September 14, 2009 | Debbi A. Ballard | Comments 0
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Marketers Respond to the MLM Affiliate Marketing Convergence

by Debbi A. Ballard, MLM Consultant, copyright, 2009, Debbi A. Ballard All rights reserved.

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Speaking on the upcoming convergence of mlm and affiliate marketing at Affiliate Summit East in New York was a pleasure. With the applause and comments received afterwards, it appeared that the timely and critical information provided was appreciated.

There was even someone who said that hearing my panel discussion alone was worth more than all of the costs associated with attending the Summit. OK, that’s what I like to hear!

Among those in attendance was John Chow, an extremely successful, high profile blogger. An affiliate program manager for a well-known mlm company that recently introduced an affiliate program also sat in on the session. Just as I have been predicting, you will find more and more mlm companies looking at entering the affiliate marketing arena in some way, shape, or form.

(One of the top network marketing attorneys in the world, Kevin Grimes, was also a panel presenter and provided great insight into the legal issues attached to the convergence. Since I’m an expert witness regarding matters relating to the mlm network marketing industry, I knew Kevin could provide important additional input for everyone.)

There was, however, an unexpected glitch at the session.

Mmmmm….isn’t technology just great?

Yes, that’s where the glitch was.

Before we even had a chance to start the mlm affiliate marketing convergence session, the audio system had a breakdown and had to be replaced.

This caused quite a delay and unfortunately, some people had to leave. They were probably worried that the audio might never really get fixed or concerned about missing appointments made for the time when the session was supposed to have concluded. One of the many benefits of the Affiliate Summit, however, is that those people will still have online access to the session when the Summit releases the video to the Platinum Pass holders. (So for those of you who missed out, make sure you check your emails from the Affiliate Summit so that you can view the video.)

These types of glitches do happen and the vendor apologized profusely. We truly appreciated the patience of those in attendance. Kevin and I do feel a bit bad that we had to talk so fast, though, to try and give everyone as much information as we could while still leaving time for questions and answers.

Here’s a summary of the major takeaways…

1) The convergence is already occurring….it’s not an educated guess, a theory, etc.

2) You’ll have to do your homework to decide if participating in the convergence is right for you. (You’ll get more help here at and MyNetBrief™, my newsletter.)

3) While there are many points of commonalities between the two worlds of affiliate marketing and mlm, there are many differences.

4) Those commonalities and differences must be taken into account when operating in both worlds in order to profit from what I call a “Monetization Synergy™” whereby your affiliate business increases your mlm profits and your mlm business increases your affiliate profits. As mentioned earlier, MLM companies, for example, will actually add affiliate programs that complement their existing mlm programs. Some have already done so and more will be exploring this possibility.

Individual networkers themselves will also examine the many ways they can incorporate affiliate marketing to synergize with their mlm businesses. An illustration includes one whereby a networker in an mlm opportunity works with one or more affiliates who have affiliate businesses in a similar niche wherein all are better able to leverage their time, effort and monies.

Another illustration is where an independent rep for an mlm beauty business decides to build her own blog. To prevent any violations of the company’s policies and procedures, she never uses the trademarked names of the exact products she is promoting in her business but instead the blog focuses on a beauty niche, say, anti-aging. She builds her own subscriber list giving information relating to that niche. She might become an affiliate selling a downloadable beauty ebook she secured from a network like Clickbank. She then uses PPC, article marketing, social media tactics, etc. to drive traffic to her blog where she captures the person’s name on an opt-in form and makes up front affiliate commissions on the sale of the ebook. As she builds her own list of subscribers, she gives the info she promised in her newsletter and also provides info in her emails about her own anti-aging products directing subscribers to learn more about the products at her mlm site (the site provided by the mlm company).

These were just a few examples of the upcoming convergence. Since it was necessary to give those who attended pertinent information relating to mlm and affiliate marketing first in order to even begin to understand the convergence, it was impossible to fully delineate the many ways the convergence will manifest itself within the time permitted. (More examples were given in the question and answer period.)

5) You cannot afford to ignore the ethical and legal parameters relating to the convergence. There are too many high profile companies and marketers in both worlds who are recommending strategies and tactics that can make you vulnerable to legal challenges and/or cause you to lose credibility. In addition mlm compensation plans have an enormous impact on the legality of a program. Networkers and affiliates need to understand that some mlm programs and affiliate marketing programs use compensation plans that make the programs subject to serious legal challenges. (If you don’t know how to evaluate mlm compensation plans, reading my ebook on the subject can help you do just that.)

6) There will be those who capitalize on the convergence of mlm and affiliate marketing creating better, stronger, and more profitable businesses. However, there will also be those whose efforts will be futile, even damaging to their existing businesses, if the convergence strategies and tactics are not carefully planned for and executed. This holds true for the independent networkers and affiliates who participate as well as any mlm company that decides to run an adjunct affiliate program.

7) It is imperative that the affiliate marketing industry, growing but basically still in its infancy, learn from the legal challenges faced during the history of the mlm network marketing industry. It makes no sense for affiliates, merchants, networks, etc. in that industry to get serious setbacks that could have been avoided had they learned from our “growing pains” in navigating uncharted waters.

Thanks, again, to Shawn Collins and Missy Ward for another wonderful Affiliate Summit. Over 3000 people were in attendance. Thanks, too, to those who were present for my panel discussion on MLM – Affiliate Marketing Convergence: How You Can Profit. Get the RSS feed here on our mlm consultants’ blog and make sure you’re getting MyNetBrief™ for more details pertaining to mlm affiliate marketing convergence strategies and tactics.

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Filed Under: MLM ArticlesMLM VideosMLM and Affiliate Marketing


About the Author: MLM Consultant, Expert Witness, Author, Blogger, Speaker and CEO of International Network Liaison Corporation...but more importantly, wife, mother, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

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