Seth Godin mentioned it is easier to change with the market than it is to change the market:
Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean the market cares any longer.
It’s extremely difficult to repair the market.
It’s a lot easier to find a market that will respect and pay for the work you can do. Technology companies have been running this race for years. Now, all of us must.
With that in mind, Google long ago highlighted that they didn’t like certain advertising arbitrage business models. Last year they went one step further by releasing a video claiming how searchers are demanding more for advertisers.
One of the factors among many that will be key for marketers to be successful moving forward is that they’ll increasingly need to think about acting like a content creator, or thinking like a publisher is a way to think about it.
When you walk into a bookstore, a Borders, there’s 500, a thousand magazines on the shelf, and each of those publishers is thinking about not how to stop, shock, interrupt, or detract that reader. They’re are thinking about “what is that I can say in this moment that will be helpful content to a reader”.
The above such claims were, of course, nonsense. They are not what the marketplace demands, but are just a reflection of Google’s desire to sell more keywords and push advertisers toward buying more along the search cycle. But they have enough search marketshare that in the worst economic climate in nearly 100 years they can chose what money they want to take and what they leave on the table.
Thin affiliates are viewed (at best) as unneeded duplication in the marketplace, and (at worse) purveyors of scams and spreaders of fraudulent offers. Most of the affiliate market could be clean, but the 2% of the market operating at scale with shady practices did enough damage that Google would rather flush the business model than spend time sorting through it.
Perry Marshall tied in recent AdWords marketplace changes for affiliates to the above concept that it is easier to change with the market than it is to change the market:
As of today, in some categories, the number of advertisers has gone from 50 to 5. The land has been cleared for people who create original products. A lucrative opportunity for content creators.
But the only way you can survive as an affiliate on Google now is to have a website with a lot of great, original content, and an email list.
If you’re gonna do that…. you might as well have original products too :^>
It is nice to believe that we have Google’s power to change the market or that we can make the market like it once was, but profit is rarely (never?) created by wishing time goes backwards.
If you know how to do targeted advertising it is not hard to take that knowledge and create a niche vertical product around it. Lower margin and higher maintenance (at least off the start) than slinging bits, but over time as you build brand awareness, social connections, get marketplace feedback, and build organic traffic streams you enjoy margin expansion.
Oh, and that thin affiliate who is killing it on Google AdWords… well you already know who they are. Once you own a big slice of media, you can set the rules as you wish.