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Understanding The Basics Of Affiliate Programs

Aug 18, 2007
Affiliate marketing programs have become very popular right now. Although they have been around for a while, only recently have they grown substantially in popularity. Some people have actually made money with such programs. How have they done it?

What exactly is an "affiliate program"? It is an arrangement between an online merchant website and a participating website where the merchant website pays the participating website to send them traffic.

The Details

The details of each affiliate program vary from program to program. Generally, the partner website posts links to the merchant website. The affiliate is paid according to how many people are sent to the merchant website via the affiliate link. The partner can also be paid as a result of the number of people that buy something from the partner website or website link.

Payment arrangements vary and can be based on traffic, on purchases, or on getting other people to join the
affiliate program. If you work hard and post links on all of the pages of a website you could make a lot of money through partner marketing programs.

Why Merchants Develop Affiliate Programs

Many merchants develop partner marketing programs because it is one of the best ways to sell products or services online. Affiliate marketing works because it gets the word out to the world about a company. It explains what the company is all about, and why consumers should look at it. Affiliate programs are also quite cheap to start up. They are based on affiliate members' future actions so there are no funds to be paid out ahead of time. Thus, these programs are cheap marketing for the merchant!

If you think about it, affiliates are basically advertising for the merchant all over the Internet. and if they do not generate any traffic they do
not get paid. For the marketing partners that do generate traffic and sales, they will get paid after the money has come in. The merchant is always ahead of the financial game and the partner will be guaranteed payment.

Affiliate History

Although affiliate programs are everywhere these days, they weren't always so prevalent. It wasn't until 1996 that affiliate marketing came up with a grand strategy or a "grand plan." If you take a look around a number of large internet companies, you will discover that many of them are essentially big merchants with a bunch of small marketing partners that advertise on their websites. The way that they work is that affiliates post information for products
and then the major company gets a cut of the profit as well as collects the money and ships the product.

A Growing Trend

It's important to note that you do not have to have a large business to be successful with affiliate programs. You can be a merchant of any sort and create an affiliate program just to create some noise and generate some interest in your website.

Affiliate programs have now been around for more than ten years and they continue to be used because they work. Whether you are the merchant or the affiliate partner, there is a lot of money to be made with a relatively simple program.
About the Author
Bob Carper is a veteran information systems consultant with an MBA from Pitt. For additional information go to All About Webconferencing or Effective Web Design. You may also e-mail Bob at robertcarper06@comcast.net
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