email addresses of Members by electronic or other means for the purpose of sending unsolicited email or unauthorized framing of or linking to the MySpace Website is prohibited. Commercial advertisements, affiliate links, and other forms of solicitation may be removed from Member profiles without notice and may result in termination of Membership privileges. Appropriate legal action will be taken for any illegal or unauthorized use of the MySpace Services.”

This morning, someone alerted me to the blog DropShipArea.com and this post outlining a case study on MySpace marketing with an Azoogle iPod offer. The author of the post says he hopes to get a steady stream of traffic coming to his sites through MySpace, which is not inherently against the MySpace rules in the letter of the law.

The case study he outlines, however, does break some rules, and networks such as Azoogle must be careful about the actions of their affiliates in a post-acquisition MySpace platform which NewsCorp is continually seeking to monetize and clean up.

This is from the case study quoted on the site:

“First, I selected an appropriate offer from Azoogle.

Name: Superb Rewards – Free IPOD Nano (Brand New!)
Payout: $1.40

Why did I choose this offer?
– Pays for just the E-Mail; a simple action that can be completed by 99% of people.
– Decent Payment ($1.40); One of the higher paying iPod offers so I thought it was a good choice.
– Good Reward (iPod Nano); iPods are all the craze lately, some may say it is saturated but a lot of people still don’t have, and want an iPod.
– Appeals to my demographic; It’s usually the younger people wanting iPods, so 18-25 is usually a good range.

I have a MySpace account with 5400 friends (as of now) and I posted a simple bulletin with the following fields:

Subject: WOW!!! THIS IS SO EASY!!!
Body: Anyone with a MySpace account can get a FREE iPod just by entering your email address into this form!!!” CLICK HERE!!!

The results of his endeavor?

“Nothing too spectacular. I got about 10 people clicking on my Link and half of them completed the offer, so I didn’t make too much.

Why? Probably because I’ve used this account for advertising in the past and people have become wary to avoid my bulletins. I did convert at 50% though, so that’s very good – I just needed more clicks.”

And then he goes on to describe how he ramped up the clicks and concludes that MySpace marketing is now a matter of scale.  That’s dangerous for any network allowing this to continue due to MySpace’s state rules.
I can’t imagine this is the type of promotion advertisers within CPA Networks such as Azoogle are hoping to be a part of, even if it is an email only iPod offer. There is still liability to be had, and NewsCorp does have the resources to follow the money trail.

Advertising.com Announces Deal to Enter Japanese Online Advertising Market

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Online marketing continues to grow in scale, reach and shape.  And now it is blooming in the international market as well.

Advertising.com announced today that they have formed a partnership with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. to create a new joint venture to serve the Japanese online advertising market under the name “Advertising.com Japan”.

Japan is the second largest online advertising market ($3.4 billion) and expected to grow rapidly over the coming five years to $4.9 billion by 2009, according to 2006 data from Mizuho Corporation Bank Research.

Advertising.com is an AOL property, so this partnership can be seen as AOL’s attempt to gain traction in a US/Japan cross market strategy already pioneered by Rakuten in it’s acquisition of Linkshare.

Might we see more moves like this in the coming months between European powerhouse affiliate networks (TradeDoubler, Zanox) and US networks (CJ, Performics)?  What about China?

Windows Live on Mobile Phones: Implications for CPA and Affiliate Markets?

20051106_msnlivesearch.pngIf you use search to reach new or existing customers, or rely on search marketers to expand your program or network, you need to pay attention to the blooming mobile market.

This week, Microsoft announced a deal with Sprint to place Windows Live Search on phones to enhance its local and national search reach…

“It’s very easy to use, and it automatically comes up on the [screen],” says Michael Inserra, Sprint’s director of strategic alliances. “This is the first use of Windows Live Search on phones.” Inserra says the alliance is broad and covers product sets and sales initiatives. Local searches with targeted advertising will be featured. Users simply type in their zip codes or addresses; later GPS technology will automatically pinpoint users’ locations.”

Users can access Google, Yahoo! or MSN from their phones if they are savvy enough to use internet-enabled phones. However, with mobile companies aligning with specific search platforms, it’s important to remember the growing influence of this realm in the search (especially local social) platform.

As we discussed on the latest Weekly Insight Podcast, Linkshare is making moves in the mobile area. Will other affiliate or CPA networks follow? Have affiliates themselves begun to adopt to this new marketing medium? How so?

Weekly Insight 11/17/2006

weekinsight.GIFThe podcast this week was an interesting experience. Only three of the regular cast were able to attend (Lee, Jeff and myself), so the conversation felt more personal and directed than it has in the past. There’s always a different dynamic in a conversation such as this when only a few people participate as compared to four, five or six.

Again, I think we are slowly increasing the quality of talk and Jeff has done a nice job of improving some of the audio attributes.

Of course we cover the debate over CPA networks and affiliate networks which has raged on the comments here on the site over the last week. I have to defend my policy of not regulating comments in terms of requiring subscriptions, and voice my reasons for having this site in the first place. Jeff elaborates on some of his points he was hoping to get across in the podcast, and Lee provided a couple of great points (which need to be discussed further) in terms of affiliate value and the nature of the industry as the paradigm of online marketing continues to shift.

After listening again, I do realize there were a few points I let Jeff off the hook when I should have stepped in and corrected or disagreed with him (I’m sure you’ll hear them). For example, as a point in our discussion on affiliate networks and his point that the networks seem to be whithering on the vine. That’s not a completely accurate statement, and I wish we could have gone deeper into defining how many things affiliate networks (such as CJ) are doing well in some respects. I’m working hard to call out people on their mis-steps and over generalizations on the podcast, but it’s a work in progress.

Oh, and I make the point again that LINKS ARE DEAD. That might be a subject discussed here on CPN in the near future.

All in all, I’d recommend this as a supplement to the week’s previous discussions on networks.

I encourage thoughts and responses in the comments section!

Weekly Insight

November 17, 2006

  • CPA vs. affiliate networks
  • Social media, podcasts & video
  • Long term views: affiliate networks
  • Sam says, “Links are dead!”
  • Lee: Pubcon review

Download the Show (mp3)

http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=Pf05ad45fce8db477c45667b6e43f63dcZVB5RVREYmR1&buffer=5&fc=FFFFFF&pc=CCFF33&kc=FFCC33&bc=FFFFFF&brand=1&player=ap21

[EDIT 11/19 2:00AM: This will be my last time of participating on that podcast as well.]

What is Affiliate Marketing’s Brand?

cookie.jpgJim Kukral, publisher of ReveNews and operator of BlogKits, has submitted a short but intriguing piece on MarketingProfs Daily Fix.

The main question he poses has reverberations that continue to expand like a rock thrown in a pond if you consider the essence of what he’s asking.

Here’s his question:

What is affiliate marketing’s brand? When you think of it, what comes to mind?

I should also point out that this is a good exercise for any marketer to put to use. I think what you’ll find, as I have in other areas, is that what your customer and/or the rest of the world thinks, is drastically different than what you think.

As you begin to form an answer in your head, remember that the audience of MarketingProfs is different than ReveNews or this blog. He’s asking this question to individuals who stand outside of affiliate marketing in general, but who also are deeply entrenched in other online marketing platforms.

Why be concerned over the definition of affiliate marketing’s brand? Why do some of us use the moniker affiliate marketing while others of us shun that term, but continue, in practice, to be associated with affiliate marketing?

For insight into this answer, I think back (as I often do) to an episode of ze Frank’s The Show where he launches into a brilliant tirade of why John Mark Carr would want to associate himself with Jon Benet Ramsey (it was August and that was the only news, remember).

Like Jim’s rock in the pond, Frank’s observations also expand outwards from his three minute video and have implications for the brand that many of us associate ourselves with: affiliate marketing.

ze Frank’s comments go along these lines:

“What the hell do you mean by brand?

Brand is an emotional aftertaste that is conjured up by, but not necessarily dependent on, a series of experiences.

Everything has an aftertaste, and everything is a brand.”

Nothing earth shattering there, unless you like to limit the definition of brand. Frank nails it on the head by saying that everything is a brand and has an emotional aftertaste, however… including affiliate marketing.

If everything is a brand (including affiliate marketing) why associate with a particular brand? Why seek out these types of definitions as Jim is aiming to do? Frank gives more insight:

“Right now platforms are fracturing. There are fewer specific places that have access to a large market share and it’s getting harder to speak to lots of people.

But the shared emotional aftertaste of brand is platform independent.

If you leverage those aftertastes, people pay attention regardless of where they are.”

So, I don’t have an answer for Jim’s question. But I do hope he finds one. There are such a wide variety of emotional aftertastes experienced within (and without) the realm of affiliate marketing, that to figure this out will require more than a few minutes of pondering.

Great question, Jim.

Visit the links below for more information and please do watch the episode of The Show…

Sources:

Jim’s Marketing Prof Daily Fix Article

ze Frank’s Video Post on Brands