Internet Marketing Professional

Direct Line- TV, Affiliates and Lies

Posted on: July 1, 2007

Direct Line Affiliate Marketing

I recently saw an advert on the television for Direct Line Insurance. They were espousing how great they were, as all advertising is likely to do. In this ad they also talk about how they ‘cut out the middlemen’ online. They don’t use price comparison sites online etc as a way of driving business to the website. I had a look online to see if this is true.

What is a middleman?

Intermediary within a channel of distribution used to transfer products from the manufacturer to the end user. Those who actually take title to the products and resell them are merchant middlemen. Those who act as brokers but do not take title are agent middlemen. Merchant middlemen include wholesalers and retailers. Agent middlemen include manufacturer’s representatives, brokers, and sales agents. Middlemen expand the capacity of the manufacturer to distribute products to the end user, transfer title between channel levels, collect payments from middlemen and end users, and communicate product information to all channel participants. When the financial and expert resources are available in-house, manufacturers can increase their profit margins by reducing the involvement of middlemen Definition of the term middle man

So an affiliate to any site or merchant , from the above definition, is an “Agent MiddleMan“. If Direct Line run an affiliate program, from this definition they must be using MiddleMen. So quick search in Google for the term “direct line insurance affiliate” returns the top result as being for OMG (The Online Media Group). This page has a list of terms and conditions for an affiliate program for Direct Line. It even includes a commission structure:

  • Direct Line Car Insurance £60 per sale
  • Direct Line Home Insurance £75 per sale
  • Direct Line Home Rescue Cover £25 per sale
  • Direct Line Life Insurance £85 per sale
  • Direct Line Life plus Critical Illness Insurance £85 per sale
  • Direct Line Travel Insurance £17.50 per sale
  • Direct Line Pet Insurance £30 per sale

So would this advert count as a bit of a porky? Maybe but they do explicitly list Price Comparison sites as being the middlemen – maybe it is only these middle men they are meaning. I know a little about semantics but this could be taking the issue too far. So I had a little run about the web to see if I could find them on any price comparison sites.

In all honesty I couldn’t find any. So they are true to their word that they don’t use them. So from this I started to do some digging to find out why this would be. Was there an ulterior motive for not using a huge source of online traffic. I found the following:

It was interesting to see that some support the stance of direct line – forcing price comparison sites to admit how much they get as a commission from each sale etc. And others intimating that the reason for the comments is that they were not cheap enough to allow for good placement within the price comparison results.

Woo Hoo. I’m happy – direct line may be increasing consumer knowledge by trying to be smart. Consumers may start understanding that on the web everyone is trying to make money, a lot of sites make a lot of money, most sites make very little. But be sure almost all websites are trying to get some of your money. So congratulations to Direct Line, congratulations to all the great online journalists and professional bloggers for starting the debate and hopefully congratulations to all who shop online for more fully understanding whats going on.


2 Responses to "Direct Line- TV, Affiliates and Lies"

So, you edited your post? Bad form, Mr. Capitulator!

Aye well the original post wasnt very well balanced and did hammer direct line a bit hard. After a quick rethink I thought it was better to edit the post and give a more rounded opinion on the subject.

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