Geno Prussakov is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, acclaimed author, international speaker, award-winning affiliate blogger, marketing consultant, founder and CEO of AM Navigator affiliate management agency, founder of the legendary AM Days workshops, and his newest affiliate marketing-powered project CleverGiver.
He has four books to his credit:
- “A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing” (2007),
- “Online Shopping Through Consumers’ Eyes” (2008),
- “Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day” (2011),
- “A Quick Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing” (2014)
If we talk about his achievements, Mr. Prussakov was named one of the Performance Marketing’s Most Vocal Advocates, making the 2011 list of LinkShare’s Golden Link Awards Finalists for influencing “change within the industry”. In 2013 his an-hour-a-day book was recognized as a small business classic, while in 2014 and 2015 he was recognized by Small Business Trends as one of North America’s Top 100 small business influencers.
Let’s check out what he has to share with the readers of the Cloudways blog.
Cloudways: Hi Geno, Thanks for taking the time out for this interview. Let’s start with the introduction. How did your journey in performance and affiliate marketing begin?
Geno Prussakov: In the early 2000s, as an owner of a small online storefront, I discovered affiliate marketing as a cost-efficient way to market our products, paying independent marketers only when they bring in conversions. After some initial self-education, I got my first affiliate program started — one for my e-commerce B2C business.
Fast-forward, having won many best affiliate manager awards, and being an author of my first book on affiliate marketing, I was bombarded by requests to manage other business’ affiliate programs. By 2006 I bade farewell to my B2C e-store and became a full-time affiliate OPM (outsourced program manager). Today, it is still my affiliate management agency AM Navigator that pays the bills and helps me live the “affiliate dream.”
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Cloudways: What are the main areas in which affiliate marketers should focus in the beginning?
Geno Prussakov: Focus on self-education: both initially and as long as you are doing affiliate marketing. In an industry as dynamic as the affiliate marketing is, no one can afford to not evolve. You’ll just get run over!
Cloudways: How Affiliate Marketing has evolved in the last decade?
Geno Prussakov: Affiliate marketing has become significantly more data-driven. In some cases, good decisions and strategies spring out of data analysis. Unfortunately, not always (maybe due to the lack of thoroughness or biased approaches). But the industry has come of age, and this is reflected in the plethora of smart technologies that all of the industry’s constituents employ (advertisers/merchants, affiliates/publishers, networks/platforms, policing tools, recruiting tools, affiliate managers, and so on).
Cloudways: What’s the thought behind AM Navigator. In your opinion what’s the contribution of the brand to the Affiliate Marketing landscape?
Geno Prussakov: Ever since its inception, AM Navigator has been (almost) exclusively focused on building affiliate programs. Some merchants tend to fully outsource their affiliate program management to us, while others have us work with their in-house teams co-managing their affiliate programs. To every relationship, we bring our expertise, experience, tools, connections, and a passion for healthy, value-added affiliate marketing.
Cloudways: In the context of Affiliate Marketing, what is the proper attribution rule where cookie gets overwritten throughout the user journey?
Geno Prussakov: I still believe that the last-click-wins rule is a good rule to go by. If you want to eliminate any unwanted “last clicks”, there are great technologies to do it (leveraging attribution rules).
If/when a merchant contemplates a multi-click attribution, I recommend doing this not by splitting commissions between multiple affiliates, but by rewarding additional affiliates with additional bonuses.
Cloudways: How can retailers (affiliate) keep track of each sale so that they don’t miss out on the sale’s commission?
Geno Prussakov: You’ll have to rely on the tracking solution(s) used by those with whom you want to partner; but, when possible, do back yourself up with something on top of it.
Cloudways: For an affiliate marketing campaign would you prefer well-optimized content or a huge budget for performance marketing (PPC) campaign?
Geno Prussakov: Both. Though, content comes first. 😉
Cloudways: What events would you recommend affiliate marketers attend? Do you have any personal favorites?
Geno Prussakov: I’m biased as I own/run one: AM Days. At the time of this interview, we’re in partnership with Affiliate Summit running AM Days as a series of affiliate marketing workshops in the framework of this big (and popular) conference. So, while attending the next Affiliate Summit, you can attend both. Besides these two, consider (i) platform/network-specific events, (ii) niche-specific affiliate events, and (iii) geography-specific ones too. I publish a comprehensive list of these on my blog at the end of every year, updating the list throughout the whole next year.
Cloudways: Let’s step away from work. What do you do to relax and unwind?
Geno Prussakov: I like to kayak and go fishing, but lately, my life has been too busy to afford a couple of hours to “wet the line.” It’s been at least half a year since I went fishing (or kayaking)… though I live on a lake now. I love working out, and I am religiously consistent with it. The gym helps me unwind and recharge. Also, once a year, I try to go to warm places: to a beach where I could just relax and enjoy with my family.
Cloudways: You write books and develop video courses. What is your preferred way of learning new stuff?
Geno Prussakov: At my age, before lifting weights you need to raise your body temperature and, at the start of each workout, I do light cardio for about 20-30 minutes. I use this time to self-educate. The content that I consume (while on a treadmill) comes in the forms of audio-books, video courses, conference presentations, and podcasts (in that order). A long-haul flight, on the other hand, sets a perfect context for a good book.
Cloudways: Please share an image of your work station?
Geno Prussakov: Just as 20 years ago, when I first started in e-commerce and online marketing, I still work from my home office. Nothing fancy: just a quiet room, with a good, fast computer, an ergonomic keyboard, and a mouse.
Cloudways: Who would you recommend we interview next?
Geno Prussakov: For affiliate marketing: Todd Crawford, for conversion rate optimization: Tim Ash and Bryan Eisenberg, for neuromarketing: Roger Dooley. Tell ’em Geno sent you.
Usman is a Digital Marketer at Cloudways- A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform, where he looks after affiliate partnerships and helps digital nomads in generating passive income. He is a foodie by heart, who loves to explore new eateries around his vicinity.