In the traditional affiliate marketing system, the merchant pays commission to an affiliate marker in a two-way transaction. However, in today’s affiliate marketing systems at least three parties are involved in every transaction. The third-party is commonly a direct result of affiliate marketing websites acting as a middleman. As a result, businesses on the Blockchain have been working on solutions to cut out the middleman and put the balance of power back into the hands of the affiliate and merchant.
Understanding affiliate marketing
Currently, the main problem with third-party intervention lies in the transaction that occurs when the merchant’s commission-based payment is made to the affiliate marketer. Payments are made when the affiliate marketer uses his/her sales channels to recommend the merchant’s product/service, and that recommendation results in a sale for the merchant. In today’s affiliate marketing environment, third-party affiliate networks have taken over this transaction.
An affiliate network acts as a broker between merchants and affiliate marketers. With this system in place, both the merchant and affiliate marketer pay a fee to the affiliate network for every transaction.
In addition to these fees, there are numerous complaints about affiliate networks underpaying, setting very high milestones before paying out, refusing to pay, working with unscrupulous affiliate content publishers negatively affecting the merchant’s brand reputation and more; while there is also the issue of affiliate fraud.
It is these nuances caused by affiliate networks that have become the focus of blockchain gurus and solution-based businesses working on the blockchain. Now there several new solutions coming out on the blockchain to put the affiliate and merchant back in control.
Decentralisation is the Blockchain Solution
Blockchain experts see decentralisation as the key to reviving the affiliate marketing industry. Blockchain technology in development aims to link merchants with marketers directly. Together both parties will be able to track clicks and conversations as well as collaborate with each other by cutting out the middleman affiliate networks.
Currently, one such project already putting this concept into practice is Attrace. The Attrace network brings together merchants and affiliate marketing content publishers to engage. The system also gives both parties the ability to tack link clicks as well as conversions. A key advantage with the Attrace system is merchants can identify the content publishers and content being used to contribute to linking clicks and sales.
On the financial side of Attrace, smart contracts are put in place between merchant and affiliate marketer, where certain goals and objectives can be agreed in order for payments to be released. As there are just two parties involved, both can maximise the financial value of the partnership with no third-party fees involved.
RefToken is yet another affiliate marketing project in progress on the blockchain. RefToken’s outlook is much the same as Attrace, but also includes the additional luxury of merchants and sellers being able to rate each other. The idea is to motivate members to act with integrity over the RefToken network and build a reputation.
It is also worth looking into Affiliate Coin, who have also brought out their own decentralised affiliate marketing solution on the blockchain to remove the middleman.
In short, once again blockchain technology has once again ventured into the unknown and is working on putting the power back into the hands of the people. Rouge affiliate networks and the third-party fees they charge could very well be a thing of the past. Furthermore, merchants that opt to incorporate affiliate marketing blockchain solutions have more control over their own brand reputation.
See more on how blockchain is revolutionising businesses.