Affiliate Future - Impartial New Review of UK Affiliate Network
Affiliate Future delivers tens of thousands of sales and leads each week to seven hundred merchants ranging from small stores run from home to FTSE 100 companies.
The network was owned by Internet Business Group, IBG. TMN, a digital marketing company which specialised in email marketing, bought IBG on 14 December, 2007. TMN then merged into Progressive Digital Media Group in February 2008.
You can see Progressive Digital Media Group plc's up-to-date share price here:
IBG was founded in 1996 to offer web design and hosting services to small to medium sized clients. With over a decade of experience in technology, design and marketing under its belt, IBG had developed into a highly profitable company with a portfolio of successful websites. The majority of design and development capacity was focused on enhancing and supporting core operations such as AffiliateFuture as well as a portfolio of online stores.
In June 2006, IBG acquired PopupAd.net for £65,000, AffiliateAnnouncement.com for $80,000 and, a month later, the company purchased a number of small travel websites and 75 domain names which are variations of CheapHolidayDeals, CheapAccommodation and CheapShortBreaks for £355,000 in cash and £745,000 in IBG shares. In early 2007 IBG also bought a freebie portal, NetFreeStuff.
Launched in February 2002 with just one merchant, AffiliateFuture grew at an explosive pace. By the end of 2002 it boasted 60 merchants and was doubling turnover every two months. By January 2003 the company had grown to such a degree that a dedicated forum was launched for it on the industry's A4U Forums.
From the moment go, AffiliateFuture has distinguished itself with the efficiency and stability of its service and the accessibility of its support team. While networks with far more resources keep on releasing 'features' which don't work and cause endless frustration for their users, Affiliate Future seems to rigorously test for bugs before improving its offering.
While some networks seem to view affiliates as a pesky irritation, Affiliate
Future used to boast some of the friendliest staff around, who were always available to
lend affiliates a hand. Several successful e-entrepreneurs have commented on
how the Affiliate Future's staff have gone beyond the call of duty
to assist them in developing and monitising their websites in the early days
of the network. Says, Philip, an affiliate: "While other networks don't seem to have time to deal with affiliate enquiries, Affiliate Future always responded to my emails, even when I was starting out and only making a few pennies a day. I am now making over £1,000 a week profit from my travel website and have remained loyal to AF".
The departure of the inimitable and much-loved Managing Director, Pete Dickenson, in 2011 was a blow to the network, with the new Manager not being from an affiliate marketing pedigree and coming in for much criticism, but the network is trying to get back on its feet.
AffiliateFuture UK has over 770 affiliate programs in 50 categories. However, one of the weaknesses of the network is that many of the merchants are little-known e-tailers with fairly average-looking websites. These 'mom and pop' stores usually lack the know-how and resources required to be major players in the online arena (the Big Boys are usually on Affiliate Window, TradeDoubler and Commission Junction). The one sector that AF have managed to snap up big brands is travel and so if you intend to delve into the field it would be essential for you to join the network. Their travel merchants include Singapore airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Going Places, Butlins and Purple Parking.
The growth of Affiliate Future in the initial years was staggering. However, with most of the talent instrumental in the network's growth having left the company, many people have commented on the terrible customer service they have suffered at the hands of generally second-rate staff. We ourselves have suffered from a very large proportion of our queries not being responded to at all or receiving replies that show the staff are not motivated to tackle anything beyond the most basic issues. Such persistent issues have resulted in Affiliate Future coming out worse than most other networks in industry awards ceremonies and surveys, and has seriously impacted on the growth of the network in the last five years.
Azam Marketing has awarded the network 3 stars out of 5. It would have received 4 out of 5, but a lack of useful features such as content units to showcase a merchant's products and banner pools, aligned with often-mediocre customer service and payment issues, means we didn't feel able to give the network a higher rating. Still, Affiliate Future has an array of pluses which outweight the negatives. If you're looking to make money from a UK web entity, Affiliate Future is worth considering.
|Established network with 10+ years of history
||Basic and buggy interface
|Good selection of travel merchants in the UK
||No banner rotation, contextual or shop product links
|Only UK network to have dedicated email creatives section
||Most merchants are little-known 'mom and pop' retailers
| Free events for merchants and affiliates
||Poor customer support from generally unmotivated staff