Back in 2005 and 2006, I was actively working to create a trade organization for the Affiliate Marketing industry. I registered the domain IAMO.org in March of 2006 for the International Affiliate Marketing Organization. Below is from the website I set up:

Hi, this is Brad Waller. I expect most of you know me from various shows and forums.

I have been talking and thinking about creating a trade association for the affiliate marketing organization for years. I was involved in the origins and discussions for the Affiliate Union back in 2000 and I continued with that organization as an active member. Recently, I have seen the search industry (SEMPO), Web Analytics (WebAnalyticsAssociation), and Word of Mouth (WOMMA) all open their doors and start doing great things – as well as make some mistakes. I have been in consultation with the founders of each of these organizations to find the best practices and learn from their mistakes.

My goal is to create the official trade association for the Affiliate Marketing industry – including affiliates, merchants, professionals, and technology providers. There has never been an all inclusive organization that has the goal of promoting and improving the overall industry. My vision is to have an organization that will truly represent all levels of this great industry and make sure it prospers.

I see the following as areas where the association will direct its energies:

  • Education
  • Advocacy
  • Press Relations
  • Research and Metrics
  • Lobbying to influence legislation that affects you and the affiliate industry as a whole.
  • Setting standards for the terms, definitions, and best practices used by our entire industry.
  • Unite affiliates, managers, merchants, consultants, and technology providers to discuss, combine forces and powerfully promote our common interests worldwide .

What the International Affiliate Marketing Organization Is

First and foremost the association is to promote the affiliate marketing industry. I use the term Affiliate Marketing, but I consider all aspects of online revenue sharing and performance based marketing to be under the umbrella. This means that email marketers working on a CPA basis, Lead Generation companies, and perhaps even pay per click could be included in this Association. The “A” in CPA stands for action, and that action can be a revenue share percentage of a sale, a fixed price for a lead, or a payment for a click.

We need promotion so that people like Anne Holland of Marketing Sherpa are not surprised that the Affiliate Marketing industry is a thriving $6.5 Billion and growing industry. We need to be active in guiding legislation so that we do not get a patchwork of poorly written laws from California to Virginia, in Washington DC, and in foreign lands. When Attorneys General in Washington or New York decide to make an attack on Spam, Spyware, or AdWare, we need to be there to protect our legitimate interests.

What the International Affiliate Marketing Organization Is Not

This association is not a watchdog. Membership will not be a badge proving reliability or legitimacy. The association cannot police activity and should not give anyone the impression that membership means that they can be trusted. That said, members can be rejected or removed for unethical, illegal, or other conduct that can reflect negatively on the industry. Much like AffiliateUnion, the goal is to have open communication and policies so that affiliates can make informed decisions when they join a program or buy a service.

There will be challenges with some areas of our industry. There are players in the AdWare, CPA, and SpyWare industries who do not play by the rules and will want to become members. We need to have policies on this before it comes up.

The Next Steps

At this time I am gathering people for the initial Board of Advisors. We will then move ahead with the decisions that will guide the formation of this group, set policy, and decide on membership options. The association will be a not for profit, but we will need to raise funds for operations, salaries, and other costs. There are third party organizations that run trade associations that can run all or part of this for us – for a fee. They have state of the art technology for memberships, forums, email lists, etc. that are all based on the needs of a trade organization. Or, we can build this ourselves. The difference is our own time and resources versus dollars.

As you can see, I found a domain and registered it. The acronym works, but nothing is set in stone, even the name.