As a affiliate marketer it’s very important to stay connected to other marketers and networks. This is critical to understand changes in the market place and to be able to foresee dangers down the road to your own affiliate network.
For example, there are a variety of ‘hot’ topics being discussed on Twitter and blogs out there. These topics are flogs (fake blogs), Amazon tax and Credit Card rebills.
Flogs have been a hot topic for a bit. It’s basically the creation of fake blogs to market a specific offer, and then driving traffic via PPC and SEO to the site. The blog has fake testimonials and endorsements created to give confidence to a prospective buyer. Flogs often target weight loss and beauty offers. The buzz surrounding these is the potential for legal action to creators of flogs, which can impact future affiliate marketing.
Personally, I have ethical issues with this type of promotion. I don’t mind providing a landing page with a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Great Offer’, but to actually create fake content talking about how it changed your world… seems unethical and totally misleading. Commercials do this (I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV), but those are being created by the merchant, and they’re responsible for their own liability based on their own product or service.
The Amazon Tax is where a state tries to collect taxes from online shoppers. This can greatly affect merchants, publishers and consumers out there and will directly impact affiliate marketing in the future. There are a few groups that trying to lobby, but not sure at what extent to prevent this. I’m planning to look further into this and see what I can do to add my voice.
Credit Card rebills is definitely not a new tactic, but seems to be growing in popularity. It’s basically when you sign up for a “free” service but need to provide a credit card. After the trial period is up, your card is charged unless you cancel, but of course, canceling can be difficult or ignored. How does that affect affiliate marketers? Well, just like in the ring tone space, some information was not explained fully on affiliate created landing pages, also you may be contacted by the consumer thinking you’re the one that charges the card. To me this means you need to be cautious of potential offers, and find reputable companies that comply with discontinuing the charges when asked.
All of these topics are worth noting, and may affect your current affiliate marketing efforts. Staying connected with what’s going on, asking questions and identifying potential trouble areas in the future can help you avoid issues and more importantly, loses.