How Does an Affiliate Program Work?

Editor ’ south bill : This article was in the first place published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving practical Ecommerce as the successor .
As you are probably aware, what is called an “ affiliate program ” or “ associate platform ” is a kinship in which a merchant pays you ( the “ affiliate ” ) for links from your site to his site. normally, the consort is paid only when an actual sale is made by the merchant as a consequence of your link .
This kind of ad ( and it IS advertising ) is called Pay Per Action ( PPA ), since the affiliate international relations and security network ’ thymine paid for carrying the merchant ’ second advertise link or graphic on his locate, but alone when a visitor performs a certain action ( visits, fills out a form, makes a purchase ) .

An Example from

The Affiliate Program method acting was pioneered by To give you an idea of how this works in military action, I ’ ll describe ’ mho program briefly.

You sign up as an affiliate on their locate and are assigned an Associate ’ s ID. Mine happens to be “ wilsoninternetse ” .
Let ’ s say I have a review of a hot new book on my site, such as The E-Commerce Book: Building the E-Empire by Steffano Korper and Juanita Ellis ( ISBN 0-12-421160-7 ). I would link the style so it takes my visitor immediately to the reserve ’ s description on ’ s web site. hera is what a url to The E-Commerce Book looks like
hypertext transfer protocol : //
Notice the elements : My Associate’s ID is stopping point in the URL. Just before it you find the ASIN ( Amazon Standard Item Number ), which in the case of books is the same as the ISBN ( International Standard Book Number, a unique total assigned to every book and script edition published ) .
When the visitor clicks on this link, the network server is programmed thus that the visitor will be sent to the web page for the book with that ISBN numeral. At the lapp prison term my Associate ’ south ID will be recorded with the visitor ’ second session ID ( an arbitrary count assigned to each visitor every time he enters the locate ), indeed that if the visitor makes any purchases on that session, I will be credited with their leverage .
While every merchant chooses their his payment system, this is how presently works ( subject to change ) :

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  • If my visitor purchases the exact book I have linked to, I receive 15% of the sales price of the book.
  • If my visitor gets to the site, begins to browse around, and ends up buying another book, then I get 5% of the sales price.
  • Payments are made quarterly, so long as the total commission due that quarter is more than a minimum amount.

today The E-Commerce Book, regularly $ 39.95, is on sale for 30 % off or $ 27.97. If you purchased it from my link I would make 15 % of $ 27.97 or $ 4.20. If you purchased the koran after coming through another liaison from my web site, I would make 5 % of $ 27.97 or $ 1.40 .


One of the reasons affiliate programs are thus popular is that that offer a win-win situation for both merchant and affiliate .
Merchant Advantage
The merchant ’ s cost for advertising a particular intersection is restrict ( largely ) to the percentage paid to an consort, and the merchant only has to pay when a purchase is actually made. This is much better than banner advertising, where the merchant pays whether or not any leverage occurs. In fact, the total paid to an affiliate for a buy through an affiliate connect is credibly lone 10 % to 20 % of the monetary value of that sale through standard advertising ( which charges in monetary value per 1000 banner views, CPM ) .
What ’ s more, if your visitor likes, he is probably to go directly there the next fourth dimension he wants to purchase a book, and has potentially gained a customer for life. ( Of course, if the lapp visitor uses another connect on your site to purchase another book, you ’ ll get credit for that purchase besides. ) You can learn more about affiliate programs from a merchant ’ s point of view in Web Commerce Today newsletter, Issue 8, “ A Merchant ’ s Primer of Affiliate Programs ” ( hypertext transfer protocol : // ), where I explain how to set up such a broadcast.

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Siteowner Advantage
The siteowner stands to make some money, so long as adequate visitors click on the affiliate links and make purchases. You don ’ t have to go to the disturb of setting up e-commerce functions, take credit cards, or transport products ; you fair join some affiliate programs and let person else do the “ dirty work. ”


If something sounds besides good to be true, it credibly is. To be realistic, you need to see affiliate plan income as a nice bonus to your main generator of tax income, not the main reference itself. To generate substantial income you need : ( 1 ) a batch of traffic, ( 2 ) merchants with generous payout policies, and ( 3 ) products well-targeted towards the visitors who come to your site. The accuracy is that few sites generate enough traffic to make a lot of money with affiliate programs .

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