September 13, 2018


Zuckerberg’s 3,260-word war plan for fixing Facebook

This is a very long rant statement from Mark… Because elections are just around the corner again, he wants to clarify what steps FB is taking to fix… well, everything!

The overall news is in the same direction – you won’t get more freedom as an advertiser anymore. Not until things get less tense, at least.

There’s one part that stood out much more than others, at least for us. And that’s Mark’s call for law enforcement to get involved in political ads… But not just with some rules.

“There are certain critical signals that only law enforcement has access to, like money flows. For example, our systems make it significantly harder to set up fake accounts or buy political ads from outside the country. But it would still be very difficult without additional intelligence for Facebook or others to figure out if a foreign adversary had set up a company in the US, wired money to it, and then registered an authentic account on our services and bought ads from the US.”

What the bold part sounds like to us is that Mark would like to get financial information about you, straight from your bank. Sure, might not intend it to be creepy…

But that’s not the perception for most advertisers and it would give Facebook access to some of the most sensitive data – financial data.

Aside from this, he does a good job at painting Facebook’s efforts in a good light and taking a few jabs at platforms that don’t require you to have your real name on the account, like Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat.
So, in other words: Mark really hates it that you are not open to sharing everything with him… Because if you did, his life would be so much easier!

Go figure!


Apple’s excess phones – launched!

Yes, yes, not exactly marketing news, but we know Apple is one of the favourite brands for marketers everywhere. So we had to bring it up.

Right… This year’s new iPhone becomes official with little surprises, mostly because a lot of the new features got leaked before.

So what’s new in the iPhone XS?

Apple upgraded the water resistance to up to 2 meters for several minutes. It comes with a 6-core CPU that makes opening apps 30 percent faster and has 40 percent lower power consumption. The XS features a 12-megapixel wide camera and the front side camera has 7-megapixel.

It comes in two sizes, with a 5.8 inch display or a 6.5 inch display (iPhone XS Max).

A really handy new feature is the dual-SIM support. It allows you to have two phone numbers on a single phone, like a domestic phone number and an international carrier.

How to pronounce it?

With the iPhone XS starting at $999 and the iPhone XS Max starting at $1099 we would go for calling it “iPhone ex(c)-ess”, but probably Apple’s intention was to have people call it “iPhone ten ess”.

Pre-orders begin on Friday, September 14, and the products will be available in store on September 21.

If you’re going to wait in line at the store, here’s a camping stool you can buy – better than sitting on the ground.


Ads are working, for Amazon at least

If you haven’t been on Amazon’s website lately to do any searches, you might not know this but…

They absolutely took a page out of Google’s book and now the top half of the first-page search results is just filled with ads.

You know, just like Google search is for certain keywords.

The thing is, this is working for Amazon, who is growing their Ads Business very aggressively this year.

The nice people at Recode broke down ads results for several categories and share some numbers. For example, CPC cost is up 6% YoY and money spent on sponsored search increased 165% in Q2 2018.

Risk-Free Trials and Musical Chairs

If you’ve been around the industry for a couple of years, you know that those “risk-free trials” were the bread and butter of many affiliates.

And oh, how the times have changed – you can only push the limits so far.

Nate Lind, an industry veteran who has a great overview from both the affiliate and advertiser side of things actually shared his thoughts on the topic in this cool post on Medium.

He goes into what made this “pyramid” collapse…

Payment processors make the money flow from customers to advertisers. Well, what happens when people who feel (and often were) scammed ask for refunds and do chargebacks?

Easy. Advertisers have to pay a bunch of refunds, chargebacks and other fees even after their deposit account is closed. And then the payment processor has to take the fees from the reserve account. And bingo-bango, the merchant goes onto the MATCH File.

“What’s life like being on the match file? It has a ripple effect of closures for any other entity associated with that SSN, address, corporation, etc. (I.e. If you have a Stripe account AND PayPal account to accept payments, they both get closed). It’s a nightmare for those affected and a big downward spiral.”

So, hundreds if not thousands of merchants were put on that file early this year, and an industry was forever changed.

People blaming each other, everyone blaming the affiliates. And not without a reason. Those fake claims and fake celebrity endorsements came to bite everyone in the butt.

We guess most affiliates know this part of the story – but Nate goes into the advertiser perspective as well, so we recommend checking out the whole thing.

What’s happening now?

Generally, people cleaning up their tactics.

Because MasterCard, Visa, Facebook, Google and celebrities all force affiliates to do so.

There are more real endorsements for products… Or at least they are a bigger part of the whole. There are fewer trials, more straight sales.

Speaking of straight sales, read the next part of today’s newsletter 😉


Straight sales on native ads – tips from Kelly Sheffield

So if trials aren’t looking pretty – you just really have to go more for straight sales.

And that’s what Kelly Sheffield talked about at Affiliate World Europe 2018 in Barcelona. So we thought we’d summarise his post-speech interview with the most important tips!

He begins by saying that you should start small, and focus on one offer, rather than testing out too much at once and making it difficult for yourself.

He also says he’s been trying to avoid trials, since there are a lot of issues that can come with that, like we’ve mentioned above!

When asked where to start with native ads, he said that the first thing should be to talk to your account manager to gain information whether anyone else is running a similar type of campaign, as well as their targeting and setup.

He recommends a small whitelist, or just starting with one category or brand sites, and to make sure you’re not doing too much at once. Depending on the platform, you should start out with no more than four to five ads, “any more than that would be a waste”.

Since there’s a lot of traffic to sort through, apparently lots of people just look at their placements and cut out the ones that don’t work, until another one doesn’t work, until they’ve run out of them.

Kelly says that “If an offer isn’t working broadly across many widgets, it’s not going to work at scale. It’s probably not a good enough offer.” Don’t just pick and choose here and there, but look at your system as a whole.

Furthermore, he mentions that he hardly ever uses spy tools and that your account manager is much more valuable in providing information regarding what’s being run.

Kelly’s advice to people who want to try working with native ads is to find affiliate networks with a strong business development side, who are actively working to help you create good offers and help advertisers match payouts from the competition as well.


Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

“Pyramids were not built by happy people.”

That’s the unofficial slogan of SpaceKnow, a Czech-based startup that mines data from satellite pictures. Why would they do it and isn’t it expensive? Turns out it’s not.

In the beginning, the satellite pictures have to be bought from companies that have a satellite up there. Then a team of annotators sketch each object (cars, ships) or area (forests, water) with a different colour.

Then they feed these annotated pictures to their algorithms so their neural networks can learn. After ca. 50,000 pictures, a neural network starts to recognize a boat.

All this data mining leads to two main indexes. SMI and Night Light Index. The SMI index measures 6000 industrial parts of China and tells the real economic growth of the country. This can be compared to the official reports.

The Night Light Index measures, obviously, the light pollution at night. Thanks to this index, SpaceKnow measures the GDP of African countries. It also showed that back in 2014, when Gambia had a military coup, the light pollution went significantly down.

The whole industry is in baby diapers, and SpaceKnow isn’t afraid of players like Orbital Insights, which is among others financed by Google Ventures.

Their aim? Space Google. See everything, know everything, answer everything.

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