When we think about incentive CPA marketing, we tend to think about lower quality and invasive tools. Not so says, CEO of CPAlead and ContentLocking.com, Peter Tarr “We run both an incentive (ContentLocking.com) and non-incentive network (CPAlead). The quality concerns may have applied back when we invented the Content Locker in 2009, but we’ve had a lot of time to refine the process and change the way that incentive marketing works from top to bottom. We understand our advertisers better and are able to recognize the type of traffic that a campaign needs. We also know all of the tricks of the trade when it comes to affiliates so we’re able to properly vet new publishers and allocate their traffic to the areas that it will perform best for them. As far as the tools go, we’ve innovated and dramatically changed our offerings. One prime example would be our mobile app wall or mobile locker tool. Its something that is used on a very wide scale by both publishers and mobile app owners. When you think of ContentLocking.com or CPAlead, you may not think of mobile CPI, but it is a great example of an incentive method that has been accepted as mainstream. In fact, a lot of app developers and owners work directly with CPAlead to grow their user base. These are just some of the reasons we see incentive as being a very different business today than what it was years ago”.
Peter Tarr should know a thing or two about it seeing as how CPAlead pioneered the incentive space and created a tool in the Content Locker that now serves as the backbone technology for dozens of companies. Tarr insists that its not simply a matter of creating new tools that’s allowed ContentLocking.com to distance themselves from the competition, but it is also traffic, advertising and affiliate management that creates long term success
“We’re different. We build new tools and features faster than our competitors can copy them from us and that’s why we have twice as many tools as the next leading platform”
“From a tech standpoint, there’s a lot to say but the short version is this. We set a rapid pace. We don’t worry about all of the networks who copy our technology or business model. At Contentlocking.com, we build new tools faster than our competitors can copy them from us and that’s why we have twice as many tools as the next leading platform. I say it with a bit of a laugh since it sounds funny, but it is and has been the reality. We know that it doesn’t help affiliates if we’re focused on what other networks are doing or if we’re waiting around to copy someone. We recognize that even if a tool is copied, it is not simply a matter of creating something but refining it and applying it in a way that helps generate a strong ROI for affiliates. At CPAlead and ContentLocking.com, the return on an affiliate’s traffic is everything to us so that’s where we prioritize placing our focus.
From an operations standpoint, if you look at the networks who’ve built their business around the tools that we invented like the Content Locker, you’ll see some similarities. Being that it is so easy to get into the market, many Content Locking or Pay-Per Download / File Sharing networks tend to pop up out of the blue. We’ve literally seen hundreds of them over the years. The problem is that many of them fail or get popular for a year or two then crash and the public associates those networks with incentive marketing. What’s unfortunate about it is that it hurts the overall reputation of incentive marketing as a whole. I understand it, but it doesn’t do the space justice and I see it as a growing pain. Think of it this way, if you look at the failed companies or here today-gone tomorrow companies of any industry, it will paint a bad picture. We don’t do that with developed industries though, when we think tech we think Google or Apple, when we think retail we think Wal*Mart. We don’t think about the companies that went under or were big for a while then crashed. That’s what has inspired us to become more pro-active about discussing CPAlead and ContentLocking..com . We want to say hey, here’s $100 million and counting of publisher earnings that we’ve paid out! We’ve won awards, we have the corporate chops, we treat our affiliates extremely well and we’re cutting edge. $100 million and all of these other things don’t happen by chance and they don’t happen if you’re just an “ok” network. You need to be the best and really do something special for affiliates. With that said, we’re confident that spreading the word and continuing to (most importantly) generate a great ROI for affiliate traffic is going to help improve the overall image of incentive.
That’s easy enough to understand. Easy to setup, easy to fail and the masses judge based on what they hear about. But we’ve seen some instances where networks or businesses in general have gained traction only to forget where they came from or start mismanaging money then get into all sorts of other problems such as cash-flow problems etc. With $100 million in revenue generated, it seems that CPAlead could easily have fallen pray to the money trap. What has CPAlead done differently as a business? As people? How have they taken a business in what many consider a shaky space and laid a solid foundation underneath it?
“We don’t just have more tools and features than our closest competitor, we have TWICE as many…”
“I think it’s a matter of maturity. I personally come from a corporate background where I was a manager with a fortune 50 company for a few years. I’m still young in terms of age but having real corporate experience has a way of humbling you. I think that’s a challenge for a lot of other people who get into this business and enjoy some success. When you’re fresh out of college or go from working a humble 9-5 with absolutely no business experience, it’s probably very easy to lose yourself quickly. There’s a big difference between a fly-by-night network or money making idea and a long term business with a plan for development. With CPAlead, we could easily have self-imploded after having the success we did if we weren’t fortunate enough to have the right person around guiding us by the hand in those early days. Our founder of our company, Troy Krzyston, really set the tone in that regard. He’s probably one of the most humble people you’ll ever meet and he’s an absolutely brilliant mind to have as part of our team and he brings us a very unique perspective in an industry that is lacking in the creativity department. You couple that a good attitude and that was what attracted me to join ranks with CPAlead (beginning of 2011) and eventually get to where we are today as partners. Both of us come from humble beginnings and I think that also plays a big role in the way we conduct ourselves as well. How you grow up really makes or breaks you and both of us saw our families work very hard to provide. As a result, we have a very different attitude from the stereotypical entrepreneurs of today. We focus on making sure that our affiliates are getting everything that they could dream of and that are staff are treated right. By doing that, we know that the money will always be there and the company will succeed. There’s no ego involved. Affiliates are the real “boss” as far as we’re concerned and every member of staff commands respect.”
An Incentive Algorithm?
Is it just a matter of tools and operations then? 10 years is a very long time to spend in the business. You might wonder how and if CPAlead or ContentLocking.com has taken additional measures to separate themselves in a way that cannot be replicated. Peter Tarr was only happy to dig in and explain what they’ve been doing that gives them a leg up on the competition
“Working on an algorithm that could generate these sort of results for affiliates was wild. I felt like I was back in a laboratory in University. Only this time around I had a chance to be part of a team of incentive marketing scientists”
“When it comes to our incentive platform, ContentLocking.com, the difference is that we re-invested our resources into refining the platform and business operations. Nobody here went running out looking for a new private jet to show off, we wanted to improve our business so that we could do what we did when we invented the Content Locker – we wanted to make it grow. We’ve kept a steady pace that’s allowed us to have many more quality, money making, tools for affiliates but the core of Content Locking is understanding how to optimize offers. How do you decide which offer to display on a content locker? Its not the same as showing a targeted banner on a website. Most networks just show whatever offer has a high EPC. But that doesn’t work for everyone and EPC’s can be inflated. So, we dedicated our own team and recruited professionals from companies like IBM, Ameritrade and other large firms to help us build a really special algorithm. Instead of showing a random offer and hoping that it works out, our algorithm reads your traffic and how it behaves. We figure out what types of offers your visitors like and which they’re mostly to convert on. The algorithm creates a unique profile for each individual affiliate then continues to adjust based on results. Our system even makes adjustments depending on the time of day since we’ve realized that a web visitor who views a page at 9 AM before has very different habits from a night owl at 3 AM. Working on an algorithm that could generate these sort of results for affiliates was wild. I felt like I was back in a laboratory in University. Only this time around I had a chance to be part of a team of incentive marketing scientists”
CPAlead and ContentLocking.com has, clearly, done quite a bit to establish themselves as leaders and get some separation from the rest of the pack. However, we all know that the performance marketing space is unforgiving and as their CEO, Peter Tarr, has suggested, you can be on top today and nowhere to be found tomorrow. Like all companies involved in any sort of technology related business, CPAlead is now faced with the task of staying ahead of the pack. A task that Tarr and his team feel equal to “If we’ve done anything over the years, we’ve established a roadmap for success. You don’t last 10 years in this industry if you’re not constantly working on becoming better and better. For us, we’re pushing down on the gas pedal and continuing to deliver at a rapid pace. I know the saying goes that a long standing business venture is a marathon and a short lived one is a sprint but who cares about sayings, we’re pushing forward at high speed and sustaining it. We know that there are no breaks for affiliates since they’re running traffic 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. To us, that means we can’t afford to move slowly and we need to be on the ball 24/7. After all, without affiliates, this business wouldn’t exist. We remind ourselves of that every day and make sure that anyone who joins ContentLocking.com or CPAlead.com gets treated like gold. I can go on the record now and say this to our affiliates. Expect the biggest year ever from us in 2015”
So there it is, a fresh perspective on incentive marketing from industry leaders. Do you see the industry differently? Are you willing to give it a try?