An Affiliate Marketing Case Study :

The Gaiam Heath and Wellness Affiliate Program.

Founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1988, Gaiam is a leading provider of information, goods and services to customers who value the environment, a sustainable economy, healthy lifestyles, alternative healthcare and personal development. To learn more about the Gaiam company please click here.

In late 2005 Gaiam began examining how to expand the company’s ability to reach customers, and broaden market share through the affiliate channel. Although Gaiam had launched their own internally managed affiliate program in mid 2001 through the LinkShare Affiliate Network — and the affiliate program had been successful and well received — there was clearly still more room for growth.

By September 2005 Gaiam determined that its affiliate program would be better managed by a professional affiliate management company. An exhaustive research and selection process was executed to find an organization with the capacity, professionalism, and track record to manage their program. There was only one company that continually showed all of these abilities to Gaiam. AMWSO. In December 2005 AMWSO was awarded with the contract to manage the Gaiam affiliate program.

AMWSO conducted an exhaustive needs assessment review of the Gaiam affiliate program. After AMWSO had a thorough understanding of Gaiam’s overall goals for its affiliate program, it was decided that a dedicated team of 2 full time AMWSO personnel would manage the program. Additionally, AMWSO assigned the role of program’s strategic management to Chris Sanderson.

Additionally, it was also agreed that the following issues needed to be addressed:

  1. Clean up: Progressive Anti-Parasite stance and the removal of all affiliates that had been participating in any parasitic activities.
  2. Trademark Protection: Trademark protection.
  3. Coupon Campaigns: Coupon creation and distribution through the affiliate channel.
  4. Creative Inventory: Implementation of a new set of creatives for use by affiliates (all creatives to be designed and developed by AMWSO). DRM’s – Dynamic Rich Media Banners — were suggested to be a central part of the creative strategy.
  5. Development of the use of Video for affiliate marketing

Results: AMWSO used in-house analytics to identify and record any abuses within the Gaiam affiliate program from both parasites and trademark bidders. When AMWSO culled the parasites and trademark bidders from the program in January 2006 the result was a massive 65% drop in revenue from the previous month. Through 2006 AMWSO rebuilt the Gaiam affiliate program and worked closely with affiliate partners to ensure that only ‘clean sales’ were generated. The end result by December 2006 was a year on year sales increase of over 20%.

As a result of this project to date Gaiam has saved tens of thousands of dollars in commission payments to affiliates that engaged in unethical marketing practices. Monitoring and surveillance is now an integral part of the service that AMWSO undertakes for Gaiam. AMWSO ensures that any promotion of the Gaiam affiliate program adheres to Gaiam’s Terms of Service and meets ethical marketing standards.

Gaiam and AMWSO look forward to a promising future together with a number of new projects on the horizon, and the prospect of growing the program into new and emerging affiliate segments.

The Gaiam affiliate program continues to be fully managed by AMWSO.


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