Subscribe to Our Newsletter.

Solving the affiliate marketing productivity problem with AI. Our interview with Affiliate.ai founder Rob Berrisford.

Apr 12, 2023 by Michael McNerney

After nearly two decades in the affiliate industry, Rob Berrisford has set his sights on using AI technology to “help drag the affiliate world into the new era of productivity.” 

That’s why he founded Affiliate.ai, which aims to allow people to recall their affiliate data more quickly and easily than logging into a front-end dashboard. Berrisford sees that as a potential solution to the margin squeeze in the industry, fueled by downward pricing pressure alongside rising salary costs. 

“I truly believe that productivity is our way out of that problem,” Berrisford said. “And AI represents our best chance. I believe you can 1,000x the productivity of a person through the proper use of AI on their daily tasks.”

The building blocks of current AI have been around for a while, but much of the research happened behind closed doors until recently, Berrisford said. OpenAI’s decision to make GPT3 publicly available “forced everyone’s hand” to make other AI products public, and suddenly the space rapidly exploded, creating opportunity.

“If I were to try to build Affiliate.ai two years ago, I would need to hire 50 data scientists,” Berrisford said. With the relatively low take rates in affiliate marketing, it would’ve been a very challenging business to build. “Then with these largely commoditized AI products start coming out of the  cloud providers, it does mean that all of a sudden you can build these businesses based on daisy chaining APIs together and some clever product work and you can create meaningful value across the board in a much easier way.”

Still, the “velocity” of the space can be crippling for large companies that roadmap 12 to 18 months in advance, Berrisford said. 

Berrisford had been kicking around business ideas to solve problems in affiliate, and was brainstorming ways to tap into the data held by a few big data players that integrate with thousands of brands. 

“They have fairly standardized APIs, so if you can get five network deals and five API integration, you have access to 60,000 brands, a boatload of data and pre-signed contracts,” he said. “There’s a business model in pulling this data, which we know is largely underused, sprinkling some magic dust on top, and mobilizing the affiliate networks to sell it on your behalf.”

Berrisford said Affiliate.ai will likely do a fundraising cycle soon to “pour gasoline onto a proven business model” and he believes early AI is not short of people looking to invest. 

“It’s not just because the technology is exciting, but also across the board, margins are getting squeezed and salaries are going up,” he said. “So whether you’re the CFO or the chief technologist, all of a sudden we have this situation where both of their problems are aligned in a way that hasn’t really happened often.”

As Affiliate.ai is building natural language affiliate reporting, Berrisford recommends that interested networks, brands, publishers and agencies get on the waitlist here

“You only have to spend some time trying to complete your tasks with ChatGPT as your EA to realize how much it can do,” he said.

Publisher's note: the image in the article was created using stockimg.ai and typing the world "automating affiliate marketing using artificial intelligence"