An Interview with John Jupp of Affiliate Program Advice
Tell me about your company?
I am delighted to be working with Jessica Luthi of Affiliate Program Advice, one of the foremost agencies in the UK and more recently expanded into the USA as well. Affiliate Program Advice is highly regarded in the fashion sector and whilst we do operate in other sectors too, fashion is our passion.
How did you get into affiliate marketing?
I was trawling the internet one day to look to buy something back in 2003 and I noticed that the url in the bottom left of my browser was different to the url displayed on the link, so I wrote the url down and did a Google search, coming across TradeDoubler. This was my first experience that affiliate marketing existed. I was hooked. So I bought a domain and started using NetFusion as an editor. I was so chuffed when I could copy/paste a banner. Getting two to sit side by side or one underneath another was a Eureka! moment. I thought I’d built my first website!
What was your biggest challenge getting into affiliate marketing?
I think my biggest challenge was teaching myself how to build websites. Resources like Affiliates4U and advice from existing affiliates helped a lot. Without the patience of others helping a “newbie” in getting started I would not have had such enthusiasm to really get stuck in.
What are the main things merchants do that you wish they wouldn’t?
I wish merchants would not change their terms and conditions on a whim. It affects relations with affiliates. Out of date feeds or poorly constructed feeds are a real bugbear of mine. I like a datafeed to be well structured and available to all affiliates. One merchant that I work with (Isango!) had a very poor structure. Now after an update and feedback, they now supply 9 datafeeds on 3 networks direct (1 on each network itself) in dollars, euros and pounds. This really enables affiliates to promote effectively.
In a recession with cash being tight, it is also very discouraging when merchants have expectations far beyond what they should have. The affiliate channel is an important supplementary channel to creating a revenue stream. It should never be considered to be the main revenue source and instant results just do not happen in the real world. Affiliates do an amazing job raising brand awareness. To me the value of brand awareness is equally as important if not more so than actual sales. Merchants need to adopt the long tail approach.
What are the main things affiliates do that you wish they wouldn’t?
If specific terms and conditions exist on a program, don’t try and find a loophole and state that because it wasn’t clearly written it’s permitted. Otherwise a merchants terms and conditions will read like War and Peace. Seriously though, there is always the temptation for affiliates to bend the rules however the vast majority of affiliates I believe operate ethically and morally. How can I defend affiliates to a client if the affiliates stab the merchant in the back? There has to be an awareness both ways. The merchant pays my wages. I am here to represent their interests. Equally however I am here to defend the affiliates against merchant behaviour and doing so can be a difficult line to follow at times.
Where do you see growth in the affiliate field?
The emrgence of new technology is vital to affiliate marketing. However the industry needs to consider that our industry is built like a house of cards. New browsers automatically block cookies so there needs to be a universal alternative to the “cookie” to track referrals and sales. Over the last few years our industry has embraced datafeeds, widgets, self updating content units. I am playing with blogs thanks to the assistance of other affiliates and have datafeeds self updating on the blogs. Social networking is an important medium, not necessarily for sales generation but instead for brand awareness. Video is still heavily under used and merchants need to do more in this field. Affiliates are the most innovative people I know. If it’s not being done yet you can bet an affiliate is already designing how to do it.
As for geographic areas, China and India are huge areas for future affiliate marketing. I note that some networks are already dipping their toes in China and with the availability of .cn domains to all now, there is no reason why Chinese language websites cannot be built. India has a population of one billion and 10% are on the internet. Over 200 million people in China have access to the internet. Between them that’s a greater internet population than the whole of the United States and Canada combined. Yet affiliate marketing there is embryonic at best.
What new ideas are advertisers coming up with to take advantage of new traffic sources?
I was impressed with Easy Content Units. Not all affiliates are tech heads (no disrespect to the great techies out there) as affiliates each have different skill sets so technology which makes everyones job easier to concentrate on earning money has to be a good thing. AffMeter is another excellent example where technology can aid marketing.
What do you do to improve the world?
Thanks to an affiliate on Affiliates4U I am now the proud dad to a Canaan dog who was a rescue dog following their previous owners death. I am soon to take on this dogs birth mother too. When it comes to animals I rate those who are cruel to animals at the same level as child molesters so I try to do what I can to help those least able to protect themselves. We’ve also taken in a wild cat who in his dotage can at least have warmth, shelter, regular food, cuddles and be made a fuss of in his old age.
What do you do that is green?
My wife is more green than I am. She recycles all paper, cardboard, plastics, tins, glass etc. We do use recycled products such as hangers and of course we have cotton bags for shopping. Every lightbulb is an energy saver, long before the Government started interfering saying we should use them.
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
I stood twice in local Council elections as a Conservative, was Deputy Chairman for Kent for a short period, Deputy Chairman for Gillingham for 3 years and all during this time I served as an official on the Southern & Eastern Regional TUC for a rail union.
What is on your iPod?
I am one of those people who think iPod’s are from the Dark Side. That and for a technophile I can sometimes be a right technophobe, so I do not own one.
What’s your favorite book?
When I was a child it was Swallows And Amazons. In my teens it was The Joy Of Sex. Now that I am in middle age (I am 45 you know) my favourite book is anything which I don’t fall asleep reading.
What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums etc) ?
Who would recommend you and why?
I cannot honestly say why anyone would recommend a cantankerous, argumentative, stubborn, opinionated pain in the ass like me. Except restauranteurs as I have a bit of a generous proportion these days and do love fine food.
Who would you recommend and why?
Jess Luthi, Emma Haslam, Catherine Dunn, David Nakeeran, Rennee Hand, Chuck Couch because they are part of a great team at Affiliate Program Advice with years of knowledge and experience between them.
Nick Stagg, Nadeem Azam, Stuart Reader, Bob Donkin, Andrew Jackson-Parr, Ben Friedman, John Cashmore and to be honest many more who have at one time or another been of the greatest possible assistance.