The Augur Affiliate Blueprint
4 min read
Augur’s UX will take a big leap forward in v2…but that’s not enough. When it comes to prediction markets, a sleek UX without liquidity is like a Ferrari with no fuel. It won’t get you very far!
If only Augur had a powerful user acquisition and marketing engine... 🤔
Enter stage right: Affiliate Incentives.
It’s simple. In v2, if you share a link to Augur, whenever someone clicks on that link and ends up trading on *any* Augur markets at *any* time you will earn a slice of fees.1
Let’s say I click on your link to an Augur market on the presidential election. I don’t end up trading on that market, but three weeks later, I trade on a market on Bitcoin prices, and a few days later I trade on a market on a football game. You collect affiliate profit for both of those trades and any others I make…forever.
In v1, only market creators had real incentives to spread markets. In v2, anyone, anywhere, anytime will be incentivized to do so. Just as making predictions and reporting on their outcomes are incentivized and crowdsourced activities on Augur, so too will be user acquisition.
Communal incentives to this extent are only possible on a peer-to-peer network, where capital can flow to anyone who provides utility rather than concentrating in the hands of middlemen.
There are many potential flavors of affiliates. Here are a few:
YouTubers, bloggers, and media publishers can earn affiliate revenue by creating or curating content that links to Augur. This may include tutorials and guides on how to use Augur, blogs on sporting or political predictions, news stories referencing what Augur markets are forecasting on current events, aggregators that display and compare odds from different betting exchanges for given events, or any engaging or useful content on Augur.
Influencers, as well as more casual users, on apps like Twitter or Instagram can share affiliate links, perhaps with their own predictions on the linked-to markets.
The Forecast Foundation does not do paid marketing, but affiliate incentives opens the door for independent operators to do so. Online marketers can tailor ads to different niches in the form of search, display, or social ads.
Any app or tool that makes it easier to trade on Augur has the potential to earn affiliate profit. Developers can build onboarding UXs that help first-time users generate wallets, make their first trade, and maybe even automatically seed wallets with a small number of shares in Augur markets to help get their foot in the door.
They can build explorers that let users track and navigate Augur markets, arbitrage trackers that notify users about price gaps between Augur and other platforms, and much more. Augur overlays will also be in a great position to capture affiliate fees which may further incentivize them to list not just their own markets but also independently created markets.
The Ingredients of a Successful Affiliate Program
The foundation is incentives. Market creators specify what portion of fees will go to affiliates and are incentivized to give a generous slice, so that their markets will be promoted. To further incentivize market creators, Augur UIs may display more prominently markets that, all else equal, have a higher portion of market creator fees going to affiliates.
On top of this, we need great tooling and resources to make it easy for affiliates to get on board. For example, simple UIs to generate affiliate links, including to a custom display of markets that may appeal to an affiliate’s niche audience, analytics to track revenue and trading activity from affiliate links, templates for content creators, Augur market odds widgets with affiliate URLs that can be embedded on any website, and simple ways to generate Tweets and other social shares that link to Augur markets and generate affiliate revenue.
These things, and much more, may be built by different actors in the ecosystem, including the Forecast Foundation, overlays, and independent devs, and may be funded, in part, by bounties.
Even with the best affiliate incentives in the world, nobody will make use of them if they don’t know they exist. So a robust affiliate program will also require outreach, especially early on. The focus at first will be on quality over quantity, bringing on board affiliates who have a strong relationship with their audience and who have reach among niche audiences with the highest potential for early product-market fit.
Markets, like social apps, are subject to potent network effects. The more traders a market has, the more others want to trade in it due to better liquidity. The reverse is also true: nobody wants to trade in a market that nobody else is trading in.
So we expect that affiliate incentives will be more powerful once there is a baseline amount of liquidity in Augur markets. Still, more crypto and market-savvy actors can help jumpstart liquidity early on by serving in tandem as market makers *and* affiliates.
Overlays will likely be the first players to rake in significant affiliate profit since they can earn affiliate fees when traders use their UIs and have the skills and resources to invest in user acquisition.
Once Augur markets have sufficient baseline liquidity, affiliates can ignite powerful network effects and help take things to the next level. More affiliates = more new traders = more liquid markets = more success for new affiliates. So with each new affiliate, it becomes valuable to become a new affiliate.
Eventually, affiliates may need to know nothing about crypto and not even have to touch crypto with backend services that convert their Dai revenue into fiat.
Augur’s v2 acquisition incentives will be night and day over those in v1. We are optimistic that affiliates can take off in Augur v2 and grow even more powerful down the line as Augur becomes more frictionless due to better scalability and infrastructure.
1. The affiliate link may be overridden if the link follower changes the url’s query parameter to their own Ethereum address or if they place no trade within 30 days.