In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.
This is one area that is often overlooked as an “out of my hands” part of the affiliate marketing funnel. Once you’ve sent a visitor to the merchant site, all you can do is cross your fingers and hope they ultimately complete whatever action is necessary for you to get your commission. That’s partially true I suppose. But you have more input here than you may realize.
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
Wow! Thank you for such a complete description of affiliate marketing. I just started casually blogging a few months ago and your post gives me a great view into just how much work is involved if I’m going to successfully monetize my blog. I just shared a short post titled “A Blogger’s Nightmare – 0 Active Users” commenting on having blog traffic…I definitely see that there’s a lot more involved! Thanks again.
The Australian Spam Act 2003 is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, widely known as "ACMA". The act defines the term unsolicited electronic messages, states how unsubscribe functions must work for commercial messages, and gives other key information. Fines range with 3 fines of AU$110,000 being issued to Virgin Blue Airlines (2011), Tiger Airways Holdings Limited (2012) and Cellar master Wines Pty Limited (2013).
So you are ready to take the affiliate world by storm. The first big hurdle is to decide what you are going to pay your affiliates. Affiliates who refer sales to you get a commission once a sale (or a different conversion action) is completed. Payments can be either (a) a flat amount (in whatever currency you operate) or (b) a percentage of the total sale (exclusive of taxes and shipping). So, how do you determine what your affiliate program commission rate should be?
Once you acquire a customer through an affiliate, you can then market directly to that customer going forward. It’s important to figure out the lifetime value of your customer as that can also help you decide what commission to pay. With this information you can decide if your acquisition costs are correct or you may decide to be more aggressive with payouts to get those customers in the door.
Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.
4. A clear competitive advantage. Every affiliate network says they have great support, highest payouts, reporting, etc. To get a super affiliate’s attention you need to be clear about what your competitive advantage is. Do you do one niche better than anyone else? Do you have exclusives? Are your landing pages converting really well? Communicate a different competitive advantage from the rest and it will pay dividends.
But this “old school” method of making money online is still going strong because of all the benefits it offers to small-scale, solo internet entrepreneurs. And it’s an especially powerful business model to those without much experience doing business online. Many successful online business owners make their first dollar online with affiliate marketing.
Keeping tabs on what worked and what didn’t will help you decide not only how to strategize in the future, but which brands or vendors to continue doing business with. In the same way freelancers keep books and records of which publishers or editors they enjoyed working with, affiliates have the independence to reroute later on if they don’t end up enjoying certain brands or products.
Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.
Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
Of course, there is no prescriptive recipe you can follow that guarantees success. To me, the best marketers are those that can simply build experiments, test assumptions, and iterate over their ideas quickly. Affiliate marketing is really no exception. Here are just a few tips and heuristics I’ve picked up through my experiences that should be helpful!