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In this new world of digital transparency brands have to be very thoughtful in how they engage with current and potential customers. Consumers have an endless amount of data at their fingertips especially through social media channels, rating and review sites, blogs, and more. Unless brands actively engage in these conversations they lose the opportunity for helping guide their brand message and addressing customer concerns.
Online reviews, then, have become another form of internet marketing that small businesses can't afford to ignore. While many small businesses think that they can't do anything about online reviews, that's not true. Just by actively encouraging customers to post reviews about their experience small businesses can weight online reviews positively. Sixty-eight percent of consumers left a local business review when asked. So assuming a business's products or services are not subpar, unfair negative reviews will get buried by reviews by happier customers.
And don't forget, in order to truly make personal recommendations, you'll need to be a CUSTOMER as well. I see far too many affiliates making personal recommendations without even making the investment in the product or service they are promoting. Not only will you lose credibility when you do this, you'll be limiting your marketing potential by not knowing the product like you should.

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We offer safety and security for our clients by ensuring the highest regulatory standards are upheld and all partners adhere to our strict compliance rules. Search our directory of 100,000+ active affiliates, spanning a range of sectors and promotional types - including cashback, content and shopping comparison - to find the right partners for your affiliate program.
Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[35] LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[36] and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[37] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[38]
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]
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