April 2012

Disclosure: If I'm not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on my part and will be corrected soon.

Back in February 2011, I wrote about an Illinois “anti-affiliate” Bill that if enacted would force out-of-state retailers to collect Illinois state sales tax for Internet sales, based on the premise that affiliate marketers create nexus in Illinois.

In the following month, Illinois Govern Quinn misguidedly signed into law HB 3659, which essentially abolished Affiliate Marketing in Illinois.

Affiliate Marketing Finally Gets a Break

After many months of diligent work from folks involved within the affiliate marketing industry, Judge Robert Lopez Cepero of the Illinois Circuit Court issued a ruling that finds the Illinois Affiliate Nexus Tax unconstitutional. He went on to declare that nexus wasn’t established by the activity outlined in the statute.

At this point, it is not clear whether Governor Quinn will challenge the decision, but it is a giant leap in the right direction for the affiliate marketing industry.

Here is some coverage from Illinois ABC station discussing the situation:

Back in February, TubeMogul moved its video syndication and analytics service to its own site, OneLoad.com

If you're not familiar with OneLoad, its a tool that gives folks the opportunity to upload their videos to multiple sites (like YouTube, Vimeo, MetaCafe, Facebook, Twitter, Blip.tv and more) at one time and track the results from all of the sites, in one place. I've been using the service since 2007 and found it to be a great time saver. It's free (for non-commercial use) and offers different pricing tiers for its commercial use customers.

After receiving notification of the name change, I didn't think much of it (other than having to remember the new website address) until I read a blog post on Daniel Clark's QAQN blog, where he discussed his dissatisfaction regarding OneLoad's policy as it related to affiliate marketers.

At the time, their sign up page indicated:

Old OneLoad Terms of Service

and Section 4e of their Terms of Service stated:

“…upload, post or transmit unsolicited commercial email or “spam”. This includes unethical marketing, advertising, or any other practice that is in any way connected with “spam”, such as (a) sending mass email to recipients who haven't requested email from you or with a fake return address, (b) promoting a site with inappropriate links, titles, descriptions, or (c) promoting your Content by posting multiple submissions in public forums that are identical. Also defined as “spam” are any videos involving affiliate marketing, network marketing, cash gifting, multi-level marketing, phishing, or any videos that a reasonable person would consider to be a scam or misleading. Further, “spam” can include any content that TubeMogul deems not entertaining or informative;”

After reading that post, I reached out to the folks at OneLoad, and although sympathetic, they were not ready to change the language in their Terms of Service. That was a problem for me, because many of the presentations that I've done in the past as well as one scheduled for an upcoming conference in June, promoted the service as an efficient way for affiliate marketers to upload their quality videos to top video and social networking sites and track their effectiveness.

But, what was most upsetting to me was the fact that OneLoad was still wary of the affiliate marketing industry overall, despite its dramatic growth and positive forecast. I knew I had to reach out to Brett Wilson, their CEO to get a better understanding of their past issues, to see if there was a way that his company and affiliate marketers could work together in the future.

Oddly enough, TubeMogul had a booth down the same aisle as Affiliate Summit during SXSW in March. This afforded me the opportunity to talk with Brett quickly and follow up after the show. To sum it up, some of the issues that they were experiencing with a portion of the affiliate marketing videos, directly related to policies the video sites had themselves — they just don't want overtly commercial content.

I get that. I don't want to watch overly commercial content either.

Brett mentioned that OneLoad would be happy if affiliate marketers used the service with well-produced videos that have some entertainment value. (More commercial use customers means more $$ for OneLoad.)

I explained that in order for that to happen, they'd have to modify the language in their Terms of Service so that legitimate marketers could feel confident that their accounts were not going to get shut down just because they tagged a video as “affiliate” or “affiliate marketing”.

And so, they did. Here's the new, re-worded section, which offers protection to affiliate marketers who are producing quality videos that are not scammy or misleading.

“…upload, post or transmit unsolicited commercial email or “spam”. This includes unethical marketing, advertising, or any other practice that is in any way connected with “spam”, such as (a) sending mass email to recipients who haven't requested email from you or with a fake return address, (b) promoting a site with inappropriate links, titles, descriptions, or (c) promoting your Content by posting multiple submissions in public forums that are identical. Also defined as “spam” are any videos involving network marketing, cash gifting, multi-level marketing, phishing, affiliate marketing with low quality content or any videos that a reasonable person would consider to be a scam or misleading. Further, “spam” can include any content that TubeMogul deems not entertaining or informative;”

I'm glad that OneLoad.com was open to changing their policy because their service really saves marketers a lot of time and definitely helps with getting a better idea of what their customer base wants.

If you're new to OneLoad or need some help getting started, they offer a New User Webinar every Friday, which you should check out.

Let me know your thoughts.

Back in October 2011, when Rae Hoffman and I launched itsaWAHMthing.com our mission was to help work at home moms create better lives for themselves, their families and communities by providing them with networking opportunities and business tips from other successful WAHMs.

Our goals were simple:

  • We wanted to create a site that featured tips from successful WAHMs and Mompreneurs, so that aspiring work at home moms could find real information to help them run their business – whatever they may be.
  • We wanted to build a non-typical WAHM site; one that was drama and scam-free where Moms can focus on building a business, rather than getting freebees or discounts.

Fast forward, 5 months and 150 posts later, it’s truly wonderful to see our dream come to fruition; with the website exponentially growing in page views and comments and our search engine rankings moving up quickly for really tough terms (hat tip to Rae).

itsaWAHMthing.com home page

But more than that, I’m consistently impressed by the talents of our featured WAHM writers, Deb Carney, Liz Fogg, Liz Gazer, Jen Goode, Lisa Martin, Tricia Meyer, Loretta Oliver, Mary Poiley, Carrie Rocha, Eva Rosenberg, Lynn Terry, Shannon Weidemann and our token WAHD, Michael Gray. Each day, they share their first-hand experiences on dozens of WAHM-related topics including productivity, business tools, marketing, balancing family, tax issues, finances and more.

I should also share this secret…. The wealth of information our writers are providing benefit work at home dads, too. In fact, anyone that works from home or is growing their own business from their home can benefit greatly from the content provided on itsaWAHMthing.com.

One of my favorite features is our Success Stories, in which we feature successful work at home moms who are juggling their family and careers. Their stories are fascinating and very inspirational. Here are a links to a few of them:

WAHM Success Story: Lynn Terry of ClickNewz

WAHM Success Story: Sara Sutton Fell of FlexJobs.com

WAHM Success Story: Rae Hoffman-Dolan of Sugarrae, Inc.

(and me) WAHM Success Story: Missy Ward of Affiliate Summit

So, if you’re looking for a daily dose of WAHMspiration or some business and family balancing tips from other work at home moms, swing on over to itsaWAHMthing.com and join our community. Don’t forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter while you’re there.

Looking forward to seeing you there.