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  1. #1
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Defining the Scope of The "New" Affiliate Marketing Issues
    As much as I would like to, it's just not going to work out for me to make the SAS call today, so I wanted to add some additional thoughts. I didn't post this in the SAS forum since this issue is far bigger than SAS, and lived long before these threads this week at ABW.

    So had I been there, here's the questions I would have posed:

    1.) Why do we continue to use the term Toolbar when the technology today is so much broader. We need to redefine what we're talking about, because the other side (and some of our side) has already.

    2.) Should it be deemed acceptable that a shopper is influenced in any way by a third party while viewing my website? Is parasitic a matter of cookie overwriting, or is it broader now?

    3.) Since a domain is my internet property, does its influence stop at the top of my page, and disappears in the browser bar? Is that truly someone else's place to market?

    4.) What happens if the Google, MSN, and Yahoo applications start overwriting cookies (maybe they already are...). Does that change the scope?

    5.) Since I can't see software in this instance as an anti-trust issue, is the argument that small affiliates (such as myself) can't compete a good enough one?

    6.) Has any industry developed a standard, then simply lived and died by it regardless of the results? Since we seem to feel that the auto industry needs to change, why would it be so different for ours? We need policy in place, however, to control that change.

    There are many more questions. I guess a lot of them can be answered with one word by some folks. I don't see it that way.

    I hope the SAS call is available for download after the fact at some point. Again, I don't consider this an SAS issue per se, but it is SAS that has chose to open the discussion at this point, for better or worse.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    4.) What happens if the Google, MSN, and Yahoo applications start overwriting cookies (maybe they already are...). Does that change the scope?
    Things like:
    http://search.live.com/cashback/stores combined with

    http://download.live.com/toolbar =

    http://www.comparerewards.com/archives/004641.html

    of course g and y get into the mix too..
    and what would happen to the networks?, why would there be any need for them?

    I don't see individual affiliate marketing ever totally going away, instead it gets brushed back into a little corner, like before the internet and when the internet was very young.

  3. #3
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    1.) Why do we continue to use the term Toolbar when the technology today is so much broader. We need to redefine what we're talking about, because the other side (and some of our side) has already.

    Software affiliates seems appropriate. Some use BHOs, some desktop apps, some drive by installs of self-propagating adware viruses.

    2.) Should it be deemed acceptable that a shopper is influenced in any way by a third party while viewing my website? Is parasitic a matter of cookie overwriting, or is it broader now?

    It should not be deemed acceptable. Parasitic is much broader than cookie overwriting. A parasite feeds off a host, doing harm to (and in some cases killing) the host in the process. In this case the host is the online marketplace we all work in.

    3.) Since a domain is my internet property, does its influence stop at the top of my page, and disappears in the browser bar? Is that truly someone else's place to market?

    No. By that logic it would be okay to create a BHO that looked for URLs like '%shareasale%' in outbound requests and replaced the affiliate ID before allowing the browser to continue its request. It's not popping or overwriting or doing anything related to the page content, but it is deliberately stealing commissions.

    4.) What happens if the Google, MSN, and Yahoo applications start overwriting cookies (maybe they already are...). Does that change the scope?

    Should Google, MSN and Yahoo even be allowed to join affiliate networks? Imagine Google slipping affiliate links into their search results. A customer types "amazo.com" and gets a message saying "did you mean amazon.com?", click, cookie set, ka ching.

    5.) Since I can't see software in this instance as an anti-trust issue, is the argument that small affiliates (such as myself) can't compete a good enough one?

    Is that the argument being put forth? Why not simply argue that parasitic software is sucking the belly out of our industry?

    6.) Has any industry developed a standard, then simply lived and died by it regardless of the results? Since we seem to feel that the auto industry needs to change, why would it be so different for ours? We need policy in place, however, to control that change.

    I think the major problem with software affiliates stems from the networks desire to make money wherever they can track a sale, regardless of if they can perform their other network obligations. Banners are easy, text links are easy, last cookie is easy. Networks can track, report, allow for a little transparency on who's doing what to whom and have some confidence that the commission checks aren't far off what they should be.

    BHOs and other software make all of that impossible to do with any real confidence. Who's to say where the click really came from, where it was really going and who, if anyone, should get the commission? For now the network answer seems to be "it doesn't really matter, you're all big boys and girls." Frankly, that's not good enough. If the networks can't handle the fundamentals with a certain type of affiliate, they have no business working with them.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  4. #4
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Hmm. Tried to respond to this earlier, but I must've hit a wrong button.

    Thanks to both of you for your replies. And SimCat, you're heading exactly where I was.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

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