Q&A With Lisa Picarille on Affiliate Success

Website Magazine interview of online content strategist and affiliate marketing expert Lisa Picarille. 

Picarille is the co-founder of MyContentPro and the content director for the Performance Marketing Association.  Lisa teaches Internet marketing classes for USF Online and is a veteran journalist who has headed the news departments of major high tech news organizations including Wired.com, TechWeb.com, TechTV.com and CRN.com. Her work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, CRM Magazine, PCWeek, MacWeek, Computerworld and InfoWorld. She is the 2008 winner of LinkShare's Golden Link Award for Most Vocal Performance Marketing Advocate, winner of Affiliate Summit's Pinnacle Award for Affiliate Marketing Advocate for 2011 and a frequent speaker at industry conferences.

Why do you think people become interested in affiliate marketing? 

There are a variety of reasons that people get involved in affiliate marketing. They might hear about it from a friend or relative that is already involved and excited about the space. They might see the get-rich-quick ads and decide to explore more and find out what affiliate marketing really is (not a get-rich-quick scheme). They may be looking for a new career opportunity that suits their lifestyle where they can work from home, be their own boss and convert their knowledge into something they can make money from. Or they might be in need of additional income and see affiliate marketing as a part-time supplement to their income. 

But however affiliates start out in online marketing, they all tend to develop a passion for it once they see that they are in control and can pursue something that will yield results based on the effort they put into it. 

What do you believe is the primary reason affiliates are successful/unsuccessful?

Affiliates are successful if they have the right expectations going into this. If they realize it's not a get-rich-quick scheme and that it will require long-term effort to build a successful business. Affiliates who do well are self-motivated, very creative, eager to continue learning, willing to abide by ethical principles, and also willing to devote the necessary time to their business.  Those that don't do those things may experience some short-term success, but they will likely struggle with long-term, sustainable success.

What is the most significant threat facing the industry today? e.g. the tax issue 

 As affiliate marketing matures there are more industry-wide issues to deal with and in the past three years we have seen the government step in to try and impose some laws and regulations. The most high-profile issue facing the industry is the proposal of Affiliate Nexus Tax bills across more than a dozen states. These proposed laws seek to use affiliates to establish a physical presence for -out-of-state merchants in order to force those online merchants to collect sales tax from residents of those state where the laws are cropping up. Affiliates are not agents for these merchants and simply advertise offers on their affiliate websites. The affiliates are small, thriving businesses that are collateral damage in fight where states seek to gain additional revenue and affiliate businesses will be significant impacted if these laws pass.