A people industry where success is born of carefully crafted and finely honed relationships.

That’s the well-worn mantra, repeated by many, to describe why affiliate marketing is so special. It’s premised on the concept that we can never be as plug-and-play as programmatic, or as automated as paid search because it’s the people who need to negotiate the best deals or deliver the finest account management.

It’s beside the point but you could also quite feasibly counter that this trope has allowed the industry to underinvest in technology that delivers affiliate marketing more efficiently at scale, stumbling as other channels remove manual barriers.

I’m not knocking how important people are to our industry; there is much to be said for its intimate nature. The trade shows, award ceremonies, and dedicated events many of us attend testify to this. But, in an industry of countless and complex connections, many brands and publishers don’t need someone to hold their hand, they just need intuitive systems, shortcuts to help them find publishers and fast payments.

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