I’ve long been an advocate of assembling some form of a group of peers, board members or mentors to help you grow your business. As an entrepreneur or CEO you often lack both the filter and the sounding board you need to see things bigger ways.
Advertisers, also known as merchants or retailers, have products to sell, and offers or services to promote. They set up performance marketing programs, also known as affiliate programs, as part of their marketing efforts. ADSUM is the only event for advertisers by advertisers. It has evolved into a powerhouse community of best-in-breed advertisers over the years.
In 2011, I left Real Estate behind to become an advertiser. Like most advertisers, I imagined a world of counting money hand over fist. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case when I started out. From the very beginning of my career as a Real Estate investor, there was one concept I knew was the key to success in any area of life.
“Maintain perfect harmony between yourself and every member of your mastermind group. If you fall to carry out this instruction to the letter, you may expect to meet with failure. The master mind principle cannot obtain where perfect harmony does not prevail.”
I’m sure you know that properly leveraging the brain trust of a mastermind is the quickest path to success. There’s nothing more powerful than chopping your learning curve in half and making all the right moves at the right time.
The Real Estate Industry is busting at the seams with masterminds. I had no shortage of successful players to learn from.
But the problem I had upon becoming an advertiser was that there were no masterminds dedicated to advertisers. There were only events and communities dedicated to affiliates. The content and strategies were totally irrelevant to me.
I went from being a confident and carefree Real Estate investor, to a downward spiraling advertiser with no clear path to success.
Out of sheer will and desperation, I was able to fight off every challenge the industry could throw at me. The result of my persistence was the birth of Halo River… a performance marketing agency.
I have personally networked with over 116 advertisers. I have seen nearly every challenge and obstacle in the world of online and continuity advertising.
With the combined strength of our 23 staff members at HaloRiver, and our community, we have taught over 75 internet entrepreneurs our strategies to help them succeed.
Provide advertisers with the opportunity to learn insider trade secrets from “best-in-breed” advertisers…
Create an environment that connects success-bound advertisers like yourself with senior decision makers of some of the biggest vendors in the industry…
Bring other advertisers together in order to leverage and share each other's resources to help create instant success without risking your own money and wasting time by creating them yourself...
The feds have a long list of companies they have penalized and are raking in settlements for millions of dollars from online advertisers and affiliate networks. Are you up to date on the latest compliance news and regulations?
On March 27th of 2015, CardFlex Inc., an ISO, settled charges with the FTC for illegally processing more than $26 million dollars in unauthorized consumer charges on behalf of the Company “I Works”. The owners were ordered to pay $3.3 million dollars in penalties and to turn over all personal assets including $1.2 million dollars in jewelry..
“This case shows that facilitating fraud - knowingly or unknowingly - is a bad strategy for payment processors and one we will abolish.”
Jessica L. Rich, FTC Director
On April 6th of 2015, Lead Click Media (affiliate network) was forced to turn over $16 million dollars in financial penalties to the FTC for advertising weight loss products through fake news websites. These nefarious tactics were implemented by affiliates and facilitated by the network.
And when the network goes down, it damages the advertisers they’re in business with. This madness hurts the consumer, the advertiser, and the rest of the ecosystem.
Without knowing the latest regulatory changes and settlements, you are putting your ability to generate revenue at risk.
It’s only a matter of time until you’re caught off guard by these business ending federal regulations for simply being guilty by association.
This graph shows an 11-year, continuous, upward trajectory of financial penalties for advertisers selling consumable products such as supplements. The graph was put out by the research division of the non-profit organization, “Public Citizen”. (citizen.org) They’re an organization that represents consumer interests.
This isn’t the Wild Wild West anymore. If you’re not in the good graces of Federal regulators, you’ll be shut down eventually or fined millions of dollars in penalties for undermining regulatory laws.
As advertisers, our goals are very simple. We want to provide a valuable product to a consumer with a good margin.
The affiliate sells our product and networks facilitate the whole process so we can focus on operations and keep our finances in check.
But, capitalism and competition take over, and a conflict of interest begins. This conflict of interest is the very cancer that breeds the fraud which attracts regulators looking to slam down multi-million dollar penalties.
It was developed by Victorian economist William Forster Lloyd, who used a hypothetical example of the effects of unregulated grazing on common land (then colloquially called "the commons") in the British Isles.
The “tragedy of the commons” occurs when the best interest of each individual member of a group undermines the best interest of the collective.
For example, it’s in the best interest for the fishing industry as a whole to make sure they leave some fish in the ocean every season. That way the fish can reproduce, and there will be a full crop of fish the next season.
However it’s in the best interest for each individual fishing boat to catch as many fish as possible. The more they catch, the more they sell and the more cash they line their pockets with.
So, while the group knows that they should leave enough fish left to replenish their supply for next season, the individual benefits from catching as many fish as possible in the moment.
When the fish population began to diminish too rapidly, authorities added licensing and limits to individual vessels. Now the fishing industry is regulated.
Quite frankly, aggressive advertising tactics and deceptive business practices are resulting in short-term profits and long-term risk. These practices continue to escalate as both offer owners and affiliates try to stay ahead of their competition.
But while individually, online advertisers gain an edge by being slightly more aggressive, it’s best for online advertisers as a group to operate with integrity and respect for the consumer.
Now, the online advertiser and the affiliate have to fight against these trends. Some of them, driven by greed, simply think of their businesses as a cash-grab. They’re as aggressive and deceptive as possible, trying to snatch as much money from the market as they can, knowing it’s just a matter of time before they get slammed by the FTC hammer.
Aggressive advertising tactics and obscuring sales disclosures will only hold you and the industry backwards. Only when you’re consistent with the interests of the community will consistent business growth occur.
Just think about how peaceful it would be to never have to constantly be at war with credit card processors, regulators, CPA networks and affiliates. That would be a huge accomplishment for the community and would make everyone’s life awesome.
Don’t fool yourself. Regulation is here and it’s here to stay. Unlike the fishing industry, there are no physical boats and specific geographical areas to regulate. So, regulators are doing what they can to make examples out of brands and advertisers to set a precedent for everyone to follow.
In 2010 and then again in 2015, having access to reliable processing was king. In 2010, Visa made broad sweeping changes to restore consumer faith in the credit card brand and adopted very strict processing rules. In 2015, many acquiring banks removed themselves from continuity-based, high-risk processing altogether leaving loads of advertisers out in the cold.
This created an environment where online merchants would pay any price for the promises of reliable processing. A processing agent emerged within my network of connections with the spell binding promise of an “international, unique processing solution.”
The processing agent won many ADSUM members business including my own at lightning speed.
Long story short, the accounts started being held one-by-one over a couple weeks. Advertisers were selling product but not receiving any money.
This processing agent led all of us to believe that Processing.com was the reason for for all of the accounts receiving holds. Lo and behold, the processing agent was dodging every one of us.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and set up a meeting with James Bergman, the owner of Processing.com to figure out a solution.
We quickly discovered that the processing agent was ignorant and there was a miscommunication between all of us advertisers and Processing.com.
After speaking with James, we were able to get funds released, our whole community was offered a very compelling group rate discount and gave us special concierge treatment so we could fix any potential problems in the future at a moment's notice
And that’s the beauty of the ADSUM community. Divided, we’re just another advertiser who had to accept any problems that hit us head on. United, we stand strong and have power in numbers, just like we did with Processing.com.
Processing.com probably would have never listened to me as a single advertiser, but I was representing all of the advertisers who hand many millions of dollars being processed through their company. I was instantly someone they wanted to help out.
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You’ll have access to content pertaining to every area of your business that you won’t find anywhere else from finance, marketing, optimization and operations so you can shortcut the best in breed advertisers paths to success.
When you harness the power of someone else's resources that you didn’t have to create your own, you exponentially improve the chances of gaining more market share and ultimately more profits.
The more people you know who are highly connected and successful, the greater your chances of getting access to trade secrets, resources and deals not available to the general public. Quite frankly, knowledge is power and you won’t find this stuff anywhere else.
The advertiser who stands alone is waiting is vulnerable to rogue counterparties that think they hold all the power. Truth is, YOU, the advertiser hold all the power, you’ve just never experienced that.
We as advertisers are the creators. We are why the Industry exists in the first place.
Without our offers: processors have nothing to process, networks have nothing to broker and affiliates have nothing to promote. We must stop taking all of the risk and settling with short-term profits simply because we feel powerless and don’t see any other way to do business.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain at ADSUM. Take advantage of this opportunity before it’s too late because there’s only so many tickets to go around. There will be connections made and alliances formed. I don’t want you to be the one marginalized because you thought you could go it alone.