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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Industry Standards Update:

    Affiliate Networks who have now agreed to participate (in alphabetical order):
    - BeFree
    - Commission Junction
    - LinkShare
    - Performics

    Third Parties who have now agreed to participate:
    - Shop.org
    - Wayne Porter w/ Afftrack

    I am pleased to announce that Wayne Porter has agreed to facilitate the meeting and take over where I am leaving off. As a LinkShare Merchant, I believe I have done everything in my power to help setup this meeting in an attempt to force the issue of some sort of Industry Standard to help define the Rules of Engagement in Affiliate Marketing. I believe Wayne Porter is best suited as the meeting facilitator because he is not a merchant, affiliate, or affiliate network, but he works with all, and understands the issues at hand better than I at this point.

    Additionally, with the fourth quarter now upon us, my time is best suited helping my affiliates generate more revenue for Overstock.com, and in turn receive larger commission checks.

    To all that have been involved, thank you. From this point on, if you have any additional information to add, please feel free to forward that information to Wayne Porter.

    Thank you in advance for your support,

    Shawn Schwegman
    Overstock.com
    801-947-3119
    shawn@overstock.com

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Smart move on your part Shawn. The only group that Wayne doesn't represent is the 1 million smaller affiliates. He and his clients sure do have the stats within "AffTrac" reports to show the networks and merchant group "Shop.org" the full impact of parasites and Dupers feeding off affiliate traffic. I'll Bet Afftrac could show the turn off and turn on days of the 20 major "Software Applications" that swapped ID#s and diverted normal affiliate links from it's charts.

    The moment a new merchant was duped into joining Morpheus/Buyersport ..Whenu ..LimeWire ..eBates ..Gator.com Wayne's program could track the reshuffling of traffic and sales.

    WebMaster Mike

  3. #3
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    Mike,

    I am not representing any particular party or interest but assisting with facilitating the talks as a neutral 3rd party.

    regards,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Advanced & Automated Data Analysis for Performance Marketers.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>

    Additionally, with the fourth quarter now upon us, my time is best suited helping my affiliates generate more revenue for Overstock.com, and in turn receive larger commission checks.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I know a way you could do that Shawn! Let us get credit for all the sales coming from our sites!

    Also, who is going to represent the affiliates? Should not someone be there to represent them?

    Connie Berg
    www.flamingoworld.com

  5. #5
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    Mike, do you even know Wayne Porter? Do you know a damned thing about AffTrack? Do you know what a facilitator is, or does, as it applies to meetings such as this. Obviously, the answer to any of those questions is a resounding NO.

    Wayne Porter is one of the most level-headed individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He also has an almost unlimited capacity to take crap, since you are so obviously intent upon dishing it up at any given opportunity.

    AffTrack is not just for the larger affiliates, as they have a package that even you could probably afford in order to better understand your own ROI. All you would have to do is possibly sell a couple of the wheels off of your house to pay for it.

    A facilitator keeps a meeting on track. He/She will initiate dialog only in order to do that very thing. His/Her entire focus is to ensure the goals set forth at the beginning of the meeting are indeed met, or to state unequivacally that they cannot be met.

    I would ask you to find someone your own size to pick on Mike, but Lilliput is only fiction.

    Obstinatedon

    You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

    Mahatma Gandhi

  6. #6
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    Wayne,

    Your best clients, who would that be?

    Wouldn't parasites be the perfect match for your tracking services?

    Most of us smaller affiliates can't live with a weekly update, after all, we're stats addicts. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]That makes your services quite expensive for the smaller affiliates, who make up the largest part of the affiliate base?

    Am I right? You know where I'm heading?

    That said, I believe you are a much better "ombudsmann" on this project from now on.

    I see affiliates are NOT represented in that meeting. Do you plan for that? And in case, who do you want to be there for us?

  7. #7
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    Obstinatedon,

    You're posts are so biased, I almost suspect you are a paid troll from Linkshare.

    Sorry for being honest. Just thought you should know.

  8. #8
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    Sorry, wrong button.

  9. #9
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    That's okay OveB, I can understand how you might think that; although I tend to stand up for all the networks since I believe fervently that my bread is buttered as a direct result in most cases from them.

    I am an affiliate however, just like you.

    Obstinatedon

    You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

    Mahatma Gandhi

  10. #10
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    OveB,

    Checking stats and analyzing stats are different. We tried to offer a service that was affordable and useful. If I had my wishes it would be free for everyone, but you cannot run a business based on the free model.

    As for clients: Our clients are both very large and very small affiliates representing a broad base of sites- portals, content publishers, incentive sites, and niche publishers. They come from all industries both adult and non-adult and work with a wide variety of networks, partnerships, and commerce models. The one thing they have common is that they are productive in that they generate revenue.



    As ObstinateDon said (and thank you for your kind words Obstinate) my goal is merely to facilitate discussions. I am not here to influence, change or lobby for any group, affiliate or network. I think both sides have valid arguments and I think the first step has to be meaningful dialogue and hopefully compromise.

    Since I work with all the networks and I am familiar with the industry and the various companies that are coming together to have these discussions I agreed to assist. All of the networks seemed amiable to this. Shawn stepped out because some felt it could cause conflicts being a merchant on the Linkshare system.

    I will endeavor to take over where he left off and to make the meeting happen, I am garnering resources now to assist me with agenda, etc.

    I cannot personally guarantee that the anything fruitful will occur from the meetings or that all interests will be satisfied but can only urge the parties to come forth and make discussions happen.

    respectfully,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Advanced & Automated Data Analysis for Performance Marketers.

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Obstinatedon ..my post did not challenge Waynes appointment to chair this meeting. I congratulated Shawn's decision to distance himself from all the flack and pass the baton to someone who is neither a merchant or network cronie and familiar with the redistribution of wealth from one pocket to another by Affiliate Applications. My point, and his challenge, is to acquire Shawn's intimate knowledge of normal affiliate needs and place them on the table for discussion.

    I do not know the man and trust Shawn's judgement having proven his worth to affiliates since he jointed OS as it's affiliate manager. His employer is a very moral/ethical man and does want to distance Overstock's name from the ensuing battle over dubeous practices.

    WebMaster Mike

  12. #12
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    "acquire Shawn's intimate knowledge of normal affiliate needs and place them on the table for discussion."

    Having been an affiliate (made my living doing it) from 97 to 00 I have a pretty good grasp of "normal affiliate" needs and I know how difficult it can be for a "mom and pop" affiliate.

    That being said the networks would not be having these talks at all if they did not care about ALL affiliate needs. I think the networks understand this and that is why they are putting aside their natural disdain for each other to work for the better of the industry at large. Without the diverse mix of affiliate sites the networks value proposition is diminished. They realize this.

    But mike, my goal is not to represent any one group but to facilitate talks- only. The networks will ultimately have to make the decisions that work the best for their model.

    I also think it is fair for the networks to set the pace for this because between them they facilitate a vast amount of the volume in the performance marketing industry.

    regards,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Advanced & Automated Data Analysis for Performance Marketers.

  13. #13
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    All you would have to do is possibly sell a couple of the wheels off of your house to pay for it.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Devisive comments like that are not appropriate. This is too important an issue.

    How many affiliates - the people who have actually had felonies committed against them - will attend this meeting?

    Somewhere, I am sure, the Gods of War are laughing.

  14. #14
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    Obstinatedon
    It is very clear to me that you dislike Mike, but can we keep slurs like this
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> All you would have to do is possibly sell a couple of the wheels off of your house to pay for it.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    out of your posts, so that we may have some productive conversations.
    Cazzie

  15. #15
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    Cazzie and Elbowcreek...

    The two of you are correct. I should have not let myself be that derogatory toward any poster, including Mike.

    I apologize Mike.

    Obstinate (I did live in a trailer once) don

    You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

    Mahatma Gandhi

  16. #16
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Wayne Porter
    I am not representing any particular party or interest but assisting with facilitating the talks as a neutral 3rd party.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree 100% that Shawn, as an independant merchant should back down but, although I HIGHLY respect wayne, I see involvement by Wayne, greater than facilitator, as a MAJOR injustice for the affiliate community ... it is a stacked deck.

    http://afftrack.com/clients/clients.asp

    How many Dupers / parasites can you count?

    <font size="2" face="Verdana">Haiko


    The secret of success is constancy of purpose. ~ Disraeli
    </font></p>

  17. #17
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Wayne,

    You missed a question out there. Maybe just an oversight? Is there going to be affiliate representation? And if so, by who? Or are the participants only going to be you, Shop.org, and the 4 networks? This is an issue which needs to be cleared up ASAP.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I also think it is fair for the networks to set the pace for this because between them they facilitate a vast amount of the volume in the performance marketing industry.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This comment seems to have a bias to it right here. Yes the networks do facilitate performance marketing, that is supposed to be their job. Bringing merchants and affiliates together, providing the tracking code, collating and reporting all the data associated with performance marketing, and in some cases acting as a third party to issue payments to the affiliate. OTOH, if there were no affiliates, there would be no performance based marketing. It would just be advertising in the traditional sense with ad brokers such as Double Click.

    I'm getting the distinct sense here that maybe this meeting should not be called "Industry Standards Meeting", but "Network Synposium" instead. The whole make thrust of this meeting seems to have taken on a different face from what was originally put out there.

    As the newly elected faciliator of this meeting, maybe you could clarify exactly who will be involved and the agenda of this meeting.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  18. #18
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I see involvement by Wayne, greater than facilitator, as a MAJOR injustice for the affiliate community ... it is a stacked deck.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    In addition, Wayne has made his viewpoint on the parasite issue very clear with recent on this board. And although Wayne has every right to his opinions and viewpoints, they seem to be more in line with the networks stance. So I also see this as a conflict.

    I think what would show more goodwill and fairness as well as a true intent to have a completely "level" playing field for all involved in this meeting would be if the faciliator was truly a unbiased third party. Such as bringing in a mediator who has no ties to any of the parties.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  19. #19
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    BLFH,

    "You missed a question out there. Maybe just an oversight? Is there going to be affiliate representation? And if so, by who?"

    Good question and at this moment I have no answer for you. I hope to touch base with the other networks in the next week to nail this down. As it stands now there really is no one person who can represent the myriad of views and counterpoints that would be clearly represent the over 1 million affiliate sites at large.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to fairly and clearly represent the issues of thousands of webmasters?

    As for my stance on the issue- yes it has been made quite clear. I think further discussion needs to take place before we ban or disallow any technology. For that matter before we start calling people "thieves" or "crooks" etc. I am not one for snap decisions and again I feel both sides have valid arguments.

    The goal of this meeting is not to set an industry standard, but to come up with Rules of Engagement for software solution providers as they pertain to the four major networks.

    This is not the end-all of discussions on the matter I am sure. For example, affiliates will still have to determine how they choose to work with merchants that are not on a major network. But, for the time being, I feel it is a good place to begin. We can spend endless hours of debate on the issues in community forums, but it takes us no close to action.

    Haiko,

    In all fairness we work with a myriad of sites both large and small.

    My role is never to take any side on the issue and I will refrain from doing so. In order for this meeting to take place, and in order for something fruitful to come out of it, I have volunteered to assist in faciliating the communications between networks and nothing more. If others have a better suggestion then I am all ears.

    Again my role is not to represent any one party, viewpoint, or group but to keep dialogue happening between the major networks- since it is the networks that are meeting to cooperatively (we hope) come up with these Rules for Engagement.
    There is still no guarantee that this will even happen.


    On that note Haiko perhaps we can close or transfer this thread out of the OVerstock forums to a more appropriate venue?



    regards,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Advanced & Automated Data Analysis for Performance Marketers.

  20. #20
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    LOL "Obstinate (I did live in a trailer once) don"

    Well mine would be a trailor if I could find the wheels and we both stir up the same pot very well Don. See how this subject has been expanded into the issues.

    Shawn is putting his nose to the grindwheel to make us all some money this Holiday season. Wayne gets to learn more of what makes a small affiliate tick like a clock or bleed like a stuck pig. The news media stuck their noses in to see our fervent outrage over an uneven playing field and smell a real David/Goliath story brewing.

    The networks know they have to address muzzling "Affiliate applications" or the 10% who make a living off this industry exit to daytime jobs. I still think under the covers there is no real affiliate network without small site owner combined reach and pre-sell activity. The rest is just advertising, which as an industry has fallen on it's own sword since the .com bubble burst.

    WebMaster Mike

  21. #21
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    One more note:

    "Such as bringing in a mediator who has no ties to any of the parties."

    I am open to this, but I am not acting as a mediator between affiliates and networks, but as a communication faciliator between the networks themselves. I feel there is a marked difference between the two roles.

    You are going to have a hard time finding someone who is informed about all the issues, understands all the various parties, and who could be a truly impartial "mediator".

    Affiliates must understand that it is not my role, nor AffTrack's to represent them or the networks but only to facilicate the exchange of discussions that can lead to a resolution in the matter.

    best,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Advanced & Automated Data Analysis for Performance Marketers.

  22. #22
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well Wayne ..that true observation leaves me out!

    WebMaster Mike

  23. #23
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    Mike,

    LOL. i guess we agree on that issue. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    -wayne

  24. #24
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    Wayne,

    Thank-you for your quick response and clarifying a few points, but points which I feel are very significant.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> The goal of this meeting is not to set an industry standard, but to come up with Rules of Engagement for software solution providers as they pertain to the four major networks.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It has seemed to me for awhile now that the meeting had shifted focus as you put it to "Rules of Engagement for the software solution providers as they pertain to the 4 major networks." However, when this idea was first given birth, it was put out here in the forum as an Industry Standard meeting with the goal being to determine the ethical practices (just by virtue of the definition of 'standards') in AM. It was further stated that all parties would be involved in the meeting, including affiliates and even representatives of the software companies. I would speculate (and this is just speculation) that compromises had to be made in order to get all the networks to agree to participate. But I do know for a fact, that many affiliates of this board are still under the assumption that there would be affiliate representation. As such, there are probably many who may have expectations of what may come from this meeting. And there can be nothing gained by false expectations and the fall out that can lead to. I think it is best for everyone to have a clear idea what this meeting is all about. This will allow people to make decisions and direct their energies as they see fit. This is not withstanding the fact that you say you will be talking with the networks to address the issue.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> This is not the end-all of discussions on the matter I am sure. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Oh, I'm pretty sure about that also.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> You are going to have a hard time finding someone who is informed about all the issues, understands all the various parties, and who could be a truly impartial "mediator".
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You are right. There is a difference between facilitator and mediator. With your clarification of what the meeting is really about, then a faciliator role is appropriate. Unless the networks are unable to reach a decision. However, in the context of the meaning having been a true industry standards meeting with all parties present, then a mediator might have been more appropriate. As in a professional mediator who has background in the Internet. I'm sure such people exist. But at this point, that point would seem mute.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>that would be clearly represent the over 1 million affiliate sites at large.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It's that pesky little fact about over 1 million affiliate sites that makes it seem so incongrous that they would not be represented. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] Let's see, over 1 million affiliate sites, and what something like 20+ parasite software companies. Things that make you say hmmmmm.

    Again thank you for your response and clarifying the current status of the meeting.

    Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador affiliatemakeover's Avatar
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    While I applaud the appointment of Wayne to this "position", I am disheartened that there has yet been any declaration of an affiliate voice in this meeting.

    I seriously hope that someone can be found to live up to the task of being the voice for us small guys/gals.

    I picture this meeting in my head and I see all the big gun rich guys sitting around a giant conference table making business decisions about "how we're going to handle these darn affiliates and how to appease them so they'll get off our case".

    Maybe I'm wrong, but without an affiliate voice in that meeting who will be respected and listened to, I fear that's what the meeting is going to come to. The question is...who? I have no idea.

    Don't get me wrong, the meeting is a good thing, and I am glad it is happening. I hope I'm wrong about my picture of it.

    A few questions.

    1. Where will this meeting be held? Online?
    2. Will there be any access to media people who cover affiliate marketing and who wish to cover the meeting?

    Jim

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