Featuring cocktails, appetizers, networking, giveaways...and you're invited so save the date!
This year at the 2010 Internet Retailer Conference (on June 10th) there is a meet & greet from 5:30pm-7:30pm, presented by AvantLink.com. This will be a casual networking event for Affiliate marketing professionals, much like our receptions we've put on in the past at Outdoor Retailer.
If you're planning to attend IRCE 2010 in Chicago, please join us. You could win an iPad just for showing up!
RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know how to make an analysis of web traffic that makes it 99.9% probable that Affiliates are using CPV/PPV Networks to drive traffic, as in this case. We have the secret sauce, and the cheaters don't know what that is. And neither will anyone reading this article...
At any rate, during the vetting this individual didn't seem to understand what we meant by "bad traffic", so Scott spelled it out for him in an email. I thought it was worth posting here to help others understand what we believe to be Good vs. Bad traffic:
We would consider "good" traffic to be (but not limited to):
- Sites that visitors come to naturally or through search results, and then click through affiliate links to merchant sites.
- PPC bidding (not on trademarked terms and that follows our network level and merchant level terms and conditions) on search engines to drive traffic through affiliate links.
- Opt-in email campaigns (not SPAM) that drive traffic through affiliate links.
We consider "bad" traffic to be anything not covered by the above, including (but not limited to):
- The use of browser toolbar/add-ons that trigger content including affiliate links to users and as a result intercept the natural click stream of the user.
- Trademark-term PPC bidding and/or any PPC bidding that violates our network level or merchant level terms and conditions.
- Spamdexing, or any attempt to use black hat SEO methods to game the search engine results.
And it hurts my GeekArm to hold one to my ear. For the most part they are a silly and outdated tool, especially for those of us who spend our time doing web marketing stuff all day. There are two reasons why I prefer email over phones with my day-to-day work @AvantLink, and they are basically the same thing.
- Self-documentation. With a phone call you spend the first ten minutes on small talk, and then by the time it's wrapped up thirty minutes or more have passed. Then (and here's the best part), ten minutes later you can't remember details or a course of action from the call!
- Correspondence history. You can't just say you did something or lie over a digital conversation. Trust me, there are plenty of opportunities in this business to forward a previous correspondence to corroborate your side of a dispute or disagreement.
Of course when it comes down to it, when it's absolutely necessary, I'll get on the phone...kicking and screaming. But I'm not into a scheduled call for the fun of it so don't be surprised if I politely ask: email your questions please. If you have 3-5 questions email them over, I'll answer them one by one. But be warned, for those who insist on a call, don't expect me to ask about the weather.
For a long time it was stressed that in the cost per sale Affiliate marketing space more was better. In other words, the more Affiliates you could get on board with your program, the better off you would be. In the year 2000 that may have been the case. In the year 2010, it's definitely not.
This is especially important to realize if you're part of a network that boasts that they have "over a million publishers".
(BTW the term "publishers" referring to Affiliates in and of itself kind of annoys me, but that's for a different rant, on a different day.)
Web retailers, despite what you've been told by sales people for these platforms, a multitude of marginal Affiliates having access to your store means nothing ...but extra work, hard ache and damage to your bottom line; not to mention potential damage to the brand and reputation you've worked so hard to build.
Although you won't get any company names outta me, I'll bet a lot of folks reading this can guess who I'm talking about...and get it right. Some of the largest Affiliate network platforms could care less about a web store's brand. What they do care about is making $$$ for their stakeholders and bloated organizations. So,
- They will look the other way on TONS of rogue Affiliate traffic driving techniques because, frankly, these techniques aren't against the law. This not only steals traffic and sales from legitimate Affiliates, but some of these techniques also effectively trump the web retailer's own internal ad spending and organic rankings...effectively filtering sales through a channel they don't belong to.
- They will look the other way on Trademark Bidding by Affiliates. Which is the practice of driving cheap paid search traffic to retailers by bidding on their names, domain names or trademarks. Apparently (according to some platforms) it's appropriate to leave it up to the merchants to police this activity, even though greater than 9 out of 10 web merchants don't want it happening, and rightly so. In fact, a lot of merchants I talk to are pissed off and disappointed when they figure out this is happening! They feel taken advantage of.
- They will nickel and dime web stores on their networks for everything imaginable. Merchants, want to send out some recruitment offers? Cough up a fee. Want to get featured placement and extra network exposure? Cough up a fee. What, you didn't move $25,000 worth of transactions through the platform this month? Cough up a fee. One way or another, they will get their money.
If you're a quality web retailer looking for a level playing field, value Affiliates and a true partner in this business check out AvantLink. Yep, it's in part my company, my blog, so I'll be plugging our company LOTS. Get over it
We have two outdoor Affiliate marketing events this Saturday, January 23rd; at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. They serve different purposes.
First, during the day from noon-1pm, I'm presenting an educational seminar at the SLC Marriott. It's an OR-sanctioned event and the purpose is to introduce direct-to-consumer brands to cost per sale Affiliate marketing. For any outdoor manufacturer/brand with an ecommerce platform selling direct...it's imperative they understand this channel. After all it is the single most cost effective marketing channel available to them online...without a doubt. We have Patagonia on our Affiliate network, and they crank. It's a perfect case study to present.
The second event happens in the evening from 5-8pm at the Hilton, directly across from the Salt Palace. This is not a sanctioned OR event. However they had to (and did) approve of it. Apparently Outdoor Retailer owns all of Salt Lake City while they are here twice per year. This event is a reception for Affiliates and merchants in AvantLink, and it will be our second having organized the first this past July.
I'll follow-up with a post after this weekend, and after destroying Utah powder for a couple of days once I wrap both up.
How's this for my first post @GeekArm? Sitting here in Las Vegas at Affiliate Summit, at the Rio, on Saturday, January 18th 2010 at 9:45pm. Although it was an eventful day of networking and seeing old friends...this place just isn't for me. What with being a country boy and all.
Not to mention the NOISE...literally. The Rio is so damn noisy.