Sam Harrelson

Churches and nonprofits should realize that Facebook privacy issues are just the tip of the iceberg

Way back in 2012, I was featured in a New York Times article titled “How To Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet” and offered up this bit as part of my interview (I was teaching Middle School Science at the time):

“The topic of privacy policies and what lies ahead for our digital footprints is especially fascinating and pertinent for me, since I work with 13- and 14-year-olds who are just beginning to dabble with services such as Gmail and all of Google’s apps, as well as Facebook, Instagram, social gaming,” he said. “I have nothing to hide, but I’m uncomfortable with what we give away.”

It feels like we were so naive then, doesn’t it? Perhaps.

Here’s a segment from a great post by Doc Searls:

Let’s start with Facebook’s Surveillance Machine, by Zeynep Tufekci in last Monday’s New York Times. Among other things (all correct), Zeynep explains that “Facebook makes money, in other words, by profiling us and then selling our attention to advertisers, political actors and others. These are Facebook’s true customers, whom it works hard to please.” Irony Alert: the same is true for the Times, along with every other publication that lives off adtech: tracking-based advertising. These pubs don’t just open the kimonos of their readers. They bring people’s bare digital necks bared to vampires ravenous for the blood of personal data, all for the purpose of “interest-based” advertising.

Source: Doc Searls Weblog · Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica problems are nothing compared to what’s coming for all of online publishing

I have no problem admitting that I’m a fanboy of Doc Searls. Search through the 12 years of archives here and you’ll find me quoting or sourcing him many times in posts regarding advertising throughout the years.

This is one of those seminal posts that I feel like I’ll come back to later and want to reflect upon giving newfound insight or knowledge. That often happens with posts from Searls.

What I’m particularly intrigued about here is the 1) action and 2) reaction notion of “NOW WHAT?”. It’s been no surprise to us that work in the marketing and advertising world what’s happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over the last couple of weeks.

In fact, it’s incredibly easy and almost encouraged to use Facebook data to target people to an alarmingly intimate degree. It’s part of the game. I’ve always felt icky about the situation and I’ve more than once steered clients away from targeting users using FB Ad Manager for campaigns that would otherwise have been fine without that element.

It’s been an uneasy compromise for many of us, knowing what we give away in exchange for the enjoyment of friends and family pictures on Facebook. But this isn’t new. We just waited too long to do anything about it.

So where do we go now? I like Searls’ argument for a reader-first method of distinguishing rights and responsibilities for data on the web. Having worked in AdTech circles for 20 or so years now, I’m dubious about the execution or transformation that it will take to bring about such a revolution though.

Aside from the ethical dimension, there’s also the notion of democratization. Love it or hate it, AdTech and Facebook Ads and Twitter ads and affiliate marketing have leveled the playing field for many small businesses and nonprofits who could never have afforded agency rates as we knew them.

Perhaps that’s the lesson here for us all to learn. There needs to not only be profit involved in algorithmic marketing based on user profiles of demographic data, but also ethics.

We all need to do better with our marketing campaigns. However, the genie is out of the bottle to use another saying. There’s no going back to the quaint world of multi-million dollar Mad Men style creative brand advertisements dominating the industry.

I’d posit that’s a good thing. Meanwhile, online news and publishing and business and church and nonprofit sites should do better about monitoring the type of data they collect and pass on to 3rd parties either knowingly or unknowingly.

Churches and nonprofits especially need to heed this warning. Tracking is built into so many website builders and content management systems and email newsletter systems that they use. However, churches and nonprofits turn a blind eye to the reality that now faces them in an era where people are increasingly already turning away from their outreach.

It’s time to take the web (and those you’re looking to reach) seriously.




Affiliates Aren’t Just B2B Pimps

Be careful lumping all “affiliate marketers” into the B2B John Reese camp, Tony…

Deep Jive Interests » Mashable vs. John Reese: The Bigger Issue In Internet Marketing: “Because one of the biggest problems with Internet Marketing is that are very few real conversations about it. Most of it are on the forums, but the even there its hard to find a real opinion on things.

Why is this?

Because of affiliate marketing.”

There are lots of us who have some involvement with the world of affiliate marketing who find the sort of marketing you describe later in your post just as sketchy as you do (and should).

I’m an affiliate marketer, social media early adopter and a longtime Twitter user (since ’06) and don’t think I fit the description you make. John Reese and I got into it last night on this topic at Andrew Wee’s blog.

All of my affiliate stuff (as well as 99% of the people I know in affiliate marketing) is consumer related, not B2B ebooks and rarely, if ever, promoted on any of the myriads of social networks I belong to.

There’s a big gap between the B2B “affiliate” marketers and the B2C variety.




Free Affiliate Summit Passes Today

FAE3B0A0-B0D4-44B3-AD51-BD23184B86A8.jpgI turn 30 just a few days after this year’s Affiliate Summit East. Helping me ring in my third decade is good enough reason to come to Boston, right? Well, even if you haven’t gotten a ticket yet, there’s a very good offer on the table for today.

For today only, Affiliate Summit is running a special promotion where anyone who hasn’t already registered for the Affiliate Summit East in Boston (August 10-12) can get a free exhibit hall pass…

Free Affiliate Summit Passes on June 11, 2008 | Affiliate Summit Blog: “We’ve got a special Affiliate Summit deal that’s only good for 24 hours – the day of June 11, 2008 EDT.

Everybody that is currently registered for Affiliate Summit 2008 East, taking place August 10-12 in Boston, is welcome to share the following coupon code with their friends and colleagues who are not yet registered:

ASE08JUNE11

This code is good for a free exhibit hall only pass (value $199).”

So, if you haven’t registered to come, you definitely should today. I can’t recommend the show enough (not just because I’m the “Minister of Social Media” this time) but because it really is the premier event for learning, networking and recruiting affiliates in the performance marketing space.

The speaker list is quite varied this year and the Affiliate Summit team has really mixed things up (in a good way) to keep the East show fresh.

Plus, you can buy me a drink for my 30th.

See you in Boston!




Motive Interactive

motSig.gif

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 (sharrelson@motiveinteractive.com 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.)




CJ And NY State Affiliate Tax

Commission Junction is currently sending out this very legal sounding email to publishers encouraging them to perform due dilligence with a link to a PDF from NY state’s tax office…

As you may already know, the State of New York recently enacted new legislation that addresses tax registration, collection, and other time-sensitive obligations. As with all laws, this law may or may not apply to you and your business. We are actively monitoring the law and will use reasonable efforts to protect ourselves and our publishers as we deem appropriate.

The application of the law is dependent on particular business and factual circumstances, and Commission Junction is not in a position to provide legal and tax advice regarding this law. However, we encourage you to perform the appropriate due diligence as it relates to your business.

For your convenience, we have provided a link to a memo from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Office of Tax Policy Analysis, Taxpayer Guidance Division that addresses the new legislation:

http://www.tax.state.ny.us/pdf/memos/sales/m08_3s.pdf

While certainly not as personal and emphatic as ShareASale’s response on their blog or on the ABW forum, it is a little heart warming to see CJ addressing the issue.

I was hoping for more of a “these are the steps we will take to educate merchants and protect our publishers” type email, but it looks like this is all we’re going to get from CJ at this point.




What Happened to Affiliate Bloggers?

Last Spring, it seemed as if the world of affiliate marketing would be saturated with bloggers. BUMPzee was riding high and everyone was trading links, trackbacks, comments and bumps.

It was the short lived golden age of affiliate blogging.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some great places to read about affiliate marketing such as Shawn Collin’s AffiliateTip Blog, Scott Jangro’s blog, Linda Buquet’s 5 Star Blog, Mark’s 45n5 blog, Zac Johnson’s blog, ReveNews as well as many others that I’m surely leaving out. There are some great new blogs such as Trisha Lyn’s blog, but things don’t feel the same.

However, last year it wasn’t uncommon to get 10-15 “bumps” on a thought provoking post from BUMPzee that made you feel as if something unique was happening in the affiliate blogging space.

And it wasn’t uncommon to see many new and interesting blogs popping up addressing real affiliate marketing issues. Maybe it was BUMPzee’s influence? Maybe it was the market boom last year?

It just doesn’t feel the same.

What happened?




FeedFront Issue 1 Shipping Soon

Missy Ward and Shawn Collins of the https://www.fusionquest.com/cgi-bin/main/hotlinks.cgi?aflt=afc1&client=affsumAffiliate Summit have put together an “offline” publication that looks like it’s going to be a great read based on the talent assembled for the articles.

I contributed a piece describing the best ways to get things done in affiliate marketing using web2.0 tools:

FeedFront Articles in Issue 1 : FeedFront: “Issues will be mailed in June 2008. Here are the articles in the first issue:

* Editors Note: Missy Ward & Shawn Collins
* Five Ways to Evaluate a Merchant’s Landing Page: Dan Murray
* Pros & Cons of Utilizing Multiple Networks: Brian Littleton
* Twitter Grabs Attention: Lisa Picarille
* GTD in Affiliate Marketing with Web 2.0: Sam Harrelson
* Affiliate Marketers Give Back: Missy Ward
* Online Video Advertising: Tim Carter
* Nobody Would Use a Search Engine with Paid Results: Dan Gray
* Building Profitable Customer Relationships by Following These Simple Email Axioms: Tom Kulzer
* Are You the Next Super Affiliate Blogger?: Zac Johnson
* Ad Networks, Vertical Ad Networks, and Affiliate Networks: Peter Figueredo
* Affiliate Manager Compensation: Shawn Collins
* My 3 Favorite Blogs You May Not Visit: Wil Reynolds
* My 3 Favorite Tools You May Not be Using: Wil Reynolds
* Get Off Your Butt and Start Making Videos: Jim Kukral “

You can get a subscription to FeedFront here.




Affiliate Summit Network is a Success

This iteration of the Affiliate Summit Network is really taking off.

I think a good deal of its success so far has to do with it being hosted on Ning instead of Confabb as in years past. I love the integration of RSS, Twitter streams, Flickr, YouTube, etc that Ning provides and it makes the entire network feel much more robust and inviting than years past.

There are already over 70 pretty active members (growing daily) signed up and we’re discussing the NY state affiliate situation, how to market to marketers and all sorts of relevant topics that will surely be hot buttons at the conference in early August.

So, if you’re going to https://www.fusionquest.com/cgi-bin/main/hotlinks.cgi?aflt=afc1&client=affsumAffiliate Summit East (15% off if you use that link plus the code ase08afc15), make sure to join up on the network.

And if you do, make sure to add me as a friend.




Affiliate Summit Discount Flights

I’m a big fan of JetBlue, so this is a neat promotion for the next Affiliate Summit in Boston this August…

Special discount from jetBlue for Affiliate Summit | Affiliate Summit Blog: “Here are the details on how to book via the jetBlue promo page…

Code: ASE08
Discount: 5%
Valid Cities: Any City to BOS
Travel Dates: Outbound: 8/6-8/8 / Return: 8/12-8/14
Promo Valid: 5/2/08-8/7/08”

The discount is good for a few beverages and hot dogs at Fenway at the very least!




Videoclix.tv Is the Future?

VideoClix.tv is attracting a good deal of attention and for good reason. Basically, anything mentioned in a video becomes a keyword that leads to a clickable affiliate link. Even Revision3’s Diggnation is employing their technology…

I can’t imagine this sort of technology remaining independent for too long and expect to see a Google or someone snap them up or replicate the idea.

This is the future of affiliate marketing…




GeekCast Episode 6: Plugging the Right Holes

[display_podcast]

Every week Lisa Picarille, Shawn Collins, Jim Kukral and I do an episode of “GeekCast” where we discuss current trends in the geek marketing world ranging from tech to performance marketing.

The show is very free form and wide ranging, but there is a good deal of valuable discussion on affiliate marketing and related tech issues.

Here’s a brief and incomplete list of discussions this week:

-Headset Tech – Analogue or USB?
-Lisa’s Skype Troubles
-Cable is Dead?
-Super Bowl Twitter Friends
-Paying to Play in UK Affiliate Networks
-HD DVD is Dead
-Group Twitter at Affiliate Summit
-Ze Frank is the Steve Guttenberg of the Internet
-Jangro’s Approach to Affiliate Summit
-Affiliate Summit Attire
-Interesting Trends from the AffStat Report
-Aweber and Email Lists
-Gratuitous Nudity
-Gratuitous Pre-Rolls
-Gratuitous Politics
-Jim’s YouTube Porn Searches
-Jesus Horses
-Shawn Loves Metrosexual Country

Give it a listen and let me know what you think.




GeekCast Episode 5: Cease and Desist

Lisa Picarille, Shawn Collins, Jim Kukral and I taped another episode of GeekCast that was published yesterday. It’s a free-form and fun show where we discuss current trends in the geek marketing world ranging from tech to performance marketing.

[display_podcast]

This week, the gang tackles wearable video, fake Twitter-ers, master link baiters, affiliate link cloaking and Lost Geekend ’08. Give it a listen and let us know your thoughts.