The PMA Blog

The PMA’s mission is to advance and protect responsible performance marketing. Stay on top of industry happenings here on the PMA blog.

New Resource: Finding Your Next Merchant

As part of its continuing efforts to help affiliates become more successful in the industry, the PMA Publisher Recruitment Council has created a new infographic entitled, Finding Your Next Merchant. The guide follows the first resource in the series, Signing Up with An Affiliate Program.

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Taking Your Affiliate Program Global

Expanding an affiliate program globally isn’t simply a matter of replicating existing practices in a new country. In fact, there are many cultural differences, nuances and regulations you may be unfamiliar with that need to be taken into account. To share best practices for expanding your affiliate program into the US and European markets, our Global Client Strategy Director, Kevin Edwards hosted a webinar with our friend Robert Glazer at Acceleration Partners. Some of the topics covered were: What’s driving the latest trends in global affiliate marketing Opportunities for expanding programs to the US and European markets Challenges of expanding affiliate programs in the US and Europe and how to avoid them Best practices for navigating your international expansion We asked Kevin to summarize the webinar, providing his opinion and insights of the global trend: Q.What’s the most exciting trend you’ve noticed in global affiliate marketing recently? A. The fact that the Internet is borderless and as soon as logistic challenges are addressed the barriers can come down, is a huge benefit of online retail. Done well affiliate marketing can be an exceptionally useful platform to help launch outside of a retailer’s home borders. With access to affiliate data across the countries we operate in, it is fascinating to see the increase in cross-territory trading and also how macroeconomic events can play a part in shaping affiliate strategy. While the UK is grappling with the fallout from Brexit, the flipside is the British pound has devalued against other currencies which has made buying products from British retailers much cheaper. Overnight, the proportion of sales more internationally focused retailers made from... read more

No Regulation Without Representation

As states continue to grapple with the issue of sales on out of state internet purchases, a few federal congress members have entered the conversation with their own versions of bills that include regulations on who can and can’t be taxed and what constitutes a connection (nexus) between a state and a business or individual. Recently, I offered you an overview of the Online Sales Simplification Act of 2016 which attempts to focus taxation on the buyer and the seller and employs the tax laws from each of their respective states. Now, I’d like to introduce you to another proposed act that attempts to set limits on sales tax at the federal level. The “No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2016” Review the proposed bill and the latest actions here. This act is short and concise. Borrowing on the political “no taxation without representation” concepts of the 1750’s and 1760’s that lead to the American Revolution, the bill aims to limit a state’s ability to impose tax to those within the state. It limits states to collecting fees and requiring reporting from “persons” with a “physical presence” in the state. Is This Another Nexus Bill? As I described in the last nexus update, the bills we typically see introduced by states attempt to make a connection (nexus) between the state and a seller using affiliates. They argue that having affiliates in the state creates a strong enough connection between the state and seller for the state to be able to levy taxes on that seller. This bill does not attempt to make such a connection. In fact, it attempts... read more

Recap: FTC Disclosure Workshop

The FTC held a public workshop on September 15 entitled “Putting Disclosures to the Test.” Although I did not attend in person, I did watch via webcast. According to the FTC, both the webcast and accompanying materials will be available soon. The workshop started with basic background from Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman of the FTC, on the legal background of disclosures. The core of this is the .com Disclosures guidance, which has been updated to take into account technological changes. Bloggers, social media, native ads, and influencer marketing were specifically mentioned in the introduction. Although not everything in the workshop applied to performance marketing, here are some of my key takeaways that could apply: Endorsement location should be placed in visual field and competing stimuli should be reduced. Should be legible, high contrast, brief, and with priority information first. Use simple terms and avoid ambiguity. To measure effectiveness of disclosures, you need to test methodology and make changes to get to the most accurate results. Incorrect methodology could be worse than not collecting data at all. Before you test for the effectiveness of a disclosure, identify your purpose/objectives and expected outcomes. Even clear and conspicuous disclosures may not be read by consumers. Asking consumers if they are reading it is not the best way to determine whether they really are. Consumers understand that terms such as “Paid Ad,” “Paid Content,” and “Sponsored” are advertisements but not as much with terms such as “Brand Voice” and “Partner.” Use mouse or eye tracking to see if people are looking at your disclosures on your site. Social media is the majority of native... read more

The Latest Proposed Internet Sales Tax Bill

This month, Congressman Goodlatte of VA has circulated a discussion draft of a new bill called the “Online Sales Simplification Act of 2016”. Articles from two major publishers have been released recently addressing the topic: Wall Street Journal Internet Retailer Internet Retailer – E-retailers’ Reaction to the Bill  You can download a PDF of the draft by clicking here. In a Nutshell If this bill were to pass, online merchants would collect sales tax from each buyer based on the buyer’s home state. You’d remit the tax to your state who would pass it through to a Clearinghouse that would then distribute funds back to states. So, if your company is in IL and you sell something to someone in MI, you would collect 6% (Michigan’s sales tax) on the purchase. You’d remit the amount to the State of Illinios who would then send the tax to the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse would credit it to the State of Michigan. But… It’s Not That Simple Despite the term “Simplification” appearing in the bill’s name, it’s not all that simple. State sovereignty is clearly an issue the bill’s sponsor is sensitive to. If the bill passes, each state will have a choice whether or not to participate. So, there are contingencies around participation. Furthermore, there are states that currently don’t impose a sales tax, so those contingencies spread to cover situations in which a buyer or a seller reside in a sales tax free state. Participating states would be required to create programs and processes to certify merchants and manage monetary and data receipts from them. Merchants, whether they are in... read more

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