Affilinet MD Helen Southgate says that networks must protect their publishers

Networks must protect their publishers, the new managing director of Affilinet Helen Southgate has stated while speaking at last week's Affiliate Management Days conference.

Having taken up her new position last week, Affilinet’s new managing director Southgate, formerly the online marketing controller for Sky, spoke as part of a panel that discussed the many issues that the affiliate marketing sector was facing, including trust as a result of previous ‘unethical’ practices carried out by affiliate companies and practitioners.

Southgate took up the thread of the conversation discussing poor practices that had previously been unearthed within affiliate marketing companies and how it was a sector that was still attempting to reshape its reputation. She highlighted the differences between the US and UK markets, claiming that more 'unethical things' took place in the US than the UK, but also said that advertisers had to be happy that their affiliates were delivering high quality sales legally and ethically.

Southgate continued to say that loopholes and new developments would always appear and it was up to affiliates to continue to develop trust with their advertisers. "Networks have a responsibility to protect their publishers on two fronts. Firstly, they need to pay out in a reasonable time frame. Publishers can't be left hanging for weeks on end wondering when their commission will be paid. They're businesses and should be treated as such," Southgate told The Drum afterwards.

She added that protection provided by Affiliate Networks should include a contingency for when clients fail to pay what is owed to them. “Networks also need to put in place a layer of protection if the client does not pay. Regular payment schedules, which by default are often before the network has been paid; from networks to publishers based on validated commissions help to address both of these points and ensure publishers remain incentivised."

Affiliate Networks are employed to act as an intermediary between publishers and clients, where the number of visitors to a retail customer’s website and resulting sales will see the publisher and network financially rewarded.

Southgate also held the position of chair of the IAB Affiliate Marketing Council in 2011.

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