Social Affiliate Marketing or Social Cause Marketing?

Search Engine Strategies Chicago 2009 keynote speaker, Dan Siroker, a lead analyst for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, has announced a product the essence of which is based on the lessons learned from the use of Social Media for that presidential campaign. Siroker explains:

The product is called Spreadly… and the product is the way of doing something called Social Affiliate Marketing, which is the word I use to describe the marriage of Social Media Marketing, which is getting Facebook and Twitter and using those as ways to fuel viral growth of your business, and Affiliate Marketing, which is trying to give people incentives to talk about you, and to share links to your site. I’ve tried to marry these two things in a concept called Social Affiliate Marketing.

The idea of turning satisfied consumers into evangelists isn’t new. Merchants have been contacting their existing customers to turn them into affiliates for years. What’s new is not even the presence of the “affiliate marketing” component in the mix, but the interweaving of the cause marketing idea with Social Media and making it easy for the customer to tweet or post for the cause right away. Going to the product’s website we read:


Here I get confused. In affiliate marketing it is the referrer who gets a payout (and then decides what to do with it). In case with Spreadly, the payout goes directly to a cause. While it is the referrer that decides which cause the donation will go to, he/she has no direct monetary interest in spreading the word. Why the name Social AffiliateMarketing then? It seems that Social Cause Marketing would’ve been a more appropriate way to christen it (unless, of course, there is a monetary incentive for the customer to use the widget).

Other than the terminology, excellent idea Dan!

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