TheFind Becomes Super-Social-Affiliate
Earlier this week, it was announced that the comparison shopping site, TheFind, took social shopping to a new level by integrating Facebook Connect in an unprecedented way. This move might represent a double-edged sword for the world of affiliate marketing, lending much needed legitimacy to the red-headed stepchild of online advertising, but potentially crowding out many of the smaller players.
TheFind is a “super-affiliate” par excellence because it is the second most popular shopping site, and it makes commissions from allowing users to compare products and prices across multiple sites, and then referring them to the merchant of their choice. And as TechCrunch recently reported, TheFind is now tapping into users’ social graphs to upsell and cross-sell to its users:
TheFindâ€™s newest social commerce feature, Shop Like Friends, allows you to sign into the site Facebook Connect and tap into the the tastes and preferences of any of your Facebook Friends, based on the stores and brands they â€˜likeâ€™ on the platform. So when you sign on, TheFind requests access to the pages your friends have â€œlikedâ€ on Facebook, then maps the stores and brands it detects to over 40,000 different stores and brands on TheFind.
This is important for several reasons. First, it demonstrates that it’s perfectly viable to tap social media APIs to better target advertising and increase ad revenues. After all, when the second largest shopping site does something, advertisers pay attention.
But it’s also significant because it might institutionalize two classes of affiliate marketers. You see, we already distinguish between affiliate and super-affiliates, but that distinction is largely arbitrary. We know when we see a super-affiliate, but we don’t know exactly where the dividing line is.
So as more super-affiliates move towards this level of social integration, many smaller affiliates might find it harder to compete — and, as a result, grow their business. Specifically, integrating social graphs to this extent requires considerable technical resources which, in turn, requires a considerable investment.
In other words, the smaller guys who lack the resources to do so might have a harder time both retaining their existing users and growing their user-base. First, fewer and fewer users will be willing to use these regular affiliate sites because the user-experience is lacking. Secondly, because these affiliates will have a harder time upselling/cross-selling, it’ll be more difficult for them to grow their revenues to super-affiliate proportions.
Of course, TheFind’s move toward social shopping is not going to kill off smaller affiliates. It’s just going to make it a bit tougher for them. But hey, those are the breaks.
After all, the technology was already there. It was just a matter of time before one of the big guys started using it. And just like it was a lot easier for the small guys to rank organically in 2003 than it is today, offering a seamless social integration is also going to get a lot tougher, too. But that’s the price of mainstream legitimacy: increased market competition.
About CT Moore
A former Staff Editor here at Revenews.com, CT Moore is a recovering agency hack with over 8 years experience leveraging search and social media to help brands meet their business goals online. By day, he runs Socialed, a digital consultancy that provides strategy to both SMBs and enterprise level companies in the tech, entertainment and travel industries. He also heads up Search and Social at Publikit, a boutiqe web dev agency. CT has worked with both start-ups and multinational brands alike, including Acquisio, Microsoft Canada, and Luxury Retreats. CT is also an accomplished blogger, podcaster, and speaker who educates groups and companies on how they can effectively leverage different online channels. You can read his personal blog here.