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Interview with Kevin Edwards, New IAB AMC Chairman

Interview with Kevin Edwards, New IAB AMC Chairman

So, congratulations Kevin on becoming the new IAB Affiliate Marketing Council Chairman

You have been in attendance at the IAB meetings for over a year now, how do you think these meetings have helped the industry over the past year?

I think 2009 was a transitional year for the Council when it changed from being a general forum for people to express views and opinions into a proactive and collaborative body. People shouldn't underestimate the significance of network cooperation in creating guidelines for voucher codes and downloadable software. Add in the ethical merchant charter for merchants and for the first time we have industry standardisation across a number of areas. That means merchants, agencies and affiliates can be advised in a neutral way that adheres to agreed best practice; a definite professionalisation of a maturing industry.

Over the past two years the attendance levels and engagement from all walks of the industry has also increased. With representation from ten networks it's also been encouraging to see so many agencies and merchants regularly attending. I think there was a feeling a while back that affiliates were under-represented but actually we have some great affiliates who cover off a number of sectors from cashback, voucher codes, content and paid search.

Inevitably as the number of people attending grows there is a danger the numbers become too unwieldy to achieve anything but there are some plans in place to ensure the meetings proceed efficiently and effectively.

Why did you want to become the AMC Chairman?

I actually decided quite late on to put myself forward. I spoke to a number of peers who suggested I’d be a good candidate so thought I may as well give it a go. I faced some stiff competition from four other candidates all of whom I knew would do a sterling job as Chair. We’re lucky as an industry to have people as committed as them involved and I hope they’ll lend their expertise and support to the Council over the next eleven months.

As mentioned the transition to an effective and proactive body has raised the bar but I also think a number of people have realised that what we achieved in 2009 is only the start and there is so much more we can do. We have to be realistic. The Council will only succeed if those who attend are engaged and give their time to making things happen but we’re lucky we have a solid base of representatives who are incredibly passionate about what they do.

Some people may view your election to Chairman as a business win for Affiliate Window. What would you say to these people?

This was a concern for me. There's obviously not much I can do about the fact I work at Affiliate Window and I hopefully communicated to people that being Chair is about what I can bring to the Council. You could logically say it about any of the candidates and the companies they work for but I appreciate that as I work for a network there is an added complexion. I am conscious this may make some other networks a little uncomfortable and I’ve chatted to a number of them about it. Ultimately because I’m aware of the issue I hope this will mean I go to greater lengths to ensure people don’t see it as anything more.

What's the first thing you’ll be tackling as the new Affiliate Marketing Council Chairman?

It may sound a little dry but the format of the meetings is a key initial priority. We’re going to be creating some sub committees that comprise all walks of the industry to ensure fair representation. These committees will then tackle the main issues and bring their findings and conclusions to a wider audience for discussion and ratification. Only time will tell how effective this approach will be but there seems to be a consensus that this will make the meetings more engaging and effective.

Beyond that I’m keen to get some initial best practice guidelines designed to improve the general standard of product feeds. Easier said than done I know but I get the sense sometimes that people have stopped talking about this as an issue because nothing seems to change. An additional key focus should be talking to a wider audience about all the great work the industry does. We’re notoriously bad at not talking up affiliate marketing more and I’d like to address that this year, hopefully taking our message to companies who are yet to embrace the CPA model.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your reign?

Ultimately I want to feel we’ve made progress in furthering the standardisation of best practice guidelines. As mentioned I also want to feel we’ve been pushing the good news about affiliate marketing to a wider audience. I’m really encouraged by the number of people who have contacted me since being elected Chair saying they want to help out. If we can maintain this momentum I’m really optimistic about the coming year.

How do you plan to engage affiliates and encourage them to take more interest with the AMC

This is a continuous challenge for everyone. We obviously have space on the forum to communicate about the latest AMC updates but I’d like to try additional communication methods to reach a wider audience. I have plans to roll out an AMC Twitter account as well as a website featuring details of the meetings, a forum for leaving feedback and additional information. I’m happy to take any feedback on this from anyone with alternative suggestions. I’d also encourage people to sign up for the regular email updates from the Council – again drop me a line and I can sort this out.

Have you any plans to broadcast the AMC meetings, for others in the industry who cannot make the trip to the IAB’s offices every month?

Not at present. This is something that can be raised at the next meeting to see whether it’s practical to do so. Given we’re aiming to have an AMC website it could be feasible to post these broadcasts on the site.

iPad – your thoughts?!

As a confirmed luddite I have to confess I’ve given no consideration to the iPad. It looks nice though, will that do?

The IAB Affiliate Marketing Council Meet every last Thursday of the month, at the IAB's offices in Holborn. More information regarding the Affiliate Marketing Council can be found here - Link to Best Practice Category!

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Content Director for PerformanceIN. Based in Bristol & London.

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