Recognised US affiliate marketing forum ABestWeb has decided to close its doors under pressures that will no doubt raise a few eyebrows around the globe.
The site’s owner, Penton Technology, has placed its product up for sale as a result of the affiliate marketplace “steadily declining for a while”. As a result, the company behind the forum has “decided to exit this business”.
Recent calculations on the site suggest that close to 150,000 people have contributed to nearly 145,000 discussions at ABestWeb. Archived posts and threads will still be available to view but the ability to create new discussions has ended as of today (January 18).
Community in tatters
The site is owned by Penton Technology, the New York-headquartered enterprise that offers a series of data and marketing solutions to businesses around the world. Penton also houses a niche publishing arm, with products including www.mac-forums.com (for Apple Mac owners) and www.hotscipts.com (for web developers) among a handful of others.
Abestweb.com was Penton’s offering for the affiliate community: a place where publishers could find new merchants and discuss the key talking points around their space.
The forum was founded by Haiko de Poel Jr in 2001 on the premise that “all affiliates’ voices had the right to be heard”. It was later sold off to iNET Interactive, the event and digital information firm which itself was acquired by Penton in January of last year.
Fast forward 12 months and ABestWeb looks to have been axed by Penton – a company with no involvement in affiliate marketing prior to the deal for iNET.
Causes for concern
Penton looks to be sticking with the theory of an industry-wide decline as reasoning behind its failure to make things work. However, Forrester tipping the US affiliate industry to welcome a compound annual growth rate of 17% between 2011 – 2016, hitting a value of $4.5 billion, would refute this statement.
Some posters have already come out to state that the site just “wasn’t the same with corporate ownership”, with others blaming a lack of active posters for its decline.
With affiliate marketing becoming all the more professionalised in recent years, there is certainly an argument that some posters will have been put off sharing trade secrets that had made them considerable amounts of money – making the forum a less interesting and useful place to visit.
As far as next steps go, the last few posts are dedicated to alternative forums, while some posters look to be entertaining the option of buying the site themselves.
Attention all affiliates: head over to the Affiliate Cockpit (private facebook group managed by PI) to discuss all things affiliate marketing with our crowd of global publishers.