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March 27 2011

Lead Gen – Really?

Written by / Posted in affiliate / 1 Comment

The earliest dictionary ever found, was written in what is now Syria, and there is possibly one older than that created in China.

It has been the historical efforts of overly inquisitive geek lords such as myself to clarify what has not yet been clarified.

In 1604 an English school teacher by the name of Robert Cawdrey wrote the first dictionary in English, so his students could finally understand WTF they were talking about.

Then from 1884 to around 1928 with the major contributor, William Chester Minor, a convicted murderer who ended up in a prison for the criminally insane, the Oxford English Dictionary, a 12 volume set that really says what’s up with the English language even to this day.

Affiliate marketing on the other hand is kind of making it up as we go along.

When I started going to Affiliate Marketing conferences I started hearing shit tons of 3 letter acronyms, from CPA to CPM to CPL or CTR.

When I stated working with facebook, I really needed to get a handle on these. Before then it was simply looking at how many people did what from the comfort of my own coffee table, but now I had to communicate with kinda official people who I needed to understand.

Lately it has become even more important in the affiliate space, as I have had to get a bunch of new offers to play with.

Today I went into LinkShare’s Lead Advantage console (I get a buck fitty if you sign up and make a sale LOL). Lead advantage is LinkShare’s lead acquisition area. A lead is simply someone who’s info you have captured, who might turn into a paying customer at a later date.

I really like LinkShare because they seem to be doing a good job filtering out the unethical crap that is deceptive to consumers that I won’t run. Jamie, who hits a lot of the conferences for linkshare is a bright guy, who has helped me a ton over the years. Linshare as a company rocks, and seems very honest, I am just going to use them as an example of something confusing, but in no way intend this to be a bash.

When I was looking around today I found a whole bunch of really cool looking CPL (Cost Per Lead) offers on LinkShare’s Lead Advantage.

I am a fine print reader, I even read insurance policies and mortgage documents that no one else does to make sure I understand what is up.

So before I started running the offers, I read the terms of service on them.

At first some of them jump out as slam dunks, like one of the offers that pays out at $178 per lead, or so it seems.

When you click on the link to the lead, you find a simple, required name, and required email, form where the phone is optional. Wow, that should be easy to make money, right?

Well if you go down further, you will find that there are other forms the visitor can fill out, that require more information. None of them I saw required a credit card. This will be important in a minute. These more extended forms ask for things like your city, and require your phone number. These forms are a little more inquisitive, expose the viewer a bit more, and I am guessing will have less people fill out.

There is also a place to make a phone call without clicking on anything. This means that they have to be giving out a new phone number to each lead, which they very well may. (Can’t check it from where I am writing this).

Now here is the odd part?

The terms of the offer state on the LinkShare site, “A lead is commissionable when consumer completes form & credit card is verified.”

So I don’t get the credit card part. When would you enter a credit card on a lead generation? I give out my credit card # to my bank, or if I am booking something for sure, or buying something, not if I am kinda sorta interested. So I am guessing? that this offer pays out when the user buys, which would make this offer a Cost Per Acquisition, CPA offer.

Again, I really like LinkShare and want to use this as an example of the semantic confusion found across most of the networks. This offer may very well make some people a lot of money, but it does not appear to be a Cost Per Lead offer. The payout is so high, that even being a cost per sale, it still may make a good ROI, I have no idea?

I know this just splits semantic hairs, but we have already had some strong surprises with other CPL offers in general, when it made no sense that 100 qualified users had clicked on the ad, and no one had filled out the lead form. Well, this explains part of it.

Other CPL offers on LinkShare are straight CPL

An example is “Total Injury” which looks like a true CPL offer.

The fine print says, “A lead is commissionable when a consumer completes a form with valid information, and contact information is not later determined by the Company to be a “dispute,” “dud,” or “duplicate” of an individual already in the Company’s or Included Networks Participant’s database.”

which means that if someone fills out the form, and was really an injured person looking for help, and not allready in their database, then you get paid.

See the offer here, (especially if you have been injured I get $14 ) LOL

This is a true Lead. A lead is someone who very well might be a customer, but is not yet.

Personally I love marketing like this, developing a list of people, developing a relationship with them, and then selling them shit they like.

To get this straight CPL means Cost Per Lead.

CPA means Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Action, depending on who you ask.

Cost Per Acquisition means the cost per obtaining a real paid customer, which is the end of the sales process when they plunk down the money.

Cost Per Action can be anything from a click to a form fill to a sale. So when you are on the conference floor of Affiliate Summit and someone is spouting out CPA, it makes sense to figure out WTF they mean by that.

This happened in the SEO industry as well and has turned into a cluster F%$k. I have pretty much given up on arguing this point, but SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It originally meant putting things like tags in your header and arranging your site so the search engines would dig your site, and rank it well. The second people started working to get links from other sites, it was no longer SEO, but something else. Now some people use the term SEO to mean just about anything you can do online to increase your sites ranking in Google or sell stuff.

It is o.k. that terms evolve.

“Consider” as I understand it, originally comes from the Latin, Con Sidare. Con means with, like Chile Con Carne. Sidare meant with the stars. Back in the day, if the old Roman dude wanted to figure out whether to plant barley or Millet, or whether his daughter should marry Claudius or Brutus, he would go in the dead of night to the local astrologer who would consult with the stars. So, honey I am going outside to consider this meant, to go get a reading from the local astrologer.

It is o.k. if the word changes over time, it just messes with you if you can not keep up with the changes, or if there is no central place for clarification of words, like a dictionary.

This favors the brave and the smart in the affiliate world. Since there is no straight definitions or intellectual papers being written on the subject yet, it actually favors those with a quick mind, more so than those with big degrees.

So keep riding them ponies boys, we are still in the wild west!

If you want more definitions, go read Genos nice little affiliate glossary.

  1. tom said on March 28th, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for the read DK.

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