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  1. #1
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    It's Not Apathy, PMA
    Wanted to respond here to a post at Revenews -

    "Despite a strong push from the top networks membership has been a difficult hurdle for the PMA as there seems to be a bit of apathy in the industry"

    http://www.revenews.com/stephenrobin...e-summit-west/

    Apathy? How about $500 a year. That's ridiculous, always has been. And if I remember correctly, they said that there would be a lower price for members and that was supposed to be back around April 2009. It's 2010. So let's please stop with the nonsense that it's apathy, it's the $500 a year and if they were serious about wanting to get participation, then the membership prices should be more in line with other associations out there.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust

    Apathy? How about $500 a year. That's ridiculous, always has been. And if I remember correctly, they said that there would be a lower price for members and that was supposed to be back around April 2009. It's 2010. So let's please stop with the nonsense that it's apathy, it's the $500 a year and if they were serious about wanting to get participation, then the membership prices should be more in line with other associations out there.
    I completely agree. If I'm going to spend $500 in this business, it's going into my websites and not for membership in the PMA. If it were cheaper, I'd consider it.
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
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  3. #3
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I'm not apathetic and don't want in the PMA for free. I don't like the set up there at all. They never sold me that they are for the little guy.


  4. #4
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    <deleted>. never mind

  5. #5
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Powell
    I'm not apathetic and don't want in the PMA for free. I don't like the set up there at all. They never sold me that they are for the little guy.
    Gotta agree with that, John.

    Seeing that a Charter Member at the Gold Level prompts a thread like THIS ONE certainly makes me withhold support.

    An organization such as Affiliate Advocacy makes much more sense to me; where I know that work is being done for the good of ALL affiliates.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  6. #6
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    I'm afraid I must agree with both concepts here. First, the PMA doesn't seem to share some of my key "affiliate marketing industry" values. And second, the $500 membership fee is prohibitive for 99% of web publishers who might otherwise consider joining the PMA.

    Of course, the PMA does share some of my interests and values, especially regarding the "Advertising-Nexus Tax Laws" and bills pending in state legislatures -- so I'm glad to work cooperatively with the PMA on such efforts, in a limited way.

    But I'm not going to join the PMA, and my decision not to join the PMA does NOT mean that I am "apathetic" about the industry, nor about the Advertising-Nexus tax issue.

    I am concerned that some folks seem to be "using" the Advertising-Nexus tax issue as a way to create credibility and build support for the PMA. Unfortunately, Mr. Robinson's ReveNews post blends and blurs the two completely separate issues together (PMA membership and the battle against the Advertising-Nexus Tax Laws).
    Last edited by markwelch; January 25th, 2010 at 10:22 AM.

  7. #7
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    Since my post is in moderation at the other place, I figured why waste a post - edit, I asked for it to be removed over there.

    I'm surprised there are still people surprised with some of the apathy. I can give all kinds of examples but let me give you just one. Affiliates log in to places like Linkshare and CJ pushing this association. But these places don't exactly have the best history. As an example, a recent one.

    There was a merchant which launched just last Summer at CJ, Desktopsmiley - http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread...ghlight=smiley

    I have AVG and when I do a Google search on them - http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...=desktopsmiley

    there is a big red x next to them with:

    Dangerous: This page contains active threats.
    Risk Category: Exploit server
    Risk Name: desktopsmiley.com

    You can read more about problems people are having with this, just Google it.

    And most of you know about all the parasite stuff so we won't go into all of that but we still have stuff like this happening. You have somebody from CJ on the PMA Board of Directors, so what's with stuff like desktopsmiley? What's PMA's stance on stuff like that? Then I see a code of conduct is on the agenda. I was here in 2002, I remember the last one. It was a joke. Is stuff like my example going to be ok? So that explains some of the apathy, I realize you guys really don't want to talk about that stuff.

    And the $500/$5000 is ridiculous, that was pointed out many times already but you don't listen to the people you say you want in your association. And if I remember correctly, there was supposed to be a lower price point back in April or May 2009 that never happened.

    For Laura:
    "SUCCESSFUL affiliate marketers should have no problem with the fees."

    Right but what about other affiliates? Why would the average day to day affiliate want to participate when they're price pointed out? And there are plenty of successful affiliates who have no need for any association because they can handle things on their own.

    And is there a lot of interest in this? Because we just had the biggest affiliate event for our industry with Affiliate Summit, over 4000 people showed up from what I've read. PMA had a free and public meeting and 50-60 showed up. So if my math is correct, that is a little over 1% which doesn't seem like much interest to me, even tho it's being called a success on the blog.

    And I realize there are a lot of good people involved that I don't have a problem with. It's some other people that I feel as well as others, that have helped give this industry a bad name, that I have a problem with. And that keeps me from supporting it.
    Last edited by Trust; January 25th, 2010 at 12:35 PM.

  8. #8
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    "SUCCESSFUL affiliate marketers should have no problem with the fees."
    Am I apathetic? Nah, skeptical would be a better word. I certainly wouldn't have a problem with a $500 fee if I thought it were worthwhile. But the realities are that some of the very organizations whose ethics I question are represented on the board and for some reason I just don't see them voting against or censoring their own questionable practices.

    Affiliates still need a strong advocate, a "trusted third party" that many of us thought that the networks would be. Unfortunately the PMA ain't it either. So in this case it really doesn't matter whether membership is $5 or $500. It's money down the PMA toilet until the make-up of the board has a dramatic change for the better, and I don't think that's likely in the short term.

    And I would have thought that some notice would have gone to Mellie and all the others that have been very active on the Nexus issues for the past 18 months. If this is an indication of how "in tune" with affiliates that the PMA is, then they've further justified my not wasting $500.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  9. #9
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    Okay, so imagine that I send the PMA $500 to become a member. How would they spend my $500? Would it be on anything that is important to me as an affiliate or as a non-resident of California? Where would that money go? How would it benefit my business?

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea
    Okay, so imagine that I send the PMA $500 to become a member. How would they spend my $500? Would it be on anything that is important to me as an affiliate or as a non-resident of California? Where would that money go? How would it benefit my business?
    That's exactly what I was thinking, Rhea, with my earlier post. And IMO, it would be better spent on my own business unless they give me a very good reason to spend it on them. So far, they haven't.
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
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  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    Hey all. If you had not noticed I'm back at ABW after meeting the new owners at Affiliate Summit. I can't argue with a lot that has been said here as I do agree that the $500 level is high for most people who call themselves affiliates. I talked to a number of other board members about creating lower level membership, and that discussion will be ongoing. I have no idea if it will come to fruition or when it might be agreed upon, but I do think that it will be valuable to have a large number of affiliates as members of the PMA.

    As for what we do, we are not only paying attention to California. We spent money to hire lawyers to file an Amicus Brief in New York in an attempt to repeal their law. We organized grass-roots lobbying in every state that has been considering these laws, and we are doing so in Colorado right now. (http://www.performancemarketingassoc.../colorado.html)

    But the PMA is not just a one issue group. We care about more than Tax laws, but it is easy to point to them and show what we have actually done. One of the benefits of the visibility we are creating is that the PMA can become a resource for Journalists and businesses who want to learn about affiliate marketing. We can educate them on what we really do, not on what they have heard from people outside the industry.

    We would like to help with education. Educating affiliates on the best practices so that they start out on the right path. Educating merchants on the benefits of an affiliate program so that more come into the space giving affiliates more options for selling.

    If we can do all of this and more, then the industry as a whole grows. As we do this, we are also looking at specific benefits for members. If there are things you are looking for that would help you choose to join, please let us know.
    Brad Waller | VP, Business and Affiliate Development
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  12. #12
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    If they can come up with an affordable health insurance plan for self employed affiliates, managers, etc THAT would be one benefit that would be worth joining for.

    Affiliates need to see tangible benefits that make joining *any* organization worth their $$$ and time.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    I know I have personally looked into the Health Insurance issue. The problem I found was that it was cheaper to get insurance for myself than a group. Group plans are not allowed to exclude anyone, so the insurers raise the premium to make up for the high risk people who will join. I know lots of people talked about insurance as a benefit early on, but I just don't think that we can do that one.
    Brad Waller | VP, Business and Affiliate Development
    EPage.com

  14. #14
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Hey everyone - I recognize the concerns regarding the PMA, and I have my own as well that I have mostly shared with board members, etc...

    However, putting all of that aside - please get involved in the tax issue no matter what state you live in. All disagreements and questions aside, there is no question that the PMA and AA have helped us, all of us, on the tax issue. They could both use your help.

    Specifically with the PMA - you can register your support and let them know about your willingness to help on the tax issue - without becoming a paying member. You can also contact your state legislature on your own, which does not require you to be a member of either organization. I'll let Melanie speak to what the best ways Affiliates can help on the issue with AA.

    Both AA and the PMA have great resources available to you regarding this issue.

    http://affiliateadvocacy.com/internet-sales-tax/
    http://performancemarketingassociati...ocateform.html

    They are asking for your support so that they can relay real life stories about real affiliates.

    Don't let skepticism or other issues stop you from getting involved in one way shape or form - even if it completely avoids the PMA or AA ... just please get involved. If you need any help figuring out what you can do - email me and I can give you a few ideas outside of the PMA and AA etc...
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  15. #15
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcwaller
    I know I have personally looked into the Health Insurance issue. The problem I found was that it was cheaper to get insurance for myself than a group. Group plans are not allowed to exclude anyone, so the insurers raise the premium to make up for the high risk people who will join. I know lots of people talked about insurance as a benefit early on, but I just don't think that we can do that one.
    I'll chime in ....

    If the PMA can get 300 - 500 members, any insurance carrier will look at the PMA and say "yes" with very attractive rates... we have a staff of 8 and we get group coverage that is very competitive ... look around ...

    You will have my membership if such a group rate can be achieved ...
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
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  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    Thanks Andy. My personal goal would be to have at least that many members by the end of the year, maybe more. If the insurance is possible, I'd love to see that as a benefit. As you know we've been talking about health insurance for affiliates since the first cruise!
    Brad Waller | VP, Business and Affiliate Development
    EPage.com

  17. #17
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Sorry, cheap insurance would be a nice benefit, but not enough to make me want to join an organization that I don't believe in, at any price.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    Sorry, cheap insurance would be a nice benefit, but not enough to make me want to join an organization that I don't believe in, at any price.

    -rematt
    I agree with you rematt, I was just pointing out a tangible thing that they can try to do to get affiliate's attention. The organization is growing and will evolve and with the current board they won't grow in a way that is acceptable to some of us, however if they can do some good things along the way I'm all for it.

    But no, I won't be joining.

    I do think we need to be able to discuss this organization and what they do as part of our industry because they are here and they are representing our industry and as such they need to hear from us even if we disagree.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I was an early supporter of the PMA in concept. I argued that an industry association was necessary for a variety of reasons, and while I still believe it's true, I no longer feel that the PMA is the right organization for the average industry member. We all know that the majority of affiliates don't make a ton of money - the million-dollar earners are few and far between But how much money would one have to make before $500 a year is reasonable?

    If you're earning a thousand a year as an affiliate, clearly, $500 a year is ridiculous. Two thousand? Ten thousand? I posit that unless you're working full time as an affiliate marketer (or you are incredibly skilled and can pull off the numbers doing it part time) making more than $50,000 a year (give or take), then a membership fee of $500 is too high.

    How many affiliates are making $50,000 a year? I'm willing to bet: not many. Certainly not the majority. What the PMA is telling us, in effect, is that unless you're earning over a certain level, you don't matter.

    I know, no rep of the PMA would ever say that, and it's possible that it never even crossed anyone's mind over there - but that's the message I, as an affiliate, am receiving. Because I don't make enough money, I can't afford the membership fee, and therefore, I'm not invited to the party. I essentially don't matter to the PMA. If I did, there would be a lower barrier to entry, right?

    Hey, I'm not saying it should be free - there are costs involved that need to be covered. But I have to wonder... what kind of drain are the members on the organization? I mean, if they were to charge me $50 a year for basic membership, is there some kind of expense that I'd be incurring that the organization would have to cover? Wouldn't it be better to have me join at $50 a year than not have me join at all? Why is $500 the magic number? The only reason that I can think of is that it's set that high to keep out the riff-raff... so to speak.

    The people and companies involved don't bother me as much as some of you. There are companies that I don't particularly trust, yes - but there are people and companies involved that I do trust, and I can't discount their involvement.

    Brian said above that no matter what, we should involve ourselves in any way we can, even if it means not joining an organization, and I totally agree. I've registered my support with the PMA - support for the issues they're taking on, not support for the organization itself. For that to happen, they'd have to give me the option of joining - because no matter what "choice" I technically have, at $500 a year, there's no choice at all.
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  20. #20
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel M. Clark
    Why is $500 the magic number? The only reason that I can think of is that it's set that high to keep out the riff-raff... so to speak.
    What other reason could it be?


  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcwaller
    One of the benefits of the visibility we are creating is that the PMA can become a resource for Journalists and businesses who want to learn about affiliate marketing. We can educate them on what we really do, not on what they have heard from people outside the industry.
    This is part of what concerns me. I'm not sure our industry should educate the public on the likes of UPromise. Why would hard working, honest, members want the public to think schemes like UP are what affiliate marketing is all about? I spend many hours and a lot of effort explaining why merchants don't want these types of affiliates in their programs and I should join an org that promotes them? I'll still be holding off. The credibility issue hasn't changed and I'm losing hope that it will.
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  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    When the PMA was forming, the discussion usually centered around economics and getting the PMA off the ground. As such, setting the bar high and knowing that we were limiting ourselves to a much smaller groups was accepted.

    Now that the PMA is in more of a stable mode, I would hope that the discussions will move towards inclusion and growing the member base.

    Daniel's hits the nail on the head. Nobody who is making a thousand a month would ever consider paying $500 unless there are $500 in benefits coming back to them. I'm not sure if we can come up with $500, but we are working on ideas for tangible benefits.

    We know we will never convert someone who does not want to join (although I will still give Loxly a try once a year), but I really don't want to see conversations where people think we are purposely excluding those who actually want to join.

    And to Greg's point, UPromise is a tiny part of the industry. The education that needs to go out is who the affiliates are and what they do. I'd love for mainstream media to run with a story about Beachy, or Daniel Clark, or Andy Rodriguez, or Brian Littleton. Wouldn't it be great if when someone writes a story about our industry they can point to the positive amazing stories instead of the scam artists and hackers?
    Brad Waller | VP, Business and Affiliate Development
    EPage.com

  23. #23
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    Brad, folks on the board of directors still let crap like this in - http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...=desktopsmiley

    Which is still live on the CJ network and when I try to click over to their site, AVG won't even let me:
    Danger: AVG Search-Shield has detected active threats on this page and has blocked access for your protection.

    Class action suits - http://affiliatefairplay.com/newsblo...ction-lawsuit/

    So this is who we want educating merchants, affiliates, advocating for us, working on code of conducts etc? Do you see the problem with that?

  24. #24
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I posted this at Revenews, but decided to copy it here even though it's not inline with the current song and dance they are doing here, but it's most certainly applicable.

    The affiliate masses would rather save *BOTH* their time and money not because of “apathy” but more accurately because a true Pavlovian response to the continued reaming and unfair activities from the industry and it’s “players”.

    The disengage revolves around the saying – “You can’t eat your cake and have it too” not because of a lack of knowledge nor “apathy”.

    PMA – You set the price at $500 to keep your so called “whiny non producers out”, yet you keep wondering why the masses won’t respond to the battle cries?

    Networks – you do nothing to police theft, parasites or worse, yet you question a lack of response when you tell affs that their earnings are at risk?

    Sadly, yet once again, it’s the affiliates that are to blame – apathetic? Should we move that tree so that the “powers that be” can actually see the forest?

    Haiko
    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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    Brad,

    As for the PR about the industry ... it is been bad because the powers that be have nothing but supported and endorsed the thieving lying and cheating affiliates and bad practices. Once that horse hockey stops then you can write about the success stories ... it would be nothing short of disingenuous to do so when there is such rampant BS and theft perpetuated every single day.

    Regarding your example, to think someone wouldn't pay $500 to save a $12K a year income is asinine --- it's a fool who wouldn't ... they don't because of the reasons above.

    But hey maybe you can add in some extras to make it "worthwhile" ... LMAO!
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

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