For Affiliate Marketing, Bigger Is Not Always Better

Share this content:
NEW YORK - Though affiliate marketing has thrived in recent years, top practitioners caution that businesses need to keep a tight rein on affiliate programs to avoid potential legal issues and brand damage.

Speakers at the Direct Marketing Club of New York's panel discussion of performance-based online marketing yesterday praised affiliate marketing as a cheap, effective channel.

For the most part, said David Rogers, an affiliate marketing specialist at Brooks Brothers, it is risk-free. Shawn Collins, director of affiliate marketing at ClubMom, said ClubMom would not have survived the downturn without it. Yet their bullishness was tempered with the need for caution in handling such programs. Rogers said managing them required vigilance.

"You've got to work with them to understand how their business works," he said. "You only have two things to control the affiliate relationship: goodwill and remuneration."

Rogers said Brooks Brothers allows fewer than 10 of its affiliates to use its trademarked terms in search marketing, since it would occur even if the company forbid it. The affiliates handle the keyword bidding and do arbitrage between what they pay for a keyword click and the conversions Brooks Brothers pays for. Rogers said the company is commited to protecting its brand against unauthorized use, but has found that allowing a limited number of affiliates to use the terms gives Brooks Brothers control over how its brand is represented.

Prakash Bharwani, senior manager of interactive marketing for 1-800 Flowers.com, said he took a different approach because letting affiliates use trademarked terms potentially could dilute the terms.

"We want to keep as much control over the brand as possible," he said.

Most paid search providers let trademark owners lodge complaints against companies infringing on their marks. Google is enmeshed in a legal fight with American Blind & Wallpaper over whether it can show paid links to competing sites when search terms contain a trademarked term.

close

Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above