Tap The Power
by Katie Haegele
The Internet is no longer new media. You know you've got to use it to its fullest potential.
Online initiatives, such as affiliate marketing and breeding loyalty through dynamic and compelling content, represent some of the best ways to capture and keep the attention of Internet users.
Friends in High Places
Researchers at Forrester believe that by 2003 the affiliate market will be worth $12 billion. Also called "pay-for-performance" advertising, affiliate marketing is eclipsing banner advertising as the new way to exploit the Web's inherent tracking capabilities.
There's safety in numbers. Forming smart partnerships could well be the wave of online marketing's future. With a glut of players in nearly every space on the Web, it pays to link with a company whose customer base resembles your own.
"We're seeing a shift in the marketplace," says Tom Gerace, executive vice president of BeFree Inc., an affiliate marketing firm that places promotions for clients on appropriate sites. "The market is becoming more rational. Affiliate space is beginning to dominate. In the end, it's a far better way to acquire customers, drive repeat sales and broaden reach, while controlling marketing expenses."
BeFree's first and largest client, BarnesandNoble.com (bn.com), couldn't agree more. Carl Rosendorf, executive vice president of e-commerce at bn.com, says the online bookseller signs up about 1,000 affiliate partners a day. In fact, bn.com now has more than 500,000 affiliate partners, including major players such as CNN, Lycos and Yahoo!, as well as links from individual users' home pages.
The choice to give affiliate marketing a chance wasn't always as obvious as it is now. Gerace says that four years ago, before bn.com came on board, it was tough for BeFree to get venture capital funding for such an innovative idea. How did Rosendorf know he was making the smartest decision for bn.com?