Under 1% of Affiliate Marketers Care About Advertising Tax?

Posted on15 CommentsCategoriesAffiliate / Advertising Tax, General Discussion, Online Marketing, Thoughts for Affiliates

It’s been another busy day at this Affiliate Summit for me — good busy. Several productive meetings with current and prospective clients and affiliates, an excellent audience of affiliate program managers and network reps [picture 1 here | picture 2] at my session on how to motivate affiliates, good new contacts, and presentations attended.

One thing that I felt sorry to witness was the fact that out of the 2,500 Affiliate Summit’s attendees [edit: over 3,000, as it appears from Shawn’s post on August 13] only 29 came to the “Advertising Tax: What Happened and What’s Next” session. Taking into consideration that 7 of them left the room when the Q&A session started, the total number of attentive listeners equaled less than 1% of the conference’s attendees. Karen Garcia has mentioned to me that similar attendance numbers were registered on the Day 1 when an “Advertising Tax Impact, Accomplishments and the Future” panel was held.

I was really surprised to see such a small number of today’s session attendees, and purposefully did my counts in the middle of the session, and at the end (after some people have left). Wright Andrews has hit the nail right on the head concluding his session saying: “with so much at stake… you gotta get them to wake up!” Wake up, affiliate marketing industry! The fact that the advertising tax (aka “Amazon tax”) isn’t yet knocking on your state’s door is no guarantee that it’s gonna be this way for long. At least 48 states “face shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2010” [source], and there will be many more to consider the advertising tax as a possible solution to this.

15 thoughts on “Under 1% of Affiliate Marketers Care About Advertising Tax?

  1. I was amazed at the numbers to0. I went to the session yesterday, Advertising Tax Impact, Accomplishments and the Future, and was thinking the same thing about the attendance. Someone even asked the question why so few people were there. This could be a big blow to the industry and people need to at least pay some attention to what is going.

  2. Could it be that there is a general misconception among affiliates that this tax is merchant’s problem? Or maybe it just not close enough to home yet.

  3. Hi Geno –

    I would certainly like to see more folks in those sessions, but bear in mind that only the Platinum pass holders were able to access the session.

    Also, the sessions were recorded and all Gold and Platinum passes get access to the videos, plus the audio will be made public to all.

  4. Good to have you chime in, Shawn, and thanks for another great conference. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

    Do we know how many Gold and Platinum pass holders (the session Logan referred to was open to both) attended the Summit?

    It is great to know that the audio of this presentation will be made public for everyone to access. I would hightly appreciate a link to it when it’s up. I’ll post it here.

  5. While I too was disappointed at the low turn out on such an important topic, there is one bright spot to keep in mind…while we had precious few people step up as advocates for the industry in California, we did make a difference. Over then next 12 months, we will be seeing more and more of these bills surface and resurface in states where we’ve won a skirmish or two.

    Sometimes it just takes the right couple of folks to step up and say “YES!” to the mantle of leadership. Looking at the faces at both sessions, I would have to say that some very serious and passionate industry leaders were there listening intently and I hope that they now feel informed enough on the issue to be comfortable taking up the banner on this industry killing legislation in their own states.

  6. I wonder if the low attendance for this session might have been because people were already aware of the issue and felt that there was nothing new they’d learn in the session. After all, this was old news for New York affiliates, and for most attendees who are active on ABW or one of the other forums or blogs where the issue has been discussed at length (sometimes painfully so).

    I will admit that last year, when this passed in New York, I shrugged my shoulders and ignored the issue, since I’m in California.

    When the bill was introduced in California, I responded, but despite my past successful experiences dealing with lawmakers in Sacramento (15 & 20 years ago), I didn’t think my efforts were likely to make a difference. As the North Carolina experience showed, trying to get legislators to “listen honestly” is much harder than herding cats, with similar results.

    I don’t think the issue is that nobody cares — maybe they just didn’t think they’d learn anything new at the session (or there were more plausibly-profitable opportunities for their time).

  7. Maybe you’re right, Mark, I don’t know the answer. One thing that I do know, however, is that lawyers like Wright H. Andrews are too busy to participate in forums and blogs. And while Bennet Kelley does blog and tweet every once in a while, this was a pretty unique opportunity to listen to people like this, and ask questions.

    And no, I’m by no means implying that “nobody cares”. I know much better than that. What I meant to point out was that out of all Affiliate Summit’s attendees less than 1% cared about this particular (pretty unique, IMO) presentation. That’s a fact, a sad fact.

  8. I don’t think you should take the percentage out of the full 3000 attendees. Let’s see… First take away the non-Platinum pass holders and those that registered but didn’t come. Then take away all those attendees that don’t even do anything in the retail sector (which I would guess would be the majority of ASE09 attendees). Take out all the people from merchants and networks that were too busy at their exhibit booths to come to the session. And also don’t count those that had already gone to the related session on Sunday. Oh, and don’t forget the international affiliates that aren’t affected by it.

    You’ll be left with far less than 3000. 29 out of far-less-than-3000 is still not very much, though. But some reasons (like audio/video availability) have been mentioned by others already.

    Although the issue doesn’t affect me because I’m in Canada, I have tweeted about it several times to help raise awareness. The issue and the work of those working behind the scenes still needs plenty more publicity.

  9. “I don’t think you should take the percentage out of the full 3000 attendees.” — No, I shouldn’t, Rehan. In an earlier comment Shawn has also pointed to the fact that the session was open to Platinum pass holders (while the panel I’m also mentioning to Gold and Platinum). That’s why I initially included a question mark at the end of the post title.

    And yes, I agree, there is a huge need to raise awareness (and create a sense of urgency) about the issue. Thank you for tweeting about it regardless of the fact that it doesn’t immediately affect you.

    By the way, it was great meeting you in person at the Affiliate Summit East 2009!

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