A new affiliate land rush?

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Out of the Shadows

Written by Brook Schaaf


Just over a year ago, I posted an article on “Shadow Networks” Publisher Expansion and DealMojo, which offer affiliates supplemental commissions paid by sellers on Amazon.

Since then, at least two others have joined the party: Costingtons and Refersion. The latter made a grand entrance, bringing awareness of the concept to many in the affiliate space. Now in the light, such networks might better be referred to as seller networks in the sense that the commission-paying merchant is a seller on a marketplace (not necessarily restricted to Amazon). Indeed, this is the phrase Costingtons goes by.

There seem to be two models for tracking and payment: match and attribution. In the first, the network matches affiliate click and associates sales data to the seller’s sales data, crediting the affiliate who sold that widget at that time; in the second, the seller network acts as the agency of record and attaches parameters to a link reported back in the interface.

The seller pays the commission and may itself be eligible for a brand referral bonus paid out by Amazon — at a reported whopping 10% (two-thirds of Amazon’s typical 15% take).

Depending on how the network sets up the link, both models can allow for double dipping, i.e., the payment of an Associate’s commission plus the supplemental commission.

The day may be dawning on a new affiliate land rush. If it gets big enough, one wonders if the legacy networks (CJ, Awin, etc.) might not jump in.

Of course, Amazon could sunset things at any time.

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