PMA Finally Opens Up Membership Level Smaller Publishers Can Afford

It’s easy to play armchair quarterback to an organization simultaneously juggling the needs of a distinctly varied constituency, fighting for the survival of its industry, and attempting to establish a secure foundation for its growth. Under pressure it’s easy to make mistakes. Often those mistakes are born out of the necessity to take action with limited available options.

When the Performance Marketing Association (PMA) launched in January 2009 it was already facing fallout by some from what was seen as inaction towards New York’s passing of the so-called Amazon Tax. At Affiliate Summit West that month the PMA’s opening session, headed by the courageous Rebecca Madigan, was filled with passionate folks struggling in different ways to protect an industry they cared about. The organization encountered additional trouble as public fights broke out on forums like ABestWeb over the course the association founders had chosen over the its structure and purpose.

One particularly divisive point was the cost of membership. Accusations flew that the cost was purposefully set  high, at $500, to keep out “whiny non-producing” small affiliates.

Dusting itself off from that less-than-smooth launch, the PMA has been instrumental in helping to coordinate fights against anti-affiliate legislation in California and many other states. It also provided a point of coordination between the big four networks, Amazon, and affiliates. It has maintained continual updates on various state’s activities and brought on critical team members like Lisa Picarille to provide a much needed editorial voice to the PMA’s focus.

Yet at its one year anniversary this last January less than 60 industry professionals showed up at the PMA’s rally during an Affiliate Summit West event that had a record setting 4125 attendees. At the time it was mentioned that apathy towards the legal challenges facing the industry were to blame. Again, in the comment threads of that coverage, the prevailing issue of the cost of membership came out.

Today, the PMA seems to be much different than the fledgling group that appeared on stage in 2009. It has been battle tested with efforts in many states, including a brutal fight in Colorado. It has recognized the need to celebrate and boost morale by thanking those affiliates who have taken time out of their daily jobs to petition state legislators. All those have been very smart moves.

I think by far the smartest this week’s announcement. The PMA has finally created an “associate” membership level that smaller publishers can afford in an effort to boost grass roots participation. The associate membership price is $99.

I anticipate the next question will be when will these new “associate” members get a chance to vote, so they can really feel ownership with the process, otherwise; lack of voting privileges may fuel the sense that the PMA isn’t there to represent small affiliates.

But one step at a time. Right now there is a difficult fight in Connecticut that everyone needs to pay attention to. It’s worth noting that the PMA is there, once again, leading the fight.

About Angel Djambazov

Born in Bulgaria, Angel Djambazov has spent his professional career in the fields of journalism and online marketing. In his journalistic career he worked as an editor on several newspapers and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Wyoming Homes and Living Magazine. Later his career path led to online marketing where while working at OnlineShoes he earned the Affiliate Manager of the Year (2006) award at the Affiliate Summit, and In-house Manager of the Year (2006) award by ABestWeb.

For four years Angel served as OPM for Jones Soda for which he won his second Affiliate Manger of the Year (2009) award at Affiliate Summit.

Currently Angel serves as OPM for KEEN Footwear and MedicalRecords.com. His former clients include: Dell, Real Networks, Jones Soda, Intelius, Graphicly, Chrome Bags, Onlineshoes.com, Vitamin Angels, The Safecig, and Bag Borrow or Steal.

Angel is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher for ReveNews.com and ReveNews.org.

Angel lives north of Seattle, spending his free time reading up on obscure scientific references made by his wife MGX, while keeping up with a horde of cats and a library of books.

You can find Angel on Twitter @djambazov.

4 Responses to PMA Finally Opens Up Membership Level Smaller Publishers Can Afford

  1. I was one of the first to jump on the Associate Member level, because like many I wanted to join and wanted to support, but without a company reimbursing me, I could not afford $500 on my own.

    I think it's a great thing they're doing with this new level and should really boost participation.

  2. Peter Koning says:

    Looks like they have a promo on for $49 but I don't see any directory listing associate members as they promise as a benefit. Maybe coming soon?

  3. peter bordes says:

    Thrilled to see the new membership level. creating programs that addressed the needs across all the different people and companies in our industry was the more difficult than most can imagine when we were all trying to develop memberships.

    The PMA is really gaining a head of steam and we are so happy to see our very own industry association being supported by all, and bringing us all together:)

  4. Aurest says:

    "lack of voting privileges may fuel the sense that the PMA isn’t there to represent small affiliates."

    Right. No vote, no voice.