Some of you may have seen the “investigative” article published recently by Businessweek’s Zeke Faux. Seemingly written by someone who had just discovered the existence of digital marketing, it draws a grim picture of the affiliate marketing industry as a place infested by “shady advertisers” who “pollute the internet”.
Yes, shady advertisers exist, they have always existed and will continue to exist, but they are few among many.
We know, we have our own ad network and have been dealing with the same problems as Facebook for many years. Shady advertising can be found on virtually all advertising platforms including TV, radio, and outdoor billboards—it’s nothing new. Great article on Business Insider covering that.
Affiliate marketing is a massive and legit industry that supports millions of honest professionals and businesses around the world. It is a massive economic enabler and a very inclusive industry, which benefits countless parties, from mom and pop shops that are trying to make it on their own to huge transnational enterprises. It benefits virtually every media publisher in the world—including Businessweek, which has no problem running affiliate ads on its website.
So why all the fuss?
Well, the original article was supposed to come out much later, but then the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out. Suddenly, I was notified that the article will be rushed to publication in less than a week and I started to receive a lot of follow-up questions in regards to Facebook. Which during my 3-day interview with Zeke was mentioned here and there but was never the focus. I suppose the media has to do what it has to do to stay relevant.
Regardless, the affiliate industry is facing some very real challenges.
Such as the unethical or fraudulent ads which were underlined in the article. However, it’s unfortunate and highly misleading that the reporter tried to make it look as though the whole affiliate marketing space consists of fraudsters. I know for a fact that the overwhelming majority of affiliate marketers are absolutely ethical and legit. The industry is full of brilliant professionals, and I am honored to be working with them. Vilifying the whole industry due to a few bad actors is downright sensational.
After reading the article for the first time, it was obvious that the main target wasn’t the affiliate industry itself, but Facebook. I understand that at the moment every large publication wants to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the world’s largest social network and that had the Cambridge Analytica scandal not broken out the tone of this article would have been quite different. But in this case, this criticism is far from justified. Today, Facebook is one of the leaders in combating online fraud and malicious ads, and many of its initiatives become an industry standard and are enthusiastically copycatted by other platforms. I know for a fact that they deploy a massive amount of resources to combat ads in violation of their ad policies and are constantly working on improving their algorithms—no small feat when virtually every advertiser in the world wants to run ad campaigns on your platform.
I was mildly amused by the description of Voluum in the article, our full-stack marketing platform for marketing analytics, measurement and optimization. Our platform is used by thousands of prominent agencies and performance advertisers and helps manage and measure their advertising campaigns.
Since September 2014, Voluum has been serving countless enterprise customers in over 190 countries worldwide.
Although we provide powerful tools that allow our users to maximize their profits, there have been very few instances where these tools have been used with malicious intent. This is simply, no pun intended, Faux News.
Clients and professionals who work with us are well aware that we have a strict no-malware policy, and in the rare cases when we receive complaints about any advertisers using our platforms in a way that violates our policies, we immediately block their accounts for good. We believe that our pristine reputation and the safety of consumers are infinitely more valuable than any monetary gain.
The affiliate marketing industry has come a long way, and it still has a long way ahead of it. Since the early days of my professional career, I’ve watched it grow, evolve and mature. I am proud to be a part of this industry, and will always remain its advocate and champion. I am honored to be working with brilliant people, both within my company and outside, on making it more successful, transparent and ethical than ever.
CEO of Codewise