But I'm wondering about this initial limitation to only comic retailers.
The basic idea of an affiliate program is not dissimilar to putting candy and magazines in the check-out line at the grocery store. The psychology, from a retailer perspective, is that they're presenting fairly cheap, broadly appealing products to people while they're doing something else. So while you're in line to pay for the milk and bread you already picked up, you might decide to grab a Snickers or People on a whim. The affiliate program works on the same principle. You're on somebody's site checking the store hours or looking for upcoming events or whatever, and you see that you can grab an issue of High Moon for only 99¢... well, that might be enough enticement for you to buy it then and there.
"It looks kind of neat, and it's only 99¢... sure, why not?"
It's a win for comiXology because you just bought a comic from them, and it's a win for the retailer because they (presumably) get a small commission fee for not really doing anything besides having to drop this widget on their site.
But, again, why just limit it to retailers? Couldn't you just as easily be reading my blog here and decide you want to buy something. Maybe because it just looked neat, or maybe because I happened to be reviewing it. Why not have the same widget on a comic convention site? Or a site like Newsarama or CBR?
I'm certain that there was a lot of conscious thought put into it, but I can't quite wrap my head around the thinking here. Here's what I've been able to come up with...
- They're not entirely sure of the impact this type of thing will have on their servers, so they want to start with a limited rollout.
- They feel either an overt or implicit animosity towards them from the traditional retailing community, but they themselves don't have anything against the retailers
- So, by limiting the rollout to retailers, they have a smaller sampling up front, plus it's a nice, friendly gesture towards retailers. "Hey, we're really not trying to steal your business. Let's all share in digital comics revenues."
I'm just guessing, though. If anyone else has any thoughts/ideas on the subject, I'd certainly be curious to hear them.