At this moment almost every sector of the online advertising industry is a disaster, apart from affiliate marketing, that is. With so much pain in the boardrooms of advertisers across the world, our industry, so long the red-headed stepchild of digital marketing, is perfectly positioned to take over big chunks of ad budgets in 2018. We just need to play doctor.

Facebook and Google are under attack by politicians (and everyone else) over “fake news” and their willingness to accept Russian money for election-related advertising. In Europe the news for the Google/Facebook “duopoly” is even worse as the looming implementation of GDPR threatens to destroy the basis of their competitive advantage: the surreptitious tracking of users across the entire web. Meanwhile, over in the display and programmatic sector, it is estimated that there is $16 billion of fraud every year, while AdTech middlemen skim three-quarters of the budget that is left behind by the fraudsters. Even then, only 50% of the non-fraud ads that are paid for with that budget are visible to real-life consumers. And there’s more.

Criteo, perhaps the best known retargeting company around, has lost 50% of its valuation over the last few months. The primary reason? Apple, which only holds a 15% share of the browser market, introduced its Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature for Safari. That seemingly small change – preventing unseen cookies from following users all over the web – has seen downgrades in revenue forecasts for the big AdTech companies of hundreds of millions of dollars.

This all seems bad enough for the big platforms, but the Big Kahuna still lies ahead: GDPR kicks in on May 25 – less than four months away. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is specifically designed to enable individuals to better control their personal data. That means any information relating to a person who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, online identifier or to any other factor. And don’t think it doesn’t apply to you if you’re in Boise, ID. Organizations outside the EU are subject to the jurisdiction of the EU regulators just by collecting data concerning an EU resident.

What all this means is that the online marketing industry is in disruption, which means that CMOs, their marketing teams and their agencies are in a state of confusion.  The pain that they are feeling is affiliate marketing’s opportunity. We offer stability, reassurance, guaranteed ROI and mature fraud management strategies. By turning to performance marketing, advertisers and merchants will no longer need to worry about AdTech fees, hidden agency kick-backs from platforms, brand protection on social media feeds that are full of conspiracy theorists, or display budgets that vanish into a million unknown, unseen Ukrainian websites.

Brands, merchants and advertisers are in pain. Performance marketing is the cure.