The following is what Chris Sanderson of AMWSO had to say in response the the question, What is wrong with affiliate marketing and how can it be improved?
Firstly a lack of knowledge sharing, which is understandable, but ultimately holds people back.
If there were more affiliates sharing tips, ideas and ways to do things then we would see more and better affiliates, with better ways of adding value to the transaction chain.
Naturally it’s not considered to be in a good affiliates best interest to help train up potential competitors.
This leaves the work of training affiliates squarely on the shoulders of the Affiliate Managers, and then it comes down to a time, effort and return equation, of how much time can an AM spend on each new affiliate to get them to get beyond the basics.
There are a lot of “Affiliate Manager” Training courses starting up now. Perhaps what is needed are more affiliate focused training sessions done in collaboration with merchants and key affiliates, something Andy Rodriguez and I were chatting about the other day, especially outside the USA in growing markets such as APAC and Europe.
Secondly a lack of sharing, didn’t I say that already, but this time from Merchants, I often see a lack of trust between merchants and affiliates “How will this person use my content”, “how will they use my product data”, “will they steal my ideas”, “will they create competition to me”, as many others have said, Merchants need to look at affiliates as Sales Partners, not anonymous faces in the crowd.
Next, a lack of sharing… again. and here I know I’m guilty as much as the next person, but there needs to be more sharing between merchants and affiliate managers, sure we all share some ideas but there really as yet is no massive pool of information that everyone can dip into, as well as that always elusive affiliate marketing standards, that ultimately can only exist in an atmosphere of sharing.
Last one for the day, BHO and software based systems need to be moved to a different channel, with Ebates / BuyersPort / SAHS sitting side by side with affilates rather than on top of them everyone can benefit (assuming, where relevant, they clean up their distribution methods of course), but if Ebates really do believe they ‘add’ value and help with conversion then let them do that to the benefit of all marketing channels, and not obliterate the traces of where those sales first came from.
Can’t remember if it was Brian Littleton or Jeff Doak who first floated that idea, but it’s a good one, but one only the Networks can resolve.