For the past many years, affiliate marketing has been in something of a downsize phase, at least as far as the affiliate networks go.
It was six years ago this time that I was involved in my first affiliate marketing conference. I was working at Refer-it.com, and we were putting on Affiliate Solutions ’99 at the San Francisco Marriott.
The companies on the network panel were Be Free, Commission Junction, iMediation, LinkShare and Nexchange.
The following spring, the inaugural Affiliate Force conference took place at the convention center in Miami Beach. This time around, the network roster grew to eight companies: Commission Junction, Dynamic Trade (now Performics), ePod, iMediation, Nexchange, OneMinute Shopper, vstore, and yo.com.
And then the dot com bubble burst, taking many of those companies with it.
But 2005 looks to be the year of the affiliate network rebound. CJ, LinkShare, and Performics are chugging along, and Kolimbo is making a bid to join them.
Last month, Digital River launched oneNetwork, and AzoogleAds is rolling out MPORT in mid-September. Plus, DirectTrack is powering 125 CPA networks these days.
Welcome back to the salad days of affiliate marketing.