Page 1

Issue 42 ― April 2018

What ASEuro Taught Me About International Business Top Mistakes When Investing in Crypto

Marketing’s Role in Gender Parity

Five Tips for Working with Influencers

By Ricky Ahuja - Page 8

By Maura Smith - Page 13

By Ashley Klotz - Page 30

Page 29

Issue 42 · April 2018

Table of Contents 2

Don’t Try to Be Them, Beat Them


Keep on Prospecting

Co-Publishers Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

By Vanessa M Branco


Facebook Analytics: Monetize the Customer Journey


Coupon and Loyalty Sites Can Be Valuable

By Anne Maghak


Molding Interns Into Rockstar Affiliate Managers

By Dustin Howes


Benefits of Offering Unlimited Paid Time Off


Top Mistakes When Investing in Crypto

By Ricky Ahuja


3 Proven Ways To Grow Your Program

By Teodora Chiribelea


Dropshipping: A Useful Alternative to Affiliate Links


Formulating a Niche-Focused Pitch


STAFF Co-Editors in Chief Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

By Shawn Collins

Expand Reach and Flexibility with Clickless Tracking

By Dmitriy Kruglyak

By Mariam Barnes

By Alex Bugeja By Rachel Honoway By Ryan Fitzgerald


Marketing’s Role in Gender Parity


5 Ways to Enable Affiliates to Grow


FTC Compliance for Affiliates: Recent Developments


The Rise of Coworking Spaces


Leading Gender Equality in the Workplace


Death of Email: RISE of the Chatbot


Utilizing Your Affiliate Manager to the Fullest

By Hilary St Jonn


Importance of Email List Hygiene in 2018

By James Carner


Leveraging AI-technology in Performance Marketing in 2018


What ASEuro Taught Me About International Business


Visa Claims Resolution: Challenges & Benefits


What GDPR Means for US Affiliate Marketers


Blueprint for Converting Paid Search Campaigns


Why Scrubbing is a Necessary Evil


Top Search Keywords in 2018


World Domination: Building Successful Global Affiliate Operations


Five Tips for Working with Influencers

By Ashley Klotz


Your Social Media Isn’t Social Enough

By Sal Conca


You Might Need to Uncloak Your Links

By Josh Kohlbach

Contributing Writers

Ricky Ahuja, Katy Atlas, Jennifer Ballard, Mariam Barnes, Taylor Barr, Kim S. Bengtsen, Vanessa M. Branco, Alex Bugeja, James Carner, Laura Casselman, Teodora Chiribelea, Shawn Collins, Sal Conca, Sumit Dhawan, Ryan Fitzgerald, Heather Havenwood, Michelle Held, Rachel Honoway, Dustin Howes, Rob Israch, Ashley Klotz, Josh Kohlbach, Dmitriy Kruglyak, Anne Maghak, Brenda Marion, Miguel Olvera, Maura Smith, Hilary St Jonn, Mark Standfield, Khris Thayer

Graphic Design Logan Gattis Designs Magazine Coordinator Amy Rodriguez

By Maura Smith By Taylor Barr By Katy Atlas By Brenda Marion By Laura Casselman By Heather Havenwood

By Jennifer Ballard By Michelle Held By Mark Standfield By Khris Thayer By Sumit Dhawan By Kim S Bengtsen By Miguel Olvera By Rob Israch

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: Interested in advertising? Please visit or email us at: © 2018 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Editor’s Note

Don’t Try to Be Them, Beat Them

by Shawn Collins

Shawn Collins at Affiliate Summit 2003

One important lesson we learned was that we didn’t know how to do it the “right way”, so we just did it the way we thought


it should be done. ack when we started Affiliate Summit in 2003, we

Based on our own experiences and tapping into our friends

didn’t have money or experience in running confer-

in affiliate marketing, we worked up a list of the problems with

ences. But we had an even more valuable asset, the

conferences and figured out solutions. That made more sense

desire to better than the other options out there. At the time, the standard for affiliate marketing conferences was an event called Affiliate Force. There were positives

to us. We employed a five-step process: listen, adapt, pivot, rinse, repeat.

to it, but Missy Ward and I saw lots of areas for improvement,

Simply by asking people what they wanted and giving it

and we wanted to create something we would want to attend.

to them (within reason) became our secret sauce. And people

A lot of the early feedback was focused on what we were

liked the taste from the start, because it was literally what they

doing “wrong”. Well, the perception from some people that we were doing things wrong was because it was different from what they were used to.

wanted in a conference and tradeshow. We still focus on feedback to evolve, and it’s genuinely odd to me that people are surprised that we ask for feedback

We had no plans to emulate what we saw as a broken model. Sure, it was the most successful of the affiliate marketing events out there at the time, but that wasn’t saying much.

and then follow-up with more questions to double down on the good stuff and fix the bad stuff. Missy and I had frustrations with the tunnel vision of Affili-

This was a passion project that we had to squeeze in on

ate Force, and that led to more of a crowd sourced approach

evenings and weekends while we paid the bills with our day

for Affiliate Summit. Despite being admonished by people for

jobs. There was no way we were going to sacrifice our time

doing things differently, we continued on our path. We didn’t

and opportunities to champion mediocrity and be another Af-

want to be them, we wanted to beat them.

filiate Force.

And it’s a good thing, because by the time Affiliate Summit

No, we were going to be Affiliate Summit.


was a year old, Affiliate Force ceased to exist.

Shawn is Co-CEO of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Keep on Prospecting by Vanessa M. Branco


f you’ve ever seen a billboard announcing dates an artist was playing in your area, you have been part of a prospecting campaign. That is how I have viewed prospecting display

since I first started working on display campaigns in 2004: Like a billboard.

Vanessa M. Branco

Whether using video, native ads, or banners, the goal is connecting with an audience to perform a desired action. If someone out there wants what you’re offering, your prospecting efforts will NOT go to waste.

»» When there’s a $5,000.00 monthly budget and you have

Here are some takeaways on prospecting:

3 different creative sets, if you do the math, you’re most

1. Prospecting Fuels Bottom of Funnel Channels. The

likely spreading the campaign too thin.

CPA for prospecting should be viewed differently than other

4. Be Patient. See how long it takes from the first time

channels. An unrecognized brand piquing someone’s interest

a user views your ad to conversion. You need to give prospect-

should cause a user to do research. They may not click on the

ing time.

ad, but go straight to the site via direct navigation or search. In

5. Focus on Overall Lift. When you have a fully robust

fact, according to the attribution company C3 Metrics, when

marketing campaign at work, you will be able to measure the

looking at converting funnels, 52% of the time after a prospect-

overall ROAS (or whatever metric you use). If the product or

ing ad is in-view, a user searches for the brand name in the next

service is offered on other sites, check those sales. Your pros-

position of the funnel. (Programmatic display typically runs at

pecting campaign may have something to do with it.

30-40% in-view.)

6. View Affiliates Differently. Attribution models show

2. Targeting. By using category, behavioral, look-alike,

that affiliates also are great at prospecting. As Mayrena Ta-

and other targeting methods, you can reach your audience

vares, Strategic Account Manager for

and find new audience segments you never thought would be

said, “Someone may read a product review or see an ad on an


affiliate page. The user will wind up converting via Google or

3. Creative. »» Make sure your homepage or landing page cites top benefits of your product or service.

another channel. Now there are programs to set up attribution across different marketing channels so you know what commission to give based on first, second or last touch.”

»» Test creative. Test the same image and different copy, as

You need to back up your prospecting efforts with paid

well as different images and same copy. Don’t just settle

search, social media, emails, and other ways that relate to your

for one evergreen ad set and frown when prospecting

product or service.

doesn’t perform well. I prefer having 2 sets per $10,000.00

Remember that 52% statistic? Use prospecting to learn

budget. If you’re running prospecting and retargeting, cre-

about your customer, increase brand awareness, and grow

ate different ads for retargeting.

your business the right way.

Vanessa is a digital marketing expert who consults on growth marketing and display strategy.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Facebook Analytics:

Dmitriy Kruglyak


Monetize the Customer Journey by Dmitriy Kruglyak

ave you tried Facebook Analytics yet? Now is the time, as Facebook is putting massive investment into one of its most underused and misunderstood


Segments are created by including or excluding events by

Single View of the Customer

type, parameters or demographics. This is similar to how you

Rich people-based data is the decisive advantage Face-

create rules for website audiences, but with a lot more flexibil-

book has in the analytics game. No other player can connect

ity. You can then run traffic reports on a segment or convert it

activities of users with as much detail on who they are. This

into a custom audience

puts Facebook in the position to surpass analytics value provided by anyone else

Funnels are set up by configuring a sequence of Customer Journey steps. This allows Facebook to report on conversion

Until recently Facebook had focused on collecting “mar-

rates and completion times for step transitions. This is espe-

keting signals” from standalone touchpoints. This means Face-

cially valuable across channels, for example relating people

book Pixel and App SDKs for online properties, Offline Event

who engaged with a video or a messenger bot to a lead capture

Sets for offline transactions, and of course internal tracking for

form on the website.

activities inside Facebook’s own “walled garden” Now you can combine all channels into a single view!

Step 1: Set up Event Source Groups The greatest recent addition to Facebook’s marketing

Lifetime Value (LTV) reports aggregate purchase value per user and let you track and measure repeat purchase behavior over a period of time.

Step 3: Turn Insights into Profit

platform are the Event Source Groups (ESGs). You create and

With the data and the reports configured you can drill

manage ESGs from Business Manager. When you assign Pag-

down to find the factors driving conversions and repeat pur-

es, Pixels, Apps or Offline Event Sets to an ESG, it becomes

chases for your users

a single view of your users across all marketing touchpoints represented by these data sources. In practice, this lets you connect almost every step in the Customer Journey (except external traffic sources) to the Face-

Unlike Ad Insights which only report on paid campaigns results, with Facebook Analytics you can gain a clear view of your traffic, regardless of the source, by tapping into Facebook’s wealth of data.

book’s user profile. While not every possible data source would

Once you identified the critical drivers of success, you can

be relevant for every business, at the very least you should con-

turn them into segments and then export them as audiences

nect your Facebook Page to your Pixel or App

for retargeting and lookalike building

Step 2: Use Segments, Funnels, and LTV

Key Takeaway

Once you have an ESG that represents your Customer

Facebook Analytics is a game changer for advertisers.

Journey you can create custom views into the data, which pro-

Learn how to use it or find a solution provider that can help

vide maximum insight into your business



Dmitriy Kruglyak runs TargetChoice LLC, offering processes, software and services for Facebook Ad management.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Coupon and Loyalty Sites

Can Be Valuable by Anne Maghak


Anne Maghak

ometimes merchants have a preconceived notion that coupon and loyalty sites are low feeders whose only goal is to pirate sales they’d already have anyway.

Here is some of the misinformation out there:

They Will Steal Our Sales

Their products are being seen alongside your other com-

We have worked with third party networks that provide

petitors when customers search for long tail keywords in both

tools to eliminate sales that occur in the last several minutes

search engines and on coupon sites, such as “Clothing Cou-

of the click path to the cart. In many cases, when eliminating

pons.” Where is your brand in that search? Nowhere, so you

clicks that happen in the last few minutes in the cart, coupon

have no chance in getting that sale. Your competitors will, be-

site sales have gone up, so this is not always true.

cause you didn’t look at the whole picture.

They Don’t Send New Traffic

I Only Want “Niche” Publishers in My Program

Unless you have a crystal ball, this is not always easy to say with any certainty. Many shoppers begin their online shopping at their favorite coupon or loyalty site. One way shoppers look is to use broad

Contrary to popular belief, many smaller niche sites rarely send more than a few sales to any given merchant. We have worked with hundreds of affiliate programs over the years, and coupon sites consistently send the bulk of sales.

searches like “gift coupons” or “book coupons.” When search-

Why? Their sites offer value to the consumer that the niche

ing this way (item + coupon), a list of merchants who sell these

site does not offer. Yes, you should focus on niche sites, but

products will come up with their associated coupons. If you are

you should also recruit an eclectic mix of publishers into your

a savvy merchant, you’ll want to make sure your brand is listed

program, including select coupon and loyalty publishers, to in-

among your competitors when these searches are done. If you

crease your branding and sales.

are, you will see some new traffic.

Some Strategies for Using Coupon and Loyalty

My brand is Too High End


If you have a high end brand (or want to be perceived as

»» Lower commission

one), you may not feel it would be good idea to be associated

»» Allow only carefully regulated promotions

with deals or discounts.

»» Provide onsite discounts to discourage consumers from

Look at your competitors. Do they offer coupons?

leaving your site to look for coupons, or remove your cou-

Do they have coupon affiliates in their programs?

pon box

If they do, their brand is being seen by thousands more

»» Only accept reputable coupon and loyalty sites in the mix

consumers than your brand is. They value their customers that

»» Avoid toolbar affiliates that do not employ stand down

appreciate getting the best price for items, regardless of brand.

technology to protect all your affiliates

Anne Maghak CEO of, has been working in affiliate marketing for over twenty years.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Molding Interns Into

Rockstar Affiliate Managers

Dustin Howes

by Dustin Howes


eet Landon. He’s the new intern you hired, fresh out of college with a marketing degree. This is the training he will need to be molded into a rock-star

affiliate manager.

keep your banners fresh. He also types 100 WPM, so have him

Where to Start?

handle those tedious data-entry tasks to get his feet wet. Give

Your product, of course. Your top affiliates are the best

positive reinforcement to build his confidence and trust in your

sales reps the company has, so show examples of affiliate

leadership. Have him take first crack at basic email inquiries

content that are proven revenue drivers, and explain why it’s

and escalate if he doesn’t know how to answer. Once Landon

working. Have Landon study claims and tactics of those affili-

gains your trust, give him unique tasks and check in occasion-

ates; he’s going to be huntin’ for more later.

ally for updates.

Setting Time Aside

Business Calls & BCC emails

Everyone is busy, but you’re investing your time in training

Landon needs to be a fly on the wall during calls and email

now so that you will save time later to focus on strategy. Three

threads. Even if he doesn’t understand everything you are talking

hour-long training sessions need to happen every week.

about, he’ll learn your perspectives on unique scenarios and can

1. Upskilling. Going through applications are the best

apply that knowledge down the road. Have him also BCC you on

way to learn about valuable affiliates. Let Landon drive while

his email replies for the first month so you can observe his re-

you listen to his thought process, offering guidance and posi-

sponses and give feedback on the way he handled the situation.

tive reinforcement along the way.

Invest in Career Growth

2. Shadowing. Landon must sit behind you to learn your

The affiliate channel may not be the most glamorous

workflow, shortcuts, and how to handle emails appropriately.

in marketing, but regularly remind Landon how the affiliate

Send recruitment emails to high potential affiliates and explain

team directly contributes to the business and other teams in

your catered messaging.

the company. Encourage Landon to expand his knowledge

3. 1-on-1’s. This is Landon’s time to pick your brain on

through online courses that interest him and recommend rel-

issues he ran into through the week and focus on development.

evant books to read. Assign him side projects that increase

It’s his hour with you, so create a structure at first, but let him

his understanding of how the affiliate team works in conjunc-

adjust where he wants to utilize the time.

tion with other marketing and business functions. Reward his

Assignments & Responsibility

hard work by sending him to conferences and showing him the

You hired Landon because of his skill set, so let’s put it to good use. He is a beast with Photoshop, so trust him to


ropes. When Landon sees that you are genuinely invested in his career growth, it will motivate him to perform at his best.

Dustin Howes trains future affiliate managers with an online certification course at

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Benefits of Offering

Unlimited Paid Time Off by Mariam Barnes

Mariam Barnes


nyone who has worked in digital advertising already knows that there is no real “9 to 5” aspect to the job.

choose when you need time off,” you are also saying “I believe

The internet doesn’t suddenly turn off when everyone

in you,” and this is a phenomenon that encourages employees

goes home. Furthermore, every email in every employee’s in-

to want to give back. Confident employees produce better work

box could potentially make your company money or cost your

Efficiently Manage Company Budget

company money, so it is unlikely that your employees are not checking their email when they are not at the office.

Typical PTO allows employees to accrue time off and use time off as it is earned, and with unlimited PTO you can just do

If you are considering offering your employees unlimited

away with that, which saves HR time, and allows HR to focus on

time off, then you may be asking yourself questions like, “How

other jobs that need to get done. You will also avoid end-of- year

can I afford it?” or “How do I avoid being taken advantage of?”

vacation sprees in Q4, and employees who have a number of

Surprisingly, unlimited paid time off has the potential to benefit

days left won’t be forced to cash them out or take all their days

your company in several ways, including financially.

at once in a use-or- lose situation.

Here is how:

Attract Top Talent

It is important to note that unlimited PTO is always caveated by employer’s approval. Unlimited PTO does not mean that

If you are competing with other companies for the best of

someone can simply decide they need a month off. Nope. As

the best employees, then you can certainly get a leg up by offer-

the employer, you remain in complete control. You can disap-

ing unlimited paid time off (PTO). By offering unlimited PTO, you

prove any time off, especially if you feel that someone is taking

are saying that your company values a work/life balance — and

advantage of the policy.

people who genuinely work hard appreciate that.

The secret to offering unlimited PTO successfully is to hire

Consider the fact that, in our industry especially, your em-

great people from the beginning. Hiring solid employees who

ployees are your product. They provide the services you offer;

appreciate a great company culture should mean that you are

they are essentially your selling point. So attracting high-per-

hiring people that won’t take advantage of unlimited PTO and

forming employees from the beginning is incredibly important.

will perform so well that their time off is well deserved. The

Improve Employee Performance

unlimited PTO perk shows your employees that you trust and

The unlimited PTO movement offers a mutual trust between a company and its employees. By saying “I trust you to

respect them, which subsequently enhances their commitment to the company.

Mariam Barnes is the Founder of, The Leading Job Board for Digital Marketing Companies.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Top Mistakes

When Investing in Crypto

by Ricky Ahuja

Ricky Ahuja


fter the huge leap the market took in 2017, people

claimed experts, watch TV, or read books. Sadly, this does not

from all walks of life were tempted to get in on the

work. To effectively invest and earn in this market, you have to

action in Bitcoins. I mean, come on, everyone is mak-

do your own research.

ing 30-50% returns every single day. These are different times we live in.

Have Patience One of the major shortcomings of not doing your own

Most of these investors have little knowledge of the tech-

research is that you rely on others to understand the market

nology behind, but are simply following one another. If you are

trends. Now, if the person you follow and trust proclaims the

tempted to invest in the dynamic crypto currency market and

market is crashing, you better sell or It’s the right time to buy

earn your share of profits, there are a few things you should

Bitcoin, what will you do? You will definitely follow suit. This

be aware of.

may be a profitable deal, but you cannot just sit and wait for

In this article, I will talk about common mistakes that “in-

that person to make an announcement. You need to know how

vestors” often make while investing in Bitcoins. From managing

to predict the market so you are well-equipped on what to do

a portfolio to safely taking gains, this article has it all covered.

next. In this industry patience truly can be a virtue.

Investing from Your Savings or Borrowing Money

Selling Without a Plan

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So, if you are

Pretty much aligned with the third mistake, selling without a

planning to borrow money or pull from your savings, STOP! The

plan is also not advisable. It is tempting to own a Bitcoin or crypto

thumb rule of investing says that you must invest your dispos-

and see the prices soar. But, selling haphazardly might result in

able income. This is, the income that is left after taking out

repent and regret. You may encounter a few losses along the

your expenses and savings. Borrowing money or investing your

way but eventually, if you work your plan, your plan will work.

savings is putting your hard earned money at risk.

Surrendering Everything with No Private Keys

Learn the Technology, Then Invest

For those who rely on an exchange for all their investments,

This is one of the most common mistakes. Most of us do

it is always a defeat. As important as it is to maintain a diverse

not know about blockchain, crypto currency, Bitcoin, ethere-

portfolio, it is equally important to hold your private keys. Your

um, and more, but we are still willing to invest in this lucrative

private keys will help you in case the exchange crashes or a

option. Sure we can join Facebook groups with the self pro-

wallet service shuts down.


Ricky Ahuja, serial entrepreneur and a veteran of the industry and founder of Focus Squared.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

3 Proven Ways

To Grow Your Program by Teodora Chiribelea

Teodora Chiribelea


f you are an affiliate manager, or working for developing an affiliate program, most probably you have been asking your-

On average, a mature program can see 10% to 30% in-

self what you can do to drive incremental sales, and there-

crease in number of orders during such campaigns. It is im-

fore grow your revenue with the affiliate program. If this is the case, here are three simple ways you can drive

portant to set clear KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for each campaign and measure the results. Data will help you make

more sales to your program:

decisions on what type of campaign or promotions to run next,

1. Run affiliate contests:

what works and what doesn’t work well for your program.

Make your own contests for affiliates or join your network

These promotions can be addressed to your existing affili-

contests, if possible, to leverage your program, incentivize ex-

ates as well as to new potential affiliates. Make sure you com-

isting affiliates, and recruit new ones.

municate both ways and have the right links for each case. For

Prepare attractive prizes for your affiliate partners to join

example, some affiliates may join your program when they

the contest and set clear rules on how the winners will be se-

search for new programs to promote on Black Friday.

lected. Make sure you also have everything prepared to attract

3. Activate affiliates:

new publishers to join your program.

Run special campaigns to activate your dormant affiliates

Mature programs can have an increase of over 40% year

and at the same time make sure to on-board new affiliates so

over year during contests, while new launched programs can

that they don’t become dormant. How to do this? Communi-

have a very good kick-off of their program if they run or join an

cate. Make sure you have a dedicated communication with

affiliate contest.

your inactive affiliates to keep them up to date with the latest

2. Make special promotions:

news and see how you can help them to start selling. Email all

Depending on your program particularities and objectives,

your new joined affiliates to help them get started with your

you can schedule key promotions based on upcoming events:

program and proactively provide all the needed materials to

end of season sales (ex.: spring sales, etc.), Back to School,

do so.

Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, etc.

There are many other ways you can drive incremental

Schedule all your actions into a campaign calendar and

sales to your affiliate program, depending on the maturity of

prepare them in advance so that you can communicate each

the program and available management resources. These are

promotion to your affiliates. Make sure you align your campaigns

three of the most productive ways that anyone can use to gen-

with the other channels to have an integrated campaign and an

erate new revenue through the affiliate channel and increase

effective communication of the message to your end users.

the program performance overall.

Teodora Chiribelea is Affiliate Network Manager at Avangate Affiliate Network.


· Issue 42 · April 2018


Alex Bugeja

A Useful Alternative to Affiliate Links by Alex Bugeja


ost readers are presumably familiar with traditional affiliate links, through which an affiliate earns commission for promoting a merchant when a transac-

means that the affiliate can now do things such as engage in

tion occurs on the merchant website. Tracking of such links is

email marketing, retarget customers via cookies, follow up on

through means, such as a cookie placed on the customer’s

abandoned shopping carts, work on further optimizing conver-

computer when the link is clicked.

sion rates, etc.

In this article we examine dropshipping, which offers an

Dropshipping therefore generally allows affiliates to cap-

alternative to this traditional affiliate marketing flow, and which

ture more dollars per customer than traditional affiliate mar-

opens up a new set of possibilities to both affiliates and mer-

keting and is particularly useful for working with brands that


have expertise in making and/or fulfilling products, but not in

In a dropshipping relationship, a merchant fulfills transac-

operating modern ecommerce stores. In such cases dropship-

tions driven by an affiliate without the identity of that merchant

ping allows a natural division of labor between affiliates per-

necessarily being revealed at any point – it is the affiliate that

forming customer-facing marketing and user interfacing, and

“owns” the customer and has full access to their data, rather

merchants executing fulfillment logistics.

than the merchant.

One obvious benefit of providing dropshipping to mer-

The merchant is generally furnished only with the required

chants is that it opens up a whole new class of possible part-

data, so as to fulfill the transaction on the affiliate’s behalf.

ners as affiliates: online stores. Brands that previously were

Dropshipping is most commonly thought of in the ecommerce

limited to working with traditional affiliates such as bloggers,

context: the customer purchases a product on the affiliate

social media influencers, coupon sites, etc. can also work with

website, the affiliate sends the customer’s shipping address

online stores and other websites that offer purchasing func-

to the merchant, and the merchant then ships the product to

tionality of some kind with dropshipping.

the customer.

Even if a merchant operates their own online store, allow-

The affiliate normally sells the product at a price higher

ing products to be listed on other stores besides their own can

than the one the merchant charges them, with the difference

be highly beneficial. Those stores may have access to custom-

being their profit.

ers the merchant does not, or may offer functionality such as

Dropshipping is a natural extension of the repertoire of both affiliates and merchants, since it opens up new possibili-

subscriptions, retargeting campaigns, etc. that the merchant site lacks.

ties for both sides. Space prevents us from considering all pos-

In conclusion, merchants capable of providing dropship-

sible benefits here but we will examine a couple of the more

ping should probably give this technique serious consideration.

important ones.

Likewise affiliates capable of implementing web purchasing

As far as affiliates are concerned, owning customers provides full control. Keeping the customer on the affiliate site


functionality should consider seeking out merchants that would be good dropshipping partners.

Alex Bugeja is the founder of, an affiliate network with specialized capabilities including dropshipping.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Formulating a

Niche-Focused Pitch by Rachel Honoway

Rachel Honoway


them that you know what you’re doing, you know why your re you an influencer? When was the last time you sat

readers find your content valuable, and why they should be dy-

down to think about what value you provide, and why

ing to work with you.

your readers come to you? I know you’re busy. But

these are important questions to answer. Trust me, if you don’t think about them now, you could be faced with the questions at the most cringe-worthy time… like when you’re standing in front of your favorite brand at a conference. I’ve seen it more times than I wish to count: Blogger: I’m so excited to see you here! You’re my favorite.

Here’s a simple formula you can use to develop a strong pitch: My name is [NAME], and I blog at [YOUR-DOT-COM]. My readers come to me for [20-WORDS-OR-LESS]. These three sentences tell the brand who you are, and what value you might bring to a campaign. Focus on a Niche: Saying you have a “lifestyle” blog gives

Brand: Thanks! What do you do?

brands little information about your value. You may as well tell

Blogger: I blog.

them that you blog about a little bit of everything. And, you

Brand: That’s great. We’re looking to work with more blog-

shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t find value in the bits of

gers. What do you blog about?

content you write on dozens of disjointed topics. Zero in on a

Blogger: Ummm… a little bit of everything.

niche that helps the brand understand what makes you unique

Brand: (rolls eyes and politely ends the conversation.)

and makes your voice valuable.

Brands are focused on reaching their target audience - and

Target Your Pitch: If you have a brand (or brands) in mind

that’s it. While they may be compassionate people who enjoy

that you want to work with, customize the pitch for them. Want

chatting, when you are talking about your blog, they are going

to land a paid placement from that big theme park? Let them

through a mental checklist to determine if you cover their niche

know “ readers come to me for activities to do with their

and if your readers fit their target demographic. If you can’t get

children, and they are especially engaged in my posts about

that information to them in a confident, concise manner - they

family vacations.”

can’t determine the value in continuing the conversation, let

Practice on the Way: As you travel to conferences, pull out

alone in following up with you to send a sample product and

your notebook to write your pitches, and practice saying them

ask for your media kit.

over and over again.

So, it’s incredibly important to formulate a focused elevator pitch before you start conversations with brands. Show

With a concise, targeted pitch you’ll see greater success following each conference.

Rachel is a co-owner of the blogger and influencer community and conference.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Expand Reach and Flexibility

with Clickless Tracking by Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald


s a merchant it can be difficult to maintain trackability while simultaneously expanding your affiliate

Clickless Tracking can record the sale without the browser

network. This is where clickless tracking comes in.

cookie being set or sent. It also eliminates issues with traffic

Clickless tracking can provide both influencers and merchants

sources that do not allow affiliate links and prevents the need

increased reach and flexibility. It does so, by expanding the me-

for a click in the situations where that is difficult – for example

diums (online and off) in which influencers can promote a prod-

with offline environments.

uct and receive credit for a sale – all without a click.

Benefits of Clickless Tracking to Retailers and

What is Clickless Tracking?


Clickless tracking allows merchants to provide unique

Retailers can benefit from clickless tracking as well. This

codes to influencers and publishers. This means a sale can be

method of tracking affords retailers the opportunity to work

registered without pixel tracking or any backend development

with a wide range of influencers. It also expands trackability



These exclusive codes provide the consumer with a dis-

Clickless tracking changes the game by allowing a mer-

count or promotional offer, while allowing the sale to be at-

chant to use specific promo codes to test partners outside of

tributed to the individual influencer associated with that code.

the affiliate channel. For example, a YouTube reviewer signed

Clickless tracking can be advantageous for both retailers and

up with an affiliate network (ShareASale, LinkConnector, or

influencers, because the tracking is done without a click or any

Pepperjam) can include a promo code at the end of their video.

development work.

If a sale takes place, that influencer will receive credit for it.

Benefits of Clickless Tracking for Influencers

Even if another publisher or influencer uses their code, for ex-

Typically, tracking works by a publisher or influencer us-

ample on a coupon site, the YouTube reviewer would still get

ing an affiliate link. When a customer clicks the link, a browser

the credit.

cookie is set. This cookie and relevant information about that

Why You Must Try Clickless Tracking Now

influencer is provided to the affiliate marketing tracking net-

The mediums in which you can use clickless tracking are

work when the sale takes place. This allows the retailer to effec-

endless, and can aid in revenue growth for both the influencer

tively and properly provide payment to the influencer. Clickless

and retailer, by eliminating the need for a click to enable track-

tracking, however, allows influencers much more flexibility to


expand their reach by providing codes that can be easily used online or offline (on radio, in print, on TV, in stores and more.)


To get started using clickless tracking via exclusive code, contact ShareASale, LinkConnector or Pepperjam.

Ryan is an E-Commerce consultant at eAccountable and has 12 years of marketing experience.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Marketing’s Role

in Gender Parity by Maura Smith

Maura Smith


ccording to a recent report from eMarketer, adults in

shows women are in charge of 80% of buying decisions, yet

the US spend on average more than 12 hours a day

91% express they don’t connect with the advertising attached

consuming media—of which, marketing and advertis-

to these purchases—every marketing team has the opportunity

ing accounts for a significant portion. This means the ways brands convey their products and services can greatly influence how consumers view the world around them.

for their brand to break that mold. Consider whether there is equal representation and opportunity across your chosen ambassadors and influencers.

With so much time being devoted to interacting with prod-

Then consider how their storylines are being portrayed. Is the

ucts and services, there lies considerable opportunity for mar-

campaign positioning free from limiting stereotypes or biased

keters and brands to make headway by attempting to make


meaningful change in the way these audiences view gender parity.

A good example of this is the Bic For Her campaign vs. Barbie’s Imagine the Possibilities campaign. Why should pink

And while this opportunity isn’t always seized by market-

and purple pens with less pens per pack be labeled “for her”

ers, one positive outcome of high media intake is that it opens

and cost 70% more than a bulk pack of 10 black pens? This

dialogue between both genders on the issue, sparking conver-

may be perceived as limiting, biased and condescending. On

sations that can become catalysts for change.

the other hand, Barbie’s Imagine the Possibilities campaign

Gender parity is a huge topic of conversation—and for

seizes the opportunity to branch out of the stereotypical “girls

those of us in marketing, the responsibility to initiate change ex-

play with dolls” storyline and offer empowerment by illustrating

tends beyond demographics or statistical progress. Marketers

the potential every little girl has to be the best at whatever she

have the opportunity to foster a culture of equality, both within

chooses to be.

their organization and within their brands and campaigns.

The Takeaway? Use Your Platform

The Action? Check Your Mindset

Marketers thrive when they have a clear and unbiased un-

When designing campaigns, consider: is our team using

derstanding of all audiences and they have a platform to stand

an equality mindset? Remember equality extends beyond the

for equality and gender parity as more than just a workplace

numbers—it is not just how many women are present in an

statistic. By influencing the content that is consumed on social

ad but also the diversity and equality of how individuals are

and in the media, brands and marketers have an opportunity to

chosen and highlighted as brand ambassadors. As proof, data

influence and challenge the broader conversation.

Maura Smith is an industry veteran, PMA Board Chair and champion of all things affiliate.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

5 Ways to

Enable Affiliates to Grow by Taylor Barr

Taylor Barr


hat does it mean to go the extra mile to help your

mum of two weeks, if not more, to help your affiliates thrive on

affiliates? How do you reach beyond the “stock”

a new sales campaign.

advice to make successful, long-lasting affiliate

Personalize & Customize


For your top performers, go the extra mile to help traffic

In this article, learn the top five actionable insights to help

convert based on their value propositions. Provide exclu-

your affiliates level up.

sive coupons, co-branded landing pages, or even dedicated

Share the Data

inbound resources to help prospects enter the buying cycle.

Successful affiliate marketers use data to leverage the

Reward All Types of Affiliate Partners

promotions of your products and services. By regularly provid-

Setting high goals for affiliate partners that only top affili-

ing affiliates with updates on conversion rates, top-performing

ates can achieve is a fast way to disengage and lose your affili-

pages or products on your website, as well as new marketing

ate base. Employ rewards based on segmented performance of

content, you give them a solid foundation to ensure they direct

affiliates to get the most traction for both you and your partners.

prospects to the best you have to offer.

Open Your Door

Be Proactive with Sales and Deals

Have a dedicated, communicative manager available to

Access to sales and special deals can be a big asset in

hop on the phone or trade emails with affiliate partners. This is

an affiliate partner’s toolkit. For example, if you are having a

a key element that sets great affiliate programs apart from the

holiday sale with a discount, plug your affiliates into the infor-

sub-par programs. Make it known to your affiliate partners who

mation so they can work it into their schedule and be ready to

their affiliate manager is and how to contact them.

promote. Be sure to allow enough time for affiliates to prepare their promotions prior to the go-live date. My rule: allow a mini-


Now that you have the resources to help your affiliate partners grow, get out there and plant some seeds for success.

Taylor Barr is the Global Affiliate Manager for GetResponse and privately consults for SaaS companies.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

FTC Compliance for Affiliates:

Recent Developments by Katy Atlas

Katy Atlas


he Federal Trade Commission creates and enforces

What Goes Into a Disclosure?

regulations on internet advertising. Under Section 5

No special wording is required for advertising disclosures.

of the FTC Act, businesses cannot run any unfair or

The goal is to give readers the essential information through

deceptive advertising. Affiliates, advertisers, and agencies may

an effective communication. The Q&A includes several sample

all be held liable for unfair or deceptive online advertising.

disclosures, each of which would presumably be sufficient:

Background In 2013, the FTC released its .com disclosure guidelines, the seminal piece of regulatory guidance for online marketers. The broad take-away from these guidelines is that disclosures must be clear and conspicuous and explain any material connection between an advertiser and an endorser.

Recent Developments

»» “Company X gave me [name of product], and I think it’s great.” »» “The products I’m going to use in this video were given to me by their manufacturers.” »» “Sponsored by XYZ.” The FTC also provided some guidance on disclosures that are unlikely to be considered sufficient. A “thank you” to a spon-

In September 2017, the FTC released an additional Q&A

sor does not necessarily communicate that the endorser re-

titled “The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Ask-

ceived something for free or was given something in exchange

ing.” There is specific new guidance on product placements,

for the endorsement. Additionally, combining the hashtag #ad

social media contests, online review programs, and affiliate

with other words (such as #coolstylead) is unlikely to convey


the significance of the word “ad” in the disclosure.

When is a Disclosure Required?

Placement on Site

Bloggers should query whether knowing about that gift

The FTC also reiterated that consumers must be able to

or incentive would affect the weight or credibility your read-

notice the disclosure easily. Disclosures should be close to the

ers give to your recommendation. Even if you don’t feel that

claims they relate to, in a font that is easy to read, and stand out

a small gift would affect your review, the key question is how

against the site’s background. For video ads, they must be on

the reader of your site views your endorsement knowing that

the screen long enough to be read and understood. For audio,

it was given to you.

they must be read in a cadence that is easy to follow using

Additionally, material connections encompass more than just monetary payments. The connection could be friendship,

language consumers will understand.


family relationships, or an informal deal. Even a small, free item

This is only a small summary of the most recent guidance

or gift may affect credibility if repeated or given in expectation

from the FTC. For the full version, the Q&A is available on FTC.

of a larger future relationship.

gov. This article is meant to be helpful and informative, but is

As a general guideline, the FTC says: “It’s always safer to disclose.” Katy Atlas is the Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel of Wickfire.

not a substitute for reviewing regulatory guidance yourself or with counsel.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

The Rise of

Coworking Spaces

by Brenda Marion Imagine working here...


Google search of “coworking space” returned 909,000 results. Here’s a look at the rise of coworking spaces,

Today’s options allow just about any sized company to hit

the future of offices, office workers, and other trends

the ground running from day one. While companies like Piv-

that this concept is inspiring.

otDesk and LiquidSpace concentrate their locations on the

When I worked at Sprint’s headquarters in Overland Park,

coasts; sites like allow you to search and

KS over a decade ago, they were exploring flexible work spaces,

compare over 10,000 offices around the world;

as opposed to “assigned” offices or cubicles. With the rise of

enables you to search for a work space by city or address.

the gig economy, increase in freelance and remote workers,

Seeking to stand out from the coworking crowd, peer-

and those who work one or more part-time jobs, paying rent expanded their offerings to include film and photo

for a desk vs a whole office makes sense for many of today’s

shoot locations, as well as sites for birthday and launch parties,


performances, and more.

Companies like WeWork capitalized on this niche. Their

In Kansas City, MO, coworking spaces have spurred two

website pitch states “whether you need a desk, office suite, or

additional trends: co-living and food halls. A January post on

entire HQ, we create environments that increase productivity, introduced a co-living concept planned

innovation, and collaboration.”

for a downtown luxury apartment tower. With businesses on

With a $35 million Series B investment led by WeWork, The

the lower floors and living spaces above, you can literally be

Wing tweaked the coworking model to encompass an entire

minutes away from your workplace, spending less time on a

community designed for women. With a waitlist for their NYC

commute and more time focused on your business.

flagship site rumored to be in the thousands, they just opened

And with all of those workers concentrated in one area,

another NYC location, and will open additional outposts in

they’re going to want some lunch choices. In June 2017, the

Brooklyn and DC this year.

Kansas City Star reported on the announcement of a food hall

Startups seek to disrupt existing business norms, and

for the city’s Crossroads area planned for a 2018 opening. “De-

coworking spaces are no exception. Prior to the existence of

signed for chefs who want to expand without a lot of overhead,”

coworking options, short-term office leases were virtually non-

the 18,000 sf building will have “three kitchens, a lounge area,

existent. A business would need to sign at least a three year

and a main bar on the first floor, and four kitchens, a bar and an

lease, if not longer, to negotiate better terms, then select office

outdoor deck on the second floor.”

furniture, wait for internet and infrastructure installations, and other tedious, time-wasting tasks.


With so much momentum, these workspace trends are sure to continue evolving. Brenda Marion is Director of Corporate Communications for

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Leading Gender Equality

in the Workplace by Laura Casselman

Laura Casselman


As a female CEO, bridging the gaps in gender equality at ndustry leaders have the responsibility of fostering equal

the workplace isn’t always easy to do, considering that our in-

and inclusive workplace settings that are constructive and

dustry is predominantly male. However, when you hire based

empowering for both men and women. However, female em-

on the ability to do one’s job, instead of demographics, the task

powerment in the workplace is extremely important in today’s society more than ever.

is not insurmountable. The idea that women do not possess the correct skill-set

At JVZoo, we strive to do all of the above in all aspects of

needed to compete in the tech industry is outdated and, simply

our business. Not only is our male to female employee ratio

put, incorrect. More and more women are entering the work-

50/50, but a third of our development team is comprised of

force fully capable of performing at peak capacity in jobs that

women. Creating benefits packages that appeal to women is

men used to have the dominant role.

also key in getting females to accept job offers. We not only of-

It is not that the industry needs to change in order to meet

fer paid maternity and paternity leave, we also allow all employ-

the needs of women, but rather the mindset of those in the

ees the benefit of both working from home and having flexible

industry need to evolve to encompass the vast range of mar-

start/finish times.

ketable skills women bring to the table.

As you can imagine, this is appealing to working mothers,

Regardless of whether or not I wish to be an active part

as it never forces them to choose between a sick child, a soccer

in the fight for equality, I am in this battle. Knowing how my

tournament, or dance recital and work, but rather allows them

decisions and actions affect the women that work with me,

the freedom to balance the responsibilities of both.

but also the daughters and granddaughters that are to follow

No matter the size of your company, creating appealing

in our footsteps.

benefits packages, taking harassment seriously with zero-

That’s why I believe it’s so important that startup leaders

tolerance policies, and allowing equal opportunities for growth

do their part to make their companies more inclusive. It’s not

within the company are things that not only can, but should

always easy, even as a woman CEO. We’re battling centuries of

be done.

social constructs that tell us to be quiet and sit down.

Laura Casselman is the CEO of JVZoo and recipient of a 2017 Silver Stevie Award


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Death of Email:

RISE of the Chatbot

by Heather Havenwood Heather Havenwood


“If you are going to survive and thrive in 2018 you had the privilege to speak at Affiliate Summit West on a sub-

must build a community and focus on the customer

ject that I truly only started learning about back in June of

conversation.” – Ryan Deiss

2017. Chatbots. However, coming from over 15 years in sales and market-

Chatbots are taking the customer on a sort of ‘choose your

ing, it was a natural fit. Chatbots are the new sales tool.

own adventure’ journey. “They” are in charge, and the chatbot

What is a Chatbot?

simply guides the marketer to know which answer, product or

A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes

service that best fit.

artificial intelligence, which you interact with via a chat inter-

For affiliate marketing specifically, you can ask the cus-

face. The service could be any number of things, ranging from

tomer direct questions about what they are seeking, wanting,

functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product

or desiring; THEN give it to them.

(Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, text messages, etc.)

That is true marketing.

The Shift in Marketing Is Here Here are three ways Facebook Chatbots are changing

3. Segmentation Similar to email, segmentation is key in selling and deliv-

marketer’s lives.

ering customers products and services. Now with chatbots

1. Engagement

and AI, the marketer can create multiple campaigns, multiple

Since the beginning of time, marketers have been looking for high ‘engagement’ (open rates, click through rates, etc). The current data of email for open rates are between 5% - 15% and click through rates are 5% - 10%. The current data of ‘engagement’ for Facebook chatbots is extremely HIGH.

conversations, and multiple segments all inside of one Facebook profile. No longer does one size fits all in marketing strategies. During the ‘conversation’ with potential customer or client, the chatbot can tag responses and create segmented buckets to foster conversations that are only relevant to the interests of

»» Open rates: 75% - 95% rate.

that user. These conversations can be created in an auto re-

»» Click through rates: 20% - 30%

sponder series as you would inside an email marketing cam-

As more marketers jump on board, these will decrease, but for now chatbots outperform social media, email, YouTube, or

paign. The big difference? Over 80% open rates. The Time is Here.

blog engagement.

Next Step: Build Your Chatbot Marketing

2. Conversation


I was recently at a small private event where Ryan Deiss

The marketing strategy is less about tech and more about

of Digital was being interviewed by the CEO of

psychology and journey to take your customers down the slide; a new chatbot service. I remember something very

into your bucket of offers.

specific that Ryan said;


Enjoy your Chatbot build. Heather Havenwood Founder of Haven Media Network, Host of The Win Podcast & blogs,

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Utilizing Your

Affiliate Manager to the Fullest by Hilary St Jonn Hilary St Jonn


y job as affiliate manager is to help both my affiliates and my company make money. Sometimes affiliates don’t utilize me to the fullest. The ones

that do are usually the ones that see a steady rise in earnings.

Attend Educational Events We have a lot of opportunities for affiliates to learn how to promote our software. As an affiliate manager, we see a lot of

Ask for Feedback After I’ve been working on something for a while, I really need a second pair of eyes to give me feedback. We understand that we aren’t the only product you advertise, but affiliate managers know their own product/service best and may be able to point out some major blind spots you overlooked.

subtle details and practices that differentiate the top affiliates

When you write a review or blog post that includes the

from the rest. Listen to the advice of your manager - they are

product or service you are promoting, send it over to your af-

exposed to more marketing strategies than you will run across.

filiate manager, and ask for feedback. Trust me, they won’t


complain seeing your work and may even have some tips for

When you participate in special promotions or contests your affiliate manager offers, it shows the manager that you


Communicate Regularly

are serious about making money. It can also give you direction

The affiliates that I communicate with regularly are usually

and accountability that solopreneurs may need sometimes to

the ones that I first think of when it comes to an opportunity

remain on track and purpose.

for affiliates.

Connect on Facebook, interact on Twitter and LinkedIn.

One of the affiliates I manage I regularly chat with online.

These affiliates are more likely to get ReTweets and shares

When we relaunched the affiliate interview section on our

from me because I know who they are and I can help them.

blog, he was the first one I thought of for an interview. When

Utilize Your Resources

we wanted to try a new campaign to convert cold affiliate leads,

Sometimes we give free trials to affiliates to use our soft-

he was the first affiliate I approached.

ware, so they can start building content without an initial finan-

Because he took the time to communicate and build a re-

cial investment. It is not a good impression if, when the trial

lationship with me, he usually is one of the first people I think

runs out, you haven’t produced any content, made any sales,

of. And the growth of his sales reflects that.

but ask for an extension.

Remember that the affiliate manager’s job is to help you

If you don’t do anything when we try to help you, we are

succeed. Our success is dependent upon your success. Use

less motivated to help you out in the future. So, when we give

these tips to take full advantage of your affiliate manager and

you resources, use them to the fullest.

maximize your earnings.

Hilary St Jonn is the Online Marketing Manager and Affiliate Manager at BeRush, SEMrush’s affiliate program.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Importance of

List Hygiene in 2018 by James Carner

James Carner

The quickest way to know when an ISP changes their antispam algorithm is when they change their anti-spam policy page online. This is changed first before the software upgrade


is propagated. Again, because email list hygiene works, a he email marketing industry changes just as fast as

few years ago Yahoo and Gmail both created a flash flood by

the Earth’s surface does. After seeing some of the

changing their anti-spam policy to “…using DMARC (Domain-

slower changes that email marketing achieves over

based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) for

time like html, and text configurations, it is important to remem-

its and services … Google also plans

ber that email marketing changes overnight.

to move Gmail to a strict DMARC policy, according to a news

Like Earth events, such as landslides, volcanoes, tsunamis,


and earthquakes, internet service providers can change an al-

However, according to a recent survey by the Global Cyber

gorithm which can throw the entire industry into a tailspin, and

Alliance, “DMARC isn’t widely used and only 15% of cyberse-

cause a lot of damage.

curity vendors themselves are using DMARC to prevent email

Recently, in early February, Yahoo changed their anti-spam algorithm, which altered the landscape for email marketers whom solely emailed into Yahoo. Immediately following, email marketers switched to AOL, and bombarded their networks with competing daily offers.

spoofing.” Email marketers quickly changed to Yahoo SMTP’s, and changed their headers from address to get around it. This coming May the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect, which regulates the processing by

What Yahoo will not tell you is email marketers were getting through, and taking away revenue from Yahoo itself by

an individual, a company, or an organization of personal data relating to individuals in the European Union.

competing offers. Yahoo was using expired accounts (ac-

It comes with a €20 million fine if an email marketer sends

counts that have not been logged into for a certain period of

an advertisement unsolicited into any of these countries. The

time) which bounced because the mailbox was full.

law suggests all marketers to re-opt in their lists before May

The email’s return path reported as a soft bounce, and Ya-

to ensure that the consumers want to receive your messages.

hoo used the deliverer information for monitoring, analyzing,

Email list hygiene will again play a significant role removing

interpreting, and eventually blocking the domain/IP ranges.

emails from those countries as authorities start to enforce it.

This data is then fed into Yahoo’s suppressions, and traded

When CASL came into effect in 2014, email list hygiene

with other spam filtering systems. Their own traps were not

companies were flooded with requests to remove Canadian

working good enough to filter out the bombardment of email

data. Like how the Earth changes, expect a tornado when

marketing ads. So, this means that email list hygiene did its job.

GDPR goes live.


James Carner is founder of, an online service provider specializing in email list hygiene.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Leveraging AI-technology

in Performance Marketing in 2018 by Jennifer Ballard

Jennifer Ballard


ffiliate marketing is a fast-paced industry that is con-

pages and links as caps are reached. The vision of this technol-

stantly evolving. 2018 brings another year of budget

ogy is to empower affiliates to scale their ROIs using cutting-

limitations on your top performing marketing cam-

edge technology.

paigns paired with more competition than ever before. One of

With the implementation of a single piece of code, this

the greatest challenges in our industry is sustaining long-term

technology gives affiliates the ability to update their landing


pages just once and the code will update product images and

Everyone wants a piece of success in affiliate marketing.

brand names automatically as needed.

The importance of being ahead of your competition in this ever-

For each marketer using this technology, it saves them

changing industry is invaluable. So what if I told you there was

time, stress, and money. For example, what if your campaigns

a way to get ahead of the curve? What if you didn’t have to

caps at midnight and you are sleeping, causing you to miss a

worry about caps on each offer or beating your competitor to

notification email? Using AI-technology in this situation leaves

the next best offer?

you stress-free as the code is doing the work for you. No more

There is one simple way to do that and more simply by using artificial intelligence technology.

hassle of getting your landing page updated, your link swapped out, or a product image replaced.

Artificial intelligence in performance marketing can help

This technology can be a game changer for an affiliate of

take your company’s success to the next level. AI- technology

any size. High volume media buyers will especially find the value

helps to increase EPCs and eCPMS, run multiple top-perform-

in this solely for customization and control. AI-technology is pro-

ing campaigns at once, and eliminate the need to edit landing

viding affiliates with what they need in order to be successful.

Jenn Ballard, Director of SMB Accounts, is a 7 year veteran with Clickbooth.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

What ASEuro Taught Me

About International Business by Michelle Held Michelle Held


rior to our trip to London in February, I spent time studying local culture, the weather, and general etiquette. I

since we live across an ocean from each other. I’ve since read

brushed up on the differences between American-

that is a typical behavior based on his country of origin, yet it’s

English and British-English – the washroom is known as the loo, pants translate to trousers, and chips are fries.

exactly the opposite of what I would do. My team is working on an annual fundraiser. With the help

My eager-to-help friends entertained themselves by send-

of some of my Affiliate Summit friends, we’ve made this the big-

ing humorous sites loaded with British phrases they felt I

gest fundraiser ever and are a top team. I am ordering promo-

should master; shag is a type of carpeting in the US, however

tional items directly from a manufacturer based in China. My

shagging in the UK…

attempts to cut right to “what is this going to cost us?” was met

I planned on dividing the week between meeting with a

with what I perceive as a pro-longed getting to know you phase.

London based client, the conference, and being a tourist. In

It turns out that Asians like to introduce themselves first. I also

January, I visited the ASEuro booth at Affiliate Summit West to

learned that when speaking to the Taiwanese, I’d have to edu-

obtain recommendations for restaurants, neighborhoods, and

cate leaders and their workers separately.

conference culture. I learned that London conferences are not

I am working on another online fundraiser that spans over

as casual as they might be in the States and that, at a minimum,

100 countries. In this strategy, the recipients from one country

I should dress “smart.”

tell their story through content marketing to expats and other

Semantics are a Good Start

potential donors. The content delivery rate is highly dependent

I belong to a coaching organization that helps members

on what country the listener resides in.

improve their public speaking and leadership skills. One of my

Speaking at ASEuro was good practice for this multi-bor-

favorite topics is adjusting presentations to the audience. Tai-

der communications. Working on my presentation for ASEuro

loring talks to the listeners’ expertise may involve changing the

emphasized how I had to adjust my content to be meaningful

subject matter, removing material that is acceptable to one cul-

to a broader audience and be mindful of other nuances such

ture, but is offensive to another, altering the depth the material

as gestures.

presented, or changing terminology.

What I learned the most is that there’s much to learn about

So, what did I learn at ASEuro? First, depending on the cul-

international business. It’s more than simply having a native

ture, a person might choose to avoid meeting face-to-face. An

language speaker write for a website we are optimizing. It is a

email after I left the country is customary. This was puzzling

matter of connecting in a way that builds trust.

Michelle is an author and digital marketing consultant who blogs on and


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Visa Claims Resolution:

Challenges & Benefits by Mark Standfield

Mark Standfield


isa Claims Resolution (VCR) will bring unprecedented

Response Expectations & Time Limits

change to the payments industry. Merchants who real-

Merchants must respond to collaboration disputes, even

ize the implications can take necessary steps to over-

if the response is to accept liability. Merchants are not allowed

come challenges and experience the benefits Visa has intended.

VCR Benefits

to simply let disputes expire. However, responding within the shortened time limits is

Merchants stand to benefit greatly from Visa’s new frame-

difficult. Merchants have less than 30 days to match the dis-

work for managing chargebacks and disputes.

pute to the original transaction, research compelling evidence

Fewer Disputes

requirements, locate compelling evidence, draft a dispute re-

VCR can significantly reduce the number of disputes--previously referred to as “chargebacks”--a merchant receives. If mer-

sponse, and submit their case.

Data Disclosure

chants receive fewer disputes, their merchant accounts will remain

In order to participate in VMPI, a powerful dispute-preven-

in good standing and they’ll have an increased ability to scale.

tion mechanism, merchants will need to share data with issu-

Simpler Processes

ers in two seconds or less. Unless they use a Visa facilitator,

Several VCR features, including new reason codes and enhanced data transparency, will help streamline and simplify workflows.

merchants will likely struggle to meet this requirement.

Workflow Inconsistencies While Visa procedures have changed, Mastercard, Discover,

Reduced Costs & Labor Merchants who fully comply with VCR can avoid unneces-

and American Express chargeback management remains the same. Merchants must navigate two very different management

sary fees and cut costs. If they use Visa’s program updates

styles in order to accept payments from all card networks.

as an opportunity to transition to a technology solution, mer-

How to Overcome Challenges and Optimize

chants can also eliminate or reduce costly, time-intensive,


error-prone manual processes.

VCR Challenges

A very obvious realization is what triggered VCR’s creation: chargeback resolution procedures had become outdated and

While the potential benefits of VCR are numerous, these perks will only be realized if merchants can overcome the policy’s challenges.

ineffective. As a result, VCR was the modern solution to a dynamic problem. Due to the tech-oriented nature of VCR, merchants will

Two Processes at Once Disputes initiated before the April integration deadline continue with the legacy process. Disputes initiated after the integration deadline proceed with the new workflows. Therefore, merchants will be managing disputes using both frameworks for several

only experience the intended benefits if they likewise embrace technology. Similarly, challenges only arise when manual processes persist where automation was intended. An old adage says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

months until the legacy process is completely phased out. This

Visa is eager to do something different and get different re-

means managing two different sets of reason codes, timelines,

sults. Are merchants likewise willing to shed ineffective manual

and submission processes - an administrative nightmare.

processes so they can get better, more profitable results?


Mark Standfield is president of Midigator®, risk management technology incorporating VMPI, alerts, and VCR-compliant disputes.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

What GDPR Means

for US Affiliate Marketers by Khris Thayer

Khris Thayer


f you attended Affiliate Summit Europe in February, or keep

how it impacts specific industries (like email marketing). You

up with digital marketing industry news, you’ve almost cer-

know your business better than anyone else ever will, so get

tainly run across many references to GDPR. The General

an understanding of the regulation and you can evaluate how

Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May

your business fits into the guidelines to determine immediate

25, 2018 and intends to strengthen and unify data protection

business impact.

requirements within the European Union (EU).

Get Expert Advice

Basically, it sets a series of rules for companies to follow

When you’re dealing with legal regulations, it is always

when they are collecting, storing, and/or processing data from

advisable to get expert legal advice. If you have a lawyer or

individuals in the EU.

law firm here in the U.S. that’s a great place to start. But, you

As a U.S. based affiliate marketer, you may think that the

may want to find a company that delivers expertise on GDPR

GDPR doesn’t really relate to your business. However, one major

preparation or even speak with a law firm in the EU. Firms in

change from previous data protection requirements is that com-

the EU are already heavily focused on GDPR and many are en-

panies outside the EU will be monitored and required to comply

gaged with multiple global clients preparing for the regulation.

with the new regulation and GDPR is enforceable outside the EU.

Act now because the current high demand for these services

This means if your company collects personal data from

can make it difficult to find one that has time enough for even

any individuals within the EU - including email addresses - then

a high level conversation about your company’s GDPR needs.

you must comply with GDPR. It also retroactively applies to

Make a Plan for Compliance

data you have previously collected, rather than just new data

If you collect any personal data from individuals in the EU,

you begin gathering after the regulation goes into effect in May.

which includes email addresses, do not ignore GDPR. Make

There are severe penalties for companies that are found to be

sure you understand the rules around recording consent and

in non-compliance, so understanding the rules is vital to your

the various rights that individuals have regarding their data


(like the ‘right of erasure’) and consider how to adhere to the

Here are three steps to consider with regard to GDPR.

Educate Yourself

guidelines. The biggest takeaway is not to assume the GDPR doesn’t

With minimal online searching you will find tons of arti-

apply to you because you’re located in the U.S. Being informed

cles, guides, webinars, and other content resources available

and prepared can put you in a good position to succeed in a

on GDPR. They range from general overviews to analysis of

post GDPR affiliate marketing world.

Khris Thayer is CEO and Co-founder of email compliance and suppression list management company, OPTIZMO.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Blueprint for Converting

Paid Search Campaigns by Sumit Dhawan

Sumit Dhawan


aid search campaigns are the marketing initiatives

from the different search engines available. However, the only

taken by you in order to publicize your products and

thing that you need to make sure is the platform you choose

services to your targeted audiences.

is highly used and referred. This would help you get a good

The best option for such paid campaigns is PPC (Pay Per

response to your ad marketing.

Click). In this, you can divert traffic to your website by placing

Keywords are very important when it comes to generating

ads on the search engine using relevant keywords that suit your

a brilliant ad campaign. It’s always good to review and keep an

products and services.

eye on your search term reports. This would help you know

By doing so you are obliged to pay the publisher (search

about the keywords that can be added or removed from your

engine) for every click that you may get on your website link.

ad campaign in order to attract targeted audience.

So, it’s important that the ad campaigns are highly optimized

Scheduling Your Ad Campaigns

for positive returns of your investment.

Scheduling of ads helps you advertise your product or

Define Key Performance Indicators

highlight your ads as per the market requirements. You need to

No ad campaign can work right until you have some good

analyze the timings when your services are most searched for.

objectives set for effective campaigning. It’s very important to

This may be related to the timings (business hours), or particu-

identify and analyze your ad objectives before planning mar-

lar days of the week (weekends for services like restaurants,

keting strategies. These objectives may be to increase the sale

shops and cafes, etc.).

and traffic of your website, lead generations, brand publicity etc.

Tracking metrics of conversion rates would always help

Strategies are to be planned as per the objectives, this

you understand the effectiveness of your ad campaigns.

would help you achieve your goals more easily and effectively.

This would also help you initiate changes in the procedure to

KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) on the other hand com-

generate more leads. Generating leads can be easy, however,

pute the actions that ultimately end to lead generations. These

converting these leads into customers is a bit difficult. In such

actions can be Cost Per Click, Cost Per Call, etc. Measurable

cases, you need to use automated lead management systems

KPI’s would help you understand the performance standards,

that would help you avoid missing on opportunities and ending

determine any issues found, and make required changes, if any.

up wasting funds.

Good Platform and Audits of Ads and Keywords The Internet is loaded with different options or platforms available for PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns. You can choose


Ad campaigns or marketing are not about just paying money to the publishers, however, there are lot more initiatives to be taken by you to make sure that your investment in fruitful.

Sumit Dhawan is CEO of Dhawans Enterprises LLC and blogs at

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Why Scrubbing is

a Necessary Evil by Kim S. Bengtsen

Kim S. Bengtsen


crubbing: the process of removing non-legitimate leads, directly resulting in lowering the expected revenue… or is it?

At the same time, publishers might be willing to take a

Fraudulent, fake, dublicate, and spam will be considered as

chance by pushing the offer with the high-payout network, in

‘scrubbing triggers’ by most advertisers, and will be discarded

the hopes of increased revenue. This despite a lower conversion

as such.

rate, but with a possible reward for delivering quality traffic.

A general misconception in regards to scrubbing is that ‘shaving’ and ‘scrubbing’ are definitions of the same… they are not. Shaving leads relates to a very unethical business practice

Overall this creates a very dynamic and more safe workflow in the market, where all parties are getting paid equally.

Lowering Your Scrub-Rate

of either an advertiser or network, not paying for the leads gen-

Securing a low scrub-rate and, in turn, a higher conversion

erated in an effort to get as much traffic and/or for as little cost

and revenue, is primarily in the hands of the publisher. Some

possible. This often correlates with overpricing, and in the end,

examples include pre-scrubbing (XX %) by setting up a funnel,

not paying the actual increased payouts nor volume.

survey, or any other method you can think of, sorting out the

Whether scrubbing occurs pre- or post signup and/or sale

low quality leads and generally getting to know your own qual-

is irrelevant - a lead is a lead, a scrub is scrub, and lead shaving

ity of traffic. And you as a publisher have to adhere to this ‘uni-

is lead shaving.

versal rule’, before pushing it to the advertiser and potentially

It All Comes Down to Quality

losing a lot of money. There is no other way around it.

With the increase of fraud, scam, and other negative con-

Safeguarding as a publisher will always be to spread your

notations related to ‘online advertising’, integrity for both the

business across multiple networks / direct advertisers, making

advertiser, as well as the publisher, is a much needed addition

sure that you don’t put “all your eggs in one basket”. That way

for this ‘eat or be eaten’ business. Scrubbing leads is a way of

you can also A/B split your own traffic, the networks you are

securing integrity between the parties, as well as organically

working with, and possibly the advertisers themselves.

increasing quality through control, even if the controlling party is more or less one sided (the advertiser). It makes for a more dynamic market for both advertisers and publishers. It opens up for differentiating pricing/payouts,

Looking objectively, this isn’t just a matter of integrity and getting settled in your own market. It is a way of securing both parties in a continued and indeed valuable collaboration for years to come.

depending on the network where the offer is hosted; a win for the advertiser.

Being predictable is often more profitable than the alternative.

Kim Bengtsen, a multiple founder and CEO of gaming, gambling, dating and affiliate companies


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Top Search Keywords

in 2018

by Miguel Olvera

Miguel Olvera


(8.6%) that are clear and that are used by more than five netffer descriptions in different tracking platforms are

works; making them relevant for analysis by establishing them

usually complemented by keywords that help us or-

as a commonly used keyword in the industry. There are only

ganize the vast amount of information we manage

121 significant keywords that are present in more than 1,000

on a daily basis. Keywords are essential to help systems be

offers each. Out top ten keywords are:

searchable and indexable translating into a better experience

»» Incent

for affiliates looking for top converting offers.

»» Android

After constantly analyzing more than 200,000 offers from

»» CPA

120+ networks we have reached a series of key takeaways that

»» iPhone

will help networks organize their information and create better

»» Mobile

offers. Out of our complete universe of offers in Click4ads, we

»» Games

found 40,260 keywords.

»» Adult

Keyword misusage.

»» iPad

We’ve identified two major problems that may point to a

»» iOs

lack of effort from managers at the time of creating the offer.

»» Games/Toys

Out of the totality of unique references, around 10,183 (25%)

The newcomer

contain numbers, and 4,015 (10%) are made up entirely of

Interest sway as the markets and opportunities change.

numbers making them irrelevant to any affiliate. The second

Since the end of last year, we have encountered the rise of a

common bad practice was the use of what we call non-sense

specific market inside affiliate marketing. Crypto and bitcoin

keywords ranging from multiple repetitions of single letters, i.e.,

are fast rising keywords as expected and are now appearing in

aaaaaaa to words with 2 or fewer characters; that amounts to

one every 50 offers

roughly 5%. This makes more than 40% of the total keywords irrelevant for usage and analysis.

We expect continued growth as advertisers identify new opportunities in this market.

These couple of common mistakes could be associated

As we have seen, there are a lot of ways to go in acquiring

with a lack of interest from the network to define keywords with

best practices in our data management processes. Keywords

useful meaning or just careless managers inside the organiza-

help us search and index our information and networks should

tion that doesn’t follow procedure.

be more cautionary when assembling their offers. We also

Trending keywords

have to take into consideration the participation of new indus-

From our analysis, we’ve also identified the relevant and top used keywords. Out of the 40,260 unique keywords 3,494


tries and markets into affiliate marketing and the changes they will bring to our database.

Miguel Olvera is COO at Click4ads with ten years’ experience in product management.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

World Domination:

Building Successful Global Affiliate Operations

Rob Israch

Solving the Communication Effort

by Rob Israch


To achieve scalability, look first to streamline communica-

tions with affiliates. That includes encouraging them to use white-labeled portals to track their performance and provide their contact and choose payment methods. A strong email-

f you’re looking to amplify results, digital marketers are on

based notification stream is key to proactively letting them

the ready across the globe. Global affiliates are eager, they’re

know when they’re going to be paid and of payment status is-

innovative, and the same commission you might pay a U.S.-

sues. This dramatically cuts down on ad-hoc emails, tweets,

based affiliate has greater value to someone in a country with

and phone calls to your team. Bonus points for localizing these

lower income expectations. The sheer numbers can be stag-

communication vehicles into various languages.

gering, and as anyone in the business will tell you, affiliate pro-

Preventing Fraud and Minimizing Risk

grams are a numbers game.

Some countries are lower risk than others to open your

The challenge is that dealing in multiple countries could

program up to. However, that shouldn’t necessarily exclude

hamper affiliate operations. Language barriers, regulations,

countries. The key is to operate above board as much as pos-

cross border payments, currencies, controls, and communi-

sible. Ensure proper vetting, for example, by checking prospec-

cation efforts add cost and complexity with every additional

tive affiliates against government blacklists. Collect identifying

country. On the other hand, even small operations have been

information about their business entity. This is required by the

able to dive into international waters to accelerate their growth.

IRS to meet FATCA requirements anyway, so you’re killing two

Here’s how.

birds. Proactively look for patterns that can predict fraud. And

Putting Your Arms Around the World

most critically, check these identification points before every

Going through the effort of expanding your program into another country? Don’t stop there. Open it up to the entire world.

payment, as their status might have been changed.

Promote Loyalty

It sounds counterintuitive, but operationally you need to achieve

48% of affiliates have dropped a network or program be-

economies of scale. If you’re doing affiliate operations correctly,

cause of a payment issue. Retaining high-performing affiliates

it should scale regardless of where your affiliates are. Given that,

is just as important as attracting them. For global affiliates,

ensuring you have the utmost scalable operation is key to effec-

who don’t get face-to-face attention, payments are the only

tive growth. Don’t try to hire a lot of staff to manage the program.

affirmation they have of doing business with you. Payments

If you look at how larger networks grow, they try to standardize

are proof that the network works. And given how socially in-

and streamline as much of the affiliate operation as possible.

fluential today’s affiliates are – including those in other coun-

Focus your attention on attracting and retaining top affiliates,

tries – maintaining a positive experience both enhances and

differentiating your service, and growing your client base.

preserves your reputation.

Rob Israch is CMO at Tipalti and the former VP, Global Marketing Programs at NetSuite.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

Five Tips for

Working with Influencers by Ashley Klotz Ashley Klotz


ocial influencers are more than a trend. They offer a

your budget doesn’t allow for hard dollar spend, it’s time to

unique way for brands to reach a broader audience

think outside the box. On top of commission, offering bonuses

and create loyalty with their massive reach. With 50%

and incentives for posting and hitting goals is a great start.

of marketer’s reporting that cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-

Another idea is being open to a first click vs. last click model.

engagement (CPE) pricing models are the most effective for

If mutually beneficial, this might entice influencers to promote

driving results, it’s no wonder that these types of partnerships

you over brands who are set up on a last click model. Also, be

are gaining more traction.

sure to have proper tracking set up with the option of an ad-

To help engage with top influencers in your market, here

vanced pixel. This goes beyond the vanity code and gives the

are my top five tips and best practices.

influencer confidence in the partnership.

1. Get Personal

4. Perks

Top influencers have created a brand of their own. Become

While other brands are spending hard dollars to win over

a fan and learn what draws in their audiences. This shows that

these influencers, what makes you unique? Try a free product

you respect their work and will get you noticed. When it comes

for review. A lot of influencers won’t touch a brand unless they

to communication, throw out the cold call spiel. Influencers get

are able to actually touch the brand. Therefore, the option to

HUNDREDS of emails a day and short, to-the-point personal-

keep the product might be all they care about. Other things to

ized emails will stand out.

make an influencer feel special are vanity codes or early VIP

2. Match Made in Heaven

sale info.

When looking for influencers to help your brand, remem-

5. Give Back

ber, numbers are big in this game. However, don’t confuse size

Since this is a partnership, think about other things you

with influence. While a large following can more-or-less tell

can bring to the table. Flexible compensation is good, perks

you the popularity of an influencer, it’s their engaged audience

are better, but more is great. If you have success on your own

that matters. Look at comments and shares to see how much

social platforms, try re-sharing. They let their audience know

of those followers are actually involved in what’s being talked

about you, you let your audience know about them, and a true

about. The more engaged the audience, the better the reach.

influencer partnership has been made.

3. Compensation and Tracking One of the biggest hurdles with gaining and working with influencers in performance marketing is compensation. When


Although things are always evolving, and every influencer is different, keeping these five best practices in mind will certainly give you an advantage.

Ashley Klotz, Content Manager, All Inclusive Marketing. 6+ years of content, social and performance expertise.

· Issue 42 · April 2018

Your Social Media

Isn’t Social Enough by Sal Conca

Sal Conca


he latest news to rock the social media world is Face-

Video is Hot: According to TechCrunch, over eight billion

book’s announcement of its algorithm change stat-

videos were watched on Facebook daily in 2016. You don’t

ing, “…posts from businesses, brands and media -- is

need fancy cameras or big budgets. Share inspirational stories

crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect

and make them relatable to your audience. Leverage your best

more with each other.”

blog content and pull out their highlights to create a series of

This is a big signal to brands that the free ride on Facebook is likely about to end if it hasn’t already. With the ever-changing

videos. Turn images into videos by adding music, voice overs, or quotes.

landscape in social media, understanding how to reach your

Go Live: All of the major platforms have some form of live

audience organically can be a challenge. I’m here to tell you that

video broadcasts and they give preference to that type of con-

there is no secret sauce and no shortcuts.

tent, including notifications to their followers. Turn on your cam-

Quality Versus Quantity: This old adage couldn’t be more

era while attending an event or conference, capture something

appropriate for social media today. There are many tools to

spontaneous at the office, or celebrate a product launch. For big

manage your schedule, identify influencers, and analyze per-

events, I recommend creating a “Facebook Event” that you can

formance, but none of these are going to help you create more

share via email and social media, so you can update attendees

engaging content. People are overloaded with content every

and keep them engaged leading up to the live broadcast.

day, and we don’t need more of it -- just for the hell of it. Do

Be Engaging: Engage with people who interact with your

you have the unique creative skills needed to make your social

brand, and even those that don’t. Thank them for sharing your

media marketing a success?

content. Get involved in conversations with other brands that

Be Genuine: People like to engage with other people, not

share your interests, values, views, and mission. Participate in

brands. Have you thought about letting people in behind the

Twitter chats. Share other people’s content first. Retweets cost

scenes, and letting them see what your operation is like, or


meet the team? Talk about your failures and struggles, as well

Social media takes thoughtful planning, coupled with cre-

as your successes. People want to know why you started your

ativity and manners. I don’t recommend outsourcing commu-

business and why you’re passionate about it. If they can relate

nity management, because nobody knows your brand better

to your story, they will want to work with you, recommend you

than you do. I do recommend regular audits, detailed reporting,

and your business, and ultimately buy your products and/or

and determining what part of the marketing mix you’d like so-


cial media to be for you.

Sal Conca is a marketing consultant and entrepreneur working in digital marketing for 18 years.


· Issue 42 · April 2018

You Might Need to

Uncloak Your Links

by Josh Kohlbach

Josh Kohlbach


Other Affiliate Programs f you’re in the product and services space in affiliate marketing, chances are good that you’re using link cloaking in some form.

So far, the main program that is enforcing specific conditions regarding link redirects is Amazon. But due to their sheer size and weight in the industry, it’s

It’s a very common practice to disguise the affiliate link

just a matter of time before someone else jumps on the same

code from users browsing their page, which reduces the


chance of commission hijacking.

What Can Happen if you Ignore

Cloaked links are just fancy link redirects, but here are some

As mentioned, Amazon Associates now have a dedicated

other reasons why you might want to use a link cloaker tool:

team whose job it is to review websites for compliance with


their terms and conditions.

It makes the link more visually acceptable to visitors and therefore more likely to be clicked. (eg.

With the use of backend tools, this team manually reviews websites. If they are found not to be compliant, you can be

2. It can give you click statistics

banned from their program altogether.


How to be Compliant

It can help you manage and categorize your links Sounds great right? For years we’ve enjoyed the many

Getting compliant is easy – Amazon just wants to see that

benefits of link cloaking. Most affiliate programs don’t mind

the Amazon links on your site are direct links, not cloaked links.

because it means more visitors through the links. This in turn,

Most link cloaking solutions, including sites like or

leads to more commissions paid out. link shorteners, don’t have the option to uncloak links.

But the popular Amazon Associates program managers have recently begun cracking down on link cloaking, deploying a dedicated team of website reviewers – your site could be in

The only option there is to not use those services at all for Amazon affiliate links. However, some modern link cloakers support selective

their crosshairs.

“uncloaking”. This can be used to give you the benefits of link

Why Does Amazon Hate Link Cloaking?

cloaking while also satisfying stricter affiliate programs that

After speaking with Amazon representatives, I found their

require you to have no intermediate link redirects.

primary reason for this clause in their program terms. They

Your best bet is to deploy a link cloaker on your site that can

want to see exactly which page the visitor is coming from.

handle this uncloaking stuff for you, or failing that, manually

Cloaked affiliate links mask this on the HTTP headers. It’s a

update all of your Amazon affiliate links so they aren’t cloaked.

fine distinction, but one Amazon is paying attention to.

Do this and you will stay safe from Amazon’s ban hammer.


Josh Kohlbach is the founder of, a link cloaking tool for WordPress.

Profile for Affiliate Summit

FeedFront Magazine issue 42  

This issue of FeedFront Magazine includes What ASEuro Taught Me About International Business by Michelle Held, Top Mistakes When Investing i...

FeedFront Magazine issue 42  

This issue of FeedFront Magazine includes What ASEuro Taught Me About International Business by Michelle Held, Top Mistakes When Investing i...