January 19, 2009

Overstock.com Had 3,400 Affiliates In New York State

Pay attention to the small print toward the end of this argument about internet sales tax collection.

While it is important to consider the issues with internet sales tax (issues that are largely meaningless, because customer behavior doesn't fundamentally change as sales tax is added), it is so much more interesting to consider that Overstock.com had 3,400 affiliates in New York State!!

You're probably looking at, what, 30,000 to 50,000 affiliates in total, nationwide, at Overstock?

This is what I mean when I talk about micro-channels. It is easy to go to Abacus and ask for one-time access to 1,000,000 households that yield you 8,000 new customers after matchback.

It is hard work to manage 40,000 affiliates that will drive 8,000 new customers to your brand. You'll quickly note that this style of marketing "doesn't work --- half of your affiliates wouldn't generate any new customers over a two month period of time"!

And yet, each method generates the same result. Results are all that matter.

Our future is an endless array of 200,000 micro-channels that yield one or two or three or seven-hundred new customers a year. There will simply be too much competition to leverage Google effectively, and all of the old-school mass-audience methods are slowly dying.