Whether you are already doing business in Europe, or just contemplating entering a European market, there are three must-attend conferences that are coming up between May and July 2013. I recommend you seriously look into attending at least one of these:
May 15-16, 2013 — Affiliate Management Days (London, UK)
Europe’s first conference devoted specifically to all things affiliate management is launching in just 5 days. 25 speakers from all over the Old World will dissect topics from affiliate recruitment to analytics, from communication to m-affiliate programs, and much more. IAB UK and Econsultancy will delve into their 2013 research findings on the state of the industry, while executives from all major European affiliate networks will participate on a keynote panel [full agenda here]. Use code GENOSFRIEND to get £250.00 off your pass.
May 30, 2013 — Affiliate Dag (Utrecht, The Netherlands)
This is going to be the sixth Affiliate Dag (which translates as “Affiliate Day” from Dutch) conference. By far the strongest conference on the Dutch affiliate market, the 2013 one is going to be devoted to optimizing affiliate program performance, as well as multi-device optimization. I am excited to be keynoting this year’s Affiliate Dag. Hope to see you there too.
July 2-3, 2013 — a4uexpo Europe (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Finally, you don’t want to miss the largest performance marketing conference that PerformanceIN puts together on the continent. Nearly 1,000 delegates from all over Europe will discuss a wide spectrum of topics including search, display, affiliate, mobile, re-marketing, email, social, video, and much more.
Hope to see you at one of the above.
Yesterday a major news came from the Capitol Hill: the U.S. Senate has passed the Marketplace Fairness Act.
The Washington Post reported:
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 69 to 27, getting support from Republicans and Democrats alike. But opposition from some conservatives who view it as a tax increase will make it a tougher sell in the House. President Barack Obama has conveyed his support for the measure.
…Supporters say the current tax disparity is turning some traditional stores into showrooms, where shoppers pick out items they like, then buy them on the Internet to avoid sales taxes [more here]
The next step is for the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on the bill. And the issue at stake is bigger than the problem of showrooming. While U.S.News & World Report believes it to be a “tough sell in the House” [source] close to a hundred thousand of affiliate marketing businesses — who due to numerous “affiliate nexus” state taxes have been caught in the crossfire, and used by many as cannon fodder — are anxious to see the Marketplace Fairness Act accepted.
The Performance Marketing Association writes about yesterday’s news from The Hill:
This is the first and critical step in reversing the devastation caused by the passage of unconstitutional ‘Affiliate Nexus Tax’ laws passed by 9 states. These state laws have wiped out 76,000 small Internet advertising businesses since 2008, devastating one of the fastest growing technology sectors in the US.
…The PMA looks forward to the US House of Representatives picking up the bill and passing it quickly. [more here]
As I have underscored in a recent SmallBizTrends interview on the topic, having such federal-level legislation is important for the affiliate marketing industry, because it would “eliminate the notion of (and need for) the affiliate nexus tax altogether by leveling the playing field not only between brick and mortar stores and online businesses (when catering to residents of the same state), but also between online businesses regardless of whether they drive sales through affiliates or not.”
One of the world’s major affiliate networks, Commission Junction (CJ), has launched an internal affiliate recruitment tool. If you are a CJ advertiser, you may now find it by going to “Manage Publishers” tab, and proceeding to “Publisher Recruitment (beta)” sub-tab:
The two tabs to the left of this newest tab have been available on CJ for quite some time. However, their purpose was limited to the following functions:
Publisher Recruitment – merely showed you the statistics on the number of recruited publishers
Find Publishers – allowed you to either find specific publishers among your already-recruited ones or push offers to new/prospective ones as long as you know their Email, PID, CID or URL
As is obvious from the above screenshot, CJ’s newest affiliate recruitment functionality allows you to pull lists of potential affiliates without knowing their PIDs or CIDs. You may now find them by narrowing your search down by such generic variables as Category, Country and Network Earnings.
It seems that at this stage they do not display more than 100 “recommended publishers” (generally, those having a ranking of 4 bars or higher) per search query.
As an affiliate management agency we are happy to see this new tool; and looking forward to using it for connections with new publishers (aka affiliates).
Did you know that the inaugural European Affiliate Management Days (AM Days) conference is just two weeks away? Here are the details in brief:
- Location: London, UK
- Dates: May 15-16, 2013
- Venue: Chelsea Football Club conference facility
- Details: co-located with SMX London | in strategic partnership with a4uexpo | targeting Europe-based/oriented affiliate programme managers, advertisers, affiliate networks, and everyone involved in supporting affiliate programs
- Official website: AMDays.co.uk
- Special discount: register via this link for £250.00 off your pass
AM Days is the world’s only professional forum on affiliate management known for its laser-focused networking and top-notch educational sessions. At the upcoming London conference you’ll hear from such companies as IAB UK, Econsultancy, TagMan, Argos, all Europe’s major affiliate networks, as well as such affiliate marketing stars as Matthew Wood (who will deliver the opening keynote), Jason Spievak, Kevin Edwards, Jim Banks, and many others. See the full agenda here.
It is also going to be a truly pan-European conference. This is obvious not only from the topics on our above-quoted agenda, but also from the list of countries that the already-registered delegates come from. Here’s the (alphabetical) list of the top 10 (so far):
- United Kingdom
Of course, the majority of attendees will be from the UK; but many other European countries will be represented at the show. Hope to see you there too.
Once again, use code GENOSFRIEND [or just click this link for it to self-apply] to save £250.00 on your pass.
As I was working on a presentation for one of my upcoming speaking engagements, I had to outline a few short, solid and sobering reasons why every advertiser who has an affiliate program should actively police affiliate activity, or require their affiliate program managers to do so (reporting on it regularly).
Here are the four that I’ve come up with:
Reason #1: Potential brand damage
You are entrusting affiliates with your most valuable asset — your brand. Wouldn’t you want to ensure that it is being represented appropriately?
Reason #2: Potential channel cannibalization
Some types of affiliate activity (for instance, affiliate adware) will cannibalize your other marketing efforts (e.g.: paid search, organic traffic, and even direct type-ins of your URL into the browser’s address bar), causing you to pay commission on sales that weren’t primarily driven by affiliates.
Reason #3: “Last click wins” model
Since most present-day affiliate programs rely on the “last click wins” rule, even one violator in your affiliate program jeopardizes your whole program. One bad apple directly affects the whole bunch! If/when they set their cookie due to a violation — other affiliates suffer. And affiliates are smart. The more savvy of them (hence, potentially valuable to you!) will uncover the violators in your program even before applying into it. And if they do, chances of them investing their time, money and effort into marketing you are going to be nil.
Reason #4: TOS won’t protect you
Your affiliate program’s Terms of Service agreement (or any affiliate policies you may have in place, however well-thought-out they may be) does not guarantee any affiliate’s compliance with it. It gives you grounds to enforce the compliance, but does not safeguard you unless you police this compliance. Additionally, affiliates will not always read your TOS, anyway.
Are you actively policing yet?
Did you know that just a week from today the Washington, DC chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMADC) is hosting its first-ever seminar on affiliate marketing?
— AMADC (@AMADC) April 23, 2013
Yes, on May 1 I will have the honor of speaking to AMADC’s audience on how to “Reach & Close More Customers Through Affiliate Marketing.” If you are in DC, Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland, or are going to be in town next Wednesday, I would like to invite you to attend! Here’s the gist:
When: May 1, 2013 – 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Where: Qorvis Communications, 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW 6th floor, Washington, DC 20036
What: 1-hour crash course on making affiliate marketing work for your business
Cost: $25 (AMADC members), $45 (non-members), $15 (student members)
Hope to see you in the nation’s capital in a week! I’ll also be giving away my Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day book, which was recently named a 2013 small business classic, right after the seminar.
If you have not been following the affiliate nexus tax much, this SmallBizTrends article of mine may be a good place to start.
If you’re as crazy about the Affiliate Nexus Tax debate as we are, you might be interested in watching the US Senate attempt a procedural vote this evening, to bring the Marketplace Fairness Act directly to the Senate floor for a vote. This procedure, called a ‘cloture’, would bypass the typical process of having a committee first review and vote on a bill before going to the Senate floor.
Around 5:15 pm EST I tuned in to CSPAN-2,which was covering the floor discussion, and watched in great anticipation.
I am pleased to report that by overwhelming majority (74-20) the Senate has voted “to take up the legislation for debate and amendment” [source]. As Reuters summarized (shortly after the close of the voting):
Seventy-four senators voted to limit debate and move forward with a final vote on the proposed legislation in the Democratic-controlled Senate, likely on Wednesday.
…The legislation would extend the authority of U.S. states to online sales outside their physical borders, though it would not require them to do so. It would exempt merchants with online annual out-of-state sales of $1 million or less. [source]
All of this is very good news for affiliate marketers. Should the Marketplace Fairness Act, finally, pass it will eliminate the notion of (and need for) the affiliate nexus tax altogether by leveling the playing field not only between brick-n-mortar stores and online businesses (when catering to residents of the same state), but also between online businesses regardless of whether they drive sales through affiliates or not [more here].
As Google Affiliate Network (GAN) is shutting down its operations, many are attempting to “monetize” on this. Affiliate networks are fighting for the attention of GAN advertisers, OPM agencies are extending their compelling migration offers to soon-to-be-former GAN merchants, but one company’s approach really stood out to me.
As of yesterday afternoon, BrandVerity is offering GAN advertisers a complimentary no-strings-attached monitoring of GAN affiliates in paid search through the end of July (which is when the affiliate network is scheduled to be decommissioned).
I have spoken with David Naffziger, CEO of BrandVerity, about this offer, and here’s an important thought he had to point out:
We know that the GAN compliance team has already been reassigned so we’re expecting naughty affiliates to take advantage of the reduced oversight.
Hence, this “free paid search monitoring” offer. You may learn more about it by clicking the screenshot below:
Taking into account that BrandVerity’s typical free trial is 2 weeks, this 100+ days offer is not only generous, but also noteworthy (due to its underlying focus on the industry’s good).
Disclaimer: I don’t get any compensation for this post; but, as a long-time BrandVerity’s user I highly recommend that every GAN advertiser takes advantage of this offer.
Thousands of advertisers (from brands like Target, Puma, Jos. A. Bank, Under Armour and other major names to smaller businesses) are now facing the tough task migrating their affiliate programs to new platforms. With these businesses in mind I have decided to put together a cheat sheet to make their life a little easier.
Here are the 5 main steps that you want to take to move your affiliate marketing program elsewhere (in the next few months while Google winds down Google Affiliate Network):
Step 1: Do Your Due Diligence
Engage in high-level competitive intelligence to figure our what your immediate rivals (or closely related advertisers, if you don’t have much direct competition) are doing. Look at their affiliate program terms (payout structure(s), cookie life, locking periods, bonuses, policies) and, of course, the platforms on which they run their programs.
Step 2: Choose Platform
Your options will range from affiliate networks (here are just a few in an alphabetical order: Affiliate Window, AvantLink, Commission Junction, LinkShare, ShareASale) to platforms which allow you to manage the program entirely in-house (like DirectTrack, ImpactRadius, HasOffers, and others).
Step 3: Negotiate & Sign Contract
Do negotiate before you sign! If the platform’s compensation is in some way connected with the performance of your affiliate program (as is the case with most affiliate networks) and you already have an established affiliate program, the time spent on negotiating the deal will be the time well spent.
Step 4: Set Up the New Program
Migrate your creatives, data feed (if you have one), text links, as well as affiliate program policies. Also, if you go with an affiliate network and you’re using tools to monitor network-specific compliance with your terms, don’t forget to set those up to monitor violations on your new network!
Step 5: Announce to Affiliates
And give them plenty of time to migrate and switch links. Explain the importance of migration, provide all the necessary knowledge to make it easy for them (an FAQ devoted just to this may be pertinent), and ensure full support of all affiliates during the migration.
FYI: AM Navigator provides complimentary migration, which includes all of the above, as well as an additional program audit and preferred rates and discounts with all major affiliate platforms. Just email me if you’re interested.
Image source: Telegraph.co.uk