For companies who want to market and sell their product the Internet has become the efficient and trusted medium. One of the reasons for this has been the increase of affiliate marketing. It goes back to late 1994, when many e-commerce sites began using the system discovering that it presents superb results. It is primarily a revenue share sort of system. A commission is given to an affiliate from a merchant, which is based on the numbers of sales the affiliate has generated through advertising on his or her site.

Online merchants think of affiliate marketing as extremely beneficial because it gives little to no risk for both, the merchant and the affiliate. For this reason, many companies like Amazon owe a lot to affiliate marketing, and it has now become standard for companies to incorporate affiliate marketing in many of their projects.

When an affiliate enlists with an e-commerce merchant, payment is received through referrals from the affiliate’s website. It is generally done through the following methods:

  • Pay-per click – the affiliate displays advertisements on his or her site and is paid when a visitor clicks on it.
  • RSS feeds or blogs – even personal sites can be under this group. Blogging is fast becoming a basic form of marketing and promotion, and affiliate marketing partners are doing well with this type of online communication.
  • Comparison sites and shopping directories – such as review sites or legit advertising sites.
  • Loyalty sites – this is when a reward system is in place via a cash back or points back system.
  • Coupon sites – that focus strictly on marketing and promotions.
  • Email lists – legit email lists to subscribers of the affiliate’s website.
  • A registration path – when someone registers with a site for a newsletter or subscription, etc., offers from other companies are represented and advertised.
  • Networks – there are many affiliate marketing networks. Some even function on a multi-tier or multi-level marketing sort of set up.

As you see, affiliate marketing is not limited to purely show advertisements on someone’s site, but also appears as email, blogs, rss feeds, content and niche sites, loyalty sites, comparison sites and shopping directories. It is a very low cost, but most effective form of marketing and advertising, presenting little to no risk for both the merchant and the affiliate.

It carries practically no cost on the merchant in the initial set up as well – in other words, it costs nearly nothing to position advertising banners on affiliate’s sites, and there is only a payment if a lead or sale has been generated, which is an advantage for all. Merchants also get to set the guidelines and decide on the incentive schemes. Therefore, it is a very economical and efficient way to grow a business. Many flourishing e-commerce sites owe much to this simple but effective system.

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