It was a busy and fiery weekend on affiliate marketing discussion hub ABestWeb as an affiliate program run by Geno Prussakov, a friend of mine and a prominent ABW member and outsourced program manager felt the wrath of the ABW affiliates.
The issue was that apparently, a “content writer” hired by the merchant to post “approved content for affiliate use” decided to take a short cut and grabbed unique, affiliate generated content and post it for all of the other affiliates to use. To magnify the drama of the situation, this came to a head at about 3:30 PM on Good Friday.
What was the issue here? Well – the affiliates in question had taken the time to develop their own unique marketing content for promoting the merchant. This was going to be their means of both picking up natural search traffic from Google and improving the results of their paid search efforts through the value and relevance of the content. By posting this content to the merchant website and labeling at as “Approved Affiliate Content” the copy “writer” (read thief) did a couple of things. They stole copyrighted content, and they diluted the uniqueness of the content for the affiliates who generated it initially.
The merchant company owes some affiliates an apology, and probably some financial reparations as there were damages incurred here and trusts broken.
Geno is a pretty straight up guy, especially when it comes to affiliate relations, so when he claimed that this was not his doing, I believe him. However, I think that as affiliate managers (in house or outsourced) we take responsibility for the content that goes out to our channel and make sure that issues like this don’t come up. Verifying originality of content is not tough… doing Google searches on key phrases of an article should show results if the content is out there.
Working with reputable copywriters also helps.
If you want to read up on this thread, you can do it here.
The morales of the story:
- OPM’s and Affiliate Managers – never ever show off affiliate’s sites to other affiliates
- If you are going to hire copywriters… make sure they write the copy
- OPM’s and affiliate manager, always maintain control and final approval on content that goes out to your channel so you can make sure your merchants don’t make the same mistake.
- If you are in a situation like Geno on this client, and you are an OPM who is working in conjunction with an in house affiliate manager, don’t assume that they will catch everything. Your name is on the program as well and you will most likely take the heat if the internal resource drops the ball.