Affiliate Summit West Organizers Weigh In On Stigma of “Affiliate” Marketing

With ASW having wrapped up its eighth years, there are two camps slowly emerging: Those who believe the self-contained ecosystem of the industry is strong enough to sustain itself and those who believe that for innovation and growth, affiliate marketing must become assimilated into the broader internet marketing dialogue.

Yesterday, Pace Lattin‘s Q&A with three industry heads touched on a lot of these issues and about the future of affiliate marketing. We took his conversations a step further. In fact, we took them so far, we asked if there the “affiliate” part of affiliate marketing had become sullied permanently. We also explored why an event like Affiliate Summit West–which brings together many talented marketers–failed to garner any coverage in the mainstream press, and whether that should matter.

These questions touched raw nerves with ASW event organizers Missy Ward and Shawn Collins, both who took some time out to offer their opinions on our blog yesterday. A recap of their points of view after the break.

On the topic of labels, Missy Ward offered, “I don’t think we should change at all.” She also referred us to to an item she wrote last year:

Some argue that as our industry evolves, that the designation should take on a broader descriptive, e.g., “performance marketing industry”, in which affiliate marketing plays a vital role as a significant channel; yet one of many.

As an industry, we do tend to over-complicate the issue by using disparate terminology for essentially the same things, leading to even greater confusion, especially to folks outside of our community.

But she concludes that such a term is still in progress and that “performance marketing” may be too general a label.

Meanwhile, Shawn Collins answered the bigger question of ASW’s lack of coverage across mainstream outlets here.

We’ve never spent a penny on a PR firm to get the word out. We’re focused on building the conference by reaching out directly to our fellow affiliate marketers and the press that’s more relevant and consumed by our audience: bloggers, podcasters, etc.

This, then, opens the floodgates and begs another big question: Should we shift our focus to include a larger audience (and therefore, a larger pool of affiliates, marketers, and basically, moneymakers?) What do you think?