Feedfront Magazine Issue 44

Page 1


@feedfront | www.feedfront.com

The official magazine for Affiliate Summit Self-regulation: online marketing’s internal police force

Creating meaningful relationships with influencers

Why industry self-regulation is key to the longevity of any advertiser’s business and why it starts with working with the right partners

In a cluttered field of potential influencers, how can you carve out your niche and turn conversations into conversions?

By Rachel Hirsch, Page 23

By Jon Kendall, Page 11

If you’re not using videos, it’s time Online video consumption continues to increase. Are you using them as part of your brand’s marketing strategy? By Michelle Held, Page 24

Affiliate marketing in Asia: 8 successful approaches BY FRANK RAVANELLI PAGE 5

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44




Affiliate marketing offers local brands a worldwide stage

Advertisers investing more than €12bn annually

€1 advertiser spend driving €16 in revenue Publishers generating sales in 192 countries covering 98% of the world

20% of new publishers earning commissions within one week

Come and speak with us at Affiliate Summit APAC 2018 Booth 25 awin.com | CommissionFactory.com Statistics are calculated using Awin's 2017 data





Co-Editors in Chief Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

Coping with Entrepreneurial Failure

Affiliate Marketing in Asia 8 Successful Approaches

Making the Most of Your New Intern

Co-Publishers Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

By Shawn Collins

By Frank Ravanelli

By Angie Burnett

Contributing Writers Frank Ravanelli Angie Burnett Paige L. White Tom Wozniak Anastasia Zaichko Jon Kendall Jonathan Goodwin Conner Edmiston Dominic Baliszewski Geno Prussakov David Troop Sean Steinmarc Maria Sparagis Rachel Hirsch Michelle Held Dmitrii Zotov Suresh Dakshina Graphic Design Andy Medley for YMP http://youngsmedia.productions






5 Reasons to Use Influencers and Affiliates

Lessons Learned from Email Opt-Outs

Becoming the Best Brand in a Mobile World

Creating Meaningful Relationships with Influencers

By Paige L. White

By Tom Wozniak

By Anastasia Zaichko

By Jon Kendall





The Art of Recapturing Lost Conversions

The Intern Whats Working and Whats Confusing

The New Affiliates are Coming

Taking Affiliate Marketing to the Next Level

By Jonathan Goodwin

By Conner Edmiston

By Dominic Baliszewski

By Geno Prussakov




Why Pay-Per-Click Programs are Making a Comeback

Women at the Top in Tech: An interview with VP’s Alexandra Forsch and Sarah Beeskow, Awin US Group

Be Clear Concise and Cogent

Magazine Coordinator Cruz Alvarado Affiliate Summit 9532 Liberia Avenue, #127 Manassas, VA 20110 tel (417)-2SUMMIT (278-6648) fax (908) 364-4627 Articles in FeedFront Magazine are the opinions of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine, or its owners. FeedFront Magazine always welcomes opinions of an opposite nature. For more information, visit: www.FeedFront.com Interested in advertising? Please visit: feedfront.com/advertising/ or email us at: contact@feedfront.com

By David Troop

CONVERSION By Sean Steinmarc



Navigating Global Trade and CrossBorder Payments

Self Regulation Online Marketings Internal Police Force



By Maria Sparagis

By Rachel Hirsch




If You’re Not Using Videos, It’s Time

Automation in Affiliate Marketing

E-Commerce Fraud Methods to Protect Your Business

By Dmitrii Zotov

By Suresh Dakshina

© 2018 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors.

By Michelle Held


FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44


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Shawn Collins @affiliatetip


COPING WITH ENTREPRENEURIAL FAILURE Entrepreneurs experience public setbacks that take a tough mental toll, but I figured out a way to cope with it. By Shawn Collins My name is Shawn Collins and I am a member of Business Failures Anonymous. I’ve failed more than I have succeeded in business if you look at the sheer number of companies formed and ideas implemented. Sometimes, I put the businesses down quietly and others were more noticed when they were gone. There is some amount of grief involved each time, but I’ve always managed to push through to the other side and find my next victory. I have found it helpful to apply the Kübler-Ross model, better known as the five stages of grief, when I’ve failed. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. A side note to this: the five stages of grief are often thought of as transitions for grieving people who have lost loved ones, but they are actually a progression of emotional states experienced by terminally ill patients after diagnosis. Anyhow, I’ve used it incorrectly to apply to myself and my failings, and being aware of the stages has made it easier to process things. I have worked through the stages in a sort of unconventional way… with music. I suppose I could keep a journal or something to chronicle things, but that’s too new age for me, and even in elementary school I was getting C’s in penmanship. It’s only gotten worse. So anyhow, I make playlists for each stage. It sounds hokey, I know. But it’s really been therapeutic for me over the years. Those early stage playlists are heavy on stuff like NIN and Eminem. Moving on it’s some Smiths and other mopey 80s stuff. Finally, I get to some chilled out music from artists such as Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett for the point of acceptance.

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It’s not that easy for everybody, though. An article was published by Inc. in 2014 titled “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship,” and it was about the demons and darkness that often accompany entrepreneurship. The piece was shared frequently on social media among affiliate marketers, because it struck a chord with so many. Additionally, research from the UC Berkeley Institutional Review Board that was published in the journal Small Business Economics painted a dire picture for entrepreneurs. According to the report, entrepreneurs are significantly more likely than the general population to experience depression, ADHD, addiction, and a bipolar diagnosis. Earlier this year people were shocked to hear of the suicides of high profile entrepreneurs Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. But they were just the latest. In the past seven years there have been lots of other well-known entrepreneurs who took their lives, including Faigy Mayer (CEO of Appton), Aaron Schwartz (Co-Founder of Reddit), and Ilya Zhitomirskiy (CEO of Diaspora). No doubt there are people in our industry suffering every day. Know that you are loved by those of us in the industry and outside of it. If you are in danger of acting on suicidal thoughts or are in any other life-threatening crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 800-273-TALK (8255), or visit suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html for other country specific hotlines. [FF] Shawn is Co-CEO of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at affiliatetip.com.

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These are eight approaches to affiliate marketing to be successful in Asia, especially in the vertical of beauty/ skin care. They are applicable to advertisers (first part of each header) and affiliates (second part of each header) alike.

1. Grow Your Own Affiliate Program / Promote a Merchant’s Program Stand-alone, merchant’s specific affiliate programs give the guarantee of purchasing genuine products. As a brand, you can sell at a premium in some markets and you own the relationship with the customer. As an affiliate, you are always sure to link to original products and not “look-alikes”.

2. Advertise Through Local Networks / Be a Publisher of a Local Network But then why reinvent the wheel? You can add to your strategy affiliate networks that specialize in Asian markets (Optimise Media, The Affiliate Gateway, etc.). As an advertiser, you reach at once a critical mass of affiliates. As an affiliate, many of your favourite brands may be clustered under one tracking with easy monthly payments.

3. Line up Big Promos for 11.11-12.12 / Get Ready for the Big Results Familiarize with and activate yourself for the big sales opportunities in Asia.

4. Localization, Localization, Localization / Leverage Your Local Advantage If your English website will not convert in Asia it tells everyone you are not ready for those markets. As an affiliate, choose brands who localize their content; maybe they will even allow you to do TM+ in the geos where you may have more marketing knowledge than they do.

5. Find Super-Affiliates Apps / Launch your App Mobiles own eyeballs. Apps own Mobile usage. As a brand, partner with eshopping apps in Asia or launch your own as an affiliate.

6. Work with Hybrid Influencers / Become a Hybrid Influencer Go hybrid; align everyone’s mutual interest! As a merchant, engage influencers who work on reasonable flat plus CPS. As an affiliate, use the flat to cover your costs and the CPS to make the real profits.


Discover eight approaches to grow in Asia through affiliate marketing, for advertisers and publishers alike. By Frank Ravanelli

7. Build a Fully Remote Team / Scale-Up with Remote Talent For advertisers and publishers alike, using remote teams is the way to grow fast with positive ROI. My approach is STEP: Select, Test, Educate, Then Promote or Phase-Out. Meaning find motivated team members; test them, train them and then promote them if they show eagerness to learn and succeed. Otherwise, set them free and find someone else.

8. Piggy-back on the Giants / Promote the Giants Ecommerce in Asia is very different from elsewhere. Can you support Cash-On-Delivery (and related cancellation rates), localized logistics, product registration with relevant authorities, customer support, etc.? Can you really compete with the conversion rates of local giants like Tmall, Rakuten, Gmarket, and Lazada? If not, join them. As a brand, get your products on the key marketplaces relevant to your verticals. Your reputation in the region will benefit from it. You will make sure customers can get these products from you and not only importers. As an affiliate, join the affiliate programs of the eTailers/ Marketplaces that serve your geos and piggyback on their strengths. [FF]

Frank Ravanelli, “FOREO Head of Affiliates – Asia/EMEA”, has been in emarketing since 1995. FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44



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MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR NEW INTERN Make the most of your new intern, how to help them succeed and make the most of this opportunity. By Angie Burnett

You’ve gotten the go ahead and are ready to hire an intern. How do you ensure you are getting the most out of your new intern? Preparation, involvement, continual feedback, and communication will ensure that you develop and get the most out of your affiliate intern.

Preparation Preparation is key in order to make the most of your new intern. Before you start the hiring process think about what the job duty entails. If your intern will handle most of the reporting, then you will want to look for someone who is data-orientated, or if they will mainly focus on outreach you will want somebody with strong communication skills. The initial downtime you spend training your new hire will ultimately pay off in the end. You will need to dedicate some serious hours to training. Chances are your intern is coming into your industry with little or no experience. Building a strong foundation is pivotal in their success. Your intern will need to have a strong foundation that they can continually build upon as they gain new experiences and knowledge.

Be the Example Whether you want to believe it or not, your intern will pick up on how you treat others and your interactions with internal and external customers. Setting a good, positive example will ultimately shape how your intern acts. Let them know it’s ok to make mistakes and when it does happen, it is best to own it and fix it right away. Let them know that it is ok to ask for help, and this internship is a learning experience.

Make it Count While you might want to give your intern only the monotonous tasks, challenge them and utilize their unique skill sets. Give them some flexibility to work on something that interests them, utilizing their skill set to the fullest. Offer continual training and feedback on a consistent basis. This is a great way for you to build a rapport with your intern as well as help them grow and land a full-time position. [FF]

Involvement Make your intern feel welcome and that their contribution matters. You want your intern to feel appreciated and part of the team from the get-go. Include your intern in meetings, phone calls, and ask for input and feedback on projects. Not only will this demonstrate to you that they understand different aspects of their role, you can also use this time to address any areas that might need additional clarification or attention. The more invested the intern is, the more you can get out of them. Show them the importance of building relationships and ways they can foster and grow their career.


Angie Burnett is the Affiliate Marketing Specialist at Jane.com.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

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Here are five reasons to work with both affiliates and influencers. By Paige L. White

As the discussion grows over the benefits of affiliate versus influencer marketing, it is clear that brands can take advantage of both opportunities without having to choose one to the exclusion of the other. Campaign goals, budgets, target audience, and content strategy can all play a role in determining how best to build a hybrid initiative integrating performance and fee-based elements for your marketing programs. Here are five reasons to work with both affiliates and influencers

1. Ad Blocking According to the 2017 Adblock Report from PageFair, 615 million devices now use adblocking technology, adblock usage grew 30% globally in 2016, and Mobile adblock usage grew by 108 million from Dec 2015 - Dec 2016. This means that affiliate ads run the risk of being blocked by these technologies. Content marketing on the other hand is not seen as advertising, per se, and generally won’t encounter this roadblock. Ideally, marketers create synergy by taking advantage of both opportunities and generate content combined with acceptable affiliate ad practices in order to be whitelisted within adblocking technologies.

2. Budget Traditional affiliate marketing is performance based and therefore seen as ‘free’ by many advertisers, whereas influencer marketing typically involves a cost to have content created. However, this doesn’t mean that brands can’t allocate budgets across both channels. According to BrightLocal, ‘85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations’, so you can be sure that ad views are just one step in the conversion process and help to justify an investment in positive content creation to support affiliate initiatives.

3. A/B Testing In order to truly understand which marketing channels are converting best, affiliate and influencer campaigns offer great ways to test your message. Content allows brands to expand their message through the power of storytelling. Affiliate marketing takes a much more direct path to conversion. Comparing the results of a content strategy against the conversions driven by traditional affiliate marketing will be very helpful in determining which strategy is best suited for your particular needs; one or a combination of both?



4. Audience Reach Influencers and affiliates often reach very different audiences. Influencers tend to focus on single subject content targeting readers specifically interested in topics such as home décor, fashion, finance, and travel, whereas affiliates will place more emphasis on distributing advertising across numerous sites and verticals while emphasizing direct conversion methods. Both approaches serve to complement each other and can prove profitable when combined as part of the overall marketing strategy.

5. Repurposing Content Influencers typically create high quality content in exchange for a fee. As part of the campaign, the content is usually shared to one or more social channels such as YouTube or Instagram. Brands can capitalize on this content by repurposing it for internal use, a benefit that affiliate marketing generally does not offer. In combination with performance campaigns, repurposing influencer content can provide strong ongoing brand exposure that can help with awareness when customers see corresponding affiliate advertising. [FF]

Paige L. White is Co-founder of SheSavvy.com, a women’s blogging community, Influencer, and Affiliate Network

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44



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LESSONS LEARNED FROM EMAIL OPT-OUTS There’s a lot to learn from your email opt-outs, if you take the time to dig into the data. By Tom Wozniak

For many email marketers, once a recipient opts-out, it’s like what Michael Corleone said to his brother, Fredo, in the Godfather II: “You’re nothing to me now.” While it’s true that you can’t mail to them anymore, you have the opportunity to gain some valuable insights as they drop off your list. But, you have to look further than your unsubscribe rate.

The Who, When, Why, and How of Email Opt-Outs There’s a lot of potential information in your opt-outs from each campaign. Here are three data points that should be readily available and one you can look at adding to your opt-out process.

Who is Opting Out? Whether you use an opt-out management solution or it’s provided by your email service provider, you should be able to easily see a list of all recipient emails addresses that have opted out from a particular email campaign. Examine those addresses and look for trends. If you have a larger database of your email audience, you may be able to look at additional information about the opt-outs and see if a higher than normal percentage of them are coming from a particular audience segment.

When are Recipients Opting Out? After looking at information about your opt-out audience, you may also want to see when the opt-outs come in. You’ll almost certainly see the majority of your opt-outs be submitted within a certain window after your campaign was sent. But, have you ever looked at trends in that time lag? Do some campaigns have a shorter (or longer) than typical window between send and the majority of opt-outs being received?


How are Recipients Opting Out? We know that consumer behaviors are constantly evolving with one of the largest movements being the ongoing shift from accessing digital information (aka the Internet) on desktop computers to mobile devices. In about 10 years, mobile has gone from having no Internet access to now accounting for more than 50% of all Internet activity. Have you ever looked at your opt-out records and examined the data that comes in with the request to identify specifics like the device or browser they used for the opt-out? This information is available from certain suppression list and opt-out management platforms.

Why are Recipients Opting Out? This is a step that numerous companies take in their opt-out process. They include a question on the opt-out confirmation page designed to learn a bit more about why a recipient has chosen to unsubscribe. Keep it short and simple (with checkbox answers) and focus on some of the key reasons someone would opt-out: the content isn’t relevant, they receive too many messages from your company, etc. Once you’ve gathered and evaluated this kind of opt-out data, there’s one vital step left - actually using the info to optimize future campaigns. It may seem obvious, but while many marketers collect great performance data on their campaigns, some fail to take the lessons from that information and apply it to their next campaign. [FF]

Tom Wozniak, Executive Director of Marketing at email compliance and suppression list management company, OPTIZMO.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

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The mobile market is growing very fast, and it is expected to have more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide. By Anastasia Zaichko

According to recent Google research, 40% of online transactions are now done on mobile. Furthermore, before the purchasing stage, shoppers use their smartphones and tablets for research, and more than a half want to make a purchase right after that. So, if your marketing strategy isn’t adapted to mobile, you are seriously missing out. A user-friendly and accessible mobile experience can be a game-changer when it comes to promoting your business. While a poor mobile website experience could mean a lost sale for you.

Optimize Your Site for Mobile-First Environment It might seem as a no-brainer that brands should improve customer experience on mobile. But in reality, while optimizing their sites, a lot of the marketers still concentrate only on core principles such as load-speed, and interface and responsive capabilities. Of course, these aspects are crucial in the mobile-first environment. Nonetheless, businesses might disregard the future, which now belongs to voice search. According to Google research, more than 40% of adults and half of teens use voice search on a day-to-day basis. And these numbers will only continue growing with time. So, the marketers should start preparing for this before the world shifts beneath their feet and voice overtakes text as a preferred search method.

Target Customers in Specific Locations

So, if your store doesn’t pop up in the local search results, you could miss out on countless sales. In addition to improving your SEO strategy, you can use pinpoint advertising, which ties the ads to specific locations allowing you to send app-based advertisements to people who are nearby at particular time.



Use the Synergy of Apps, Web, and Mobile Web What’s best for your customer is best for your brand. Thus, the ability to engage with customers in the most impactful way is essential, be it on the web, mobile web, in-app or on other channels. For example, a few years ago, the app downloads skyrocketed, and each brand tried to launch their own apps to engage with the customers. But now the app market is saturated, so it’s not realistic to expect that everyone will be installing a separate app for each brand they do business with. In fact, very few will. That is why you should work out a cohesive strategy which will include all the marketing channels. For example, the mobile web and web channels can be used to attract prospects and casual customers, while the app will be a good retention and engagement tool for loyalties. As you can see, in order to conquer the mobile world, you need to revise your approach to brand awareness and customer acquisition. It’s a challenging task, but if you do it step by step, you’ll have an exceptional mobile presence before you even know it. [FF]

Nowadays, when people want something right now in this particular place, they use their smartphones to find it. They might not even look up from their smartphones to see a big sign of your store.

Anastasia Zaichko is a PR Manager at Affise performance marketing platform, “Affiliate Network Insider” columnist.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44


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CREATING MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS WITH INFLUENCERS In a cluttered field of potential influencers, how can you carve out your niche and turn conversations into conversions? By Jon Kendall

As we zoom towards holiday season, it’s worth taking time to revisit your influencer strategy and how it can best capitalize on consumers looking to purchase online during peak. Even if you have yet to leverage your brand enthusiasts, now is the perfect time to take the plunge.

This focuses efforts on the influencers that matter most and fosters the type of brand reinforcement (keep in mind the old “Rule of Seven” adage) that enables an advertiser to better resonate in a cluttered space. Within influencer marketing, quality truly prevails over quantity.

And if not, you risk your competitors chipping away at your market share during the most important time of the year.

Now that we know who to work with, how can we best utilize their potential during Q4? These relationships are rarely plugand-play, so it’s best to discuss how to proceed on a quick kickoff call. Beyond educating them on the value propositions and nuances of your brand, suggest some ideas on how to configure the relationship. Some influencers will be hesitant to work via a standard commission, as their exposure is more of an upperfunnel/introductory tactic. Understand you may need to incentivize these folks with an enhanced commission rate, or flat-fee-per-post structure. Some will be willing to offer exposure in exchange for gratis product. Get a sense of what the influencer is comfortable with and be flexible. Also, consider providing them an exclusive deal or discount to give their audiences an additional incentive to buy, and complete the commerce circle from awareness to purchase. [FF]

Find the Right Influencers What differentiates an influencer from any layman with an Instagram account or content blog? We define an influencer as a social media user with true credibility within their community, so authenticity is key. Look at the existing content of the pages you’re considering working with and determine if the tone, feel, and subject matter will be a good fit for your brand’s story. Also consider the size of the influencer’s following. Top-tier macro-influencers (think celebrities) may command a high price tag, and typically have audiences less likely to be engaged on a single subject or product. Smaller influencers may not have much of an audience and, though they may be willing to promote in exchange for free product, ultimately may not prove worth the effort. We find the sweet-spot to be within mid-tier influencers that play within a relevant vertical, as they often have a following that looks to them as experts in that space (positioning the influencer as a true steward of your brand).


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Find the Right Tools

Find the Right Cadence When influencers emerge on marketer’s radars, many advertisers cast a wide net, trying to cover as much online ground as possible through small one-off campaigns. This can lead to a bit of wheel-spinning and unproductive efforts. Instead, we have found more benefit in identifying a core group of meaningful influencers and working with them on long-term campaigns that would slot exposure a few times each year.

Jon Kendall is a Vice President of Affiliate Marketing at Gen3 Marketing (Gen3Marketing.com).

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44



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THE ART OF RECAPTURING LOST CONVERSIONS Advertisers are missing out on a lot of revenue due to their lack of technology to recapture lost conversions. By Jonathan Goodwin

Recapturing lost conversions with on-site strategies can have a significant impact on advertiser’s revenue. Oftentimes, merchants are unaware of the exact onsite locations users abandon during path-to-purchase. Although some advertisers realize a significant percentage of users exiting at second session, cart, or checkout, many do not have the necessary technology to engage abandoning shoppers and capture otherwise lost conversions. This can have a significant impact on hitting revenue goals. According to Business Insider, 46.1% of cart abandonment occurs at the payment stage. Not fully understanding how users behave on-site can be a simple area of opportunity to boost conversions, recapture customers, and help increase lifetime value (LTV). The solution to these problems boils down to how users are engaged throughout various stages of the funnel. Typically, advertisers have high exit rates at cart and checkout, as users shop to see what their total cart value is before purchasing. From there, some users move on to comparative, competitor, and bargain shopping. However, there are some instances where advertisers see high exit rates at mid-stages of their conversion paths. There are many variables to consider when assessing on-site user behavior. Every merchant is different, so it’s very important for an advertiser to fully understand their user experience and customer journey.


Here are some simple ways to engage users that show exit intent: 1.

Late Funnel Activity: Typically, many advertisers realize a significant percentage of users abandoning at cart or checkout. Getting acquainted with this part of the funnel will allow advertisers to figure out engagements most effective in converting browsers to customers.


Technology: Have a solution in place that identifies how users behave throughout their on-site journeys and can identify how users exit the site.


User Engagement: Create a user engagement that helps keep potential customers on-site. A/B test to figure out what messaging resonates well with the merchant’s audience.


Identify Other Weaknesses in the Clickstream: Although late funnel activity is the lowest hanging fruit, there could be other areas in the conversion funnel that has a high abandonment rate. Deploy those engagements appropriately.

Fully understanding how users shop on a merchant’s site is the first step to capturing lost conversions. Establish enough statistical relevance to gain a clearer picture and fully grasp where the missed opportunities are, specifically in the merchant’s conversion path. Once those areas of missed opportunity are pinpointed, it is time to deploy user engagements, analyze data, and optimize strategy. The result? A clear path to capturing lost conversions. [FF]

Jonathan Goodwin is UpSellit Solutions’ Partner Executive, with 8 years of experience in digital marketing.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

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THE INTERN: WHAT WORKS AND WHAT’S CONFUSING Being an intern in Affiliate Marketing and doing the things to best help them. By Conner Edmiston

Starting Out Starting out, most interns have a very generic idea of what affiliate marketing consists of. They think we worked with bloggers and when they promoted us they would get paid. They quickly learn how much there is to a single program and how much work goes into making it grow and progress. This is the best way to help them get up to speed.

What Works As an intern, you have no idea what is going on, or what your boss is talking about, or even how to make an impact on your affiliate program to help it improve. The first thing that you should have your intern do is audit your affiliates in your program. This will not only help them realize the different types of niches in your program, but it will allow your intern to truly begin to understand affiliate marketing. They will start to look at URLs, banners, and text links and quickly learn the basics of how it all works. Moving forward from the audit, your intern will have seen what works and what doesn’t and may even have questions of his own. Now they will be able to communicate with your affiliates and be more hands-on when it comes to answering questions and sending deals. Your intern will feel like they have an actual role in the program and are helping it grow. You, as the boss, now get to watch and see if your intern has the drive and ability to further the program as a full-time employee. See how they work with your affiliate members and how they overcome obstacles.

Your intern still needs a leader who is directing them to understand new topics or tactics when managing an affiliate program. They will continue to learn and become better coordinators in your program, but they will still need some direction as things arrive. This is the point where you need to decide to hire them on or not, because, by this time, they know what they are getting in to and you can see if they have interest in working with you full-time. Starting out as an intern was really scary, but it was the best work experience I have ever had. I have learned as much as I could, and I finished up my internship. Now, I’m a full-time employee for the same company that took me on. [FF]

What’s Confusing There comes a point where your intern is going to start understanding the analytics, the process, and even the basics of running an affiliate program. As an intern, I still didn’t understand what exactly went into managing a program. Most interns don’t know what to look for, issues that might come up, or be able to take care of a “fire” that arises.


Conner Edmiston is the Affiliate Marketing Coordinator at Jane.com

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

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Traditional media publishers are already shaking up the affiliate industry and are set to drive seismic changes into 2019. By Dominic Baliszewksi

Affiliate marketing is an ever-changing industry and as we move into 2019 this is no exception. The way the Internet “works” from a commercial standpoint is continuing to shift. Consumers are used to getting content free, funded by advertising. Over the past few years, the move from direct sales to programmatic has resulted in significant revenue pressure for publishers. What’s more, with GDPR coming into force earlier this year, monetizing data through 3rd party marketplaces is increasingly challenging. This has impacted traditional media pushers (news, magazine sites, and similar) more than others. Coupled with ad revenue pressures, it has also become clear that there is only room in the market for a limited number of subscription brands. As a result, affiliate revenues, which have historically been seen by these brands as something “we should be doing” but was never a true strategic focus, has rapidly ascended the priority list. A little while back, I forecasted that we would see significant growth into affiliates from publishers this year and, since then, we have seen the launch of voucher codes by the Independent and BuzzFeed reviews. One barrier to content sites doing affiliates has traditionally been reporting. With hundreds, if not thousands of articles, understanding what articles are driving what revenue/sales is absolutely essential. Yet, when working across multiple networks, this can be very challenging. As an affiliate business ourselves, this is something we struggled with for almost a decade until we eventually decided to invest and build reporting tech that does this automatically and pushes the data into Google Analytics.

Now that these reporting challenges are being solved for publishers, the incentives to invest in affiliate marketing really stack up. These organizations have the size, brand, traffic footprint, and clout to deliver sizeable traffic levels and significant volumes to advertisers. Accordingly, this affiliate trend will surely continue. On one hand, this is concerning as there are considerably more people competing for the same sale and affiliate budget from advertisers. Conversely, we will likely see significant positives from more major brands delivering large sales volumes, coupled with quality user experiences powered by affiliate marketing. The result could well be affiliate strategy moving from a side-line to front and center of major brands’ marketing strategies – which can only be good news. What does this mean for established players within the industry? That entirely depends on how they respond. Those that up their game and continue to put users first, as well as potentially partner with these brands, will thrive. Those that continue to rely on the same old, same old, may struggle. The facts remain that the industry will continue to change; we will see more major new entrants from established brands in the space. Like previous changes and challenges within the industry, there will be winners and losers, but this evolution is likely to be massively positive for the industry as a whole. [FF]

Dominic Baliszewski is Head of New Ventures at Decision Tech and recently launched Fullsight.tech

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44





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TAKING AFFILIATE MARKETING TO THE NEXT LEVEL Great affiliate marketing is never limited to one promotional method. Here are five techniques that will help reinvigorate your approach. By Geno Prussakov

Whether you are an affiliate publisher or a brand with an affiliate program, you are likely aware of the impression from some that affiliate marketing is considered to be synonymous with coupon marketing. Beautiful affiliate marketing, however, is always much more intricate than mere couponing. Successful affiliates and advertisers always diversify their marketing approaches, never limiting their focus to any one marketing technique. As we move into the fourth quarter and on to 2019, consider the following five ways to reinvigorate how you do affiliate marketing.

1. Collaboration on Content Creation Every brand wants to work with content-oriented affiliates – to be able to touch their audiences through them. Whether it is visual content (on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and other media) or textual content (from the short Twitter form to longer blog posts and reviews), do not hesitate to reach out to one another and collaborate on putting together a killer copy. Affiliates know their audiences best, while advertisers know their products. Put your collective knowledge to good work.

2. Behavioral Targeting Monitor your users’ shopping behavior to adapt your marketing to their interests. If, for example, someone purchases a cooler, you want to analyze the type of cooler it is and cross-promote either travel, outdoors, wine, or fishing products to that buyer.


3. Co-Branding Did you know that co-branding of an advertiser’s landing pages (to make them correspond to the referring affiliate) is one of the most effective conversion optimization techniques? Smoothening the transition from one website to the other always lubricates the path to conversion, increasing the latter two- to three-fold. Check out what PCMag.com is doing with many of the brands/products that they review and rank. You will find a number of inspiring examples how to (i) connect, (ii) convince, and (iii) convert through co-branded affiliate landing pages.

4. (Different) Retargeting Don’t skip this one too fast, as it’s not your traditional retargeting that I imply here. What I suggest is that affiliates allow brands to retarget abandoners of their websites, linking those retargeting ads through the respective affiliate’s tracking URLs. Whether the site abandoner was reviewing the brand’s product or their direct competitor’s product, there is clear value for the brand to establish such partnerships with the right affiliates.

5. Marketing Synchronization Finally, for maximum amplification, it is integral for advertisers and affiliates to synchronize their marketing. In the multitouchpoint reality of present-day marketing, everything is interwoven, and it’s okay. Learn to steer it and put it to work for you. In conclusion, I’d like to encourage you to keep on experimenting, keep on trying new things and playing with new approaches. Learn from failures, replicate successes, but never stand still. [FF]

Geno Prussakov runs AM Navigator (outsourced affiliate program management agency), writes, blogs, speaks at Affiliate Summits.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

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No school like the old school; learn how pay-per-click campaigns are sparking appeal with bloggers and influencer affiliates. By David Troop

In the world of affiliate marketing, there are always new strategies merchants will use to make their program attractive to potential affiliates. These strategies may include: bonuses, extended cookie durations, and most importantly, commissions paid to the affiliates. There are several methods of rewarding commissions by merchants; pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, pay-per- call, and pay-perclick as examples. In the early days of affiliate marketing, there was an explosion of campaigns compensating affiliates on a pay-per-click basis. Unfortunately, affiliates utilized nefarious tactics (e.g., click bots) to drive up their commissions with these types of campaigns. Now with the advancement of affiliate marketing, technology networks are able to identify fraudulent clicks when they occur and prevent costs from being incurred by merchants. Presently, we are witnessing a comeback of pay-per-click campaigns due to the interest they garner from influencers and bloggers. This compensation method is an effective way for brands to ignite relationships with these types of affiliates.

Last, but not least, this compensation method can be a catalyst for merchants to gain exposure on influencer platforms; those connecting brands with Twitch streamers, as one example, to monetize influencer content and potentially also integrate the traditional pay-per-sale element. Naturally, pay-per-click can be inherently risky for merchants. Consulting with your network or agency on the best structure that aligns with your overall affiliate marketing goals and objectives is always recommended. You may be surprised by the tools and technologies available to support a pay-per-click monetization component with your program helping you to build additional relevant relationships and revenue. [FF]



Here are three reasons why: First, pay-per-click compensation helps bloggers and influencers, who may be unfamiliar with affiliate marketing, to easily test the waters and gauge their audiences’ interest in the brand (or product) to determine if a successful match may be born. Secondly, merchants who structure pay-per-click compensation to be based on clicks to specific product pages can appeal to niche influencers, who creatively expose the merchant’s products to an enthusiast audience.

David Troop manages LinkConnector’s Affiliate Operations, where he is integral in growing affiliate and merchant relationships.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44


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WOMEN AT THE TOP IN TECH. AN INTERVIEW WITH VP’S ALEXANDRA FORSCH AND SARAH BEESKOW, AWIN US GROUP Our article discusses the benefits of female leadership in tech, which include outperforming competitors and greater workplace collaboration. Following a phenomenal year of double-digit growth in the US, global affiliate marketing network, Awin recently announced the dual promotions of Alexandra Forsch and Sarah Beeskow Blay to VP roles in their North American divisions, Awin US and ShareASale. “These appointments,” Awin CEO Mark Walters said, “send a strong signal of our combined focus on the North American market.”


ut that isn’t the only strong signal Awin is sending. In appointing two highly-qualified women for senior management positions, Awin is putting the tech industry on notice. We sat down with the two newly appointed VPs to hear their take on the perceived benefits of female leadership in a predominantly male-industry.

Q: What does a business have to gain from elevating women into leadership positions? Alex: To not appear biased, I will point to research, which indicates that companies who diversify management teams foster a culture of growth and collaboration, innovate more, produce better products, and ultimately, improve their revenue outcome. In a broader sense, a 2015 MSCI research study reports that organizations with more women on their boards experience higher rates of return on equity, sales, and invested capital, while women-operated, venture-backed companies achieve 12% higher revenue than those operated predominantly by men. So, the bottom line is that a diversified work force can positively affect your bottom line.

Q. How can employees benefit?

18 Sarah Beeskow Blay FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

Sarah: Ultimately, employees benefit from strong and supportive leadership regardless of gender, but it is interesting to review the 2015 Gallup study that revealed higher engagement among female bosses with their employees. They were reported more likely to talk with employees about their progress, and more likely to encourage professional growth than men in the same management positions. Another Pew Research study suggests that people are five times more likely to perceive women as better mentors than men. With an increasingly millennial-saturated workforce, fostering a sense of professional mentorship is very important and perhaps this plays well to women’s natural strengths and inclinations.

@feedfront | www.feedfront.com


Alexandra Forsch

Q: Alex, as part of a larger tech ecosystem with 1000+ employees in 15 offices globally, has your experience been more challenging? Alex: I am fortunate to be part of this specific tech ecosystem, because the benefits of diversifying leadership positions have long been recognized and honored on a global level at Awin. Across 15 offices our 15 locations, 39% of senior level roles are occupied by women, which is an increase from an industry average that consistently appears to be well under 20% for senior and executive level positions. In my seven-year tenure with Awin, it has always felt that leadership positions were offered to the best person creating equal opportunities for all. I think the mix of different views, skills and experiences is what make us so successful which is determined by many aspects irrespective of gender.

Q: Sarah, have you seen any notable reaction to the change in leadership since you moved into a role that was formerly male-occupied?

“ Ultimately, employees benefit from strong and supportive leadership regardless of gender, but it is interesting to review the 2015 Gallup study that revealed higher engagement among female bosses with their employees.�

Sarah: No, the team has really embraced the change and continue to focus on driving the business forward. And I think that is a good barometer of how they are responding to a major shift in leadership, not to mention an acquisition. We are having our best year on record at ShareASale despite our CEO and GM having exited and 64% of our staff being in new roles or new to the company. is an accomplishment I am incredibly proud of and share with our amazing team. [FF]

19 FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44


TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO BOOK YOUR ROOM FOR #ASW19 A block of rooms has been reserved for the nights of January 3 - 9, 2019. ROOM RATES Room Type

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Book your room for #ASW19 at affiliatesummit.com

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Improving your communication will lead to improved response rates. By Sean Steinmarc

When I was in high school, we had a teacher that used to emphasize the importance of proper communication, both written and orally. To this day, I’m still reminded of his expression, “Be clear, concise, and cogent.” Too often, I find business contacts who could have benefitted from his instruction as I suffer through exhausting emails. Or perhaps just mark them ‘unread’ to deal with later. This is even more important when you’re trying to win a new client or ask a favor. Think about the number of emails you receive on a given day. Now imagine coming back to your inbox after a full day of meetings to review a mountain of messages. Aside from priority emails from clients, which emails do you address first? Which do you leave for later? Always assume that the target of your communication is busier than you, and approach them with that in mind.

Be Clear If your reader doesn’t immediately understand your message, you’ve lost. Avoid complex reasoning and keep your points simple. Ideally, break up your message into specific points. For an initial contact, I always encourage a three-part approach: • Remind the recipient how you know each other (or explain how you found them) • Clearly explain your ask (offer/favor/request/etc.) • Provide the action item/next steps



Be Cogent There was always a part of me that felt the use of ‘cogent’ in this expression didn’t really mesh with being clear and concise. It does work well for alliteration. A better approach may have been to use the word ‘compelling.’ Grab your target’s attention with real outcomes. Avoid leaving things vague – give the recipient a real reason to respond. Never use phrases like “I want to pick your brain.” Be specific and let the recipient understand what it is that you will each get out of continued interaction. And have specific actions for follow-up to make it easy to get that response. For example, avoid the vagueness of “let me know when you are available.” Your time is valuable. Plus, it is more work to respond to such an open-ended invitation. If the goal is a meeting, give the recipient specific dates and times from which to choose and you will be much more likely to get a quick response as they compare their calendar to your suggestions, rather than trying to think about when they might want to connect. And finally, over the years I’ve developed a fourth alliterative point that has worked well for me, and that I encourage you to keep in mind when dealing with everyone with whom you interact:

Be Kind. [FF]

Be Concise Long, descriptive, drawn out sentences are great for novels, not business communications. Keep superfluous words to a minimum. For example, limiting each of the above-mentioned sections to one or two sentences will do wonders for your response rate.

Sean Steinmarc is improving the affordability of education for all students through TFC Tuition Financing.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44



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NAVIGATING GLOBAL TRADE AND CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS Going global and what every merchant must know about cross-border payments. By Maria Sparagis

Over my decade-long career in high-risk payment processing, I’ve witnessed merchants struggle with cross-border transactions. Reasons include bad business structure, lost revenue due to hefty fees, and inflexible payment solutions. If you are tired of low conversions from international orders, here are a few solutions.

Is Your Business Prohibited or Restricted Third party solutions (e.g. PayPal or Stripe) offer low fees and multiple currencies. However, none of that matters if your business model is prohibited or restricted, because it will be shut down. Account closure is equally common for businesses prone to high chargebacks or monthly dollar volume. Sudden shut down of processing stifles revenue and ultimately your business. It will affect business operations and payroll. If you are currently in this predicament, it’s time to diversify your payments with an offshore merchant account. To do this a legitimate business setup in your targeted foreign jurisdiction is needed.

It’s Time for an Offshore Merchant Account Keeping domestic operations while catering to international customers is challenging. Not all cards are created equal. For example, a Hong Kong-based online merchant targeting North American credit/debit card holders may see a majority of orders declined, as they may be labeled “suspicious” by issuing banks in the US and Canada. Also with the right acquiring bank in the European Economic Area (EEA), you should be able to accept Euros and Norwegian Krone. Furthermore, conversions will increase because they support local credit and debit cards from those regions.


Be Realistic and Follow the Law Setting up cross-border operations takes time. Establishing a company in your chosen foreign jurisdiction could take weeks. You must also follow applicable laws. Don’t forget; you may also need a bank account to receive funds from your merchant account. Once the company formation and banking setup are done, apply for a merchant account. A credible acquiring bank will do the necessary know-your-customer (KYC) procedures. Be prepared to submit processing statements, government-issued ID, a bank reference letter and other information.

Be Vigilant About Fraud Two months of processing history may not enough to secure an offshore merchant account. Additional supporting documentation is likely required. Working with a payment provider that can walk you through all the steps will save a lot of time and money. A foreign payment provider may still decline your business because of high chargeback and fraud rates. So develop a three-month plan to reduce your risk. Use fraud software to stop false transactions and blacklisted countries with a fraudulent reputation or that you don’t ship to. Likewise, merchants need to be careful about merchant service partnerships. It is not uncommon to hear horror stories about foreign payment providers disappearing and running away with settlements and reserves. Merchants should perform due diligence on every partner as well as ensure all applications and contracts make sense and can be legally enforced. These are just a few considerations when boosting crossborder payment conversions. With that in mind, do your research, think globally, and be cautious every single step of the way. [FF]

Maria Sparagis is Founder and President of www.directpaynet.com, a payment solutions provider for high-risk merchants.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

@feedfront | www.feedfront.com


“Self-regulation” has increasingly become the new mantra in business. In the last few years, various industries have shifted toward self-regulation, often in response scandals or public outrage prompting a need for internal change. By definition, “self-regulation” is a system created by an industry, outside of legislation, to set rules and principles of best practice to which the industry agrees to be bound. The key to its success lies in the cooperation of the members, who work together to “police” themselves internally. In this sense, self-regulation is a voluntary process and is dependent on the commitment of its members to ensure its success. There is a very specific need for self-regulation in the advertising industry. Despite the current pro-business administration, there has been an alarming uptick in regulatory scrutiny in the online marketing space. Governmental agencies like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) continue to bring heavy-handed enforcement actions against online marketers, which, due to pressure tactics imposed by these agencies, result in negotiated consent orders that are later used as precedent to police other industry members. With self-regulation, online marketers can show that there is an alternative to governmental regulation and one which is more effective because it has the capacity to react more quickly to the changing circumstances of the industry at large. In order for self-regulation to succeed, online marketers must be willing to take the following steps: 1. Industry competitors must be able to put their differences aside and work together for the good of the whole. 2.

A formal enterprise must be formed, like a trade association, to create legitimacy and credibility for industry members—specifically those who operate in high-risk verticals.


Paid membership tiers should be created, but the purpose of the association should not be a thinly-veiled attempt to create a money-making scheme for the founding members.


A mission statement should be written, which sets forth the goals of the association, focusing specifically on industry education, internal codes of conduct, and activism efforts (which may include formal lobbying).


Perhaps most importantly, the members must be committed to “weeding out” bad actors in the industry, even if those actors are their friends. The key to successful self-regulation is creating an eco-system that supports members who value the importance of compliance, while effectively making it harder for those who do not share the same values to operate in the space.


Why industry self-regulation is key to the longevity of any advertiser’s business and why it must start with working with the right traffic partners. By Rachel Hirsch

If the online marketing industry intends to survive the continuing onslaught of enforcement actions, it needs to take immediate steps to band together in a proactive and productive manner. Finding a commonality of interests is the first step. The commonality among advertisers, agencies, networks, publishers, and processors alike may be policing the traffic sources that lead to customer complaints, chargebacks, and merchant processing concerns. More than ever, it is time for online marketers to act responsibly and reclaim oversight of their industry. After all, who better to police change than the industry members who understand how change impacts the real-life practicalities of their business? [FF]

Rachel Hirsch is Chair of the Internet Marketing and Advertising Group at Ifrah PLLC.

23 FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

@feedfront | www.feedfront.com




Online video consumption continues to increase. Are you using them as part of your brand’s marketing strategy? By Michelle Held

If you are still not using videos as part of your marketing strategy, it is time to give it an honest try. A 2017 study showed that the average consumer watches over 1.5 hours of video content online each day. For brands, there is an opportunity to insert your messaging somewhere in that viewing window. Videos have proven to be an effective way to connect with current and potential customers. They help raise brand awareness. Of those marketers who already use video in their strategies, 76% say it increases sales and 47% stated it decreased support requests. The time needed and the cost to produce a video is far less than it was just five years ago. We know our audiences are willing to accept lower production value videos. Lower production value means lower costs for businesses. Customers want a personal connection that comes from someone talking with them, not at them. A good video for social media can be produced with just a smartphone and a quality microphone. Live videos and influencer marketing do well to fill this need. Brands may still shy away from creating video content with concerns that they won’t see enough ROI from the effort. Like other content, we can reuse and repurpose our videos for higher returns. Videos can be used across multiple social channels, in email campaigns to improve click-thru rates, and on webpages to increase conversions. YouTube is the most widely-adopted video channel for marketers. 87% percent of marketers have posted a YouTube video with 90% saying it was effective. 86% percent have used videos on Facebook but only half of that number used Facebook

Live. Both scripted and interactive showed strong numbers, 87% and 81% effective, respectively. Those stats are expected to remain steady. Instagram is a more important social channel for users in some parts of the world, like Africa. Surprisingly, only 41% of marketers have used videos on Instagram. With the addition of stories, highlights, and IGTV, this channel is an opportunity for video marketing. Interactive video might have started as a bit of “fringe” technology, but have you considered using Twitch? With 15 million viewers and growing it is becoming more than a gamer channel. Twitch is a rising star in interactive video which is an effective tool for brands. More businesses are getting inspired. Only 20% of marketers used interactive videos last year, but by the end of this year, that number is expected to be about 28%. With the encouragement of a few of my fellow Affiliate Summit speakers, I’ve taken my first steps into working with Twitch. If you have worked with live videos on YouTube, then you may already have the set-up you need to start with Twitch. A quality camera and a microphone can give your marketing strategy a new edge. [FF]

Michelle Held is an and author and digital marketing consultant who blogs on metrony.com and AskCyberSecurity.com

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

@feedfront | www.feedfront.com


In the last couple of years, automation has been at the forefront of many affiliate networks. According to the Ascend2 report, there are nearly eleven times more companies who apply marketing automation today than there were in 2011.


Once considered a luxury, marketing automation tools are now available for all marketers. But are all the automation tools equally helpful for your business?

Marketers handle great numbers of offers and create the corresponding number of advertising campaigns. Smartlink helps minimize the efforts by creating just one link. Affiliates only need to grab it and the traffic will be sent automatically to various offers in various affiliate programs they are pulling. Based on machine learning algorithms, Smartlink selects offers maximizing profit on certain traffic and increasing ROI.

Fraud Control

Pulling Thousands of Offers

Fraud protection plays a critical role in process efficiency. Tools such as FraudScore, 24Metrics, Forensiq, and Fraudefence score all of the conversions automatically. If any suspicious activities or conversions come from a particular affiliate, they block the offer for 24 hours. This affiliate receives an alert message and, in case he continues the illegal activity, the affiliate will be cut out for a longer time.

If you take offers from other affiliate networks you know how time-consuming it can be to add numerous offers, configure necessary parameters, unify all of the data, and so on. What if I say that you can completely automate all these processes and just enjoy receiving higher revenue? For example, the CPAPI tool does all of these tasks in a matter of just few clicks. All you need to do is specify the margin and reselling parameters, and the tool takes on the rest to maximize your company’s KPI. Also, you don’t have to analyze and transfer offers manually, which eliminates the human factor. So by making automation the rule, and not the exception, you can orchestrate the core components of your business and provide a basis for higher revenues. However, we should bear in mind that automation cannot substitute an affiliate manager or replace relationship management that makes or breaks an affiliate program. Automation is to take care of repetitive tasks; to help affiliate marketing team focus on creating value where the human component makes the difference. [FF]

Offer Validation According to the Affilitest case study, more than a half of the offers are either “dead” or expired, which causes heavy damage to your ad campaigns. Since every click sent to an inactive offer results in the loss of traffic and money, I recommend checking the workability of your links. How does it work? Users input an affiliate or tracking link that they need to check, then specify the operating system and the country where it runs. Within seconds, they receive a holistic overview of the tracking link destination pass or a report in case of an invalid offer.

Dmitrii Zotov is a CTO and co-founder of Affise, leading performance marketing platform.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44


Affiliate networks nowadays are challenged to keep up with ever-evolving industry where new trends and innovations are developed every day. By Dmitrii Zotov



@feedfront | www.feedfront.com

E-COMMERCE FRAUD: METHODS TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS E-Commerce fraud: Simple, proven methods to protect your business. By Suresh Dakshina

On average, online merchants are losing 8% of their annual revenue to fraud and rates of ecommerce fraud are growing. It is extremely important for companies to be proactive about taking precautions against fraud. Merchants can combat fraud with tools and services provided by outside companies, or by implementing internal strategies. There are three main categories of ecommerce fraud—true fraud, friendly fraud and refund fraud. True fraud refers to using stolen identities or payment credentials to make an online transaction.

External Tools to Protect 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

AI & rule-based fraud prevention tools Order insurance service Address verification tools Email validator tools Frictionless 3-D Secure 2.0

In-House Strategies 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Activate AVS/CVV matching Review orders that request rush or overnight shipping Trace IP addresses for suspicious transactions Flag orders that are unusually large, multiple from the same customer, and unusual international orders If you have a suspicious order, call the customer to verify their information Use an order management system compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

Friendly fraud happens when the original online purchase was not fraudulent, but due to confusion, dissatisfaction, or impatience, the customer disputes the charge with their credit card company instead of asking the merchant to issue a refund or otherwise resolve the issue.

External Tools to protect 1.


Reporting tools that analyze and identify the root causes of chargebacks

2. 3. 4. 5.

Third-party chargeback management companies Order management software that can ag and block problematic customers Visa Merchant Purchase Inquiry (VMPI) Chargeback alert services

In-House Strategies 1.

Make sure your merchant descriptors are easy for customers to recognize 2. Set realistic expectations about your products and services 3. Maintain honest and ethical business practices 4. Provide friendly, easily accessible customer service 5. Blacklist customers who file chargebacks 6. Fulfill orders on time and track return shipments 7. Notify customers when you process their order 8. Have a rigorous, reliable process for identifying and fixing merchant errors such as duplicate orders and missed refunds Refund Fraud is when a criminal purchases something with a stolen credit card, then returns it for a refund to a different account, or for cash or store credit.

External Tools to protect CRM system with PCI compliance that can blacklist chargeback abusers, block future transactions from blacklisted customers, and manage tracking and recordkeeping for returns and refunds

In-House Strategies 1. 2.

Get a tracking number for every order you ship Make sure the specifics of your refund policy and terms are clearly communicated 3. Track how many refunds a customer requests, and their reasons for requesting them 4. Create a process and policy document for your customer service team 5. Avoid overnight shipping during the holiday season 6. Create a database for chargeback abusers When the proper steps are taken, you can eliminate up to 70% of fraudulent chargebacks. This can increase your profitability [FF]

Suresh Dakshina is President Chargeback Gurus, experienced E-Commerce fraud prevention professional, thought leader and advisor.

FeedFront | October 2018 | No. 44

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