Monday, February 4, 2008

Lack of industry standards

Training and certificationThere are no industry standards for training and certification in affiliate marketing.[28] There are training courses and seminars that result in certifications. Some of them are also widely accepted, which is mostly because of the reputation of the person or company who is issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is also not a subject taught in universities. Only few college teachers work with internet marketers to introduce the concept of affiliate marketing to students majoring in marketing for example.[29]

Education happens mostly in "real life" by just doing it and learning the details as you go. There are a number of books available, but readers have to watch out, because some of the so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books teach how to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date[29] or that advertisers no longer permit some of the strategies endorsed in the books.[30]

OPM companies usually mix formal with informal training, and do a lot of their training through group collaboration and brainstorming. Companies also try to send each marketing employee to the industry conference of their choice.[31]

Other resources used include web forums, blogs, podcasts, video seminars and specialty websites that try to teach individuals to learn affiliate marketing, such as Affiliate Classroom, whose founder Anik Singal won the first place and $15,000 in the Young Alumni Category of the University of Maryland $50K Business Plan Competition in 2006.[32]

Affiliate Summit is the largest conference in the industry, and it is not run by any of the Affiliate networks, many of which run their own annual events.

Code of ConductMain article: Code of Conduct (affiliate marketing)
A Code of Conduct was released by the affiliate networks Commission Junction/BeFree and Performics on December 10, 2002. It was created to guide practices and adherence to ethical standards for online advertising.

"Threat" to traditional affiliate networksAffiliate marketers usually avoid this topic as much as possible, but when it is being discussed, then are the debates explosive and heated to say the least.[33][34][35] The discussion is about CPA networks (CPA = Cost per action), such as AzoogleAds or Hydra Network and their impact on "classic" affiliate marketing (traditional affiliate networks). Traditional affiliate marketing is resources intensive and requires a lot of maintenance. Most of this includes the management, monitoring and support of affiliates. Affiliate marketing is supposed to be about long-term and mutual beneficial partnerships between advertisers and affiliates. CPA networks on the other hand eliminate the need for the advertiser to build and maintain relationships to affiliates, because that task is performed by the CPA network for the advertiser. The advertiser simply puts an offer out, which is in almost every case a CPA based offer, and the CPA networks take care of the rest by mobilizing their affiliates to promote that offer. CPS or revenue share offers are rarely be found at CPA networks, which is the main compensation model of classic affiliate marketing.

The term "affiliate marketing"Increasingly, voices in the industry are recommending that "affiliate marketing" be substituted with an alternative name.[36] The problem with the term affiliate marketing is that it is often confused with network-marketing or multi-level marketing. "Performance marketing" is a common alternative, but other recommendations have been made as well.[37] A similar attempt was made to rename search engine optimization, but with little success.[38][39]

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