performance marketing

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.

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.See No Evil, Speak No Evil - Affiliate Marketing

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.

Performance marketing technology provider Impact Radius announced the publication of a “Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers” list.  Here is the infographic they provided in their press release:

Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers List Infographic from ImpactRadius.com

According to their release,

“Designed to help advertisers, agencies and media companies seeking expert guidance in improving their revenue from performance marketing, the list, based on an Impact Radius independent analysis of the influence of more than 400 prominent performance marketing thought leaders, identifies the top people whose blogs, tweets and social metrics provide the most influential insights and advice for the industry.”

While I appreciate being included in the list, I'd like to go on record with my thoughts about this list, and lists such as this. This is not meant to be disrespectful to the folks at Impact Radius (and I know that they won't take it as such) but in my opinion, it's lists such as these which can lead to confusion, especially to those outside of the performance marketing/affiliate marketing industry, as well as to folks new to the industry itself. And, the last thing we need is more confusion.

Heck, we still can't even agree on what we call ourselves in our own industry.

As I've been an affiliate marketer since the late '90's, I've been around the block a few times, so I'd like to share some points that I strongly believe should be taken into consideration when interpreting this list.

Caveat Emptor When it Comes to Folks that have “Made the List”.

I do not mean this as an insult, but there are people on this list that are simply NOT influential in the affiliate marketing/performance marketing space. They know who they are and they are likely wondering to themselves why they've been included.  That does not mean to say that they are not impressive in their respective areas of expertise; it's just not affiliate marketing.  Just do your due diligence. OK?

Ranking People Using Social Scoring Does Not Give You the Whole Picture

Sadly, this list only used online social metrics to determine authority ranking.  Big mistake for many reasons:

  1. Using social scoring immediately discounts the long term effects that the truly influential people have had for many years before Twitter, Klout and Peer Index existed.  And trust me, when these leaders do speak, their message is not only heard, it's respected.
  2. This list does not take into account a person's offline influence or authority in alternative online sharing platforms, such as forums.  Just because these people do not choose to participate in Twitter, etc. does not mean that their influence is any less powerful.  
  3. Klout, Twitter and PeerIndex can all be manipulated — easily. [Bots, frequency of posting instead of quality of posting, etc.)
  4. Social scoring does not segment a person's ability to influence within an industry, but rather provides just a single number to rank them across the board. So folks with large Twitter followings, high Klout Scores and PeerIndex scores in general, will likely outrank people that are truly influential in a specific industry.

For the reasons above, I'd like to recognize a few people who should have been included in this “Top 25” list, as they actually have driven action and continue to drive the affiliate marketing / performance marketing industry.

  • Brian Littleton, ShareASale.com
  • Kellie Stevens, AffiliateFairPlay.com
  • Todd Farmer, AffiliateMarketingPlan.com
  • Scott Jangro, MechMedia.com
  • Pat Grady, RhinoFish.com
  • Eric Nagel, EricNagel.com
  • Todd Crawford, ImpactRadius.com  (Yes, the Co-Founder of the company that put this list out, who has propelled this industry for many years, didn't even make the list.)

Who do you think is missing from this list?