How did you get into affiliate marketing?
I started in marketing directly out of college and got into advertising in 2003 in radio. I worked for a direct response agency, and helped the owner build a new company that effectively functioned as an affiliate network for local spot radio. I had many friends in the affiliate marketing space at the time (including my best friend, who would regale me with stories of the job and the shows and the general zeitgeist of the industry and I wanted in. So I left radio and started at a small agency with two other partners where we bought network and direct publisher traffic. I then joined Hydra on the advertising side in August of 2007.
What was your biggest challenge getting into affiliate marketing?
Most definitely making myself known. There is very much a rookie/veteran dichotomy in the way personnel is viewed, so I spent a great deal of time pushing through and making contacts and being remembered.
What are the main things merchants do that you wish they wouldn’t?
Not communicate effectively. The faster I can learn information about the quality of the traffic, the more quickly I can help them. Additionally, the more quickly I can communicate with an affiliate manager and his or her publisher to answer their questions, the better I can service their campaigns and generate more volume.
What are the main things affiliates do that you wish they wouldn’t?
That’s a loaded question! I’d have to say I wish they would better understand the challenges networks face when dealing with advertisers. Make things more of a partnership rather than having their affiliate manager simply serve a customer service function.
Where do you see growth in the affiliate field?
Even without taking the current U.S. economic situation into account, advertisers need more accountability for every dollar they spend and that is exactly what affiliate marketing does. Therefore I see large brands and politics as having huge growth potential in the space. I’d also like to see the stigma of “affiliate” marketing go away as what we all really do is performance marketing.
What new ideas are advertisers coming up with to take advantage of new traffic sources?
Despite the IAB not including it, the banner size of 110X80 is becoming a standard part of the creative package due to Facebook. They are also providing separate links in order to evaluate social media traffic separately from email and SEM.
What do you do to improve the world?
I donate to Jewish charities from time to time. Every once in a while, such as during this past AdTech show in San Francisco, I am faced with the position of being able to help someone who truly needs it and least expects it. It’s nice to try to restore someone’s faith in humanity after it has been severely called into question.
What do you do that is green?
I recycle everything that can be recycled.
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
Most people know I am a baseball junkie, but most do not know that I am also an avid reader. I read an average of one book a week…
What is on your iPod?
I actually do not have an iPod! I do love music, but I usually listen to either baseball or my thoughts…
What’s your favorite book?
That is a very tough question to answer. I love postmodern American fiction, so anything by the writers Phillip Roth, Kurt Vonnegut, Dom DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon are high on my list. I also enjoy detective fiction writers such as Robert B. Parker and Robert Crais, both of whom follow in the shadow of Dasheill Hammet and Raymond Chandler. Lastly, I am a huge fan of satirists such as Christopher Moore and Christopher Buckley.
What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums etc) ?
(I refuse to use Facebook or MySpace – weird for an affiliate marketer, but I have very lengthy, well-developed reasons why)
Who would recommend you and why?
I would like to think that each and every one of my clients would recommend me, (and I think most of them truly would), as I strive to achieve that type of relationship with all of them and offer the best service I possibly can. I expect my former bosses at Hydra and SAJE would recommend me highly as well. Hopefully, this is a long list.
Who would you recommend and why?
The people at Prosper202. Their open source tracking solution integrating all search engines into one intuitive, effective solution has literally revolutionized search and affiliate marketing. I expect huge things from that group. I also recommend Evan Lovett, a legendary affiliate manager doing some very interesting things with CPC right now. Also, Doug Walker, Jason Walker, Abby Whitridge, Ayala Salehrabi, Rachel Lasseff and Chris Pink, six of the best, most fun, and most knowledgeable people I have ever had the privilege of working with. And of course, everyone at Hydra.