I'm very glad that eBay have recently joined the IAB’s Affiliate Marketing Council and have been asked to write a short post explaining a bit about what we do and why it is important. The IAB’s AMC is a collection of stakeholders within the affiliate space who come together to discuss issues pertaining to the industry with a remit to increase knowledge and take up of the channel amongst the wider marketing and business community. Networks, merchants and agencies who wish to take part are required to be IAB members, but any affiliate can come along for free.
During my chairship, I have been keen to push three main elements:
- Education – Making affiliate marketing more simple to understand. We're at a stage now, certainly in the UK, where the majority of marketers know the basics of affiliate marketing. However, as we all know, it is a complex landscape and we publish information and hold events aimed at demystifying the channel and increasing its reach still further.
- Promotion – Pushing out an independent, positive message about affiliate marketing within trade press and wider media. 2009 has seen us comment in publications like The Guardian and even appear on BBC Radio 4 to speak about affiliate marketing issues.
- Regulation – Applying sensible legislation to provide reassurance to both merchants and affiliates about what is permitted and what isn’t.
On the topic of regulation and best practice, I’d like to highlight two of the initiatives carried out this year. Firstly, the Voucher Code regulations, which sought to clarify best practice within this growing area and establish a level playing field where grey areas were removed, so that merchants were more secure about investing in this channel and other affiliates felt they were not being unfairly disadvantaged by these sites. This has been enthusiastically received by all voucher code sites, as well as other affiliates, and has been very successful to date.
Secondly I’d like to highlight our Ethical Merchant Charter. This is a set of guidelines that has been provided to all merchants of UK affiliate networks which seek to inform the merchant of issues, which they should be sharing with their affiliates. With this, we are not looking to regulate anything, merely to let merchants know that things such as deduplication criteria and deletion policies affect affiliates and should be shared so that affiliates are armed with all the knowledge available when making decisions on which merchants to promote.
Over the course of my year in charge, I’ve worked hard to increase the scope of stakeholders who attend the meetings. Traditionally the attendance was very network heavy, however slowly but surely we are engaging with more agencies, affiliates and of course merchants. I’m really pleased to have eBay involved as they are clearly a hugely important part of the affiliate landscape and their involvement gives further credence to the council. The team at eBay are also very knowledgeable and have already contributed intelligently and constructively to discussions that take place within the council.
A big thanks to Matt for writing this post and congratulations on a great year as chair. The Affiliate Marketing Council will miss you!