The adware debate is heating up again in affiliate marketing message boards and across the affiliate marketing blogosphere.
In one corner, Carolyn Tang is likening adware affiliates to cheap, wine bar floozies. (OT: for some reason, that evokes memories of John Ritter at the Regal Beagle).
Carolyn goes on to offer the following analogy: “In the brick and mortar world, would it be fair for Dunkin Donuts to open up a Munchkin’ stand in front of a Krispy Kreme store?”
Then in the other corner, defenders of adware affiliates, have compared the experience to that of a personal shopper.
For instance, when the consumer is going to a store, the personal shopper might suggest a product can be purchased for a better price at a competing store.
In this case, the consumer brought the personal shopper along for their advice, and they want to know when they can get a better deal through a special link or at a competitor.
And if they were to go with their personal shopper to Krispy Kreme, perhaps the personal shopper would suggest driving to the next block to get Munchkins instead (as if a sane person would pick Dunkin’ Donuts over Krispy Kreme!).
Whichever way you look at it, the whole situation is causing much agita among affiliate managers and affiliates alike.
Recent closed door discussions among affiliate managers have resulted in suggestions such as moving adware affiliates out of the channel entirely – perhaps setting up second affiliate programs via MYAP or DirectTrack, where only adware affiliates would reside.
This has it’s benefits, especially to the non-adware affiliates. But it would surely meet resistance from the networks, since they count adware affiliates as some of their top producers. And the adware affiliates themselves would likely not volunteer to overhaul their links.
Another prospect that was floated was to break out the commission and give a portion to the referring affiliate and a portion to the adware affiliate (in cases where there were two parties involved). It was suggested to be along the lines of 80% to “regular” affiliates” and 20% to adware affiliates.
I think this sounds like a noble effort, but it would not placate anybody and cause much strife.
In the end, I think what might work out would be for enough merchants to make noise to their networks that they need different strains of tracking for different types of affiliates.
Whichever way it works out, it’s bound to be the source of some interesting discussions at Affiliate Summit 2005.