If you weren’t really paying attention the last 18 months, you probably didn’t hear about all the drama surrounding Hydra Media. If you did follow the soap opera drama, the company basically went belly-up after two of the founders left, founded another company and a war between all parties involved started. Hydra, despite being one of the big names in the industry, looked as if it was going to be a footnote in our industry. Then along came Adknowledge, the Missouri performance marketing company to rescue them. We wanted to know what was happening with the product, so we asked Greg Bayer, general manager of Adknowledge’s Affiliate Division what was going on, what to expect of Hydra and if we can trust them again.
What can you tell us that will make people feel comfortable with working with Hydra again as an affiliate network?
Adknowledge acquired Hydra in June 2010 for several key reasons. The acquisition allowed Adknowledge to move into the CPA space to complement its affiliate CPC offering. This includes an arsenal of new affiliates in Email as well as other distribution types like search, display, co-reg, etc. expanding our base of affiliates. Since the acquisition we’ve worked hard to make sure that our affiliate managers are properly cross-trained on both networks, and affiliates can access both CPC and CPA offers. Affiliates are paid by Adknowledge for both CPA and CPC revenue, and gain the benefit of the CPA network being closely integrated within one of the largest privately held ad networks. We’ve also been able to retain, and add to the great roster of affiliate marketers behind the Hydra product.
What does Hydra provide to affiliates that no other affiliate network provides?
– Top quality offers across hundreds of advertisers, including branded offers such as AT&T and Sears plus top direct response advertisers.
– Leveraging Adknowledge’s large advertiser base to bring forward even more attractive and top performing ads.
– Tested and vetted offers from across different areas of Adknowledge to ensure high success rates and competitive pricing.
– Best trained affiliate management team who can work with the affiliate to determine the best yield whether CPC or CPA.
What does Hydra provide to advertisers that no other affiliate network provides?
– Top quality e-mail affiliates plus broad distribution across search, display, social media, co-reg, etc.
– World class compliance team to screen and monitor affiliate activity creating a strong balance between high but controlled distribution.
– In-house full creative department ready to meet any needs the client may have.
– Top producing sales team that works closely with the advertisers to tailor campaigns that meet or exceed their expected ROI.
What is Hydra currently doing to prevent affiliate fraud? How are you keeping out the bad affiliates?
Adknowledge has a rigorous affiliate vetting procedure which analyzes more than a dozen data sources in deciding who should be admitted to the network, in addition to conducting personal interviews with applicants. We also have a large database of historical information on applicants as well as active and de-activated affiliates that allows us, in many cases, to identify the “bad affiliates” even when they try to pose as someone else, so that we are able to proactively screen out and protect the network against would-be fraudulent affiliates.
What major changes do you see with the performance marketing industry in 2011?
– Outlook for new categories Diversification into other categories, in particular those appealing to the Boomers/Senior sectors
– Further consolidation as some of the smaller networks combine together
– CPC and CPA blending together more. Revenue share networks like CJ, LinkShare, Google will continue to appeal to a very specific segment of affiliates.
If there was a solution that you could invent for performance marketers, what would it be?
The perfect e-mail deliverability tool which only sends top quality clicks. Advertisers would keep raising their bids and everyone would see the pool float higher!
Your parent company, Adknowledge is very much involved in incentivized marketing, what steps are being taken to ensure that incentivized marketing remains legit, and the traffic quality is good?
Audiences are shifting their time from traditional media sources like television to online games. The shift is rapid and dramatic and SuperRewards provides advertisers a way to reach this engaged audience. Advertisers receive a highly transparent offering in which they pay on a per action basis. There are a combination of internal systems (fraud control, throttling, machine fingerprinting) and external consulting (ensuring secure checkout processes, lead scrubbing) we provide to increase lead quality. Additionally, social games with virtual currency do not have cash out mechanisms; this single item has a huge impact on improving lead quality.
If you could move your office to anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Well, we just moved offices in December to combine the former Hydra team with the existing Adknowledge team in Westwood, LA and that’s about as good of a spot as any! Most of the rest of the affiliate team also recently moved into a new office space in NYC’s SOHO, also a great place to be. Then of course there’s our headquarters in KC where you can’t beat the BBQ and the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium. Although it would be great to have everyone in one place, travelling to these three spots are a nice change of scenery!