There is a lively discussion at Cost Per News about bloggers, affiliate marketing, and whether the twain shall meet.
It all started with Sam Harrelson’s thesis, “Are Bloggers the New Affiliates?”. Sam wonders is bloggers are the new long tail. I think he’s on to something, but I think that question could have just as well been asked a few years ago.
That is when I started focusing on recruiting bloggers as affiliates, especially those monetizing their blogs with BlogAds at the time.
Anyhow, the blogger as affiliate issue was a continuation of an earlier discussion on Cost Per News about working the long tail.
There was a good point there from Jeff Doak of KowaBunga! Technologies:
“I’ve said several times before that until affiliate marketing is as easy as AdSense, there are going to be issues with bloggers adopting the model.”
I’d say two of the most renowned affiliate programs out there are Amazon.com and eBay, and both are doing some interesting things that make it as easy for bloggers to promote them as it is to run Google AdSense ads.
In a recent interview on the Affiliate Thing show, Gene Kavner, former World-Wide Director of the Amazon Associates Program, described Amazon’s Omakase Links for affiliates:
“Omakase links is another innovation that Amazon has made recently where you can basically put a little piece of code on your site, and a Amazon ad will appear, and it will base a product on not only the content end out of your website, but also on what the visitors have typically seen on other sites, and what they’ve bought from Amazon in the past for example. So Amazon makes a decision to put an ad that will generate the most amount of revenue to the affiliate based on who the customer is, and what the website it is that their typically visiting.”
eBay also has a link type for the AdSense loyal, as explained recently on the Affiliate Thing show by Lily Shen, Senior Manager of eBay’s U.S. Affiliate Program:
“We are actually looking to launch in probably the first half of 2007 a product called AdContext, which is a contextual advertising product that will allow affiliates and our publishers to basically take some code and put the product on the site, and we’ll essentially call the content from the site and surface up the most listings that will help our affiliates be most effective. We’re currently in beta mode at the moment.”
I think working the long tail should be automatic for any affiliate manager, and just as Amazon.com and eBay are doing, tools should be made available to affiliates to make the entry into affiliate marketing as seamless as possible.