We just recently wrapped up Affiliate Summit 2008 West in Las Vegas and the keynote speaker was Jason Calacanis.
One thing that Jason touched on was that there are two groups in affiliate marketing. We’ve got the white hat folks, who are doing things right. And then there are the black hat affiliates, “thin affiliates”, people that are scamming and giving the industry a bad name.
Jason mentioned in his speech that the affiliate networks deserve some of the blame in this situation, and I’d love to see them address it.
Here is an excerpt of the keynote from Jason Calacanis:
“The affiliate companies have some culpability here.
The affiliate companies are creating the infrastructure that allows people to make the profit while poisoning the well and polluting the river.
And the affiliate companies have blinders on. They don’t police stuff.”
My thought is that we certainly need to do something here. One thing I was thinking about was how the affiliate networks might adapt something that a UK affiliate network, Affiliate Window, does to fight fraud.
A few years back, Affiliate Window began requiring affiliates to pay a fee of £5 to apply to the network, and this amount would be added into the affiliate’s account upon acceptance to the network.
Initially, I wasn’t too high on this method, but in reflection I think it could be quite useful in qualifying affiliates and cutting out some of the junk.
Perhaps affiliate networks could start using this strategy to identify affiliates and certify them to a degree as legitimate, white hat affiliates.
This wouldn’t screen out all of the scammers, but it could be a start. The important thing is to get some more ideas on the table and fix what is broken about affiliate marketing.
What do you think?