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There is now less than a week to go before Affiliate Summit  in Las Vegas which E-consultancy will be flying out to along with 2,600 other delegates from 30 different countries.

The scale of this event has grown massively since the first Affiliate Summit conference in November 2003 when there were 200 people. This reflects both the huge growth of affiliate marketing in recent years and also the hard work put in by organisers Shawn Collins and Missy Ward.

Ahead of the 9th Affiliate Summit, we asked Shawn some questions about the conference and the affiliate marketing landscape more broadly.

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UK affiliate marketing is very much in the ascendancy with sales generated by this channel exceeding £3 billion in 2007. Is this the case in the US?

Unfortunately, nobody is conducting proper research on the industry here. However, my unscientific view, based on the growth of chatter in blogs and forums, as well as conversations with affiliates, merchants, and networks, combined with the growth of Affiliate Summit, indicates to me that the US affiliate marketing space is still in a state of growth.

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After running Affiliate Summit in London last year, what are your reflections on the main differences and similarities between affiliate marketing in Europe and the US?

I think the one thing that stands out the most is that US affiliate marketers are more aggressive. This is based on the end of Affiliate Summit in London when we were encouraging attendees to step up and essentially give a plug for their company to help find folks who might want to network with them. The only folks who seized the opportunity were Americans.

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How is the landscape for affiliate marketing in the US changing in terms of how affiliates are getting traffic and promoting merchants? 

I think there is a similar movement here to the expenses of search, but it is resulting more in a growth of coupon sites. Also, I’m seeing an increasing number of affiliates testing the waters with video and leveraging Web 2.0.

For instance, many affiliates have created applications in Facebook, and here is an example of an Amazon affiliate using Twitter: http://twitter.com/TwitterLit - she posts the first line from books and an affiliate link to buy the book.

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In what other ways are affiliates utilising social media to get more traffic? 

In addition to using Twitter and Facebook as mentioned above, affiliates are using both to post links when they update their blogs. I see this a lot with Pownce, too. TubeMogul.com is a popular tool for video creators. It enables the upload of a video to 11 sites at once.

Missy and myself use WeViews.tv for our affiliate site, where we review products and services and funnel the traffic through our affiliate links. See an example at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbVKF4rXAKg where the link posted in the video redirects to a page to purchase the product on Amazon. You can see there that the text posted on YouTube includes a live link to our WeViews.tv site.

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What other trends are you seeing in US affiliate marketing?

There is a lot of talk about breaking into mobile, but I haven’t seen too much happening just yet. AdMob.com is growing swiftly, and I use them myself to monetize mobile visitors to my blogs, but I am still waiting to see more from the affiliate networks.

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What did you think of the move by AOL to acquire buy.at?

I think it is great for the overall industry. Not only does it increase the profile of buy.at over here, which will result in more competition with the big networks, but also it is a good sign that AOL acquired them.

I think it reinforces what people were saying eight years ago about affiliate marketing – that it is recession proof. Since affiliate marketing is all about performance, I think it is an even more attractive channel for companies when budgets get tight.

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What are the stand-out events scheduled for this year's Affiliate Summit West?

I’m excited about the keynote from Jason Calacanis, as I think he’ll have some provocative words that challenge the crowd. The Video Innovation in Affiliate Marketing session is the most interesting to me personally.

Also, I think the live domain auction will be a neat experience, the Ask the Experts tables on Tuesday morning are a great chance to get constructive, one-on-one advice from some of the best minds in the industry. Our second annual Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards are also a highlight, where we’ll have a chance to recognize the folks that are the gold standard of the industry.

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E-consultancy would love to hook up with you if you are going to be out in Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit. Get in touch if you would like to arrange something. (Linus at E-consultancy.com or Chris at E-consultancy.com).

Linus Gregoriadis

Published 18 February, 2008 by Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis is Research Director at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google+.

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