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2010 In Review: A Year To 'Perform' ?

2010 In Review: A Year To 'Perform' ?



Kevin Edwards was elected as Chair of the IAB's Affiliate Marketing Council, with what was set to be a productive year for the council. Synonymous for January Sales and Travel, one Network reported that holiday sales were down 5% compared with January 2009, mainly due to the uncertainty in the economy, however the same network reported that March saw the peak they expected in January, causing a market shift for holiday sales in 2010.

Affiliate Window & have shared their revenue figures for January 2009 compared with 2010, showing a 31% increase in total tracked revenue.


VoucherCloud launches in the UK offering Mobile Discounts at Restaurants and High Street stores. There were many reports of Affiliate Programmes dropping commission rates to suit the recession, only 26% of retailers in the UK had a twitter account and only 24% had a Facebook page - times have certainly changed since then! Plus Google Buzz had a Google #fail.


March saw a number of big news stories arising from the new launch of the Affiliates4u website. On the same day that we launched our upgraded 'Hub of Performance Marketing' website, an announcement was made by Digital Window, who had created the largest UK affiliate marketing network by acquiring from AOL. Big news for the Affiliate Community as Affiliate Window, linked with Zanox in Europe, acquired a network that had already launched in the US, with the community sensing serious expansion and competition.

March was also the month that Zanox celebrated 10 years in Performance Marketing, a certain Malcolm Cowely joined the board of Existem-am, and ValueClick expanded into Eastern Europe. March was finally rounded off with the IAB announcing that Affiliate Marketing grew by a massive 38.2% in 2009 - it was certainly an exciting month for Affiliate Marketing.


There was video interaction uptake in April, with Ticketmaster partnering with Coull, increasing innovation within the sector and supplying more options to Publishers in terms of program creatives.

One of the lowlights now, as voluntarily wound up the company, which marked the first sector related company to cease trading.

Feeds were high on the agenda for delegates at [LinkShare's UK symposium] ( "LinkShare UK Symposium"), and it seems April was the month the term 'Social Campaign' was replaced by 'Facebook Campaign' as Facebook's newly launched tools at their developer conference showed how Affiliates could fully utilise social plugins and analytics.


May - The word for May was definitely 'Eyjafjallajokull' - and no I didn't just bash my keyboard...! At a4u towers, our first event of the year was potentially at the mercy of an Icelandic Volcano, blowing ash over European airspace and causing us to quitely panic about travel arrangements. Needless to say, the air cleared and there was only one casualty - a certain Matt Bailey, who claimed he couldn't make it over. Sarah Parsonage has compiled coverage of all the events for 2010 here. A key highlight for me was getting the heads of some of the largest European Affiliate Marketing Networks together on a panel to discuss the future of Affiliate Marketing.

Another blow to the sector arose in May as Full Service Digital Marketing Agency i-level entered administration, with reports blaming the loss of key clients as reasons for the administration. Programmes and Ex-Employees were snapped up quickly.

"I think everyone was shocked and disappointed by the sudden demise of i-level, none more so than those of us on the inside. We had a great time there and did some great work for our clients, demonstrated in the affiliate channel by our win in the Best Agency category in the 2009 A4U Awards. i-level may be gone, but it is not forgotten..." - Matt Bailey.

Not long after, Impact Radius launched their multi-channel performance advertising network as the industry looks to expand in key areas including online / offline convergence and the performance sectors.


'Performance' debate hots up. After a mad dash around Bristol and then Oxford Street in London, where myself and Shawn found ourselves 'suitless' with less than two hours to go before the a4uAwards, we finally made it to the glittering Grosvenor House Hotel to join over 700 guests and celebrate the successes of the Affiliate & Performance Marketing sector over the past year. For all involved, a great night was had and we look forward to May 17th 2011 for the a4uAwards 2011.

In other news - Google's (surprising as this is the first time i've mentioned the 'big G' in this yearly review!) May Day update was causing a stir amongst Affiliates, as some found themselves re-ranking with previously dormant websites, and the return of the micro-niche was debated on a4u.

What had been debated during previous IAB AMC meetings for 2010, the payment models of multi-attribution and payment on influence were discussed in full details on a4u. There was also a big debate at the AMC meeting regarding Behavioural Retargeting - read Kevin's review of the lively meeting.


The big news for July was the administration of one of the UK's earliest Affiliate Networks, dgm. With many Affiliates owed varying sums of money, the true fallout from a network administration were soon to be seen in certain verticals.

Similar in vein to the ex-employees of i-level, it wasn't long before we noticed once rival networks snapping up ex-dgm employees, enforcing what many have said on those who learnt their trade at dgm have progressed well. On the same day that dgm entered administration, Digital Window announced the merger of another UK network in Zanox.


After a failed attempt at rescuing dgm uk the holiday season began with a Goldtrail insolvency followed by KISS flights also entering administration, bringing chaos to the UK travel sector.


September - SEO Guru Dave Naylor told Affiliates4u that Affiliates should be worried about Google, and soon after there was a rather large update(!) in Google Instant to get SEO'ers, Affiliates and Merchants Panicking, be it only briefly!

September was also a month of contrasting highs and lows with two of the UK's longest Affiliate Programmes, with Prezzybox celebrating their 10th birthday, alongside CD WOW! who unfortunately entered administration.

Search & Social was discussed in serious detail at this year's TradeDoubler Summit, plus a number of new networks & agencies began trading in the UK, including The Slice Network, TradeTracker UK, WOW Network, nonstopconsulting and PMG Affiliate Management.


The 4th Annual a4uexpo London took place during October, which had moved to the new Capital Suite @ ExCeL for a freshening up - read up on this and all our events for 2010 in Sarah's event post. Two Affiliates from the forum became 'Secret Millionaires', as both Mark Pearson and Chris Brown made TV debut's giving back some Affiliate Cash to help others. Plus we spoke to Digital Window's Board on the future for UK Networks, we also attended Found's launch party, mobile app VoucherCloud took affiliate marketing offline with their CPA based highstreet voucher for Debenhams, and closed a massive $7 Million investment.

Other 'Performance-based' areas caused some debate in October, with a 2 part discussion on Behavioural Retargeting and whether Affiliates can benefit from this ad market, plus Markco Media launched a remarketing tool that had many Networks & Affiliates panicking.


Throughout the year we've had some thought-provoking and insightful content submitted by others within the industry, one of these being 'Working with Paid Search Affiliates: Writing your PPC Policy' which has been compelling reading for all.

November saw TradeDoubler post Q1-Q3 profits of £3.9 Million, Axel Springer announced a 10% growth in sales within a 9 month core profit jump of 46%, Facebook was discussed in more detail regarding Performance Marketing after the new launch of Facebook Messages, Premier League Football teams join the loyalty market thanks to white label cashback, and Webgains launched their exclusive multiple datafeeds feature.

Other notable announcements for November include Behavioural Retargeting company myThings securing a third round of funding, Interactive Video Network Coull opens a US office and also adds Steve Brown (ex founder) to the board. a4u also filmed the last IAB meeting of 2010 with a view to filming meetings in 2011. Ve interactive presented their remarketing product to the council and can be viewed here.


A4u founder Matthew Wood talked about 'Are agencies really doing enough for their cream?', which was closely followed by Affiliate Window's exclusive partnership with Barclaycard Freedom. We profiled Pete Rowe from Affilinet, who discussed and shared concerns on how UK Networks are competing in a price war, Peformance Horizon launched their solution for the growing Performance Marketing industry and finally there were recent announcements from LinkShare and Affiliate Window on their revenue figures for the 2010 Christmas period (so far).

2011 and Beyond

So - there you have it.

A productive year for the industry 'shift' towards a more Performance focussed strategy, we were sad to see the demise of well known and respected companies throughout the course of the year, and we hope you've enjoyed our 2010 a4u events.

What's in store for 2011? Who knows - but you'll be able to 'read all about it' on Affiliates4u.

Happy Christmas from a4u towers!

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Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Content Director for PerformanceIN. Based in Bristol & London.

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