“And in the kingdom of transparency, he who creates technology to foster conversation is king” – Unknown
For years, many networks have taken a cryptic approach when it comes to connecting their advertisers with their affiliates in an effort to avoid the direct collaboration between the two and protect the network's “cut” of commissions.
In my opinion, the lack of transparency is *one* of the major reasons why the affiliate marketing and performance-based lead generation industry has gotten a bum rap in years past.
As our industry matures and the need for transparency increases, those networks that foster a collaborative environment will wind up with the keys to the affiliate marketing kingdom.
To that end, I was pleased to hear about the launch of ShareASale's Affiliate Aquarium during Affiliate Summit West 2010.
The Affiliate Aquarium is a social platform located within the ShareASale network which connects affiliates with merchants in all the usual “socially acceptable” ways such as searching and friending, groups, blogs, events, etc.
According to the ShareASale blog:
…Our goal is to create a more open communication platform where Affiliates and Merchants can be introduced to each other based on their mutual interests (either professional or personal). It has been our experience that increased communication leads to greater realized profits for both parties.
I for one am pretty stoked about the collaboration opportunities from both a merchant perspective (Affiliate Summit runs its affiliate program on ShareASale) and an affiliate perspective (I'm also an affiliate on their network.)
So, I spent some time swimming around the Aquarium today and found a ton of folks that I already know as well as some prospective affiliates to work with on the Affiliate Summit program and a few good merchants to feature on MissyWard.com and a few of my other sites.
To kick things off, ShareASale has also announced that they will donate $5.00 to the Mercy Corps efforts in Haiti, for each ShareASale affiliate or merchant that sets up their profile in the Affiliate Aquarium between now and January 31st. In addition, they will match the donation up to $15,000.
So my advice to any ShareASale merchant or affiliate is to set up your profile in the Affiliate Aquarium and find out how transparent conversation through social networking can really boost your profits and give Haiti a helping hand.
Then swim on over and Friend Me 🙂