Highlights of Anne Howard’s Ridiculous Flaming of the Affiliate Industry
In an article focusing on the Facebook IPO,Â technology reporter and CEO of RushPR Anne Howard veered into eyebrow-raising, highly speculative territory with a out-of-context attack on the affiliate marketing industry. She tried to tie the falling value of Facebook’s IPO with affiliates using Facebook as an advertising channel:
Maybe a clue is Facebookâ€™s large presence atÂ affiliate summits* and other events for â€œaffiliate marketers,â€ often referred to as â€œspammersâ€ in the online marketing world. Affiliate marketing is a loosely used term to describe “performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
“These are the people behind the â€œPunch the Monkeyâ€ ads and the flashing banners telling you that youâ€™re the millionth visitor and the winner of a a nebulous prize if youâ€™ll just take a survey and give them your credit card number. They are also responsible for all those tweets taunting you to click on unwelcomed links and for those completely irrelevant comments on your blogs with a link to a service. Comments so pesty that many of us with blogs have been forced to disable our comments box. Of course, not all affiliate marketers are spammers but a LOT of cleaning up is needed in the industry.
Anne seems to have mistaken MySpace for Facebook since that’s where such ads were once prominent. She also seems to have no concept of how ads are brokered by a variety of non-affiliate networks like Gorilla, remnant networks like MSNDR, or DSPs; otherwise she would understand that such ad types could be initiated by any marketing firm, not just those that deal in the “nefarious” affiliate industry. It should be noted that we are talking about an article/post where the author’s name was spelled wrong by the publication Hollywood Today (at least they are consistent on being heavy on the hype and light on the research).
Affiliates quickly responded with Shawn Collins, co-founder of Affiliate Summit, counteringÂ Howard’sÂ allegations of spamming and attacks against the industry as a whole:
- While there are some bad eggs, like any industry, it seems awfully careless to label a large group in such a manner. It would be akin to stating that online news reporters are often referred to as yellow journalists.
- The examples mentioned by Ane Howard (â€œPunch the Monkeyâ€ ads, questionable contests) sound like either media buys or pop-ups from spyware/malware. Is there any data that people who engage in these shady practices are also Facebook advertisers? Iâ€™ve been advertising on Facebook since they started offering the option, but not for affiliate offers.
Collins then invited Howard to attend this year’s upcoming Affiliate Summit East in August. Howard declined the offer.Â There were some Twitter exchanges including Howard’s shrill cry that affiliates were “harassing” her on Twitter. Â Since the incident the following disclaimer has appeared at the end of Howard’s article.
*affiliate summits is not used to refer to a particular set of conferences. ItÂ simply refers to summits that has to do with affiliate marketing. Hollywood Today apologizesÂ if readers construed it to mean otherwise.
It seems more than a little bizarre that Howard took the time to go after affiliate marketing in an article about the Facebook IPO when there are serious questions around the handling of the IPO itself. When combined with her unwillingness to share the research she used to reach her opinion of affiliate marketing, it seems to support Collins’ interpretation of the strategy behind her article:
- Write linkbait
- Hope for traffic
- If you get called out, label yourself as a victim
“Thanks for writing this post. I wrote an article in which I labeled AM using certain practices as spammers and have been harassed non-stop on my blog, twitter, facebook and even emails ever since. The response from Affiliate Marketers surely hasn’t helped to change my opinion for the better.”
It would appear that Howard never took the time to read the article. At least she is batting a thousand when it comes to doing her research.