Affiliate marketing for all! Interview with Have You Seen

By Chris Lee

Affiliate marketing has proven to be a good money spinner for websites that enjoy large amounts of traffic. Code follows consumers through their purchasing process and if directed by an affiliate site that website will receive a small cut of the proceeds.

Consumers too can now become affiliates and make money through referrals and recommendations thanks to a new service called Have You Seen. NMK caught up with Dan Pearce, director of Traffic Junction, whose company has developed Have You Seen to learn how it works and why people should use it.

Consumers are the new affiliate

Have You Seen is a new social sharing service that marks a shift in affiliate marketing, according to Pearce. The service makes consumers the new affiliate, subsequently increasing the opportunity for merchants to drive incremental, referred sales.

It allows anyone with an online presence – be it email, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ – to share a product or service they like and would recommend to their network of friends and followers. If the recommendation leads to a purchase, commission is earned and can be shared between both parties. It now means anyone with an email address can become an affiliate by simply sharing the rewards when recommending things they like – something that is already part of everyday life.

Studies from Traffic Junction and YouGov found that 45 per cent of Britons already recommend products or services online via email or social media, for which Traffic Junction saw an opportunity, Pearce explains.

What was the inspiration for Have You Seen?

Have You Seen is the brain child of Tristan Graham, our Technical Director. It struck him that there is no good reason affiliate marketing should be limited to just businesses and set about designing a platform that would allow consumers to earn from finding and sharing products with their friends.

Briefly explain how it works

Anyone with an email address can sign up and install our ‘Share It’ button; you add it just like a bookmark to your browser. When you’re browsing online and find a product that you would recommend or think might be of interest to one or more of your friends, you simply click the ‘Share it’ button and we create a link to that product unique to you. You choose whether you want to keep the commission, share it with the buyer (the most popular choice) or pass it all on to the buyer. You can then decide how you send that link; via email or your favourite social network. We integrate with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ right now. If one or more of your friends buys from your unique link to a partner retailer then commission is earned and either you, your friend or both with be in the money.

What niche does this serve?

A pretty broad one. We conducted a YouGov survey of over 2,000 adults that found that 45 per cent of respondents had recommended a product to their friends via social media or email. Consumers are already sharing, now they can start earning. The same survey found that the majority of consumers also felt that if their recommendation led to a purchase then they should be rewarded by the retailer. Forward-thinking retailers would love to be able to facilitate this kind of referral at scale, and Have You Seen allows them to do that.

Isn’t it just going to lead to a whole load of “gamers”, people either spamming product tweets/status updates and scheming with their mates for a discount?

This hasn’t been our experience to date, quite the opposite. Firstly, remember you’re sharing these links with friends, and since most of us value our friends we’re not going to ‘spam’ them by sharing things of no interest or we’ll quickly lose them. Furthermore, commission is only earned if a purchase is referred to the retailer and friends are uniquely placed to know what their mates are in the market to buy.

Where have you been trialling this and what brands are using this so far?

We’ve launched in the UK, though we do support some US retailers and we are currently in anticipation of a roll-out there at a later date. We have just under 2,000 retailers affiliated with the platform, including many of the largest on and offline retailers like Amazon, Argos, Boots, Comet, Halfords, M&S, Sainbury’s and Tesco.

With online sales growing every month, merchants need to ensure they are visible on social networks and encourage users of those networks to refer sales of products they advocate. Social media is part of their everyday life and now Have You Seen merchants can actively target social media user groups and encourage them to share a recommendation with their friends and followers instead of relying solely on established, increasingly expensive, channels like PPC (pay-per-click advertising), SEO (search engine optimisation) and traditional affiliates. 1,879 retailers have already affiliated with Have You Seen, including Amazon, Argos, Boots and Halfords.

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