There’s been a lot of talk of late regarding a change in the affiliate marketing nomenclature; inclusive of the industry name itself.
Some argue that as our industry evolves, that the designation should take on a broader descriptive, e.g., “performance marketing industry”, in which affiliate marketing plays a vital role as a significant channel; yet one of many.
As an industry, we do tend to over-complicate the issue by using disparate terminology for essentially the same things, leading to even greater confusion, especially to folks outside of our community.
For the last decade, I’ve called myself an “affiliate”, while others have preferred to be called “publisher” or “associate”. Lately, I’ve also seen the term “media partner” being used to essentially describe the same relationship that I’ve had with my “merchants” (or “advertisers”, depending on what THEY choose to call themselves).
Some make a case that “affiliate marketing” carries a lot of yucky baggage with it and by renaming it “performance marketing”, that our industry will garner more media attention, become shielded from advertising tax laws and that it will somehow change the perception that some people have about our industry overall.
Others maintain that after spending years educating online marketers and the public about affiliate marketing that changing the name now, would set us back in a time where our industry continues to emerge and is now being recognized as a legitimate, viable marketing channel.
As I look at the Affiliate Summit East 2010 agenda included in this issue of FeedFront and the incorporated articles written by the experienced marketers that specialize in various subsets of internet marketing, I would wager that many do not call themselves affiliate marketers or performance marketers. Rather, they likely have labeled themselves as social media marketers, SEO’s, bloggers, e-mailers, direct marketers, etc., even though they all are involved in affiliate marketing at some level and are actively trying to increase their foothold in our growing sector of online marketing.
So, while I’m all for a term to better reflect our industry’s forward-thinking, innovative, multi-channel approach to generating sales and leads, I don’t know if I’m ready to change it to performance marketing, just because it somehow seems more mainstream.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”- William Shakespeare
Email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org to be published in FeedFront Magazine’s new Letters to the Editor section.
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