Tech chess crop

Published on June 5th, 2015 | by Ori Manor


Affiliate marketing – what happened?

What ever happened to the affiliate marketing industry?

Once (2001-2011) a fast growing industry with a multi-billion dollar potential. Now a worn-out field, the junk yard of the online advertising industry. Remember ClickBank? NeverBlue? COPEAC? ShareASale? RevenueWire? We all believed these companies will become Ebay-size giants.

That didn’t happen.. why..? Here’s my take:

1. Scummy products: the industry foolishly embraced low-end, non-ethical products (scummy diets, ‘get rich quick’ programs, etc) that pushed away the big brands that didn’t want any association with such products. This doesn’t include CJ, Linkshare and some other players who kept it clean, but the slime was sticky enough to affect everyone.

2. Problematic billing tactics: remember the COPEAC story? Many CPA networks embraced dirty (sometimes illegal) billing tactics, including unexpected recurring payments and more. It didn’t take too long before all the violators showed up in red on the FTC radar, which in turn – shut them down.

3. Google: Google had a lot to do with killing the affiliate marketing industry. With its strategic decision to empower businesses and demote affiliates, they denied many affiliates of the privilege to freely promote third party products using dedicated landing pages, etc. Many affiliates lost their entire business due to that.

4. The rise of online advertising  – as the online advertising industry grew, bigger brands started to inject monster-size budgets to online campaigns. As a result, thousands of ‘lifestyle affiliates'(working from home)  lost their ability to compete in the increasingly aggressive bid war.

5. The networks themselves: it’s no secret that some of the (once) most prominent networks (Azoogle / Epic Media) didn’t pay their affiliates or scrubbed some commission payments and guess what? Their businesses collapsed.

If forced to conclude, I would summarize by saying this: it was mostly GREED that killed the industry. And what a shame: the affiliate marketing industry could have been bigger than anything else.



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