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Award Winners 2011 - Network Innovation - Darwin Interview

Award Winners 2011 - Network Innovation - Darwin Interview

Did you anticipate such a good response to the Darwin Market place tool from the judges?

"When you build something completely new, there’s always a niggling fear that outside the comfort of the company and the internal hype, you haven’t actually achieved what you set out to. With Darwin, we were trying to solve some age old user problems but you never truly know if you’ve succeeded until after the product has launched.

"We knew we had worked exceptionally hard and done a great deal of research to understand market needs but could never have anticipated such a phenomenal response. To get this kind of recognition makes all the hard work worthwhile."

7 months on from the Award win for Darwin, what percentage of affiliates and advertisers have now completed their profiles, and if they haven't - what are the main pro's for completing your Darwin profile?

"For advertisers, the concept of having a public profile for their programme was nothing new so getting them engaged with the product was a fairly simple task. However, we were asking them for much greater levels of transparency, largely surrounding adherence to the IAB Ethical Merchant Charter. For example, channel de-duplication rules are now available for every programme on the network where previously they were never listed.

"Gathering this data took time but we are happy to report that all 1,700 advertisers on Affiliate Window have fully completed profiles.

"On the publisher side, the task was much greater. The concept of publicly profiling oneself was alien to some so the benefits had to be carefully explained. Once these were clear, our top 1,000 partners quickly came on board, mostly before the official live date. This was important so when advertisers gained access, the publisher directories were already pretty well stocked. 18 months post launch, we now have 64% of the active affiliate base with fully completed profiles and the remainder partially completed. That’s tens of thousands of profiles with more coming online every day.

"Main pros for completing your Darwin profile...

  • Opportunity to sell yourself to advertisers including all your web properties and the marketing disciplines in which you specialise
  • Opens up new business partnerships that would previously have been missed by allowing advertisers to search through completed profiles and invite you to their programmes
  • Reduces the chances of application rejection from advertisers"

What new additions to Darwin can you tell us about? And where do you go from here with the product?

"It’s a difficult question to answer because we don’t like openly discussing new products until they’re released but our intention was to build a really solid foundation allowing us the flexibility to improve existing features with ease, add many new tools but also to introduce technology partnerships to share and syndicate through the network. Users should continue to see a whole range of incremental improvements to the system, the most recent being the reporting which is up to 35x faster than the old system.

"As an affiliate network, we are in a very privileged position. We have access to a wealth of data so we can see how the market is developing, detect new trends and partner the right companies together to encourage success. The Darwin platform is designed to enhance this role as facilitator and allow us to leverage this rich data and knowledge to generate more revenue for all our partners.

"That’s the philosophy on which Darwin is built so in addition to enhancing almost every part of the system, we have big plans to introduce entirely new concepts and features in the months ahead."

What new factors within the Performance Marketing space do you think are keeping you on your toes?

"Fortunately, the UK is a highly competitive market and certainly one of the most advanced worldwide when it comes to online. It makes it a very exciting place to work and now as part of a global organisation, we can really appreciate the advantages this brings. Topics being discussed two years ago in the UK are only surfacing now in some European markets.

"The relentless pace of the UK means we are constantly kept on our toes by a whole range of different factors. To highlight one, it would be mobile and its continued rapid development within the performance space.

"We are seeing astronomical growth in mobile shopping and we haven’t even scratched the surface. The pace of this sector will exceed anything we have seen in the past so there will be no resting on our laurels at Digital Window while we take full advantage of this."

Save the Date - 15th May 2012

The Performance Marketing Awards will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on 15th May 2012. If you would like to be a part of next year’s awards, by sponsoring the event or booking a table contact Stuart Pringle or phone 0117 203 3013.

For more information or for any queries on entering the Performance Marketing Awards contact

Be a part of the Performance Marketing Awards and enter today.

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Content Director for PerformanceIN. Based in Bristol & London.

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