Power and control in affiliate marketing partnerships and the role of algorithmic transparency

  • G Schimmel

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Affiliate marketing has been the preferred type of marketing for many online fashion merchants working with Fashion Recommendation Systems. This marketing model has grown into a platformbased ecosystem, where publishers, merchants, and affiliate networks are the main actors. Digital platform ideology predicts partnerships of value co-creation. In reality, the partnerships suffer from
dependency and power imbalance, making the partnerships vulnerable to risks of high costs and partnership termination. The opaqueness of (FRS) algorithms adds to the need to cling onto the affiliate marketing triad. Empirical data, stemming from a single case study in the Netherlands, reveals that algorithmic transparency could aid in a more collaborative partnership between publisher and merchant. This could move them towards an ecosystem suffering from less power dependency and vulnerability issues. However, applying algorithmic transparency has its limitations, such as the complexity and transparency paradox. Further research is urged to design a campaign performance steering mechanism, based on algorithmic transparency.
Date of Award10 Jul 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorVanessa Dirksen (Examiner) & Rachelle Bosua (Co-assessor)


  • Algorithmic transparency
  • affiliate marketing partnerships
  • digital platform ecosystems
  • recommendation systems

Master's Degree

  • Master Business Process management & IT (BPMIT)

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