How Affiliate Marketing Is Like The Transformers

Last night was opening night for the new Transformers Revenge of the Fallen movie. A couple of the middle school guys that I mentor really wanted to go to the midnight showing so I decided to take them. Maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t get to bed until 4am last night, or that we were out of coffee this morning, but I’ve been thinking about how there are a lot of similarities between the Transformers and affiliate marketers.

If you haven’t seen it, don’t worry, I won’t give away the movie (although there wasn’t much of a plot). So how are there similarities between a bunch of alien robots and affiliate marketers?

In the movie, there are 2 types of Transformers. The first are the Autobots which are the good guys. The second are the Decepticons which are evil. When you boil it down, both the Autobots and Decepticons and considered Transformers, but each have very different ethics. One is all about doing good and helping people, and the later are all about getting power no matter what that means they do to others. To me this is similiar to affiliate marketing.

The term affiliate marketer looks different depending on who you are talking about. Some affiliates are like the Autobots in that they are eithical in their practices, help people as they go along, and are doing good things for the industry.

Then there are affiliate marketers out there which are the spammers and guys who are doing things that are less than ethical in order to make as much money (power) as they can despite who they hurt along the way. They are the Decepticons of the industry.

In the movie there is is a guy who is the National Security Advisor for the US named Theodore Galloway. He believes that ALL of the Transformers should be banished from the earth. He lumped all the Transformers together, both Autobots and Decepticons and believed it would be best if they were all gone. To me, that’s how affiliate marketing is at times.

Us good guys are lumped together with the spammers and deceptive marketers and are given an unjust label for something we are not even involved in. This can be frustrating at times as though we are both considered affiliate marketers, we have different goals and ethics.

So what would others consider your affiliate business to be? Are you an Autobot or a Decepticon?

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12 Responses

  1. Interesting comparison… I was wondering after ASW09 this past January when the lead-gen people would start their own conference, and the affiliate industry would be split in 2. They’re two completely different businesses, as you’ll see in NY this summer.

    I had to deal with my own version of “Theodore Galloway” last week, and just dumped the merchant. Took quite a loss (over $10k / year) but I was treated as a liability, rather than an asset. I’d rather work with merchants who appreciate the sales I generate for them.

    1. I’ve seen merchants do similar things. Some merchants look at it more of a battle than a partnership. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I’m going to guess it was the delirious going to sleep at 4am phase, but you’re right on. In almost any industry, and especially online, there are the good guys and the bad guys, the moralists and the wild west gunslingers. Just stay on the right side and you’ll be safe.

  3. Ha, excellent comparison. Seems to be a lot of talk about ethics lately.

    @dave: Just think of the Lions as history makers, you can be one too 🙂 just in the opposite direction of the team

  4. I came into this industry years ago doing my own thing. I work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. I try to help people I come along with all the time. I have an online “persona” that people dislike, but as a person I try to do my thing. BTW – Just found the blog using affbuzz, I love it!

  5. I could be the 2008 Washington Huskies (Autobots) of Affiliate marketing. UW went 0-12 and I have generated 0 sales in 10+ mo on my web site. I don’t really care though. I just like having the ads on my site as I feel it makes the site look cool. Sure would be nice to make 1 sale.. oh well you always get to play WSU (Decepticons) once per year, so that sale is coming.

  6. Amazing Blog! I love your comparison! It’s nice to see when people are writing from their heart and mind as opposed to actually coming up with the topic only to write:)
    Thanks!

  7. I think that’s an awesome post! Very original comparison. Though you could generalize it in other ways (basically in many stories there’s the good vs evil transformer).

    I would even add something your metaphor. You know those transformers that combine and form a huge transformers? These are like superaffiliates. Or maybe mastermind groups. Still need to rethink this, but there’s a metaphor there somewhere 🙂

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