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Direct Agents Josh Boaz an interview

How did you get into affiliate marketing?

I started working in the affiliate marketing space in 2001 as a media buyer.  This was after the dot-com bust when advertisers were very reluctant to buy online ads on a CPM basis, and publishers had a tremendous amount of unsold inventory.  CPA pricing models made sense at the time to take some of the risk off of advertisers, and hold publishers accountable for the quality of their inventory.    Back then a lot of time was spent educating both advertisers and publishers on the benefits of such an approach.  Thankfully, in the years since, the affiliate marketing industry has evolved and grown at such a tremendous pace.

What was your biggest challenge getting into affiliate marketing?

When I first started in the industry, many larger brand advertisers would not consider affiliate marketing as an element of their online marketing program.  The whole concept of performance based marketing did not interest traditional advertisers.  As an agency, Direct Agents recognized their concerns early on and adapted our practices and services to cater to their needs.  We showed advertisers that there could be a balance possible between protecting their brand while still delivering measureable results through performance solutions.  We’ve seen widespread adoption of this approach in the last few years especially, and now count many Fortune 1000 advertisers as our clients.

What are the main things that merchants do that you wish they wouldn’t?

One of the most interesting aspects of our industry is how fast-paced and dynamic it is.  Occasionally merchants don’t realize this and the pace at which they operate, whether it be creating new promotions or finalizing reporting, does not match the needs of affiliates.

Tell me about your Direct Agents.

My brother Dinesh and I founded Direct Agents in March 2003.  Direct Agents is a full service, digital marketing agency that specializes in affiliate marketing, lead generation, search marketing, media buying and creative services.   We provide customized performance based online marketing solutions for advertisers and pride ourselves on our level of service to both advertisers and publishers.  From our inception, we have focused on quality and have helped connect brand advertisers with top-tier publishers and affiliates.  Direct Agents is based in the Soho area of New York City but we have clients and affiliates all over the world including the UK, Germany, Australia, France, Italy and Spain.

What are the main things affiliates do that you wish they wouldn’t?

I think the biggest thing that affiliates do that I wish they wouldn’t is not follow compliance rules or keyword guidelines.  Whatever short-term gain that may be achieved by violating advertiser guidelines is almost always outweighed by the long-term loss in revenue from being blocked from a campaign.

Where do you see growth in the affiliate field?

International growth is a big factor.  I also think that emerging technologies and mediums such as social media and mobile marketing are diversifying the playing field.  In addition, bigger brands such as Fortune 1000 companies are now coming on board and are interested in affiliate marketing.  In order to work with these companies, and keep them interested in affiliate marketing as a viable marketing channel, affiliate marketers must adapt.  Overall as an industry we must take a more strategic outlook, and provide better service, transparency, and focus on long-term quality over short term gains. I strongly believe that affiliates and agencies that take this approach will be the ones that see continued growth in the years to come.

What do you do that is green?

Right now we at Direct Agents have set a goal to go 100% paperless.  We are digitizing over 7 years of paper archives, and have switched to electronic signatures and e-filing of contracts and insertion orders.

Personally, I ride the subway to work and make an effort to buy from local stores and markets.

What is one thing about you that not many people know?

While working full time at Direct Agents I was pursuing my law degree from Fordham University.  I graduated from the evening program this past May and I just sat for the New York State bar. I plan to use my law license to help further our business.  As Direct Agents and the industry expands, there are countless new legal and regulatory issues we will collectively face, both nationally and internationally.

What’s your favorite book?

That’s a tough question, but some of my recent favorites- The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

What are your contact details?

josh@directagents.com

AIM: joshboaz

LinkedIn: Josh Boaz

Twitter: DirectAgents

Blog: blog.directagents.com

What events do you go to?

I try and go to as many industry conferences as I can.  Some conferences that I have attended include, ASW, LeadsCon, ad:tech San Francisco, ad:tech London, ad:tech New York, SES, A4U and OMMA.

What one thing can people do to help you?

I would like affiliates and clients to let me know what their needs are in advance of a campaign starting.  This way we can make sure that everybody is satisfied once the campaign begins running.  I also enjoy receiving feedback in general about experiences people have had working with our company.  We are always evolving and adapting and really look to our partners and clients in giving us direction and feedback.

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