Anne Kadet, Senior Writer at SmartMoney magazine, wrote an article in the May 2008 issue where she lambasted affiliate marketing.
The article, “A Penny For Your Clicks? Affiliate marketing: So easy, even our dog could do it,” sets the stage by quoting Jason Calacanis when he delivered the keynote at Affiliate Summit 2008 West.
As reported by Anne, Jason said, “Affiliate marketing is bull****.” But she neglected to mention that this was met by laughter, and he then followed with “That’s what you all expect me to do. I’m not going to do that.”
The crowd got the joke. Kadet clearly did not.
Jason came on the GeekCast show a couple weeks later and commented on the opening line from his keynote, “Isn’t it amazing how you can say something and everybody in the audience laughs, it’s a huge joke, and then people write it as fact?”
The Anne Kadet article continues… “He went on to call the attendees ‘the bottom of the food chain’ with a ‘Lex Luthor mind-set.'”
But she neglects that he repeatedly pointed out that he wasn’t addressing the whole industry in this fashion, but rather the “thin affiliates.”
Kadet also explains that affiliate marketing “often takes the form of promotional text links buried in sham product “reviews,” blog posts and email spam.”
Now I don’t think anybody is pretending that all affiliates are good. There are bad actors here, just like any other industry.
But I think to paint affiliate marketing with such a broad brush is intellectually dishonest at best.
Another part of the article that I had an issue with was a purported quote from me:
Shawn Collins, the affiliate marketing guru who organized the conference, says his industry isn’t all bad.
OK, I introduced myself as the Co-founder of Affiliate Summit, not a guru that organized the whole thing.
And I stated that the thin affiliates that Jason Calacanis mentioned were a minority, and not at all representative of the affiliate marketing space.
Nice spin, Anne.
She also lamented that “it’s tough to earn affiliate marketing cash the honest way,” because she put up ads for Wal-Mart and PetSmart.com on her blog for three weeks and didn’t earn anything.
Newsflash – it is hard to earn an honest buck. Many variables contributed to your failure. You could have reached out and asked me for tips – you have my number.
But that would not have fit your slam on affiliate marketing, would it?
Anne, have a look at my highlights of the Jason Calacanis keynote for the parts you clearly missed.
My business partner, Missy Ward, also shares her perspective on your article.
By the way, I’m sure you didn’t notice this, but shortly after Affiliate Summit, Jason Calacanis started incorporating affiliate links at Mahalo.com and was pleased with the results.
If you’d truly like to learn more about the industry, you can view all of the videos from Affiliate Summit sessions, including the keynote, on the Affiliate Summit channel on YouTube.