The ‘compliance panel’ at last month’s AffiliateFEST event was one that stoked up a lot of interesting debate from panelists and audience members alike. One intriguing talking point to emerge from it was that of creating an affiliate trade body. Is there room for such a body in an industry that’s so competitive? And what would it actually do? Nick Nocton and John Hagan discuss below.
Nick Nocton (Mischon de Reya): “There’s definitely a need and space for one. I’ve spent a long time talking to Tom Galanis and others in relation to the affiliate body that they are still discussing. There is an inherent difficulty in getting a critical mass of people who all have exactly the same interests at heart, who can all agree on what the remit should be.
There is a very powerful argument to say that it should at least start with an agreed set of amendment standards, just to drive improved practices, and to therefore engage and create a credible body to then have sensible conversations, for example with regulators.
But it’s very difficult getting people to agree how much you’re going to contribute and what you’re going to get for that money, because of course one of the most valuable things that the trade body can provide is intelligence, advice, access to skills, which of course are things that the smaller affiliates are extremely interested in, but that comes at a price.”
John Hagan (Harris Hagan): “Of course you should have trade associations, and it’s something that will come to fruition I’m sure sooner rather than later, but it comes back to my point earlier about credibility with operators.
Nick has mentioned credibility with the commission, and an opportunity to engage with the commission for the interests of affiliates but also to engage with operators. If you have a trade association with a minimum set of standards as a requirement to joining, you can distinguish the reputable, good affiliates from those that don’t buy into the same set of standards.”