The Ofﬁcial Magazine of Afﬁliate Summit
Issue 14 | April 2011
Keep Afﬁliate Marketing Weird By Shawn Collins Page 2
Rise of Afﬁliate Marketing in India By Ricky Ahuja Page 19
Afﬁliate Tax: 9 Tips for Contacting Legislators By Mike Allen Page 3
Practice Safe Email By Khris Thayer Page 27
The Official Magazine of Affiliate Summit
Issue 15 | August 2011
Imagine your face on the cover of FeedFront Magazineâ€Ś VISIT ILOVEFEEDFRONT.COM
Editors’ Note: Keep Affiliate Marketing Weird By Shawn Collins
Affiliate Tax: 9 Tips for Contacting Legislators By Mike Allen
Taking a Podcast to the Next Level By Daniel M. Clark
Avoiding Copyright Issues While Using Someone’s Likeness. By Riley Pool
A Newbie’s Guide to Affiliate Summit By Rob Merlino
Three Ways to Improve Your Content By Charles Bohannan
5 Steps for Successful Conference Follow-Up By Jen Goode
Online Advertising and the Evolving Privacy Landscape By Richard Newman
Content Marketing & Social Media: The New SEO By Chad H. Pollitt
Affiliate Summit West 2011 Recap By Shawn Collins
Using Exact-Match Domains to Improve SEO and Traffic By Morgan Linton
When Do You Plan Your Q4 Copy? By Adam Riemer
Merchant Terms: Protecting or Hurting Affiliate Programs? By Deborah Carney
The Benefits of In-Person Meetings By Nick Throlson
FeedFront | April 2011
Rise of Affiliate Marketing in India By Ricky Ahuja Implement Audience Management Strategies to Drive the Highest Performance Campaigns By Russ Riley
Succeed by Doing What Others Won’t By Tom Wozniak
Titles Don’t Matter & Titles Matter By Greg Hoffman & Lisa Riolo
Emailers Beware: Vigilantes Are On the Prowl! By Rachel Corcoran
Simple Mobile Strategies for Affiliate Marketers By Dustin Donham
Congress Intercepts “Data Pass” By William Rothbard
Practice Safe Email By Khris Thayer
Plowing through the Slumps of Affiliate Marketing By Nick Reese
STAFF Co-Editors in Chief Missy Ward, Shawn Collins Co-Publishers Missy Ward, Shawn Collins Contributing Writers Ricky Ahuja, Mike Allen, Charles Bohannan, Deborah Carney, Daniel M. Clark, Shawn Collins, Rachel Corcoran, Dustin Donham, Jen Goode, Morgan Linton, Rob Merlino, Richard Newman, Chad Pollitt, Riley Pool, Nick Reese, Adam Riemer, Russ Riley, Lisa Riolo, Bill Rothbard, Khris Thayer, Nick Throlson, Missy Ward, Tom Wozniak Magazine Coordinator Amy Rodriguez Graphic Design David Hallock Affiliate Summit , Inc. 522 Hunt Club Blvd. #411 Apopka, FL 32703 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 http://feedfront.com/ advertising/ or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2011 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors.
FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | April 2011 | 1
Editors’ Note - 14th Issue
Keep Affiliate Marketing Weird
The aforementioned Jason Rubacky of ShareASale got one of his own during Affiliate Summit for a brand he’s building: #GetSome There are, at least, two other people who were at Affiliate Summit with tattoos of their brand.
Affiliate marketing isn’t just a business. It’s a lifestyle. No, not the one you see on lame books on the industry that promises yachts and bling. I’m talking about freespirits that come from all walks of life who have this common connection of fire in their belly. There was an entertaining post recently at AdHustler.com that stated, “ Affiliate Marketing Brings Unlikely People Together.” Ad Hustler cites an example of two fun characters in the industry who are unlikely buddies... “There are probably tons of unlikely friendships within the affiliate marketing space but I always find it funny to observe Jason Rubacky & Eric Nagel. Jason is a tattooed, crazy, hip-hop loving maniac who lives & breathes being ShareASale’s well known affiliate manager. Eric is more like that nerdy kid who loved computers in high school and got straight A’s in every class. Yet, these 2 guys are like peas in a pod and you see them hanging out at every affiliate conference. I’m not knocking either one of them. In fact, they are awesome people and I’m friends with both of them. My point here is when did you ever see the tattooed maniac & the kid getting straight A’s hang out in high school? You didn’t!” It’s just the fun flavor of the industry. Instead of wearing suits, we wear smiles. And some of us wear tattoos related to our business. On the day before Affiliate Summit West 2011, my partner Missy and I took a quick trip to Club Tattoo at the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile Shops in Las Vegas, so we could each get the Affiliate Summit logo as a tattoo (that’s the cover of this issue). But we’re not alone in having the compulsion to brand ourselves with our brand.
Rae Hoffman has one of her Sugarrae logo, and Greg Hoffman has some Internet Marketing Gorilla ink. You think we like what we do? Anyhow, when it comes to those clowns that write about getting rich quick. They’re not part of our tribe. No, they are already dreaming up their next scam over Ramen. Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and CoEditor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and you can follow him @affiliatetip on Twitter.
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By Mike Allen Many legislators view online shopping transactions as potential sources of revenue. Since a state can only compel sellers with a physical presence, or nexus, within their borders to collect sales tax, they have no authority to require this of online and catalog retailers located outside their state. While most online retailers serve a national market, many have nexus in only one or two states. Since 2008, legislation has been proposed in nearly two dozen states and passed in three to compel out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes from their residents. In “affiliate tax states” the law defines affiliate marketers as establishing nexus for out-of-state retailers. Many online retailers have responded by dissolving their affiliate relationships within those states. The result has been little new sales tax growth. Because affiliates are job creators, the state also loses income tax revenues as affiliate marketing income and jobs are lost and affiliates relocate to more tax-friendly havens. As a matter of self-preservation, affiliates have felt compelled to fight such affiliate tax proposals. Many have asked how they can better address the issues and influence the debate. Here are some suggestions for maximizing your impact:
Do your homework first – go online and read the proposed law (called a “bill”) thoroughly.
Evaluate how it personally impacts you and your company.
Track the bill’s status regularly. Note all legislators on the committee where the bill is assigned -- they have the power to amend or even kill it.
Carefully plan your response – practice until you can express it in less than one minute. Stress that affiliate marketing creates jobs. Tell how the affiliate tax will hurt you (and your employees, if applicable). Point out how your business will suffer if this bill passes.
Summarize the above details into a one page fact sheet (bullet points are good). Include bill number, title, and your source references. Bring multiple copies to any meeting.
When contacting legislators, be brief, honest, and to the point. Personal meetings and phone calls are far better than impersonal emails. Be polite and respectful. Don’t argue or burn bridges. Offer to help by providing personal testimonials and data from
other states. The Performance Marketing Association (PMA) and the major affiliate networks have resources that you can use.
Encourage co-workers and employees to contact their legislators (their jobs could be at stake). If you have employees, personally contact each of their legislators as well.
Don’t forget to talk with legislative staff members (they’re very influential).
If possible, form an advocacy group with a positive name (Affiliates Create Jobs, for example). Contact legislators and local and state news media outlets on behalf of your group.
After your meeting, be sure to promptly provide any promised materials. Also, sending a hand-written thank-you note can help build valuable, long-term relationships. Affiliates are innovative and need to be part of this debate. As entrepreneurs, some should probably even run for office!
Mike is “Chief Executive Shopper” at ShoppingBargains.com, a Mississippi-based coupon and deal site.
FEEDFRONT MAGAZINE | April 2011 | 3
adapter. Your headphones should reliably reproduce exactly what your recording will sound like, so don’t skimp and try to use the ear buds that came with your cell phone. You can get into a great pair of quality headphones for under $100.
Digital Recorder Solo podcasters that never have guests may send the audio from the mixer into a computer for recording. If you’re using your computer’s in/ out for a Skype mix-minus with a co-host or guest, you cannot record on the computer unless you have more than one sound card or set of input/outputs. In this case, you’ll want to connect your mixer’s output to a second computer or to a digital recorder, such as a Tascam DR-07. Recordings can be moved to the computer later for processing and uploading. Recorder prices vary wildly, anywhere from $50 up to $500. The better units start around $150.
Ready? Go! By Daniel M. Clark tarting out as a podcaster with a cheap headset and free software is ideal for a beginner, but what do you do when you want to take your show’s quality to the next level? The most dramatic impact you can have on the quality of your show is to change to a hardware-based workflow.
Microphone Nothing is more crucial to your sound than your microphone. For podcasters, one of the most important considerations in a microphone is the directional pattern. Omnidirectional microphones pick up every sound in the room–bad for voice work. A unidirectional microphone, like the Heil PR-40, is perfect for podcasters. It’s a dynamic microphone, requires no external power, and provides fantastic range. Another solid microphone is the Shure SM58. Good microphones will run between $150 and $350.
You’ve spent about $700 and you’re ready to start producing professional quality podcasts. Congratulations, you’ve entered a whole new world. The good news at the end here is that connecting everything together is pretty straightforward. All the cables you need can be bought at the same locations as the equipment and many guides and diagrams exist online to get you going. Happy podcasting!
Mixer To use a high-quality microphone, you’ll need a mixer. Hundreds of styles exist, some featuring USB or FireWire. Podcasters generally won’t need more than a 4 to 8 channel mixer, and don’t think that USB/FireWire is automatically the way to go. Any analog mixer can connect just fine to a computer using the computer’s sound card. Don’t be intimidated! Mixers are deceptively easy to learn how to use. Look for brands like Mackie or Behringer, and budget for $250 or less.
Daniel M. Clark
The name of the game with headphones is comfort. Your headphones shouldn’t be too tight; the cups should fit around your ears without pressing on your ears at all. Mixers have 1/4” jacks for headphones; if your headphones ship with a 1/8” connector, you’ll need an (inexpensive)
Daniel M. Clark is a podcasting consultant and the founder of QAQN.com.
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Being an affiliate in the dating vertical, I come across these clauses daily. As such, I’d like to share with you three instances where things could have gotten very ugly.
1. A while ago, I used a friend’s picture with verbal permission. Regre ably it later ended up in a massively distributed file across the web and she complained about stalkers using her picture.
2. Last year, an extremely popular da ng adver ser sent out a lawsuit no fica on to all their aﬃliates. Thankfully, I wasn’t aﬀected by this lawsuit.
3. Melissa Theuriau, the French reporter, whose likeness you can s ll see on many sites was used without permission earning her a Wikipedia men on. To protect yourself from situations like these, I suggest having your attorney draft a licensing agreement template and securing images that won’t get you into trouble. To find great images to use, I recommend looking on Facebook for local photographers. They will often know individuals that want to model and might be receptive to your request to use their photos. You can also save yourself all of this trouble by purchasing stock images from any number of sources online. These images work pretty well for most landing pages. Be forewarned, just because you bought the images from a third-party, it doesn’t always give you legal permission to use the images. Although it may be a little more trouble and cost intrusive to obtain permission to use someone’s likeness, it’s a great way to help protect your company, yourself and your assets from possible legal trouble from the person pictured. It will also keep you out of hot water with your traffic sources, your affiliate networks and possible commission reversals.
By Riley Pool ave you ever wanted to use someone’s picture on one of your landing pages or creative? Did you worry about a potential lawsuit for using their likeness without permission? I know I have and I was determined to combat this often overlooked issue facing affiliates. Typically, before being able to promote an offer, you must agree to the advertiser’s terms and conditions. In many cases, there will be a clause stating that you must show proof of ownership of all material used in your promotions. Other programs may also ask that the images fit within their brand guidelines and do not damage their reputation. Failure to comply with these terms can result in having your affiliate commissions reversed and potentially being kicked out of the program and network.
Riley Pool Riley Pool is a high-volume lead generation specialist for the world’s most popular online dating sites.
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By Rob Merlino
n my previous careers, I’ve attended many trade shows as an exhibitor and attendee. I attended my first Affiliate Summit this past January in Las Vegas. I knew the basics about how to approach this sort of event, but in many ways, I was still a “newbie.” One of the best things an Affiliate Summit newbie can do is sign up for the Affiliate Summit forum at forum. affiliatesummit.com and start doing some pre-show networking. This is very helpful because you will be able to find other attendees with similar interests and arrange for face to face meetings while at the event. This strategy worked very well for me and I was able to make some great connections before I even landed in Las Vegas. It’s important to check the conference agenda prior to the event to see which sessions to attend and plan accordingly. Having a set schedule keeps you on task during a very intense three days. Make it a point to attend every keynote speech, too; the speakers are always people who have had success in various areas and their insight is priceless. But, if an important meeting pre-empts a session that you wanted to see, you can always catch it on video if you are on a Gold, Platinum or Diamond pass holder. The Meet Market and exhibits are great places to find new products and services. Try to stop at every booth and see if you can develop new partnerships. You can research exhibitors in advance on the Affiliate Summit website. The sheer number of exhibitors can make this seem like a daunting task, but it will be well worth it.
You should also decide in advance on your networking approach. Some folks want to meet as many people as possible at the event, collect a bunch of business cards, and follow up with them later. I prefer to “go deep” and make strong connections that will last long after the conference is over. Whichever approach you prefer, or whether you do a little of both, make sure you bring plenty of business cards. I went through 500 cards at Affiliate Summit West 2011!
thirds of the sessions left me feeling as if I had an incomplete experience. If you follow these simple tips and approach Affiliate Summit with curiosity and energy, you will have an educational, enjoyable, and successful experience.
Also, there are tons of parties at Affiliate Summit, and you should try to attend a few. I found it a bit too loud to do any quality networking at some parties, but it’s good to blow off some steam after a long hard day of networking. Just don’t overdo it, so that you can be fresh for the following day. The one thing I would do differently is get at least a Platinum pass, which gets you access to all the sessions. Even though it’s more expensive, there is real value in the education you receive at the individual sessions, and missing out on two
Rob Merlino Rob Merlino publishes TheHotDogTruck.com, HotDogStories.com and a several dozen niche websites.
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By Charles Bohannan
ince affiliates focus on marketing, it’s no wonder that many struggle with creating great content. Outsourcing may sometimes be necessary, but it can produce questionable results and become a drain on time and money. Here are a few simple suggestions to help improve your content:
Maintain a Blog Even if you don’t consider yourself a blogger, having a blog can very helpful for a number of reasons. First of all, creating content on a consistent basis will help you get comfortable writing and establishing your voice. Once you discover your voice, it’s much easier to express yourself with personality and confidence. That’s when people really start listening. Another reason to have a blog is to spread your ideas to people eager to listen to them. A reader may like something you wrote and get in touch with you to collaborate on a project. Don’t worry about sounding like a seasoned expert. It’s more important to get your point across in clear, easy to understand language. If you’re really inhibited, your blog can start off as a private project that only you engage with until you establish a comfort level with your writing. But don’t wait too long!
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Collaborate with other Bloggers and Writers
chest of opportunity for people who can create great content.
I’m not talking about outsourcing here - it’s about developing relationships with more experienced writers and bloggers in your niche. Get in contact with them and offer some sort of reciprocal benefit in exchange to have them write some content for you, or at least give a good edit to what you already might have. Of course, the stronger your connections and ability to offer something in return, the more bargaining power you’ll have. Just remember - it’s all about mutual benefit!
Teach Yourself How to Write and Edit
This option, of course, is the most time consuming and requires the most commitment, but in the long run it has the most payoff.
Charles is obsessed with creating and advocating great content and blogs at Wordful.com
Anyone who has the skill to produce their own content—good content— will be the one who ultimately comes out ahead. There are volumes of savvy people marketing online, which provides an entire treasure
additional information, check out websites, products or services and look into any other helpful details before you reach out. Prioritize the leads so you have a list to follow based on that criteria.
Reach out in the right direction Since you’ve taken notes about each contact you should have a good idea what way to best reach out after the show. If they asked that you copy someone else on emails, they prefer phone calls or usually need a week to recuperate from the show, respect that information and use it to your advantage. Paying attention to these details shows you listened and are serious about this opportunity.
Don’t just be polite, be interested When you finally reach out to make contact with your leads, don’t sales pitch or demand something; you’re making contact to continue building a business relationship. Include reminders of who you are and what you discussed. Mention why you’d like to continue talking and what you look forward to working on together. Additionally, the message should be something of value and not simply a canned “nice to meet you”. Make sure you are sending something of interest and providing enough information to earn a reply.
Patience and persistence
5 Steps for Successful Conference Follow-Up By Jen Goode We attend events to meet with like-minded people in a face-to-face setting. Sometimes we have meetings to discuss business details, while other times we offer a quick handshake and swap cards. With all the conferences and meet-ups we attend each year, we cross paths with hundreds of potential business relationships.
Not all opportunities offer instant gratification. You might meet someone at the next show but the real opportunity to work together won’t come up for another six months. Business seldom happens overnight, and neither do long lasting business relationships, continue to connect with those you want to work with every month or so. Business is all about relationships, so work on seeking out new potential connections while continuing to grow and nurture existing partners. Your follow up is the first step in demonstrating that you’re capable of following through.
How do we turn these introductions into real opportunities? These 5 steps will help you prepare and make the most out of your networking time.
Organize and take notes Take all the cards you’ve collected out of the stack and store them in a small notebook where you can include notes. Write down items to remember such as information about the company, what interest you had in them, or they in you. If you store cards in separate notebooks for each event, later you will be able to reference contacts according to when you met as well as keep track of when you make contact later.
Do your homework, then prioritize It’s important to follow up as soon after an event as possible so both you and the lead can easily continue the conversation you started. However, it’s even more important to make sure you are prepared for the conversation. Go through the notes you took, gather
Jen Goode Jen Goode is the Doodler in Charge at JGoodeDesigns.com and Affiliate Summit’s Newcomer Program Coordinator.
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Reasonable and sound data retention periods should also be implemented and should be based upon legitimate business requirements. Location based data, increasingly common in the mobile device community, is a perfect example for which long term retention presents significant consumer privacy concerns. Finally, reasonable steps should be taken to ensure the accuracy of collected data, particularly if such data could be used to deny consumers benefits or cause significant harm.
Online Advertising and the Evolving Privacy Landscape By Richard Newman
Consumers should be given a choice regarding what they do or do not want in terms of behavioral tracking. Increased transparency, in the form of reasonable access to what information is being collected and how it is being used should be made easily available for consumers. A conspicuous choice mechanism to opt-out of having certain types of information collected, used or shared should also be provided. Not only will this serve to mitigate fears by placing consumers in control of their information, but it can go a long way in enhancing consumer trust while avoiding potential government investigations, fines and costly litigation.
It is no secret that new privacy laws and regulations are hot-button issues these days, particularly where behavioral advertising is concerned. The significant changes that have been expected to emerge this year were “kicked-off” in February by the introduction of the “Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011” – a bill that attempts to impose yet another regulatory burden on eCommerce. Aimed at giving consumers the ability to prevent their online activities from being followed by advertisers, the proposed legislation would direct the Federal Trade Commission to develop standards and provide enforcement for the Internet “do-not-track” mechanism. Online advertisers and marketers would be required to respect a consumer’s choice, the failure to do so would be considered an unlawful unfair or deceptive act. Lobbyists and supports of the overly-broad bill are clearly not seeing the big picture or the consequences that may harm the very consumers that the bill seeks to protect. After all, free online content is supported by timely and relevant advertisements that actually improve a consumer’s experience. Non-targeted ads simply may not generate sufficient revenue to ensure the continued supply of content. So, in anticipation of possible prescriptive regulatory reform, what selfregulatory best practices should those in the online advertising sector implement? For those that collect data that can reasonably be linked to a specific consumer, computer, or other device, substantive privacy and security safeguards should be incorporated into everyday business practices. If consumer information is retained, reasonable protections should be employed to prevent unauthorized disclosure. Further, only consumer information that is reasonably necessary to fulfill a specific, legitimate business need should be collected. Collection methods should also be more clearly and conspicuously revealed in privacy policies.
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Richard Newman is an Internet Lawyer and a Partner at Hinch Newman LLP - HinchNewman. com
The New SEO By no means does content marketing and social media distribution alleviate the publisher from doing basic SEO due diligence such as a keyword workshop, defining on-page conventions, competitive research, etc. Below are just a few of the SEO benefits that can be realized by deploying content marketing and social media distribution.
Link Building Content marketing and social media distribution lessens the publisher’s need to acquire backlinks using “grey” or black hat methods, because quality content that is properly distributed creates backlinks naturally.
Crawl Rates Publishing valuable problem solving content daily, even several times per day, is ideal for content marketing in order to maximize its SEO value. The more frequently content is published on a website the likelihood of the website being crawled more increases.
Social Media, Increased Social Authority & Web Traffic By Chad H. Pollitt Why did J.C. Penny recently get punished in Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Page)? They were allegedly caught buying hundreds of links from spammy, low pagerank websites by the New York Times, who reported their findings to Google. J.C. Penny took a black hat shortcut with their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign, which is a clear violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They could have avoided the violation if their campaign focused on the new SEO - content marketing and social media.
A robust publishing schedule will also drive social media engagement on blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Google and Bing recently admitted to SearchEngineLand. com that their algorithms do look at several social media metrics when ranking websites. As a result, social media engagement around a publisher’s content is more valuable than previously thought. When properly executed this engagement will lead to increased web traffic as well as growing the social authority of the publisher. The above SEO benefits of content marketing are not exactly “new.” They represent a more holistic approach to SEO while firmly remaining within Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Rather than looking to game the system, like J.C. Penny supposedly did, consider the white hat strategy of content marketing and social media for SEO.
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of content with the purpose of promoting a product or service. The focus of this content may not specifically be about the publisher’s organization or its offerings. Assets created for content marketing include a mix of problem-specific information and thought leadership. For affiliate publishers, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines recommends, “If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.” In other words, publish unique problem solving content.
Social Media Social media acts as a distribution conduit for content marketers. By distributing content via social media, the distributor potentially has access to millions of eyes that may comment, share, consume and/or evangelize the content.
Chad H. Pollitt
Chad H. Pollitt is the Director of Social Media & Search Marketing for Kuno Creative.
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Afﬁliate Summit West 2011 Recap By Shawn Collins started off Affiliate Summit West 2011 with my partner, Missy Ward, at a tattoo parlor to get inked up with the Affiliate Summit logo. You could say we have some passion for this conference, as we kick off our 8th year with 4,627 affiliate marketers at the Wynn Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit West 2011. That makes it the biggest Affiliate Summit to date.
Day 1 The first day kicked off as I led a 10 AM session geared towards folks attending Affiliate Summit for the first time. It was great to have a large, packed room of conference attendees looking for advice on how to make the most of Affiliate Summit. My session was followed by the opening of the Meet Market and a series of breakout sessions that covered all sorts of topics, including blog monetization, web redesign, email marketing, and local lead gen. I really liked the way our new method of Q&A via SMS, Web and Twitter worked out. While the action was taking place in the Meet Market and sessions, the exhibit hall was being built out for days 2 and 3 of Affiliate Summit West 2011. In the evening, I headed to the ShareASale “Under the Stars” Party at Tryst Nightclub to continue the networking and good times. It was a nice celebration to mark the ten year anniversary of ShareASale, and there was a moving speech from Brian Littleton, founder and CEO of ShareASale.
Day 2 The second day of Affiliate Summit West 2011 got off to a great start with a funny, informative keynote from Drew Eric Whitman, author of CA$HVERTISING. The keynote took place in the Encore Theater, where Garth Brooks performs when he is in town, and Whitman had the packed crowd captivated.
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Afterwards, there were a series of breakout sessions on SEO, social media, trendspotting, personal brands, and, of course, affiliate marketing. The blogger lounge at Affiliate Summit West 2011 was buzzing throughout the day with podcasts, videos, and blog posts.
Dave gave an interesting and compelling talk about achieving a work/life balance. Thank you to all of the folks that came out for Affiliate Summit West 2011 – see you August 21-23, 2011 at the Hilton New York for Affiliate Summit East 2011.
Crowds packed the exhibit hall throughout the day. I was excited to meet legendary quarterback Warren Moon at the Digital River booth in the exhibit hall and get a signed football.
Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and you can follow him @affiliatetip on Twitter.
But it wasn’t all good football news at Affiliate Summit, as I had to wear a New England Patriots jersey, as a result of a bet with Michael Martin, who was on a panel today about Mobile Affiliate Site Strategies. But I did win some cash in a BCS football ball, which was run by the Football Fanatics Affiliate Program. It’s Vegas – I need to make some bets! After the exhibit hall and breakout sessions finished up, there were a series of roundtable discussions, which were led by experts on legal issues, content creation, Facebook, buying sites and more. The last event of the day was the launch of a new product from Jeremy Schoemaker called Linkcontrol. It’s a really cool looking project, and I look forward to hearing more about it.
Day 3 The final day of Affiliate Summit West 2011 started off with the announcement of the 2011 Pinnacle Awards winners.
• • • • • •
Affiliate of the Year: Deals.Woot Affiliate Manager of the Year: Carolyn Kmet Exceptional Merchant: Zappos Affiliate Marketing Advocate: Lisa Picarille Best Blogger: Eric Nagel Affiliate Marketing Legend: Todd Farmer
Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners. The Tuesday morning keynote was delivered by Brian Solis, author of Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web, to a big crowd in the Encore Theater. After the keynote, Brian gave away a bunch of copies of his book, Engage. I wish I was ready to capture some video, because a group of people pounced on the books. Clearly, they liked what he had to say. The keynote was followed by a second day of crowds in the exhibit hall, as well as sessions on affiliate and affiliate manager relationships, mobile marketing, paid search, and industry regulations. Affiliate Summit West 2011 wrapped up with a closing keynote from Dave Taylor of AskDaveTaylor. com.
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By Morgan Linton
xact-match domains are names that exactly match a specific search query. For over fifteen years, domain name investors (often called “domainers”), have been using these names to generate revenue in a variety of ways. Initially, investors focused on monetizing the type-in traffic coming to the domain names. Just think, if you own a domain like BuyCars. com you will get a reasonable level of type-in traffic to your domain for people who simply enter “buycars” in the URL bar of their browser. Domainers use parking services to quickly generate pages full of PPC links to monetize traffic coming to their names.
a user’s search query. For less competitive terms having an exactmatch domain allowed domain name owners to simply focus on buildingout content, rather than running complex link-building campaigns. Unlike parking, which only provided significant revenue to .com domains, the SEO benefit of an exact-match domain is the same regardless of TLD. This means that the owner of BuyCar.net has the exact same chance of ranking well as the owner of BuyCar.com, based on the exactmatch bonus, since Google and Bing will ignore the TLD. Of course, other factors, like domain age, can impact ranking, but this is unrelated to the keywords in the domain name.
You can even search for specific characteristics that are meaningful to search engines, like domain age and DMOZ listing, to further increase the SEO value of the exact-match domain that you buy. Couple this with a good landing page and unique content and you’ll enjoy the benefits of both direct traffic and better search engine placement.
To enjoy the best of both worlds, owning an exact-match .com domain name can generate a steady stream of direct traffic, while also providing a nice benefit in the search engines. You can estimate how much typein traffic a domain name will get by looking at the search volume using a tool like the Google Traffic Estimator and taking 10% of the global search volume.
The problem with parked domain names is that while they may get a stream of type-in traffic, the services rarely rank in the search engines. Another problem with domain parking is that the type-in traffic usually only exists on .com domains leaving .net, .org, and other top-level domain (“TLD”) holders with little traffic and revenue. As premium domain name owners started looking for ways to increase their revenue, the concept of organic traffic became more appealing.
So how can you find great exact-match domains?
Domainers quickly learned that they received a noticeable bonus in Google and Bing for having a domain name that exactly matched
Since most of the great .com’s are already registered, expired domains offer the best opportunity. As parking revenue has declined,
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many domainers are dropping some excellent exact-match domains, which can usually be purchased for under $100.
Couple direct traffic with a first-page ranking in the search engines and it’s easy to see why exact-match .com domains can be so valuable.
Morgan Linton Morgan Linton is the President of Linton Investments LLC, a domain name investment and monetization company.
Prep your articles and other domains. Instead of waiting until Q4 to write all of your articles and submit them to directories, etc…why not let them start indexing over the next 6 months then you can slowly add in your backlinks so that they help your ranking sooner and gain strength during Q3 and Q4.
Once you have your pages built, start looking for sites that you will allow you to be a guest writer. If you plan your Q4 ahead of time, you’ll have time to test everything from how your traffic reacts to your design and color schemes to where ads are placed, etc. By Adam Riemer
More importantly, you’ll be able to build new traffic to your site and secure your SERPs, so that you’ll be able to have a more successful Q4 shopping season.
ou probably love the extra income that comes with Q4 shopping, but you more than likely also love when Q4 ends, so that you can go back to a lower stress time. Although it’s nice to be able to put Q4 behind you, if you want to be able to grow for the largest consumer shopping time, you need to prepare ahead. I always recommend that you start your Q4 planning in Q2. By giving yourself 6 months before the Q4 shopping season starts, you give yourself enough time to not only test your traffic, but index and strengthen your hold on your rankings for the next holiday season. Here are some things that you can do to prepare for Q4 in Q2 and why you may want to start them now.
Update your copy and add new articles. By updating your copy 6 months in advance, you can see how it indexes and also have time to build backlinks to secure your rankings in the Search Engines (SERPs). If your site isn’t blog based, then your competition probably won’t be looking at your seasonal section to see what you are up to which gives you time to overpower them in the SERPs.
Start guest posting for the keywords you want. Once you have your pages built, start looking for sites that you will allow you to be a guest writer. You don’t even have to write about the holidays, but simply mention the keywords and phrases that you want in your article and link from them, this will help strengthen your respective pages for the holiday shopping season.
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Adam Riemer is the President of Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC.
They need to protect their brand name, but in many instances the merchants do not have an in-house PPC campaign and are not bidding on their own brand. Their competitors could very well be. In the case of the natural search results, this is what affiliates do. They create pages to get indexed for brands. If an affiliate is ranking higher in natural results for a brand name, then the affiliate is doing their job, and the merchant isn’t doing a good job of SEO on their own. Merchant terms need to be constructed in a way that is fair to both the affiliate and the merchant. If a merchant has internal staff that overlaps with their affiliates, the terms can be a little more strict. But, in the case of SEO, even the affiliates that are very good at it can’t control everything the search engines include in natural results. Having terms that exclude paying affiliates that rank high in search results for company names or products will result in fewer affiliates working an affiliate program. Top affiliates won’t give these programs a second look.
Terms and conditions that acknowledge the various types of affiliates that are out there, like coupon, loyalty, and incentive sites are very helpful. Merchants need to think about how to harness the advantages of those types of sites, and encourage affiliates to promote the merchant by creating terms that allow for ethical affiliates to do so. Balance is the key, along with understanding what you want to gain from your affiliate program.
Protecting or Hurting Afﬁliate Programs? By Deborah Carney Affiliate program terms and conditions (or lack thereof) are often misunderstood. Some merchants set up inhouse affiliate programs on networks without giving thought to how affiliates might promote their products. Suddenly an affiliate is successfully promoting a merchant via a pay-per-click campaign that includes the merchant’s brand name. The merchant is shocked, quickly turns off that affiliate and then reverses commissions with the attitude that those sales would have occurred anyway from the natural search results. But wait, the merchant didn’t specify in their terms that affiliates aren’t allowed to bid on their brand name. They quickly add that in. Problem solved? Maybe. At the same time, the merchant is noticing that affiliates are ranking higher than the merchant themselves, in the natural search results. The merchant changes their terms to not allow affiliates to have the company’s brand name in their meta tags, titles or file names. These are two examples of merchants actually hurting themselves.
Deborah Carney is an Outsourced Program Manager, Merchant Consultant, and Admin of the Affiliate Summit Networking Forum
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At Affiliate Summits, it may not always be possible to have extended face time with a guest speaker, but if an opportunity arises to speak with one of the many professionals in attendance, take it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, request clarification on a point they made, seek examples or ask advice. The experts at Affiliate Summits are there to help. Take advantage of their expertise, knowledge and experience. If time allows, focus on building a rapport that can be expanded upon later. Industry professionals often see advantages and opportunities for a business, marketing plan or product that the business owner or affiliate marketer does not. The experts at a conference can provide a fresh, new perspective. They’ve developed dozens of their own contacts that they may be willing to share that can prove helpful. Networking is much more than exchanging business cards. True networking requires people to get out of the office, mingle with experts, and take any opportunity to meet with them face to face. No one is ever so knowledgeable that they can’t learn valuable lessons from others. The only way to truly learn, network and form valuable alliances is by speaking with others in person. It’s a business investment that will pay dividends in the future.
By Nick Throlson veryone talks about networking, but not everybody knows how to do it successfully. The key is to create and build lasting, professional relationships, and the only way to accomplish that is by meeting people in person. At Affiliate Summit West 2011, I learned that some of the benefits of this conference are meeting industry experts, making new contacts and solidifying existing relationships. You just can’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to strangers. While emails, phone calls and online chats are acceptable ways of maintaining contact once a relationship has been established, there is no substitute for meeting face to face for an initial contact. It provides two people with the opportunity to shake hands, smile and get to know each other on a professional level. By taking the time to meet in person, both people have the chance to discover exactly how they can work together to their mutual benefit. Meeting in person also facilitates clear communication. There’s less of a chance of being misunderstood and it encourages the exchange of ideas in a freer environment. People can gauge the tone and inflection of what’s being said. Likewise, body language plays a large part in how people communicate and being face to face allows for the most effective exchange of information. It helps others make a connection between a face and a name.
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Nick Throlson With Jim Kukral (left) Nick Throlson is an entrepreneur, website designer, blogger and Internet marketing expert.
Some of the more promising ones and their top campaigns:
Shoogloo Network (British Airways, Jet Airways, Yatra)
vCommission (Maakan.com, Snap Deal) DGM India (Naukri.com, MakeMyTrip, Met Life) and an up-and-comer, Canada-based Ad Indian. Of course, like any other business decision, there are some fundamental questions to ask yourself, such as...
How do you know which ones to trust? Which ones are legit? Will they comply with the laws that govern your
product/campaign? The answer is rather simple: DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE.
How long have they been around? What brands are they marketing? Are they VC funded or being run out of a boiler By Ricky Ahuja India is quickly becoming a rising star in the world of affiliate marketing. Due to the high human capital and the low cost of labor, working with Indian teams to develop and implement affiliate marketing solutions is a cost-effective practice for global businesses. When looking for new opportunities to increase revenue and grow a business, affiliate marketing in India can be a reliable investment for companies all over the world. Indian digital work teams have come a long way over the past decade. As internet commerce booms and replaces traditional offline forms of marketing, companies are constantly on the lookout for a cheap, reliable way to get their products into the hands of consumers. Affiliate marketing in India allows companies to create marketing programs for their products at rates lower than anywhere else in the world.
room in a remote village (do they have boiler rooms in India…hmm?) with little supportive infrastructure?
The legit Indian affiliate networks are highly trained, have experience with affiliate marketing, very fluent in the technology piece and are able to assist clients in all parts of the world. Through email, AIM and Skype, Indian affiliate marketing teams are able to work across continents with clients to provide streamlined affiliate marketing plans, costeffective service, and a “potentially” flawless marketing campaign. Affiliate marketing in India is on the rise. With customizable solutions that can benefit individual affiliate publishers and companies alike, turning to India for costeffective technological solutions makes perfect sense for anyone interested in affiliate marketing.
Contrary to the fears of some, Indian marketers are proficient in English, tech-savvy and often come from other job markets that require a wealth of intelligence and skill in their prospective studies and fields. As a result, there are Indian affiliate networks launching seemingly every other week. Many of these networks are able to create systemized, performance-driven marketing campaigns for companies who are looking for a longterm and cost-effective affiliate marketing solution for their businesses and products. A majority of these networks often have the same level of experience creating websites, ad creatives, writing copy and assisting with PPC and SEO as their American counterparts. Additionally, many of these networks utilize the well known American tracking platforms, making them an attractive and efficient alternative.
Ricky Ahuja Ricky Ahuja is the CEO of Affiliate Venture Group specializing in outsourced program management, PPC and SEM.
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Audience Management Strategies for Higher Performing Campaigns By Russ Riley
ne goal all marketers share is to drive the best results from their campaigns at the lowest cost. To do this requires the integration of efficiencies across the campaign lifecycle. The concept is simple; the execution is not. At the core of the most successful, high-revenue campaigns is the understanding that who you advertise to are not “lists.” They are audiences of high value with dynamic tastes, needs and desires. They often behave wildly different than we expect, and at times, they also tire of receiving communications. From a reporting perspective, we know this because the success of the direct response and/or lift of the communication/advertising campaigns sometimes plummet. When response declines, it doesn’t necessarily mean audience members do not want to hear from you. At times, it’s simply the frequency of what we send. Successful marketing campaigns start with a commitment to understanding audience members at a profile and preference management, behavioral, demographic and response-level. Begin the campaign development process by layering analytics across audiences in order to dictate campaign content, targets, flow, pace and frequency. These analytics then need to be constantly applied across campaigns
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to allow for in-campaign adjustments as audiences do things to surprise us, either negatively or positively. We all know too well that every campaign we send, including seasonal campaigns, hit a point of diminishing returns in which the value of what we are sending is less than the value of what we receive. The solution is the application of analytics and RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) controls to ensure that what we are delivering is of the highest value. Applying these analytics across a campaign allows us to change up creative, optimize frequency and rotate messages to audience segments in order to pace them out to the highest responders in the optimal format. The results are often 25-35% greater than control groups without audience-driven targeting. Finally, the golden key of audience preference is providing the ability for audiences to control what they receive through preference management and secure opt-out. While opt-out compliance comes by law for email and telecommunications marketers and best practice for display advertisers that adhere to the OBA (online behavorial advertising) self-regulatory principles, the best marketers apply preference management and audience empowerment across all channels because it signifies something much more powerful than compliance – that is care and a commitment to listening to audiences.
Today’s best marketers “converse” with audiences at junctures in which a consumer responds favorably or opts out. Successful brands respond to clicks, conversions and buys with a “thank you,” and future deals to compel loyalty. Brands also respond to opt-outs by honoring the opt-out globally or providing the consumer with the ability to dictate exactly what they do and do no want to receive. For those interested in top results, the number-one rule is the realization that your lists are not lists but valuable audience members. From there, you must commit to the art and science of audience management.
Russ Riley is the Director of Marketing at UnsubCentral.
peaks and valleys when an offer goes down or the playing field changes in a particular vertical.
3. Keep learning You will never be an expert on every aspect of online marketing. There is just too much to know and the industry is constantly changing. But, that doesn’t mean you should settle for simply knowing enough to get by. The more you learn, the more opportunities will become available to you and the better your chances of success.
4. Put in the time Many people get into affiliate marketing because they think it is easy money. They think they can set up some campaigns, put them on autopilot, and then kick back and watch the money come in. Successful affiliates know that it takes a lot more than 4 hours a week to build your business and make affiliate marketing into a successful career. In fact, it takes more than 40 hours a week if you want to be a successful affiliate marketer. Put in the time and effort if you really want to succeed.
5. Take risks
Succeed by Doing What Others Won’t By Tom Wozniak What separates a successful affiliate from one that never generates much revenue? Is it just technical knowledge or is there something more to it?
No one has ever succeeded in affiliate marketing by playing it totally safe. By getting into this business you are becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business. By its very nature, starting your own business is a risk. So, once you take that step you can’t suddenly pull back on the reins and expect to succeed. A big part of risk-taking in affiliate marketing means being willing to invest some of your own money with no immediate guarantees that you will get your money back, let alone make a profit. I’m not saying you should spend your life savings on your very first PPC campaign. But, you need to be willing to spend money to make money in this business.
One of the biggest differentiators I’ve seen is that successful affiliates are willing to do what other less successful affiliates won’t, or don’t. Call it “going the extra mile” or “giving 110%,” the idea is that people who are truly successful in almost any endeavor are willing to put more into it than their competition. So, here are five things you can do that will set you apart and position you for success.
1. Test, test, and test some more Some affiliates don’t test at all. Others do some testing, but aren’t very systematic about it. Be obsessive about testing. You should always run tests on every offer you promote. Don’t stop testing when a campaign starts making money. Continuing to test profitable campaigns will help you drive the best returns from every campaign.
2. Diversify Many affiliates get into one niche or vertical and never venture into any other areas. Do not put all your efforts into one offer or even one vertical. Diversifying your business will help you avoid major
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Tom Wozniak Tom Wozniak is the director of marketing for Media Breakaway, LLC and writes the official blog for affiliate.com.
Titles Don’t Matter Titles Matter By Greg Hoffman
By Lisa Riolo
Job titles might say a lot about a company and a person, but when it comes to the affiliate industry and the large amount of small business owners, it’s all about the relationships. Affiliate marketers want to get to know who you are, regardless of your title.
Full disclosure: my company does not print job titles on our business cards. We don’t put them on our signature lines either. We do, however, give everyone a title. Here’s why titles are necessary for most businesses:
Trust, integrity and professionalism will open more doors for you and represent your brand much farther than a title on a business card or a sticker on your office door. They might care more about your label - affiliate, merchant, agency or network, but they could care less if you are the Vice President of Ecommerce or the Chief Imagination Officer. How they choose to interact with you once they learn your label is completely up to them. An impromptu survey amongst my connections in the affiliate industry tells me that titles carry about as much weight as college degrees and resumes. None of which reflect the innovativeness and creativity of many people that have succeeded in performance marketing. What these people worry about is paying the mortgage and working toward a lifestyle that will grant them freedoms in the future. They work hard, many of them from home offices or even harder if they have full-time jobs during the day and affiliate marketing is where they plant their hopes and dreams at night and on the weekends. Their egos still exist but only because of individual accomplishments and not because they get new business cards with fancy new titles every year.
#1. To convey information about the company’s brand and culture #2. To quickly express “who does what” in the organization Both reasons act to help customers and prospects interact with your company’s team. The choice of “no” title or a fun, whimsical title may well serve reason #1 but not #2. Obviously, titles don’t serve much purpose for your well-established relationships, but what about those customers you’ve yet to acquire? We’re all seeking ways to make it easy for people to conduct business with us, so “who does what” is important to convey no matter what size your organization. Titles are simply a necessary business vehicle, an identifier. Let’s be clear: I’m not suggesting title inflation, which may tarnish your brand and reputation. I’m suggesting simple, intuitive titles that serve as signposts in the journey from prospect to loyal customer. Titles were invented and remain relevant for reasons far more important than ego or formality. It’s like traveling on streets without names -- you can get where you’re going, but it’ll take longer and be unnecessarily confusing. Titles show us all how to get where we’re going quickly and easily. Titles matter.
Greg Hoffman is a blogger and outsourced program manager (greghoffmanconsulting.com).
Lisa Riolo Lisa Riolo is a Co-Founder of Impact Radius and functions as the company’s General Manager.
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world from unsolicited commercial email now that the foundation has been laid for emails that were not even intentionally or knowingly misleading. Vigilantes only need to show that an advertiser was the party ultimately responsible for sending an email that contained either a falsified or misrepresented header (e.g., a “From” name that the sender can’t prove has any relevance to anyone in particular) or potentially deceptive subject line, such as the “free” stuff that was promised to recipients in the ValueClick case but was not, in fact, free. Undoubtedly, the world would be a better place if everyone played by the rules and sent emails that did not contain any deceptive content. Reputable networks go to great lengths to make sure that their affiliates follow these rules and only use pre-approved, non-deceptive subject lines and “From” names in emails.
By Rachel Corcoran
So, you may be asking yourself why you should care about the ValueClick ruling since these folks only pursue advertisers with deep pockets, right? While most of these professional spam litigants will seek maximum damages against advertisers, your commissions may be negatively impacted if the advertiser or network decides to invoke its indemnification or set-off provision under the terms of your publisher agreement. You could find them stealing your profits right out from under you!
The new year started with a roar for Internet vigilantes when the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District issued its ruling in Hypertouch, Inc. v. ValueClick, Inc., et al. (B218603, Cal. Ct. App., January 18, 2011). In a stunning decision, the Court of Appeal overturned a lower court’s award of summary judgment to defendants ValueClick and Primary Ads, Inc. holding that the CAN-SPAM Act did not preempt Hypertouch’s claims under the California anti-spam law (California Business and Professions Code section 17529, et seq.). Just when it looked like ValueClick had a victory under its belt against Hypertouch’s allegations of spam under California law (as the result of the trial court’s finding that Hypertouch failed to show ValueClick had any knowledge or control over the alleged spam activity of affiliates and that the federal exemption for state spam statutes prohibiting “falsity or deception” in emails was only intended to permit state law claims based on all the elements of common law fraud – and nothing less) the Court of Appeal upset the machinery of email marketing by holding that the CAN-SPAM Act does not preempt state spam law claims provided plaintiff simply shows that the entity advertised in a commercial email ultimately sent an email which contained falsified or misrepresented header information or a subject line that a person knows would be likely to mislead a recipient about a material fact concerning the contents or subject matter of the message. (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17529.5(a).) The bottom line is that we can expect to see more spam lawsuits in the future brought by these self-proclaimed spam watchdogs intent on saving the
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Rachel Corcoran Rachel Corcoran is an attorney with extensive internet advertising experience and is Compliance Director for Adknowledge.
hese days mobile is a pretty hot buzz word, and the scene has a wild-west gold rush feel with a lot of people looking to cash in. From the marketing “guru’s” selling $2,000 courses to 18-year-old mobile “millionaires”, there are lots of folks claiming they can tell you how use mobile to get rich. Well, I am no guru, but here are some simple strategies that if applied properly could bring huge results.
Simple Mobile Strategies for Afﬁliate Marketers By Dustin Donham
There’s a lot of talk about building subscriber lists and sending out affiliate offers. Your subscribers better like what you’re selling, because getting off your list is only a text away and getting them on it, well that’s the real battle. Consider offering a special freebie that requires a mobile number be submitted with the contact information with proper opt-in notification disclaimer. You can also ask your text provider to supply an HTML script that is designed for double opt-in. Add it to a video teaser squeeze page requesting their mobile to receive a link. An autoreply asks them to confirm their opt-in by replying with a keyword (double opt-in) to receive the link.
Email That’s right, email. If you got a list, use it to send out the special offer you just created and get more opt-ins. Be sure to use scarcity and limited-time availability. That text list should be more than about just sending offers, you have to give them a reason to stay subscribed, so try rewards, but be respectful of the space. Include a “gift” or a free-no-strings-attached bonus like training,, but don’t overdo it.
Mobinars Everyone knows webinars work well, so how can you apply them to mobile? There are a few websites out there that do live video streaming and also offer live mobile streaming, as well, whether you are presenting an offer or training affiliates use your text list to send out a link to a live mobile stream. Be sure to include the regular live stream link to your email list as well.
Mobile Sites Find a decent mobile publisher to make yourself a mobile website. It’s not necessary to know HTML, but it helps. There are some great ones that use a rich text editor CMS. Go ahead view page source code and embed a video teaser. Don’t forget to add that text web script and tie that to a special reward or offer. Put it out via Twitter and Facebook, as well.
Mobile Advertising/Affiliate Networks Use a mobile publisher to create another video squeeze page with a contact form to use for performance-based lead gen campaigns. You may even want to explore a click-to-call campaign as well. I hope you give these proven mobile marketing strategies a try in your next campaign.
Dustin Donham Dustin Donham is founder of Hookd Mobile Marketing and is a professionally certified mobile marketer.
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Unanticipated, because it was not in the bill earlier, is the requirement that a merchant disclose the terms of upsells and negative options (whether an initial sale or upsell) before getting the consumer’s billing information. This “late hour” amendment has the Federal Trade Commission’s fingerprints all over it. While prior law (and earlier versions of Rockefeller) had only required disclosure of terms “before sale” (before the consumer clicks and buys), the FTC favors the stricter “before billing information” standard and routinely places it in consent orders. This disclosure standard is now federal law for online sales under Rockefeller. While the law is pretty clear, certain questions remain. Does the data pass ban apply to accounts that have been collected, for example, by an online lead generator, but not charged? May an online seller who receives account data that has not been charged use it without getting the account number from the customer again?
By William Rothbard
These and other questions will be sorted out as the agencies responsible for administering the law, the FTC and state Attorneys General, issue guidance and enforce it. It’s important they be answered, because violators will face substantial monetary penalties.
If you’ve been passing your Internet customers’ accounts to other online merchants, you’ve just been picked by Congress. Late last year, S. 3386, the “Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act,” sponsored by Senator Jay Rockefeller (known as “Rockefeller”), sailed through Congress. The measure, the capstone to an investigation by Rockefeller into consumer abuses in online upsells of negative option plans for membership clubs, codifies, for online transactions only (offline is unaffected), existing Visa/ MC restrictions on transfer of account data (“data pass”) between merchants. No longer will an online upseller legally be able to use pre-acquired account data. While the statute arises from a club industry inquiry, it applies to the data pass and marketing practices of all online upsellers, and to negative option offers of all online merchants, not just upsellers. It:
Forbids an “initial merchant” to pass billing
accounts, which it has used to charge a customer in an Internet-based sale, to an unaffiliated upseller, or “post-transaction third party seller,” for use in an Internet-based sale (data pass between corporate affiliates is still allowed)
Requires the post-transaction 3rd party seller to: Disclose purchase terms before obtaining billing data;
Disclose it is not affiliated with the initial merchant; and
Obtain the full account number from the consumer.
Requires the terms of all negative option offers by
any type of seller to be disclosed before obtaining billing information.
In anticipation of Rockefeller, some online upsellers already had begun to abide by data pass restrictions, by having consumers reenter billing data. If you’re one who hasn’t, you need to do so now to be in compliance.
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William Rothbard William Rothbard is a former FTC attorney and specializes in FTC advertising and marketing law.
Without the mailer, the email does not get sent and the consumer has no idea that the potentially valuable offer exists.
With the use of multiple partners comes an inherent challenge: How do you protect yourself from abuse or misuse?
Use Protection This is not only for advertisers. Everyone in business represents a brand, even if it is their own. Without your reputation… you have nothing.
Follow compliance guidelines carefully. Pay close
attention to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, how you manage your suppression list(s), and how your partners are interacting with your sensitive data.
Track your opt-out volume at every level from
your brand(s), list(s), campaign(s), mailer(s), and more specifically… mailers within campaigns. Implement best practices, such as encrypting any unsubscribe data you distribute.
Utilize resources that provide you with alert
notifications, detailed reporting, and analytics on how your brand reputation is perceived.
Practice Safe Email Many advertisers are becoming more rigid with their internal compliance practices and therefore will only work with compliance conscious networks. Networks are coming under a significant increase in liability, so they only want to work with compliant mailers. Mailers only run advertiser offers if the advertiser has a compliance solution or process in place. By Khris Thayer For those of you who embrace email, there is a great deal of money to be made and success to be had, BUT ONLY IF DONE RIGHT. It starts with understanding the hierarchy of an email campaign; where it starts and ends, and how to remain compliant in the process.
Be selective with you work with. Remember, the email you send today will determine the reputation you have down the road and the reputation you have down the road will determine how successful and sustainable your email efforts are. The most successful players in the email space are those who do not compromise compliance for conversions, so… GO COMPLIANT!
As newer, more stringent regulation is enforced, we all have to look at the sustainability of our industry and the things that protect it. This means that we all have do our part to ensure the integrity of our partners. Here are a few key items in email compliance to keep in mind that will provide perspective and ultimately help sustain long-term revenue opportunities within the online market space.
Multiple Partners Brand advertisers, affiliate networks, ad agencies, and mailers all make up the channel in which an advertiser’s message reaches an inbox. Each segment plays an integral role in deliverability and conversion.
Without the advertiser, there is no offer. Without the networks and agencies, there
is no way for the advertiser to effectively and efficiently establish a relationship with the mailer.
Khris Thayer Khris Thayer is the CEO of OPTIZMO™ Technologies, a Suppression List Management and Email Compliance company.
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opportunities that otherwise might be over looked. Make sure you have at least simple goal tracking setup. When the going gets tough, analyze what keywords and referrers are converting the best and hunt down similar traffic sources. It is always easier to leverage the data you have instead of shooting blindly in the dark.
Focus on TWO Big Related Projects Starting a new project is often accompanied by a huge rush of enthusiasm, but as you hit a few speed bumps, this enthusiasm might begin to fizzle. As things start to slow down and you have the urge to shift your attention, start a related project or a sister site that you can cross promote with your main site. When your second project loses steam, pick up where you left off on the first. Feel free to alternate between sites as needed. Most affiliate campaigns go through cycles of excitement. Working on multiple big projects will allow you to “ride the waves” of enthusiasm as they come and go.
Work Smarter Than the Competition By Nick Reese The affiliate world has its ups and downs for both new and seasoned marketers. The affiliates that can plow through the slumps are the ones who will be successful. Here are a few tips to help you overcome the rough patches.
Dream Big When Building Campaigns Selecting the right affiliate offer/industry is the first step to not burning out as an affiliate. When scouting potential offers, dream big. With enough TLC and testing, many campaigns can be successful. Would you rather be a big fish in a tiny pond or a small fish in a multi-million dollar industry? Capturing a small portion of a huge industry gives you room to grow over time. Don’t limit your long term potential with small thinking. By dreaming big, even the small successes are rewarding because they are often accompanied by sizeable bumps in revenue.
Identify areas of your business where you can work smarter instead of harder. Think outside the box about new ways of accomplishing routine tasks. This alone can make things interesting but remember at the end of the day the only thing that pays off is action. Sometimes this won’t be fun, but long term action is the only key to success.
Build a Brand If you are targeting a large established industry, work toward building a brand. Consumers reward brands with loyalty and Google has been known to show preference to brands in rankings. Building a brand gives you a foundation to stand on when your competition gets washed away chasing questionable marketing tactics. Brands are the key to sustainability in affiliate marketing and if you know you are building for the future, making smart decisions today is much easier.
Focus on Actionable Information Invest time and effort in tracking. I’m probably not the first to tell you to take tracking seriously, but investing in solid tracking can help you identify
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Nick Reese Nick Reese is a Digital Nomad and Author of How to Turn Traffic and Trust into Sales.
Published on Apr 1, 2011
Issue 14 of FeedFront Magazine, the official magazine of Affiliate Summit. This issue of FeedFront Magazine includes Keep Affiliate Marketi...