In 2010, I believe we are going to see some serious changes in the online world, and the affiliate industry. There were definitely some changes brewing throughout 2009, both on the Affiliate side of the game (see the Oprah lawsuits) and the Advertiser side of the game (merchant account madness). Neither of these are the death knell of Affiliate Marketing, but they certainly gave the impression that business would not just continue as usual in 2010. Will Affiliates be looking for new offers to promote when all the rebills suddenly dry up? Will the FTC be cracking down on Affiliate Bloggers for littering their posts with unmarked Affiliate links? Doubtful. Every time this industry and its denizens have to comply or die, they find a way to do it and still make money, if not even more than before. They are a very resourceful bunch.
Another big shakeup that is coming (in my opinion) is in the world of Traffic Sources. Affiliates have complained for years now about Google’s terrible practices of banning its own Advertisers with no notice, killing profitable campaigns with Quality Score changes, and just flat pushing people around. A viable alternative became very popular in 2009 with Facebook Ads, but that opened up a whole new can of worms. Facebook has been just as fickle as Google about what types of offers they allow, and the approval process is bad enough to give full time Affiliates recurring nightmares of the DENIED status.
So what’s next? One word: mobile. AdMob has been busy building the biggest mobile advertising network over the last couple of years, and although some Affiliates have tested it, there aren’t a whole lot of mobile-targeted offers to promote just yet. But don’t worry, that is on the horizon and approaching fast. Especially since Google just snapped up AdMob, easily taking a big piece of the mobile pie for themselves. Also, in an interesting move, Apple has put it in a bid to buy Quattro Wireless. Apparently they were interested in AdMob too, since many of the ads are served on the iPhone, but Google beat them to the punch. It will be interesting to see how Apple handles the responsibility of running an ad network, especially in the tumultuous new field of mobile.
Will it be more of the same, just on a smaller device? Will it be a revolution in marketing akin to the initial launch of Google AdWords and Facebook Ads? Or perhaps it will open up new and expansive opportunities that our feeble marketing brains haven’t even thought of yet. Whatever the case, 2010 is going to be an interesting year, and a brilliant start to the new decade.
Oh yeah, and Facebook is going down. That’s my doomsday prediction.