An advertiser may choose to de-dupe publisher sales either completely or partially from a number of digital advertising channels. Some you would expect, i.e. PPC on Brand. The practice has been around for a decade, however, over the last few years, a whole heap of internal activity and other channels have come into the picture.

A quick check on the AWIN interface which does a good job on transparency shows the following for the ASOS UK affiliate programme.

Sample de-duplication policy.

Whilst I applaud this transparency, it shows a worrying trend especially when many networks and advertisers are looking to reward early funnel affiliates and have even gone to the length of rewarding by tenancy to compensate an overly aggressive attribution and/or de-duplication model.

Agencies are not always on the Affiliates Side

This excerpt from the affiliate cockpit this morning which you should take with a pinch of salt to some extent could well be believable as advertisers look to drive down costs.

Of course, there are some brilliant affiliate management agencies out there with a more holistic view. But we’ve witnessed too many scenarios where the client side wins without full representation from affiliates.

What can affiliates do to combat de-duplication

Often affiliate networks themselves won’t know the full picture, therefore if you are generating significant revenues for the advertiser, I’d certainly ask them for complete transparency and then deep-dive into each of the channels or internal activities de-duped.

What defines a direct partnership

In the example above from ASOS it mentions ‘Direct Partnerships’ and ‘In-house Publisher Programme’ if this includes the top 10 publishers creamed off to a SaaS platform with different attribution, then we all potentially have something to worry about.

Of course, we don’t know that and it’s a huge assumption, however, it does highlight the lack of transparency and the power agencies have who dictate strategy over the rest of the eco-system. There must be a point where affiliates and the other stakeholders take note and fight back with a combined voice.

This could become more important considering the acquisition of CJ Affiliates parent company Epsilon a Data-Driven Marketing powerhouse by Publicis Groupe this week.