Early next year the IAB Affiliate Marketing Council (AMC) will be changing to a membership scheme, which will incur a charge to any individual or company looking to get involved. The fee could dissuade smaller publishers that might be unlikely to afford such costs.

Affilinet UK MD, Helen Southgate, referenced the IAB AMC revisions and their effect on smaller publishers in a conference session at Performance Marketing Insights: London yesterday (Wed).

“Where there is a bit of a challenge and an issue is on the publishers side. We have tens of thousands of publishers. We can’t expect all those publishers to become members. We can’t expect them all to pay because they are different sizes,” Southgate said.

Voice for Publishers

One solution floated by Southgate during a panel session at the event titled Power Panel: Behind the Scenes of Performance Marketing, was that publishers form their own union, so they have a united voice.

“I’ve always thought the publishers should have some sort of union or some kind of voice, but it has never really happened,” Southgate suggested. “I feel there’s lots of different publishers talking about lots of different things, but they’ve never come together to push forward the union.”

As soon as the idea surfaced in the panel, tweets flooded in discussing whether it was a viable solution to the IAB’s new membership, but chief operating officer for Affiliate Window, Adam Ross, warned that investment would still be needed.

“There should be a publisher union but it will still require financial contribution. Nothing comes for free,” Ross said.

Questions Over Leadership

PerformanceIN spoke to several publisher representatives after the panel who all seemed for the idea. One of them, TopCashback’s commercial director, James Little, was  all for this, but unsure who exactly could lead such a group.

“There were some interesting points raised during the power panel, particularly about the IAB,” Little said. “One of my worries is that publishers aren’t getting a voice, which is why I also agree that a publisher steering group would be a great idea – although I am not sure who would run this.”

Having been chairman of the IAB AMC herself, Southgate reiterated that she was not against the organisation, but just felt its remit could be tweaked to ensure everybody involved in performance marketing had a say.

“I’ve been very supportive of the IAB and I think they do some great work under very challenging circumstances and as an industry we don’t help them as much as we should do.”

What are your thoughts? Do you think a publisher collective could work?