I am thrilled to be joining the Search Engine Strategies Chicago Conference panel “The Oprah Winfrey Litigation: What Affiliate Marketers MUST Know“ Wednesday, December 9th from 2:30pm-3:45pm at the Chicago Hilton. The panel is led by a fellow affiliate marketing executive and thought leader Kris Jones. Kris is the President of the PepperJam Affiliate Network – which was just acquired by GSI Commerce. The panel promises to touch on a very hot and controversial topic, and certainly one that is on the forefont of many of our MediaTrust initiatives – like the launch of our compliance center and anti-fraud technology.
Notice that the panel description does slant towards the favor of the merchant and places most of the responsibility on the affiliate’s shoulders. This is a position that I will be countering as we have seen merchants equally participating in using the same tactics on thier landing pages. Affiliate networks are also responsible in making sure both the affiliate publisher and advertiser are compliant. We have experienced affiliates asking how they can make sure the merchant on the other side is compliant as well as the advertisers. Our position is that we are all in this together and need to collaborate to proactively get ahead of these issues and help set the regulation frame work . Rather than waiting in the grey area for regulation to to be dictated to our industry from regulators who dont understand online marketing and disrupt our industry.
I am very pleased to see a well-rounded panel and good affiliate industry representation at the SES show. I hope to get a chance to connect with everyone at the show. Here is more info on the panel:
The Oprah Winfrey Litigation: What Affiliate Marketers MUST Know
In August, Oprah Winfrey’s production company brought a lawsuit against over fifty Internet marketers and their affiliates alleging numerous intellectual property rights violations against the marketers and the affiliates. Because many of the merchants used affiliate networks, these merchants were being sued regarding actions by affiliates that the merchants did not know or pay. Because many of the affiliates disappeared the moment that they were sued and because many merchant/network contracts preclude indemnification, the merchants may be liable for significant damages.
Using the context of the Oprah case, the panelists on this session will discuss whether the merchant/affiliate network model needs to be changed and how the risk can be mitigated. While the industry is unlikely to ever be risk-free, it is possible to manage risk by:
* Understanding how techniques like behavioral and contextual targeting affect consumers, affiliates and merchants
* Understanding the legal and regulatory environment
* Understating risks involved with prospective marketing partners
* Using and maintaining proper contracts that allocate risk and provide appropriate indemnifications, and
* Keeping informed about the changes in technology, marketing practices and the regulatory environment.
Attendees will learn how to identify these issues and develop policies and procedures to keep informed about the current technology, marketing strategies and regulatory compliance. The ultimate goal of this knowledge is to help insulate merchants from liability and protect their brands and reputation.
Kristopher Jones, President & CEO, Pepperjam
Mark Rosenberg, Of Counsel, Sills Cummis & Gross P.C.
David Adler, Partner, Adler Law Group
Grant Crowell, Senior Media Analyst, ReelSEO.com
Peter Bordes, Founder CEO and Chairman of the Board, MediaTrust