Kevin Ryan & Jeff Ferguson of Napster

Jeff is quite an interesting guy, he worked as an SEO and later worked as online marketing manager for Hilton before becoming the director of online marketing for Napster. He talked a bit about how it was to set up the online marketing strategy for Hilton, including an affiliate program, it turns out he had to do that all on his own…

They’re talking about how rules were being created in the process of building up this affiliate program, companies that were doing SEM for them as well as being an affiliate for instance. At Hilton he didn’t allow affiliates to do paid search, as there was a lot of competition from their own franchises.

At Napster though they are encouraging their affiliate to use search, and even to use their brand. They were using their own budget to fill in the gaps were their affiliates weren’t doing anything, making their campaign look incredibly big. Napster doesn’t exclude affiliats from using it’s own brand in PPC and SEO either, making sure all the results on brand terms are either affiliate or Napster itself, which isn’t working the way I see it (see for yourself).

He says they even go as far as sharing keyword lists with affiliates, and give them artwork. To be honest a lot of the issues he’s talking about seem quite simple to solve from a technological standpoint.

I was looking at some of their affiliates and caught one javascript cloaking and copying their frontpage, and Jeff said they would probably ask them to remove it and “come back to the light side of the force”. Someone else asked how important affiliate is for their program, an, without revealing any numbers, he said it was very important for their sales.

Another interesting question was whether they’d allow affiliates to advertise offline, and he said they probably wouldnd’t, but that they couldn’t make it work.

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