This has been a week of bad news about CPA networks – this is great for the industry!

The last few days have seen Dow Jones reporting that NeverBlue is going on the auction block in order to help pay parent company Velo Holding’s debts. Epic is in the news because of the upswell in rumors – see our report  from a few weeks ago – that virtually their entire C-suite of senior executives have somehow managed to find themselves filling exactly the same roles in a new company with the same clients that Epic had (can anyone tell me what Michael Sprouse did to upset these guys? He doesn’t appear to have been invited to this particular party. Always struck me as a good bloke). And Ryan Eagle’s EWA is apparently being sued by patent troll Essociate and has also – in news that is clearly not related to the patent suit in any way, no sirree – formed a somewhat odd-looking partnership with GlobalWide Media.

All this bad news is fantastic news for the industry (so long as you’re not one of those owed a bunch of money).

We need consolidation. What we don’t need is 500 crappy CPA networks.

The only way forward for the performance marketing industry is for a process of evolution to take place in which the bad networks die off and the good ones – long-standing, experienced, value-adding – to prosper and evolve into more advanced organisms. A good CPA network can make all the difference to an advertiser, a bad one can drive that client out of performance marketing forever.

Professionalization of industries os something that happens as they mature. It’s not a bad thing at all. In the case of performance marketing it will allow the room for good networks to grow into great networks with real agency client services and the revenue levels that permit technology investment and campaign integration across multiple channels.

In a world that is moving to the Cloud, where real-time tracking and reporting is going to be standard, and where global, mobile, social campaigns will be the norm, there won’t be room for 500 crappy networks.

The sooner 200 (or 300!) networks die off the better for everyone, even though there will be some pain along the way. Sometimes creative destruction does make sense. More on the Essociate/EWA suit at PerformInsider.