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  1. #1
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    Ok Jeffy, lets debate.
    First your comment about merchants needing affiliates:
    "they don't need affiliates or SEO-repair pros to help them out. SEO is, essentially, a core competency that all Web dev team members (copywriters, coders, designers, etc. etc.) must be proficient in. They must all speak Google, essentially. THIS is one of the major criteria for qualifying a Web dev team - today and moving forward."
    I disagree. That might actually be fun to watch. I think that thousands of affiliates will always beat out a web dev team. If you want to find experts in SEO, look no further than affiliates. Yes they must speak Google, but they better know more than that. Google is strong now and looks to be strong for awhile but you need to be proficient with all search engines. I'm sure there are merchants watching what their affiliates are doing and taking notes and planning on dropping their affiliate program to do it on their own, or keeping it and trying it on their own. What will happen is their past affiliates will just start promoting their competition. Lets say the merchant does better. Then the affiliate just watches what the merchant does, does the same thing better and promote the competition. So i disagree with your comment that merchants don't need affiliates or seo-repair pros to help them out in SEO. SEO - Merchants vs. Affiliates, SEO pros, i would put my money on affiliates.

    Froogle
    First some comments by you and Wayne:
    Mr. Merchant: "Muahahaha.... you don't expect me to take a pass on commenting on THIS do you? Actually, I'm just going to poke my head in here... laugh a bit... put my feet up and wait for Google to make their next move. Aaahhhh... I can see it now... I can hear the phone ringing over at Google and it's Top Moxie on the caller ID............ hee-hee"
    Wayne: "Then we get to the new iteration of Google in the form of "Froogle". This won't kill all affiliates, but it will be another pass of the great doomsday ax and you can bet there will be plenty of bodies on the ground in two more years. If you think this is not the case you need a reality check. Once again the goal of Google is to quickly connect people with the information/products they want."
    I disagree with most of that. First product search engines never have done well. I think they added this just to keep up as other SE's already had this. When Froogle first came out, everybody was screaming "affiliate killer" I made a post that nobody responded too, where i think Froogle would actually make affiliates lots of money. Example: Lets says somebody searches for JVC XP1230 DVD Changer. Affiliates have adwords ready to go, so when someone searches for that JVC receiver, ads will show up with "Deals on JVC DVD players" Or "Spend $250 in electronics, get $50 off a future purchase" Ads to that effect. Product search is about as targetted as you can get, and i imagine high click thru rates on the adwords with high conversions. So you guys see this as a negative, i see it as an easy way for affiliates to make money with adwords.

    As far as me asking you about Performics, thats because i know networks get their cut no matter where the money comes from. Since if i read correctly in an internet retailer article or maybe the Chicago SUN you were one of the founding members. Don't know if you still work their, let me know. Someone posted the internet retailer article where basically you gave a speech telling merchants they cannot afford not to work with some affiliates. I would like you to elaborate on what you actually tell them. Do you tell them everything? I have always believed in getting or giving all the info you can and then making a decision from there. Once a merchant has all the information, then its up to them to make a decision on who to work with. If i'm correct you tell merchants to concentrate on working with affiliates that drive sales, which i agree with to a point. If they're driving the sales and not off of another affiliate. Remember that some sales from the bigger affiliates have come off of mom and pop
    affiilates. Ask Wayne about this, as he confirmed elsewhere for himself that overwriting/misdirecting is still taking place. I was also curious if you agree/disagree with:
    http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...1&m=9646064402 and then let me know why you agree or disagree and also if you mention and of this to merchants when you give speeches, if you find it factual of course. Also merchants should work with a good cross section of affilies, not just dupers/supers. Usually because of the sales they drive, they get a higher % commission and mom and pops get lower. Also a sale is a sale. Just to end this extremely long post, the affiliate marketing model will always work because all this is is performance based marketing which has been around since the dawn of business. You only get paid if you produce, that will never die.

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Trust:
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  3. #3
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I disagree. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Totally permitted... even at ABW! <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> That might actually be fun to watch. I think that thousands of affiliates will always beat out a web dev team. If you want to find experts in SEO, look no further than affiliates. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>So far we have a flag-waiving for affiliates comment here. Noted. <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Yes they must speak Google, but they better know more than that. Google is strong now and looks to be strong for awhile but you need to be proficient with all search engines. I'm sure there are merchants watching what their affiliates are doing and taking notes and planning on dropping their affiliate program to do it on their own, or keeping it and trying it on their own. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> WIth all due respect, I am not going to disagree with what you're saying here. Also, I just returned from the UK (the Affiliate Get2Gether event) where many an affiliate approached me and told me that they were entertaining job offers from merchants. They turned them all down. Why? Simple - they can make a heck of a lot more dough as an affiliate! "Like my talent? Great. Nice to meet you and happy to be your affiliate." Works well for some marketers to continue to work with them. Works well for some to hire the talent in. I'm simply saying that I see things going on around me (and I'm pointing at them) that suggest marketers want to internalize the talent. <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> So i disagree with your comment that merchants don't need affiliates or seo-repair pros to help them out in SEO. SEO - Merchants vs. Affiliates, SEO pros, i would put my money on affiliates.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Feel free to disagree but that's not my point. My point is that there is a clear trend and I offer evidence. If you were to disagree, then you would need to offer evidence that I'm wrong. I'm not telling anyone where to put their money, I am simply pointing out things I see while driving down the road. Merchants are starting to (or wanting to) internalize the talent. Moreover, SEO is no longer an afterthought... it's top of mind (for the first time - ever) as you construct your Web site.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I think they added this just to keep up as other SE's already had this. When Froogle first came out, everybody was screaming "affiliate killer" I made a post that nobody responded too, where i think Froogle would actually make affiliates lots of money. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    In my experience, few companies do things as a hobby (they do it because they think there's money in it - if not today, eventually... or they think they can learn something from it which, in the end, leads to them - MAKING MONEY!).

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I would like you to elaborate on what you actually tell them. Do you tell them everything? I have always believed in getting or giving all the info you can and then making a decision from there. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    First of all, kudos to you. The way you're asking me is straight-forward and non-inflamatory. Pinch me, is this abw? . No matter where I work or what I do professionally, I always give the client the full perspective... yes. I am constantly learning. Candidly, Wayne Porter re-arranged quite a bit of my world years ago... and today I see things differently because of that. I do the same for Wayne - offer him perspective that he has not gained through his experiences.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Once a merchant has all the information, then its up to them to make a decision on who to work with. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This has been a part of my consulting practice, yes. I, often, present all the known facts regarding - let's say - the affilite networks/solution providers. In the end, they make the decision but along the way I would help them understand what they *truly* need as that's different for each client. When representing an affiliate network, obviously, things change. It's a consultative sales approach but it's sales before all else and the prospective client understands that. As an example, listen to Linkshare lately - they love to talk (mostly) about the value of the smaller affiliates. Meanwhile, the other networks deminish their value. Sales. Neat, hu?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> If i'm correct you tell merchants to concentrate on working with affiliates that drive sales, which i agree with to a point. If they're driving the sales and not off of another affiliate. Remember that some sales from the bigger affiliates have come off of mom and pop
    affiilates. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Not exactly, no. It's more complex than that. To simplify for our discussion, I advise more on (and you can ask around on this) understanding HOW your affiliates send sales and, yes, who they are... you need to have a relationship with them and *maintain control* over them (all businesses must have control over partnerships)... not let them run free. Letting them run free is asking for trouble (from some of them). I am not using the sales yardstick as the primary indicator of an affiliate that is more worthy of your time.. no.


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I was also curious if you agree/disagree with:
    http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...1&m=9646064402 and then let me know why you agree or disagree and also if you mention and of this to merchants when you give speeches, if you find it factual of course. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I read the thread but there are many things I can address. Sorry... what is it that you're wondering about?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Also merchants should work with a good cross section of affilies, not just dupers/supers. Usually because of the sales they drive, they get a higher % commission and mom and pops get lower. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Ooooh... you're preachin' from the Linkshare text now! If you're looking for a comment on this stuff, I'll give you one. Yes - mathmatically it's to your advantage if you do not factor in other variables. Also, if you do not reward your larger (e.g. incentive, rebaters, "dupers" LOL) affiliates in a multi-tiered fashion (differently for new vs. repeat customers) then it becomes even more dramatic. Most merchants don't, of course... so the Linkshare stuff has more to it then I suppose. Will it remain this way? Probably not and there are other threads that address this so I'll stop there.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Also a sale is a sale. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Not to direct marketers. How did you get that sale? What is the TRUE cost of that sale? If I acquire a customer from an affiliate, I immidiately send them a catalog (generate cost). If that person takes the catalog, orders from it but shops through a cash back affiliate + redeems a coupon + shops through the Discover ShopCenter - OUCH! I'm in the hole and that sale hurts. OUCH... many... OUCH... sheesh, something is now training my customer to OUCH do that over and over!

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Just to end this extremely long post, the affiliate marketing model will always work because all this is is performance based marketing which has been around since the dawn of business. You only get paid if you produce, that will never die.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Nobody's arguing that. What some are saying is that there will be CHANGE along the way and there will be roadkill, by nature of that change. Some will adapt and some will not. Some affiliates (small and large) will survive, some will not.

  4. #4
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    I will take a swipe at few points before my weekend fishing trip.


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> That might actually be fun to watch. I think that thousands of affiliates will always beat out a web dev team. If you want to find experts in SEO, look no further than affiliates. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree with you 100% Trust- but I ask, "At what cost?". There are hidden costs to affiliate marketing especially as it impacts BRAND. It is the most important asset a business has and affiliate marketing, when not done correctly, WALKS ALL OVER IT.

    That is hard for me to say, being passionate about the affiliate industry, but it is the truth. This wasn't easy for me to see and I had to work on both sides of the fence to really get a full appreciation for it.


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Wayne: "Then we get to the new iteration of Google in the form of "Froogle". This won't kill all affiliates, but it will be another pass of the great doomsday ax and you can bet there will be plenty of bodies on the ground in two more years. If you think this is not the case you need a reality check. Once again the goal of Google is to quickly connect people with the information/products they want."
    I disagree with most of that. First product search engines never have done well. I think they added this just to keep up as other SE's already had this. When Froogle first came out, everybody was screaming "affiliate killer" I made a post that nobody responded too, where i think Froogle would actually make affiliates lots of money. Example: Lets says somebody searches for JVC XP1230 DVD Changer. Affiliates have adwords ready to go, so when someone searches for that JVC receiver, ads will show up with "Deals on JVC DVD players" Or "Spend $250 in electronics, get $50 off a future purchase" Ads to that effect. Product search is about as targetted as you can get, and i imagine high click thru rates on the adwords with high conversions. So you guys see this as a negative, i see it as an easy way for affiliates to make money with adwords.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Two more years...I implied to give it some time before there are more bodies. I do think it will mow down some, not all, of the competition as merchants begin dumping their product feeds directly into Froogle and if consumers get a taste for it. Consumers tend to like Google's taste because it bloody works.

    It also depends on HOW Google connects Froogle to their main search service. It could be just a pet project designed to boost inventory for AdWord sales...I don't think Google will EVER take rev. share for product placement so it will never be a killer in that form. For that matter I don't think they will even do "paid inclusion" for the Froogle service, at least no time soon. I do think they want to keep affiliate links out because is is mere duplication although they do a crummy job of it so far.

    Which, btw, is why the networks have risen up so fast to be THE SOURCE to plug networks into places like Froogle and other sydication outlets (I think Performics trail blazed that a long time ago). The powerhouse affiliate networks are the ones now selling services like paid inclusion, e-mail services, management services, pay-per-click search services, seo, etc. Affiliates are becoming just a segment of their overall product mix. Arguably I feel Linkshare is the last major "pure affiliate marketing network" but I think they too will morph. They will have to go through this change to survive and compete against the others.

    As for product search engines not doing well what ones were you referring too in terms of doing poorly? Comparison agents are the one's too watch and that technology is just heating up.

    In terms of affiliates and PPCSES.

    For generic search terms affiliates have a big advantage over merchants- they can offer up several merchants for one keyword. It often mathematically works to the affiliate's favor even though their margins are slimmer.

    For example "women's clothing".

    But that isn't what a lot of affiliates are doing. Many are simply buying trademarks and passing the traffic through. Why? Because there is a lot of money in leveraging the brand equity of a merchant. The same equity they have spent millions to build. Most do not want this. They want new customers, that is what they were promised.


    jeff wrote
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Nobody's arguing that. What some are saying is that there will be CHANGE along the way and there will be roadkill, by nature of that change. Some will adapt and some will not. Some affiliates (small and large) will survive, some will not. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Affiliate marketing has been around since neolithic days when Ogg's Round Wheel Shop gave Nog's Rock Axle Shop a few clams kickback when Nog sent over a customer to pick up a new fangled round wheel at Ogg's cave. It is only recently that sophisticated frameworks have been built to adminster these relationships in a new medium. (It is exciting to live in these times!)

    Dramatic changes are coming to the performance landscape and the pace at which they are happening is dizzying. So fast it makes any analyst want to throw-up. Reference Google's AdSense which suddenly makes generating good content worthwhile again and a real case for pitching out pure revshare deals...

    I do think AdSense has some real problems btw and Google could take some real school lessons from the CPC-based fraud problems the affiliate networks combatted during the turn of the century (feels weird to say that). However, Google's model is still performance marketing but on a CPC basis (CPC is effective cost per click a relative of our friend- EPC) and one that scales for people who aren't performance experts or "sales people".

    If I were an affiliate network Google's Adsense offering and the onset of micro-advertising would scare me.

    I digress (but I do want to talk about the impact of AdSense and micro advertising)...anyway I continually evangelize on message boards and to any affiliate I come into contact with the need for the construction of their OWN brands and acquisition of their OWN customers. There are many ways to do this, and many ways that have yet to be invented. Of course building a brand means little to the affiliate hobbyist, but it is the hobbyist that is quickly being moved out of the picture.

    If affiliates truly have these assets, merchants will want them and they will have no choice but to dance to the affiliate's tune.

    best,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
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  5. #5
    Member mrmerchant's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Dramatic changes are coming to the performance landscape and the pace at which they are happening is dizzying. So fast it makes any analyst want to throw-up. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    CORRECTION: Not if you work for Forrester. No need for a barf-bag. They just take 10 sales pitches, regurgitate them into a PDF document and send out a press release.

    If your title is "analyst" should that mean that you actually analyze? Otherwise I think you're just a marketer. Well, in Forrester's case, they serve nobody's interest. They simply occupy space and, if anything, take relatively simple bits of information and complicate them - all while telling people that they are the trusted guide.

  6. #6
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    You mean everything Forrester says isn't completely on target and reality based??

    I thought internet marketing reports worked just like CNN!!! ...

    -wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
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  7. #7
    Member mrmerchant's Avatar
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    Can you imagine the embedded analysts... riding along with the network Sales VPs... going on the bake-offs and listening to each spewing their propaganda.

    "Demand non-exclusivity!"
    "Exclusivity doesn't matter"
    "You don't run a car with two engines' do you?!"
    "As my chart demonstrates - clearly - the smaller affiliates, in aggregate, are more valueable to you...."
    "You want to work with the cream of the crop and not risk muddying your brand with the bottom-feeders and spammers."
    "No, no... it's 'advertisers and publishers.' You see, you are an advertiser. Affiliates don't like that word... they like 'publisher' now... it's a new world."
    "Look - we have all of these things in one company and a ton of money behind us... a you in?"
    "See... this isn't affiliate marketing at all... come over here and taste the pleasures of pure performance-based search management."
    "Hey - in the end, it's about the best technology and having a sales force out there working for you."

    (at this point Carrie Johnson's pencil breaks and she starts to cry)

  8. #8
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    I agree with a lot of what you said. There might be a trend with merchants internalizing their talent, i just don't think they will have much success and it will be a shortlived trend. I think affiliates will outdo the merchants in SEO, time will tell. You pointed to an article but i didn't see any mention of what you were talking about, the article was about email list manager. I don't think an article or 2, or posting a few merchants giving up the affiliate model as a trend considering there are 5000+ merchants with affiliate programs and new ones coming aboard each week.

    What i've noticed recently are merchants getting more affiliate friendly. Even merchants where affiliates have had problems with in the past. I see GSI here, Target and Fields with better cookies, affiliate only coupons. BestBuy is starting coupons later this year. Like i said in the past i think affiliate marketing is still in its infancy not on its last leg.

    In the http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...1&m=9646064402 thread i wanted to know what you thought about the reasons Josh gave for dropping Ebates. If you agree or disagree with those reasons.

    As far as Google/Froogle i think this might be the next step:
    http://www.webuildpages.com/adwords-top.htm
    I think Froogle might get better and come out of beta, but i don't see adwords/PPC going anywhere and if it does take off, i just see it as an oppurtunity for some very targetted adwords. Good for affiliates. Google will still makes it money.

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway

  9. #9
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> As far as Google/Froogle i think this might be the next step:
    http://www.webuildpages.com/adwords-top.htm
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Interesting. I do know the top-two CPM-based slots are supposed to be phased out. Would make sense to see the usual "Adwords" repositioned on the page making them more valuable. Maybe we will see it q4?


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Can you imagine the embedded analysts... riding along with the network Sales VPs... going on the bake-offs and listening to each spewing their propaganda.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    heh. I think they all have their points and everyone has to spew to survive. No one seems to have found the true "silver bullet" Jeff.



    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> (at this point Carrie Johnson's pencil breaks and she starts to cry) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It is not a pencil. It is a graphite powered manual recording apparatus...

    best,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
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  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> There might be a trend with merchants internalizing their talent, i just don't think they will have much success and it will be a shortlived trend. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    what is the basis for your opinion?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> You pointed to an article but i didn't see any mention of what you were talking about, the article was about email list manager. I don't think an article or 2, or posting a few merchants giving up the affiliate model as a trend considering there are 5000+ merchants with affiliate programs and new ones coming aboard each week. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I should have skipped the article. Sorry, what I wanted to do was draw your attention to everything being done and said and generated by this company www.netconcepts.com. Why: they are out there, with a few others who are generating a lot of interest among marketers, the media and people who run conferences... mainly due to their stance on SEO as an industry. That being, it isn't as much an industry anymore... that any industry that is based on a response (my web site rank sucks in the SE's - i need to fix that) is doomed. Why? Because sooner or later the buyers of the response-based service will just fix it to begin with. Sounds simple but is jarring for the industry... significant to note.

    As for pointing out cracks in the dyke's wall... well... that's your opinion. I could fill up abw with a list of "signals" that most people on this board would rather ignore. Brooks Brothers, Priceline, Amazon, JCrew, Smith & Hawkin, yada-yada-yada... man the list is growing. People are making changes and not letting affiliates run free - free to download their pages, manipulate them and cram them into search engines (properly or improperly).. free to let expired coupons just hang around their site... free to run FALSE coupons... free to break the rules set up by networks and pass people through affiliate links at SE's - leaching off their brand terms and offering no value beyond taking traffic that is theirs anyway. Again... look at http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&i...nnah+andersson

    Isn't that lovely? I type in the name of the merchant and I find them. I don't need affiliates to flood the page with their links! Why in the heck would Hannah Andersson want an affiliate network? (that was an invitation y'all)

    By i'm off subject now. I see a trend... and it's all over the media, the conferences I attend and this very board.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I see GSI here, Target and Fields with better cookies, affiliate only coupons. BestBuy is starting coupons later this year. Like i said in the past i think affiliate marketing is still in its infancy not on its last leg.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Indeed - the trend? Control.


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> In the http://abw.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&...1&m=9646064402 thread i wanted to know what you thought about the reasons Josh gave for dropping Ebates. If you agree or disagree with those reasons. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    If eBates were smart, they'd hire mrmerchant to fix all of their problems!

    His reasons: "1- Financially Damaging" He goes on to say that it's not cool to be paying twice - once through his own promotion (perhaps a non-Web promotion) and again to eBates... by default through the MMM. Duh. Who's fault is that? Solution: (and, yes, this takes work) reward eBates a lower percentage on customers who are currently on file w/ 1800Contacts. Merchants are doing this now - rather than walk away in a huff.

    He also brings up the issue of his paying for traffic and having that user click on a paid link and then swoop in and scoop up the commission on TOP of the traffic cost. Documentation? What is the likelihood of someone becoming a member of eBates and shopping his site over and over - and going to Goolge each time to type in his brand name or whatever... landing on a paid link... and then clicking on a PAID link that he purchased... and then making a purchase? Zero if you ask me... or next to it. Just because it's feasible doesn't make it logical. If I'm an eBates member I'm going to eBates.com or directly to his site because I have the MMM installed and I know it will pop (that's why I downloaded the silly thing).

    He says this under the same header: I am also in objection to the way that MMM is distributed. The customer downloads the program based on its “convenience” attributes and there is no way that the customer would understand the ethics and percussions which are created once the software is downloaded. I’m not debating that it does not make it more convenient for the consumer, but it does it in such a way that it takes advantage of 1-800 CONTACTS and other affiliates.

    This is just silly too. He says he's objecting to the distribution method and then fails to say why. Also, he does not define what he means by "ethics and percussions"? which are "created once the software is downloaded." What exactly is created? How is it taking advantage of affiliates and the company? He fails to offer a compelling reason, IMHO.

    "2- Intercepting Cookies"
    This occurs when an affiliate other than Ebates refers a customer to 1-800 CONTACTS. We find that people rarely purchase from 1-800 CONTACTS on the very first visit (In fact, on average they visit up to 5 times before placing an order). When the customer comes back to 1-800 CONTACTS and if they have MMM installed, the cookie then goes to Ebates. I think that the person that initially referred the person should get the commission.

    Look - this isn't about what you feel. This is a business decision. The consumer wants money back. They don't care about anything else. Now, when you start talking about two of these applications starting to dual it out over a sale, now you've got an issue to discuss and the affiliate networks need to step in (which they've sort of done in their own way with the COC and Addendum).

    3- History of Ebates-
    I feel that Ebates has done some very questionable things in the past. The fact that Ebates had to change their business model in order to be complaint is proof enough. I think there are things which have not been defined in the on-line world (b/c it is relatively new), however they are still things which should not be practiced (law or not). The only reason that we are forced to define so many rules in on-line marketing is b/c of folks like you. These types of companies are always “testing the fence” and trying to find an easy way to make a buck.

    More vague accusations. Is this really professional? If I were 1800Contacts I'd be embarrassed. I think... I think. Nobody cares what a company's employee thinks - with all due respect. When you say "they have done some very questionable things in the past" you'd damn well better have some examples and be ready to back up your accusations. He goes on to take an uzi to this company's integrity. He's lucky he doesn't draw a lawsuit, frankly.

    4- Not in compliance with Code of Conduct
    I feel that, according to my interpretations of the CJ Code of Conduct, the MMM software download is interfering with or seeking to influence improperly the referral of a customer or visitor. It does not interfere so much on the initial visit, but more so with subsequent visits which can be referred to as “cookie visits”.

    More about how Josh "feels." Ugh. I am not going to rail too hard on the guy but, truly... this is just sad. If I'm going to put out - for public/professional consumption - reasoning for my ending a business relationship with a company I am not going to be talking about how I feel and I'm probably going to offer up some evidence or AT LEAST some conclusive language like, "we have decided after XYZ (some kind of research) that the MMM is bad because of XYZ and we've tried our best to resolve it with eBates but XYZ is just too much and here's why it's bad for our business _________________________." It wouldn't talk much about how I feel or what I think about who should get what commissions. It would talk about my costs of working with eBates - be they what they are - and the opportunity cost of not working with them and how I'm willing to bear that.

  11. #11
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    Lots of interesting stuff here. I want to throw in my two pence worth on a few things here, in no particular order.

    mrmerchant wrote:<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>... that any industry that is based on a response (my web site rank sucks in the SE's - i need to fix that) is doomed. Why? Because sooner or later the buyers of the response-based service will just fix it to begin with. Sounds simple but is jarring for the industry... significant to note. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> The reason that SEO has historically been response-based is that companies didn't get SEOs on board at the right stage of the process and so SEOs were left to clean up the mess afterwards. However, as you rightly point out, more companies are involving SEO and search engine friendly practices at the outset of a development and design process. This places SEO where it is really meant to be - at the heart of the creation of a site. Does this spell doom for the industry ? Not at all. All it means is that SEOs will be on board from the start. This is a good thing for the industry - the greater awareness of the value of optimisation and the appropriate place for it, the better.

    I don't think it's any coincidence that 4 of the last 5 projects I've worked on, I have been part of the development team - working with the database programmers, web designers and other irritants to create search engine friendly sites from scratch. Indeed, the whole industry isn't imploding as you seem to suggest. On the contrary, it is diversifying and expanding. I spoke to SEOs from about 30+ different companies at Search Engine Strategies London in June and business has never been so good. There was a bigger buzz this year, there were more attendees and far more representatives from non-SEO firms.

    As for the affiliates vs merchants SEO debate. It really doesn't matter who is 'better' - the two things are not mutually exclusive. Though I do generally agree with TrustNo1's assessment of Froogle. An extra xml feed into another search database isn't going to kill off affiliate marketing. Particularly as the product itself is pretty poor. Algorithmic search doesn't work very well in product search engines.

    Wayne Porter wrote:<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> It also depends on HOW Google connects Froogle to their main search service. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>. Well, Craig Neville Manning from Google said that if it comes out of beta, there will be a link from the homepage of www.google.com in the same way that links to the news section are presented now.

    Right, that's my two pence for now.

    Search Engine Positioning - 1 Design 4 Life

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    It should be noted that Jeff works in the world of very large brands, not always that of the small business. IMHO affiliate marketing is almost always VERY beneficial for smaller business. For example, a broad spectrum affiliate program has a much different impact on a multi-channel retailer then it does for a niche pure-play. It must all be taken in frame of reference.


    The key to solving some of these mysteries and making decisions lies in the merchant's core numbers and these revenue numbers must be matched up with traffic numbers and clickstream data. This can answer questions like:

    1) How many new customers are we getting online?

    2) How many new customers are coming via the partner/affiliate channel?

    3) How does an affiliate channel impact consumer behavior? i.e what are we training customers to do?

    4) Do we want to pay for retention, if so are we rewarding accordingly?

    5) How does having an affiliate program affect LTV of a customer.

    6) What is the impact of offer stacking and what kind of promotional channel conflict comes from these promotions? (reference how for some retailers using a "dirt-world" coupon can negate a commission).


    All of these questions are complex and made more so by multi-channels, legacy databases, and how data is measured.

    The crest of this wave is that merchants are starting to ask these questions, but many of them do not have appropriate methodologies in place to answer them. A few forward thinking ones do, but the best is yet to come.


    MarkyMark

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Not at all. All it means is that SEOs will be on board from the start. This is a good thing for the industry - the greater awareness of the value of optimisation and the appropriate place for it, the better.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I don't think SEO is "dieing off" as an industry, if anything it is becoming essential, but will be internalized by larger brands. I really should be saying SEM instead of SEO, since Search Engine Marketing is more accurate. SEM now involves Paid Inclusion, PPCSE, algorithmic search, understanding syndication networks, etc.

    I do agree with Jeff that more of it will be internalized by companies that have the resources. They don't always want to hire an outsider to handle SEM. They want to have these guns on board full-time because they are very valuable. Of course many of these top indy guns preferred to stay just that- top independant guns. And yes many of these top guns are affiliates, and they can really light up the board. Obviously these people are rare. If everyone could do it...

    SEM is starting to be considered a "core competency" that is highly desirable in an e-commerce worker.

    All fine by me. Get rid of the flash designers and move the web back to what is was supposed to be- A way to connect to information and services.

    best,
    Wayne

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> a trend with merchants internalizing their talent <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    -- Just to comment that I'm an example of that. Along with my own things I'm managing the PPC-SE advertising plus some other stuff for a merchant I met through CJ ... a merchant who no longer has an affiliate program, BTW.

    -- One thing I like about Adsense is that it's parasite-resistant. If someone clicks through to an advertiser from one of my pages, I get paid even if some parasite swoops in to intercept the customer. That alone will make Adsense more worthwhile than affiliate programs for many sites. It improves the chances that we'll get paid what our traffic is actually worth.

    However, along with Wayne I'm nervous about the potential for fraud problems with Adsense. I hope Google has a good grip on this because the Adsense goose is laying some pretty nice golden eggs and it would be tragic to see it killed by the cheaters.

    Jeff, you (again) seem to be missing the point that if a merchant and/or network promises us that we will be paid commissions on sales to traffic that we generate, then allows third-party intruders with ever-so-clever reminder services or something to intercept the customers we send, they are LYING to the rest of us. Does that not bother you?

    It truly puzzles me how merchants who are supposedly concerned with protecting their brands and their good reputations don't see a problem with that!

    Elisabeth Archambault

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador ShoreMark's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by buckworks.com:
    One thing I like about Adsense is that it's parasite-resistant. If someone clicks through to an advertiser from one of my pages, I get paid even if some parasite swoops in to intercept the customer.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> The downside possibility, is that since many merchants have embraced the parasites, they'll find the AdSense campaign too expensive to use in conjunction with an affiliate program since the parasites will see to it that every click is a compensated click. Since they've (the merchants) for the most part, not seen the light so far, it's likely that they'd dump either the AdSense program or their affiliate program after doing a financial analysis of the AdSense results - more likely they'd dump the AdSense as they'd continue to see a lot of commissionable traffic skewing their results - double dipping into their marketing bag, so to speak.

  15. #15
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> However, along with Wayne I'm nervous about the potential for fraud problems with Adsense. I hope Google has a good grip on this because the Adsense goose is laying some pretty nice golden eggs and it would be tragic to see it killed by the cheaters. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Elisabeth,

    I have been doing some analysis- so far I don't like what I see from Adsense at all.
    The numbers make NO sense.

    best,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
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  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> The downside possibility, is that since many merchants have embraced the parasites, they'll find the AdSense campaign too expensive to use in conjunction with an affiliate program since the parasites will see to it that every click is a compensated click. Since they've (the merchants) for the most part, not seen the light so far, it's likely that they'd dump either the AdSense program or their affiliate program after doing a financial analysis of the AdSense results <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    They have seen the light

    they eihter

    a) negate the affiliate cookie when they do media buys (becoming a more common practice)

    b) use the aggregator links themselves to "reset" the cookie so that their media buy gets the credit. Typically they pay the network a reduced rev. share fee for this or a set fee since tracking really is a commodity anyway.

    The web is getting to be such a small space now, everyone keeps bumping into each other...

    best,
    Wayne

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  17. #17
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> The numbers make NO sense. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Yeah. I watch what's being paid for some of the clicks, and I wonder if someone is a lot smarter than I am, or a lot stupider!

  18. #18
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    Elisabeth,

    I am speaking in terms of conversion efficacy. The quality seems to go down as you go down the list.

    1) google
    2) google search partners
    3) google adsense partners


    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> but you've got the list of the *top 180 "super affiliates" <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I have a very, very large list of super affiliates that I have assembled over the years of working in the industry. Don't have em all though, but like baseball cards... Not all are AffTrack client's, but many too performers are.

    have a good weekend,
    Wayne

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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The quality seems to go down as you go down the list.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The answer to that would be if advertisers could set a different maximum bid for appearing in search results versus Adsense or other contexts. Easier to say than to implement, I'm sure!

    Visitors will be in a different frame of mind if they see one's ad as a result of a search compared to just happening across it while they were on a content site doing something else, so of course the conversion rates will be different. If advertisers could set different max bids in the different contexts, then natural market forces would sort out the conversion rates ... assuming people were paying sufficient attention to their ROI!

  20. #20
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The answer to that would be if advertisers could set a different maximum bid for appearing in search results versus Adsense or other contexts. Easier to say than to implement, I'm sure! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Exactly that I am thinking Elisabeth. Traffic from bloggers aren't necessarily worth the same CPC as traffic from Google. They are trying to sell it all apples-to-apples when it is more like apples-to-lemons.

    -w

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  21. #21
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I do agree with Jeff that more of it will be internalized by companies that have the resources. They don't always want to hire an outsider to handle SEM. They want to have these guns on board full-time because they are very valuable. Of course many of these top indy guns preferred to stay just that- top independant guns. And yes many of these top guns are affiliates, and they can really light up the board. Obviously these people are rare. If everyone could do it... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Point of clarification: Outsourcing will ALWAYS be a choice and a popular one. My point is that the criteria for choosing an outsourced Web DEVELOPMENT company will change, now, to include "how SEO savvy are these people we're hiring?"

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Jeff, you (again) seem to be missing the point that if a merchant and/or network promises us that we will be paid commissions on sales to traffic that we generate, then allows third-party intruders with ever-so-clever reminder services or something to intercept the customers we send, they are LYING to the rest of us. Does that not bother you?

    It truly puzzles me how merchants who are supposedly concerned with protecting their brands and their good reputations don't see a problem with that! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Elisabeth: Does it bother me that networks are b.s.'ing you? Yes. To be blunt and honest, yes. Now, as for merchants - they entrust the networks... FULLY in most cases (whether the merchant assigns resources or not - or hires the network to do so). This is less of a problem that it is reality. I, myself, have not decided to get very vocal about this issue. It's difficult to tell merchants that they're asleep at the wheel and - dare I say have put the wolf in charge of tending flock - without insulting them. For now, I am more actively pointing at companies like Fredericks, Brooks Brothers, yada-yada who are taking things back into *their* control - not the networks. THEY own relationships and are responsible for policing them... working with partners/affiliates and fully understanding HOW they operate. In months to come, Elisabeth, I will suggest to you that there will be more buzz and even action taken on this issue of control. This issue has *everything* to do with the parasiteware issue.

    Also, the networks are not evil (I preface by pointing this out); however, when it comes to serving their customer's (marketers) best interest, they MUST take initiative to do the right thing. I firmly believe that some of the networks are out there taking risks with their clients that they *do not* need to take - by hooking them up with, as an example and ONLY as an example mind you, WhenU. I have less of a problem with WhenU - okay? BUT what I have a problem with is when a network either says nothing to OR delivers only *part* of the information needed to fully understand what a WhenU is or does... the pros AND cons of working with them, etc. After all, if I'm a VP or even an Affil. Mgr. aren't I required to understand one simple fact: affiliate networks - in most cases - are penalized financially for slowing down the process of introducing a client to a partnership that may be slightly complex or tied to some kind of "issue of concern?" The fact is that if a marketer has half an ounce of active brain matter they will understand that networks are, in most cases, going to give you the short version re: all the ins-and-outs of working with a partner that is either slightly controversal or has a "sticky" business model (e.g. where there are *real* issues for you to consider - on an ON-GOING BASIS - when considering working with them).

    Does anyone know of any affiliate network (btw, some of them *claim* to do this but I've asked around and *none* do) that publishes a regular report regarding such affiliate partnerships? You tell me, Elisabeth - or anyone else - would that not be beneficial for marketers? The industry as a whole? Would that not put pressure on all affiliates to work "above board" and allow everyone to understand what it's like to work with them?

    The problem is that such reports would probably be too short and not *fully* cover the issues (this eliminates considering Forrester to publish it). Thus, having the networks publish it is probably not going to work.

    Anyway - I'm on a bit of an idealistic rant here. Merchants are concerned about their brand, yes; however, the issues surrounding certain affiliates out there (many of which sit in the top 10 of marketer's programs) are buried now that the Addendum and COC have been published. The media loved, momentarily, to hear about how software downloads were causing supposid disruption among small business owners/affiliates. The COC and addendum have given people enough for now. It's probably not the best thing for the industry but this is where it stands and, more importantly, why. Again, the world we live in is all about risk and fear. Don't rock the boat, baby. To a degree, affiliate marketing is "working well enough." Leave it alone. Well... that's starting to change, y'all. People are starting to do the math on each relationship - and the channel as a whole as Wayne points out. They're ALSO starting to look into partnerships more deeply.

    Here's another thing I noticed recently. It's interesting how SMALLER brands are moving much faster than the larger when it comes to understanding the issues. Sure, we read about JCrew, Amazon, Brooks Brothers and their like taking all kinds of actions for all kinds of economical and brand related reasons; however, look at what companies like What On Earth catalog. I recently met one of their biz analysts who is heavily involved in the affiliate thing and *man* was she hip to *all* of the real issues - and she had taken action on many issues (e.g. she has, for a while now, developed AND enforces, a strict pay-per-click SE policy with their affiliates). Many of these smaller companies are much further ahead than the larger brands. Still, look for the big brands to hang out on threads like this one and get on the Clue Train before too long.

  22. #22
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    Well... it appears tht i've silenced everyone with my rant... LOL. Did anyone notice (Connie - toss me a bone again?) that I've broken the three-digit mark on my posts? Hmmm? I feel like a new man now!

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    "I have less of a problem with WhenU - okay?"

    Maybe you silenced people because they realized you'll never get it and have passed your peak awhile back, kinda like some athletes keep playing past their prime, still relying on what they did in the past and aren't relevant anymore. But that's just my uneducated opinion

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
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    Well, it would seem that the courts don't have much of a problem with WhenU either, but then again that's coming from a washed-up has-been so take it with a grain. I won't bother sharing the URL. Seems like actually backing up statements with facts and relevant news blurbs isn't much appreciated at ABW. You need to stomp your feet and use !!!!!! to get respect here. Gosh, what was I thinking.

    Seems to me that you're just a snot, Trusty. One minute you engage people in actual discussion, the next you accuse them of being has-beens and pee all over them. You can have your opinion of me - and it can be that I am not accomplished nor relevant. This, though, will be the last time I will be fooled into engaging you in professional discussion since you've proven yourself over and over to be a childish snot who can't handle people with opinions posting them on Web boards... it's just too much for you. I should have known from the beginning. This is ABW after all... Thanks for reminding us and not only defecating on yourself but the entire Web site. I will leave you for someone else. I pity you.

  25. #25
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    Jeff, you ever fail to take the ordinary boring day and make it just a little more amusing.
    I for one love these long rants with you, Wayne and the others.

    I don't really agree with any of you 100% but I get plenty of food for thought and you make me think of things from perspectives that I never considered.

    I look forward to CJU and getting in some good friendly debates with you and Wayne if you are going to be there Jeff.

    Connie Berg
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