Sam Harrelson

Open Sourcing PPC Policy Creation

I noticed from one of brianlittleton‘s tweets that ShareASale is putting together an “open source” PPC policy creation template…

Open Source the PPC Policy Creation – ABestWeb Affiliate Marketing Forum: “One of the things that we will be doing is providing a list of things that a Merchant should and must consider when generating a ‘good’ PPC policy. For example, some Merchants consider things like their ‘domain name’, or ‘TM’, but don’t consider that same word in conjunction with another term such as ‘special’ or ‘vs. a competitor’ …

So – I am here offering and asking for a collaborative effort to generate a template/wishlist/helpsheet for Merchants who want to generate a policy.”

Lots of great stuff going on in that thread at ABW and it’s awesome to see a network reaching out to both affiliates and merchants in such a manner. Go over and participate if you have thoughts on the issue (and who doesn’t?!).

As always, nice work, Brian.




Is the NY State Affiliate Tax That Big of Deal?

There has been much hand wringing in the world of affiliate marketing over the so-called New York state “affiliate tax.” However, as Trust points out on ABW, it doesn’t seem that 99% of merchants running affiliate programs care much…

How Are Merchants Finding Out About This? – ABestWeb Affiliate Marketing Forum: “Looking at this list and I only see about 40 merchants (so far) which is maybe at most 1% – 2% of merchants with affiliate programs who have dropped NY affiliates. So was wondering if we have a whole bunch more coming and if all the merchants know about this or what. Or if it’s going to be an overall small percentage that drop affiliates.”

Is that a symptom of poor communication by New York state legal authorities, legal counsels, affiliates…or is this really not that big of deal?

There have been a plethora (literally) of blog posts in the affiliate-blog-osphere about the issue ranging from Shawn Collins and Linda Buquet‘s respective reporting to ReveNews coverage to Peter Bordes at Relevantly Speaking chiming in to our discussions on GeekCast to even networks like ShareASale offering strong and well thought-out advice for merchants.

However, merchants really don’t seem to be paying too much attention to all of this.

Once again, I defer to Trust on ABW:

I guess I was expecting a whole slew of new drop notices today, haven’t seen anybody post anything new. In the end if it winds up only being about 1% – 2% then that’s really not much at all. I guess we’ll have to wait to see how this turns out but at this point not as bad as I thought it would be. Time will tell.

Is this just the latest Froogle?

I’m not so sure. I do think there is a considerable need for affiliate marketers to educate and inform merchants about the viability and importance of the performance channel in terms of their bottom line, but “affiliate marketing” as we know it is SO wide ranging and dispersed at this point that it would take Microsoft creating their own loyalty program to get us to organize… oh, wait.

In other words, our conception of “affiliate marketing” (in my opinion) is rapidly evolving away from just the network/affiliate model that has served us well (and badly) for the last decade. “We” are moving into video, lead gen, offline, mobile, widgets, social media, search and all sorts of places that we didn’t envision a decade ago. I would venture to say that at least 75% of the people doing affiliate marketing don’t even know they are doing affiliate marketing.

I’m not arguing for a name change or anything of that nature. However, I do want us to realize that while the NY affiliate tax has certainly caused its share of fear and loathing, we need to realize that this industry has fractured and continues to move away from anything resembling an industry. Coming up with an organized group to represent its needs and views may be as difficult as getting merchants to address the NY state issue.

So here’s my take: Merchants are letting legal figure this out (if they even need to). We should be proactive but realize that interstate commerce is a very complicated subject and requires highly skilled lawyers (and such) to grok. I doubt if NY state’s tax will survive the appeal process based on my understanding of what’s happening, but I’m no lawyer.

In the meantime, it looks to be business as usual.




ShareASale Knows Marketing

shareasalebuttons.jpg

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!




ShareASale On the NY Affiliate Sales Tax

Brian Littleton of ShareASale weighs in on how his network plans to address the delicate situation surrounding the NY state tax on affiliate revenues and provides a nice model that other networks may want to consider (both in terms of practice as well as openness with the affiliate community):

ShareASale Blog » NY State and the “Affiliate Sales Tax” Law…: “Our plan at this time, is to treat any case where a merchant wishes to terminate NY affiliates with great care and caution. If a merchant requests to do this, there is little we can do to stop them – but ShareASale will be performing the task so that merchants aren’t accessing information which traditionally is considered private within the network.

There is a chance that this plan will not work. My hope is that we can warn merchants that terminating NY is a bad plan – and one that needs rethinking. If our plan doesn’t work – and we end up needing to provide more information to merchants, we may end up having to do so… I say this as a heads up to affiliates because while we don’t like to give out info, we also don’t want to put merchants in a place that makes it difficult to adhere to the laws of their state or others.”

Great job for addressing the situation and letting us know your thoughts from a network perspective, Brian and team.




ShareASale Twitters

ShareASale has been a long time supporter of Twitter, but they are stepping it up with a new official account:

ShareASale Blog: “2.  Follow us on ‘Twitter’.  I have recently created a ‘ShareASale’ specific entry which is www.twitter.com/shareasale.  Also, feel free to follow me personally – I talk about ShareASale stuff as well as other things going on.  www.twitter.com/brianlittleton”

There’s a reason that ShareASale consistently ranks at the top of affiliates’ and publishers’ “Best Network” rankings when you consider how much they not only embrace but also take seriously mediums such as blogging or Twitter.

Other networks could learn a great deal from them or from @zappos or the growing myriad of advertisers finding a welcoming community on Twitter.’

Great job, ShareASale.