Affiliates Love Trials, the Collapse We All Saw But Didn't Bother Evolving

By Ian Fernando

I do not know about you but as an affiliate, this industry has been pretty much down the drain this year. Facebook has gotten more strict with algos, hard to scale on native, mobile pain to optimize, and many more.

One thing I want to touch base is that the industry has been shaken shaken. We saw the damage in the past but ignored the future, we saw what the future can be but ignored the past - is that how it goes?

I have been in the trial space since Yui Wei Tea (not even sure if I spelled it right) and Green Tea trials, that was many years ago. Then came the next popular ones like Acai and Green Coffee bean, then many more. The one thing that the trial space has done is shifted the industry several times. A cleansing of the masses if you want to call it, a curation of affiliates, only the worthy will survive - that it has done.

I have seen many affiliates fall off and just went back to work or are not as loud as they once was on the interwebs.

The fast pace money gets the better of us and we just tend to destroy an opportunity than really take advantage of it. Every time the industry goes through a 'cleansing' it was due to the trial space, in my assumption. Each time it carries a ripple affect within the industry.

Let me explain...

  1. traffic sources limited health related keywords
  2. then greedy affiliate networks shaving leads, they created their own offers - competing with affiliates
  3. then came the advertiser not able to pay the networks
  4. finally processing became strict. high reserves, transaction fees - force caps on offers
  5. Visa/Mastercard started to limit everything.

Each one of these has had an affect on the industry as a whole and at the end affected the affiliate. Each time, it got worst or escalated to the next tier, it affected a part of the affiliates revenue. If a network shaves, it affects the affiliate. When advertisers do not pay, it affects the network, then the affiliate. etc

When Visa and Mastercard says something, every bank listens. When processing becomes limited and you can not process subscription orders, then your revenue drops, then potential payments to networks or your team becomes limited. When the advertiser can not pay the network because of processing issues, then the networks can't pay affiliates. Ripple effects.

This is an ever growing cycle. We all saw this as an affiliate yet we ignored it. As affiliates we adopt to the situation, for some reason most of us fail to recognize the potential hazard it can do - actual we do but we ignore it.

I seen this and I wanted to change my business for so long but the rapid revenue pulls me back in and now I have to deal with it. I now have to realize I do not want to ride this wave of ups and downs. I have to take what I learned and put it to better projects.

I even wrote why as an affiliate it is bad to have a financial advisor.

The craziest part is I tell myself and others to NOT do what I was doing at that time yet I didn't follow my own truths and guidance. I saw and explained these scenarios at speaking events and masterminds, yet I still chased.

I know affiliates that agree with me and they either did something or just did what I did, chase the green till it ran out.

The world of advertising shifts all the time, but seeing the shift is what differentiates us. Nate from AdSum wrote an article on Medium and goes into more detail about how this all affects us as online marketers. They even did an experiment by being transparent about their offers but affiliate networks didn't bother because it didn't do anything to their bottom line.

A big group of us tried this last year with a number of affiliate networks and it went absolutely nowhere. I got a shit load of egg on my face.

Funny part is I went the proper route as well and I can say I feel Nate pain. Affiliates want high converting and fast payments. I can't blame them, I am an affiliate but I also was an advertiser.

I understand both sides, I actually understood both business years back and realize that these networks and advertisers are like partners - but there are affiliates that just want the cash right away. I understand, especially if high numbers are being done.

When we see a cycle that happens time and time again, we have to adopt but also evolve into better marketers. Marketers now from my time frame, realize that web assets are the way to go. This is where I am shifting focus as well and will probably start documenting it beginning of next year.

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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