Oh the scandal! Are network employees and affiliate managers stealing super affiliate secrets? Color me outta the loop, seems I’ve been behind on all the chatter regarding big Commission Junction news going on right now.
Articles to read:
The Rumour Mill has it that three top account managers left CJ this week to avoid enforcement of a policy forbidding them to have affiliate sites of their own. (While Scott Jangro left CJ several months ago, he was neither an account manager nor leaving due to this policy… I just liked the sound of Triple Jangro.)
Another good read:
From comments: Are Affiliate Network Employees Stealing your Business?
This is not something new…This happened to me 3 years ago. A then CJ employee stole the idea/techniques for a very profitable niche i was working in (the monetery damage would be at least $300k-$400k), he even stole the site design, optimization techniques etc…
Lots of chatter going on, but this bitch-slapped us in the face last year when the Affiliate List hit airtime (quote from link):
What Iâ€™m most concerned about, because now this part *does* affect me, is the fact that affiliate managers, affiliate network VPs and employees, contractors, programmers, etc., have the opportunity to cull and gather all my information. And sell it. Or move on to copy my work and build for themselves.
A lot of what went down last year changed my direction:
Affiliate Marketing is fun, I enjoy it, but no more building websites wrapped around affiliate products for me. The focus has changed now to affiliate products as filler only, rather than the main event. Three things happened this past year that had a big influence on my changed direction: The Affiliate List, Googleâ€™s Thin Affiliate Manifesto (doc file) and Commission Junctionâ€™s new PSA. I need say no more.
This is no joke IMO. Fun and Games are over and the gloves are off. How it could ever be justified that data a network gleans from the work of one of its affiliates is fair game for a network employee to hijack and profit from is just fantastically off the wall to me.
Fantastically Off The Wall. Is Mickey Mouse running the show?
Is affiliate marketing a business relationship or not? Is the relationship between a network or merchant and an affiliate protected or not? Yes or No – kinda/sorta doesn’t cut it.
Are affiliate marketers just monkey drones that do the creative work, find the market, build the sites, drive the traffic – only for ‘those in the know’ to skip on in and take over when the money is found? Is that the joke at the expense of affiliate marketers?
If you take your work online seriously – Protect it.
The things i learned, never ever list your revenue sites in aff networks, redirect to merchants thro intermediary domain(s), never use keywords directly in subids to track keyword level performance instead use codes.
Do we as affiliates have to get creative and hide our work from the very people we’re doing business with? I find that to be such a weird and warped thought process. Yet how does one protect his/her business? It’s a tricky position to be in.
And don’t forget – Google’s own employees were found to be in the henhouse too:
Last time meeting with our merchant one of the other affiliates there was a Google employee, and an Adwords employee at that. How is it acceptable to have to compete with someone with insider knowledge that actually works with the system daily and can look at my account. IMHO, Google should really not be allowing this.
I think it’s interesting, very interesting, that three people walked away from their careers at CJ rather than shut down their affiliate sites.
I think CJ has made a positive move, although very belated and ‘reactionary’, to protect the interests of their affiliates. I just don’t know how they’ll be able to enforce it.
And to end I’ll quote a comment from Beth Kirsch in the Revenews discussion:
Business is all about how to do things better than your competitors and hording knowleadge.