I was just reading an article on The Motley Fool that started with a provocative opening, “Affiliate marketing is taking a step back this week, as XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR) sends out notices of the cancellation of its XMiREP program.”
I was struck by this statement, as there are few brands, in my opinion, who are so significant that their decision to leave affiliate marketing would be cause to say the industry took “a step back.”
Maybe Amazon or eBay killing their affiliate programs could be cause for such a breathy pronouncement, but XM Satellite Radio?
The author, Rick Aristotle Munarriz, goes on to support his thesis…
“Rival Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) used to pay as much as $40 for leads generated through websites that are affiliates through ValueClick’s (Nasdaq: VCLK) Commission Junction. Now it offers no more than $20 for a hardware-related purchase.”
Well actually Rick, I just took a look at the affiliate program description for Sirius Satellite Radio in my Commission Junction account, and affiliates can “earn up to $40 per sale of hardware online through SIRIUS Direct while enjoying a full 45 return days.”
Further, they are paying for leads when somebody signs up for and confirms activation of a free 3-day Sirius Media Player trial.
As the author admits later in the article, well after the sensational first sentence, there is optimism that an XM-Sirius merger could take place behind the end of the year.
That being the case, I could certainly see why a company might reel in their marketing efforts for the time being.
The Sirius affiliate program seems to be going well with four bars out of five for Network Earnings on CJ and an EPC that has grown by 5x in the past year.
Also, XM Satellite Radio was running their affiliate program through Ocenture. I haven’t heard of this company with regard to affiliate tracking, and from what I can glean from their site, they don’t power any other affiliate programs.
So, if the merger happens, I’d expect the successful Sirius affiliate program on CJ will become the successful Sirius/XM affiliate program on CJ.
And then, maybe, affiliate marketing can take a step forward again, at least in the eyes of the Motley Fool.