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Happy 5th Birthday to the PMA!

Happy 5th Birthday to the PMA!

bday cake

Five years ago today the first formal trade organization was formed to represent the interests of the multi-billion performance marketing industry.

In 2008 leaders of the performance marketing industry came together to form a not-for-profit organization that would connect, inform and advocate on behalf of this rapidly growing field.

The Performance Marketing Association’s formation date of Aril, 1, 2008 makes it memorable, but this was not an April fool’s prank. However, many in the industry perceived it as a joke or regarded the mission and the ability of the group to thrive as a punch line. Some even seemed to relish in the PMA’s struggles and eagerly awaited its failure.

Just the name – it was originally called the Performing Marketing Alliance – elicited references to Star Wars and dark alliances; secret societies, and a group controlled by “anonymous people with all the money.”

Anyone who attended the Affiliate Summit East 2008 in Boston probably remembers the contentious session involving the PMA, which even evoked some hostility among speakers and audience members. Read what one of the attendees of the session had to say.

There were very vocal naysayers, critics, skeptics and way too much apathy. Most people gave the PMA less than a year to survive.

But it’s been 5 years and the PMA is going strong. Over the years the PMA has accomplished a lot. The list of wins is really long but here are a few of the highlights:

  • Beaten back Affiliate Nexus Tax Laws in dozens of states
  • Sued the State of Illinois declaring its Affiliate Nexus Tax laws unconstitutional and won (appeal  is pending)
  • Saved the livelihood  of tens of thousands of affiliate marketers
  • Been a major force in advocating for a federal solution to the Affiliate Nexus Tax
  • Formed nearly a dozen councils that focus on critical industry issues
  • Developed best practices and guidelines
  • Delivered content about the value of the performance marketing channel
  • And so much more

However, the road to turning five hasn’t been easy for sure. It would not have been possible without staunch supporters and industry thought leaders who believed in the cause from the beginning.

We would like to thanks those supporters and charter members who kept us going from the start. Their help and contributions were based on supporting the idea of growing the industry. There were few tangible benefits other than endorsing the ideas and beliefs of the PMA.

In addition, Rebecca Madigan, the PMA’s Executive director, conceived and founded the PMA and has been with the PMA every step of the way. There would be no PMA if not for Rebecca’s tireless efforts. She always believed in the value the PMA could provide for the industry. Over the year’s Rebecca has led the way on the legislative front and so many other efforts. She’s always helping the PMS change, adapt, innovate and is among the biggest cheerleaders for our industry. She is a huge advocate for performance marketing and one hell of a fighter for causes that impact the space.

And while the PMA has made great strides, there is still so much more that has to be done.

Here is what current PMA Board of Directors President, Brian Littleton, had to say recently, “We are making a difference in the lives and business of Affiliate Marketers all across this country.   There are, quite simply, fights and issues that only an industry organization can address.  We are an industry of smart, innovative and successful people and businesses – please consider using some of your resources to give back to the industry that supports you.”

In addition, there is a growing group of vocal PMA supporters.  For example: take a look at the  blog post from Missy Ward, a current PMA Board Member and co-founder of Affiliate Summit. As a highly-respective industry veteran, she is doing whatever it takes to help fund the continuing fight against unconstitutional Affiliate Nexus Tax laws.  Missy is putting her money where her mouth is – big time.

“As a 2012-2013 PMA Board Member, I’ve dedicated my time and skills to promote the growth of industry and advocate on its behalf. It is with that devotion that I invite you to become an Affiliate Marketing Super Hero and take me up on a little challenge. I’m willing to match every dollar contributed to the Performance Marketing Fairness Fund during the month of April, 2013 (up to $10,000).”

Missy also recently wrote a great blog about Why Your Industry Needs You Now.

So, join the cause. Here are two things you can do to help The PMA celebrate this amazing milestone:


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Lisa Picarille

Online Content Strategist at LisaPicarille.com
Lisa Picarille is an online content strategist focusing on digital marketing, branding, and social media for performance marketing companies. She is the former Content Director for the PMA and teaches Internet Marketing at USF Online. An award-winning journalist, Lisa headed the news departments of Wired.com, TechWeb.com, TechTV.com and CRN.com and wrote for Rolling Stone, CRM Magazine, PCWeek, MacWeek, Computerworld and InfoWorld. Lisa has 3 awards for Performance Marketing Advocacy.

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