Debunking the Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers List from

Editor’s Note: While both Missy Ward, the Co-Publisher of ReveNews, and Angel Djambazov, the Editor-in-Chief of ReveNews, have been honored in the list reprinted below, we felt that there is a real danger of being too reliant on “influence metrics.” A danger Missy outlines well in the following  article. Sites like Twitter, Klout, and PeerIndex make great research tools, but woe be it to them who blindly use such tools as a shortcut to finding influencers or who allow such tools to define how they choose to create content. Enjoy!

Performance marketing technology provider Impact Radius announced the publication of a “Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers” list.  Here is the infographic they provided in their press release:

Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers List Infographic from

According to their release,

“Designed to help advertisers, agencies and media companies seeking expert guidance in improving their revenue from performance marketing, the list, based on an Impact Radius independent analysis of the influence of more than 400 prominent performance marketing thought leaders, identifies the top people whose blogs, tweets and social metrics provide the most influential insights and advice for the industry.”

While I appreciate being included in the list, I’d like to go on record with my thoughts about this list, and lists such as this. This is not meant to be disrespectful to the folks at Impact Radius (and I know that they won’t take it as such) but in my opinion, it’s lists such as these which can lead to confusion, especially to those outside of the performance marketing/affiliate marketing industry, as well as to folks new to the industry itself. And, the last thing we need is more confusion.

Heck, we still can’t even agree on what we call ourselves in our own industry.

As I’ve been an affiliate marketer since the late ’90s, I’ve been around the block a few times, so I’d like to share some points that I strongly believe should be taken into consideration when interpreting this list.

Caveat Emptor When it Comes to Folks that have “Made the List”.

I do not mean this as an insult, but there are people on this list that are simply NOT influential in the affiliate marketing/performance marketing space. They know who they are and they’re likely are likely wondering to themselves why they’ve been included.  That does not mean to say that they are not impressive in their respective areas of expertise; it’s just not affiliate marketing.  Just do your due diligence. Ok?

Ranking People Using Social Scoring Does Not Give You the Whole Picture

Sadly, this list only used online social metrics to determine authority ranking.  Big mistake for many reasons:

  1. Using social scoring immediately discounts the long term effects that the truly influential people have had for many years before Twitter, Klout and Peer Index existed.  And trust me, when these leaders do speak, their message is not only heard, it’s respected.
  2. This list does not take into account a person’s offline influence or authority in alternative online sharing platforms, such as forums.  Just because these people do not choose to participate in Twitter, etc. does not mean that their influence is any less powerful.  
  3. Klout, Twitter and PeerIndex can all be manipulated—easily. [Bots, frequency of posting instead of quality of posting, etc.)
  4. Social scoring does not segment a person’s ability to influence within an industry, but rather provides just a single number to rank them across the board. So folks with large Twitter followings, high Klout Scores and PeerIndex scores in general, will likely outrank people that are truly influential in a specific industry.

For the reasons above, I’d like to recognize a few people who should have been included in this “Top 25″ list, as they actually have driven action and continue to drive the affiliate marketing / performance marketing industry.

  • Brian Littleton,
  • Kellie Stevens,
  • Todd Farmer,
  • Scott Jangro,
  • Pat Grady,
  • Eric Nagel,
  • Todd Crawford,  (Yes, the Co-Founder of the company that put this list out, who has propelled this industry for many years, didn’t even make the list.)

Who do you think is missing from this list?

About Missy Ward

Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine,,; the Co-Publisher of, Founder of and manages many of her own affiliate sites. Visit her affiliate marketing blog at

8 Responses to Debunking the Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers List from

  1. TriciaMeyer says:

    I know my response isn’t going to be popular, but I’ve been thinking about this ever since I read Missy’s initial post.

    I don’t think that the situation with this list is any different than the attention that we give to Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards, Linkshare Golden Link Awards, CJU Awards, etc. Everyone is  “influenced” by different people and for different reasons. I often hear people complaining about the finalists and the winners of all of those awards I just mentioned. Why? Because those people didn’t have the same experience with the nominated people that the nominators or voters did. They are often called popularity contests and everyone wonders how people won. And yet we call those people the “Merchant of they Year” or “OPM of the Year” or whatever. Heck, I won one of those kind of awards this year and I am sure people were wondering if I bribed the judges!

    On the flip side, what Impact Radius did was use pure metrics. You can definitely disagree with the metrics. We all know that numbers can be gamed. But at least when you look at the list you look at it with that background. If you don’t believe in Twitter, you disregard the list entirely. If you are skeptical of Klout, you look at the Klout scores listed with skepticism. But the bottom line is that you can make an informed decision about whether you agree with the list itself. The same cannot be said for most other lists and awards.

    I don’t agree that everyone on the Impact Radius list influences me. And there are people not on the list who definitely influence me. But I am still honored to even be listed in the same blog post as most of the people on the list. We can all create our own lists and even give the criteria for how we create those lists. I guarantee that we will all disagree at least in part with each other’s results.  

    • missyward says:

      Hey Tricia – who cares if your opinion is popular 🙂 It’s your opinion and I’m glad you shared it. 

      I believe there is a big difference between calling someone a “Top Influencer” of an entire industry then providing them with an award in a specific category.  

      To me an influencer is someone that drives action and should not be defined ONLY by how many followers you have on Twitter, or any other online social measurement tool.

      This list simply reflects how much a person is actively participating in social media in the present and not necessarily within the affiliate marketing industry.

      And that’s fine… the list should just be called something else.

  2. First, congratulations to every one who made the list. Secondly, I want to address how the final list was determined.  We knew going into this project that it wouldn’t be perfect in every one’s opinion.  We tried to use objective metrics from various third-parties so no one metric could influence the final results – we then weighted them and created a master score and ranked the 400 candidates.  We then began vetting the top results by review their content on twitter and blog posts to ensure that the content was relevant to the performance marketing industry until we had the top 25.

    An alternative and equally valuable method would be to subjectively rank our favorite bloggers and twitter accounts but we wanted to try and be as objective as possible and score everyone against each other.

    I agree that there are many other valuable and influential people in the performance marketing industry.  This was by no means a definitive list – it is a guideline for other to explore and decide the value of each influencer themselves.

    So again, if you made the list congratulations! We tried very hard to create something others would find valuable. 

    • Hi Todd,

      Anytime a Top “List” is created the methodology behind the list as well as those who are on the list are subject to scrutiny.  When the American Film Institute came out with it’s 100 Years…100 Movies list, of the top films of the last 100 years, the methodology was criticized. What’s true for the AFI’s list is true for our industry. 

      I’m sure Impact Radius did not take the work put into compiling such a list lightly. The methodology of such a project can be refined on a yearly basis. Although, no matter how much refinement, there will always be someone worthy left out.

      Those who are unfamiliar with but interested in performance marketing need such resources to find the right people to connect with. Your list is a good start. Due diligence required. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    The problem with using the word influencer is that social media is far from a good way to actually decide what influence is, especially in business. If you want to be completely honest, Jeff Bezos probably has more influence in Performance Marketing than all of us, because Amazon’s affiliate program influences the industry in ways that are more significant. 

    These list are always nice, but always bring more questions. 

  4. Any list of people for good or bad must be taken with a grain of salt.

  5. Pat Grady says:

    this list almost inpired me to send my 2nd tweet. 🙂

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