In the U.K. an ad agency has developed a tool that seeks to leverage the growing popularity of Social Media introducing affiliate marketing to the wider masses (essentially, anyone who is on Facebook can use it, and earn money through it).
Dan Clays of BLM Quantum that has created the tool says that the “Social Affiliate” tool “will open up affiliate marketing beyond typical channels to anyone who has a web space” as brands will benefit “by aligning with sites run by fans who are more likely to drive a sale, while site owners can generate revenues from their Facebook page or blog.”
The first brand to try the tool out will be Domino’s Pizza. They have already signed a contract with BLM Quantum to be the pioneer here. MarketingWeek.co.uk writes:
The pizza delivery firm has signed a deal with digital agency BLM Quantum, part of Arena BLM, to test a new “social affiliate” tool, a widget that combines social media and affiliate marketing.
Any consumer that uses the widget will be able to promote products or services within a framework of designated brand guidelines. They can then earn money whenever a sale is driven from their ad.
They will be able to track the sales generated through their web page on a dashboard, which has been created by BLM Quantum and runs on the Affiliate Window network reporting system. [underlining mine]
It is being claimed that this is the “world’s first” tool in its class. This may be a good PR move, but I do not believe this to be any kind of breakthrough. Widgets that have sought to monetize on Social Media’s popularity have been out there for a while already. Amazon has been offering affiliate widgets since 2007 [see here], and many blogs are using them alongside Google AdSense units. Also, a post by Linda Bustos that goes 2 years back, and talks about monetizing Facebook and MySpace profile pages, comes to mind. Additionally, some affiliate networks (and stand-alone affiliate programs) also offer merchants (and/or affiliates) capabilities of creating their own widgets. So, neither the thought of monetizing “sites run by fans”, nor the idea of doing it through widgets are new, but it will be interesting to see how this develops.