Lets look at where the small site owner ..Small=budget & traffic ...fits into the bigger picture of ecommerce. All commerce, be it online or brick-n-mortar, depends heavily upon getting motivated buyers to enter your place of business. Effective advertising coupled with a quality in-demand product or service drives retail businesses if it produces sales. Without sales it's just advertising expense. Without sales there is no profits for businesses to put back into running more advertising campaigns.

Before Internet web sites every single advertiser had to pay upfront to run even a classified Ad, yellow page listing let alone a radio or TV commercial. Sure during the .com boom times thousands of companies flush with VC & IPO funds threw billions into the coffers of the Ad wanks and nadda into the cash register. Bad start as the greed mongers running Ad agencies and Ad serving networks got spoiled by doing zip for the big bucks. They all forgot the concerns of those being bombarded by online Ads and e-mail spam, who found little value at the end of a click. Publishers displaying Ads as their sole source of revenue had to add expensive compeling content or some hook to keep the masses flowing to their Ad space when banner blindness became the norm.

What the Ad agencies and merchant advertisers found out was the 468x60 alotted space was not enough to spell out their value proposition to qualify for the click throughs to generate buyers. Thus was born the affiliate networks, who could entice small site owners with promises of commissions to expand on the banner limitations and write copy to go along with the merchant links.

Yahoo -Aol -MSN - iVillage -ESPN and other destination portals refused to showcase advertisers with time/labor expensive showcase pre-sell content, so the small webmaster became the cream of the crop for generating targeted motivated shoppers. They added value, at no real upfront cost, to the merchants as commissions only were paid when the desired action was completed. Amazing merchant advertisers like Dell, Pet.com or Walmart, who spend/blew millions on Ad campaigns chose to shaft their most effective publishers with diversion tactics -slow pay and fudged sales reporting.

You'll never get a network to tell you how much Dell, Priceline, Bestbuys, JC Pennys or FTD paid out to affiliates over the duration of their network tracked pay-per-performance programs. The major affiliate enabled merchants forked out billions for pre-paid contract advertising and peanuts for PPA generated sales. Now they, without thought to how they are killing the small value add publishers, embrace parasitic affiliates who just hijack traffic and steal sales without an ounce of branding or pre-sell content. Why. Because they still think of affiliate traffic as a miniscule expense...to lay at the bottom of their "to be paid" bill outbox.

If nothing else the parastites will awaken the merchant's advertising departments that phoney affiliates are monitizing all forms of linking to their sites. A network consisting of a few players capturing 80% of the commissions will wither and die as the millions of others cannot live off the leftovers. They have a false sense of security as they currently get paid regardless of who gets credit for the sales. Here's the wakeup call for 2003. If the network sponsoring of the ciphoning off commissions from their real value added affiliates is allowed to continue they will be left with a public swimming pool full of commission eating sharks. The self same sharks are not interested in creating one line of pre-sell ad for the merchants or even displaying a banner. Swimming with sharks, getting something for nothing, is a dangerous proposition as on a moments notice they will attack and feed on you too. When the risk of swimming in a shark invested pool outweighs the rewards then swimmers go elsewhere or stop swimming altogether.

Merchants, and their AM agents, seem content to absorb the extra expense of the parasitic double dipping them. What they can't stand is when the real value added affiliates, who target shoppers with pre-sell content -spotlight product displays -DHTML showcases, who don't push "incented" traffic with coupons or rebates pull the plug on them in mass. WTF does advertising have to do with PPA networks.

Advertising affiliates like AOL just wrote off 48 billion in losses during the first 2 quarters of 2002. They are the largest publisher for you merchants to tapp into and they predicted this week a 25% drop in contract Ad revenue and that PPA campaigns will bring in 40% less in sales commissions during 2003. Why ..because they do not have the time/staff or desire to add showcase pre-sell copy -product links or DHTML showcases on their pages. They also understand if they did it wouldn't help their revenue picture as the BHO parasites would feed of their efforts. I don't expect any merchants to have to kiss my butt, but the collective group of small value add affiliates needs some serious butt kissing and commission checks right now! Your other options like portal advertising, SE listings or e-mail campaigns pale in comparison to effectiveness and expense to the small affiliates who used to swim in your pool.

AOL takes it in the ear for all of 2003...AOL Says It Won't Rebound Before '04 Steve Case Expects Ad Sales to Plummet http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2002Dec3.html

Want to read the real insider history of advertising at AOL?
Unconventional Transactions Boosted Sales
Amid Big Merger, Company Resisted Dot-Com Collapse ... Washington Post, Jul 18, 2002)

By Alec Klein -Washington Post Staff Writer


Your alternate sources for even pure play advertising is also closing down. Ads.com closed their doors this week and over 20 other Ad networks and even e-mail campaigners closed shop this years with more to follow. Visit F**kedcompany.com for all the gory details and why my call to fire 50% of all advertising employees in 2001 seems to be happening. The few left that are effective include small site affiliates.

WebMaster Mike