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  1. #1
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    AffiliateVoice.org structure
    As part of the Affiliate Voice "movement" I'd like to propose an association aspect.

    Please before anyone thinks I'm marginalizing or in any other way lessening the efforts of the fine people at the PMA or it's formation - I'm not.

    As I've said I don't agree with their structure, their non transparency, nor many other aspects, but I do support the need for an association. So instead of continuing to get left handed answers and waiting for the other shoe to drop, I've decided to act instead of complaining or reacting to what they will do with our industry. Hopefully our goals and will by symbiotic and we can work in tandem to make the right changes within the industry and for the right reasons.

    Rule #1 you can't have affiliate marketing, without affiliates.

    Rule #2 Reread Rule #1

    That said, I propose the following:

    This industry, now a toddler, relatively speaking is still the wild wild west in terms of governance, enforcement, ethics, and approval, but no shortage of economic benefits and real reasons to embrace except for the shady past, befuddled present and uncertain future. Well we can't change the past, we can only learn from it, and make sa better today and more importantly tomorrow. The AffiliateVoice.org will try to address these issues in going forward via:

    Set up an organization open to all aspects of affiliate marketing - yes everyone - if we can take membership dues and impose fines on those who have stolen from us in the past, to further an ethical future for affiliate marketing why not? So merchants, networks, affiliates, consultants, etc will all be allowed to join. We then set up best practices and rules of conduct ... kinda like what we already have - the Code of Conduct and LS, addendum probably utilize most of their verbiage as they already accepted it themselves but add some teeth to it. While we won't police anything per se, we will enforce action - what does that mean?

    I see the system as an "innocent until proven guilty" ... everyone who joins promises to adhere to the AV code of conduct - if not then they get kicked out and possibly sued depending on severity. Simple.

    So the org will have three divisions -

    1. Operations / Membership
    2. Enforcement / Legal
    3. Legislative / Public Relations

    And is basically an executive branch of the smaller localized groups we defined in http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=107747 so it won't be top heavy and will avoid much of the bureaucracy.

    Now all of this will cost money, lots of money ... here's how I propose to fund it ...

    Affiliates $1 each per year
    Merchants $X each per year based on annual revenues
    OPMs, Consultants & Other $X each per year based on annual revenues
    Networks $X each per year based on annual revenues

    And a healthy kick in from the existing Valueclick class action case (not settling)

    My theory is that if we show the bad players in the industry that we'll act (IOW sue the living bejesus out of them and make sure the world know we are) and NOT settle, but do it 'till we win and make statements by these decisive actions then we will show everyone the following:

    1. We are not going to allow this activity in our industry anymore
    2. We will defend our industry and it's ethics
    3. Swift and decisive action will be taken - to the end - NO settling
    4. Our industry will not be policed nor needs to be but is and can be self regulated
    5. Future bad actors in the industry will see the precedents set by our actions and it should preclude future out breaks of skulduggery. If not we got a war chest to chase after them.
    6. Industry PR and respect will increase and more companies will embrace it
    7. Monies flowing into the industry will be better dispersed among those who actually earn it

    Case in point ... Danmer -if we had an affiliateVoice.org I would have approached the members who were copied and gotten their permission to act on their behalf, then I would have sued Danmer and hard. After the win half the monies go into the AV.org kitty and dispersed amongst the affected affs. More importantly than the monetary gain is the message, the message that our industry doesn't and in no way will allow (C) infringement of or by affiliates. Period. Do it and you'd get sued, HARD.

    Do you honestly think that we'd have another Danmer type issue in the future? Chances are highly unlikely.

    Our industry although a toddler chronologically, resembles a 20 yo with Daddy's Amex Black card ... it's time it grew up and got some responsibility, dropped it's addictions and shaved ... it's all our jobs to make sure it does, it's all our baby, let's nurture it and correct it's transgressions, step by step, we can do it - together and for the RIGHT reasons.

    What do you all say?
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Issue of fees has come up to me, bottom line if you don't want to disclose how much you make as Other, OPM, network or merchant that's fine - it's based on honor system, so anything more than $1 serves it's purpose. Fees are not an issue for me it's the structure of the system - The local units with the three prong aspect and the mentality / approach.

    So it's only a suggestion for the .org, I want feedback and suggestions to make it something that we all believe in and support.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  3. #3
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    sounds very good, all around.

    hopefully there will be an internet-savvy lawyer in the works somewhere.

  4. #4
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    As someone who was against organizing, I will support this effort.

    It seems like this is going in the right direction; as opposed to what I initially had in mind which was something created to try and regulate the heck out of individual affiliates.

    I can't find any flaws in what you've proposed. It seems like legal/legislation action will be a big part of it and I think that's what this industry needs. We do need a voice to stand strong when the gov't and big companies come in and try to ruin the industry.

    So I like this approach as it seems to look at the bigger picture instead of looking at it as affiliates are the major problem and they need to be regulated.

  5. #5
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haiko de Poel, Jr.
    Affiliates $1 each per year
    This level seems too low to me, just an opinion though.

    May I donate $200 this year, and pledge to do so each of the next 5 years, to sponsor 200 ABW'ers of your choice for membership?

    I'd hate to see $1 stand in the way of any ABW'er joining - so you could hold it in reserve and, at your discretion, use it for anyone balking at the cost. Or you could make it available to the first 200 or whatever you think is best.

    No strings here at all - and I mean none. Reject my membership even (just an example), my offer is still good.

    If the dollar is a test and/or to confirm identity, you could also use my donation to reduce their cost to a penny or whatever you think would best help things get rolling.

    If you want to accept my offer, just email me, PM me or post here where I may send the first $200.

  6. #6
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Yes yes yes! This is what we need!Thank you, Haiko, for stepping up to the plate and assuming your rightful role as leader.

    I applaud the structure and the commitment to our industry. If only to hold everyone accountable for their actions. As much as a lot of people don't want "governance" we absolutely need it. Pussy footing around the issues is not gonna get it done. We will all be better served by setting up codes of conduct and having a way to enforce (or at least call out those who do not adhere to) a clean code of conduct, however the members vote on it.

    I am not big on punitive "discipline" but big on open communication and I think anyone wanting to be a member will want to adhere to the plan. If a member has a problem with a part of the code of conduct, everyone can vote on what the majority feels is "right" or "wrong" and settle the dispute with no question.

    It's really very simple - trying to complicate matters makes everyone crazy and doesn't accomplish anything but confusion. We all know what's right and wrong. Trying to skirt the issues is bullshit. A majority rule on conduct could accomplish a lot and end much of the "gray area" confusion thrown around to try and whitewash the reality of what's really happening.

    Anything I can do to help, just let me know. I'm in for a dollar. (bargain deal IMO - I think any serious affiliate would probably not have an issue with ten times that amount at least if it will ensure the funds to protect the integrity of our industry.)

    As for a % of annual income from "others" I think that's asking for a bit too much disclosure, not because I think anyone should be hiding anything but because it's a little arrogant to assume the right to be privy these details. I think a set fee would be best.

    I have always felt that networks hold the biggest stick in this industry. They are the only ones who can see what everyone's doing and they have set themselves up as "trusted third parties" and should assume the role of "trusted" watch dog. Might not make the networks happy but it's clear to me they have to live up to that trust. I think a set of standards for networks, affiliates, OPMs, etc. is needed, too, although that's getting ahead of the game and can be worked out as we progress.

    Donuts, your generosity and love for this industry is constant and I think I speak for many when I say thank you for your commitment and integrity!

    We have a chance to create an amazing "government" here - with dedication and perseverance, I think we can accomplish huge strides in cleaning up and maintaining an industry where we can all thrive. It's long overdue.

    Onward affiliate marketing soldiers! LOL
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Looks good from here too! It is bound to evolve as it grows, but we are the ones shaping it so it will fit like a glove.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager PetsWarehouse.com's Avatar
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    I would propose $25-50 for the first year as an affiliate member.

    A dollar just undermines any percieved value of a new organization.

    If we said $100 to join a new org that amount would have too many wait and see,

    today $25-50 shouldn't be a hurdle for anyone.

    We had sales based fees in another org I'm involved with and it met a lot of resistance with disclosure, so the other categores I think should start with fixed dollar amounts that doesn't make anyone hesitate to join.

    A new org needs to get members the dues can be ajusted as the plans require to meet its goals and needs.
    Bob Pets Warehouse
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  9. #9
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    As far as fees. Haiko, check out the way the various Chambers of Commerce do it.

    At least around here, memberships in most chambers of commerce are based on size of the company. 1 to 10 employees $xx, 11 - 25 employees $xxxx 26 to 100 $xxxx. Over 100 $xxxxx. There is also a per employee model. These models keep revenues private.

    The presumption is the larger the employee base the more chance the company can afford the higher membership and will reap the most rewards from that membership.
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  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I don't think $20 a year is too much to ask for affiliates. I wouldn't go much higher than that.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  11. #11
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by knight01
    As far as fees. Haiko, check out the way the various Chambers of Commerce do it.

    At least around here, memberships in most chambers of commerce are based on size of the company. 1 to 10 employees $xx, 11 - 25 employees $xxxx 26 to 100 $xxxx. Over 100 $xxxxx. There is also a per employee model. These models keep revenues private.

    The presumption is the larger the employee base the more chance the company can afford the higher membership and will reap the most rewards from that membership.
    I actually don't think a "number of employees" structure would work in our industry. Our industry is unique in that it doesn't take a lot of employees to make a lot of money. The only ones that would really be affected by this type of structure would be the networks. IMO.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  12. #12
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    I'd think $20 or $25 would be fine too. Also suggest that it be set as a minimum so that anyone who wants to give more (but gets no special treatment or extra votes or whatever, can easily do so).

  13. #13
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I'm encouraged by the progress here. After listening to the conference call mp3 and reading the proposals in this thread I'm on the pumped side. It seems we are finally "getting there."
    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    I'd think $20 or $25 would be fine too.
    Ditto!


  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProWebAddict
    As someone who was against organizing, I will support this effort.

    It seems like this is going in the right direction; as opposed to what I initially had in mind which was something created to try and regulate the heck out of individual affiliates.

    I can't find any flaws in what you've proposed. It seems like legal/legislation action will be a big part of it and I think that's what this industry needs. We do need a voice to stand strong when the gov't and big companies come in and try to ruin the industry.

    So I like this approach as it seems to look at the bigger picture instead of looking at it as affiliates are the major problem and they need to be regulated.
    I agree and couldn't have said it better. Will gladly support the $20 to $25 membership fee range. Thanks Haiko. This sounds really really great!

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetsWarehouse.com
    today $25-50 shouldn't be a hurdle for anyone.
    I remember when I first started, and $25 was a hurdle, $50 would have been almost impossible. There are probably a lot of new affiliates who would not be able to manage $50 or even $25.

  16. #16
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    Quote Originally Posted by Julian
    I remember when I first started, and $25 was a hurdle, $50 would have been almost impossible. There are probably a lot of new affiliates who would not be able to manage $50 or even $25.
    and quite possibly some old ones, too.

  17. #17
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Besides the money issue, I think it need to have a value proposition for the merchants and networks.

    When I was working for Wyndham, people will be asking, $xx investment in XYZ, how much is it going to bring in? Personally, I would support it as an affiliate and improvement of the industry but we need to clearly have a value to merchants and networks.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I'm not one to put down those that have low incomes - far from it.

    However.

    Let's say it's set at $25/year. That's a hair over two bucks a month. We are an industry of people that all have a place to live, computers, internet access, software, web hosting, domain registrations... and two bucks a month is a problem?

    Honestly? I just find that hard to believe.
    Daniel M. Clark
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  19. #19
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    Haiko,

    As discussed on our call, i'm in. You can count on 100% of ARC's support.

    We are Trustee members of 3 chambers of commerce in South Florida and the fee is $1,000 per year. We have found them to be a huge valuable organization for the business.

    I suggest an OPM fee of a minimum $1,000 to get the ball rolling. I feel it's fair and allows all OPM's to get in the door.

    All I can say, is "It's about time"
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
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  20. #20
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    I, too, am in the $20-25 consensus. That should allow just about any affiliate to become involved.

    I noted Andy's post about Chamber of Commerce memberships. I joined the Ocean City, MD, Chamber back in 1999 - when I couldn't really afford to do so (and dues were only $75 back then). The benefit membership, however, has been repaid many, many times over. Dues are now considerably higher, but I consider them a bargain for the credibility it adds to my resort website presence. I have also since joined the Fort McHenry Business Association here in Baltimore, and consider that membership well worth the $$ and the effort to be active.
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  21. #21
    Outsourced Program Manager Angel Djambazov's Avatar
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    Excellent well-thought out move Haiko, I am really glad you are doing this. Thank you for organizing and being open to everyone's input.
    Angel Djambazov
    Managing Edtior ReveNews
    OPM for Keen Shoes and Graphicly.com

  22. #22
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    WTG, Haiko, and as Bill has mentioned it elsewhere we will fully support it through MAAMA and beyond.

    Geno

  23. #23
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Since people keep commenting on the fees,
    I'm sure there was a reason that $1 was the
    originally stated amount. I'd like to hear
    that reason.

    Or perhaps you've already answered that
    when you said

    Fees are not an issue for me it's the structure of the system
    I don't want to get caught up in trivial matters since but since
    it keeps coming up I just thought I'd throw that out there.

  24. #24
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    First let me thank everyone for their support, we can make this work, together as the cohesive unit.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProWebAddict
    I don't want to get caught up in trivial matters since but since it keeps coming up I just thought I'd throw that out there.
    I didn't either ... thus the $1.

    Money paid in should not be any type of obstacle for this, after we've been established and get a track record of action, I don't have any question that many will pay more than the proposed $1 minimum, as you can see many have already seen a value and upped it to $25. That said, affiliates can donate more than the $1 per year as we'll be a reg'ed as non profit.

    -------
    Donuts,

    I appreciate the initiative and support, however I'd rather have you encourage the 200 members to pay the dollar ... and donate (if you'd like the rest). What is needed is participation. The $1 min makes it a no brainer, it's the action, participation and the voice I'm looking for, this is our organization, for us all to be part of it we all need to be heard.

    ---------
    As for the proposed plan of $1K per OPM, that sounds like a good minimum.

    ---------
    Value proposition to the networks --- that's simple ... we can and will take action against the bad players across all networks, so no one network has to drop a bad player while the others still keep them in. No more walking the ethical plank ... we'll do the janitorial work of taking out the trash ... keeps their job simple ... make sure the tracking works and get more clients. Shoot, If I was a network I'd throw $100K at this just because of that. But that's just the tip of it.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  25. #25
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Right now my main issues is 19 unique posters, 26 posts and 557 views ... I need to augment that unique poster number to get more feed back to help make this what we all agree will work, not just a few select.

    A I agree / GFI will suffice, or even better a hell no, I suggest X, Y or Z ... that is how this will succeed, only with everyone behind this, so please make your AffiliateVoice heard.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

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