Affiliate Programs

Report: Walmart suspends affiliate program with MagicLinks, Rakuten

Report: Walmart suspends affiliate program with MagicLinks, Rakuten
Written by publishing team

Diving Brief:

  • Walmart has suspended influencer programs affiliated with social commerce site MagicLinks and e-commerce giant Rakuten, according to a report in Business Insider.
  • “We regret to inform you that at this time, WMCA (Walmart Canada) has requested that its affiliate program be temporarily suspended,” said an email from Walmart Canada sent on March 24. We hope to bring the program back as soon as possible once market levels are over. A little, things are back to normal. However, we do not currently have a date to return.”
  • MagicLinks confirmed the temporary suspension in an email to Business Insider.

Diving Insight:

WalmartThe rationale for cutting out an affiliate marketing program is not clear from the information available. It could be a cost-cutting measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could also be a way to control a channel that has a reputation for being free for all and subject to high levels of fraud.

However, Walmart isn’t alone in cutting off affiliate programs, according to a Business Insider report, which notes that Macy’s, Patagonia and Victoria’s Secret retailers have taken similar steps. These moves are likely to affect the ability of influencers and other creators to generate revenue.

Before these moves, there were signs that influencer affiliate marketing was experiencing a boom, as RewardStyle, an affiliate platform for influencers, saw a 30% increase in sales in March, according to Business Insider. Some influencers may have shifted their focus to affiliate marketing as brands have retreated from influencer marketing during the pandemic.

Publishers can take a similar hit if affiliate marketing continues to roll back. The development comes at a time when publishers are already taking a hit on the revenue side as marketers are cutting ad spend and preventing ads from running on coronavirus-related stories. Walmart has discontinued some of its affiliate programs with Vox Media and BuzzFeed, Business Insider, said, citing a report in The Information.

The news also comes as 65% of CMOs are already preparing for budget cuts due to the COVID-19 shutdown, according to a new report from Gartner.

About the author

publishing team