Affiliate Marketing is the oldest, most original form of performance based advertising. It goes way back to the days before the internet. The evolution of the internet and related technologies has helped propel this marketing mechanism to the forefront of online marketing opportunities today.
More advertisers are beginning to realize the importance of this channel due to increasing competition in the search engine marketing spectrum. As a result, some heavy hitters are making a bullish effort to capitalize on its popularity. In addition to the “big guys,” small CPA (cost per acquisition) networks are popping up all over the place.
If you haven’t been in a hole for the past few months, you’re aware of the Google/Double Click deal. Double Click owns Performics which is a search engine marketing company as well as an affiliate network. In early March, the deal received approval from the Federal Trade Commission and the EU. The deal quickly drew enormous amounts of scrutiny as many saw this as a conflict of interest for Google. Finally on April 4, Google announced it would go through with the acquisition but would sell off the search engine marketing side of the business. Google made it clear however, that they would in fact retain the affiliate marketing division of Double Click/ Performics.
Another big player to join the Affiliate Marketing arena is AOL. AOL recognized this as an important online marketing sector that is growing at a rapid pace; and this past February acquired buy.at. Buy.at is a large affiliate network which was started in 2002.
The emergence of these large companies joining this channel along with the startup of many smaller CPA networks; has helped propel this marketing technique. With the forecasted spends for online advertising, it appears that this method is poised to grow impressively. It should be exciting to see what these new players will bring to the table.