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After the intro sessions at Affiliate Summit (
First Timers Guide and
How to Pitch Your Company), the first session I attended was
Industry Clash: Balancing CPS & CPA Marketing featuring Ian Fernando (CPA), Jason Rubacky (CPS), Logan Thompson (both) and moderated by Greg Hoffman.
Full disclosure: I’m on Greg’s Advisory Board, Jason and I have an ongoing bromance, and Logan, Ian and I have been in a Mastermind Group together previously. I currently have or have previously had some sort of dealing with these guys
The idea behind this panel is that CPS (cost per sale) and CPA (cost per action) affiliates can get along. A few definitions were used, stating CPA affiliates use paid traffic, are paid when a user does an action, and are not interested if the user buys or not. CPS affiliates use search traffic, get a share of the revenue from the transaction, and actually have to sell products. These are gross generalizations, and there are CPA affiliates using SEO, and there are definitely CPS affiliates using paid traffic.
The discussion got into which is easier to generate more revenue, transparency, driving new customers, and some lifestyle differences. Each had pros for their own side.
What Wasn’t SaidEthics were only touched upon, but I think the CPA industry has had a huge problem with unethical programs. A great example are those “free trial” programs, where the user is charged $1.97 and have 2 weeks to cancel, before they’re charged for the next 3 months of product. Oh, and the trial doesn’t arrive until 3 weeks later, and the phone lines are always busy, so they can’t cancel.
PPV was also omitted from the conversation, which I think is a major traffic generator for CPA offers, but prohibited in CPS networks.
Finally, not enough discussion went into the lifestyle differences between CPS and CPA affiliates. A classic example, which I refer to often, is when I was running some CPA offers and first met my AM. He immediately invited me to a strip club and offered to buy me a lap dance. That’s not something a CPS network would offer you. CPA affiliates are typically younger, and take far greater risks in their actions (both in business and in life). CPS affiliates are much more conservative, and will be found at Affiliate Karaoke and not a strip club. (No, I didn’t accept his offer)
Ian ended with, in the end, we’re all marketers. That may be true, and we can get along and talk at conferences, but CPA and CPS affiliates are like you and that relative you talk to at family reunions only because you have a common ancestor. In the outside world, we won’t socialize with each other, and if we passed each other on the street, wouldn’t even say
We don’t have to be enemies, but we don’t have to be friends, either.
Ian’s video from 2010: CPS Affiliates, Why Can’t We Be Friends?