1. In five year’s time, will the [CPS or CPA] side of the performance marketing industry be bigger in the USA than it is now? If so, what will drive that growth?
We believe that the CPA model will dominate over time here in the United States as we are seeing more and more companies taking their CPM, CPC, CPI, or any other media buying model and backing it into an effective CPA (eCPA). Publishers want to move away from it, but Advertisers want to move towards it. This is going to be the most interesting thing to watch moving forward to see who wins out.
2. How can an advertiser tell the difference between a good network and a poor one?
There are established networks that have been in the industry for a very long time. I would check those networks first for any offers or merchants with whom I would like to partner. Any network that has a very templated feel, their affiliate managers cannot be reached, or they have no contact information on their network should be avoided. If you choose to start working with a new network, only send a little traffic at a time until you have been through a few payments cycles. As the network manager to speak to the owners, and ask questions about their financing and working capital so that you know they have an ability to pay you. If the network owners is interested in working with a quality affiliate, they don’t mind sharing some of this information with you. You need to be willing to be transparent and to share similar information about your finances as well.
3. Are affiliates right to worry about their commissions being affected by shaving and scrubbing? If so, what should they do about it?
In any industry there are good and bad actors. Its not healthy to operate on an “everybody is scrubbing me” mentality. It’s more healthy to know the people with whom you do business, and from time to time ask them to show you the data. Put your own tracking in place, and make sure that you know how that offer should be converting. A small amount of paranoia is healthy, but not everyone is out to get you. If you find someone shaving your leads, be very loud about it if you have proof. If you get scrubbed, make sure its not because you have terrible traffic and get the reasons behind the scrubbing.
4. What do you see as the key differentiators between the leading CPS networks?
The key differentiator between the leading CPS networks is primarily their level of service, their willingness to assign a contact to you, and how much they add value to your business. If they don’t add value, work with the advertiser directly.
5. Is it possible for the performance marketing industry to police itself in any meaningful way?
The entire performance marketing industry does not have incentives to police itself. The best way for us to start to rise above any of the issues that we have, are for a few key players to lead the way by example. Those players can put out industry standards and conduct themselves in a public way that shapes the way others think in our industry. It is not just one company or organization, but all of the highest profile ones that need to do this.