So I had the distinct pleasure to visit Eastern Europe in early October. Having grown up in an American classroom- I have heard lots of stories about WWII, Hitler, Poland, Germany merged into one country and Czechoslovakia split into two countries as I grew. However, everything I knew was from the mouths of American teachers and textbooks. I have an insatiable curiosity to discover things for myself and not take things at face value.
I learned so much. I was able to talk to several East Germans who were alive during the Second World War. The East Germans are a proud people- and not ones to share too much emotion- but they told me of their hate for Nazi’s and of not being able to speak their mind. They spoke of neighbors being shot on the spot for having different ideals than the regime. I was able to go to an 80 year old man’s birthday party where they heartily sang songs (in German of course) of the freedoms in America. There was a song about marching – and sure enough several gentlemen got up and started marching to the beat. And, yes, the beer, wines, etc were flowing just as fervently as the music. These are a people who’s opinions and actions have been oppressed for almost their entire life- and they found their joy in the simplest of things like the company they kept, song, and drink.
Unfortunately for America and for them- I was the first American they had ever met. They were shocked I was familiar with a Russian folk dance. By the end of the night- despite the fact we didn’t speak the same language we were, and I quote, “best friends” and we had a mutual understanding and respect for each other.
On the drive to that party I saw the location General Patton met up with the Russians to combine efforts to eliminate they tyranny. So much history- and a history littered with chaos, abstract, destruction, genocide, and while there were some bad people there were a lot of really, really good ones.
I visited Dresden, Berlin, Poland, and several towns that had been destroyed in between. These towns are alive and well, and quite frankly- beautiful. In Dresden there is a well known church that was bombed to oblivion. And today it stands, rebuilt, as one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen in my entire life. In Berlin I went to a shopping area where I was aghast at the prices of the goods- yet the cash registers were ringing. While these area may have looked a lot different 65 years ago- they are alive and thriving today.
Over the course of the trip I tied this back to affiliate marketing several times. Affiliate marketing history has been littered with rogue behavior, frauders, market dynamic changes that have eliminated thousands of affiliates at a time, and while some bad people there were/are a lot of really, really good ones.
So, yeah affiliates- we have taken our lumps, our bruises, we have seen the worst of affiliate marketing. Now, it’s time for all the really, really good people in the industry to rise up and turn this industry into one that we can all be proud to be affiliated with.
I get calls every week for companies asking me how they get into this affiliate business; what does it entail; or my favorite- “I have been given a budget of $X to explore affiliate marketing- how should I spend it.”
What does this mean? Despite pressures from Google, despite a spotted past- we are relevant. Companies feel this is the wave of the future as a viable distribution channel. I had no doubt this would happen- as I stated a company built around affiliates- but I thought the stage would take years to get to. I remember less than a year ago- everyone who asked me what I do- I would have to go into great detail explaining exactly what it was. Now, I can say affiliate marketing and sometimes people have actually heard of it! These are little things- but huge steps for our business. Ladies and gentlemen- let the games begin and the cream rise to the top. There is nothing that can stop us now- but ourselves.
Treat the industry respect- and compete like hell- ethically. Recognize poor behavior and reach out to the reckless affiliate who is damaging our opportunity to make money.
You see- the money has come, and will continue to come in far greater droves than today. The key to recognizing greater revenue sooner is having a vast majority of exposure to the industry be positive. Those who are doing it right- keep it up and encourage others to do the same. Those who are doing it wrong- quit being jerks!