Jonathon please introduce yourself to my readers and what your role is in our industry?
My name is Jonathon Cole and I am the CEO and founder of Media Crowd Inc. Our affiliate network subsidiary is called DeluxeAds, which I started two years ago. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, and now currently reside in San Diego.
How did you get into business, what drove you to be where you are now?
From a young age I have always had a passion for electronics, and more specifically computers. Originally I was in the IT security and development industry, and about eight years ago I discovered affiliate marketing and I immediately fell in love with the business. I did extensive research on the industry, and started media buying right away. About two years ago DeluxeAds opened its doors. While we learned from our early mistakes, we have been able to build the business with a strategy focused on building strong relationships with advertisers and affiliates.
Do you think affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online? Why?
Yes, I believe affiliate marketing is the best way for a person not associated with a company to generate income online. Being able to work for yourself and make a living is one of the best luxuries, and anyone who has worked in a corporate office environment will tell you the same thing.
With all networks going under, what do you think is happening to our industry as a whole? Networks? Publishers? Advertisers?
Our industry is strong, with excellent growth prospects. Like all growth industries, companies come and go, but we have recently seen a number of networks that have gone out of business. The biggest challenge we face on a day-to-day basis is fraud. Some publishers are getting more sophisticated and creative with their fraudulent activities, causing networks like us to lose several valuable advertising relationships. Overall, networks need to be strict on who they approve, and build personal relationships with publishers and advertisers. Also, networks need to limit the credit extended to unknown advertisers. Advertisers need to be more selective with the networks they work with while agreeing to shorter payment terms.
Do you think affiliate marketing can be a profitable business for someone who wants to get in the business today?
Affiliate marketing is still very profitable, however it is becoming increasingly difficult to enter the space due to increased competition. There is a plethora of information out there for users able to read and expand their knowledge. The most important thing is that the affiliate does not give up after a few unprofitable campaigns. Like Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to not make a light bulb.”
Since you are part of a network what are the biggest frustration besides dealing with affiliates?
There are some very difficult advertisers in the industry, which can be much more frustrating and time consuming than a challenging affiliate. We fortunately have an excellent relationship with most of our advertisers, and we take pride in the fact that customer service is our number one priority. Ultimately, we have to make the advertisers happy or we would not be in business.
Who has impacted you the most in your career?
My father has impacted my career and shaped me to become who I am today. Growing up, my father demonstrated a wonderful work ethic, and taught me the value of a dollar. While leading by example, he also taught me the importance of giving back. Growing up he told me “You will get more joy from giving back then accumulating material possessions”. At the time I did not understand the statement, however five years ago I visited an orphanage in Honduras and it truly changed my life–I have gone there at least once a year since then, and built a computer lab for the children.
What do you do in your free time?
When I do have free time I like to hang out with my friends and family, skydive, play golf and go to the beach.
What is your favorite quote?
“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible” Thornton Wilder