It’s that time of the year when Affiliate Summit is looking for your help in compiling the speaker roster for its upcoming show — the one set to take place in New York City on August 10-13, 2014.
I have applied to speak too. If accepted, this will be my eleventh time speaking at Affiliate Summits. However, for any speaker to be selected they want to see people voting for the proposed session(s).
In a nutshell, when Affiliate Summit’s speaking proposals are reviewed and decided on, besides the founders of the conference and its advisory board, prospective attendees of the conference also have a vote on the session topics.
Today Shawn Collins has announced the voting for the 2014 New York show. The “voting will be open through March 14, 2014″ and I would highly appreciate your support there. Below you may find links to the two sessions that I’ve proposed (they will choose only one, but you may vote for as many as you wish). Registration is required, but between the registration and the voting, all of this shouldn’t take longer than 2 minutes of your time.
Many thanks in advance for your support. I will only go if I’m chosen/invited to speak. So, if you want to see me there, you do want to vote.
An interesting situation was described to me by a merchant/advertiser the other day. They run an affiliate program where a specific type of affiliates is being paid lower-than-default commissions. However, there are ways for these affiliates to disguise themselves in order to receive the full commission.
Affiliates who (due to the promotional methods used on their websites) are entitled to lower commission rate join sub-affiliate networks to get paid at a higher rate, instead. How can an affiliate manager police this?
While you could choose not to work with sub-affiliate networks and platforms altogether (this would, certainly, be one solution), declining them from joining your affiliate program, you don’t have to do so missing other opportunities that these relationships may bring about.
Rather than cutting them off entirely, you could work with cooperative sub-affiliate platforms, provided they agree to disclose where specific traffic has come from.
There will be non-collaborative sub-affiliate networks and platforms, but it is best to stay away from these, anyway.
When approached about the subject of this post, David Naffziger of BrandVerity (a company that already offers a coupon policing tool for affiliate managers) said:
Yes, I’ve heard of this a bunch. I believe most sub-affiliate platforms would be responsive to a query on the topic, and will make available detailed source reporting if the advertiser presses them for it. I would ensure someone has a regular process (monthly? quarterly?) to request these sources, and then compare the list of sites to their own affiliate list (active and historic).
Obviously that only helps if the affiliate isn’t trying to deceive the sub-affiliate network which does happen. In that case, a solution such as our coupon monitoring service could be used to monitor coupon sites in their program. A user, for example, can pull a report of both VigLink and Skimlinks IDs to see what sites are using them.
I also asked Lori Weiman of The Search Monitor (who also now does coupon policing) the same question, and her reply was:
The Search Monitor has a list of coupon sites and all of their network affiliations.
Someone could do a lookup of their sub-affiliates against our list to see all of the network affiliations that the sub-affiliate has.
Having said all of the above, there still seems to be room for an additional tool here. A third-party solution (based on technologies similar to the ones used by BrandVerity and The Search Monitor) which would strip down the link, showing both the actual source and the tool used to monetize the source (be it Skimlinks, VigLink, FlexOffers, MediaWhiz, or any other sub-affiliate platform) would be of tremendous help.
Naturally, the tool would not be able to support the reporting side of things (as it won’t be able to track the conversions), but the merchant/affiliate manager does not even need it for the policing. Knowing how the link strips down would be sufficient enough to know whether a specific affiliates disguises or not.
What do you think?
Exactly one month before the U.S. Affiliate Management Days 2014 show, I’ve decided to poll speakers asking them to pick 3 sessions they want to attend, or are looking at attending.
Today I bring you their responses (with special thanks to those who have provided additional comments/rationale as to why exactly they have picked these particular sessions):
Wesley Brandi selected:
- 10 Things New Affiliate Managers Should Know by Martin Marion (Deluxe Corp)
- Hiring, Firing, and Compensating Affiliate Managers by Brook Schaaf (Schaaf-PartnerCentric) and CC Mullen (Compensation & Organization Solutions)
- Using Affiliate Forums and Blogs to Create an Online Reputation by Chuck Hamrick (Hamrick.biz)
Todd Crawford wrote:
- Performance Secrets of Amazon’s Success by Bryan Eisenberg — Every retailer competes with Amazon and I think it will be interesting to get more insights into how Amazon does what it does.
- The Value of Working with Different Affiliate Types, the Need to Diversify by Choots Humphries (LinkConnector) — This is a common concern among advertisers and will be interesting to see what Choots presents.
- Hiring, Firing, and Compensating Affiliate Managers by Brook Schaaf (Schaaf-PartnerCentric) and CC Mullen (Compensation & Organization Solutions) — “I do not think enough people in our industry understand how best to compensate a program manager and it is important information that doesn’t get discussed very often.”
Sarah Bundy picked:
- Performance Secrets of Amazon’s Success by Bryan Eisenberg — Everyone wants to understand Amazon’s secrets to success and I believe this session will have some great tips that will showcase some new opportunities yet to be explored by most merchants.
- The Development & Use of APIs for Affiliate Marketing by Ryan Hudgins and Sanarr McLaughlin (InterContinental Hotels Group) — APIs create incredible opportunities for affiliates and brands alike and this is still an area many people do not understand. I’d be interested to see how a hotel group uses theirs for ongoing success for themselves and their affiliate team.
- Turn Up the Heat: Engage & Activate Affiliates Who’ve Since Gone Cold by Jon Levine (All Inclusive Marketing) — One of the major challenges brands face is keeping activity rates high. An even greater challenge is how to get affiliates active if they have lost interest and have gone cold. A lot of effort goes into recruitment, so keeping those guys alive is key to ongoing success. I’m interested to see what strategies Jon recommends in this particular presentation.
Jennifer Myers Ward wrote:
- Affiliate Management: Grab Your Buckets & Let’s Go! by Jennifer Myers Ward (ebove & beyond) — I know it’s mine, but I honestly believe there is not only some valuable, actionable material that will be shared … it will be fun & memorable! Heck, what’s the point of doing it if I don’t think it’s something I would want to attend myself.
- The Value of Working with Different Affiliate Types, the Need to Diversify by Choots Humphries (LinkConnector) — This one did catch my eye as I think much of the time merchants focus too heavily on “couponers” or traffic volume affiliates and do not always even understand the various types of affiliates out there. I mean, if managed correctly, they can leverage content sites, review sites, bloggers, PPC, social media, email affiliates and even cart abandonment. Nice to hear this being brought to the forefront!
- 10 Affiliate Recruitment Strategies that Work (and a Few Bonus Ones Too!) by Sarah Bundy (All Inclusive Marketing) — I think this is a key subject as I think both merchants and even some novice affiliate managers lose creativity sometimes when it comes to recruiting. They stick with what they know and swim in a “shallow” pool of options, thus limiting the program and its success. Plus, Sarah always has juicy info to share.
The 3 sessions that have been mentioned most frequently were: (1) Bryan Eisenberg’s Performance Secrets of Amazon’s Success keynote, (2) Brook Schaaf’s and CC Mullen’s Hiring, Firing, and Compensating Affiliate Managers, and (3) The Value of Working with Different Affiliate Types, the Need to Diversify by Choots Humphries.
Which sessions would make your Top 3 List and why?
By the way, if you haven’t yet registered, there is still time!! The show takes place in San Francisco on March 19-20, 2014. If you register using the coupon code shown on the image (to the right of this paragraph) you will receive $500.00 OFF two-day and all-access passes to the show. Looking forward to meeting you there next month!
Not all affiliate marketing conferences are created equal. No, not in the “quality” or even the “quantity” sense of the word. “Equal” as in “identical” or “same in nature.”
If you carefully look through the list of the 2014 industry conferences to consider attending, you will notice that all of them can be roughly split into three groups: geography-specific conferences, topic- or subject-specific, and platform-specific ones.
To make the most of each type, you want to align your goals and expectations in accordance with the specificity of the conference.
While there are some conferences that are as close to being “transnational” as a conference can be (Affiliate Summit is a great example) even they tend to lean more towards the geography where they are being held.
Additionally, with the rapid worldwide growth of the industry, we have a seen quite a number of new countries get their own affiliate marketing conferences. Russia, for example, which in 2011 had no industry conferences at all, had two in 2012, and five in 2013. Also, in 2013 we’ve seen new affiliate marketing shows spring up in China, Brazil, Greece, Czech Republic, and Spain. Naturally, if you have interest in geography-specific affiliate marketing you want to consider attending conferences held in respective geographies. Here are just a few 2014 examples (including a brand-new one in the Ukraine) the dates of which are already known:
- 02/21 – CPA Day (Kiev, Ukraine)
- 02/25-02/26 – Affiliate TactixX (Munich, Germany)
- 05/22 – Affiliate Dag 2014 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) – I keynoted their 2013 show, and having experienced it first-hand, I highly recommend it
- 05/29-05/31 – Afiliados Brasil (São Paulo, Brazil)
- 06/24-06/25 – Performance Marketing Insights Europe (Berlin, Germany) – I’ll be speaking at this show on the 24th, and hope to see you in my session
- 08/10-08/12 – Affiliate Summit East (New York, NY, USA) – I’ve spoken at 10 of these already, and hope to have a solo presentation at this one too. It’s a great and very busy show
- 10/03-10/04 – Russian Affiliate Congress & Expo (Moscow, Russia)
It is also important to understand that some of the affiliate marketing conferences are either narrowly thematic (or centered around a specific niche), focused on a specific marketing service (e.g.: lead generation) or targeting a specific subject (e.g.: affiliate program management). Needless to emphasize that if a specific topic or subject is of interest/important to your business you do want to put these on your calendar.
Here are some 2014 examples of such conferences:
- 03/19-03/20 – Affiliate Management Days (San Francisco, CA, USA) – For advertisers, CMOs & affiliate managers – use this code to get $500.00 off.
- 03/25-03/26 – LeadsCon Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV, USA) – Focused on lead generation
- 05/13-05/14 – Affiliate Management Days (London, UK) – Super Early Bird rates end this Friday. Save £500.00 by registering soon.
- 06/24-06/27 – Amsterdam Affiliate Conference (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) – Targeting the gaming niche specifically
Finally, there is a separate group of affiliate platform- or/and network-specific conferences. Unfortunately, the 2014 dates for many of these aren’t known yet, but below you will be able to find their names and links to their websites (I’ve arranged them in the chronological order based on what we’ve seen in the previous years):
- 01/15 – ClickBank Exchange (Las Vegas, NV, USA)
- 02/21 – LinkShare Symposium Japan (Tokyo, Japan)
- 06/25-06/26 – LinkShare Symposium East (New York, NY, USA)
- 08/03-08/05 – AvantExpo 2014 (Park City, UT, USA)
- TBA – Commission Junction University (Santa Barbara, CA, USA)
- TBA – ShareASale ThinkTank (TBA, USA)
Since 2009 I have been keeping a close eye on the industry’s conferences (even more so now that I’m running my own show). In the beginning of each year I am putting together a list of conferences to consider, and I am constantly updating it throughout the year. The list of 2014 may be found (and followed) here.
My most recent Affiliate Summit speaking appearance also happened to be my 10th time speaking at the show, and I have just received some encouraging feedback [quite in line with ASE11, ASW12, and other feedback I've been receiving]:
As Tweeted earlier, I only wish more of the attendees turned in their feedback forms; but happy to see that those who did provide feedback, found the presentation of use. Yesterday, I’ve learned that my session was one of the top-attended sessions at the show.
If you have missed my “22 Effective Ways to Recruit Quality Affiliates” presentation, you may find it on SlideShare.net:
Enjoy it, and don’t forget to review my blog posts on affiliate recruitment here.
Today is the last day of the (already extended) Early Bird registration period for Affiliate Management Days SF 2014. Combining the Early Bird rates with this coupon you will save nearly $740.00 on your pass.
Let me give you five reasons why I believe every affiliate manager and advertiser must be in San Francisco on March 19-20, 2014, if not a day earlier.
(By the way, this will be our fifth show in a row.)
Reason #1: Top-Notch Content
Have you seen the conference’s agenda yet? Do browse through it here.
It is a common misconception that AM Days is suitable only for beginner level affiliate managers or eCommerce companies that are new affiliate marketing. The actual reality is that I have created this show to satisfy the demand for a high-level professional forum and conference on all things affiliate management. As the agenda shows, at this year’s U.S. AM Days (and there will be only one U.S. show in 2014!) we will delve into such subjects as affiliate marketing analytics, attribution and tag management, development of APIs for affiliates to use, blackhat affiliate techniques, mitigation of exposure to liability from the FTC and private litigants, and many other areas of intermediate or even advanced level.
If you are looking for beginner level knowledge, start the ride with the half-day pre-conference workshop on March 18. It is a new addition to Affiliate Management Days and you may read more about it here.
Reason #2: Practical Knowledge
As a continuation of the above-mentioned point, it is integral to underscore the immediate applicability of the knowledge you will receive at AM Days. No vague theory here; just practical tools, tips and techniques that will immediately impact your ROI.
Reason #3: Concrete Solutions
Not only will you be able to get ahead of your competition by absorbing new knowledge, but you will also get to find out answers to your concrete situations and problems. Due to a fairly intimate environment of the conference, during the two days of the show you will have direct access to most of our speakers. You will be able to get concrete answers to your concrete questions, and take back solutions to implement.
Reason #4: Laser-Focused Networking
You may have caught my below Tweet yesterday, but for those that didn’t, let me repeat it here:
What do Zappos, Shutterfly, HostGator, & LifeLock have in common? All are sending their teams to http://t.co/Jjgdg7yUKv. Early Bird ends Fri
— Geno Prussakov (@ePrussakov) January 30, 2014
Besides the above-quoted companies, digital marketers from eBay, CBS Interactive, eCampus, Deluxe Corporation, InnoGames, Santander, Bitdefender, InterContinental Hotels Group, Tanga, US Translation Company, and many many others will be there. All major affiliate networks, platforms and tools will also be in attendance. Do not miss out!
Reason #5: Visibility
Finally, for those on the “vendor” side of things, Affiliate Management Days is a chance to get your product/service in front of the right eyes. You get the predictably-targeted audience of CMOs, digital marketing managers, eCommerce business owners, and affiliate managers (both those working within the brands, and outsourced affiliate management agencies). No wonder why our sponsors return year after year.
So register here today (last day of the Early Bird rates!) to enjoy all of the above benefits, learning from the industry’s thought leaders to maximize the performance of your affiliate marketing initiatives. Don’t forget to apply this coupon for additional savings.
Just as any serious marketing campaign, your affiliate program must be managed. But what should you expect from your affiliate manager? What key responsibilities should you hold them accountable for (expecting data on them in the recurring reports)?
My newest video is meant to answer all of these questions via an allegory of a building whose façade rests on five pillars:
Five Pillars of Affiliate Program Management
In a nutshell, you should expect your affiliate manager to focus on the following five areas:
1. Affiliate Recruitment — reaching out to prospective affiliates with the aim of getting them aboard your affiliate program;
2. Affiliate Activation — getting the stagnant affiliates (who have already joined your program) excited about your offer/product/service enough (or again!) to start promoting it actively;
3. Compliance Policing — not relying on your Terms of Service (which give you the grounds to enforce compliance, but do not guarantee compliance by default), but actively policing affiliate compliance;
4. Communication – supporting a constant and consistent two-way affiliate communication channel, which is so rare these days;
5. Optimization — improving your affiliate program on an ongoing basis [see 10 practical tips here].
Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn about the tools and techniques to perform the above tasks you may want to attend one of my upcoming affiliate management workshops (in San Francisco on March 18, or in London on May 12).
In the course of the past eight years I have authored four books.
Three of them were on affiliate marketing; while the two most popular ones – A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing and Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day — were on affiliate program management. Not many people know it, and I am not the type that brings it up in every elevator pitch (maybe I should), but both of these books are being used in numerous universities (including MBA courses) around the world, they are being referenced in other manuals on digital marketing, they have trained literally thousands of affiliate marketing professionals, and the “Hour a Day” book won the first place in the Classics category of 2013 Small Business Books Awards.
After nearly a decade of writing and speaking at conferences, I am excited to, finally, announce that this year I am launching in-person workshops on affiliate management. The first two are scheduled to take place as follows:
- March 18, 2014 — San Francisco, CA, USA [details | register here]
- May 12, 2014 — London, United Kingdom [more info | registration]
The content of these half-day workshops will be suitable both for beginning affiliate managers (or merchants just contemplating utilizing affiliate marketing to promote their businesses, or sell their products/services), and for those who have just launched their affiliate programs. We will briefly cover the basics, and then dive into the five key areas of affiliate program management (affiliate recruitment, activation, compliance policing, communication, and program optimization). I will ensure that you come away fully equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to tackle each of these areas in the most effective way.
It looks like the San Francisco workshop is en route to selling out, but there is still room in both the SF and the London one.
Looking forward to running these, and seeing you there!
Not only you may, but must… But first things first:
As we are reaching out to publishers who cater to our client’s target market and have the potential of monetizing their websites through SelfMadeTravelAgent.com affiliate program, we’ve encountered a number of very similar replies within a pretty short period of time. Here is how one prospective affiliate replied to our invitation (text rephrased to omit sensitive information):
Thank you so much for your interest in [our website]. However, we have recently agreed to partner with another hotel and flight booking vendor through their affiliate program, so we are not open to any additional programs at this time. We do not want a conflict with the other affiliate program.
Interestingly enough, I addressed this very misconception (that once you’ve joined one affiliate program in a niche, you cannot or should not partner with conflicting advertisers in the niche) in my newest book, Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing: Answers to the Questions You Should Be Asking. On page 20 I answered this question:
May I promote more than one merchant from the same niche?
Absolutely! As a free marketer, you are the one who chooses the merchants into which you are going to invest your effort. Merchants know this, and in the course of all my time in affiliate marketing, I have never seen a merchant who requests, not to mention requires, exclusivity.
Not only you may promote more than one advertiser in/from the same vertical, but you must do so. After all, how else will you know that you are earning the maximum possible revenue (permitted by your circumstances) from within the niche? Split-test analyzing such KPIs as banner/link clickthrough rate, conversion ratio(s), and ultimately EPC or your average earnings per 100 clicks.
Good luck monetizing your websites!