I had known of BrandVerity for over a year, but it only took me a Moment to make my decision have BrandVerity assist in monitoring my affiliate marketing program. That year long procrastination cost me enough to pay for their services for at least 5 years. BrandVerity is a simple, fast, affordable way to monitor your Registered Trademark against Affiliate Marketing tactics that try to take advantage of the ignorance to technology that Affiliate Marketing Managers may have. This is my story, and I highly recommend that you learn from my mistake, and take a serious look at how BrandVerity can save your profits.
Since 2007 I have been the Affiliate Manager at Jenson USA. My first interaction with BrandVerity was at the ShareASale ThinkTank in 2011. I was in a hurry to get to my next session and only spoke for a brief moment to one of their staff. He’d done his research and handed me a quick print out and said quite frankly, “These people are bidding on your registered trademark terms.” While still in a hurry he had my attention.
That night while sitting in my hotel room I pulled out the report that Andrew had given me. On it was listed very specific details how this specific affiliate was targeting our registered trademark. The report contained everything an affiliate marketing manager would need, even down to the path this person was using to hide their activity, the search engine, and the demographic they was targeting. In three minutes I found a leak that had to that point cost me close to $1500, and to that point there was no tool in my possession that could have helped me find this specific affiliate.
Previous to this point I was doing all of the policing of my registered trademark the manual way. I was actually going into the big three search engines and running those searches. I didn’t know at the time that the smart affiliates were using Google’s geo targeting tool to do the reverse and geo-exclude me. After about two years of that a brilliant friend of mine developed itradmarkbidding.com. That tool saved a lot of time, but still had me manually looking up the results, I didn’t have an IT guy that had time to develop a script for me. With about 2 hours a week devoted to this task I was doing my best, with the tools and the knowledge I had. Sadly they were incredibly inferior to what some brilliant, but ethically challenged affiliates are capable of.
This brings up a question though; Why? Why all this work? Why all this policing? What is so important about our registered trademark? As far as search engines Like Google, Bing, and Yahoo (let’s not forget your customers) are concerned your name is everything. It is the front door to your website. Your business thrives on margin. Can you afford to give away 10%, heck even 5%? Affiliates focus on your trademark because they know that people that are looking for you are going to type your registered tradmark / Brand Name into their search engine to bring up your site. If you type Coke into the search engine, you know what you’re looking for. You expect to see that universally known red and white. You can probably taste the product, feel the bottle in your hand, recite the latest marketing blurb, and know some famous person with a red cup on their desk during that TV show. You’re brand to your customers is no different. They know who you are, they are coming back because they know and trust your brand. These affiliate feed on that. Where they pay $X to get an ad by your name, they may get $XX back. They are printing their own money, and draining your marketing budget at the same time.
When a year later after half a dozen emails Andrew grabbed my attention again and told me that even with my best efforts I still had someone in my affiliate marketing program that was taking my marketing budget I stopped to listen, I can’t afford not to, but I had three quick assumptions made about BrandVerity that were very wrong. They were: “This is going to be Expensive,” “I don’t have time to operate another process,” “My Program is clean enough.” I was wrong on all counts.
Again in between sessions at Affiliate Management Days I asked Andrew the one question that mattered Most. “What’s it cost?” His reply had me stunned. I expected thousands of dollars a month (I’m sorry if my writing this has helped them know the value of their service and their ability to increase rates). Their basic service (basic by the way is a gross understatement) was insanely affordable. At that point I knew the numbers in my head. This services cost was a moot point. I knew, to my embarrassment, that I’d lost far more than that at times in a single month. My Response, “Draft the contract and email it to me tonight.”
Our Affiliate Marketing program has been an incredible sales driver. Like most companies that hire an in-house affiliate marketing manager or an attentive Outsourced Affiliate Program Manager tangible growth and branding is the payout. Yet with every positive there can be challenges and struggles. Not protecting your registered trademark is one that can be an expensive lesson, but doesn’t have to be. Even in my consulting work I take this tool with me and no matter where I go, new program or old find people we just don’t need to be paying. Simply put BrandVerity pays for itself time and again.
For More Information on protecting your registered trademark you can contact me or read Geno Prussakov’s article on the service and an article I was interviewed for on internet retailer, Fighting the Affiliate Shell Game.