For an industry that is comprised of more than 200,000 businesses and individuals, according to the Performance Marketing Association, and is expected to reach $3 Billion in spending this year, according to Forrester Research; the affiliate marketing industry as a whole has not succeeded in communicating its message, has failed in its efforts to raise awareness of its economic standing and more than likely, has inhibited its growth.
You might think that is a bold statement, but quite frankly, we’ve used the “we’re a fragmented industry”, “we’re hustlin’ just to keep up” and the “let someone do it” excuses for too long, which I strongly believe has cultivated our current apathetic culture.
Sadly, our enemies count on our impassivity.
From out-of-context attacks from ill-informed reporters such as Ane (aka Anne) Howard, who called our industry “spammers” in a recent article she penned, to which very few industry constituents responded; to the deficient support from affiliates and merchants in the fight against Affiliate Nexus Tax in the affected states; it is abundantly clear that our silence has had a cost.
Whether you recognize it or not, our industry is evolving and in order for it to continue thriving the way it has for years, we as an industry need to speak up with one voice.
What can you do to help affiliate marketing?
It is time for all of us to address the challenges facing affiliate marketers, highlight the massive benefits specific to our industry so that other groups can grasp it, provide solutions that government entities can put into action and present a more united and synchronized front to the world.
Yes, this takes education, coordination and time. But, if we all commit to investing a small portion of our time into strategic thinking, planning and communicating, we can reduce the impact that our silence has had upon us.
I urge you to keep abreast of regulations, laws and the political landscape that impact the online marketing space; align yourself with like-minded, business associates and learn how to recognize and combat the bad players; ask questions, get involved and encourage others to act.
But most importantly, I encourage you to speak up. With your vocal commitment we all can help ensure the sustainability of our industry as we navigate its evolution.
Written by Missy Ward. Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, GeekCast.fm, FeedFront Magazine, itsaWAHMthing.com; the Co-Publisher of Revenews.com and Revenews.org; Founder of joinWOMU.com and AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and manages many of her own affiliate sites.
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