Shawn Collins at the Affiliate Summit East 2013

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The Affiliate Summit is perhaps Shawn Collin’s crowning achievement in his career as an affiliate marketing guy. It’s a no mean feat to bring together people and make an event of this scale successful, particularly when one has so many affiliate conventions and conferences to choose from. Shawn has been into affiliate marketing since 1997 and since then has notched up an impressive record as a doer of things.

The multi-tasker is Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and already has to his credit several well-received books that include Extra Money Answer and Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants. His weekly podcast 7 Minutes in Affiliate Heaven on GeekCast.fm is a looked forward to event for those that wish to stay at the top of their game in this business.

Publications where he has been published include Entrepreneur Magazine, Internet Retailer, Inc. Magazine, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Shawn will talk on First Timers Orientation for Affiliate Summit – you don’t want to miss it because this talk sets the tone for the rest of your interactions at the summit.

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GeekCast 43: Valley vs Affiliates

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GeekCast 43 is up and it’s a good listen. The entire gang of Shawn Collins, Jim Kukral, Lisa Picarille and myself chat about online marketing, gadgets, web2.0 and all-things-geek for 70 minutes.

If you’re new to the show, start with this one b/c it’s one of our best (in my opinion).

Here’s the mp3 or head over to GeekCast.fm for the stream if you’re of that persuasion.

Show Notes:

- Shawn Got a Blackberry Bold
- AT&T’s Marketing Woes

- Calacanis Redux: Affiliates v Silicon Valley
- Of Runways and Layoffs
- Ad:Tech’s Mood
- Examples of Good Businesses (FatWallet, Zac Johnson, Scott Jangro)

- Twitter Woes and Feature Complaints
- Revenue’s Marketing

- Ask500People.com
- More AdTech Talk

- Branding: affiliate.com, Izea and Coke
- Netbooks

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GeekToMe 6: Freemiums and Netbooks

Affiliate Marketing Legend and all-around geek Todd Crawford and I are back with episode six of our weekly podcast, GeekTo.Me.

We had a ton of fun doing the show and it’s (in my opinion) our best show yet. We definitely keep getting better and better (and geekier and geekier) every week.

So, if you’ve got the stomach for some heavy geek lifting, give it a shot.

The show runs about an hour.

MP3 File

Show Notes:
Freemium vs Premium
Google with OpenID
Google Notebook, Evernote or BackPack?
Netbooks vs iPhones
Mac Adoption with the Kids
iPhone App Restrictions
Android
Windows 7: Will It Save Microsoft?
Linux Desktops and New Ubuntu
Google Maps on iPhone
Hulu
Mint.com and Stupid web2.0 names
eCommerce is Big in Japan
Todd’s Picks: Fring, Panolab, Classic eBook Reader
Sam’s Picks: Everest, VoteReport

GeekTo.Me 6: Freemiums

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Cheap eee’s Coming But Get A 7″ While You Can

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A new report from Asustek (say it out loud… it’s fun) says the company will be shipping $200 variations of its now famous (and ubiquitous) eee PC.

I grabbed a 7″ model in January of this year before Asus flooded the market with more variations than imaginable. It’s one of their “weaker” machines in terms of specs now, but I still love the little guy to death and wouldn’t part with him for an ATOM processor-based 8.9″ eee for anything.

So, I was sad to read this:

Asustek expects to ship US$200 Eee PC in 2009, says president: “Shen also pointed out that 7- and 8.9-inch Eee PCs will slowly phase out of the market to be replaced by 10-inch products.”

Part of the charm and mystique of the little computer that started a revolution is its amazingly small size and form factor. I constantly get asked what it is when I’m out in public. When I have the eee and a Kindle at a coffee shop, I look like a real geek freak.

So, go grab a 7 inch Asus eee while you can (only $330 at Amazon!). They are cheap and don’t have as many features as the more expensive 8.9 or 10 inch models, but we’re talking about a netbook here. All you need is Firefox and you’re good to go.

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RedHatBlueHat

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Since we’re on a political kick here, head over to GeekCast and listen to the latest RedHatBlueHat podcast.

Despite Shawn’s rather biased show description, it was a well balanced and heated show where I do what I do every week… ask policy questions and have to fend off the politics of personal destruction that the Red Hats keep retreating to any time the water gets warm.

RedHatBlueHat : GeekCast.fm: “The fourth installment of RedHatBlueHat featured Tim Jones, Shawn Collins, Mike Allen, Sam Harrelson, and Todd Crawford getting worked up about money and war.

This week focused on a John McCain interview on the Today Show where he made comments about Iraq and ‘big oil’ that got the Obama camp worked into a tizzy.”

Even if you’re not a political junkie, it’s a fun show.

Here’s the mp3 for your downloading pleasure.

If I get some time this weekend, I’m going to make a dedicated site for the show at the www.redhatbluehat.com domain. Thanks to Jim Kukral for the logo!

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Free Affiliate Summit Passes Today

FAE3B0A0-B0D4-44B3-AD51-BD23184B86A8.jpgI turn 30 just a few days after this year’s Affiliate Summit East. Helping me ring in my third decade is good enough reason to come to Boston, right? Well, even if you haven’t gotten a ticket yet, there’s a very good offer on the table for today.

For today only, Affiliate Summit is running a special promotion where anyone who hasn’t already registered for the Affiliate Summit East in Boston (August 10-12) can get a free exhibit hall pass…

Free Affiliate Summit Passes on June 11, 2008 | Affiliate Summit Blog: “We’ve got a special Affiliate Summit deal that’s only good for 24 hours – the day of June 11, 2008 EDT.

Everybody that is currently registered for Affiliate Summit 2008 East, taking place August 10-12 in Boston, is welcome to share the following coupon code with their friends and colleagues who are not yet registered:

ASE08JUNE11

This code is good for a free exhibit hall only pass (value $199).”

So, if you haven’t registered to come, you definitely should today. I can’t recommend the show enough (not just because I’m the “Minister of Social Media” this time) but because it really is the premier event for learning, networking and recruiting affiliates in the performance marketing space.

The speaker list is quite varied this year and the Affiliate Summit team has really mixed things up (in a good way) to keep the East show fresh.

Plus, you can buy me a drink for my 30th.

See you in Boston!

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GeekCast 22: Won’t Get Fooled Again

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We (Shawn Collins, Lisa Picarille, Jim Kukral and myself) recorded GeekCast this afternoon and it’s a great show…

GeekCast 22: iPhone 2.0 and It’s Still Useless : GeekCast.fm: “The show kicked off with talk of the iPhone 2.0, and the virtues like 3G speed, as well as the negatives, such as the keyboard, lack of copy/paste, etc.

The rumored ability to capture video didn’t pan out (did RIM start that rumor?), which was a letdown for your loyal GeekCasters.”

This is one of my favorite episodes yet because Jim and I basically come to blows over Zobzee and mandles.

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Why Do Right Wingers Love Apple?

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One of my secret pleasures is to listen to the local right-leaning AM station here in Asheville while coding, doing spreadsheets or something that doesn’t require much higher brain function. Every town has one of these stations with a rotation of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity (who might have the worst designed website in the world) and Michael Savage.

I’m by no means a right winger and to keep my blood pressure down, I should probably be listening to the local Air America station instead. However, I just can’t help myself. Plus, the right wing ramblings help me prepare for the stale talking points that my comrades on RedHatBlueHat throw out every Thursday.

Lately, I’ve noticed that the right wing talk show guys are big Apple fans. A few weeks ago, Rush made a public plea to Steve Jobs to help him with a few problems he was having on his higher end Macs that got a good deal of press and coverage. Last week, Sean Hannity did an extended monologue about how innovative and great Apple was in terms of their products. Then, on my way in to the office this morning I listened to Glenn Beck go ga-ga over the iPhone 3G.

Which begs the question in my head… why do right wingers (except for Shawn Collins) love the shiny Macs? I almost feel dirty for typing this on my Macbook Pro. Almost.

I don’t know the answer to the question. Maybe it’s because Macs just work or perhaps they make Rush feel a little more faux-elite because of the price.

Regardless, if they have seen the light on tech perhaps they’ll see the light on the political side one day. Probably not. But a left winger can hope.

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Is the NY State Affiliate Tax That Big of Deal?

There has been much hand wringing in the world of affiliate marketing over the so-called New York state “affiliate tax.” However, as Trust points out on ABW, it doesn’t seem that 99% of merchants running affiliate programs care much…

How Are Merchants Finding Out About This? – ABestWeb Affiliate Marketing Forum: “Looking at this list and I only see about 40 merchants (so far) which is maybe at most 1% – 2% of merchants with affiliate programs who have dropped NY affiliates. So was wondering if we have a whole bunch more coming and if all the merchants know about this or what. Or if it’s going to be an overall small percentage that drop affiliates.”

Is that a symptom of poor communication by New York state legal authorities, legal counsels, affiliates…or is this really not that big of deal?

There have been a plethora (literally) of blog posts in the affiliate-blog-osphere about the issue ranging from Shawn Collins and Linda Buquet‘s respective reporting to ReveNews coverage to Peter Bordes at Relevantly Speaking chiming in to our discussions on GeekCast to even networks like ShareASale offering strong and well thought-out advice for merchants.

However, merchants really don’t seem to be paying too much attention to all of this.

Once again, I defer to Trust on ABW:

I guess I was expecting a whole slew of new drop notices today, haven’t seen anybody post anything new. In the end if it winds up only being about 1% – 2% then that’s really not much at all. I guess we’ll have to wait to see how this turns out but at this point not as bad as I thought it would be. Time will tell.

Is this just the latest Froogle?

I’m not so sure. I do think there is a considerable need for affiliate marketers to educate and inform merchants about the viability and importance of the performance channel in terms of their bottom line, but “affiliate marketing” as we know it is SO wide ranging and dispersed at this point that it would take Microsoft creating their own loyalty program to get us to organize… oh, wait.

In other words, our conception of “affiliate marketing” (in my opinion) is rapidly evolving away from just the network/affiliate model that has served us well (and badly) for the last decade. “We” are moving into video, lead gen, offline, mobile, widgets, social media, search and all sorts of places that we didn’t envision a decade ago. I would venture to say that at least 75% of the people doing affiliate marketing don’t even know they are doing affiliate marketing.

I’m not arguing for a name change or anything of that nature. However, I do want us to realize that while the NY affiliate tax has certainly caused its share of fear and loathing, we need to realize that this industry has fractured and continues to move away from anything resembling an industry. Coming up with an organized group to represent its needs and views may be as difficult as getting merchants to address the NY state issue.

So here’s my take: Merchants are letting legal figure this out (if they even need to). We should be proactive but realize that interstate commerce is a very complicated subject and requires highly skilled lawyers (and such) to grok. I doubt if NY state’s tax will survive the appeal process based on my understanding of what’s happening, but I’m no lawyer.

In the meantime, it looks to be business as usual.

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FeedFront Issue 1 Shipping Soon

Missy Ward and Shawn Collins of the Affiliate Summit have put together an “offline” publication that looks like it’s going to be a great read based on the talent assembled for the articles.

I contributed a piece describing the best ways to get things done in affiliate marketing using web2.0 tools:

FeedFront Articles in Issue 1 : FeedFront: “Issues will be mailed in June 2008. Here are the articles in the first issue:

* Editors Note: Missy Ward & Shawn Collins
* Five Ways to Evaluate a Merchant’s Landing Page: Dan Murray
* Pros & Cons of Utilizing Multiple Networks: Brian Littleton
* Twitter Grabs Attention: Lisa Picarille
* GTD in Affiliate Marketing with Web 2.0: Sam Harrelson
* Affiliate Marketers Give Back: Missy Ward
* Online Video Advertising: Tim Carter
* Nobody Would Use a Search Engine with Paid Results: Dan Gray
* Building Profitable Customer Relationships by Following These Simple Email Axioms: Tom Kulzer
* Are You the Next Super Affiliate Blogger?: Zac Johnson
* Ad Networks, Vertical Ad Networks, and Affiliate Networks: Peter Figueredo
* Affiliate Manager Compensation: Shawn Collins
* My 3 Favorite Blogs You May Not Visit: Wil Reynolds
* My 3 Favorite Tools You May Not be Using: Wil Reynolds
* Get Off Your Butt and Start Making Videos: Jim Kukral “

You can get a subscription to FeedFront here.

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Thoughts on New York Affiliates Situation: Industry Org Needed?

Michael Vorel posted an interesting tweet this morning:

I am concerned many NY affiliates will loose interest in affiliate marketing, solutions?

which was followed up with a tweet from Shawn Collins:

@vastplanet I think it could help to publicize Amazon’s battle and try to bring grassroots blog pressure on NY to get more mainstream media

The back and forth refers to the developing situation surrounding recent legislation in New York state that seeks to collect taxes on online revenue generation and immediately effects large merchants as well as the NY state affiliates.

There was a question as to whether Amazon would drop NY state affiliates, but it looks like the first large merchant to take that step is Overstock.

Shawn Collins covered it first and best at AffiliateTip Blog:

Today the Small Business Blog reports that Overstock.com has issued a notice to all New York state affiliates that they are being dropped from the Overstock Affiliate Program, effective May 20, 2008.

As the day went on, more bloggers and discussions started appearing about Overstock’s actions. Even Saul Hansell of the NY Times is following the developments with an in-depth piece and link back to Shawn’s piece:

There were two predictable fallouts from New York State’s move to force online companies to collect state sales tax: There would be a lawsuit. And some online merchants would cut off their affiliates in the state.

Then, over on ReveNews Heather Paulson covered the situation and got a very precise comment from Todd Crawford:

I am very concerned that NY sees affiliate marketing differently than other forms of online advertising like CPM and CPC. I do not understand the logic they are using that affiliate marketers create nexus for advertisers allowing them to charge sales tax. If this is not overturned, I would expect NY to extend the nexus to any online advertising – including CPC and CPM. Idiots!

As Todd and others have pointed out, this is a very short term play from NY state and will eventually cost them revenue in terms of sales tax and income tax generation from merchants and affiliates. However, states are cash strapped (I won’t get too political, but let’s just say the current administration’s fiscal practices haven’t exactly helped states deal with rising health care and education costs) and looking for ways to get into the black during an important election year when the turnout is going to be exceptionally high.

Will more states follow NY? Yes. It’s almost a certainty if NY is successful at collecting taxes from large companies such as Amazon (which it looks like will be the case judging from the NY Times piece). Does this mean affiliate marketers or merchants will suffer and eliminate affiliates working in those states? Perhaps, but I don’t think that’s a necessary certainty.

Instead of making the case that affiliates are being treated unfairly, I think our best bet as an industry is to make the case to state governments that this is an economically short minded tactic. Robbing Peter to pay Paul never works and the states will loose more long term revenue in the form of sales and income taxes than they will gain by a tax system that will surely have more holes than a sieve.

I fear it will be the affiliate marketers themselves and not the merchants who have to make this case. The merchants seem willing to either pay the tax or to stop working with NY state (and eventually others) affiliates instead of making the case against such a tax scheme.

Industry organization anyone?

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