Q&A: How GAN's Retirement Impacts You

Marketers were shocked in mid-April with the news that Google planned to retire the Google Affiliate Network. As they say, however, when one door closes...

With that in mind, Integrate SVP of Advertiser Relations, Kyle Gale, offers an exclusive interview about what's to come with Google out of the affiliate arena. 

Website Magazine: What impact will the GAN retirement have on the credibility of the affiliate marketing space? And what, if anything, should marketers know about others trying to fill GAN's spot?

Kyle Gale: Rather than having any lasting effects on the credibility of affiliate marketing, GAN's retirement points more to the difficulty of performance-based marketing. Google bowing out of the game highlights the biggest obstacle in the affiliate space-credibility is in short supply, causing many to shy away from what they view as "dirty" marketing. 

GAN avoided this stigma due in part to Google's brand recognition. Lesser known and newer networks won't be able to get away with the issues that plagued GAN, because they can't afford to lose affiliates. If you have no affiliates, you have no fulfillment; if you have no fulfillment, you have no advertisers, and you don't get paid.

In their search for a replacement, marketers need to be aware of these lesser-known solutions and ask the right questions before getting involved. It's not just the name of the network or the high payouts that matter. What they're doing to ensure quality will prove to be more significant-and ultimately determine if the network thrives or ends in an early retirement.

Why will the next fold be the blind affiliate and ad networks and what do advertisers need to know?

KG: Blind affiliate and ad networks offer nothing to advertisers with regard to vendor insights. Networks must maintain a certain level of anonymity to protect themselves from circumvention, but vendors that offer little to no historical data on individual publishers are sealing their own fates. 

Advertisers should partner with the affiliates that make sense for their objectives-that means having access to company descriptions, performance statistics, verticals of expertise and references when available. Without these bare minimum offerings, it's difficult for advertisers to buy media from a network standpoint.