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What is Affiliate Marketing and Where to Start

Jul 3, 2008
Affiliate marketing is probably the best, as well as the easiest, way to make money on the Internet. Truth be told, an affiliate marketing campaign can be up and running in minutes. So exactly what is affiliate marketing and where do you start? Let's break it down and make it simple.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing, very simply, is where you sell other people's items or products for a commission. There are numerous affiliate product sites all over the Internet for this purpose. The good thing is that most of them are free to join and easy for the affiliate marketing newbie to get going.

Why are the sites free to join?

Affiliate marketing sites are designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to provide large businesses with an outlet for their product. These businesses pay to list their products on the site.

You, the affiliate marketing newbie, comes along and decide to promote that product and receive commissions for each sale you make. In this way, the marketing site makes money (from the listing fee), the product supplier makes money (from product sales) and YOU make money (from commissions on sales). Everybody is happy!

How much can I make?

This really depends on you based on your promotion efforts. More promotion equals more sales equals more commissions. The harder you work, the more you make.

What kind of commission can I expect?

Usually, this is set by the business offering the product. Some commissions are as high as 75% while others may be as low as 10%. Look around a bit and see what's out there.

How do I get paid?

This can vary from site to site. Some might utilize PayPal as a payment medium, some may do a direct deposit to your bank account and some send checks out at specified times.

Every market site has a "back office" area that reports your earnings at any given moment. You can see what you have coming any time you want. They also report on sales activity, so you can see what is working and what isn't.

Sounds great! Where do I go to start?

There are several affiliate sites called marketplaces. The biggest and most trusted is Clickbank. They have been around for quite a few years and know how to treat their customers and affiliates.

Another large one that has been around a while is PayDotCom.

Then you have Commission Junction and Linkshare, which host major large corporations like Wal-Mart or Circuit City. Since these are all free to join, the affiliate marketing newbie has nothing to lose by registering and looking around some.

How does the site know when I make a sale?

All affiliates are given an identification code or number. When you select the products you want, your code is attached to the link and is tracked back to the marketplace where it is reported in your "back office", where you can see it.

Do I need to learn HTML to be an affiliate marketer?

Absolutely not. Anybody can open an affiliate marketing business. All you need to do is copy & paste. It couldn't be simpler or easier to do.

Will I need a web site?

This is highly recommended for a place to drive customers to. A central web site is definitely a plus, though not necessary. You could simply do your promotion via email using the sales materials from the marketplace.
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