E-Commerce Times Talkback
See Full Story
When e-commerce first became popular, it was not long before affiliate marketing sprung up as a way for small-site Davids to drive traffic toward e-tail Goliaths -- and make some change in the process. However, many affiliate programs were structured so that the house always won, and minor players were left with empty pockets. In the post-bubble era, affiliate marketing's image may be a bit tarnished, but some say the concept should not be dismissed as a relic of a past era. Is affiliate marketing still a viable way to reap revenue without making big investments in infrastructure?
"... a recent conference sponsored by LinkShare, the company that first brought affiliate marketing online, was well attended."
Excuse me, but while I respect them and what they are doing, Linkshare did not "first bring Affiliate Marketing online." The best guess is that CDNow was the first company to bring Affiliate Marketing to the Internet, long before Linkshare was even conceived. In fact, our own program at EP.com was online before Linkshare came on the scene. I know this because I still have the communications between them and our company from before they went live with their solution.
You wrote "Even with their shadowy past, however, affiliate programs may be able to look forward to a brighter future."
I strenuously disagree that affiliate marketing had a 'shadowy past.'
As with any industry, there have been companies that didn't subscribe to the best practices, but they have been the exception, rather than the rule.
In the past few years, affiliate marketing has matured, and there is certainly more growing to come. The model is exceptional, as it has proven to be recession proof while other marketing vehicles have suffered during economic downturns.
Nine years ago, when CD Now launched the first affiliate program, it was an industry that very much appealed to the small sites. But over time, we've seen virtually every top retailer launch their own program, and a good degree of the top 50 sites participating as affiliates, although many do so in a stealth manner.
Anyhow, affiliate marketing has lots of momentum, and it's more viable now than it's ever been.