The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.
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Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date, or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.
It’s great to see performance marketers thinking about the affiliate channel in relation to budget because the same budget challenges apply in all channels. As an affiliate, I used to get angry every time I got an email telling me an affiliate commission was reduced. Nobody likes being told they are getting less per sale, but I started asking why. Often the answers were incredibly fair. The reality is, there are plenty of valid reasons an affiliate commission isn’t a static number.
2. Product categories with varying margins. If you have many products, your margins on each one will likely vary. Electronics might have a tight margin, while home decor may have more leeway. If you are looking to establish a flat commission structure — i.e., a set revenue-share percentage, no matter what item the affiliate sells — then evaluate what your product mix is. What percentage of your sales are low margin? What percentage are high margin? From here, develop a blended commission rate that will be profitable for both you and your affiliate.