When I kicked off the research for Forrester’s 5 -year Interactive Marketing Forecast this past August, I had originally intended to also include affiliate marketing in the projections.  I got a great run down on current trends in the space from Steve Denton at Linkshare and John Ardis and Dave Osmon from Commission Junction.  However, in the end I ended up cutting affiliate out of the overall sizing for two reasons:

1) It overlapped with channels I was already sizing.  For many marketers affiliate spending includes a portion of their search marketing budget.

2) It is often funded as a channel effort, rather than as a media buy.  I also learned that for many marketers, affiliate marketing is actually a sales or distribution channel, rather than a medium where they can place ads. This made it not an accurate piece for me to include in the report, which I intended to match as closely as possible to the interactive channels that actually make up firms’ interactive marketing budgets.

However, I continue to get a lot of inquiries about affiliate marketing.  So, it seems a relevant area to address through some dedicated research.  The inquiries I get are often around how to set up an affiliate network, what pricing to expect from vendors, how to manage affiliate marketing alongside other CPC or CPA-types of marketing (like search or behaviorally-targeted ads).  But I’d love you to help me gauge the interest in this area.What are the primary questions you are asking about affiliate marketing?  Is it a hot or cold area for your company?  I’m crafting my final Q1 research agenda and would like to think about how/whether to include affiliate marketing as a doc topic.  Many thanks!