Obituary: We are sad to announce that in 2019, traditional affiliate marketing died quietly in the ether. Born in 1997 (approx.), affiliate burst into the marketing world with a smile on its face and a fist full of opportunity in its hands. It promised huge returns with little work and no upfront marketing cost. In fact, affiliate had a near magical touch, pairing with publishers who would promote products and services for free, in exchange for a cut of the sale price.
Beloved by brands and publishers alike, affiliate lived a heady, highly profitable life during this heyday. But eventually, hubris and a reliance on a plug-and-play approach caught up with it—affiliate’s days of wine and roses seemed to be ending.
The excesses of affiliate’s adolescence
In the beginning, affiliate looked to provide growth through volume—the more affiliates, the better! Was it the answer? Well, no. The “more, more, more!” mentality led to problems: programs became bloated, and affiliate stopped being as effective. Plus, was affiliate actually Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde? It seemed so when it was revealed that a significant number of affiliates were gaming the system or even committing outright fraud. This was affiliate’s moment of truth, its near-death experience that demanded it change—or be relegated to six feet under every other marketing program out there.
Settling down and raising a family
Armed with a bit more maturity and its salad days behind it, affiliate wised up in the mid-2000s and focused on quality