Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Affiliates are bad... hmmmkay?

UPDATE: Ok so i have revised the wording on this one as I upset a few sensibilities with speculation.
I still stand by my opinion that their are dubious relationships between cause and effect derived from some affiliate sales.

Interesting post about ASOS affiliates over at e-consultancy...

The ASOS co-founder said: "I'm not saying we couldn't do more in the online marketing space. Next year we'll reintroduce affiliate marketing, but as it should be. No silly commissions being paid to grubby little people in grubby studios growing income at our expense, getting in the way of genuine sales."

Perhaps harshly worded, but as someone who has spent a lot of time staring at Web analytics- affiliate-reports I actually sympathise with comments like this..

Potentially there are a bunch of regular customers who casually or incidentally visited certain "dodgy" affiliate sites or affiliates not behaving in the spirit of true value. Meaning that these existing customers regularly pickup a 30 day affiliate cookie. And as a result these regular customers generate a continuous stream of commission payouts to affiliate sites; simply as they frequent sites that just happen to have an affiliate relationship with the merchant.

Fundamental question is whether those affiliate sites were actually delivering 'genuine value' (in the form of new customers with high lifetime value) or just managing to intercept a robotic bunch of high value customers who coincidentally visited an affiliate site every 30 days.

This concept of affiliates getting "in between" regular customers and the retailer is a real headache. Web analytics people have coined this phenomenon "non linear conversion funnels"...

Ecommerce managers must ask the question - if that affiliate did not exist - would I have still made that conversion?


Abid Shahzad said...

Affiliates are not very good, both in conventional and online business. The situation you describe, then comments were right. shopping cart or e commerce sites must introduce some restriction/rules about affiliates.

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Gavin said...

Interesting to see such hostility towards affiliate marketing. Whilst there are definitely some people out there who will use affiliate schemes in a negative way, I can safely say that in my experience as long as you maintain a strong and beneficially reciprocal relationship with your best affiliates, the comission payable is more tha affordable compared to the rewards.

Make each affiliate feel like they're egtting something exclusive and special and they'll go that extra mile for you and probably save you money in the long term by doing a lot of your marketing and SEO for you.

Unknown said...

Interesting. we have just added an affiliate system to our software after viewing the success that it has seemed to have. Our web is www.tlgcommerce.com, honestly it can't be that bad. I agree that there could be problems with regards to business image portrayed by affiliates, but i guess its just another source of marketing and getting the brand out there.

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