Affiliate Summit Miami – Early Review

8:50 pm   -   July 11th, 2007

Just back from Miami and the well attended Affiliate Summit. After going to Commission Junction University, the LinkShare Symposium and Webmaster World, in the realm of affiliates: Affiliate Summit is tops. I think it is partly due to no one company governs the activity at Affiliate Summit and that the ideas are easily shared and the networking was open and plentiful as a result.

The breakout sessions were really great and many times people actually left the bar to attend them.

Of note was a session that included Randy Almond from, Jake Bailey from Overstock, Andy Bajoras from move marketing, Paul Nichols from eBates and it was narrated by Keri Pollard of CJ. Randy and Jake gave the best description of well balanced programs for PPC affiliates I have yet to hear. Hopefully the video will get posted soon and I’ll add the link in a future post.

The last session on the last day, though not well attended, featured Scott Polk, head of SEO for, Todd Henley of SiteLead (a PPC affiliate) and Brook Schaaf of Schaaf Consulting- an OPM for 10 affiliate programs. They went up and down the scale of how to work with affiliates, SEO and PPC in nature. Great insights and intelligently presented from all sides. Included in the discussions were stories of PPC affiliates taking over as the PPC “team”, supplanting a both agencies and in-house groups for some merchants. I didn’t make this up as I talked to numerous PPC affiliates that are being approached to manage PPC programs for merchants.

And as if I am not stirring up even more of a hornets nest, I received this from Commission Junction today:

“Dear Advertiser

CJ recently was quoted in Direct Magazine discussing the synergies between Search and Affiliate marketing, and how greater revenues can be achieved through implementing the right practices. I thought you may appreciate viewing the CJ Quote below.

“Lisa Crossley Hunter, director of CJ Search, the search marketing arm of Commission Junction, opted to apply some data to the questions under discussion, and particularly to the problem of whether running both affiliate marketing and search marketing programs side-by-side will inevitably lead to channel conflicts and increase a marketer’s cost per acquisition (CPA).

She highlighted an unnamed multi- million dollar retail client of CJ Search that began search marketing in January 2004 with a CPA of $9.80. When that client opened up an affiliate channel in July 2005, Hunter said, its CPA went down to $9.62. And by the end of 2006, with both channels running, the client’s CPA was down to $6.71 and had dropped for six consecutive quarters. Meanwhile, revenue from search went from $1.2 million in 2005 to $2.9 million in 2006, while additional revenue from affiliates reached $2.7 million last year, for a total increase in annual revenue of $5.6 million. “They saw more than four times revenue growth between 2005 and 2006,” she said. “So if they had dropped one of those channels, they would have lost millions of dollars in revenue.”

The key to this client’s success in blending search and affiliate marketing was a set of well-defined guidelines, Hunter said.”

Good information and good people made for a great 3 day event. Thanks again Todd!