What is it? An ad network that pays publishers based on leads or sales — “cost per action” — not based on clicks or impressions.
Advertisers like this system because they only have to pay up when they make a sale. And publishers like it because of the variety of ad formats, including text-based links that can be included in editorial content. (It’s also an easy way for a no-name publisher to get big-name ads on their site.)
“Amazon, watch out,” is Erick Schonfeld’s first take in TechCrunch’s post about the relaunch. We’re not sure what he’s talking about: Amazon’s (AMZN) affiliate program is handled in-house, without help from an outside network, so there’s no overlap with Google’s (GOOG) program. (Unless he’s talking about the fact that Barnes & Noble is a Google customer. In which case, whatever.)
Who should watch out? Rival affiliate networks LinkShare, owned by Japan’s Rakuten; and Commission Junction, owned by ValueClick (VCLK) — who could easily lose their big clients, or attention/ad inventory from publishers. ValueClick is already down: In March, it lost a big account in eBay (EBAY), which took most of its affiliate ad program in-house.
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