There has been much talk lately about the “Do Not Track” initiative. It is essentially an opt-out mechanism for online advertising tracking cookies. Although there is no legislation yet that requires this to be put into place, it looks like companies such as Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft are taking steps to make it happen fairly soon.
How will this affect affiliates? That depends on who you ask. I’m sure there are naysayers and glass-half-empty types who will say that it will break the whole affiliate ecosystem, which (at this point) is extremely dependent on tracking cookies. Practically all of the affiliate tracking solutions that are in use today do use a combination of pixels and cookies to track sales or leads generated and attribute them to the right affiliate.
But there are still many questions that remain unanswered. Namely, what qualifies as a tracking cookie? Is it just the cookies that are dropped by ad networks when a banner is displayed for behavioral re-targeting? Or would the cookies that attribute affiliate sales be affected as well? Furthermore, will the ad networks and affiliate networks just turn around and start using a cookie-less method for tracking (such as server-side postback URLs)?
It is too early to tell. But based on the way I have seen users behave in the past on the internet, I don’t think we have a lot to worry about. Why? Because most people are too lazy to turn on the “Do Not Track” feature in their browsers in the first place, or they don’t even know how to. A couple of years ago when all the major browsers rolled out their Private Browsing modes, there was concern that they would damage affiliate sales as well. And what has the net effect been due to that feature? Absolutely none whatsoever.
Online Commerce is what makes the internet go around anyways. It pays for the whole party. So unless websites all switch over to a membership-only model, you aren’t going to see ads going away anytime soon. And where would that leave e-commerce sites? Bottom line is this: cookies or no cookies, e-commerce and affiliate marketing are here to stay.
In the affiliate marketing world, there are 4 big shows a year. 2 Affiliate Summits, and 2 Ad-Techs. But what about the smaller shows? Are they worth it? We’d like to find out your opinion on the subject with an impromptu poll. Vote below for which show you are planning on going to or are interested in.
Instead of the usual wrap-up post that I write for every show (which would have been hard to write since I didn’t go to the show), I decided to get the perspective of our two first-timers that we sent instead. Beau Hadwiger and Andrea Jensen were kind enough to sit down with me and share their experiences for ASW11. Here’s what they had to say…
How was the overall experience?
Andrea: The overall experience was great.
It seems that everyone these days is talking about SEO. Early reports from Affiliate Summit West 2011 have confirmed this. Even though it has been around for ages, it is coming back into vogue. Let’s look at why…
1. It’s Free Traffic
Who doesn’t want that? Yes, you may spend some money for SEO services to get more backlinks or get your content optimized for the search engines, but the traffic itself is free. You aren’t paying for clicks. And that is a beautiful thing. The ROI is always massive when the cost is $0, right?
2. It’s Targeted Traffic
These people aren’t just wandering off the information superhighway to land at your website. They were searching for something when your website came up. A term that had your keyword(s) in it. So that means they are looking for something that you (hopefully) can provide them. It’s much easier to sell someone a Rolex when they are searching for “Rolex watches” than if they are searching for “Timex watches”.
3. It’s Lots of Traffic
The people ranking 1st for their search terms on Google aren’t worried about paying for advertising (outside of additional branding). They have got spades of traffic coming through the door, and at that point it just becomes a matter of monetizing it. Making the investment of time and resources in SEO to get your site ranking well is always worth it.
Despite these reasons to love SEO, it is certainly not easy. The rules change on a very regular basis and the rankings are shaken up as a result. But authority sites will always be authority sites, whether Google likes it or not. If you have what it takes to create one, you will be successful. It all starts with great content. Write your content for users, not for spiders and robots. If people like it, they will keep coming back. Then all you have to do is rinse and repeat.
If you haven’t already, definitely consider starting a website (or buying one) that you can turn into an asset that will bring you profit for years to come. You will be glad you did.
Jamie Stephenson is one of the founding employees of GetAds, as well as part of the core management team. He has worked tirelessly for the last 3 years to help make the company into what it is today. Now, at the start of 2011, he has a new title to go along with the new year. Jamie has been promoted to Vice President of GetAds!
I asked Jamie to list some of his highlights during his illustrious career, and here is what he had to say:
- Starting out the company by working out of George