10a. Affiliate Programs, IUH 2009-12, 2ND Ed, R513A

Author Notes: Reference Copy, links to Original Copy removed due to the Age of the Content. See the top Blog Menu for Copyright Concerns, Some Content Removed.

Dr. Don, Founder ICFO


10a. Affiliate Programs, IUH 2009-12, 2ND Ed, R513A

In this chapter, you will see that almost anything that can be sold – can be sold online. Find out the differences between the three online networks, legitimate Affiliate, Affiliate multiplier and MLM and the illegal Pyramid schemes.

Trying to rank these programs, as to which is best for you, is difficult because most site owners are selling their affiliations or MLM.

Learn the differences between each scheme. What legitimate ways to earn and be successful online are? As in the previous Chapter, find something of interest to you


TIP: As you review the various materials and references, you may note that many references are still confused and treat any multi-tier program or MLM as a pyramid – it is not, as we hope to clarify for you herein. Again, as in the previous section, try to find something that interests you and do your due diligence.

The affiliate is the middle man/woman that exists between the customer and the seller. Other names include associate, broker, agent, dealer, etc.

Affiliate program marketing is one of the best ways for newbies to learn how to make money on the Internet and to make a lot of money. There are thousands and thousands of ordinary people, who are making an extraordinary living from affiliate program marketing.

For the newbie’s affiliate program marketing is when you go to a company A, who sells a product or service. You complete the quick application process. The company approves your application. The company provides you with a unique link. This link contains your own unique affiliate ID. It is up to you to market this product and when you make a sale you get a commission on the sale. Don’t worry about how to make a sale. It can be done without moving from your couch. To join the affiliate marketing program is free.

One of the things you may be wondering about is where do I find these companies to become affiliated to? The best way is to go to a search engine on the net and type in Affiliate program marketing directories.

You will find thousands and thousands of companies who would kill to get you to market their products or services. The one that I like and use is at clickbank.com. It has a great selection (thousand) of products to market.Clickbank.com also guarantees that you will get paid your commission. They also have a 30-day money-back guarantee on the products.


Now selecting a product is one of the most important aspects off affiliate marketing:

  • To start select a product that you now have an interest in or are passionate about. This will make it easier for you to market.
  • Do some research on the product.
  • See if it is popular and does what it claims to do.
  • Look at the commission that you will be generating.
  • It can be anything from 25% to 75%.
  • It takes the same effort to make 25% or 75% commission.
  • I would take the 75% commission product.
  • Last but not least. All affiliate program marketing programs are in essence the same, but do differ in some small ways and these small differences can make a big difference in money.

Most affiliate program marketing programs are in essence the same, but there are some small differences and these small differences can make a big difference. The difference comes in the amount of money you can generate per month.

The first and one of the major differences between different affiliate program marketing programs is, is in the amount of commission that are paid to you. This could be from 25% to 75% it takes the same effort to sell a 25% or 75% commission product. There are lots of programs that pay 75% commission and the product cost more than $100.I know which program I will be promoting. The major reason being the fact that it takes the same effort and expenses to make a lot more money. Don’t fool yourself making money is what it is all about.

The next kind of affiliate program marketing program to consider is membership websites or as it is also known a residual income program. Here you are marketing membership to an affiliate marketers program or website at a monthly subscription.

When people join the program through your efforts, you receive a commission for your sale, but it does not stop there. You also get a percentage of the subscription fee of these members who joined because of you. This you get every month for as long as the person stays with the program. You work once and are paid forever.

There are even same of this affiliate program marketing programs that gives you commission on the subscription of the members who joined the members who joined you. This adds up to a lot of money. This is cold leverage, doing more with less.

The next difference comes in the form of customer care and training. This is the biggest difference between the different affiliate program marketing programs. This one can make or break you, so focus. The good programs will have great customer care and would bend over backwards to help you succeed. This will come in the form of pre-written solo-ads-mail, training video etc.

The great programs will have all of the above plus a plan that you can follow to make a success of your Internet business. This is a win, win situation if you succeed and make money they succeed and make money. AffiliateProgram

Sometimes it can be an automated marketing program where a Web advertiser or merchant recruits webmasters to place the merchant’s banner ads or buttons on their own Web site. Webmasters will receive a referral fee or commission from sales when the customer has clicked the affiliate link to get to the merchant’s Web site Web site to perform the desired action, usually make a purchase or fill out a contact form. The most common types of affiliate programs include pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-sale.


If you have a Web site or blog and are looking for a way to earn income from your online property, consider affiliate-marketing programs. Affiliate marketing is the term used to describe a revenue- sharing plan where an online automated marketing program lets Webmasters place an advertiser’s banner ads or buttons on their own Web site. Webmasters will receive a referral fee or commission from conversions when a customer has clicked the affiliate link and performs the desired action, such as make a purchase or opt-in for downloads or newsletters on the advertiser’s site.

Advertisers invest in affiliate programs for lead generation, and, of course, sales. Not all affiliate plans work in the same way or pay the same rates. Some enable you to place text or image hyperlinks to products or a Web site, others allow you to set up a shopping or store page that offers products related to the content of your Web site, and others require you to place general advertising banners or buttons. The payouts for Webmasters also varies, but in the most common forms the affiliate is paid per click, each time a person clicks the ad (pay-per-click) or you may be paid a commission when a sale is made (pay-per-sale) or you might be paid by lead (pay-per-lead).

LEARN THE LINGO – [removed]

If you’re in affiliate marketing, here is a quick reference of some of the more common terms used in conjunction with affiliate marketing. By familiarizing yourself with the terminology you will be better able to understand the affiliate agreement, how different programs work, and how you can earn money. Below you’ll find direct links to common affiliate marketing terms from Webopedia.com.


Affiliate websites are often categorized by merchants (i.e., advertisers) and affiliate networks. There are currently no industry-wide accepted standards for the categorization. The following types of websites are generic, yet are commonly understood and used by affiliate marketers.

  • Search affiliates that utilize pay per click search engines to promote the advertisers’ offers (i.e., search arbitrage)
  • Comparison shopping websites and directories
  • Loyalty websites, are typically characterized by providing a reward system for purchases via points back, cash back
  • CRM sites that offer charitable donations
  • Coupon and rebate websites that focus on sales promotions Content and niche market websites, including product review sites
  • Personal websites (This type of website was the reason for the birth of affiliate marketing; however, such websites are almost reduced to complete irrelevance compared to the other types of affiliate websites.)
  • Weblogs and website syndication feeds

Email list affiliates (i.e., owners of large opt-in -mail lists that typically employ email drip marketing) and newsletter list affiliates, which are typically more content-heavy

Registration path or co-registration affiliates who include offers from other merchants during the registration process on their own website

Shopping directories that list merchants by categories without providing coupons, price comparisons, or other features based on information that changes frequently, thus requiring continual updates

Cost per action networks (i.e., top-tier affiliates) that expose offers from the advertiser with which they are affiliated to their own network of affiliates

Websites using adbars (e.g. AdSense) to display context-sensitive, highly-relevant ads for products on the site   Wikipedia


Different advertisers offer different types of affiliate programs. If you join a search engine affiliate program you most likely will be placing text links or banners to their advertisers and you’ll work on a pay-per-click fee. email list affiliates promote email newsletters and are usually paid when a person joins the advertised opt-in email list. Being an affiliate of any merchant usually means you are paid a commission per sale on the advertiser’s Web site. Pay-per-click affiliate programs pay the least amount, as affiliates are often paid per thousand clicks (CPC).


Pay-per-lead programs are when you provide the links to downloads, trial offers, email optin lists and so on. Depending on the advertiser you may be paid per lead generation or you may not be paid unless the user subscribes and pays for a full service from the advertiser.

Again, you may also receive fees for both instances.


Pay-per-sale affiliate programs (also called revenue sharing) usually offer the highest commissions, and you will typically receive a set dollar amount per sale or a straight percentage of the total sale. Because a user has to purchase something, you may find this program best suited to high-traffic affiliate sites.


  • Knowing what ads to place and what revenue your Web site generates isn’t magic.
  • Once you join an affiliate program, you then are able to choose the products or banners you want to include on your Web site, and then receive the code you will need to insert on specific Web page or throughout your Web site.
  • This changes, however, when you select an ad revenue partnership, such as Google AdSense, for example where you have little or no control over the advertisement displayed.
  • In joining the affiliate program, you will agree to their terms of service, called an affiliate agreement, which will tell you what requirements you must meet and how the click-through, lead generation or sales are tracked.
  • For the most part, affiliate programs work by using a combination of a unique user ID and cookies to track your leads and subsequent revenues.
  • Most will offer a private affiliate section on their Web site where you can get your HTML code and also check your affiliate account status and information.
  • Through the use of browser cookies, any person who uses your link to make the desired action within a set amount of time contributes to your affiliate revenue.

For example if a user follows your link and looks through an online software store they are tracked as “your referral” by the browser cookie. If the person makes the purchase before the cookie expires, you get the referral commission. So even if a user sits with items in their shopping cart but doesn’t go back and make the purchase for two weeks, you can still get the commission, provided the cookie is still active.

For the Webmaster, one of the hardest things about using an affiliate program to earn money is finding a good one that will actually produce results for you. To better your chances of earning revenue from affiliate marketing here are some tips to get you started;

Always read the fine print. Make sure you understand how the payouts are structured, if you need to earn a minimum dollar amount before a payout, and, of course, compare commissions between similar affiliate programs.

Once you have narrowed down your options to a handful of possibilities, take a look at the merchant or marketers’ Web site rankings and traffic. If, for example, you have your choice narrowed down to three computer software e-tailers, you can use Google and Alexa rankings to help you determine which may have a better volume of traffic.

While their Web site traffic won’t directly help you promote their products, this may tell you which company has a larger customer-base (more traffic). A well-known name that your Web site visitors may be familiar with might encourage them to click the advertising links on your own site

Choose affiliate programs that complement your Web site content. If your site is all about sports, then chances are you’ll want to skip on setting up a co-branded Web store for cartoon themed car accessories, for example. Also, if affiliate programs offer customizable banners, buttons or splash pages that can be edited to reflect elements of your own site design, be sure to take advantage of those options.

Don’t be afraid to play the field and try a couple affiliate programs, or opt out of one and choose another if you’re not seeing any results after time. Results are going to be based on how much traffic your own Web site gets. If your site serves only a couple visitors a day, you can’t expect high click-through numbers.


Because there are such a large number of affiliate programs to choose from and many are structured differently, here are some tips to keep in mind while looking for a good match. First, you need to be sure you are comfortable with the product you’re promoting or selling and you have confidence in the advertiser you are linking to.

Check the pages on the advertiser’s Web site. If it’s something you yourself would never consider purchasing, or it possibly looks a bit unreliable, then chances are your visitors won’t be interested in it either. If you’re running a content-based site, you don’t want to sell anything that might offend visitors or lower their opinion of your site.

The best rule of thumb is to pick affiliate programs that offer something that’s relevant to your site. For example, if your Web site is about registering domain names, look for affiliate programs that are related to the topic such as Web site hosting, Webmaster tools and software, Web site templates and so on.

There is nothing worse than advertisements that stand out like a sore thumb on your pages (e.g., online casino ads placed on a Web site about elementary school math tutorials). Even niche sites can find affiliate programs that are a good match.

What is the Advertiser really offering its affiliates? Make sure you really understand the affiliate agreement and that you’ll be able to comply with it. Take the time to check out the advertiser before joining to ensure they really do pay out to affiliates and that their program is not a scam. Look at what the advertiser is offering in terms of tracking and reporting tools for affiliates. Good programs will provide you with a way to access real-time automated statistics to view conversions, sales and commissions.

Be sure you have ad and product display options to integrate the advertising into your Web site. Can you change the colors, themes and choose from a selection of different sized banners and buttons? With this type of service it means a little less work for you, the affiliate, and it also means your affiliate program meshes with your site. Some higher-pay programs may look attractive, but may offer a higher commission because they might not provide support and tools to their affiliates. If this is the case, make sure you determine if this program will be too high-maintenance for you before joining.

Pay-per-click programs offer the lowest dollar value for conversions, and you will need a higher click through rate to earn money. Pay-per-lead and pay-per-sale programs will usually offer a higher commission, but you will have less visitors clicking through to complete the transactions, so you need to have many unique visitors. Use your own traffic and reporting tools to determine which type of program will have a better chance of success on your own site.  WebOPedia


Affiliate programs are a popular way to earn money online. But do you know what to search for in an affiliate program? It is important that you know what constitutes the best affiliate program before you sign up with any program. 8 Key factors that define a good affiliate programs are as follows:


If you join up an affiliate program that does not have a good reputation, you will be wasting your money and time, and your online reputation will also be affected. An affiliate program with high reputation will also enable you to succeed because it will be easy for you to make sales


The Internet is full of scams. You will therefore need to join an affiliate program that has some good reviews and references; and the company must be stable and financially sound.

If you do not research this, you risk joining an affiliate program which is a scam.


Various affiliate programs offer a wide range of commissions. You will need to look for an affiliate program where your earnings are high. The affiliate program’s commission structure is therefore very important, and you need to be fully informed about the potential commissions you can earn for each sale before you join any affiliate program.


The best affiliate program is one for which you are rewarded several times over, just from a single sale. For example, if you make a sale today, some affiliate programs will reward you if that customer makes another purchase in the future, or if they refer someone who will make a purchase. This will simply increase your earnings in the long run.


Research on how reliable the affiliate program is at paying its affiliates. When you are in business, you will have some ongoing costs, such as marketing your business, and driving traffic to your affiliate website. You will therefore need to have constant payments to help you with the cash flow. Equally important is how frequent the program pays its affiliates. You would not want to wait months before you get paid.


You will need all the support and tools you can get in order for you to make sales and earn some commission. Some affiliate programs are good than others in terms of proving this support. Do your research and find an affiliate programs that offer support and tools that will make your job easier.


It is important for you to choose an affiliate program that has products or services that are of interest to you, so that you will enjoy marketing them. If you already have an online business and a website, you will need to choose an affiliate program that matches or complements what you already sell on your website.

Your affiliate business is a long-term commitment, so you will need to make the right choice so that you sign up with a program that has products that you will enjoy marketing.


You must avoid signing up with a program that is not popular or is declining in its reputation. While it is important to choose an affiliate program that has been in existence for a while and is stable, avoid joining a program that has exhausted its market growth potential or is simply losing its attractiveness. You want to sign up with a program that is in high demand and will be easy for you to sell.

By using the guideline presented above, you will be able to pick an affiliate program that pays you well and on time. You will also join an affiliate program with easy-to-sell products that have high reputation and are in demand; and you will get the necessary support to make it easy for you to make sales.

As an affiliate, you will want to see your commission checks increasing gradually over time; and the above factors will make this possible for you, if you select the right affiliate programs. HomeBasedBusiness


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.


Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions.

Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.

Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware.

Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants’ reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor’s affiliate program.

Eventually, merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network also forced affiliate networks. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,] LinkShare’s Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum, and ShareASale’s complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.

Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.


In the infancy of affiliate marketing, many Internet users held negative opinions due to the tendency of affiliates to use spam to promote the programs in which they were enrolled. As affiliate marketing matured, many affiliate merchants have refined their terms and conditions to prohibit affiliates from spamming.


Many voucher code web sites use a click to reveal format, which required the web site user to click to reveal the voucher code. The action of clicking places the cookie on the website visitor’s computer. The IAB have stated “Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be. “Answers


Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate-tracking cookie on a website visitor’s computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales, but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates’ cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.


Entrepreneurs who are working at the edge of Internet marketing drive affiliate marketing.

Affiliates are often the first to take advantage of emerging trends and technologies. The “trial and error” approach is probably the best way to describe the operation methods for affiliate marketers. This risky approach is one of the reasons why most affiliates fail or give up before they become successful “super affiliates”, capable of generating US$10,000 or more per month in commission. This “frontier” life combined with the attitude found in such communities is likely the main reason why the affiliate marketing industry is unable to self-regulate beyond individual contracts between advertisers and affiliates.

Affiliate marketing has experienced numerous failed attempts to create an industry organization or association of some kind that could be the initiator of regulations, standards, and guidelines for the industry.] Some examples of failed regulation efforts are the Affiliate Union and iAfma.

Online forums and industry trade shows are the only means for the different members from the industry—affiliates/publishers, merchants/advertisers, affiliate networks, third-party vendors, and service providers such as outsourced program managers—to congregate at one location. Online forums are free, enable small affiliates to have a larger say, and provide anonymity. Trade shows are cost- prohibitive to small affiliates because of the high price for event passes. An advertiser they promote may even sponsor larger affiliates.

Because of the anonymity of online forums, the quantitative majority of industry members are unable to create any form of legally binding rule or regulation that must be followed throughout the industry. Online forums have had very few successes as representing the majority of the affiliate marketing industry. The most recent example of such a success was the halt of the “Commission Junction Link Management Initiative” (CJ LMI) in June/July 2006, when a single network tried to impose the use of a JavaScript tracking code as a replacement for common HTML links on its affiliates.


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.

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.

Outsourced Program Management companies typically combine formal and informal training, providing much of their training through group collaboration and brainstorming. Such companies also try to send each marketing employee to the industry conference of their choice.

Other training resources used include online forums, weblogs, podcasts, video seminars, and specialty websites. Affiliate Summit is the largest conference in the industry, and many other affiliate networks host their own annual events.


As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending email spam to creating automatically generated Webpages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such Webpages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as Spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.

Spam is the biggest threat to organic search engines, whose goal is to provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users. Google’s PageRank algorithm update (“BigDaddy”) in February 2006—the final stage of Google’s major update (“Jagger”) that began in mid-summer 2005— specifically targeted Spamdexing with great success. This update thus enabled Google to remove a large amount of mostly computer-generated duplicate content from its index.

Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for under delivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as “thin affiliates”. Such websites were either removed from Google’s index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.

Some commentators originally suggested that Affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant’s Internet service provider (ISP) within that website’s content would be appropriate.

If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports.

The goal in this case is to publish quality information within the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant’s websites. However, examples that are more recent exist of “thin” Affiliate sites which are using the Affiliate Marketing model to create value for Consumers by offering them a service.

These thin content service Affiliate fall into three categories: Price comparison

Cause related marketing Time saving


Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay per click search engines such as Goto.com (which later became Overture.com after being acquired by Yahoo! in 2003) emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google Adwords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel.

An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already well-occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertiser’s names, brands, and trademarks. Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those types of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser’s trademarks.


Cost per action networks may be viewed as a threat to “classic” affiliate marketing networks. Traditional affiliate marketing is resource-intensive and requires continual maintenance. Most of the maintenance includes managing, monitoring, and supporting affiliates. The goal of affiliate marketing is directed toward long-term and mutual beneficial partnerships between advertisers and affiliates.

Cost per action networks, however, eliminate the need for the advertiser to build and maintain relationships to affiliates, as that task is performed for the advertiser by the cost per action network. The advertiser makes an offer, usually CPA-based, and the cost per action networks handle the remainder of the process by mobilizing their affiliates to promote that offer. Cost per sale and revenue sharing are the primary compensation models for classic affiliate marketing, and are rarely found in cost per action networks. Affiliate marketers typically avoid the topic of cost per action networks; however, if it is being discussed, the debates can become heated and explosive.

Thanks for Reading – 10a. Affiliate Programs, IUH 2009-12, 2ND Ed, R513A

Dr Don, Founder, ICFO

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