Sorry, affiliate marketing actually isn’t a (big ugly) scam

Tricia Meyer is an affiliate marketer and marketing consultant.
“Affiliate Marketing is a Scam!” We’ve seen these headlines again and again for years. Most lately proper right here at VentureBeat. Often they may embrace stats or graphics or anecdotes to assist their claims. And normally they “predict” the top of affiliate marketing as we all know it as a result of everybody will work out what a scam it’s.
Affiliate marketing isn’t a scam. And it isn’t going anyplace anytime quickly. I’d wager my regulation license on each of these statements. In reality, as a lawyer who has been publicly energetic within the trade for eight years, I sort of have already got. I’m prepared to place my title, face, and even lawyer quantity (21739-53) on the market publicly for anybody to attempt to show that what I do is fraudulent or a scam in any manner.
I wished to handle the misconceptions in Ruslan Kogan’s current VentureBeat article, “The massive ugly affiliate marketing scam,” in addition to many made within the feedback on that story. I need to converse out loudly and educate the plenty about how nice affiliate marketing actually is and the way it may be accomplished in a manner that’s worthwhile for each the publishers and retailers. But an article like that might actually should be a ebook or a entire sequence. So as a substitute I’m simply going to handle a number of the largest misunderstandings, lies, and myths about affiliate marketing as I see them.
Affiliate marketing is a scammy MLM pyramid scheme
There’s no pyramid in any respect in affiliate marketing. In reality, it’s not even in my greatest curiosity to encourage different folks to be associates as a result of it simply creates extra competitors for me. Unlike MLMs, you don’t pay something to turn out to be an affiliate. You decide and select which services or products you need to promote and see if the service provider offers you a fee for promoting them. You personal your personal content material into perpetuity, even when the retailers exit of enterprise.
Is it a scam if you go to a actual property agent and the man who convinces you to purchase the home will get a fee if you do? Is it a scam in case you refer a good friend to DirecTV and DirecTV offers you a credit score in your account for referring them? Both of these conditions are similar to affiliate marketing.
Would massive firms that shield their manufacturers and their reputations akin to Zappos, Best Buy, Amazon, and Nordstrom work with affiliate entrepreneurs to perpetuate a scam? Because all of them take part in affiliate marketing in numerous methods and have a whole lot of 1000’s of associates between them.
Coupon websites are fraudulent as a result of they steal gross sales
The use of coupons in affiliate marketing is a whole argument unto itself inside a large trade. Merchants have the best to determine whether or not they need to enable coupon websites of their applications. Merchants even have the best to determine what fee to pay these associates. Within some networks like ShareASale, retailers can see each cookie that was set inside the buy course of to find out whether or not the affiliate is including worth.
The downside with a blanket assertion like, “Affiliates who promote coupons are stealing from the service provider,” is that there are such a lot of components that aren’t considered. Coupons can create a sense of urgency to purchase when an finish date is looming. Coupons can enhance the typical order worth when a minimal buy quantity is ready. Coupons may even give the purchasers a higher feeling in regards to the firm as a result of they understand that they’re getting a higher deal.
Merchants can put into place fee guidelines about when cookies are set in the identical manner that VMInnovations does, if they’re involved about dropping cash. Talk to Sarah Bundy at All Inclusive Marketing or Greg Hoffman at Greg Hoffman Consulting to determine it out particularly to your service provider. If a service provider doesn’t really feel just like the affiliate is including worth, there are numerous steps that they’ll take, together with fully eradicating the affiliate from their program. A coupon affiliate making gross sales for you doesn’t imply they’re doing something incorrect if they don’t seem to be violating your phrases. In reality, they’re doing precisely what you paid them to do. And in the event that they violate your phrases, merely eliminate them.
The FTC hates affiliate entrepreneurs as a result of we promote faux medicine
I gained’t dispute that there are unhealthy gamers in affiliate marketing, simply as there are in any kind of promoting. And the FTC has undoubtedly come down laborious on those that get caught deceiving prospects. But that’s not the final enterprise mannequin of associates. We look to the FTC for steering just like the .com Disclosure information that assist us to remain not simply authorized but in addition moral and respected.
The majority of the affiliate house has nothing to do with Acai, Viagra, or weight loss supplements. I see extra of these behind US Weekly than I do within the affiliate networks. We promote checks, wine, and child cribs. We generate leads for mortgages, well being care, and insurance coverage. The FTC merely desires us to be sincere in our promoting as a result of in a rapidly altering digital house, it may be laborious to separate commercials from testimonials. That doesn’t make them unlawful or a scam, it simply makes them a new frontier.
Affiliate summit is a assembly of shysters
I take this allegation very personally. I’ve been to each Affiliate Summit since 2007. I’ve accomplished enterprise there with my husband, my mother, and my greatest good friend. I’ve made enterprise contacts and pals through the years and know the sort of work that the majority of them do. Do I agree with each commercial that a cost-per-action (CPA) community runs? Absolutely not, however they don’t make up the plenty.
Beyond my private emotions, the information again me up that Affiliate Summit is loaded with people who find themselves in it to do the best factor. Pat Grady of RhinoFish was awarded the Affiliate of the Year Award this 12 months and is likely one of the most moral folks in our trade. For a decade he has actively sought to rid the trade of unhealthy gamers. BrandVerity at all times attends, and they’re identified for serving to retailers shield their manufacturers and pictures. Every 12 months there are classes from attorneys on compliance and emblems and disclosure. This 12 months I’m even talking on a panel about what we are able to all do to forestall fraud. You would possibly discover folks hanging out within the corridor attempting to capitalize on Affiliate Summit, however they don’t seem to be the folks behind it or energetic inside it.
As I stated originally, I might write all day and by no means deal with the entire criticisms aimed toward affiliate marketing. But when Forrester reported that affiliate marketing would develop from a $1.9B trade in 2009 to a $4B trade in 2014, there have been good causes for it. They included the incremental worth of affiliate marketing and the massive manufacturers which might be adopting it as a profitable marketing channel.
The enterprise mannequin is just not solely sustainable however thriving. If you consider one factor I’ve written right here, consider that.VentureBeat
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