Parasiteware Stew

Do you have the recipe for Parasiteware Stew? It’s spicy and bitter, and, man, is it expensive. Here’s how to make it.

Combine emotion, passion, business, ethics, and money. Throw into a huge pot. Stir in affiliates, merchants, adware software, and affiliate networks. Bring to a rapid boil. Add a tablespoon of confusion, simmer covered until the lid blows off from the pressure.

Having concocted this stew, we’re now scraping the ingredients off the walls, trying to sample the outcome. As usual, affiliates are given the slotted spoons. Mmm, tastes… the same.

If you’re unfamiliar with the new witches’ brew poisoning affiliate relationships, you should quickly bone up on spy-, theft-, and parasiteware before reading further.

Where Do Affiliates Stand?

The good news is the stovetop explosion got everyone’s attention. So much so, a meeting of the major players is being scheduled to discuss a “proposed industry standard to help define the rules of engagement regarding affiliate marketing.”

What does that mean?

Pessimistic translation: How do we affiliate networks get these whiny affiliates off our backs so we can continue to keep paying merchants (who do business with adware companies) happy?

Optimistic translation: Our affiliates have valid concerns. We realize they feel strongly about this issue, and justifiably so. Let’s be proactive about addressing this very real problem to everyone’s satisfaction.

I hope (and believe) optimism will win in this case. The vibe out there is anchored in the pessimists’ camp. I’ve seen some badgered merchants become frustrated to the point of distraction over the past couple of weeks.

Confirmed attendees of the upcoming summit (as I write) are Be Free, Commission Junction, LinkShare, and Peformics. Wayne Porter, VP of product development for AffTrack, will act as an independent facilitator.

“The purpose of the meeting is for major networks to decide on a set of rules for engagement for software applications [adware] as it pertains to affiliate marketing on the major networks,” Wayne said. “There is also hope to come up with methods of enforcement.”

Asked if an affiliate voice would be present at the meeting, Wayne replied, “Who is attending and the agenda [have] not been decided, but this is something we are working on. It is important to point out that the reason this meeting is taking place is because affiliate voices have been heard.”

No Stew for You!

As of now, there’s no confirmation an affiliate voice will be in this meeting. Affiliates may feel like they’re a tiny noodle at the bottom of the bowl. Again, there are two possible reactions to this.

Pessimistic view: Here we go again. The affiliate won’t be heard. The big players will sit in cushy, expensive chairs and gripe about how pesky those darn affiliates can be.

Optimistic view: Four competitors are willing to take off the gloves for a few minutes and help shape standards for affiliate marketing. Angry affiliate voices may cloud a valuable discussion.

What Can We Do to Help?

The networks know what’s going on. They understand why affiliates are angry. Let’s see what they come up with, digest it, then react.

As a small affiliate, root for the optimistic outcome. Remember, you turned up the heat and made things boil over. But you’re not done by far. Stay in the kitchen. Wait to see what happens. Just have the Alka-Seltzer handy, in case you swallow something that doesn’t agree with you.

If you have a comment on this subject, as always, feel free to email me.

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