Special Report Affiliate Marketing
Similarly, Peter Figueredo, CEO of New York City-based online performance marketing agency NETexponent, warns that so-called "CPA networks" can be a breeding ground for fraudulent orders or bogus leads. A haven for anonymity, these affiliate network spin-offs operate similar to better-known affiliate networks, yet typically consist of overly aggressive e-mail, adware and/or search marketing affiliates.
"Networks and agencies that add value are the only ones that will survive long term," says Figueredo, whose company manages affiliate programs. "Networks that add value based on optimization technology, strong publisher relationships, quality marketers and transparent operations, right now may not be raking in the cash and handing out Porsche Boxters, but in the end marketers will recognize fly-by-night networks for what they are."
Time for New Rules
Like many direct marketers, Lisa Papageras invested in affiliate marketing strictly to acquire new customers on the cheap for the properties she manages, the Hudson, Ohio-based catalogs Wind and Weather, Art & Artifact, Signals and What on Earth. At the beginning, Papageras found affiliates to be time-consuming and difficult to manage because they need to be monitored and nurtured.
"Once we discovered that our goal of new customer acquisition wasn't being met under our desired terms, we attempted to adjust the agreements under which our partnerships worked," Papageras explains. "Unfortunately, our proposed solutions fell on deaf ears with our affiliate network, and we completely withdrew from affiliate marketing."
Despite shuttering the program, to her surprise online sales—against total sales—increased by 6 percent versus the same timeframe the year prior. Sales across all channels increased by 7 percent in that time frame as well—all without an affiliate program in place.
Papageras wants terms and conditions that restrict affiliates in search. Still a fan of affiliate marketing, she explains, "I would like to continue with a redefined affiliate program, one that could be conducted under our new rules. Unless our terms can be met in this marketing medium, it is my responsibility to look for other opportunities to find new prospects and customers."