Networks are evolving. So must affiliates.
I’ve been in the affiliate marketing space for a few years now. When I first entered, affiliate networks were fighting over every affiliate, and ad networks were as accommodating and transparent as possible.
There were defined roles:
- Affiliate networks depended on affiliates to run their offers.
- Ad networks depended on affiliates or brand advertisers to buy their traffic.
In the last 6 months there has been a trend of both ad networks and affiliate networks saying “Hey, if affiliates can do it why can’t we!” There has been a big increase in networks running heavily with internal campaigns.
Power to the networks! They can do whatever they like.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel pretty uncomfortable starting a campaign on an ad network that I know runs internally.
I recently started running an unique campaign on a popular ad network, working closely with my ad rep to get it as profitable as possible. Lo and behold, the very next day a duplicate of my campaign popped up. I did a little recon as I had a sneaking suspicion it was an internal job.
Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. However, if it was, I’m now left stumped. Do I just turn a blind eye and deal with it, or do I ditch that profitable traffic source for good?
There are definitely still ad networks that don’t run anything internally. But what about affiliate networks?
Most affiliates networks I have dealt with have been great. Some affiliate networks run internally just to test new offer quality etc. but not for profit. No problemo. On the flip side, there are networks that are alive solely because of their internal campaigns. They run campaigns for the same reason as affiliates, for profit. Competing with affiliates on the same traffic sources makes it extremely hard for affiliates to keep their heads above water.
Another little problem arises when a network runs their own product internally. They have an inside view of all of their affiliates’ campaigns… and sometimes a little green-eyed monster named Greedy McGreederson hops into people’s minds and takes control. Maybe I’m biased because I have been burned by two unnamed networks. But this has made me extremely uncomfortable knowing the increase of internally-run campaigns.
Keep note that I have love for the majority of networks. There’s a couple of bad apples, but that’s life. Networks are not doing anything wrong by running internally, but for affiliates, it’s not good when they start to become self-sufficient.
We as affiliate people must come together. We need to stand up and grab something that is exclusively ours! Show the networks that we won’t lay down! When an affiliate brother is in need, throw him a line, for we are going to make a change! The day is upon us when affiliates will reign over the dark networks!! Believe that! Oooooweee!!!
…Or you could just follow one of these steps below:
- Acquire your own traffic sources – buy small ad networks, or create an network of your own buy buying sites.
- Make direct buys – contact websites directly, if that site converts sign an IO with the option to renew.
- Run exclusive offers – create your own product to sell, make a deal with a product owner that you are the sole promoter.
- Work directly with advertisers – everyone knows it but not many people do it…work straight with product owners to cut out affiliate networks
I’m all about living the carefree affiliate lifestyle and enjoying it all. But there is still a need to build some bricks every once and a while. An affiliate house is made with straw and will get blown away if you don’t watch out.