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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Affiliate Marketing

A new breed of pests has infested Bay Area. They will smile at you and try to pick random conversations. If you are holding a shower gel and wondering whether to buy it, they will tell you it smells heavenly. If you are at the grocery store, trying to steer your cart without hitting that crazy kid who’s running amuck, they will pop up to say ,’What a wonderful day’, and pick the kid you narrowly missed. If they recognize your mother tongue and have the slightest chance of acting parochial, they will. Then they will give you their phone numbers and ask you to call/meet-up. For a good number of times, you will believe it is their goodness of heart or your new make-up/dress /perfume etc. But soon, you will find them trying to convert you into a religion they so steadfastly believe themselves- affiliate marketing. (Other terms include multi-level marketing, pyramid selling, network marketing, referral marketing.)

You know where you have to buy stuff you don’t need to get into a network of people in a hierarchy of distributing profit which can never work if you know how to do basic Maths. Yet, a lot of people get sucked into it and try to ‘network’ with those people who believe in it.

I have had the privilege of watching legitimate, honest business startups spread wings. It takes years of commitment, a strong network of professional and personal relations capable of understanding their roles and fulfilling them, and more often exceeding expectations. A business build on the premise of exploitation seems unethical to begin with. When someone tries to pitch me a half-baked pyramid scheme, I feel like saying aloud, ’Don’t insult my intellect.’ But the best thing is to avoid such situations completely. It might actually work for someone, I do not know. But I am not a believer, so don’t make lame efforts to convert me- it is pathetic.

Suggested further reading:
The big, ugly affiliate marketing scam [Venture Beat]


Saurav said...

I know u're talking about Amway :)
And I know how it is exactly - I once almost fell for it... I found my senses soon enough..

Aparna Kar said...

Unfortunately, there are more groups mushrooming all over. I have nothing personal against direct-selling multi-level marketing as long as they don't try to invade my personal space.

But Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978 of India bans such schemes and is a punishable offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.